Monday, January 9, 2023

Starting the New Year Right 2023

 


January symbolically marks a new beginning and a fresh start. With that in mind, I have resolved to continue writing with a positive attitude.

 In 2022, I sold seven new short stories to publishers and saw them published. I also sold two novels, one new, one reprint. The reprint, TEA LEAVES AND TAROT CARDS, is available with three others of my romance novels from Luminosity: 

 https://luminositypublishing.com/en/book/tea-leaves-and-tarot-cards/ 

My new novel, HEART OF WISDOM, will be published July 24th of this year by Level Best Books. It combines historical family saga with mystery. I believe it is my most unique, original novel. 

I will continue to send my work out, short stories in particular to various publishers and publications regardless of acceptances. Most writers meet with a lot more rejection than acceptance. In that respect, I am typical. But if writing is something you feel compelled to do—like me—than you work at it regardless.

One of my continuing resolutions is striving to improve the quality of my work. With that in mind, I pay attention to editorial and reader comments.

Building a readership is not easy. I hope to increase mine. I also intend to continue reading diverse books and writing reviews of those I truly enjoy.

I resolve to do more landscape painting. I’ve let that go of late. I confess housework comes last—but it does and will get done, as does shopping and cooking. All of life’s necessities.

What are some of your plans or resolutions for the year ahead? Are they the same as last year or have they changed?

Thursday, December 22, 2022

Sharing Reading Suggestions for the Holidays 2022

 


The holidays are a great time to gift friends, family and  yourself with books to read. And there certainly are a lot of them being published! You can find books to suit every age and taste whether fiction or nonfiction. Let’s share recommendations, whether it be your own work or that of others.

I’ll start things going. I just finished THE SILENCE OF THE LIBRARY by Miranda James—who is actually Dean James. This cozy mystery is part of a series. I also read Mary Balogh’s Regency Christmas novels, CHRISTMAS BRIDE and CHRISTMAS BEAUX—together in one book. I can recommend each of these. I both read and write historical romance as well as mysteries. So these are personal preferences. 

I have short stories in the recent crime anthologies JACKED and GONE. I received my own copies and look forward to reading the stories in each book. Both anthologies are impressive.

Okay, now it’s your turn. Please share the books and publications you think will make for good holiday reading.

Also, feel free to talk about work you’ve recently had published if you’re an author. Readers, please mention books you have on your wish list and/or recently read and enjoyed.

 

 

Friday, December 16, 2022

Tips on Writing for Holidays

Holidays represent a great opportunity for writing and being published. This includes nonfiction pieces, short stories or even a novel.

Most nonfiction publications favor holiday submissions, Christmas being the most popular. However, tip number one, make certain to follow the guidelines. Usually, magazines and anthologies will give you submission deadlines. Don’t submit either before or after them. It’s an automatic rejection.

Second, if there are no guidelines provided, plan to submit at least six months in advance of the holiday--with some publications, even earlier. If you happen to write horror fiction, for instance, October is a great month for publication. However, stories need to be submitted months earlier. Novels are different, of course. But even if you’re self-publishing, you need to figure out how much time is required. You don’t want your Christmas story published on July 4th.

Third, make certain that the reference to the holiday appears both in the submission/query letter as well as the subject line if you’re e-mailing. Editors need the info upfront. 

Here is a short story market that specifically wants holiday writing:

King’s River Life which, although not a paying market, publishes numerous holiday mystery stories and gives exposure in the form of publicity:

http://kingsriverlife.com/submissions/ 

For listings of paying markets, check out Publishing ... and Other Forms of Insanity (publishedtodeath.blogspot.com) on a monthly basis. 

Are there any holidays you particularly like to read or write about?

Have you any tips or thoughts of your own you would like to share with fellow readers and writers?


Thursday, December 8, 2022

Creating the Right Book Cover


Every publisher and every author want a book cover that will draw reviewers and readers. “A cover only has seconds to make an impact,” says Becky Rodriguez-Smith, Design Services Manager at BookBaby. “Our purpose is to create visuals that will grab a potential reader’s attention so that they click on the book to read more about it. To that end, the bolder the better.” 

