I’m guesting over at the Share My Destiny blog, sharing some reader and reviewer feedback on the first two acts of my serial novel, Master of the Opera – and mulling if anticipation makes it all better or just more annoying?
Another photo from the RT Convention. This is me (in the yellow hat, if you don’t know) going out for barbeque with the eKensington group. I’m standing next to Alexandra Nicolajsen, who is the Digital Content/Marketing Manager for Kensington. The rest are other authors, except for the lady kneeling by the pig’s snout. That’s Alicia Condon, Editorial Director of Kensington’s Brava line. Just in case any of you want to stalk her at a conference. 😉
I feel like I have a lot of news to catch up on. I’ve been posting things in dribs and drabs, but I’m not sure where I posted what or who I told which thing. So, it seems like a Fridayish, wrap-the-week up kind of thing to list it all here. Forgive me if this is stuff you all already know.
RUBY, Book 3 in the Facets of Passion series, releases on Monday!!!! There have been a lot of great reviews already, so I’m really excited for this one to hit the world. I’ve also been giving copies away on Twitter this week to people who sing back the songs to me when I post lyrics. Pretty fun! Maybe I should do it on Facebook, too?
Along those lines, Book 4 in Facets of Passion, ORO, will be in Carina Press’s erotic holiday anthology coming out in December that Angela James is editing. I’m just thrilled about that, especially about the stellar writers I’ll be keeping company with: Christine d’Abo, Jodie Griffin and newbie writers to Carina, Elise Logan and Emily Ryan-Davis.
This weekend (starting today, in fact) is the Southwest Book Fiesta. I’ll be hanging at a booth with my local chapter, the gals from LERA. I’m the Featured Author at the booth from 11 to 12 Saturday, May 11, and again from 5 to 6. Also, at 2pm, I’ll be on a panel with some other romance authors, including the fabulously famous New York Times Bestselling Author Miss Darynda Jones. I fully intend to bask in any glory she happens to reflect.
By way of promoting the Book Fiesta, I was interviewed on local TV. It’s kind of fun to watch – and very brief!
When I was at the World Fantasy Convention last fall, I met this Australian gal, Em Craven, who has a popular website called the E-book Revolution. She later interviewed me via Skype and posted the podcast recently. It’s about an hour long, but we had a really interesting conversation. She comes at things from a more fantasy/science-fiction perspective, a group of readers who’ve been oddly slow in embracing eBooks, especially as compared to the romance community.
In other news, I have confirmation now that my modern retelling of The Phantom of the Opera will officially be called MASTER OF THE OPERA. It will come out in January 2014, in six digital episodes, releasing every two weeks. SO interested to see how it’s received. I’m working on edits for it now and having a great time with my new Kensington editor, Peter Senftleben.
After that, Book 1 of The Twelve Kingdoms will come out in trade paperback in June 2014, with Book 2 in December. Book 1 is the one I called The Middle Princess, but that title will change. The spin-off story Negotiation, a prequel to the trilogy, will be out in an anthology, THUNDER ON THE BATTLEFIELD, Volume II, in June – eBook first, followed by mass-market paperback.
I’m auctioning off two things in Brenda Novak’s big online auction to benefit diabetes research. One is a one-on-one mentorship with me, for you aspiring writers out there. The other is the opportunity to have a meal (your choice, as schedules allow) at the RWA convention in Atlanta with me and the fabulous Carolyn Crane. We’ll treat and you can bring one friend along – or keep us all to yourself! – and dish with you on any topic you like.
Finally – and this is funny – I’ve been talked into having a Street Team. For those who don’t know, this is just a loose association of readers who want to pimp my books to the world. Because this concept always makes me think of Westside Story, the team is officially the Jeffe Jets. Yes, you can absolutely sing the theme song and I think we *have* to get the jackets at some point. At any rate, if you want to play, let me know. If you want to coordinate, even better because I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing.
Whew! I think that’s everything. A lot, right?
Have a great weekend, everyone!
I’ve been working diligently on the Phantom story, laying down the words, working up the story. (I feel really hip saying it like that, like “laying down the tracks.” I’ve been kind of obsessed with Pitch Perfect and how songs mash-up. That, however, is probably a different, but related post.)
It’s been interesting because, as you may or may not recall, this will be an eSerial. The story will be broken into six parts, released 2-4 weeks apart. I’m surprised at how much this feels like a new form to me. Normally I set up my story according the classic three-act structure. If you aren’t familiar, that means the Act I climax occurs around 25%, the midpoint or story hinge around 50%, the Act II climax at 75%, Act III climax at ~90% followed by denouement and assorted wrap-up. The simplest explanation I’ve heard for the three acts is: get your protagonist up a tree, throw rocks at him/her, get him or her down again. With the Phantom story, I figured out my overall arc and then set up mini-arcs for each episode as well. It makes for an interesting rhythm.
Lest you think I actually plot things out ahead of time, however, let me disabuse you of that notion immediately. I don’t. I can’t, really. I’m a write-for-discovery kind of gal and I seem to be unable to figure out the story any other way. I’m at peace with that. The writers who extensively plot and outline ahead of time usually call this “pantsing” as in “flying by the seat of your pants.” I don’t much like this term. I think it says more about their fear of being out of control than anything salient about my method.
I was realizing, as I worked up this new structure, that this is like stretching canvas for me. I have painter friends and I love to watch them prepare canvas. One taught me how, so I could easily transport one of his paintings home and re-stretch it. They assemble the wooden frame to a particular size, choose the type of canvas they want, pull it tight over the frame and staple or nail it on. Then they add various gessos or other foundations, depending on their plans. (At this point I get fuzzy on the details.)
This is how setting up the story is for me: choosing the size, the foundation, with a sense of how it will eventually look. Then I paint the picture.
The other really cool thing I discovered is how my structures interweave. Oh look, I’m back to the mash-up thing. Guess it IS related. See, if you don’t know, a mash-up is when they take two or more different songs and weave them together. They might share a rhythm line and then the melodies work around each other, playing in counterpoint and blending, creating an entirely new song. Forgive me if I’m getting terms wrong, because I’m just not very good at understanding music. I *want* to understand, so I listen intently to this kind of thing, wanting to organically GET how this works.
An old boyfriend once cited the fact that I listen to the same songs over and over again as one factor in him dumping me. I can see that. But I also see how my tendency to get fixated on something like this also contributes to my understanding of other things. I didn’t get why I’ve been listening to the Pitch Perfect mash-ups on iPod over and over until just now.
My story is working the same way. Okay – if you hate math, leave now. But this is an example of what I found out. If I do 6 15K episodes, that’s 90K, give or take. That’s my overall frame. The Act I climax of the overall story takes place then around 22,500 words. That’s in the second episode. By the end of Act I, I should have my protagonist thoroughly up a tree – all the story clues and components should be in place. If I look at the internal structure of Episode 2, the midpoint, the story hinge, where things really change direction, occurs at 7,500 words into the 15K episode (halfway), which is at 22,500 words overall. Do you see? The overall Act I climax will be the SAME EVENT as the Episode 2 midpoint!
Isn’t that cool??
If it were a musical mash-up, it would be that point where the two songs spiral up together and hit that came climactic note, for one harmonious moment.
We’ll see if it works like I hope it will. Off to paint in some images!