Are you going to HNS 2015?

I am so excited to attend my first Historical Novel Society Conference in Denver this June! I'll be presenting on three panels: (Re)creating the Past: Historical Fiction Without the Famous; The Art of Book Cover Design for Historical Fiction; and The Red Pen and Historical Fiction: An Editor’s Perspective. Will you be attending? I'd love to meet you there!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

New Book Release: Demuth

Please join me in congratulating Edward Bristol on the publication of his first historical fiction novel, Demuth. I had the pleasure of working with Ed on a developmental edit and a copyedit. If you're a fan of unique heroines (and really, who isn't?) you're going to love this story about a smart young woman's fight for survival in the dark forests of fifteenth-century Germany. Here's the book description:

Germany, 1499

Orphaned as a child and solitary by nature, the young and beautiful Demuth has nevertheless managed to carve out a successful living for herself as a village healer. But as the Renaissance dawns over Europe, shaking the foundations of medieval society with radical new ideas about freedom and science, Demuth’s position grows tenuous. The protection of the master of the castle overshadowing her village is the only thing standing between her and the superstitious fear of the villagers who condemn her even as they avail themselves of her services. But when she is falsely accused of a heinous crime and branded as a witch, even the master can no longer keep her safe. Demuth is forced to flee for her life with her only friend, her loyal Viking dog, Hal, and her only solace—and addiction—opium.

Disguised as a mute shepherd boy, Demuth seeks safety with her only living relative in the big city of Cologne, but she arrives to discover soldiers are already there looking for her. With no choice other than to keep moving, she is aided by the kindness of strangers and embarks on a harrowing journey to seek shelter in a far-off abbey. Pursued by the grand duke’s soldiers, beset by mishaps and tragedy, saved in her darkest hour by a mysterious hermit, Demuth’s fight for survival forces her to examine her own choices, and to determine if she has the strength and the courage to embrace a future she never imagined possible.

Edward Bristol’s historical fiction debut, Demuth, is the timeless story of a young woman’s struggle to find her place in a shifting world filled with prejudice, fear, and persecution, yet also capable of acceptance and understanding, and ultimately, love.

Demuth is available now for Kindle on Amazon. Check out Ed's website, and add the book to your shelves on Goodreads.

Need an editor?
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Thursday, February 12, 2015

New Book Release: The Forgotten Tudor Women

Please join me in congratulating Sylvia Barbara Soberton on the release of her newest nonfiction book, The Forgotten Tudor Women: Margaret Douglas, Mary Howard & Mary Shelton! I was privileged to work on a copyedit with Sylvia on this book about some of the lesser known, though just as significant, women of the Tudor court. Here's the book description:

Everyone knows that Henry VIII had six wives, two sisters and two daughters. All of these women received attention in academic circles and are the subjects of countless biographies. Not many people, however, realize that Henry VIII also had a niece, a daughter-in-law and a mistress, who were close friends, but who today remain on the fringes of history. 

Margaret Douglas was the daughter of Henry VIII’s elder sister Margaret, Queen of Scotland. She was imprisoned thrice, and each time, as she admitted, “not for matters of treason, but for love matters”. Her legacy includes marrying her son to Mary, Queen of Scots, and playing the doting grandmother to King James VI and I. 

Mary Howard was the daughter of Thomas Howard, third Duke of Norfolk, leading peer of the Tudor court. She served as maid of honour to her first cousin, Anne Boleyn, and married Henry VIII’s illegitimate but acknowledged son, Henry Fitzroy, Duke of Richmond. Widowed at the age of seventeen, Mary fought for her rightful jointure and was, by her father’s admission, “too wise for a woman”. 

Mary Shelton, like Mary Howard, was related to Anne Boleyn and became her servant at court. Beautiful and skilled in poetry, Mary attracted Henry VIII’s attention and became his mistress in 1535, but many don’t realize how important her contributions were to the literary scene of the time. 

This book moves Margaret Douglas, Mary Howard and Mary Shelton from the footnotes of history into the spotlight, where they deserve to shine along with their more famous contemporaries.

The Forgotten Tudor Women is available now for Kindle on Amazon for 99-cents!

Need an editor?
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Monday, February 9, 2015

Best I've Come Across Round-up: The Character Edition

In a perfect world, this blog would be full of writing and editing tips, research assistance, and all other kinds of good stuff you'd expect an editor to come up with. But the truth is, between editing and cover design gigs and maintaining my first love, my book review blog, I'm just too busy to devote as much time as I'd like to this blog. But I am pretty good at finding resources, tips, and fun stuff and passing them along to my followers on Twitter and Facebook. So I thought I'd compile the best of what I come across on the world wide web every once in a while in a recap post for this blog. It just so happens that many of the good articles I've come across in the past couple of weeks are centered around one of my favorite subjects: Characters!

