Thirteen months after releasing Rest For The Wicked, book 1 of The Claire Wiche Chronicles, I am writing the final book of the series.
Working on this book is exciting, sad, and bittersweet. I have spent more than a year with Claire, Annie, Marcus, and Eric, and the assorted characters that came along in later books. Simon was meant to be a one-off in book 2, and stubbornly hung around. And Zach – he has been the biggest surprise, and an absolute delight for me to discover. More on his future in a bit.
It has been a wild ride, and I’ve met some incredible people along the way. I want to take some time to thank all of you.
To my beta readers – Theresa, Tamara, Jessica, Rhonda and Grace. You all helped shape the stories into what they are, and I couldn’t have done it without you.
To my cover artist, Nadica – you gave life to Claire, Annie, and the series. I will always cherish the connection we have made, and the friendship we are building across an ocean.
To Christine from Indie Author Services – thank you for stepping in and playing font detective when I was in a bind. You have turned Nadica’s art into beautiful covers.
To Janet from Dragonfly Editing – you found all my goofs and bobbles, and your support and enjoyment of my stories has been such a thrill to experience.
To my contest winners, who changed the stories in ways I never could have imagined, and added a depth that would not have been there without your characters. Thank you Theresa, Mindy, Michelle, and Penni. You will always be an important part of Claire’s story.
To my fellow authors, who reached out a hand when I needed it – you have enriched my writing, and my life. I wouldn’t be where I am without your support, and your advice.
And to my readers – you all are just amazing. The emails and comments you send my way feel like hugs, and I appreciate each and every one of you.
And when I write The End, will it be the end? Not exactly.
Zach will be striking out on his own, with a surprise partner, finding his way in the world – always with the support of Claire and company.
And there will be more coming later this year. Look for a new YA paranormal series – I am already writing it, and having an absolute blast. Plus I finally share the story behind the story – how Claire and Annie met.
A busy year for me, with endings, beginnings, and a few surprises.
I hope you all come along for the ride.
Until next time – read on.
I was first introduced to Cardiff through Doctor Who, and then, as an avid fan of Torchwood, I became fascinated by the glimpses of this city, especially the Bay. I finally visited for the first time in 2009, and immediately fell in love. I’ve been back twice since then.
Cardiff has a vibrancy, an energy that simply embraces you. With the winding streets of the city center, the shopping arcades, the gorgeous Cardiff Bay, I found a place that doesn’t feel like a city.
You have to know this about me – I hate big cities. London is a huge exception, and it has always been a love/hate affair with me. I love most things about it, but hate others.
Cardiff was a completely different experience. From the moment I rounded the corner out of the train station and got my first glimpse of the River Taff, with beautiful rowhouses along one side,
and the surprisingly appealing Millennium Stadium on the other, I felt at home.
And wandering simply enforced my first impression.
Cardiff is easy to get to – by train or bus – and easy to get around. You can shop in one of the arcades, each with its own personality. Or stroll through lovely Bute Park, with Cardiff Castle keeping watch over you.
Head over to Cardiff Bay, by bus or the highly recommended water bus, which picks up down the park near Canton Bridge. Here Torchwood fans will recognize one of the entries to the Hub,
in front of the stunning Millennium Centre.
I saw a concert here, with one of my favorite singer/actors, Lee Mead. Gorgeous – and so was the theatre.
Fellow Doctor Who fanatics will adore the Doctor Who Exhibition, in the the Red Dragon Centre just across the street.
I plan to visit again, and again, and enjoy simply being back in Cardiff.
Thanks for coming along, hope you enjoyed it! Here’s another glimpse of my favorite city.
and one of the Bay’s regular residents.
And here’s one more – a bit of quirky fun in one of the shopping arcades. And in front of a church, no less. Yep, a church in the middle of shops. The arcade was built around it. Gotta love the Welsh.
Unfortunately, it is no longer there. But I enjoyed walking past it when it graced the arcade.
I hope you enjoyed my wander through Cardiff – now I want to go back. Soon.
Until next time – read on.
Now that I have your attention, it’s time to announce the happenings for the release of Annie’s Song.
You all have been so patient, and now that patience is about to be rewarded.
First up – from April 8 until the
16th 21st, The Claire Wiche Chronicles Volumes 1-3 will be on sale. One time only, to help you get caught up for the release.
Next – a chance to win a swag bag: a tote with the cover of Annie’s Song on it, plus some crystals that relate to the series, plus some exclusive bookmarks, and on top of that a surprise giftie, rounded out with a $25 gift card from the retailer of your choice.
The entry is easy: simply comment here or on my Facebook page between now and April 30. Every comment equals an entry. On May 6, after I come back from the RT Booklovers Convention (so excited!) I will post the winner on Facebook.
And, on release day – which will be around April 26 – I will be giving away more exclusive bookmarks. Just come and hang out on Facebook with me for a chance to win.
So much going on – now, off to finish those last minute edits before it goes off for a final read. So close – and thank you all for being patient, with only a minimum of poking.
Until then – comment away for a chance to win that swag bag. And, of course – read on.
