Chocolatier’s Wife

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The new edition of The Chocolatier’s Wife, now with lovely illustrations and amazing maps is out in hard cover.

The box came a couple days ago…it was really kind of wonderful, opening up the box and seeing my book in hardcover.  A real dust jacket, deep green cover underneath.  There is something that feels so — I don’t know, immortal about hard covers.  I know that probably sounds silly — I am sure I am not any more or less “immortal” than I ever was, but hard cover always felt like part of the big leagues.

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I was also at a signing at Wind Gate Winery.  I confess…I am not much on wine, but the setting was rather lovely.  Lots of wonderful authors, great food, and happiness.

Kathy Bryson featured me on her blog:  https://kathybryson.wordpress.com/2017/05/22/romance-magic-mystery-and-chocolate/  It was pretty awesome of her…and I’ve been checking out her work, she’s really good.

My TBR pile has mostly been the Benjamin January books.  I love that series so much (Barbara Hambly is amazing) but I just kept buying them for Christmas and not reading them, so I had a backlog of five books.  That’s been fun to read.

On June 7th, the word will see the cover for The Chocolatier’s Ghost…it looks amazing, and it’s by the same artist that did the ‘Wife.  On July 10th, I will be embarking on an awesome Blog tour!

I started working on the Fifteenth Princess this week…I started on this book mentally in January, when I was off sick for a week from work.

So that’s me caught up.

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Wwell, actually, not writing.  Editing.  I printed and scribbled all over the manuscript.  Mostly this seems to consist of asking myself snarky questions and circling 1.5 million ellipses.

No, really, if I had a buck for every ellipses, I could retire and be a hermit.

So, now I am correcting the ellipses (most of them become commas or periods and their attendant capitalized next word) and answering questions.  For example, a dead body at the beginning should match a dead body found later, MO wise, and if not, we both need to know why and believe it.

Fun fact:  I opened up a copy of The Chocolatier’s Wife today, to confirm the spelling of one of my main character’s last names.  The woman is Cecelia, and she was all over CW and is even more important in this book.  I adore her.  In my head she looks like Zoe from Firefly, but dresses more like a Romany.

And I am reminded that in CG, she is not called Cecelia.  She is called Ailaini. Says so right in the original published PDF.

And I stared at the screen and I was like, why the hell did I do that?  She has always been Cecelia, in my head.  But at the time, the editor pointed out that Cecelia was not a very exotic name.  Cecelia…or Ailaini, as she must be called…is from the tropical island Stairs and Alyssen.  So, her name had to match who she was.

But, thankfully, God gave us find and replace.

Ailaini and her village were attacked by pirates, and enslaved.  But William and his crew freed them.  She didn’t want to go back to her life before, so she got Isan Dietson, William’s second in command, to marry her.  She’s a widow, she works at the Chocolate Shop and is fast friends with both William and Tasmin, but she’s been hiding a secret.

I love her because she embraces life beautifully.  She loves deeply – she embraces her new community by dancing blessing patterns early in the morning in the sand, to help Azin shore and her people thrive.  She reads the worst pulp novels she can find and passes them on the William.  She teases Tasmin and gives her a sister the other woman never knew she needed but now can’t live without.

She’s amazing and witty and I hope you will adore her, too.

But she’s still Cecelia, in my head.

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Ii often have fictional crushes.  I never really crush on actors…I crush on characters, how they inhabit the roles and what they bring out of themselves to fill out the character.  I once sat and tried to see if this was a window into what I wanted in an ideal mate, and I had to say, probably not.

I loved Tom Pullings sweetness and confidence, William Mowett’s poetic warrior spirit.  Boromir – and Richard Sharpe’s innate nobility and bravery.  I will almost always have a crush on Athos, though I am not sure why – he is a problematic favorite in many ways, but perhaps it is that idea that you can heal someone and make their lives better and then live forever after in devoted bliss.  Let me assure you, honestly, that I am quite certain that in real life that would be a path to shame and despair.

I like Daryl Dixon a lot…all competence and strength and such development over the years.  The Darkling from the Grisha series, even though, of course, one would say he is even more problematic than Athos.

I like stories, and I like men with stories.  I like kind men, wise men, competent men.  Men with scars on their faces or on their hearts, yes, but not really tortured souls, though I fear that is crack in my fictional crush life.  (Hello, Snape.)

Sometimes the crushes are fleeting, two hours, three, and I am done.  Sometimes they inhabit my head, whisper me stories that I take apart and change and make my own.

