Cover Reveal: Heavy Weather

I’ve shown this cover as it’s been developing, but I finally have the ready-to-go front. The fonts have been tweaked, and I really like them.

What do you think?Heavy Weather 2

Another Carolina Coast story from the author of Becalmed

It takes a town to save a child. That town is Beaufort, North Carolina.

In this love story about a small Southern town that takes care of its own, the Beaufort folk reach out to embrace two children and their battered mama.

Annie Mac’s estranged husband has come to get his baby girl, and he’ll stop at nothing to have her. When childless Hannah Morgan discovers the two children cowering in the bushes and their mama left for dead, she rallies the sleepy town of Beaufort, NC, and sets her coterie of do-gooders to some extra-strength do-gooding. Add in a lonely police lieutenant yanked out of his comfort zone and into the heart of this small family, and who knows what will happen?

Moving Forward with Book 3: Cover Design

Girl in White Dress in Storm HW 4

I’ve been through a million iterations of this cover. Loved one image but couldn’t determine ownership. Loved another but found someone else had used it in a very unfortunate way. So, I went back to this one, which really represents the story in a more compelling way than the other two.

I used the image of transparent innocence to show how two women see themselves: Annie Mac, an abused wife and mother who lost her innocence at a very young age, and Hannah, a childless woman whose best friends are now pregnant. The metaphorical sea rages as the women come together when Annie Mac’s estranged husband tries to kill her and take their little girl and Hannah rallies her coterie of do-gooders in Beaufort–including Detective Lieutenant Clay Dougherty (who had a bit part in Becalmed) to try to save them all.

The title is a sailing term. Becalmed, my first Beaufort book, showed the becalmed, windless life of Tadie. (Find it here.) Heavy Weather picks up the story two years later with Tadie’s best friend, Hannah, trying to help two children and their mother escape the machinations of a murderer. Heavy weather, all right.

What do you think of this cover? Would it make you want to buy it? Does it intrigue you?

 

 

 

 

Southern Writers Holiday Catalog

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CLICK ON IMAGE TO TAKE YOU THERE!

 

They created a lovely ad for Sailing out of Darkness, which you can find on page 4. Isn’t it pretty? (I linked it to Amazon. You know, just because I could!)

 

Normandie Fischer ad SW REV

 

Patience and the Writing Life

Writers know all about waiting. ALL about it.

We write a story and submit it. We accumulate rejections. Finally, our agent sells a story and then another. We wait through the edits and the design and the production. A year.

We become marketers of that book (those books), but we’re supposed to work on the next…and then the next.

Lots of Books!
Lots of Books!

We query again and discover that this next doesn’t quite fit with the publisher’s plans. He wants a shorter book. Ah. Shorter. Right.

We smile. One must, of course. And we wonder what this means, this latest wall we’ve hit. So we hire an editor–you know, someone who doesn’t love us already. Someone other than our critique partners.

And while we wait to get the story back from Old Eagle Eyes, we ponder. And we read. (And, of course, we begin–or finish–another story. One does.)

But what exactly will we do when we get the manuscript back? We’ve been thinking. Watching other writers take the step from here to there, from traditional to (YIKES) self-published.

If we do find a home at a publishing house, we’ll have that year to wait. Oh, and wasn’t that the sweetest letter we received from a reader who wonders when she’ll have our next book? Oh, and there’s another one. Begging. Will they lose interest if they don’t see a new book from us for yet another year?

We cast about for the right answer. We look over our shoulder–and over the fence–and wonder what if?

iStock_000010072860XSmall

Other writers do it. At a recent conference we heard from authors who first published traditionally and now…yikes, should we say it?…publish on their own. And. Make. Money. And. Find. Readers. And. Have. Fun.

Oh, my.

The riskiness of it. The courage it must take.

Publish on my own? Me? Moi-meme? Io? Yours truly?

Well, who knows? But I’m reading Catherine Ryan Howard’s hilarious Self-Printed, The Sane Person’s Guide to Self-Publishing. And I’m learning. I’ve been playing with a fantastic cover design program called KD Cover Kit, which uses PhotoShop Cloud. I’m relearning Scrivener.

What do you think? Would you read a self-published book? Would you read one of mine if I released it myself? Or would you shy away because there’s no publishing house with its name on the cover? Does self-publishing have the same stigma it used to?

Talk to me, please. I’d like to know.

 

Woohoo! Sailing out of Darkness, a Finalist in The Maggie!

The Georgia Romance Writers are a talented group of women. I’m reading books from the other finalists in the Strong Romantic Elements category of the Maggie Award for Excellence, and I’m very impressed. This means that, win or lose, I feel hugely honored that they chose Sailing out of Darkness as a finalist. Thank you, ladies!

Maggies Finalist badge

 

 

HAVING FUN AGAIN–ASPEN GOLD FINALIST!

Y’all know how much fun contests are. Well, this has been a delightful week for my books.

Today, I learned that Sailing out of Darkness is one of three finalists in the Single Title Category (for romantic as opposed to romance fiction) of the Aspen Gold Contest from the Heart of Denver Romance Writers!

Readers in Denver, thank you!

Aspen Gold Medallionsod small

 

For one more day, the Kindle version remains at 99 cents.

Click HERE to buy.

 

 

 

 

Book News: One Finalist and One on Sale!

First of all, the news about four days of 99 cents for Kindle. WhiteFire Publishing has finally put Sailing out of Darkness in the almost-free category, so if any of you dear folk have been waiting to save a couple of dollars to read (oh, and pretty please, to review?) my second book, this is your chance We all like bargains, don’t we?