Happy Friday all! I can’t believe it’s Friday again – the time simply flies when you’re in final edits.
Here is my weekly photo fun for you – my second home in London. Enjoy!
I love London – it has been a regular stop for me as I roam across Britain. It can be overwhelming, but I take the city in small chunks, and thoroughly explore. Today I’d like to introduce you to my favorite part of this ancient, fascinating place.
South Bank is my London – where I hang out when I’m not running frantically around the city trying to see as much as possible. It has been my favorite part of London since my first visit there, and it has been my joy, my privilege to watch it change and evolve over the last 15 years.
Here are just a few of the, yep, hundreds of photos I’ve taken of this fab and fun place.
~ Riding the river.
I always take a trip on the Thames – not only is it an adventure in itself, it is also a new and fascinating view of this city.
Nothing better than sitting in an open boat, watching the world go by. *happy sigh*
~ Borough Market. One of my favorite markets ever, this is where I mix with locals, enjoy samples, and buy a picnic to eat as I walk along the Thames.
I’m not normally big on crowds, but here I love to mix in, talk to the vendors, and chat up the people around me. Always a great experience.
~ Site of original Globe Theatre. At the edge of a parking lot in a residential area, this is where the original stood – not far from the current reconstruction.
A small marker is also the only thing Sam Wanamaker found when he came to London, searching for Shakespeare. It prompted him to start the long process of building the Globe that we all love today.
~ Shakespeare’s Globe. This is what drew me to South Bank, all those years ago. Having read Shakespeare since I was in 6th grade, and performing it in high school, I was thrilled to be able to stand in what his theatre could have been, back in the days he wrote and acted in his plays. I was not disappointed.
Standing in the yard as a groundling, part of the action, is a not to be missed experience.
~ Millennium Bridge. This connects South Bank to north, and offers stunning views up and down the river.
I cross this bridge several times a day when I’m in London – it’s a fun, fast way to get from one side of the river to the other. And the view can’t be beat!
I could go on and on – and I have, boring family and friends many times.
I hope you enjoyed this little journey along my favorite part of London. If you are ever there, make it part of your own journey – you won’t regret it!
Until next time – read on.
Okay – since Facebook is having issues, I am going to post my photos this way from now on, and link them over for you.
Ah, Hadrian’s Wall. After years of reading about it, I finally got the chance to spend a week there, exploring the forts, the evocative ruin of a priory, and the gorgeous countryside. Here are some of my favorite shots, starting with one of the outer wall of Housesteads, a typical fort on the Wall. Just looking at them makes me want to go back. *happy sigh* And yes, that is tall grass pushed sideways by the wind. It’s quite brisk up there.
Though Housesteads was built on a rather steep hill, the floor of every building is completely level. This will give you a better view.
Gotta admire the Roman ingenuity.
Up next, the one shot I took that always stuns me, because it simply captures the feel and the vastness of the countryside. It is at Vindolanda, another fort on the Wall. They are excavating here, and making some amazing discoveries. This is actually outside the fort, where family of the soldiers stayed, and businesses sprang up.
All the green you see just behind the sycamore is for future excavation, where the fort is buried under centuries of landfill. It is estimated that it will take 150 years to finish. Yep – years. Here is a better look at it.
One more before I go – okay, two. There is a priory I passed every day, coming out of Carlisle. You can walk to the Wall from here, but I stopped to see the ruins, and the working church attached to it. It is Lanercost, and has a long and vivid history of its own.
When I visited, there was a choir rehearsal in progress. The church is actually attached to the ruin, sharing a wall. Now just imagine, standing here, alone,
and hearing voices raised in song, echoing around you, like a whisper from the past. It was incredible.
And there you have it. I hope you enjoyed taking this journey with me. It was hard choosing just a few from the hundreds I took during my visit.
Please feel free to share your own photos and adventures over on my Facebook page.
See you next week, with more photos and adventures.
Until then – read on.
And here we are, at the end of the journey.
All told, it took less than three weeks for Nadica to create this cover for me, from first sketch to final artwork, with several changes – a couple big ones – along the way. As usual, I thoroughly enjoyed working with her, and I look forward to our next cover together.
Interested in seeing her work? I originally found her through Deviant Art, and fell in love with the sense of movement in her work, and the fine detail. You can check out her gallery here. She does beautiful work, is a dream to collaborate with, and I am so grateful we connected.
Okay – the moment you’ve been waiting for. *Drumroll*
Here is the final cover art for Annie’s Song:
There were a few changes – and yes, some apologies on my end. But Nadica, always gracious, said it was no problem, and gave me this gorgeous, jaw dropping piece of artwork that I can call my very own. *happy sigh*
It fits perfectly with my other covers, and introduces Annie in beautiful, vibrant color.
Now my fab cover designer, Christine, will do her magic, turning it into the perfect ebook and paperback cover.
So, there you have it, the journey of a book cover. I have been fortunate – I found an artist who is not only incredibly talented, but also respects deadlines. I plan on keeping her.
Remember to leave a comment on this post, and you will have a chance to win an advance copy of Annie’s Song for your ereader, and some exclusive swag!
