Thursday, January 15, 2009

Confessions of a Romance Writer

Dear Friends, today I'm taking time away from my Roccoco inspired rosewood desk trimmed in gilt to converse with you (while lounging in my silk and marabou wrapper, with matching nightgown)about this business of writing. Between lunching on lobster in New York with editors and agents, and after black tie publisher parties, I do occasionally dicatate a line or two to my personal secretary who jots it all down. While I 'write' books, I never actually write them, that's my secretary's job. I am the artiste, she is the lackey!
This dictation usually comes between moutfuls and swallows of the most decadent chocolate truffles you can imagine. Sometimes my words of brilliance arrive while in the tub, soaking in champagne and perfumed oils. This, dear reader, is a small glimpse into my world as a romance writer.

And Lord Craven-Moore has just whispered in my ear, 'wake-up darling, you've hit your head'. Indeed, I have. That would be this morning, when I was reefing on the frozen car door, trying to pull it open, when it suddenly gave way and brained me stupid....And the kidlet started laughing as I saw stars and the neighbor dude came running over to see if he could help as I landed in the graceful lithotomy position in a snowbank. Oh,yes, glamorous indeed! Where the hell were my smelling salts when I needed them!

Ah, back to lucidity....

The above narrative is just a fantasy about what I once naively thought of as the life of a romance writer. What a git I was!
As I write this, I'm wearing jeans, socks that feel too small (I think my feet have grown) and a t-shirt, that I think has dog slobber on the sleeve (two dogs, both very happy to see mummy after dropping off the kidlet to school) I'm downstairs at the computer (not in my study beause that computer doesn't have internet, because I'm supposed to be a good girl and write on that computer, not surf) My teeth are brushed, my hair is in some semblance of acceptable, and I'm sipping away at a Chai latte in a take out cup~my one indulgence for the day. I'm also excessively obsessesing over deadlines that I have, and alternatively vaciallintg from thrill (yeah, more contracts!) to utter terror (oh, no, will they like it? Can I do it? Oh, gaaaaawd!)

This, is the life of a romance writer. How very ordinary and mundane. But that's it, folks. You see, the whole 'image' of a romance writer is just imaginary, just like our plots, characters and worlds which we've formed in our minds. I wish I had some magic wand to make it all glamorous, but in fact, it's hard work. Harder than I thought it was going to be, actually.

But I love it. And this is what I want to do. For years to come.
So, after that diatribe, on to the real reason of my post!
I'm currently forming a world for a new series I have coming out with NAL under a different name (that's another post). The world is Annwyn, and it's the Celtic Otherworld where all sorts of lovely and devious creatures live alongside us boring mortals. The series is dark and sexy, with Celtic, Druid, Gothic overtones. Gargoyles, Shadow Wraiths, Sidhe and fallen angels, Annwyn has creatures that will lure and entice you!
I'm excited to get started on the series. I'm already in love and lust with the hero of the first book, a night Sidhe who shifts into a raven. He's built (what romance hero isn't) with all kinds of interesting markings over his body, and cool eyes (one pewter colored, the other gold, both rimmed in violet) that can form alchemical magic, not to mention seduce a woman at fifty paces. All is set for the world and the series, but now it comes down to business. Promoting. Reaching readers. Getting a website.....grrrr.

So, I thought I'd come to you guys for a little help as I know you're all savvy readers, and you always go to author websites. What draws you there? What do you think of newsletters? Help or hindrance? What do you like in newsletters? Most of all, what do you really hate when you visit an author's website?

For your troubles, I'm offering up a copy of Addicted to the post that tickles Lord Craven-Moore's fancy!!!!
As an aside, the pictures are a few of the things that inspried the Annwyn Chronicles, which is the name of the series.


Genella deGrey said...

Having a fantasy life is a dirty job, but I'll be happy to do it.


I love email Newsletters - they remind me to visit the author's website, and I need reminding! We do so much in a day I can't possibly visit every single author! I like to be informed that an author has new stuff up - Contest reminders & winners, teaser excerpts, what's coming down the line, reviews, etc.

What I don't like in a newsletter is this: "The secret of life" See my blog.

GRRR! At the very least, give me the first one or two paragraphs!

I can't think of anything I hate about author's websites - Bad formatting is annoying, though.


