Thank you so much, Cathy and Serena of Copperfish Books in Punta Gorda, Florida for hosting me on Tuesday night! These ladies are passionate about reading and learning and I was honored to hold a book talk and signing at Copperfish on Mardi Gras evening! We drank wine, ate cheese, and discussed reading, writing, and wine making with a full house of readers. Thanks for such a fun evening!!
Don’t have a valentine? So what? Pair these love stories with wine and you’ll have a ready-made date and an evening filled with laughter, romance and intrigue!
The Hatmaker’s Heart by Carla Stewart with 2012 SeaGlass Sauvignon Blanc
Persuasion by Jane Austen with Donelan Wines’ 2012 Nancie Chardonnay
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte with 2012 Decoy Cabernet Sauvignon
I’m honored to announce that The Vintner’s Daughter has been selected by Kathy Murphy as a Pulpwood Queens bonus book selection for February! As many of you know, from my recent social media posts, I had the pleasure of spending the Jan 15-18 weekend with tiara-wearing Pulpwood Queen Book Club members and over thirty accomplished authors at the 15th Annual Pulpwood Queens Girlfriend Weekend in Nacogdoches, TX. Kathy Murphy started the Pulpwood Queens Book Club out of her beauty salon in East Texas fifteen years ago, and it has blossomed into the largest meeting and discussing book club ever, with over 650 chapters worldwide!
Girlfriend Weekend is a celebration of good books and friendship–with flashes of cheetah-print and pink feather boas–and a wonderful silent auction to support the Dolly Parton Imagination Library. Our hosts, Pulpwood Queen Kathy Murphy and NYT Bestselling Author Jamie Ford, guided us through an exciting weekend of Texas barbecque, author talks and signings, The Great Big Ball of Hair Ball (amazing costumes), and the announcement that Dreamworks is making Kathy’s autobiography, The Pulpwood Queen’s Tiara-Wearing, Book-Sharing Guide to Life, into a big-screen movie!
Thank you, Pulpwood Queens and my fellow authors, for a fabulous time! To join a Pulpwood Queens Book Club near you, to start your own, or to sign up for Girlfriend Weekend 2016, click here!
Click here to view my Pinterest Board, where I share photos of historic wineries from my most recent trip to California Wine Country!
Listen to Tavia Gilbert read The Vintner’s Daughter
Could you describe the process of creating an audio book, from the moment you receive the manuscript to the final production stages?
I’m sent a digital manuscript of the print book by an audiobook publisher, and I open the manuscript in iAnnotate on my iPad. I read the manuscript closely, marking the script carefully with various highlighters and underline tools; I mark every unfamiliar word or term I need to research in red. Every new character is highlighted in purple. Every bit of character description is marked in orange. Chapter headings are marked in yellow. In a scene with various characters in dialogue, especially those without attributions (“Jane said,” “Richard answered”), each character’s line of dialogue will be underlined in a different color, so I can visually track the flow of the back and forth of the conversation without missing a beat. Dialogue direction (“he growled,” “she hissed,” “she shouted”) is marked in green, so that I can deliver the dialogue with a touch of that suggestion. Character’s specific vocal qualities are marked in blue (“his textured baritone,” “her adenoidal squeak”), so that I know what the writer has offered for vocal characterizations. I research all the red terms, often in partnership with the writer. If the book has many characters, I’ll make a character chart where I break out different aspects of characterization, like attitude/emotion, tempo, pitch, placement (does the voice come from her chest? his throat? his stomach?), so that I can frequently refer to the chart throughout recording to ensure that the many characters are differentiated and consistent. The book I’m recording now — Sing in the Morning, Cry at Night — has taxed me more than any other project. I’ve recorded a series of lines in dialogue in Lithuanian dialect, researched the Welsh and Polish dialects, recorded native Welsh and Polish speakers voicing the foreign language phrases the writer included in the book, listened to several bird calls to include in the book (a young boy is an expert at bird calls, so I have to approximate a cardinal, a blue jay, and more), learned the Welsh national anthem — in Welsh, reacquainted myself with several old hymns…I’m recording very slowly and carefully, while preserving a fresh sense of discovery and using the technology to make my many, many stops and starts sound seamless. That’s more than most books require, but it does offer a glimpse into the challenges of an audiobook narration. I want my work to be excellent every time. Each project is different, but it’s great to really commit and make sure I’m doing everything I possibly can to make the most complete audio world I can. Once the recording of each chapter is complete, I upload it to my publisher. They edit and proof the recording, ensuring that my narration is word perfect to the script. They send a list of corrections, which I record and send, and then the book is ready to go out into the world!
I am overjoyed to announce that The Vintner’s Daughter is now available on audiobook via MP3 download or audio CDs! (Ask your local library to order it for you!) Thank you Blackstone Audio and award-winning narrator Tavia Gilbert for this riveting read, which is perfectly entertaining on those long winter car rides! Click here to order your copy now, and click here to enter to win a free download from Flashlight Commentary’s Erin Davies!
Stay tuned this week to learn how audiobooks are made from performer/writer/producer Tavia Gilbert, and for more giveaways!!!