It stands to reason that writers want to create an appealing cover that draws the eye. Cover art can make or break a book especially if the author isn’t well-known. What kind of front cover will grab the reader’s attention? What kind of cover art should a book display?  A lot depends on the genre of the book itself. The cover should be appropriate to the type of book. A basic question to ask: is the book going to be sold on the shelf of a bookstore or is it going to be available only online? Is the novel going to be a hardcover, trade, paperback, e-book or audio—possibly all of these?

With hardcover fiction books, as with all others, the cover needs to fit the genre, be attractive, while the title should be easy to read and intriguing. Cover art needs to play fair with readers so that they don’t feel cheated when they select a book. For instance, when my novel TEA LEAVES AND TAROT CARDS was first published by Five Star/Cengage in hardcover and hardcover large print, it was important to display a Regency figure that implied romance. A professional artist was employed. Here was the result:


Paperbacks need simplicity in covers. The artwork should also support the title and the genre. E-book covers shouldn’t be too fussy or busy either. The old saying “less is more” works best for a book cover that’s displayed online. A short title with a large, easily readable font and bright contrasting colors shows up well on the computer screen. Publishers want to avoid covers that are complicated and hard to read. Plain, simple graphics are preferable.

Altogether, three different covers have been created for the paperback and ebook updated version of TEA LEAVES AND TAROT CARDS. Which do you think is best? Why?


 

In summary:

What are the qualities of good cover art?

We can read the title and author and all subheadings with ease.

The image doesn't interfere with the written information.

 

The book cover is memorable: simple yet vivid and pleasing to the eye.


The theme is expressed by the image and in keeping with the genre of the book.


The bottom line for good book covers is that they make you want to read what's inside.


What are your feelings regarding cover art? What draws or attracts you to a novel? What do you dislike or prefer not to see?

 

Note: Luminosity has now published four of my romance novels:

https://luminositypublishing.com/en/brand/jacqueline-seewald/

Hope you will take a look.

 

 

 

 

 

Friday, November 11, 2022

iNTERVIEW WITH KATE MILES

 

 

Hello, my name is Kate Miles, and I help run Luminosity Publishing LLP. I am also a published author under several pseudonyms. I live in England in the United Kingdom. I enjoy anything that is creative, especially painting watercolors. I also love going for long walks in the countryside or on the beach. If it’s windy or raining, I love it even more. There’s nothing more thrilling than being close to nature.

Question: What kind of books does Luminosity publish? 

 Answer: We mainly publish fiction; Romance being the biggest seller, but we have recently published Mystery Suspense, and non-fiction Historical Biographical.

Question:   Can you tell readers about what’s involved in your work at Luminosity? 

Answer: From the moment when a manuscript lands in my inbox, we treat every submission with the utmost of care. Every book is read to ascertain whether it will be a good fit for Luminosity. Accepted submissions are then through to the editing stage. I format the books in the style that is current for Luminosity Publishing. The Chicago Manual of Style, a set of rules for grammar and formatting, also guides the editing process. I then commission a cover artist to create a cover that the author has requested. Royalties of course are also a part of my workload. We pay royalties every quarter, directly to each author.

I am always available to answer questions from authors and aim to reply within 24 hours during weekdays. 

Question:   What are you working on now?

Answer:  At the moment I am looking into translating some of our works into other languages. I believe there is a potential to expand our reach, especially in French, German and Spanish.

Question:   What made you start working as an editor/publisher?

Answer: As a writer of Erotic Romance myself, I wanted to pass on what I had learned to other authors. There are many pitfalls in the publishing industry, and to be able to help in any way to get a new author published for the first time brings its own reward.

Question:   What advice would you offer to those who are currently writing and want to be published?

Answer: Be positive and believe in yourself. Read and re-read your manuscript before submitting to a publisher. Most of all, never give up on your dream of being a published author.

Question:  Where and when will readers be able to obtain your latest published books? 

Answer:   

We publish works all the time. All our books appear on Amazon, Nook, Smashwords, Apple, Google and Kobo. Plus of course, our own website:

https://luminositypublishing.com/

Note: Luminosity has just published a new edition of my Regency romance TEA LEAVES AND TAROT CARDS:

https://luminositypublishing.com/en/book/tea-leaves-and-tarot-cards/

Questions and comments for Kate welcome here!

