Friday, April 16, 2010

The Copy

Well, here's what we have so far. It still needs some tweaking (that first sentence just isn't right), but it's a huge improvement on what was there before. Did I mention these things are always done on a rush, with a deadline of anywhere from one to twelve hours?


That’s the challenge confronting C.S. Harris’s aristocratic soldier-turned-sleuth Sebastian St. Cyr when his friend, surgeon and “anatomist” Paul Gibson, buys the cadaver of a young man from London’s infamous body snatchers. A rising star at the Foreign Office, Mr. Alexander Ross was reported to have died of a weak heart. But when Gibson discovers a stiletto wound at the base of Ross’s skull, he can only turn to Sebastian for help in catching the killer.

Described by all who knew him as an amiable young man, Ross at first seems an unlikely candidate for murder. But as Sebastian’s search for the killer takes him from the Queen’s drawing rooms in St. James’s Palace to the embassies of Russia, the fledgling United States, and the Turkish Empire, he plunges into a dangerous shadow land of diplomatic maneuvering and international intrigue, where truth is an elusive commodity and nothing is as it seems.

At the same time, Sebastian must confront the turmoil of his personal life. Hero Jarvis, daughter of Sebastian’s powerful nemesis Lord Jarvis, finally agrees to become his wife. But as their wedding approaches, Sebastian can’t escape the growing realization that both Jarvis and Hero know far more about the events surrounding Ross’s death than they would have him believe.

Then a second body is found, badly decomposed but bearing the same fatal stiletto wound. And Sebastian must race to unmask a ruthless killer who has now become a threat to the life of his reluctant bride and their still unborn child.


Beth said...

Can't wait to read it -- but Hero & Sebastian, ack! What happened to the actress? Besides, Hero would be happier with Paul Gibson. ;-)


Betsy said...

Sounds awesome...can't wait to read it! Plus, I LOVE Hero and Sebastian together.

Melissa Marsh said...

Yeah, the first sentence isn't quite there.

A few suggestions:

How do you solve a murder when everyone else thinks it's a natural death?

Solving a murder is a whole lot easier when everyone knows it's been committed.

Susan/DC said...

Actually, I love Hero. I just wish she'd use her formidable intelligence to understand that Sebastian is a wonderful match for her.

As for the first sentence, I think it piques the reader's interest. The problem is that you don't explain why Paul and Sebastian can't simply go to the authorities to announce that the dead man was murdered. Perhaps you could add something to the sentence about "without sending his best friend to jail for body snatching."

Barbara said...

New to commenting here, but I have to say I, too, think Hero and Sebastian have the potential to be a superb couple. I found my way into the series with 'Mermaids' and I've gone back to read it from the beginning because I'm excited to see how they develop. Obviously I'm excited to read this next one! I also agree that the opening sentence isn't quite right - it doesn't evoke Sebastian or Regency London ... it's missing somethin' somethin' ...

Jebe said...

I'm trying not to schwee, but I just can't wait for the latest installment! And Hero and Sebastian? They have such potential together, they just need to start looking past the trees to the forest, ya know?

cs harris said...

Beth, I love both Hero and Kat, and I want them both to be happy. (and eventually Gibson, too!)

Betsy, this one's going to be fun.

Melissa, those are some good suggestions. (Still cringing at the thought of doing 1,000 of these.)

Susan, that's a good point. I'll see what I can do.

Barbara, so glad to hear you're enjoying the series. Yes, that first sentence! And first sentences are so important.

Jebe,I'm ALMOST finished with it.

ElaineatHome said...

The copy (as well as the title and the cover per a previous blogs) will certinly not play a role in my purchase of your book - it's a must buy. Yet, they do influence me with new-to-me authors. For instance, I almost passed by Daniel Gilbert's Stumbling on Happiness becaue of the title (ANOTHER book on the secret to happiness - ho hum) but the back copy led me to buy the book, which I enjoyed. Likewise, the first Julie Anne Long book I bought had a hideous cover and title (Ways to be Wicked with gorgeous half naked people under sheets) but the back copy led me to read the first page which made me laugh - and now I own all her books.

