What’s been happening?

First off, I know you’ve all been excited about my giveaway. If you’ve been following my facebook page, you would have seen my teaser posts. Each teaser post reveals a clue about an item in the giveaway book bundle.

Teaser #4 has been the most popular so far.

Quite a few of you managed to identify the book. So well done! If you were the first to do so, you will receive an extra chance at taking home this amazing collection of books (not literally. If you win, I’ll post the books out to you, obviously). There are 7 books in total, including 2 x Penguin clothbound classics! This book bundle is valued at $150, so I know you’ll want to get your hands on it!

Keep an eye out for the teaser posts. You’ll have more chances to name the books.

But, PLEASE read the rules. So many people have only completed one part of the rules. They will not be eligible, I’m afraid. There are only 2 rules:

  1. Like and follow my page
  2. Like the post

And that means ANY of the posts relating to the giveaway. It could be Teaser #1 or Teaser #10. As long as you like one of them, AND like the page.

And, there are two other optional steps, which are:

  1. (Optional) For an extra chance, be the first to comment the name of the book pictured (or comment the name from the clue — a quote, or other).
  2. (Optional) Tag a friend who likes reading.

That’s it!

There are a few books in my teaser posts that have not been identified… yet! Hop on over to my page. Look for the teaser posts, and see if you can name the books!

So far, I have posted these teaser pictures. Can you name them?

Giveaway teasers

This giveaway is open worldwide. It ends 30.09.17 11.59pm AEST, and that one lucky fan will be named 07.10.17.


Eleanor by Cadence

Eleanor

Okay, now that that’s out of the way, it’s time to have a look at Eleanor. So what’s going on with Eleanor? As you know, my manuscript has come back from the editor. I’ve received mostly positive feedback, but there are some areas of concern I’ll need to address. So far, I’ve gone over most of the issues. There are a couple of things I’ll need to be more attentive to. My heroine, Eleanor, needs the most work at this stage. My editor really liked Mr Ashwood (Henry), Gaston, and Vivienne, which I am thrilled about — particularly her liking Henry, who I was most concerned about. Despite my readings and research, I have still not been very confident writing male characters, especially someone like Henry, who is the love interest of Eleanor.

“That’s not a good sign”, you must think, considering I am focusing this coming National Novel Writing Month on writing a book from the perspective of the Marquis de Sade. He isn’t too hard to get into the mind of though, as I have been researching him and his works for a number of years now. It’s simply a matter of conveying it, in the right way.

Anyway, I’m getting sidetracked, as always.

Once I make all the changes, I will begin pitching to agents. As you know, I have a few in mind. I won’t name them at this stage, though I will keep you guys up to date whenever I have news.

And, because I’m feeling generous, here’s a little teaser taste of Eleanor.

Eleanor by Cadence teaser


Off topic

Also, did anyone watch the Matildas beat Brazil last week? It was a fantastic match! With a sellout crowd, this alone should encourage the networks to broadcast more women’s sports. Lisa De Vanna and Sam Kerr were amazing. Watching Kerr’s style and determination throughout the match, I could see that it was only inevitable she would score. Well done to the ladies, and I’m excited to see another match soon!

Anyway, I might leave it there this week. Knowing me, I’ll get distracted again, and I’m sure I’ve forgotten some important news I was supposed to give you. Oh well!

 

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Eleanor is back from the editor!

As you know, Eleanor was recently sent off to the editor, to get all prettied and vamped up, but now my beloved debut novel is back in my hands, hooray!

So, right now I’m going through all the mark ups and comments, and the report to see where change is needed to be made in the manuscript. There are a number of minor and major issues to work through, so it seems I will be working on Eleanor a bit longer than I had initially anticipated. Still, I have set myself a reasonable deadline to get through everything. I’m hoping to finish by the end of the month, at which time I can finally start contacting agents.

I have to say that I am extremely happy with the editorial services provided by Phoenix Editing and Proofreading. Amanda J Spedding has been incredible to work with, and I highly recommend her to anyone looking to publish — because every manuscript needs an edit. We’re still in talks because we want to ensure Eleanor gets to as near perfect as possible. I just want Eleanor to have the best chance when I submit to agents and publishers.