 

 

Friday, November 4, 2022

Why Regency Novels Continue to Fascinate Readers

I find Regency novels fascinating.  I’ve read hundreds of novels in the genre. In this regard, I am like many other devoted readers. Regency romance has endured for a long time, and I believe will continue to be popular.  For example, the Bridgerton romance series on Netflix has drawn a vast audience. Bridgerton, based on a series of eight novel written by Julia Quinn and adapted for Netflix, has proven to have strong appeal.

  For those who are not familiar with Regency, let’s define it.  When we talk about the Regency era, we mean the brief period lasting between 1811-1820 in England. However, for the sake of the novels, the era begins at the tail end of the Georgian period in about 1800. It includes the scope of the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars in Europe, a period of turmoil, social unrest and political revolution.

 The novels of Jane Austen set in that era have caught the imagination of both readers and writers for centuries.  Her Regency romances like PRIDE AND PREJUDICE entertain because they rely on character and the humor of human foibles. A much later author, Georgette Heyer, was one of the writers who created her own novels set in the Regency era. These romances have also influenced many readers and writers. Her novels even introduced their own unique vocabulary.

Some of the outstanding modern writers of this genre are Mary Jo Putney, Jane Ashford and Mary Balogh, each known for depth of characterization. Modern day Regency romance is longer and more sensual than the earlier novels. 

Today’s Regency romance fans are often very particular about historical references. They want complete accuracy in such matters as clothing, dialog, mores of the social scene and conventions of the era. To this effect, I did extensive research, reading and collecting numerous histories of this era as well as biographies of people who lived in those times before I wrote my own sensual Regency romance TEA LEAVES AND TAROT CARDS. For example, Mr. Brockton who is my heroine’s benefactor runs a posh gaming establishment where many thousands of pounds exchange hands each night. It is frequented by the cream of the ton. His character is based on an actual person who went from fish monger to millionaire and then lost it all again. At the time I initially wrote TEA LEAVES AND TAROT CARDS, I was working as a librarian with access to a multitude of reference sources. My research proved both enjoyable and relatively easy.  Now the internet offers so much valuable information on the Regency era which makes research more convenient.

I am celebrating the new edition of TEA LEAVES AND TAROT CARDS which is now available in all e-book formats and soon in paperback as well.

You’ll find this novel and others I’ve written on the Luminosity website:

https://luminositypublishing.com/en/book/tea-leaves-and-tarot-cards/

Here are some snippets from the book reviews:

"Jacqueline Seewald's Tea Leaves and Tarot Cards delivers an unusual and intriguing heroine together with fast-paced historical romantic-suspense. Seewald is very much at home in her early 19th century setting."  - Jayne Ann Krentz (Amanda Quick)

“TEA LEAVES AND TAROT CARDS is rich in secondary characters across the spectrum of society...TEA LEAVES AND TAROT CARDS has a lot to offer with its original characters and imaginative plot.” - Romance Reviews Today

“It is clear that Seewald's goal is to offer a deeply felt, emotional romance.” - Library Journal

“This is a delightful lighthearted regency frolic.” - Genre Go Round Reviews

Do you read Regency romance? Why or why not? Do you feel this historical sub-genre still has something to offer to modern readers and will continue to appeal to them?

 

 


 

 


Thursday, October 13, 2022

The Truth about Ghost Stories: A Halloween Treat

 

It seems as though ghost stories have been haunting us forever. Whether in a Medieval castle with turrets or the Pine Barrens of New Jersey, stories of ghosts continue as part of literature. The fact is, I’ve written quite a few myself, both in short stories and novels.

Why the continued interest? Sarah Begley in her TIME article appropriately published in the October 31, 2016 issue, discussed GHOSTLAND: An American History in Haunted Places in which author Colin Dickey is quoted as stating that ghost stories reveal “the contours of our anxieties” and “the nature of our collective fears and desires.” 

Why are we inclined to want to believe that ghosts or spirits exist beyond death? There’s an old spiritual that says: “Everybody wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die.” We would like to believe that we do in fact have souls and the possibility of an afterlife.

 

The popular 1986 motion picture, Ghostbusters, set off a virtual mania regarding ghost hunting. It was followed by an animated cartoon series which pursued the same theme for children and met with enthusiasm. There was also an updated adult film with a female cast. Currently, the TV series Ghosts is a Thursday night favorite on CBS.