I can't double check the back copy of your books as I have loaned them all to a friend who is now a new fan of yours (and will have to buy her own books henceforth since she has taken too long to give them back:o).

As for this back copy, I think it is great. But if you want to change it, how about:

What do you do when the body you've purchased from London's infamous body snatchers turns out to be a murder victim?

Now, I have a question - What do you do when the book you are awaiting has no known publication date that you can find anywhere? Perhaps Sebastian St. Cyr has the answer to this one, too?

Steve Malley said...

I certainly think you're on the right track. And that first sentence isn't all that bad... :)

laughingwolf said...

i like susan's add, but it's still your call

will be a great read, i'm sure!

orannia said... long do we have to wait to read it? Sorry, but reading the summary has me all ago to read the book *grin*

And Hero & Sebastian? YAH! *happy dance* I adore them together!

Beth, I love both Hero and Kat, and I want them both to be happy.

See, I read this and got all excited and then thought...but does that mean happy together or happy apart? *crossing fingers madly that means together* I think Hero is an amazing character...and I'm interested to see what she thinks of Sebastian's father and sister...and vice versa :)

pax deux said...

Stayed away from the cover copy conversation until now -- but have to say that it is not bad at all. Leaves you hanging.

Love that Hero ends up with Sebastian. By the time you made her pregnant,given Sebastian's personal history, it seemed to me the most sensible solution. To have her loose the child or run away to rear it would have created one more tragedy for Sebastian, who is already juggling separation from Kat, betrayal by father, hatred from sister, mystery from mother...
the poor man needed a break, and fast!
Also, being married to his daughter will be the ultimate jab in the eye for Jarvis himself, who may well have had a hand in Sebastian's mom's disappearance (and hinted when he gave Hero Sebastian's mothers necklace)

Can you tell i have been rereading your books?

sab said...

How can I wait until 2011 with a summary (tease) like that??? :)
I'm already eager to read it. (for both the new mystery and the romance (I hope) between hero/sebastian)

How do you set about solving a murder you can’t admit has been committed?

I like it. Maybe the "how do you set" is a little weird but I like the second part.

a little off topic: Do you know if your books are going to be translated/exported (especially in France/into french)?
for that matter, does your permission or opinion is asked for this kind of things?

Good continuation for the rest.


Kim said...

I vote for Kat and Sebastian. After what Sebastian's father has put them through, they deserve a happy ending together. I agree with Beth that Hero is perfect for Paul Gibson.

Anonymous said...

2011? You're killing me!

And while I like Kat, I LOVE Hero. She and Sebastian are perfect for one another--if only they see it before it's too late.

Anonymous said...

Ladies and Gentlemen, the book is not even out yet. ;-) To borrow the thoughts of a very popular character from the Sebastian St. Cyr series (if not the most popular character of them all):

"[character] liked to consider [itself] an open-minded person, which meant [character] had to remain receptive to other possibilities."

(Good idea for a "mantra" for readers!)

This is quite a good cover copy, Ms. Harris (albeit there are some tweaking that needs to be done, as you said). I know which bits from it that would make me want to pick this book up. :-)

To pax deux @ 11:43 PM, I also have my suspicions regarding what is actually going on in this story. Whether they are similar to yours or not, I'm not saying anything. I agree with the character above, we must consider all the possibilities, not just one. ;-)


Pax deux said...

Again, Kat was intriguing, and certainly appealing, but not nearly as much of a force of nature as Hero. Sebastian's aunt Henrietta pish-poshed the idea of a match between Sebastian and Kat, saying that Kat was not strong enough for Sebastian. I agree with that assessment.

And I think there is much more political intrigues to be had with Hero, as Jarvis' daughter...

kimbydee said...

I know this is funny but the last sentence is one that stuck out to me as needing a tweak. I think it would flow better saying...

