Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Guest Blogging -- Tia Nevitt and The Sevenfold Spell

Thank you for having me, Kathy! Kathy and I are doing a blog swap. She’s over at Carina Press today, blogging about her romantic suspense novel, Desperate Choices, so I’m here, ready to entertain all the potential readers checking out her blog. We did the same thing in reverse, yesterday.

Today I’ll take a behind the scenes look at what it’s like to write for Carina Press.

The Call
Angela James, the Editor-in-Chief, usually makes the acquisition calls. For me, the call came while I was in the car. My submission had been out for three weeks. We had just done a school field trip, and we were going to have lunch. My cellphone showed a New England area code, so I said to my husband that I’d better take this call.

The connection—which is usually clear—was horrible. I only understood a few words – “Angela” and then later, “The Sevenfold Spell”. It was wonderful and mortifying at the same time, because I really think I made an idiot of myself. I think God arranges these things go keep us humble.

The Contract
Harlequin has a standard, sixteen page contract—including the term sheet—that spells out everything, crystal clear. I really need to give kudos to the contract team for avoiding mind-boggling legalese. Hilda, especially, gets kudos for answering all my questions. There was only one part that I had trouble understanding. An experienced author helped me with that part, and after many Google searches, I signed the contract.

The Editing
My editor is Alissa Davis, who came to Carina Press from Dorchester. When I got the deadline for the first edit, I said to my husband, “I don’t think I’ll be able to make it.” He asked, “Would you be able to do it if you had a laptop?” The answer was an unequivocal yes, because the laptop got me out of the computer room and into the family room while I work. We got the laptop and I made my first deadline. A week later, Alissa sent the second editing pass, and couple of weeks after that, she sent the copyeditor’s edits, all which required more rewrites. I made all deadlines.

A side effect of all this was the dismantling of our computer room, which we converted in to a den.

The Author Community
At about this time, I got an email from Angela inviting me to something I didn’t know existed—an author email group. I love having the author group because for one thing, it made it easier for me to find authors like Kathy for cross-promotion. Plus, the community is filled with kindred spirits and we go to each other with good news—and bad.

The Cover Art
And at about this time, I received an email from Aideen, Harlequin’s Digital Commerce Manager, with my Art Fact Sheet. I went a bit overboard when filling it out, deciding that too much information was better than too little. Before I filled it out, this form was one page. By the time I was finished with it, it was four pages of dense text, with hyperlinks to multiple photos online.

The Cover Art
Not two weeks later, Aideen sent me the cover art. It was a great moment, seeing my title and my name there on the cover, amid all that beautiful art.

I was surprised and delighted to be part of the cover copy process, because I had heard that authors aren’t usually involved. Alissa sent me the draft that the editorial team had come up with. Between us, we had a few minor tweaks. It was during this time that I suggested and received approval for my Accidental Enchantments series title.

The Ebooks
It was almost two months ahead of my release date before Emma Cunningham sent me the final copy of the actual ebook. She sent it in three formats, ePub, PDF and Kindle.

The Promotion
The promotion rocks. A few weeks ago, Jenny Schwarz tweeted me about an ad with my book cover she saw on Dear Author. As I write this, the same ad is running on Smart Bitches, Trashy Books. At the beginning of August, Tara Stevens emailed me about becoming a Spotlight Author over at Romance Junkies. Plus, we each get to be a star for a day at Carina Press, which must take a lot of work on their part. Also, I keep seeing these little promotional things that Carina Press is doing for this author or that, well after the book’s publication date.

Writing for Carina Press has been great. They truly make us feel like rock stars!

Have you ever wondered what happens to the other people in the fairy tale?

Things look grim for Talia and her mother. By royal proclamation, the constables and those annoying “good” fairies have taken away their livelihood by confiscating their spinning wheel. Something to do with a curse on the princess, they said.

Not every young lady has a fairy godmother rushing to her rescue.

Without the promise of an income from spinning, Talia’s prospects for marriage disappear, and she and her mother face destitution. Past caring about breaking an arbitrary and cruel law, rebellious Talia determines to build a new spinning wheel, the only one in the nation, which plays right into the evil fairy’s diabolical plan. Talia discovers that finding a happy ending requires sacrifice. But is it a sacrifice she’s willing to make?

Not even a stint in the military as an aircraft mechanic could erase Tia Nevitt’s love of fairy tales. To this day, she loves to read (and write) books that take her to another place, or another time, or both. Tia has also worked on an assembly line, as a computer programmer, a technical writer and a business analyst. Over the years, she has suffered from TMI (too many interests) syndrome, and under its influence she also learned calligraphy, and how to play the violin and piano. All these activities occasionally distract her from her true calling, the writing of fiction, but she always comes home. When she’s not writing, she keeps a book blog called Debuts & Reviews, where she focuses on debut novels. She lives in the southeast with her husband and daughter.

Thanks, Tia. Your experience was very similar to mine. I love working with Carina Press, too. Do you have questions about e-books? Or about fairy tales? Post your questions in the comments section. Tia and I will be checking back throughout the day.


Unknown said...

Four pages for your Art Fact Sheet? Wow, I'm impressed. Mine ran to half a dozen sentences. :)

I agree; Carina Press make us feel like rock stars!

Cindy Spencer Pape said...

Congrats on the new release! Wishing you many more.

Joanna St. James said...

This is the most informative story I have read about what happens after the call. I submitted a manuscript to Carina press 6 weeks ago, I hope i get to run crazy circles in your circles soon and good luck with your new book

JB Lynn said...

Thanks so much for this wonderful post! I have a romantic suspense novel being released by Carina next summer and it's great to know what to expect (I'm still waiting for my contract) as the months roll out.

Congrats on your release! May it become a best seller!

Anonymous said...

Well said. Couldn't agree with you more on the Carina experience!

Alissa Davis said...

So that's how you did it! Give that supportive husband of yours a hug for me.

Tia Nevitt said...

Shirley, I write software requirements for a living and have come to believe that too much information is always better.

Good Luck, Joanna!

JB--wow, next summer? Carina is already scheduling much further out than they did when I got the call. I had 4 months.

LOL Alissa--will do.

Monika Michalak said...

Congrats! That is amazing. The more wonderful things I hear about Carina the more I would love to publish with them instead of a traditional publisher.

Kathy Ivan said...

Tia, it's great to have you here today. Your after the call scenes pretty much mirror my own, except I definitely didn't do a 4 page art sheet!!!

Tia Nevitt said...

Monie, it has made me get out my unpublished novels and put an extra coat of polish on them so I can submit them to Carina Press.

Kathy, 1 page of that was the synopsis, which they requested in the sheet. Maybe they just wanted one or two sentences, but I gave them the whole thing!

Shelley Munro said...

Great post, Tia. Living in New Zealand I always get the "email" rather than a phone call. I think a phone call would be awesome, although I can imagine I'd babble.

Congrats on your release!

Tia Nevitt said...

I'm sure I DID babble! Thanks!

Taryn Kincaid said...

Love your Carina story!

Tia Nevitt said...


Jenny Schwartz said...

Great post, Tia. Like Shelley, I live too far away (Australia) to get a phone call (yeah, I'd be real coherent woken at 2am), but the happy email leaves me dancing.

Having a novella pub'd with Carina Press has been a dream experience. The support of other authors the most unexpected, delightful surprise. Welcome to the group, JB, and hope to see you soon, Joanna!