I had the pleasure of meeting L.G. (Liz) O’Connor this past August at the Writer’s Digest Conference in New York City. She attended my presentation on hybrid publishing and graciously accompanied me to my first signing afterward, where she hovered near the grand ballroom doors, peddling my book to the conference attendees as they exited (I think you sold at least four, Liz!)! She is a fun, sharp, and dedicated writer. In 2013, she published Trinity Stones, the first novel of the Angelorum Twelve Chronicles. Publisher’s Weekly says, “O’Connor tackles important worldbuilding, while also kicking off the story with a bang.” Her second novel in the series, The Wanderer’s Children, will be published in in December. She’s accomplished all this — while working a full-time job! Thank you, Liz, for taking the time to answer a few questions!
What are you working on?
Wow. A better question might be what am I not working on *laughs* given my list. Right now, I’m buried under an avalanche of projects that are coalescing all at once. I’m in the throes of finishing production—literally this week—on the second book in the The Angelorum Twelve Chronicles—The Wanderer’s Children—which will be available for presale during the first week of October through all major print and digital retail outlets with my new publisher, Collins-Young Publishing. On top of that, the audiobook production of Trinity Stones is in the final stages for an end of October launch on Audible and iTunes. But three’s a charm, right? I have a new project—a contemporary romantic women’s fiction novel—that I’m partnering with an agent on to potentially go wide on rather than small press. But I can’t really say any more about that for the moment *smiles*. All of this while continuing on with the Trinity Stones publicity tour and working a full-time job. Next stop: New Jersey Romance Writers Conference October 17 – 19.
How does your work differ from others of its genre?
I love this question because I made a conscious choice to deviate somewhat from the formula of pure urban fantasy or pure paranormal romance for the The Angelorum Twelve Chronicles. As an avid reader of both genres, I found that I preferred a blend of both rather than either genre straight up. I’m very character driven when I read. I want to fall in love the cast and feel like I’m part of their team, but I also want a rich and complex story that keeps me thinking. As result, The Angelorum Twelve Chronicles are not predictable reads or books that you can skim through without paying attention. That said I kept my world recognizable by using contemporary settings in New York City and San Francisco in an attempt to simplify. The series has some elements of Science Fiction and Fantasy, but I tried to ground the story in reality and biblical history as we know it. From there I applied literary license.
When I first started the series in 2009, there weren’t many “angel and demon” stories on the market in the adult category and now there are too many *chuckles*. But I feel my take still provides a fresh perspective. My objective was for the story to have a broader mainstream appeal than just the two genres it’s associated with. Truly, my goal was to appeal to literary readers who wanted a change of pace; mothers who had been reading their teenagers Young-Adult series and needed something with a bit more spice; and New Adult readers looking for strong mid-20s characters whose college bonds are still very much alive and well. Based on my reader feedback so far, I’m definitely appealing to readers of all ages new to the genre and looking for a change of pace.
Why do you write what you do?
I write what I love to read. I take the best of it and blend it together into my books. At the end of the day, writing is hard work. If I didn’t love my characters and their stories, I couldn’t be this passionate and devote as much time to writing on top of a full-time job. Writing is like a marriage of sorts. For me, I have to love my worlds and the people in them. I could never write a depressing book with unredeemable characters—nor could I read one—which leaves out roughly half the bestseller list for me *laughs*. As an example, Gone Girl was a did not finish (DNF) for me after chapter 3.
How does my writing process work?
Except for times like now when I’m on a short writing hiatus having just finished the proofread phase on two books simultaneously – I’m usually super disciplined. Working a full-time job leaves me with only 45-minutes every morning, about 1.5 – 2 hours most nights, and then 8-hour blocks on the weekends. I write on average 20 – 30 hours per week depending on what phase I’m in. Just to give you an idea how this translates: I’ve written three full length novels in three years and partials on several others.
My actual process varies depending on the book. I started as a “pantser” and have developed into a “plotser.” That said, my contemporary came to me in outline form over three days, and the first draft was fully written in six weeks as part of National Novel Writing Month last year. As a result, I try to outline a little more but only use it as a guideline. I’ll participate in NaNoWriMo again this year using the third book in The Angelorum Twelve Chronicles. I’m hoping to launch it this time next year.
On a day-to-day basis, I write in scenes and never in order unless I’m finishing the connective chapters at the end. I draft, read & revise three – four times before moving on to the next scene. All scenes are read morning and night to give my brain a chance to see it clearly. Most scenes start in medias res, must have a goal, and leave us in a place where the page must be turned. Honestly, I think I’ve done this better on my last two novels than on the first.
My biggest piece of advice for new writers is “writing is revising.” Embracing both the drafting and revising will make you a stronger writer. I happen to love both.
L.G. O’Connor is a member of the Romance Writers of America. A corporate strategy and marketing executive for a Fortune 250 company, she writes adult urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and contemporary romance. She is currently working on the third book in the Angelorum Twelve Chronicles, Book of Four Rings, for publication in 2015. In addition, she is writing an adult contemporary romance series. An avid antiques collector, L.G. lives a life of adventure, navigating her way through dog toys and soccer balls and loaning herself out for the occasional decorating project. When she’s feeling particularly brave, she enters the kitchen . . .
Find & Follow L.G. O’Connor Online:
Wow! I had such a wonderful time chatting with the members and friends of the Darien Community Association at my Fairfield County Book Launch this past Friday! Thank you Amy Bell and Heather Pommernelle for arranging and promoting the event and to Barrett Bookstore for selling The Vintner’s Daughter! Also, special thanks to Autumn Howard for snapping these photos and Carolyn Eddie for baking her delicious (and my favorite) scones!