Now Sebastian must race to unmask a ruthless killer who threatens the life of his reluctant bride and the child she carries.

Still unborn child sounds too much like stillborn child...

kimbydee said...

maybe use acknowledge instead of admit?

RevMelinda said...

Perhaps you should start a cafepress store with T-shirts and mugs that say "Team Hero" or "Team Kat?"

The atmosphere around Hero and Sebastian has crackled with electricity since their initial meeting in the first book. I have loved watching them make their way inexorably towards one another.

On the cover copy, I agree that the first sentence isn't quite there--perhaps because "admit" and "committed" are too similar sounding? Perhaps you you could replace "admit" with "reveal"? I also like Susan DC's suggestion of making the criminality of body-snatching more apparent. Perhaps "illegally buys the cadaver of a young man"? Or "London's infamous--and illegal--body snatchers."

(I am refraining from suggesting things like "secret body of evidence" and "London's body snatching underground.")

The book sounds fantastic and I can't wait to read it. Good luck and best wishes on your cover copy quest!

Lainey said...

My entry: How to begin investigating a murder that hasn't been reported yet?

I am so looking forward to this book. I've been in deep Sebastian/Hero withdrawal too long!

cs harris said...

Elaine, I'm the same way--I often don't even read the copy on the latest book by one of my auto-buy authors.

As for when the book will be out, I think the answer is March 2011. There was some dithering about format (hardcover vs trade paperback original) and other issues that pushed the pub date back, which has in the end turned out for the best because with my mother's illness and death, the writing has taken much longer than I originally expected.

Steve, I hope you're write because it may have just been set in stone.

laughingwolf, thank you!

Orannia, looks like about 10 more months. Sorry!

pax deux, I hope it works because I think this is it. And yes, we're not done with the necklace yet!

Sab, I have retained foreign rights to the series, so requests from oversees publishers go to my agent. I have sold the series to Australia, Poland, and a couple of other countries (I'm still also selling my old romances, so I get them confused). But so far no French publishers have approached me for the series. I'm still hopeful, since they have bought all of my romances (except for The Last Knight, which is set in France!)

cs harris said...

Kim, my lips are sealed.

Anon, Sorry! I know it's hard. It's going to be strange for me not having a book out this year.

Zinnuraain, as long as the cover works, I guess you're right, it doesn't have to be perfect.

pax deux, Hero does introduce some delicious complications.

Kimbydee, I never even thought of that, subtly connecting "still" to "born". I'll see what I can do, but it may be too late.

cs harris said...

RevMelinda, I must admit, I didn't expect to get this sort of heated partisan debate going! Good suggestions for improvement. Thank you.

Lainey, Sorry! I know it's been a long time. I get to spend the year with Sebastian and company while I'm writing, so it's hard to remember that others have this huge gap. I originally wrote a far more ambiguous ending to What Remains of Heaven until my editor said, "Eek, you can't make your readers wait a whole year to find out whether Hero is going to stay or sail away."

sab said...

thanks for your answer.
I hope so too. I like reading them into english & french. it's almost like reading two different books, (means here twice more of sebastian & hero^^)
So it's not your agent whom "canvass" the other countries. they come to you.

march 2011!!!!! well, waiting the publication, I'll read your other books. ;) (Hope or .uk will have it right away)

no more excerpt during the current year? Even a tiny little one? No? Sure? :D

Elizabeth said...

Chiming in to say: Team Hero!

cs harris said...

Hmm, RevMelinda may be on to something there...

RevMelinda said...

Why should the "Twilight" kids have all the fun? (wink)

Anonymous said...

Team Hero!!!!! I'd buy that shirt if only to get people to ask me what it means so I can wax poetic about the series!

So glad your editor made you write a less ambiguous ending for Hero.

I stumbled upon the "When Gods Die" on a guerrilla shelf raid at my local library. Basically, I just walk up and down the aisle grabbing books randomly. :)

I flew through that book and "Why Mermaids Sing". Then I realized that my library didn't have "What Angels Fear". I strongly suggested they get it and then stalked the shelves until it was there. However, the wait proved too long so I just bought the whole series and read them all.

