Archive | June 2014

Series synopses

Why a synopsis for Sleight of Hand?

I’ve had feedback that Wild Card especially, and Hidden Trump, to an extent, are difficult to follow in places. This is because, in trying to keep the pace of the story up, I have to be light on backstory. However, the series is complex with lots of threads that span more than one book, so backstory will be needed at some time. Hence these synopses which provide a ‘story so far’ memory jogger. This one below would be the synopsis for Hidden Trump.

I’ll make these synopses available on the website here, and I’m going to experiment with inserting them into the ebooks, but placing them at the end, with a link to go read them and return afterwards.

Why put them at the end? Because Amazon shows the first 10% of the book as a sample, and I don’t want ‘summary prose’ to be the impression people get of the book.

I’m assuming everyone who comes here has read SoH, but just in case, be aware this is one long spoiler 🙂

Sleight of Hand – Synopsis

It’s a PDF file. I think you’ll be able to read it on site or download it and use Adobe or similar.

I would very much appreciate feedback from you (in comments or to the contact email address)-

How does it read? Are there things you feel have been left out which shouldn’t be? Are there things that would better capture some of the feel of SoH? Is it too long? Too short? Anything else?

Thanks 🙂

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Die verborgene Hand – German version of Sleight of Hand – available now

The book has appeared on Amazon.de already!

Anyone you know who likes Urban Fantasy and reads German? 🙂

 

To my readers who speak German…

…I need your help with translating poetry for the German version of Sleight of Hand. Please vote for the best translation by naming it in a comment below.

The English text is

This is the gift and the sorrow of the Athanate; to see your loves pass before you like the days of summer while your heart still beats. To keep your vigil in the shadows and rise again with every sun.

And I have 4 alternative German versions.

  1. Dies ist das Geschenk und Leid der Athanate, deine Geliebten scheiden zu sehen, wie die Jahreszeiten, während Dein Herz weiterschlägt. Im Schatten Wache zu halten und mit jedem neuen Sonnenaufgang erneut aufzustehen.
  2. Dies ist die Gabe und das Leid der Athanate; unsere Geliebten schwinden zu sehen, wie die Tage des Sommers, während dein Herz noch schlägt. Um im Schatten der Nacht über sie zu wachen und doch mit jedem Sonnenaufgang aufzustehen.
  3. Dies ist das Geschenk und Leid der Athanate, deine Geliebten scheiden zu sehen, wie die Jahreszeiten, während Dein Herz weiterschlägt. Im Schatten Wache zu halten und mit jedem Tagesanbruch wieder aufzuerstehen.
  4. Dies ist die Gabe und das Leid der Athanate; unsere Geliebten schwinden zu sehen vor dem Sommertag, während dein Herz noch schlägt. Um deine Wache im Schatten zu halten und mit jedem Sonnenaufgang aufzustehen.

Now obviously, I have thought about the voting method, including proportional representation, 🙂 but I’m going for first past the post – the translation that has the most ‘favorite’ votes will be the one that appears in the book.

Also, if you can do better, please post an alternative. So, even if you voted for one, please come back and see if there are better translations – obviously, you are allowed to change your vote!

If one of you is voted the best poet, then you get a free copy!

The book will be published next Wednesday.

 

German version of Sleight of Hand

The last of the polishing and preparation appears to be complete, and I will release the German translation of Die verborgene Hand on the 18th.

Cover image

Many thanks to Peter, Moritz and Haike for all their efforts.

I’ll make another posting on the day, and then please, please, all my German readers who’ve enjoyed it in English, please tell your friends!

Inevitably, some things change slightly between languages; humor and poetry especially.

As an example, Amber makes a sarcastic joke about Bian being the ‘spotter’ when she’s first captured by Skylur and Diana, making reference of course to Bian’s leopard tattoos. That doesn’t work in German.

Poetry? Well, Diana quotes an Athanate lamentation when she and Bian meet Amber and Mykayla at the golf club.
The English goes :

This is the gift and the sorrow of the Athanate; to see your loves pass before you like the days of summer while your heart still beats. To keep your vigil in the shadows and rise again with every sun.”

And the German :

„Dies ist die Gabe und das Leid der Athanate; unsere Geliebten schwinden zu sehen, wie die Tage des Sommers, während dein Herz noch schlägt. Um im Schatten der Nacht über sie zu wachen und doch mit jedem Sonnenaufgang aufzustehen.“

Now, I have no feel for how that sounds in German! This is very unsettling. 🙂

What else? Going back through the English text and thinking about it, there were two minor adjustments are now in the German version and which I will make in the English published version.