But, of course, to do that I also have to work on my cover letter more. I have a draft pretty well sorted, just need to perfect it. I also have listed a few agents I want to approach, just have to make sure I approach them at the right time, obviously — a lot of agents will only accept manuscripts at particular times.

I think I’ll leave it there for this week. It’s only a quick update, sorry guys, but I’ll fill you in more when I get closer to finishing up Eleanor. And, hopefully this will be the last time I have to work on this novel before I submit to agents. It’s not that I’m sick of working on it, I’m just ready to let it go.

Wings of Malice series

Yes, you read right. Wings of Malice will now be a series.

Let’s first be clear… I’m referring to ‘series’ in the literary world, not televisual. But, possibly in the future that could still happen. Whom knows?

Originally, I had intended to write a standalone fantasy novel, with the possibility of creating two or three spin-off novels, for each of the main characters. Instead, I’ve decided on writing a series (of three books), which will very much complicate things. Essentially, this means dissecting 86,000 odd words, and separating chapters into their respective novels. In summary, I will be writing three novels at once. What fun!

If you will notice, I have updated the novel progress to…

Wings of MaliceIt’s simply my need to constantly make things more difficult for myself, really.

So far, I have gone through my manuscript, and I have begun filtering out chapters, and have been formatting them into some sort of coherent structure. At this stage, Book Three is longer than the rest — the start has been difficult to dissect, unfortunately —  so really I have been forced to work on all three novels at one time, at least for now.

Writing in this particular structure actually opens a door to a spin-off I have been contemplating for some time. One of my antagonists is quite a complex character, who I would like to develop a bit more within the series. But, I would also like to show her off in her own novel, as she seems to outshine the heroines.

At this stage I can’t reveal much more about the project, unfortunately. It’s now, technically, in its ‘early days’.

In other news
I have just finished reading Florence and Giles, by John Harding.

This is an amazing book, and I will get around to writing a proper review soon — I won’t do one in this post.

I will say this though… buy this book now! It is in-your-face Gothic, and in-your-face twists and turns. As the quote on the cover of the book suggests…

Imagine The Turn of the Screw reworked by Edgar Allan Poe – The Times

…it is indeed very Poe-esque.

I will stop there. As I said, I will leave the review until later.

What’s next on the reading list?
I haven’t started anything new yet, sadly. These last couple of weeks have been quite hectic, and so far I struggled to finish both Wildthorn and Florence and Giles before my deadlines.

As you can see (below), I still have a few to go. I did also recently order another book, Emily’s Ghost, by Denise Giardina — my first preference — but the order was cancelled sadly, so now I will have to find another copy elsewhere. Sigh.

I may also consider The Turn of the Screw, by Henry James now since finishing Florence and Giles. I do have a copy somewhere, in one of my To Be Read bookcases.

Comps, cover letters, editors, agents

I know I gave you guys an update last week, but it feels like it has been months. Maybe it’s because I just keep forgetting to tell you about all the awesome stuff that’s been happening. Such as… historical fiction writer, Fiona Mountain, is now following me on Twitter!!!

Cadence twitter Fiona Mountain follower

If you remember, I recently mentioned how much I loved her novel, Rebel Heiress (also known as Lady of the Butterflies), so I was gushing when I saw my Twitter notifications!

Lady of the Butterflies by Fiona Mountain

Firstly, let’s get this out of the way…
Despite still being sick, I feel so much better this week. To all those concerned, it’s okay, don’t worry. My blood test results came back — all negative.

Now to the important stuff
It seems things are progressing a lot more quickly now since finishing Eleanor. I’m further into my comparable works list, I’m taking a course on writing pitches and cover letters, Pitch Your Novel: How to Attract Agents and Publishers (by the lovely Natasha Lester, and hosted with the Australian Writers’ Centre), I’ve booked an editor (the one I was after, yay!) to start working on my manuscript in August, and I’m now on the search for an agent (the course name would have given that away!).

Cadence Tweets Natasha Lester AWC

If you are interested in the course, you can find more details here.