But truth is stranger than fiction. Ghost hunting has become an avid though admittedly unusual hobby for many people. These individuals are joining groups or organizations that hunt for spirits of the dead. Groups are proliferating that attempt to use scientific methods to locate ghosts. In fact, it’s a hobby that many people enjoy throughout the world. These organizations research, photograph, document, and, in some instances, seek to remove those ghosts that have proved inconvenient.

Groups have sprung up across America in such diverse states as: Alabama, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin. From the number of ghost-hunting organizations with websites, there appear to be hundreds of groups with thousands of members worldwide. 

International organizations exist everywhere. Their purpose is to find scientific evidence of ghosts and an afterlife. Organizations exist in such places as the United Kingdom, including Scotland, Australia, New Zealand, Belgium, and Sweden. There have been ghost sightings in Asia, in such far flung locations as Singapore--and in short, the entire world.

Today’s ghost hunting organizations take pride in using the most modern technology possible. A variety of recording and measuring technology are used by ghost hunters who visit haunted houses, graveyards and other eerie locations, attempting to capture empirical evidence of paranormal beings. These ghost hunters utilize the latest in sound, video and still-image recording, as well as sensors that detect changes in temperature, electromagnetic fields and radiation.

Every state, every country, has its own unexplained paranormal spirit phenomena. Many ghost hobby organizations make the distinction that they are not hunting ghosts so much as investigating paranormal phenomena. They even offer to examine private dwellings and businesses for free. One reason these groups shy away from the term ghost hunting is because the term “hunting” suggests the sport or hobby of pursuing something with intent of killing it. The groups merely intend to investigate, carrying out a detailed examination or inquiry, especially with documentation with intent of finding truth, reason, and cause. For the most part, they are ordinary people, curious and fascinated with the paranormal.

 The groups take several initial steps when starting an investigation. They use video cameras, digital recorders, heat sensors, and motion and electric magnetic field detectors to record whatever may be happening at a particular site. Clairvoyants also provide their impressions. Psychic mediums serve as a channel between the living and the dead. Eventually, the groups puts together a report and discuss findings with the owner. Group members are known to specialize in electronic voice phenomenon, commonly called EVP; these are voices that supposedly do not come from a human source. Special software is used to determine whether a voice is in human or paranormal range. Findings are then authenticated by experts with a group called Haunted Voices.

The groups consist of volunteers, people with regular jobs who have a serious interest in ghosts. Members range in age from young adults to retirees, and include secretaries, cooks, office workers, crossing guards, a lawyer and computer programmers.  They take investigations seriously, but also have fun together. They are not glory-hunters. In fact, they are conscientious about maintaining client confidentiality when investigating a potential haunting. They do not disclose exact locations.

Supposedly, there is a difference between “spirits” who died in a normal way and can communicate and move around and ghosts whose souls do not know they’re dead. In the case of the ghosts, they are believed to have died tragically and are stuck in space and time and can’t move or go from place to place; they don’t understand their predicament and need help in order to move on. Unlike poltergeists, who are nasty, and know they’re dead, ghosts don’t harm the living.

Do average people really believe in “spooks”? It appears that worldwide interest in the paranormal will not soon abate. Many people would like to believe there is an afterlife, a beyond. Ghost researching continues to remain an enthusiastic leisure activity for hobbyists.

As for me, I’ve written about the legends of the Jersey Devil in my co-authored novel THE THIRD EYE: A PINE BARRENS MYSTERY.

http://www.amazon.com/Third-Pine-Barrens-Mystery-ebook/dp/B00G5K7VXI

My Gothic romance DARK MOON RISING involves a ghost story—two in fact.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00Z7824A4/ 

http://luminositypublishing.com/product/dark-moon-rising/ 

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/dark-moon-rising/id1020852100?mt=11 

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dark-moon-rising-jacqueline-seewald/1122376394?ean=2940150766686

Some of my short ghost stories have appeared in the anthologies:  BETWEEN THERE, VOL. 2, LIVING DEAD, and MISSOURI GHOST STORIES as well as such magazines as BLIGHT and HYPNOS. 

Do you believe ghosts exist? If you are a writer, do you write ghost stories? Tell us something about your most recent work in the genre. Are there any that you would recommend as good Halloween reading choices?