Thursday, February 11, 2016

Historical Novel Society Reviews FALCONS

Another wonderful review, this one from the Historical Novel Society:

When Falcons Fall: A Sebastian St. Cyr Mystery

St. Cyr, better known to his readers as Devlin, arrives with his family in a small Shropshire village in 1813, ostensibly on a quest to discover the truth about his own identity and to pay homage to a slain friend. What he finds on his journey is more than he bargained for.
Of course, Devlin quickly becomes involved in a murder investigation. Despite the town’s efforts to classify the death of a young widow, found dead on the banks of the river, as a suicide, the pieces don’t fit. Why is Emma Chance in Ayleswick? Who is she sketching and why? As Devlin digs deeper, he learns she is not the first young woman to have died under mysterious circumstances.
The inhabitants of Ayleswick are not what they seem, either. The town takes on a personality of its own – a history of deadly fire, black market doings, and just plain bad folks with nasty secrets. To add to this messy stew is newly ensconced Lucien Bonaparte, estranged brother of Napoleon, who appears to have more up his sleeve than first appears.
What a delight!  Not just a fun romp, this is well-written and plotted, and, again, as Devlin attempts to sort out truth from artifice, a showpiece for Harris to create wonderfully fleshed out and complex characters.  One of the best Devlin entries, and highly recommended!

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Happy Mardi Gras!

This is the time of the year when everyone else in the country hums along working as usual while New Orleans spends ten days throwing a crazy wild party. Even if you don't go to parades (and I'll confess that these days I usually only go one day or night), it's hard to escape the spirit of the times. A huge percentage of businesses and factories close Monday and Tuesday; all the schools do (actually, many are closed on Wednesday, too, in anticipation of everyone being too hungover to be of any use).

So here are some photos, including a shot of the 610 Stompers, a male marching group that is a real hoot. And at the end is a video I made for Danielle a few years ago when she was going to school down in Florida and very unhappy that she was missing all the fun. Happy Mardi Gras, everyone!

Monday, February 01, 2016

The Book Video for WHEN FALCONS FALL

I tried to upload this video directly to the blog, but it didn't work. So here's the embedded YouTube version. (Sorry about any resultant ad.) You can click on the lower right corner to make it full screen. 

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

What I've Been Doing

I've discovered that the best way to help a series as long as mine stay fresh--and keep myself sane--is to take periodic breaks and do other things. So I decided to take a few weeks between finishing Sebastian #12 and starting #13 and devote the time to bringing out my old historicals as ebooks and POD (print on demand). Given the number of people now self-publishing, I thought, How hard can it be? Answer: HARD!

I decided to start with Midnight Confessions and Beyond Sunrise. Their galleys and copyedited pages drowned in Katrina and the files were zapped into nonexistence by last year's Great Computer Crash. So I had the paperbacks scanned. Some people have great success with this process. Here's a sample of what I got back:

Imagine 400 pages of that. I almost quit right there.

But I persevered. I've now read over the danged things so many times my eyeballs are bleeding. Do you know how hard it is to spot an "I" that has been turned into a "1"? (Actually, in the passage above, the "1" should be "she"!) And of course because I am who I am, I rewrote them a tad . . .

And then there's the covers. Days and days spent analyzing cover trends, visualizing possibilities, and pouring over stock photo sites looking for just the right images. (Hint: the right images don't exist.) And then my publisher pitched a fit over me putting "C.S. Harris writing as Candice Proctor" on the covers, so the first cover I had made--a really lovely one for Midnight Confessions--is currently languishing in limbo while I calm down. But I can give you a peek at the one I'm having done for Beyond Sunrise. This is just a proof and may be modified some yet, but here's what we have so far:

I'm now working on The Last Knight and Whispers of Heaven. Fortunately I had those manuscripts saved to disks. Unfortunately we're talking these disks:

But yes, you can still buy an external disk reader for these dinosaurs and yes, the current version of Word reads them. Sort of. My cover designer now has the images for these two projects and says she'll have proofs to me by the end of the week. But I still need to write the cover copy/blurbs. And that is HARD, too.

If nothing else, this exercise has given me a new and profound appreciation for what my New York publishers do for me--and I haven't even tried to upload the dang files yet! But I'm also getting ready to bring out Confessions of a Dead Romance Writer, which is the unpublished (and admittedly rather weird) manuscript I wrote between my historicals and the Sebastian series but never managed to sell to New York. And the fact that I can now get it out there makes this seriously trying self-publishing struggle worthwhile. I think.

But never fear, come the first of February I'll be devoting all my time to Sebastian again. After all this, it will be a relief to get back to him!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Booklist Gives WHEN FALCONS FALL a Wonderful Starred Review!

The first review is in, and it's a fantastic starred review from Booklist:

Harris' talent for character development, polished prose, and accurate, Regency-era details makes this eleventh--or any of the previous 10--an easy starting point for newcomers to the Sebastian St. Cyr series. The first line is a fabulously evocative hook: "It was the fly that got to him." And idiomatic turns of phrase, like "cast up his accounts," transport readers into the period. In this puzzler, St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin, visits Ayleswick-on-Teme at a friend's deathbed request but also to probe a personal matter concerning his ancestry--the source of his mysterious yellow eyes, acute vision, and ability to hear what no one else can. Of course, murder complicates matters: a young artist visiting the village is brutally slain, followed by another inexplicable killing. The presence of Sebastian's unconventional wife, Hero, and their jolly baby gives an additional twist to the already tangled plot. Seemingly unconnected people as disparate as Napoleon Bonaparte's brother, a so-called simpleminded whittler, and a woman who could be St. Cyr's twin, plus delightfully labyrinthine clues, muster into order under Harris' masterful command. Psychologically atmospheric like Imogen Robertson's Westerman and Crowther mysteries, with the skewering social wit of Anne Perry's Charlotte and Thomas Pitt novels, this is historical mystery at its best.--Jen Baker