Yes, because I am so fickle and indecisive (you would have noticed this as you joined me on my journey as I wrote Eleanor — I moved from writing a novella to novel, from considering self-publishing to traditional, and now from unagented to agented… fingers crossed!), I am now on the lookout for an agent. There are a few I know of, and have been considering, so I will work on that while my manuscript is being edited.

I just want to make sure Eleanor has the best chance at publication.

To do this, I have to write a CV/cover letter (including a pitch). This is something that is really important, so I have to ensure I do it right — to sell myself, and Eleanor, as best I can.

Regarding the pitch
I’ve had my latest one critiqued by The Book Doctors (Arielle Eckstut and David Henry Sterry). While I received mostly positive feedback, there is also a lot I need to work on still to perfect it. A pitch is around 200 words (maybe a bit more), and is basically similar to what you would find as the blurb on books (unfortunately, I haven’t updated mine yet — you’ll find the old one on the cover art). So, for this task I will be checking out a lot of blurbs, and looking at ways to write something clear and concise to illustrate the awesomeness that is Eleanor.

Eleanor by CadenceSo, that was the old one, as in the oldest one. Below is my latest one, with some changes.

“Eleanor Clarendon-Addams is no stranger to the macabre. For most of her life she has been consumed by her passion for human anatomy. And after the untimely death of her father, a revered anatomy professor, her ambition intensified. In her despair, she sees only one path, she desires only one thing: to continue her father’s work. But as she is confronted by the societal strangleholds of her sex, she finds the path to her dream laden with thorns. Her dream is declared unbecoming, unfeminine.

When Eleanor is banned from her father’s university by the newly-appointed professor, Dr. Hollioake, her goal of becoming an anatomist falls apart. She is left with a numb emptiness, and a longing she must silence. Her dream is dying.

Just when all seems lost, like-minded student Henry comes along and brings Eleanor from the precipice. He helps her find her way once again, and all reason and rationality that may have begun nesting in her mind vanish. A love begins.

Amidst the pressure of Victorian London society, and failed by her own sex, Eleanor’s dream is quickly becoming a nightmare. Caught between a world of body snatching and scandalous societies, her sister’s fall from grace, and a love she feels unworthy of, Eleanor verges on the brink of insanity.

So blinded by her passion and removed of any logic, she risks her sanity and her soul to keep her father’s memory alive, but soon discovers that to reach her dream she could lose so much more.”

What do you think? Would my blurb influence you to purchase Eleanor?

I’ve already noticed a number of differences in the advice I’ve received from The Book Doctors, and that offered by Natasha Lester in the course. The Book Doctors seemed to suggest authors should avoid writing rhetorical questions into their blurb/pitch, whereas Natasha Lester encourages it. I am inclined to agree with Natasha (as rhetorical questions are all over blurbs — I very rarely see a book without one), so I will put one back into my pitch.

Now, to comps
As you know, I’ve been working through my comps list, which is a list of novels that could be comparable to Eleanor — I pretty much have to read within the genre (and sometimes outside of) to find out. This list is something that will need to be included in the CV/cover letter for agents and publishers.

Dodger by Terry PratchettSince I was sick last week (I think this illness has been with me around two weeks now!), I struggled to finish Dodger. I failed to reach my deadline, which meant me having to start and finish reading The Casebook of Victor Frankenstein within four days. I did manage it though, haha!

I must say, I was a little disappointed with Dodger. I was expecting so much more. Apologies to Terry Pratchett fans! The plot and story weren’t really plausible in my opinion, and Dodger acted quite uncharacteristically, but as I’ve said before, it is a children’s book (a surprise considering some of the language!), so I can’t be too annoyed about that. And true to Oliver Twist style, there was an unbelievable happily ever after — which I despise. Well, not despise, but I do prefer tragedies (if that is still an apt term these days), or even the occasional open ending, because they are more realistic to me. A HEA with a marriage, for instance, makes me question what comes next. Surely a divorce, right? Since most marriages end in divorce? Anyway, maybe I’ll give myself some more time before I consider writing up a proper review of all these books I’ve been reading.

The Casebook of Victor Frankenstein is another story. I instantly fell in love with it. It will definitely make my comps list. It’s similar to Eleanor in language, style, and theme. I will look at more of Peter Ackroyd’s works now, to see if there are other novels to be added to my list.