10 Questions You need to Ask Your Characters

Writing the Unlikable Character (and Why You Should)

3 Ways to Introduce Your Main Character

3 Key Tips for Plausible Characters

11 Secrets to Writing Effective Character Description

Why Characters Should Be at the Heart of Your Story

Friday, February 6, 2015

New Cover Design: Contract to Wed

Please join me in congratulating Holly Bush on the release of her newest historical romance, Contract to Wed! I had the pleasure of designing the cover, and this book marks the sixth cover Holly and I have done together. Here's the book description:

1891 . . . Jolene Crawford Crenshaw, heiress and Boston socialite, went from her family home directly to Landonmore upon her marriage, the mansion she shared with her handsome and charismatic husband. She’d never in her life worried in the slightest over anything as crass as the dollars required to maintain that home or the lifestyle she’d been born to. Her extensive yearly wardrobe, the stables and the prime horseflesh within it, even the solid silver forks and knifes that graced her table, were expected and required to maintain the social standing that she’d cultivated over the years. But suddenly she was a widow with little money and just her pride and her secrets to keep her upright.

Max Shelby made his fortune in oil wells and cattle but lost the love of his life the day his wife died, over ten years ago. Now, his happy, carefree, little girl needs instruction and guidance as she grows into a young lady and his dream of becoming a Senator from his adopted state of Texas seems out of reach with few political or social connections. The right wife would solve both problems. As it happens his sister knows of a woman, a recent widow, charming, beautiful and socially astute, but in reduced circumstances, who may want to begin again. Max signed the wedding contract sight unseen.

Will Jolene be able to shed her sorrows, anger and fears to begin anew away from the censure and hidden tragedy that marred her life? Is her new husband, confident, strong and capable Max Shelby, the man, the only man, to see past her masks to find the woman beneath?

Contract to Wed is available now in ebook and print format on Amazon. Add it to your shelves on Goodreads, and check out Holly's website!

Need a cover designer?
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Thursday, January 29, 2015

New Book Release: The Hidden Hills Saga: Ice Whispers

Please join me in congratulating debut author K. Willow on the publication of Ice Whispers, Book One in the Hidden Hills Saga! I've been waiting a long time to share this dark and twisty tale of the antebellum South with you! As many of you know, bringing a book to publication is a labor of love, and there's no rushing the process. I was privileged to work with Ms. Willow on a copyedit, and I designed the book's cover! Fun fact: the background image of slave cabins is from my own collection of photos taken during my travels in the southeastern US. I'm so excited to share this book with you and even more excited to share that Ice Whispers has already won its first award, a silver medal from Reader's Favorites! Here's the book description:

Slavery of a different kind, beyond physical chains, leads to a different type of escape . . . 

Marissa Kristofferson can taste freedom. Her long years of suffering at the hands of her sadistic husband, Lance, are coming to an end as he lies dying. But she is stunned when he reveals the contents of his will and what she must do to keep Kristofferson Plantation, and how he plans to keep her bound to him even beyond the grave. 

The beautiful slave Lolley has always envied Marissa’s life, and after learning that the master has also ordered her freed after his death, she is determined to reach for the life she wants by becoming the mistress of Marissa’s son, Shane, though she does not realize the lengths Marissa will go to to prevent the match, or the far-reaching consequences that will follow. 

And Shelby, the plain and dutiful slave of free blacks, is unwittingly caught in the shocking drama that unfolds as a family is torn apart. Used as a pawn in a game of rivalry, deception, and betrayal, hers is a fight for survival while attempting to remain true to herself. 

Three women—so very different but each carrying dark secrets that are closely intertwined, caught in a world between slave and free, a world which is becoming more fragile and precarious as war threatens and alliances shift, and each harboring seemingly impossible dreams of a better future. 

In this first book of a dark historical saga, K. Willow paints a lush, emotional portrait of scandal, murder, injustice, and the ties that bind in the antebellum South.

The Hidden Hills Saga: Ice Whispers is on sale now in ebook and print formats on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo. Add it to your shelves on Goodreads, and check out K. Willow's website!

Need an editor or cover designer?
Email me anytime to chat about your project!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

I'm Listed in The Self-Publisher's Ultimate Resource Guide!

I'm very honored to be listed for my cover design services in self-publishing guru Joel Friedlander's new book, The Self-Publisher’s Ultimate Resource Guide, a collection of over 850 links to resources "indie authors need to publish professional looking books."

Smashwords founder Mark Coker calls it “an essential reference to the best publishing resources for every self-published author.”

This came as a total surprise to me, and I couldn't be more pleased to find myself among such esteemed professionals.

Read more about the book on Joel's website, The Book Designer.