Love love love this series and now we have to wait until March 2011?! *sobs*

I will go back and read the series verrrrrrry slooooowly. That should buy me a few weeks. lol

Thank you for sharing these wonderful characters with us all. I look forward to reading your next installment!


Keira Soleore said...

"How do you set about solving a murder you can’t admit has been committed?"

This has me puzzled. Can the crime not be admitted because his friend Gibson snatched the body? Or is it because Ross is one of the boys of the Foreign Office?

Am now wondering if Gibson knew he has Ross's body when he first got it from the snatcher. Or did he specifically request Ross's body? In either case, given Ross's position in government, this was a risky move with or without the murder. :)

I recommend dropping the "still" before "unborn" in the last sentence. The "still" is already implied in "unborn." And I confess when I first read it, the words read as "still born", just like Kimbydee mentioned above.

From the BC copy, I'm highly intrigued by the notion that Sebastian is going to taken out of his familiar milieu into dealings with outside governments of America, Russia, and Turkey.

Since we're all showing our hands, my vote's for Kat and Sebastian. Somehow, somewhere, via some contrivance, there's hope for them.

cs harris said...

Sarah, thank you. It's always so wonderful to hear from people who enjoy the series. Sorry about the wait! "Guerrilla raid"? That's a new one!

Keira, You're right, it is confusing! I've sent in a request for some changes. Hopefully they'll go through.

Anonymous said...

Beth, you're so adorably silly! Susan, I agree with you about Hero. Kat and Sebastian together would be too predictable. Yuck! I much rather the atypical relationship between Hero and Sebastian. My whole heart was racing when I found out that Hero was pregnant with Sebastian's child. I love you, Candy! You're an amazing authtor!

Anonymous said...

Hero is my favorite character! She is strong enough to deal with her father and Sebastian. I want her to find happiness with someone who deserves her. I can't wait for the book, and so hope that nothing happens to their child. It seems like all of my favorite authors (Deborah Crombie, Charles Finch, Elizabeth George) have gone with that story line in the the last few years, and I would not like to see that story line for Hero and Sebastian.

Amy said...

Just wanted to add that the Kindle lets you read a sample chapter for free before you purchase a book, which is so much more helpful than the book jacket, for obvious reasons.

Though I did buy the first book in the series without first previewing it anyway based on the rave reviews of my mom, who has always had excellent taste in books. I haven't been disappointed and I just finished the latest book!

Firefly said...

A reader from Australia here, who enjoys your books immensely! So much so, that I have introduced your Sebestain St Cyr series to family/friends et al....... Hero is the one for Sebastian, do hope he/they realise that & make the most of their relationship. Having said that Kat & Paul deserve happiness as well! I cannot wait for the next instalment, just wish we did not have to wait a year in between books.

Alana said...

Ok, I know I have to wait a while for the next book, but that's fine... ;) while reading the previous comments, ideas were twirling in my head...

Yes, Gibson would be great for Hero, and of course, Kat is Sebastian's true North, but the crisscrossing of lives and loves, commitments and class culture, friendships and murder, not to mention marriage mischief now and secrets later, only serve to increase my anticipation of future St. Cyr novels, adding layers and nuances I can only dream of..

Thanks C.S. there are few series I gladly anticipate...

Vicki said...

I am very excited to hear of more interaction between Hero and Sebastian. I don't really dislike Kat, I just don't think the relationship between she and Sebastian is as full of delicious complications as the Hero/Sebastian affair. It feels like Hero challenges Sebastian more and their relationship reads very much like an adult situation featuring two equals and I love that. Kat was starting to wear on me a bit, but I like her more when she isn't romantically involved with Sebastian. And perhaps the most intriguing relationship in the series is the one between Jarvis and Sebastian and I cannot help but anticipate what wonderful/evil interactions will be possible if they are related!

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