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Monday, July 6, 2015

Diana Gabaldon & Me in Denver!


     Diana G. wowed the Denver crowd as well as participants in the 6th annual Historical Novel Society Writer’s Conference June 26-28 at the Hyatt Regency.  As her biggest Minnesota fan, I was once again in the presence of my inspiration.  (Two years ago, we met at the 4th annual HNS in St. Petersburg, Florida.  Every other year, the Historical Novel Society has a conference in England.)
     The popular author of the Outlander series that has sold 26 million copies worldwide participated in a panel session on Midwifery Saturday afternoon, then signed books continuously for two hours. As the keynote speaker at dinner that evening, she filled over 400 conferees in on how the Starz cable series of Outlander was born at another dinner with Producer Ronald  Moore of StarTrek fame, his partner and their wives. The wives were gushing over the bestselling Outlander books they were reading—a perfect new project!
     An option was already held by someone else for movie rights to Outlander, but condensing the book to a two-hour movie was not in the script.  When the option was finally released to Moore, Outlander became the 16-episode series that has collected raves, awards, and an incredible following of international viewers who have flooded social media with proof of their dedication as old…and new fans. The charismatic actors that brought Diana’s book to life embodied Diana's-and everyone else's vision.   Season one ended as summer began, and “Droughtlander” became the new word coined for the period between seasons (and books in the series). 
     Diana was also hostess for the late night “spicy” readings after the Saturday banquet.  I had signed up to read—among 30 or 40 others—but  lost my voice to laryngitis.  Great timing for an opportunity that was probably steamrolled by a case of nerves, anyway.  Diana  graciously offered to read for me, and I gave her a copy of my own romantic time travel with pages marked. As it turned out, the evening was shortened when the hotel staff needed to clean the dining room.  The dinner, awards, a hilarious costume skit and the readings had extended the day to 17 hours for intrepid HNS travelers.
         Fans of the more celebrated attending authors signed up to meet their favorites in Sunday morning “Coffee Klatches.” Diana had three 45-minutes sessions scheduled in her suite, We learned she writes in a "gridwork design," scenes that eventually string together like a network of Christmas lights. Are Jamie & Claire in the Starz mini-series an item in real life?  (Sadly, no; just good friends and charismatic actors.) Advice to fellow writers? Write somthing every day, even if you think it stinks!  
     “Ye Hielands and Ye Lawlands.” The last hour of the Conference was one of my favorite sessions, probably because free samples of Scottish whiskey from all regions of Scotland—became instant balm for a sore throat.  With her rigorous schedule, I was amazed that Diana still had her voice, and gracious good humor. “If you want to sell books,” she chuckled, “get a TV series.” The best writing advice I ever got advocated a benchmark to follow: Emulate, Equal, then Surpass your favorite author!  Dynamic Diana makes that reach nearly "highlandishly" impossible!                
                                                                                                                                        Cj Fosdick 

Monday, June 1, 2015

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Thursday, April 2, 2015

NO APRIL FOOL'S JOKE!

    Just 2 weeks after "The Accidental Wife" was released, it has climbed the Amazon sales chart! Yesterday, it was listed at 52,748. That means out of 1,600,000 books it is just hovering around status as a Best Seller! Only a few steady daily buys for the eBook or print will give me the facial surgery I'd love to have: A permanent smile!
     All the social media that is necessary to market a book is a circus in my head! Thirty years ago it was all "science fiction." Computers, ipads and pods, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Instagram, blogs, etc. etc. All are necessary to get VISIBILITY for your book. (Passing out business cards with your book cover and buy links on the back doesn't hurt either, I'm learning.)  Unless you are Diana Gabaldon (my idol) or Grisham or Clancy, you don't have time to relax and let the publisher do all the work. New novelists, especially, need to put on thinking caps and waders and plunge into a sea of a billion other hopeful authors to make waves in order to "catch on." Even WITH a publisher's help!
     This, of course, takes one away from what they need to do most: Write another book!  I started a sequel to TAW before the circus began. My hope is to carve out the time to finish it in a few months-if the sunshine and warm weather doesn't draw me outside for that needed dose of Vitamin D. After all, this is Minnesota. Winters are longer than summer here, and we do relish the heat.
   











Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Does Kissing the Blarney Stone Work?