Here’s the link: Sailing out of Darkness on Amazon

And just to remind you how fun the book is, here’s the trailer again:

 

My next bit of good news? Becalmed is a finalist in the Heart of Excellence Contest for Strong Romantic Elements. I want to thank the lovely folk at Ancient City Romance Authors, the St. Augustine, FL, RWA chapter, for their support!

Here’s the Becalmed trailer, because I love it, too.

 

STORMS AND STORIES: Post-Hurricane, a Story from Mexico

Waves crashing on rock
Waves crashing on rock

One of my WIPs begins with a scene taken from my first storm on board Sea Venture. We’d moved the boat from the CA Delta to Marina Bay in Richmond, CA. The wind and waves had direct access through the Golden Gate to our slip. Michael was late returning from work that night when a whopper of a storm raised its furious head. As I lay in my bunk, shuddering along with Sea Venture, I imagined what it might be like for a novice sailor (because if I were scared, how much more would she be?), alone on a boat in a strange country. So I moved my character to La Paz, MX (one of our favorite cruising grounds in the Sea of Cortez), named their boat Mystic, and gave the area a new marina.

Here’s the opening to On a Night Like This:

Chapter One

Waves crested Marina Algare’s finger piers, dousing the dock and anything—or anyone—still roaming abroad that night. The slaps echoed like the beat of bass drum on the uninsulated fiberglass of Mystic’s transom, and Kyra snuggled deeper under the summer-weight blankets. She longed for brick and mortar, for solid ground and the strong foundation she’d left stateside. Instead, mere inches separated her from the banshee’s fury.

Halyards flogged the mast. She should have lashed the lines before the storm hit, but how could she have known they’d be a problem? Preparing the boat had always been Stephen’s job. She winced as something thudded into the hull, once, twice. The wind howled, screeching through the rigging. Kyra flattened a pillow against her ear.

She’d been through plenty of storms in the California Delta where the inland heat sucked wind off the ocean and sent it surging up the rivers. There, tucked behind thick walls and curtained windows, she’d felt safe, immune from violence. When the weatherman warned of high winds, she had only to check the flashlight batteries, make sure Stephen had filled the generator with gas, and then slip into something comfortable before turning on a movie. Or curling up to read. Or going to sleep. Being alone wasn’t a problem in Rio Vista.

But she wasn’t in her California house, was she? Thanks to Stephen, she was on a boat in Mexico, their new home, he’d called it when he’d enticed her here—before abandoning her to face what sounded like a hurricane.

A sob clogged her throat. If he were lying next to her, he’d laugh and rub a hand up her back, his long fingers tickling her slightly before they inched toward her tense muscles. He’d remind her, in his low and soothing voice, that even if the wind piped to sixty, Mystic was a good old girl, well able to handle a storm. Kyra could imagine his chuckle. “Poor Kyra, so nervous. What is there to worry about?” He tell her that they’d head to sea if the wind got to near-hurricane force and heave to. Mystic wouldtake care of them. “And besides,” he’d insist, “The Lord watches over us.”

She leveled a curse at his missing form, though after that last thought, the curse felt dangerous, as if she’d spooked herself and her circumstances. Too bad she didn’t have Stephen’s faith—in either the boat or his God.

Lying in the dark, she had no idea how hard the wind blew, but it was loud and bad and nothing she wanted to be in the middle of, thank you very much. Everything Stephen said made sense when he was here and in charge. But he wasn’t, and she had no idea why not.

When another gust rocked the boat, Kyra started, thinking it might be Stephen’s weight causing the lurch. She listened, but no footfalls moved aft.

What good were promises if he were off gallivanting around Mexico instead of here to keep them? She couldn’t take a forty-five foot boat to sea on her own. She had to stay tethered to the dock and hope that the lines held and the pilings were strong and no other boat got loose to crash into them.

If he’d decided not to drive back from Cabo because of the storm, why hadn’t he called? He had a cell phone, and, surely, Cabo San Lucas had decent service.

She flipped on a light to check the signal strength bars on her phone’s screen. Five. So, it wasn’t a fault in La Paz. It didn’t make sense. Stephen was always so careful with her. Knowing how nervous she got when he didn’t call to say he’d be late, he always phoned. Hitting speed dial for his cell, she waited, then left her second panicky voice mail. “Where are you?!”

For his sake, she tried praying, but it felt as if the noises outside drowned her words—even though she didn’t speak them aloud. The heavens seemed too busy pouring down rain to bother with one lone woman in a dark and very foreign marina. Fine, she and God weren’t on the best of terms, but Stephen kept saying God listened.

It didn’t look like it from here.

Finally, sometime in the night, the storm quieted. But she still lay alone with a phone that didn’t ring.

Learning a new skill: The Trailer Revisited

(Or, it’s back to school for me.)

Editor Linda Yezak donned a flak jacket before writing to tell me what was wrong with the Sailing out of Darkness trailer. When I said that I LOVE constructive criticism, she breathed a sigh and shed the jacket. “I was sweating in there.”

I don’t know about you, but when someone I respect makes suggestions, I’m going to listen. Why? Because I want to learn to be the best “me” possible. I knew I wouldn’t be sending my work to Hollywood, and I also knew professionals could have done a better job than I, but I can’t afford the professionals and thus am grateful for all the help someone offers.

Now, it’s time to move on. Get back to my rewrites. Get the house cleaned for my daughter’s visit. In other words, stop tinkering with Animoto and get to work.

But before I do that, here’s the shortened, updated, edited version. What do you think?