Genella deGrey said...

Oh yeah, I think you should give away a trip to Annwyn - :D

Really, your new Celtic Otherworld idea sounds awesome! I can't wait!

Charlotte Featherstone said...

thanks for your imput Genella!
And you're welcome in Annwyn anytime! lol!

I'm having a lot of fun making up my world and mixing up themes that I love into one big world. Now, I just hope readers are gonna love it!

Unknown said...

Oh, sounds like a great series! I will be looking for this one. I love going to author's sites to find out about books, coming soon books, love newsletters for the same reason and blogs. I like when authors talk about the worlds they create and put up extra stuff about it. Contests too, love contests, cause it gives readers a chance to read the author's book and see if they would like to buy any other books from them.

Anonymous said...

I love going to author sities, it gives a chance to peek into the author's life when they're NOT writing wonderful books.

I think the best is an Newsletter with little goodies with updates and such.

Fedora said...

LOL on the fantasy life!

As for author websites, I tend to go initially when I've read something I like or when I've heard some buzz and I want to find out more about her books/backlist, or I LOVED something and want to write. I don't tend to visit a site repeatedly except for book info, so I really like to be able to get all that info easily--current books, upcoming books, lists of titles by series, and ideally, all with blurbs and excerpts. (Lori Foster does a really nice job of this, I think.) I'm not sure I can think of anything that would immediately turn me off on a site--the main one would be if it wasn't easy to navigate or I couldn't find the info I wanted. I do confess that I also want it to be fairly easy to read--skip the frou-frou fonts for the text (headers are OK), and choose something easy on the eye :)

On the other hand, I DO regularly visit a variety of blogs--some group ones, like LiT, and then some individual ones. The ones I keep returning to are the ones that “click” with me--they aren’t always about promotion (although I love a contest as much as the next reader ;)) For group blogs, I really like ones where there’s a sense of community, where there’s a fair amount of interaction and there’s some response rather than just the original post. I know that authors are busy, but it’s such a treat to get to “chat,” and not just read a blurb. As for individual blogs, I like ones that give me a sense for the author--I don’t mind personal musings or somewhat random thoughts if they help me make a connection with the person. Again, I appreciate ones where the author responds. (To clarify, I don’t mean that I expect a real-time chat/immediate response kind of thing, but I do like being able to check back in a day or two and seeing a reply of some kind.) It seems like maintaining an individual blog can be a real time-sink, so I don’t mind authors who blog once a week or so--and again, I like a mix of topics, as long as they are either interesting or give me a sense for the writer, which I find interesting :)

As for newsletters, I kind of like them in general. As Genella said, they remind me to visit an author's site and/or blog. I like ones that give a quick summary at the top, then provide more in depth info later. And I like the reminders about new releases, special excerpts, etc. Suz Brockmann's newsletters are pretty good, if I remember correctly.

Hope that's the kind of info you're interested in hearing :)

Charlotte Featherstone said...

Thanks everyone for the time you took in replying. All answers were so helpful!

Once the Annwyn Chronicles gets closer to release (Mar 10) I'll let you know! It's contemporary paranormal, and it's erotic.

And, by the trusty method of pulling a name out of a hat, the winner of Addicted is.....


Can you please email me at charlotte@charlottefeatherstone.netwith your address,please!

Thanks everyone, and more chances to win a copy of Addicted, will be coming next month.

Brandy W said...

I'll borrow your fantasy for the day since my youngest is sick. Now onto the question. The first thing that takes me to an author site is of course interest. I've read something somewhere or someone has recommended them. If I find that I like what was written then I do the newsletter thing. I like them. They keep me abreast of what's going on. Always a good thing.

I like it when the authors keep them updated and make it easy to find things. Booklists and an easy way to see if anything is connected with the order I should read them in. Hello just tell me what goes where and the path to take.

I love author blogs too. I can't help myself. It makes me feel like the author wants to know their readers. If I really like the blog then I save it on mine which I go to everyday to check out the authors I have saved on it.

Charlotte Featherstone said...

Hi Bray,
I've been toying with the idea of an author blog, and haven't fully decided, but your comment about loving them has maybe swayed my mind.

Lots of good ideas for the new site! And I got prelim look at the template, and wow, I LOVE it!