Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Ten Romance Novels That Have Stuck With Me, Part the First

Have you seen the "Ten Books That Have Stuck With Me" meme? I knew as soon as I saw that one that I'd have to do it, and filling in the slots was pretty easy, especially when the instructions were to not put too much thought into the process. This was what I came up with, in short order:

Skye O'Malley by Bertrice Small

Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews

Black Beauty by Anna Sewell

Wideacre by Philippa Gregory

Sword Dancer by Jennifer Roberson

Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh

Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro

Long Way Down by Nick Hornby

Lovesong by Valerie Sherwood

Broken Wing by Judith James

Giving this a quick once-over, I see three genre romances (Skye O'Malley, Lovesong, Broken Wing,) three historical novels (Wideacre, Brideshead Revisited, Remains of the Day,) one horror (Flowers in the Attic,) one fantasy (Sword Dancer,) one children's book, (Black Beauty) and one piece of contemporary fiction (Long Way Down.) Since Black Beauty has a historical setting, we can give that credit for the historical category as well. Interesting spread there, everything with a deep emotional core - I know each book has made me cry at least once, and never fear, I like crying over an emotional scene- but I immediately started thinking of a list comprised only of my genre of choice, historical romance?

Though I did repeat authors on this second list, I purposely chose not to repeat books. Picking only ten was more difficult with the narrower focus, and made me think of narrowing the focus even farther, which I will likely do at a later date. For now, let's take in the list itself:

Ten Historical Romance Novels That Have Stuck With Me:

1. The Kadin by Bertrice Small

2. The Velvet Promise by Jude Deveraux

3. Bold Breathless Love by Valerie Sherwood

4. Libertine’s Kiss by Judith James

5. Daughters of the South Wind by Aola Vandergriff

6. Tapestry by Karen Ranney

7. A Love So Bold by Annelise Kamada

8. A Rose in Winter by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss

9. Wild Bells to the Wild Sky by Laurie McBain

10. Call Back the Dream by Barbara Hazard

What are your top ten most enduring historical romances?

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

NaNo Lessons and Lynn Viehl Giveaway Winner

I wasn't going to do NaNo this year. I'd done it before, won before and not won before, and last year, though I did okay on the word count, also wound up in a mental muscle cramp a good deal of the time and ended up putting a book of my heart on the back burner for all the debris to settle before it's time to revisit that story. Not the ideal outcome, but sometimes, we have to go through such places in our writing lives.

It wasn't until days before the start that I signed up this year, and decided that I had nothing to lose by doing something radically different. For me, this NaNo, this was...not count words. Fired up Zen Writer with a pretty background, did a lot of longhand writing, and decided to do what came naturally. Which turned out to be a) writing longhand first, and b) working scene to scene.

Also helpful was becoming involved in the social aspect of NaNo, something made easier by the fact that the kickoff party was held at my favorite coffee house, literally a two minute walk from my home. I didn't make it to most of the events, but the Facebook group for local NaNo people is still going strong. I met two new friends through the group. While I didn't make fifty thousand words, my goal wasn't a number, but a story, and that's what I got. I got to the end of my draft. I had fun.

The draft I have isn't perfect, and it's going to need some work, but the story is told, and that's a success. Not a NaNo win, but a success. I'll take it, and move on to the next project, with a new set of skills and a better knowledge of what works for me.

Speaking of moving on, let's move on to the big reveal...

Our lucky winner for the Lynn Viehl giveaway is....


BUNNY Bunny, please contact me at: with your mailing address, and Lynn will get that big bundle o' treasures headed in your direction.

Monday, December 09, 2013

Lynn Viehl Talks Covers and Comes Bearing Gifts

UPDATE Our randomly selected winner is BUNNY Bunny, please contact me at: with "Lynn Viehl Winner" in the subject line and we'll get your prize right out to you.

Hail and well met, dear readers. Typing With Wet Nails is delighted to welcome the versatile Lynn Viehl back for a visit, and she comes bearing gifts. Click the thumbnail to embiggen and stay tuned to learn how you can have a shot at winning these for your very own.