In other worlds, I have been writing again, and am less —  when I am stopped in my writing I feel grumpy and discontent — so that uncomfortable feeling has faded.  Something Horrid that I was going to do to Tasmin at the end of the book (to lead to the next book) happened much earlier, and I am glad.  Because it works, and because I don’t really like cliffhangers.  I like to finish a story — what if I die and never write another book?

I am reading Amy Tan’s The Valley of Amazement.  I am unsure how I feel about the book.  I love Amy Tan’s work, but — nothing at all to do with her writing — I am frustrated by the story itself, because I am not sure if I like where it is going.  I will give it every chance, which isn’t hard…It’s AMY TAN, and the writing is very involving…but I wonder if I will really be happy at the end.  We shall see.  Then I will have to make that decision I hate — should I keep a book on my shelves because I own a ton others by the author?  Or should I get rid of it?  There’s a weird bit of me that likes being complete, at least when it comes to books.

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Ii am seriously made happy by a package I got in the mail the other day…if you are on FB or Twitter you already saw it, but what can I say?  I am easily made happy.  (Well, not too easily, packing and buying and shipping this was not, I am sure, easy.)

Cates chocolate

But, a reader/friend from Dorset sent me a box of chocolates, a lovely card, and sherbet lemons.  I have not had the chocolates yet…I am enchanted by the fact they look like something that William, from The Chocolatier’s Wife, would make, but I wanted to save them for a few days.

I did have the sherbet lemons…I thought they might be sour, but they aren’t, and I love them…I love lemon, so these are fantastic.  They do taste like sherbet, and I – you can call me a silly American, but I am especially tickled to be eating something out of a bag that has the pound sign on it.  I have always harbored a not so secret love of the UK, and this just feeds (ha, ha) into it.

Nothing else really going on…Autumn is here, and when the days are bright and crisp, I’m excited.  It smells lovely, you can take long walks, enjoy the rustle of leaves.  But then, it gets cold and cruddy and I grumble about the Great Inevitable and wonder if it is too soon to just start wearing my sweater collection to work.  Last Saturday I forwent going to a fencing event to put away things and do yard work, and heard that I missed out on intermittent snow.   This is not my sad face.

Some students entered me in for Cal U’s Presidential Merit Award — I am not eligible because I am staff, not faculty — but it was nice to see that I am appreciated.  I know that I am, but sometimes it is nice to get a reminder.  The letter focused on my work with the fencing and medieval clubs, so the pool of suspects is pretty small.  :)

 

 

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Ii am trying to get words back into my head.  When I write the world is just there and it
fills my head up, and everythingis fine.  But right now, my head is so empty (no snark, please) that I am
having a hard time trying to decide what to do next.  I am leaning heavily towards trying to figure out
how I screwed up The Chocolatier’s Ghost, especially since I need to do   a semi-re-read of The
Chocolatier’s Wife so I can insert illustrations for a hopefully to someday come out hard cover edition.
(I know, right?  HARDCOVER.)

And I want to draw a map.  I need to draw one so we can see where all my lands
are — Pandroth and Berengeny and the new island in the new book, whose name escapes me — and not
someday
mix up my geography.

That’s the danger of writing a series.
Every time you publish a book you publish hard and fast rules that you need to make sure of,
for consistency.

I’d written a rant and got worried that I would offend someone, so I took it out.  I try and be kind, but…sometimes.

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Today until the 18th, you to can snag a copy of The Chocolatier’s Journal for free…no quests, no comments, just grab and go here.

A couple of times people said that they can’t have these things because they don’t have a Kindle. I don’t, either…I read Kindle stuff on my PC and iPad. There’s software on the site here.

I am really kind of pleased that it’s free…it was meant to be a teaser, and I do worry to a certain extent that people will be disappointed because they are purely fantasy and no mystery, but the William one does build towards a possible sequel.

Now to go make myself some Monkey King tea. I am absolutely obsessed with Numi monkey King right now. It’s lovely. Especially in a pottery cup…do you ever notice that? That a pottery cup is better for certain teas that your normal glazed porcelain? I think it might be because, though the pottery cups are glazed, there is still a little porousness that changes something. I find that it takes the edges off Earl Grey nicely.

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Hello! So, The Chocolatier’s Wife is on sale for .99 cents over on Amazon Kindle…just in case you need something happy to read during the Holidays…in fact, the book has a definite holiday feel. While it is set in a fantasy world, the clothes, the general feel was meant to evoke the Regency, and part of the mystery takes place during their equivalent of Christmas.

While you are there you might see The Chocolatier’s Journal, which you can get for free if you follow any of these easy steps…

The sale lasts until the 27th.

