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 But I'm also getting ready to bring out Confessions of a Dead Romance Writer, which is the unpublished (and admittedly rather weird) manuscript I wrote between my historicals and the Sebastian series but never managed to sell to New York.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

Thursday, January 07, 2016

Happy New Year, Everyone!

I started writing this post last week but the Interwebs did not cooperate, so better late than never, right? (Hopefully it wasn't a sign of things to come).

New Years are always a time for reflection, for looking back on the year that has passed and thinking about the months to come. It's an artificial line of demarcation, of course--there was a time not so long ago when the English new year actually began in late March. Think about that: the year 1751 began on March 25th and lasted just 282 days, with 1752 then beginning on 1 January. Now that really would have been unsettling, especially for those of us who like to make New Years' resolutions: three less months to get things right!

My resolutions tend to be the same ones, over and over: try to lose weight, exercise more consistently, get more sleep, make time to relax, get organized, etc. Some years I do well, some years I don't. I've spent the better part of the past month alternately enjoying my family and the holidays and tackling my huge long To Do list that runs the gamut from "wash all curtains" and "fix drainage on east side of house" to "get Midnight Confessions ready to self-publish" and "make book video for Falcons" and "get Rent-a-Nerd guy to out and come fix all these bloody technical problems." I've been working like a dog on that list and I don't seem to have made a lot of progress. Nor have I yet started the resolved diet, and a seriously wonky back is making the exercise resolution difficult. Oh, and that long To Do list is not good for either relaxation or sleep. But I'm going great guns on the Get Organized part!

At any rate, looking ahead, I have a wonderful starred review for WHEN FALCONS FALL from Booklist that I'll be posting in a few days. I am working on that book video and it should be available soon. And Midnight Confessions and Beyond Sunrise are both about ready to go up for preorder. I've essentially finished Where the Dead Lie, the twelfth Sebastian St. Cyr book (but hush because I don't want my editor to hear--that To Do List is still far too long!). I've started brainstorming Sebastian #13, which involves Princess Charlotte and Hero and Alexi Sauvage, and at this point I'm pretty excited about it (but then, this is the honeymoon stage, before the actually plotting begins and things get hard).

As for last year, I had my first ever real book tour, I finally made it back to London for a wonderful research trip, I spent a glorious ten days in the mountains of Idaho with my sister, we made a whirlwind visit to San Antonio to be there for my Air Force captain-doctor's wedding, and What Angels Fear hit #34 on Amazon for an entire day, thanks to a Book Bub ad I've been pushing to get for years and finally scored. We had some heartache, namely the loss of my little Indie cat, but all in all it was a pretty wonderful year.

Here's hoping for a great new year for all of us! Cheers.