New cover! What do you think? I’m returning to historicals but in mystery format with lots of romance, not as a pure romance. Doors close on ghosts and intimacy. <G> So far, anyway. The cover depicts the heroine first approaching a once-abandoned manor deep in rural Warwickshire, sort of. The actual location is one of the complications I’m researching. (And of course, she arrived in a carriage with accompaniment, but covers don’t allow for details.)
Pat here: As I may have said before, one of the fun parts of writing historical novels is the dive down research bunny holes. I’ve just spent a lovely few hours scrounging around in the insane details of British law, how magistrates were appointed and criminals brought to court, when there was essentially no police force in rural environs. And along with that, I followed a side trail into manorial law, an entire blog by itself. Suffice it to say, my hero, as heir to a manorial estate, is a law unto himself. He doesn’t like it much, though. (above photo is manor and accompanying village–not quite the one I imagine as I write but pretty anyway. See the manor way in the background?)
The Wenches were asked to answer some questions about writing and the publishing industry, and today we’re replying to the first one – How do you decide on a title? Is it the editor or you or what?
Mary Jo: Titles wars, all authors know them well! Ideally, authors and editors work together to come up with titles that in just a few words will convey the genre, the essence of the story, and also have a marketing punch. Not surprisingly, this is difficult!
In my first book, my heroine was a gifted musician so my working title was the rather uninspired THE MUSICAL LADY. Later, my brother-in-law, an amateur musician, suggested LADY OF NOTE, which was better since it conveyed both music and being notable.
The book sold quickly on a partial manuscript, but coming up with a good title was another matter. My first editor always insisted that her writers come up with good titles. We would produce pages of possibilities, which she would dismiss with a few heartless chuckles. When I'd say in exasperation that she should come up with a title, she had a whole prepared speech about HOW MANY BOOKS she'd edited over the years, how could she possible do any more??? Cowed, I'd slink off and produce more lists, which were all shot down posthaste.
In response to reader requests that the Wenches occasionally talk about how we do what we do—I am taking a broad interpretation to include craft as well as how I come up with my stories and characters. Because, truth to tell, I haven’t a clue what crossed wires create insane scenarios in my brain, and craft is a lot easier to explain.
If there are writers reading this, please feel free to jump in, because—as we all know—THERE ARE NO RULES in writing. It’s a creative process requiring we pry the stories from our heads in whatever manner works for us.
Choose a Word for 2023:
by Mary Jo
Since 2022 is drawing to a close (already?!), it's time to think ahead about what we'd like in 2023. I've done this before here and in another group, but I think it's an interesting and mindful exercise to choose a word that can be a keyword or inspiration or talisman for the year ahead.
Do you want to EXPERIMENT and try something new? Learn to RELAX and let go of as much stress as you can? How about learning to FOCUS better? (That's a word I've claimed in the past!) Do you want to CLARIFY relationships or other elements in your life? Worth thinking about!
And the Wenches have been thinking about this! Pat Rice is first:
I fear I very much live in the moment. Thinking or planning for a year doesn’t happen. Worse yet, I’m not inclined to meditation, inspiration, or reflecting on the past or future, possibly because I don’t believe I have much control over the events that most shape our lives. So I am hopeless at questions like these.
At best, I can plan for the events I want, and hope that eventually, the Fates will offer me opportunity. Does that constitute a keyword—opportunity? Once upon a time, I practiced writing, taught myself craft, wrote thousands of pages, and eventually, after years of sending out books, a new publisher decided to start a historical romance line and bought my book. I am not entirely certain opportunity encompasses all that.
So I’ll simply choose the word ENJOY. While I’m wishing and hoping and plotting, I mean to enjoy the moment I’m in. If an opportunity to go out to lunch with friends interferes with my deadline, I’ll forget the deadline and enjoy the lunch because the chance might not come again.