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Ever since I did my Kindle Give Away of the Chocolatier’s Wife (and if you missed out, we’re running a .99 cent deal for the book, starting December 23rd) I’ve been fascinated with free eBooks. In the US alone CW was downloaded 10,300 times, and I wonder how many of those were people who were like, “Oh, that sounds cool…I’ll snag it and try and read it someday” and who probably will never get around to it. I wonder because I find myself looking at the Kindle free-bestseller lists and going “That could be cool.” a lot and not reading much right away. This is partly because I’m not a big eReader. I’m a fan…more people buy my books as eBooks than as paper…but I love reading books. So if it’s a choice between reading a eBook or a regular book, eBooks still lose out.

I do like using the kindle app on my iPad to read teasers, though…I download sample chapters to see if I would like to read a certain person. So I can easily see reading whole books on the iPad if I can’t get them any other way…otherwise, I’ll probably read parts of the free eBooks I’ve downloaded, then go and find it in paper if I like it enough.

So, how about you guys? Do you have more free eBooks downloaded than you will ever read? Or do you have more self control than I do?

I confess, I do this with real books, too…the fact that I don’t have much book space for what I have now doesn’t seem to deter me. It’s my retirement plan…maybe I won’t be able to fence when I’m a little old lady, but I will have plenty to read. Now to pray that I don’t lose my sight…

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So, I’ve been telling people about the fact that my book is a) out and b) being given away. You can find out more,  here . (Yay! Look! A free book! So much easier to advertise than a book for sale.)

This whole thing has been a different experience. I’ve written three books now…and God help me, hopefully I’ll have another one done…(It’s not that I don’t have ideas, it’s just…time.) and each one has been its own experience.  Blue Moon I wrote second, but it got published first, and it was a lovely book that said some things I wanted to say.  Unbalanced was my first book, and like every first child it’s the one where you try hard to learn to be a good parent and maybe you succeed and maybe you don’t, but at the end of the day it’s partly your inexperience that forms it. Every once in awhile I see reviews and I’m surprised by how much people like the book. I know it’s not my best, so I have a hard time with it, but when I step away from it, I see that it is a solid book that has a lot to offer. (Or, otherwise, my long suffering editor at Zumaya…Hiya, Liz! would not have bothered with it.)

But my favorite has always been The Chocolatier’s Wife.  I still remember working hard on it, I remember how everything just came together. And the reviews have all been positive. In some cases seriously positive…and I felt like I could brag about it. I didn’t feel apologetic…and because of who I am, it is easy for me to feel guilty, to feel badly. I’m getting over it, though.

So, it was a blow to me when the press closed and the book was no longer on the shelves, so to speak. But now, we have it back. I feel better again, more like an author.

I received copies of the book in the mail yesterday, and I sat on the porch swing and opened the bag. The cover is not glossy this time, it’s a matte finish that feels like silk. When you flip it over, there are reviews from various places praising my book. when you open it, in the back, there’s an excerpt from the short story that’s coming out. There are covers…for other people’s books, for my short story collection (Wishes and Sorrows…more on that later) and for the anthology that will be coming out soon.

The cover of the anthology is beautiful (Howard David Johnson is amazing) and it lists…Nancy Kress, Peter S. Beagle, Patricia C. Wrede. And then it lists me. Authors whose books I’ve owned, read, loved. And my name next to theirs. (Along with several others…not saying anything against my other co-authors, who are spectacular in their own right.)

So, it’s sort of like…wow. It’s one of those moments where you feel a little bit closer to being able to say you are making it. That feeling that maybe people will read my books and stories and fall in love a little. It was a good moment.

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Today (first things first) I am featured on the Epic Blog today, and it’s a pretty fun interview.  Lots of good questions…I tried to be clever.

You know what the bane of my writing is?  Getting fascinated with characters in a movie, book, TV show, whatever…that are nothing like the characters that I’m actually trying to write about.  My mind is all “I want to spend time with THIS ONE!  You know what we could do?  We could day dream about…”  I fight being a fan girl (between being a fan girl and trying to write out personal things in my life so they make sense, that makes this blog pretty bare….) because…I don’t know.   I guess there’s a perception that I’m trying to avoid.

And then, I discovered tumblr.  Well, my friend Kala made a fencing club tumblr, and then I gave into temptation and became fan girly over some character and went looking and saw that, instead of like in the days of yore, when all the pictures were in galleries attached to message boards, most fan stuff seems to happen on tumblr.  Even for obscure TV shows you thought you were the only one interested in watching.

SO.  I now have a tumblr.  Which, like my Pinterest page, will probably be more about things and people that I think are pretty than, well, my books and stuff.  But I suppose we will live.

 

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