Thursday, January 27, 2011

I've Got You Covered

You can’t judge a book by its cover.  Oh, yes, you can.   I do.  And I bet you do, too.  When I pick up a book, I almost always  know whether I am interested enough to find out what it is about.  It all starts up front. 

The design team at AuthorHouse wants to know how I envision the cover of The Laughing Ladies.  The American West in the 1890s suggests sepia tones to me.  And no faces please, the reader’s mind will determine what the women look like.   I favor old-fashioned illustrations instead of photographs. 
Here’s what I sent them.  What do you think?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

My Life in 150 Words of Less

I’ve packed up and returned to NYC.  My fictional town of Crystal Creek was not easy to leave, but it is time.  The story of The Laughing Ladies is told and ready to be published.  Since controlling is a word I am familiar with, I decided to self-publish.  The process is turning out to be as energizing as writing the book.  Except, I am not making this journey alone, Author House experts are guiding my way.  I hope you will follow as I describe this new path I am traveling. 

My first task was to provide a bio.  I am asked to distill my entire life into no more than 150 words.  I have been around a long time, where to begin?  Writing about my characters is a lot easier than writing about myself.  I finally decide on the part of my life relevant to the book. 

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Research and Ye Shall Find

I began by putting  my three ladies on a westbound train.  After reading, James Alexander Thom’s book, The Art and Craft of Writing Historical Fiction, I wanted all the information to be accurate and who better to know about trains than the American Railroad Historical Society.  With the kind help of their research librarian, I was able to get the ladies across the country without them missing any connections. 
But, what did a mining town of the 1890s look like?  Having lived in Colorado for a  time, I was familiar with some historical towns, but I needed more than my own visualization.  Old photographs, diaries of early inhabitants, and numerous articles and descriptions found on the internet, filled in the details.  When the ladies stepped off the train, I could see what they saw.  
And so it went, chapter by chapter.   I stumbled across some wonderful  information..  I didn’t know that a woman rancher invented the first split skirt because she wouldn’t put up with having to ride side saddle.  Or that President Cleveland was the first father of a newborn to give out cigars.  The book began to fill with lots of quirky historical details.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Finding Your Passion

The Laughing Ladies found me, rather than the other way around.  It started when
Pat Porter, a good friend and fantastic watercolor artist and teacher, said in her marvelous offhand manner, that if she couldn’t paint some time during the day, she might as well not get up in the morning.  I thought enviously, “How wonderful to have a passion like that.”  I  remembered her words when I started writing The Laughing Ladies, eager to get to the computer every day.  I was experiencing the feeling Pat described.

As the story took shape, I wondered where it had been hiding all these years.  I never imagined myself a writer and here I was, living in a mining town, high in the Colorado Rockies.  I  created a world to inhabit for a few hours a day, with no idea why I chose to be there.  Perhaps, I was being channeled by an 1893 prostitute who wanted her story told.