New beginnings in Corsair’s Cove


June 21, 2017  •  No Comments

Here’s my work-in-progress Wednesday update:

A while back, my friend Lee McKenzie invited me and Rachel Goldsworthy to a restaurant and one hot afternoon over glasses of wine. As we kicked around writing ideas, we came up with the group project eventually named Corsair’s Cove. The incomparable Shelley Adina joined us, and we were away. Each of us was to contribute a novella around a small town setting, but this wasn’t your average romance collection. We wanted pirates and ghosts and curses and a chocolate shop and family drama. And a parrot. Why not?

And so we did it. We ordered the stories from the least to most paranormal content. It’s no surprise that Kiss in the Dark, my story, is the last and the longest and features a supernatural hero. These are sweet romances, which is a little different from the Nocturnes I’ve been writing, but I honestly don’t think the story needs the bedroom door open. Some heroes don’t need to read the recipe aloud in order to serve dessert.

This project is wonderfully fun because the group itself is solid. The voices of these books are all unique and yet the place, the characters, and the spirit of it all is consistent throughout. Not only are my co-writers professionals, but they’re excellent human beings. I want to return to the Cove again and again just to hang out.

The other key piece for me is that these novellas are self-published. I’ve never done indie publishing before, but I’m learning alongside friends, celebrating each step, and seeing possibilities for the future. I can’t think of a better way to go through the learning process and get the first whiff of empowerment independence offers. Oh yes, and the enormous amount of work and responsibility.  To do a good job means taking on a lot of diverse roles. At least I have some business skills to bring to the table!

Talk about new beginnings all around!  Best of all, now I have some fresh tools to work with. Who knows what plans and ideas might hatch?


Author Activity Roundup Spring 2017


March 30, 2017  •  No Comments

What do authors actually do with their time? Some of it involves staring at the ceiling and some playing fetch with the cat (I do most of the fetching) but there are occasions when words actually get written. I’m trying to get into the habit of giving readers a regular project roundup, so here goes:

  1. Award news—for anyone who missed my squeals of delight, ENCHANTED WARRIOR (Camelot, Book 1) received a RITA nomination for paranormal romance. The RITA contest has thousands of entries and is like the Oscars for romance fiction, so I am VERY pleased, especially since this is the second year in a row for one of my Nocturnes. Maybe this time I’ll win a friend for my golden lady!
  2. ROYAL ENCHANTMENT (Camelot, Book 3) starring Arthur and Guinevere will be available this July.
  3. ENCHANTER REDEEMED (Camelot, Book 4) is under construction. This is Merlin’s adventure.
  4. KISS IN THE DARK (Corsair’s Cove series) is part of a continuity series of indie novellas. I’m in the first round editing phase. The cover is scrumptious. Pub date October.
  5. Self-pubbing project – have covers, waiting for time to perform final edit pass. Targeting autumn.
  6. Sekrit Projects – these are Holloway products. One with agent, one awaiting revisions. These are FUN FUN FUN so I am anxious for these to move up the to-do list.

So . . . yes, I do have a few things on the go. Though it seems like a lot, this is actually fairly normal because in the writing cycle there are always four stages:

  • Ideas/research/proposal,
  • writing,
  • editing, and
  • release and publicity.

If you’re a working writer, chances are you’ll have something at each stage. I’m finding that, as I work toward being a hybrid author and have more than one author name anyway, I have multiple sets of works on the go. Scheduling has always been my friend, and now it’s my BFF!


Drawing breath


February 6, 2017  •  No Comments

It’s been snowing like crazy, which isn’t usual for February in Victoria. I don’t mind the weather shaking it up. The unexpected makes one look up and take notice of the world, even if it’s just the snow globe beauty of this morning, or the specter of shoveling my way around a corner lot.

tree in snow It’s a timely departure from my usual rut. I’m in that pause between writing books, if only for a few days. Last week I turned in the final edits on Royal Enchantment, and I have the next thing, a novella, already loaded and ready to hit the page. I need a breather to check the to-do list, shop groceries, make a few social calls, etcetera. More importantly, I need to erase my mental chalkboard and rearrange the furniture inside my head. One set of characters have left, and I need to vacuum before the next arrive.

But I can’t stay away from the keyboard long – I’m wired to work. February is dedicated to drafting the novella, which I expect to be around 25,000 words or basically 10 or 11 chapters. It’s part of a group project, the 4th of a set of 4 pieces. I don’t do these often, mostly because I’ve learned the hard way to look before I leap. This project is different and better, with hand-picked writers and a LOT of discussion and coordination. Which means, I suppose, that I should get started!


Author proposes what comes next.


January 22, 2017  •  4 Comments

Three – count ’em – three proposals are now out there in the universe. For me, that’s a bunch.  Since I rarely restrict myself to one series at a go, that doesn’t mean only one of these three proposals I just finished will go forward at the expense of everything else.  There’s the next Camelot Reborn book, which will happen one way or another. The other two are for brand new series more in the vein of the Baskerville Affair – adventure stories with a nod to romance rather than vice versa. I’ve been waiting for an A+ idea for the Emma Jane Holloway stable, and the muse finally delivered two. I have now sent them to my agentwoman writing. The second absorbed a chunk of my Christmas holidays, but I can’t think of a better way for a writer to celebrate than with a whole new universe to play in!

For those that don’t know, a book proposal is about the first three chapters plus an outline, plus some other supporting materials.  Mine generally run around fifty pages or so if it’s for a new series, mostly because I want to be sure to get my idea across. There’s an art to writing these things, and most of what people say about synopsis construction isn’t that helpful (at least to me). I struggle every time, and the events I talk about in the outline may well be lies. I’m a plotter, but quite happy to change course at the drop of a hat. What really matters is digging deep enough to come up with the core themes and conflicts and making them shine. I always imagine my future editor reading the proposal in some far-off place, maybe on a subway with no sleep and a squalling kid across the aisle. I ask myself if the ideas are good enough to overcome the background noise and make him/her keep listening and keep wanting more.

Anyway, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the spark I see in my mind’s eye translates to the page.


Review: Vienna Nocturne by Vivien Shotwell

Emma Jane Holloway
December 27, 2015  •  No Comments

One of the pleasures of Christmas holidays is a little bit more time to read. Book time is also one of the benefits of having a rotten cold since nobody wants to talk to me right now. So, I bring to you a taste of what I’ve been dipping into. This bon-bon fell into my TBR pile a month or so ago. I love historical fiction, I love books about musicians, and I love Mozart so this was a triple win.

goldlineVienna Nocturne

Vivien Shotwell’s Vienna Nocturne is the story of Anna Storace, a soprano whose career takes her across Europe and into the sphere of Mozart as well as other musical luminaries of the period. The book seemed to be positioned as something of a romance, but it wasn’t—at least not in the conventional way. Anna has a deeply felt affair with Mozart, but her art is just as much her true love.

 

Readers who know classical music will lap up the references to the theatres and composers of the period, singing techniques, and the highs and lows of an artist’s life. It’s no surprise to me that the author is also a singer. (see her website). Those less familiar will encounter some unfamiliar terminology and allusions connected with music practice and the history of the period. However, most of it should be understandable from the context.

 

The book is constructed out of many vignettes that give it almost an epistolary nature, which absolutely suits the eighteenth-century period. There is some gorgeous writing that had me stopping to savor a line here and there. The storyline is straightforward biography but it reads more like a literary than a genre novel, with less detail and a distilled quality of emotion. The form works wonderfully well, never drawing attention to itself and leaving Anna’s discovery of her personal strength a powerful narrative.

 

I recommend this for music and history lovers, and those who would like to be.