     Just six months ago I was in Ireland...on my back at the top of Blarney Castle...bending backwards like a gymnast...hanging onto bars to kiss the Blarney Stone. Two strong men held me steady after I warned them "don't let go; I'm part Irish." (As if that made a difference.) I waited in line for maybe 15 or 20 minutes and noticed that there was a bottle of spray disinfectant and a rag to use--supposedly to clean the stone after so many lips touched it. Yet I didn't see anyone wiping it down in my presence.
     Kissing the stone was a blink in time, but the thought behind it all was a lesson in clever Irish marketing and maybe some elf-ish chicanery. I had to find out how this tradition started! Our 1000 mile tour of Ireland had been on my bucket list for decades, along with the tour of the United Kingdom that preceded it. I was in my wheelhouse researching new settings and stories I could add to my personal "bucket of writer's muse." (Hubby had to buy a new duffel bag to carry all the books and souvenirs collected on the Grand Tour.)
     Not until we returned home, however, and I recovered from what felt like strep, did I satisfy my curiosity. The existing castle was built in 1446 by an Irish chieftan named MacCarthy. It was probably known then as MacCarthy castle, as the MacCarthy clan claimed it for a couple of centuries under their English overlords. During her reign, Queen Elizabeth I wished to tighten the screws on Irish chiefs by insisting they agree to possess their lands under her legal tenure. Cormac MacCarthy had no intention of submitting, but he was shrewd and diplomatic enough to flatter the Queen and declare his undying loyalty in letters. After receiving one of his letters, the Queen reportedly lost her royal composure and shouted in rage, "This is all Blarney, he never means what he says or does what he promises." Thus "Blarney" slipped into the English language as something that meant "persuasive talk designed to deceive without causing offense."
     The stone itself is thought to have been either brought back from the crusades or is part of the royal Scottish Stone of Scone--aka the Stone of Destiny--given to a MacCarthy in gratitude for sending Robert the Bruce 4,000 men to help him in the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314.
     When Sir Walter Scott visited Blarney castle in 1825, and kissed the stone, he gave the tradition more impetus. By then "Blarney" had become an endearing description as "a fine flow of eloquence with a touch of good-humored exaggeration." What visitor could resist such motivation?
      Just weeks after our return home, I was offered a contract for my novel, "The Accidental Wife." It will be released tomorrow, March 18. The legend of the Blarney stone certainly worked for this part-Irish lass! Happy St. Patrick's Day!
   

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Groundhog Predicts New Best Seller!?!

     The groundhog once again noticed his shadow--predicting 6 more weeks of winter. (When did this not happen? Perhaps when he was too thin--during the Great Depression?) An intuitive writer always notices signs & omens. Always the optimist, on Groundhog Day I received word from my publisher, The Wild Rose Press, that my novel, "THE ACCIDENTAL WIFE" will be released in 6 weeks--(drum roll here)--on March 18, 2015. Perhaps at the trill of the season's first robin?

     From start to finish, my book has had a remarkable journey beginning life as a short story-(The Teacup)- which placed in several contests in 2013. It took four months to fill the teacup with 88,000 words after one judge said it begged to grow into a novel.
     After meeting Publisher Rhonda Penders at a Kansas City Writer's Conference, The Wild Rose Press captured my attention. It has been awarded Best Press for 7 straight years--in a poll taken by Preditors and Editors. Rhonda was professional and charming, even suggesting I send her the novel when finished. I did, and once the contract was signed, Allison, my assigned editor and I began working on the manuscript in mid-October, 2014. By January, we were at final galley and cover selection stage. The cover artist I chose for my book, Debbie Taylor, also has been listed among leading cover artists in more than one poll.
      For two years prior, I had haunted several writer's conferences all over the U.S.--even one in London--building a case for timing and which publishing method was the best fit for me: Self Published or Traditional? I was definite about going hybrid with an electronic and print version.
     The Wild Rose Press red-lined most of  the "cons" I had on my Pro & Con list for the publishing models. The process went faster than I expected; no year-long dragging it out. An agent was unnecessary--which meant better royalties. Wild Rose has worldwide distribution, uncommon to many smaller presses. They offer weekly chats with pertinent publishing themes, author loops, and recommend workshops that every writer can always learn from. They are respectful and communicative. As a newbie, I fired off several email questions that were answered by my editor or the staff--same day, often same hour.  Best of all, I was included in decisions and choices--writing blurbs and twitters, choosing excerpts, even choosing the final cover, though I was told I was closing in on the "nit picky zone" after multiple tweaks.
     I can see why The Wild Rose Press has 800 writers in their Rose Garden and why they win awards. Maybe...if their model would be imitated, there would be fewer consolidations, chapter elevens, or dissolutions in the publishing world. Less dissolution among authors, as well.
     James Barrie, who wrote Peter Pan, once said God gave us memory so we could have roses in December. Had he been born 100 years later, his fantasies might have found a bed of roses in the WRP garden. Just think--roses all year long! Even the groundhog would revel in that bit of sunshine!


   

Thursday, January 8, 2015

NEW WEBSITE UNDER CONSTRUCTION!

Yikes, can't believe it was Sept. since last blog!  This redhead has been BUSY with the debut novel coming out soon!  Lots to do with traditional publishing--but so worth it!  Minnesota blizzards inspire more writing in winter. A sequel to "THE ACCIDENTAL WIFE" is on the burner now, and my tech guy is working on a new--improved--website!  What else is new? Gas is down to $1.96 here in Rochester, we are exercising more,  are now "horseless," but have reverted to feeding deer!  2015 looks good so far!