December 9th Giveaway photo December9giveaway_zpsf30f5c30.jpg

Since discovering Lynn through the world of art and then her imaginative Stardoc series, I'd always wondered if someday there might be a historical somewhere in her bag of tricks, and it looks like someday is here, with the Disenchanted and Company series. How can I resist a steampunk universe where the American Revolution turned out very, very differently, resulting in Victorian-era Americans still being very, very British? About as easily as I can resist a gorgeously wrapped package, especially if that gorgeous wrapping is some stunning cover art, which is not at all.

What, then, is an author to do when she gets not one but two beautiful covers, and can't show them to anybody? Pull up a chair, grab a beverage of choice and let Lynn spin the tale of how she faced this challenging dilemma.

Cover Me

Lynn Viehl

The day I sold my NaNoWriMo novel to Pocket Star I started thinking about the cover art. My protagonist, a Victorian-era lady private detective who solves crimes of magic, is rather unique. So is her steampunk urban fantasy universe, in which America didn't win the War Independence, so everyone is still British. This would also be a big landmark novel for me -- my 50th book in print.

As a traditionally-published author I depend on my publishers for cover art. In the past I've had some covers that were not exactly what I had in mind, either . . . okay, after seeing one in particular I admit, I went into therapy for a while. This time my book would first be published in two-part e-books, which meant not one but two covers. I began sending suggestions to my editor, Adam Wilson, right away. Actually I think I might have started e-mailing him before the ink on the new contract dried.

Art takes time, and Adam proved very understanding. Meanwhile I tried to put my faith in the universe. Getting unfortunate cover art is like being struck by lightning; I'd already been nailed with a book that on a clear day can still be spotted from the International Space Station. It probably wouldn't happen again.

Finally Adam sent the new covers to me, and I peeked at the images through my fingers. Nothing blew out my retinas, but as I slowly lowered my hands I saw not one but two amazing covers. The universe had actually come through; I wouldn't need more therapy. Even better, astronauts would be completely unable to use my covers to triangulate reentry trajectories.

I called everyone to tell them the happy news. I couldn't wait to show off my new covers, either, as I told my editor in my thank-you e-mail.

"We're planning a big online reveal," Adam wrote back, "so don't share them with anyone."

All I could do was stare at the phone and think, Uh-oh.

My best friend arrived five seconds later. "Let me see these gorgeous covers."

"I accidentally deleted the files," I lied. "My editor has to resend them, and he's super busy."

"So show me the print copies," She headed toward my office. "You said on the phone you were printing out a million, right?"

"I meant to, but the printer broke down." I darted in from of her to shut the office door. "And the dog just threw up all over the rug in there. Tell you what, I'll bring them the next time we have lunch." I walked her to the door. "In July."

"I got your voice mail, Mom," my daughter said, rushing in. "Congratulations -- can I put the new covers on Facebook?"

"No," I told her. "The dog threw up on them."

"I thought the dog threw up on the rug," my best friend said.

This was getting complicated. "They were sitting on the rug, in pieces, after the printer mangled them." I turned to my daughter. "You're not allowed to go on Facebook anymore."

"Uh, Mom, I'm an adult now," she reminded me.

"Pretend to be a minor for your mother, will you?" I snapped.

My guy came in and smiled at me. "I hear we've got gorgeous covers in the house."

"I deleted -- and then the printer -- and the dog --" I stopped and threw up my hands. "Look, I can't show you the covers, okay? I promised my editor I wouldn't."

My guy frowned. "Why not?"

"I know why. They're both Day-Glo pink, aren't they? And it's finally pushed you over the edge." My best friend took out her cell phone. "I'm calling your shrink."

This all happened last spring, and since then both e-books have been released so everyone knows what my covers look like. I'm sure you'll agree that they couldn't be more attractive, and personally? I couldn't be happier. So will someone please call my therapist and tell him that, so I can cancel my next appointment?


The giveaway will contain the following:

A hand quilted and beaded Winterberry tote
Signed copies of the print ARCs of Disenchanted & Co. and The Clockwork Wolf
An unsigned copy of The Writer's Lab by Sexton Burke
A London-themed hardcover blank journal

Want a chance at this stunning prize package landing on your doorstep? You know you do, so here's your shot. Leave a message in the comments and the winner will be randomly selected at the end of the day. Lynn will be popping in throughout the day to socialize and take questions, and, like Santa Claus, she'll deliver the gifts to the lucky winner anywhere in the world. You heard me right, this giveaway is international, so let the posting begin.