Once More With Feeling

It’s Fibre Friday, and I do have a sweater to share with you this week.

Sometimes knitting is a lot like writing. You embark on an adventure, follow it through to the end, then realize that there was a flaw way back at the beginning, which can’t be fixed without unraveling the whole thing and doing it again.

This sweater was like that.

First, the yarn. This is Noro Silk Garden in a colourway that I just love. (#8 Other people must love it too, because it’s one that is still in production.) I think I’ve had the yarn for about 15 years, because every time I knit it, I’m less than thrilled with the result. I frog it, returning the yarn to the wilds of the stash, then sooner or later, cast it on again.

In 2011 (Ravelry provides scary historical data.) I cast it on for Jane Ellison’s Basic Fitted Cardigan. (That’s a Rav link.) I finished (I think) in August 2011 and here’s the blog post the prove it. The problem was that the sweater didn’t fit overly well. It was too wide in the shoulders and looked sloppy. The sleeves were also long (partly because that shoulder seam wasn’t where it should be) and the cuffs were tight. I thought I’d wear it anyway, as a casual sweater, but every time I tried it on, I quickly took it off again.

Frist Noro Silk Garden Cardi I hated how it looked. The yarn cost too much for that kind of whimsy, so I tossed the sweater into the knitting basket while I thought about it. In the end, I reknit the fronts and the back, then shortened the sleeves at the cuff. It has different buttons this time, too.

Here’s the result. It doesn’t look that different, but now it fits! The Silk Garden won’t be frogged this time.

Noro Silk Garden #2 knitted by Deborah Cooke

I took this second picture at night, so had to use the flash. It really changed the appearance of the colour – the first shot is a more accurate representation of the colours.

Update on AudioBooks

LilMissMolly was asking about the audio-editions of my books, so I thought I’d give you an update. This week, I just approved the final audio for The Rose Red Bride. That means it has to go through an approval process and be listed for sale—it will probably be available in about two weeks.

The Rose Red Bride, a medieval romance by Claire DelacroixThis book took longer to record because the narrator who is doing these books (Saskia Maarleveld) has been really busy. (I’m not her only fan, it’s clear.) She’s busy in 2015, as well, which means that although The Snow White Bride and The Ballad of Rosamunde are contracted for recording, they probably won’t be available for sale until May or so.

I love the sound of Saskia’s voice and the way she manages to make all of the family members at Kinfairlie sound distinct, but her schedule is making me think about future books. So, I have some questions for all of you who listen to audiobooks.

• Would you be troubled if The True Love Brides audiobooks were narrated by someone else?

• Do you prefer male or female narrators?

• Do you have any favourite narrators for historical romances?

BookPulse

One of the nifty things I’ve learned about recently is an app called BookPulse. (My virtual assistant Angie found it and installed it for me, which is very cool.) Now my books have been added to my Facebook pages, on a tab called My Books. There are excerpts, quotes and reviews, plus buy links. There are more features available and I need a few new banners for series, but right now, this is where it’ll rest for a bit. (I need to write about dragons and Angie has other jobs to do first.) “Claire” also needs more backlist titles added to her page.

If you’re logged into FB, on my Claire Delacroix FB page, you can see the books right here.

On my Deborah Cooke FB page, they’re right here.

Or you can check them out on BookPulse: Delacroix books here, or Cooke books here.

Hmm. I forgot the fallen angels! I’ll have to go back in later this week and add them.

Firestorm Forever – The Big Book

Firestorm Forever, A Dragonfire Novel and paranormal romance by Deborah CookeFirestorm Forever, as you all know, is the final Dragonfire novel. Some of you may know that there are three firestorms in this book, and that it takes place over a year. This has necessitated some choices on my part.

First off, there’s the structure of the book itself. Ideally, each of those three firestorms would have been individual books—to hold to the model of the previous Dragonfire novels—but the nature of the story made that impossible. The three firestorms are entwined and influence each other, AND they all come to their happy conclusion around the same time. Because the three romances are concurrent and interwoven, I decided they should all be in one book.

Secondly, the book is long. Every time I look at it, it gets longer. This makes sense, as there can’t be three firestorms (and the world saved) in 95,000 words, but also creates some structural issues. If we were still in the realm of print-only books (or if a print publisher was making the publication decisions) this book would have been split in half, into Part I and Part II, which then would have been sold separately. This would be like a serialization, and Part I would end with a cliff-hanger. I think this is not a really good solution for a paranormal romance, because just about nothing is resolved after Part I. As a reader, cliff-hanger endings make me feel a bit cheated, like I have to pay for two books to get the whole story.

Firestorm Forever *is* split in half, but both halves are in the same volume. So, when you get to the cliff-hanger at the end of Part I, you just have to turn the page to find out what happens next. :-) This means that the print book will be a big volume, but I’m checking out some ideas as to how best to deal with that.

The third thing is that I’ve discovered that I needed to create The Dragonfire Companion at the same time as writing Firestorm Forever, to ensure that I don’t miss any loose ends. This is a huge job—although it’s fun, it’s taking a LOT of time.

So, there just aren’t enough hours between now and March to get all of this done, and ensure that it’s edited and proofed the way I want. As a result, the publication date for Firestorm Forever has moved to May 13. That’s two months later than the original publication date,. I’m sorry to make this change, but it had to be done. On the upside, The Dragonfire Companion will probably be published this summer, which is sooner than I’d expected.

If you pre-ordered at iBooks or Kobo, the date for fulfilling your order has been updated. If you pre-ordered at Amazon, your pre-order has been cancelled. Amazon does not allow any changes to be made to publication dates on books available for pre-order.

The Experiment

In the quest to do things better and more efficiently, I’ve done some analysis of the year past to plan for the year ahead. One of the things bugging me has been the sales of my print editions. I’ve made them available to the widest number of portals, but that’s meant that the prices on the trade paperbacks have ended up higher than I’d like. There aren’t that many units selling through extended distribution, particularly of backlist titles. I think this might be because there are still used mass market editions out there available cheaply for many of those titles.

So, the experiment begins. I’ve made all of my backlist titles available exclusively through Amazon. This means that the prices have dropped on those editions, particularly in the US. They’ve also dropped a bit in the UK. The difference is pretty significant: instead of most of these titles having a list price of $14.99US and £9.99, they’re now list-priced at $9.99US and £7.99. Some of the longer books—like Fallen—are still more than $10, but not as highly priced as before.

This experiment DOES NOT include the new titles that I’ve indie-published, like The Dragon Legion Collection and Serpent’s Kiss, the True Love Brides Series, Abyss and Beguiled.

Firestorm Forever WILL HAVE extended distribution, too.

We’ll see how this shakes out, then I’ll decide what to do with the Champions of St. Euphemia. Stay tuned!

Romance Canadian Style Blog

Last year, I was invited to guest blog at the Romance Canadian Style blog, and it was great. (Here’s the permalink to that post, which is about using Canadian settings in my books.) I was really pleased to be invited this past month to become one of the authors regularly blogging at that site.

You’ll be able to find me over there on the 23rd of each month.

That would be today! Today, I’m talking about thriving in a Canadian January, instead of just surviving it. The subject is ironic since I’ve just spent a few weeks sick, but I had planned the post in advance.

Here’s the permalink to my post.