ebook publishing, fiction, Kindle, period fiction, product description, revising, self-publishing, West Virginia, writing the story blurb

Writing the story blurb

. . . ain’t easy!

A brief, intriguing concept. A dash of the personalities in play. A teaser.

This is what I need for the back cover of my new novel, Cold Comfort, and for the online product description.

The story blurb must attract the right readers, be truthful to content, and not give away too much. It’s not the same as an agent query or synopsis, which would include the ending.

For nearly two weeks, I’ve been writing and rewriting the teaser for Cold Comfort and putting it out for critique. Have to say, many other writers have helped, because when my words are fresh in mind, I’m a poor critic. So the result is peppered with their phrases. My job has been to keep it from looking like a creature built by committee.

Here it is. Subject to change, of course. 🙂

When feisty Wanda Wyatt is left widowed, penniless, and disturbed by recent fits of rage, she turns to the one person she hates ─ her grandmother, ex-moonshiner Lucie Bosell. Lured by a vague invitation, she travels back to her mountain roots with two goals in mind: money and revenge. But at what cost? Prohibition has come to West Virginia, and with moonshine worth more than ever, Lucie wants in on the action. Playing along, Wanda finds that being as mean and deceptive as Granny hurts her chances with a compelling man from her past. Worse, the old woman’s high-stakes business attracts ruthless people and big trouble. Wanda learns the hard way–revenge is cold comfort.

I hope this blurb works for you and thousands of your friends!

Cold Comfort–Coming soon to bookstores in the cloud and the real shelves of my favorite local retailers.

adventure, fiction, self-publishing, The Girl on the Mountain, Writing

Blog Tag – I’m IT

I’m playing Indie Author tag today, and I’m IT. Being “IT” means that I share information about my work in progress (WIP).

The Rules

1.Give credit (including a link) to the Author who tagged you.
2.Play by the rules, therefore you must post the rules!
3.You MUST answer all ten questions (below) some are quite hard but do your best.
4. List five other authors with links at the end that you have “tagged” so that the game can continue.

Link Back

The author who tagged me is P.C. Zick, author of Trails in the Sand, “a family saga with love triangles, sea turtles, and an oil spill. P.C.’s work in progress is temporarily titled “Safe Harbor.” It’s contemporary fiction with an environmental theme. Read more about P.C. and her work at www.pittsburghwriter.wordpress.com.

THE QUESTIONS AND MY ANSWERS

What is the title or working title of your WIP?

I’m on the third working title. The first was The Legacy of Lucie Bosell. Second, Wanda’s Revenge. Third, Cold Comfort. That one may stick. Please leave a comment if one of these appeals to you.

What genres does your novel fall under?

Like The Girl on the Mountain, it’s historical, with emphasis on adventure and romance.

What actors (Dream Cast) would you choose to play the characters in a film version?

WandaCameron Diazshe needs to be feisty, and dancing’s a plus

Lucie – Brenda VaccaroWanda’s moonshining granny. I think she’ll like the part!

WillKirk Acevedothe good guy, romantic interest, picked for his dramatic good looks.

HargisSteve Buscemihe can be so nasty.

Virgie – Lisa Kudrowyou’ll love her.

What is the main outline for your book?

Widowed, broke, and newly susceptible to fits of rage, Wanda leaves her small daughter and travels to the West Virginia town she left fourteen years earlier. She’s been summoned by her grandmother, Lucie Bosell, a woman she met only once, a notorious moonshiner. The year is 1915, and the territory has been devastated by fires and floods. West Virginia has just enacted prohibition, and Granny Lucie, who’s lost her home place, is eager to get back into illegal distilling. With the promises of a legacy for her daughter, Wanda plays along with Lucie’s schemes. But the whiskey business attracts bad people, and Wanda is soon fighting for her life.

Will your book be Indie published/self published, or represented by an agency and sold to a traditional publisher?

I’m already making plans to publish this myself, but I’m open to suggestion.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

Six months for the first draft. Six more to the fourth, where the work is now.

What other books in this genre would you compare your book to?

I haven’t a clue. I’m flattered by a review that compared my first novel to Twain, Steinbeck, and Charles PortisTrue Grit. Must be my gritty characters. Others have said Edith Wharton (I wish) maybe because my writing style is direct and unadorned.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

When early readers of The Girl on the Mountain said 13-year-old Wanda might “steal the show,” I decided to make her the focus of the next story.

What else about the book might pique readers’ attention?

Like The Girl on the Mountain, this one is full of one-of-a-kind characters. There’s a lot about moonshining, for which I’m thankful to members in the historical forum at www.homedistiller.org.

Five other Indie Authors I’m tagging: Please stop by their sites and say hello.

M. J. Ascot www.mjascot.com

Tom Gondolfi www.TANSTAAFLPress.com

Annamaria Bazzi http://www.annamariabazzi.com

Tobias D. Robison www.Ravensgift.com

F. L. Williams flwilliams.wordpress.com/

historical fiction, self-publishing, Title for a book, Writing

A Good Title

Because a few readers said they did not like the title of THE GIRL ON THE MOUNTAIN, my current novel-in-progress, I conducted a survey of people who have and have not read the story. I gave a choice of fifteen possible titles to friends and family and asked them to pick one that might lead to a closer inspection of the book. From those who had not read the story, I wanted a gut reaction. From those who’d read it, I wanted to know if another title might work better.

Here are the results:

1. The Girl on the Mountain: 7 votes from those who have not read the story plus 2 from those who have. Amy, who hasn’t read the story, said the title suggests “historical,” which she likes. Jennifer, who has read it, said the title raises questions and better suits the story. Why I like the title: until she moves down from the mountain, May Rose, the main character, doesn’t know people call her “the girl on the mountain.” Throughout the story, she struggles to overcome their opinions.

2. Where Whispers Echo:  8 votes, all from people who have not read it. How this title works: A well-meaning character in the story tells May Rose it doesn’t matter if she’s innocent of the slander against her, because “nothing truly interesting happens here, so a whisper echoes all over the mountains, and people don’t know or don’t care if it’s true or not.”  This title is poetic but may suggest a romance, which the story is not.

Votes were scattered among nine other title ideas.

Before as Strangers: A quote from Longfellow’s Evangeline, used in the story.
Sounds of the Rude World: A quote from Stephen Foster’s “Beautiful Dreamer,” used in the story.
Fair and Young: Evangeline

Never Falter, Never Fail: A phrase from “Life is Like a Mountain Railroad” (old hymn). A theme in the story.

As Leaves to the Light: Evangeline
Company Town: Appropriate because most of the story is set in a company town in 1899.
Prayers and Lies: I like this one because the main character prays constantly and also lies, as do others in the story.
Down in the Valley: The site of the company town. 
Unsafe: A theme.
Conclusions: 
I had fun with this exercise, which confirmed my belief that titles create different expectations. A title, however, is only one lure. The cover must also be appropriate and interesting to people who like a certain kind of fiction, and the cover blurb has to suggest an intriguing story. Finally, the first few paragraphs must capture the reader’s imagination and cause him or her to read the whole story! 
Next Round: Reactions to a cover and cover blurb.
Thanks, everyone!