The Self-Publisher's Ultimate Resource Guide is on sale now on AmazonBarnes & Noble, Smashwords, and iBooks!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Go Away Home Acquired by Amazon's Lake Union Publishing!

Please join me in congratulating Carol Bodensteiner! Carol recently experienced an indie author's dream come true when an Amazon acquisitions editor reached out to her after discovering and loving Carol's historical fiction debut, Go Away Home. I was privileged to work with Carol on a copyedit of Go Away Home, and I designed the book's cover. Go Away Home will undergo another round of editing and receive a new cover before it is released in June of this year by Amazon's Lake Union Publishing imprint. Click here to read Carol's full announcement. Here's the book description:

Liddie Treadway grew up on a family farm where options for her future were marriage or teaching. Encouraged by suffragette rhetoric and her maiden aunt, Liddie is determined to avoid both and pursue a career. Her goal is within her grasp when her older sister's abrupt departure threatens to keep her on the farm forever. Once she is able to experience the world she dreamed of, Liddie is enthralled with her independence, a new-found passion for photography, and the man who teaches her. Yet, the family, friends, and life of her youth tug at her heart, and she must face the reality that life is not as simple, or the choices as clear-cut, as she once imagined. GO AWAY HOME is a captivating coming-of-age novel that explores the enduring themes of family, friendship, and love, as well as death and grief. This novel will resonate with anyone who has confronted the conflict between dreams and reality and come to recognize that getting what you want can be a two-edged sword.

When I reached out to Carol to congratulate her on this awesome turn of events, she had some lovely words for me:

"You helped make my book professional - in content and cover - and I know that had an impact on the acquisitions editor. Many thanks for your efforts on my behalf . . . I'm proud to call you my partner on this journey."

It was my pleasure!

You can still snap up the original version of Go Away Home in ebook and print format before the Lake Union version is released! Add the book to your Goodreads shelves, and check out Carol's website, where she blogs about writing historical fiction.

Need some help with your WIP?
Email me anytime to chat about your project!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

New Book Release: Spirit of Dragons, Second Edition

Please join me in congratulating Kathryn Loch on the rerelease of the first book in her Dragon Wars series, Spirit of Dragons, Second Edition. This is a novel Kath had previously published before she and I started working together, and she wanted to give it a professional makeover before she releases the sequel. Here's what she says about our collaboration: "My editor and I have scrutinized plot, story line, and character development. The story, at its foundation, is unchanged, but we worked together overhauling a few scenes here and there while paying special attention to the development of this world of dragons and magic, clarifying very important details." Here's the book description:

Houston police detective Mirranda Thompson has dedicated her life to helping others while searching for answers in the gruesome, unsolved murder of her parents when she was a child. On her thirtieth birthday, she receives a mysterious gift left behind by her late father and suddenly finds herself transported back in time to 1066, awakening on the very battlefield where William the Conqueror is staging his conquest of England. But there is another, secret battle being waged on the field this day...

Lathan Aro is king of The Kindred, a dwindling race that is all that remains of an ancient clan of dragon brethren. Together with his dragon spirit, he is fighting for his life to return to his people with a lost spell book of ancient dragon magic that could save them from extinction. But he is facing a powerful enemy who will stop at nothing to gain the book for his own race, the Draoi. When a beautiful woman literally falls from the sky into Lathan's lap, she miraculously gives him the power to defeat his enemy and escape the battlefield with his life and his precious prize. But to his horror, she claims to be from a future where magic doesn't exist and where dragons are only myth. Does this mean his quest will fail, his people destined to die out and fade into oblivion?

Despite her shock and disbelief, Mirranda is drawn to the handsome warrior who claims that magic is real and that he communes with dragons. But she is even more shocked to discover that she has magic herself, and that she is able to wield it to ease the pain Lathan suffers from the illness that curses all members of his race. Determined to find answers and a path back to her own world, she accompanies Lathan on his journey to return the spell book to his people. But the Kindred's enemies have not given up, and danger stalks them at every turn.

Mirranda soon finds herself the focus of the oracle that sent Lathan on his quest, but the Kindred are far from accepting of a woman not of their race. There are dark forces at work in this world, forces that target Mirranda. She has a choice: risk her life and her heart for Lathan on behalf of a people who do not trust her, or try to find her way home, where those who murdered her parents now stalk her. Torn between her desire to return to the future and her desire for Lathan, who awakens feelings she thought long dead, Mirranda must determine if she's really in the wrong time and place, or if her time and place is at Lathan's side no matter what danger she faces.

Spirit of Dragons, Second Edition is available for pre-order now on Amazon! Add it to your shelves on Goodreads, and stop by Kath's website if you get a chance and check out all of her books and the goodies she posts for readers and writers.

Need some help with your WIP?
Email me anytime to chat about your project!