I am also considering Natasha Lester’s works as possible comps too.

Next on the comps list?
I will be starting Wildthorn, by Jane Eagland, which sounds like it will be another amazing read. My lovely, supportive brother bought it for me for my birthday, along with the next book on my comps list (which I will tell you about next week!).

And, oh my god! The cover of Wildthorn is so pretty and shiny!

Now, I realise this blog post is getting quite long, so I think I will end it here. If I can think of any other updates I may have missed, I’ll put them in the next blog post.

But, one last teaser?
Okay, my lovely graphic designer, Phoenix Johnson, is working with me on ideas for my next project — a novel about the Marquis de Sade. I’m still thinking about titles at the moment, and even the story and plot are still coming together in my head. The cover will simply be a mock-up/teaser to help me commit to the project during National Novel Writing Month, much like how the cover for Eleanor came to be. But we’re also working on ideas for my second novel, Wings of Malice. As soon as the covers are made, you guys will be the first to see them!

Thanks again for joining me. See you next week!

Eleanor – done and dusted-ish

TeamBeta has finished going through Eleanor, and I’ve received very positive comments! Yay!

Eleanor by Cadence

My beta team did an absolutely amazing job of going through Eleanor. I had no idea the amount of typos still left in the manuscript. It’s quite embarrassing actually, but since I’ve read it so many times, I have been left blind to a lot of errors. Sorry to say, I’m not perfect. I am so grateful for TeamBeta’s eye. And… knowing that I’ve made my beta team cry (and not from poor writing) is pretty awesome. Sorry, but I feed off their tears! Mwahahaa!

Editor
So, now that I’ve harvested enough souls through my betas’ tears, it’s time to consider an editor. I have contacted one today. Fingers crossed they agree to take on Eleanor.

Meanwhile, I’m still tackling my comps list. I’ll soon be moving on from Dodger, by Terry Pratchett to The Casebook of Victor Frankenstein, by Peter Ackroyd. I would have liked to have Dodger finished by now, but I was quite ill last week. I’ve just now accrued a form of hives, which have spread all over my body. What fun!

Dodger has been an interesting read so far. It is not quite what I was expecting. I thought it would be more of a modern re-imagining of Oliver Twist, but it seems to be more of a prelude (possibly) to the events in Oliver Twist, focusing on Dodger’s life. I’m sure it will become clearer the further I delve into it. I am not too fond of some of the cameos, such as Charles Dickens himself, Sweeney Todd, and Benjamin Disraeli (though, that one addition seems to make a bit of sense at the very least). However, as I have been recently informed, Dodger is actually a children’s book (I had no idea. It could still very well work as a comp… maybe), so that may explain some of the choices made in the story/plot.

I am really looking forward to The Casebook of Victor Frankenstein.

I might leave it there this week. My doctor wants me to have plenty of rest. I never say no to naps, so I might just do that now.

Birthday break!

I am writing this a little earlier than usual as I will be jetting off (via car) for a wee birthday break in a couple of days. Yes, I will be older and wiser, and maybe even a little depressed because I’m still in denial about the ’90s being so long ago.

Professor Farnsworth

I’m pretty sure the ’90s was only 10 years ago.

Anyway, let’s move on from my mid-life crisis to more pressing matters.

Comps
I have almost finished Going Postal, by Terry Pratchett. In fact, I should finish it this evening (as in Thursday… evening). I have really enjoyed it, and I am looking forward to the ending. Adora Belle Dearheart is, of course, my favourite character. She is the main reason I am using Going Postal as a comp. Both she and Eleanor share quite a number of qualities, and I feel that Adora is the best example I can give of how Eleanor’s character is portrayed. If you’re confused, it’s because I watched the TV mini-series/film adaptation first. So I was already a little familiar with Miss Dearheart before I started reading.

Of course, Going Postal is still quite reminiscent of Victorian fiction, despite being set in the Discworld.