I will announce the winner on my Facebook page this Friday, so get those comments in!
Thank you for hanging out with me this week. I hope you enjoyed this behind the scenes peek at what goes into creating a book cover.
See you soon, and until next time – read on.
Welcome back! Ready to see the next picture?
I know, I made you wait long enough. Here is what Nadica sent, after receiving my corrections:
I emailed her with three words: I love it! And I did – it was exactly what I pictured in my head. Two best friends looking out for each other, ready to take on the next adventure.
Then she sent me the background art:
Yeah. I stared at it for about half an hour, absolutely speechless.
I told her the story takes place in Ireland (it has been moved to England, but the image still works beautifully), and that I wanted a background of some soft misty greens to reflect that.
Once again, she went far above and beyond, and sent me this gorgeous piece of work.
After looking at this, and looking at the picture of the two women, I knew I had some decisions to make.
And they were probably going to include apologies.
What we came up with is now the stunning, final cover art for Annie’s Song – which will be revealed tomorrow.
You knew that was coming, didn’t you?
Join me tomorrow, and take a moment to comment on the blog – because one lucky reader will win an advance copy of Annie’s Song for their ereader, and some exclusive swag!
Until then, have a fab week - and read on.
Good morning! Over the next three days, I’m going to take you through the journey of creating the cover art for my upcoming book, Annie’s Song, ending with the reveal of the final cover art.
So come along, and see how a cover is made.
My artist, Nadica, has done all my covers for The Claire Wiche Chronicles, and the cover for Last Chance Jack, and The Barricade, a novella I’m releasing later this year. Once I’m well into the first draft of the book, this is my process:
- I contact Nadica, and let her know I’m ready for the next cover
- once she says she’s ready, I send a description, and an idea of what I want on the cover
- she sends me the first sketch for any changes
And here is the initial sketch:
It’s simple, but it lets me know we’re both headed in the same direction with the design.
After a day or so, she sends me the first colored bit:
This is Claire – just half of the duo I want on the cover. Annie is the other half, and I sent Nadica a detailed description, since this is the first time she would be drawing Annie. I added a few small changes – Claire’s dress, and a reminder of her hair length, which changed over the course of a couple books.
This is what she sent me:
Hello, Annie! It’s a thrill for me to see one of my characters come to life, and Nadica has always been a genius at practically reading my mind. Once I approve what she’s done so far, or ask for adjustments, she sends me the next bit – which you will see tomorrow.
And there you have it: the first baby steps. We have it down to a science, after working together for a year now. Wow – that’s a milestone for me.
Coming next time – two girls and a conundrum, and a background that left me speechless.
See you then, and until next time – read on.
Good morning! As promised, here is part 2 of the real life to character interviews.
I’d like you to meet Penni, who just enchanted me with her contest entry. I couldn’t choose between the two, which is why I ended up with two winners, instead of the one I had planned.
Here we go – again!
Tell everyone a bit about yourself.
*Waves excitedly* Hi everyone! I’m happy to be here. My name is Penni and I am a mother of three wonderful daughters. I am normally terrible at this introduce yourself stuff so bear with me! lol I am just me… bookworm, video game geek, and paranormal investigator. My time goes from getting my daughters ready for school, to cleaning the house, and playing World of Warcraft or reading in my quiet time. I help run a Paranormal investigations group, when health allows it I go on the investigations as well. Nothing big mind you, but it is amazing the things you find!
Why did you enter the contest?
I entered the contest because I thought it would be amazing to be part of a story! Think about it… have you ever been immersed in a book and daydreamed about being a part of it? And to be written into such a great series is totally an honor.
What was your first thought when you found out you won?
OMG No way! I actually re-read the email a couple times before it sank in. I was squealing a tad loud. Oh ok really loud! Hubby came upstairs to ask me if I was going crazy. lol
Did you enjoy answering the character questions?
Yes! Granted I asked a few of my friends what they thought, because some of the questions I had never thought about before! lol
What are you most excited about?
Oh goodness! I would have to say all the above! Now I get to read a book and immerse myself into that world in more ways than one! I will actually be a part of it!
What are you hoping will happen to the fictional you?
Well I am not sure really. I am still in the “excited that I am going to be in a book” phase! Hmmm…. well I hope that I am a character people will want more of. hehe
Would you do this again, if given the chance?
Oh definitely! The process was fun, so I can only imagine what the book actually coming out will be like!
Any final comments?
I just want to say Thank you again to Cate for this opportunity. I feel honored to be a part of all this.
Thank you, Penni! I am thrilled that you enjoy the series enough to want to be a part of it. I loved getting to know more about you – and that paranormal investigation gig? We need to talk more about that.
I am having a blast writing your character – and like Michelle, there is a good chance she will make a return visit in another book.
And there you have it – same questions, two wildly different interviews. As individual and unique as their characters.
Thank you again for taking the time to hang out with me. I hope you enjoyed the interviews. Coming up next week: the first teaser excerpt.
And as another teaser, the first sketch of the next cover. I am already in discussions with my cover artist, and I can’t wait to share the process with you.
See you next week, and until then – read on.