Spring and All

My latest release in the public domain book push! This is “Spring and All” by William Carlos Williams. There’s some quite cool poetry in here along with fun essay/prose/poetry on a variety of topics like Shakespeare and what really counts as poetry and so on. Let me know if you’d like to see a copy!

New Hampshire

New Hampshire, my illustrated and annotated version of Robert Frost’s book of poetry, is now going live in both Kindle and Paperback format! It should be fully live in the morning. Well, later in the morning :). Let me know if you’d like to see a copy! I adore Robert Frost and this collection has some of my favorites in it.

Fourth and last for this morning’s efforts, I’m now also loading live the base version of New Hampshire by Robert Frost. This doesn’t have any annotations or illustrations and is for those who just wish to read his poetry. Thank you to Tom Brooks for the lovely cover photo!

The Prophet is now going live!

My illustrated and annotated version of The Prophet is now going live! I had to wait until 2019 to hit the West Coast before I could post it, for copyright reasons. It should be live in the morning!

Let me know if you’d like to see a copy.

In addition to my illustrated / annotated version of The Prophet I’m also offering the base version with just the book’s poetry. So people can get that one if they don’t want to have my commentary or artwork in it. It’s going live now!

Famous Books Out Of Copyright

As we’ve talked in the past, books have a length of time during which they are under copyright. Their world can’t be “used” by anybody else while that copyright is in place. So for example you currently can’t write a Harry Potter story where Harry falls in love with Ron and sell that story. J. K. Rowling has control over her Harry Potter world.

That time span isn’t infinite, though. At some point a book goes out of copyright and becomes public domain. It is then fair game. That is why there are now books about Pride and Prejudice with zombies, for example, The novel Pride and Prejudice is long out of copyright. People can do whatever they want with those characters.

Because of the ways laws work, we’re about to get a slew of books released from their copyright on January 1st. Anything written in 1923 will be fair game starting January 1st. Here is the full listing.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1923_in_literature#New_books

Note that this DOES NOT mean you can claim you wrote one of these books :). What it means is that you can write stories set in these settings. So for example you could write an alternate version of Tarzan and the Golden Lion where Tarzan is a girl. Or you could write prequels or sequels to these. Or versions with zombies. Or time travel. Or time traveling zombies. Or versions with notes. It’s always good to still say “based on the story by …”

I’ve decided to write an annotated and illustrated version of The Prophet which is one of the most famous poetry sets of all time. It has 28 poem-stories, each fairly short, on various topics like teaching and prayer and love and so on.

Each poem is standalone. My plan is to release this right on January 1st. I’ll let you know when it’s ready!

Ask with any questions!

Ironclad

It’s Christmas Eve! Bob is off shopping and then I’m looking forward to settling in to watch Ironclad. It’s set during my favorite period – the King John medieval era. It features a woman with a sword :).

What are you up to tonight?

Your Harlequin/Mills & Boon Historical Romance Submission

Here is the seemingly boilerplate generic message I received on December 18, 2018 for my medieval romance novel Being Aware. I’m curious to see if it identically matches what other authors have received.

…..

Dear Lisa

Thank you for submitting Being Aware for our consideration.

We have read your submission with interest; you certainly know how to conjure up the historical period evocatively and authentically. The story is well structured, with charming characters and you have a very natural, fluid writing style. However, whilst we appreciate the care and attention that has gone into the preparation of your submission, regrettably we feel that your story is not sufficiently developed for publication on our Historical list.

We are always looking for new Historical authors, although the standard we require in a first manuscript is very high. Please do not be discouraged by this rejection, however, because we feel that your style and voice show a great deal of potential.

Here are our top tips to make your next submission stand out from the crowd:

1. Break the mould; show us something new by putting your own unique twist on popular storylines. The best way to do this is through your characters – what makes your hero and heroine different from all that have gone before?

2. Focus on the internal emotional conflict of your characters. It’s easy to get carried away conjuring a vivid time period and dramatic plot but this shouldn’t be at the expense of the emotional depth and intensity between the hero and heroine.

3. Use secondary characters to add richness, depth and authenticity to your story but don’t let them take over!

4. The current word length for our Historical series is between 70,000 and 75,000 words. If you feel you have a longer story to tell, you might like to consider whether HQN or Carina Press may be more appropriate.

We are pleased to have had the opportunity to see your work, and thank you for thinking of Harlequin Mills & Boon.

Yours Sincerely,

Editorial Department

Find more writing tips at www.Harlequin.com

Harlequin rejected Being Aware

Harlequin rejected Being Aware, book 15 in my medieval romance series, with a generic form letter. One problem is they present the form letter as if it’s personal advice, but it’s not. It’s a boilerplate of “typical problems”. For example in one section they said if I wanted to write longer than their 70k-75k range I could go with imprint X and Y. But my book is plunk in the middle of that range. Also, they said I should think about ways in which to make my heroine unique. She’s deaf and a swordfighter. I’m not sure there’s too many of those out there :).

I understand the challenges of sending rejection letters. I’ve run a literary magazine for over 12 years now. And yes, our initial rejection letter is a form letter. We make that clear. But we also offer personalized follow-up for anyone who wants it. If Harlequin only wants to send boilerplates, that’s fine. They just need to make that clear in the letter. Otherwise they’re misleading authors who think they’re getting actual suggestions on how to improve their content.

In my case, really, the issue is I shouldn’t be submitting to them. They say right on their guideline pages that they want extremely Alpha Male heroes – “This is where the alpha hero began! From a rake with a wicked glint in his eye to a gasp-inducing muscled warrior brandishing a dagger or a gorgeous kilted Highlander, there’s a man for everyone! ” – that’s just not what I write in this series. Gasp-inducing muscles? No. My heroes draw my heroines in with their honor. With their dedicated compassion. So I just need to find another publisher to explore, as I play with options.

I’m an ENORMOUS proponent of self publishing and feel it gives you far more money, control, and options. Still, I would like to get one with a publisher just to be able to prove that empirically for these stories. I love testing options, as you guys know :).

Anyway, the book is loading live now, and I’ve lost three months of sales to this experiment. Onward and upward!