So, what’s coming next? I hear you ask. I have a few books I want to check out — I named a few last week including, The Goddess and the Thief by Essie Fox, Beloved by Toni Morrison, and The Casebook of Victor Frankenstein by Peter Ackroyd (I did want to start The Casebook of Victor Frankenstein next, but I won’t receive it for a while). However, as you know, I am very indecisive when it comes to… making decisions, so I thought I’d instead try and remain in the world of Terry Pratchett with Dodger. I thought I already had a copy of it lying around, but it seems I don’t. So, I need to somehow buy a copy between now and tomorrow, so I can ensure I keep to my deadline.

Dodger by Terry Pratchett

Dodger will make for a perfect comp, I believe (without having read it already!), and I’m certain it will be better than Oliver Twist (on which it’s based), because I really couldn’t stand that book! Hang on a sec…

Let the hate mail flow

There we go 😉

Look, I know I’m not the only person in the world to dislike Oliver Twist, so just calm down.

In other news…

Wings of Malice
I have been making great progress with Wings of Malice. I have set myself a daily goal for my edits, which will ensure I have a near-polished manuscript by the time National Novel Writing Month comes around, at which point I will once again abandon the project in order to start another 😉

National Novel Writing Month
As you may recall, I recently mentioned my project idea for this year’s NaNoWriMo. For the moment, I am still set on doing a piece on the Marquis de Sade. Though, I am still exploring other ideas as well. So far, I have planned for my edits of Wings of Malice to finish at the end of September. I will then spend October researching Sade (or at least refreshing my memory of what I learnt of him during university), and planning out the narrative. It will be an historical fiction piece, not nonfiction.

Anyway, I might leave it there, but please do join me next week for another update. There may just be some awesome news to reveal, and possibly some photos from my birthday trip. See you then!

Eleanor – Comps, cover letters, and courses

It’s getting to that stage where I will have to abandon my ‘noobness’ and start immersing myself fully into the world of post writing… stuff. For Eleanor’s sake. This will include building a platform (well, more so than I have), writing cover letters, reading comps, submitting to an editor, submitting to publishers, and I’m sure there are a tonne of other things I must do before I get promoted to ‘Competent Author’.

Comps
I have been continuing my read through of comparative works. My aim at the moment is to read one book a week. I’ve finished The House I Loved, by Tatiana de Rosnay, and now I’m onto Going Postal, by Terry Pratchett. I’m not certain what will be next on the list at this stage, but right now I’m considering The Goddess and the Thief (reminiscent of The Moonstone, by Wilkie Collins) by Essie Fox — if you recall, I bought it fairly recently with my haul of Marie Corelli and Daphne du Maurier books. Also on the list is Beloved, by Toni Morrison, however, since it was published in 1987 it may not make for a good comp. I’m told that it is best to find recently published works. Not sure if this is a strict ‘rule’, still, I will try to stick to more recent neo-Victorian works.

In my search for modern retellings of Frankenstein, I happened upon The Casebook of Victor Frankenstein, by Peter Ackroyd. It isn’t exactly the retelling I imagined (as is my understanding, at least), rather it is a story about Victor Frankenstein meeting Percy Bysshe Shelley, so of course, I immediately ordered it from Book Depository.

 

 

So, as you can see, I am accruing books faster than I am reading them and, of course, I have no room for them either. Seems a trip to IKEA for new bookcases is in order!

Cover letters
So, I have to start considering writing a cover letter for Eleanor, for when I submit to publishers. Problem is, I’ve never written one, and I don’t know how. From my understanding, it appears that I will have to discuss comps (which is why I am powering through so many books at the moment), or at least the marketability of Eleanor. But, never fear… because… (now, stay with me here)…

Courses
…I’ve happened upon a course — Pitch Your Novel: How to Attract Agents and Publishers — run by the Australian Writers’ Centre. I don’t usually enrol in courses like this, but I thought I’d give it a go. I was also excited to learn that Natasha Lester, author of If I Should Lose You and What is Left Over, After and former tutor of mine from Curtin University, is hosting the course. So, that was enough to win me over. I haven’t started the course yet, but fingers crossed I’ll find time this week, because…

and etc
… while all of this is happening (research and reading), I will be attempting to continue my work through Wings of Malice. I didn’t quite realise just how much it was I was undertaking until I wrote it all down just now!

Join me again next week for another update.