The first dates back to my very first draft, when Chapter 1 was the current Chapter 2 – the classic PI sitting in her office and the client comes in. Lauren persuaded me to open with a bang, and so you got the scene at the truck depot with lots of action. That’s all fine. But a little later, in Chapter 4, Amber is looking at the photos on her desk. Originally, I mentioned Tara’s little memorial tablet as well. I was persuaded to take this out to keep the pace of the early chapters going. I didn’t want to do this, because the next mention of the tablet is Chapter 29, and it makes it seem like something I invented later. Anyway, the paragraph is back in, in Chapter 4, and that section now reads:

It was my proudest day.
The third I didn’t pick up. It wasn’t actually a photo. It was a slim rectangle of jet black granite the size of a desktop
photo, polished to a sheen, with gold letters in the bottom right hand corner saying simply, Tara Farrell. This one was for
reflection rather than inspiration.
If Dad and Top had something to say to me, I knew it would be: ‘If you’ve got a job to do, girl, get out and do it.’

The other change was to do with a scene that I’ve had a lot of feedback on – the aftermath of Onebrow’s attack on Amber and Jen at Silver Hills. Jen’s never had people coming at her with guns and threats before. Amber comforts Jen with a hug. No one had a problem with that. Jen starts praising Amber, which embarasses Amber, and Amber responds by quietening Jen with a finger on Jen’s lips. Ooooh. For one small gesture that sure got a lot of criticism. Not least from my sister, who’s one of my principle beta readers. “I’d bloody slap her” was the comment 🙂

Reviewers have also highlighted it as an ‘out-of-character’ moment, and an example of where I’ve failed in writing a female lead.

Enough already. I knew this was a very intimate gesture and out of character for Amber in the relationship with her client at that time. Which was why I had Amber immediately turn away, embarrassed by the unconscious liberty she’d taken. But all I said was she was embarrassed, and clearly I needed to emphasize it a bit more. So I’ve added “What the hell was I thinking?” in both German and English versions.

Why did this come up now and what’s going on?

SLIGHT SPOILERS

Obviously, if you’ve kept up with the books, you now know that Jen is Amber’s kin. However, there needs to be a transition from the initial client-PI relationship to a more intimate one. Previous scenes showed that the relationship had quickly become familiar. This scene is the first where I’m raising a flag that it will be more than just familiar, even though Amber isn’t consciously aware of it yet. And the reason this came up now is that, in German, the word ‘you’ translates two ways – the formal ‘Sie’ and the informal ‘du’. Native German speakers sense when they can change from Sie to du in a relationship. My understanding is that, in this type of business relationship, it would usually be the client who initiates the change. So, I used this scene for Amber to slip into ‘du’ mode and further embarrass herself. Not that Jen minds at all, but Amber doesn’t know that yet. 🙂

I’ll see how sales go before I proceed with translating the rest of the series, but I have a reasonable hope, given German sales of over 1000 of just SoH alone in English, that the German version should do better!

Any German readers with advice about where and how to market?

 

 

 

Late catch up for May

I have been off the radar too long!

What’s happening?

Progress

The first half of Bian’s Tale 1 is with my editor (minus a couple of chapters I’m obsessing about). I have the first quarter of Bite Back 4 in draft form. The whole writing thing has become very slow. It’s not that I’m enjoying it any less, but that the ‘voice’ for Bian’s Tale seems a bit slippery. It goes down on the page okay, then when I come back to review it, it’s wrong.

Anyway, I’ve made these comments before and you’ve all been kind. So I’ll leave it by saying that predictions for numbers of books to be written this year are obviously going to be wrong. 🙂

Projects

Mostly, not progressing while I fuss over writing. However, I am this close to a German version of Sleight of Hand. I’ve just got the sample formats back and they look … German. There’s been a bit of to and fro with some of the names of things. For example, ‘Diakon’ is a Greek word and is actually used in the church in Germany, where it is the equivalent of the related word in English ‘Deacon’. So, I’ve changed it to Dexion for Germany (based on a development of the Greek root Dexi for right). The book name in German is “Die verborgene Hand” which means the Hidden Hand. Many thanks to Peter and Moritz for their initiative in getting this going and for their hard work in the first draft translations.

Other projects waiting for my attention – audio version, cover rework, short stories and spin-offs, lots of things.

Sales

Raw Deal 19,500

Sleight of Hand 19,800

Hidden Trump 14,200

Wild Card 5,000

So HT is now at 72% of SoH, but WC is only at 25% of SoH. I am still hearing from people saying that they didn’t realize that WC was out, so Amazon are still not promoting it to people who have read both SoH and HT.

Book recommendations

I’m concentrating here on books that I thought I might not enjoy…

Bitter Snow by Lauren Sweet. This is an excellent Urban Fantasy rework of the Snow Queen set in small-northern-town, modern-day America. The protagonist is a teenage girl. Now that makes it YA, right? I have a barge pole that I keep handy for YA novels. Well, yes and no. It’s difficult to describe exactly how this sneaks out and grabs you with its icy hands, but, believe me, it does. The story is going to be split into 9 parts, and the first 3 are out now. (  )

Look Behind You by Sibel Hodge. Psychological chiller. Set in England. Simple scenario, small cast. Must be an obvious solution, right? Wrong. Bluff and double bluff. Real heart-in-mouth chiller. Really neat. ( http://www.amazon.com/Look-Behind-You-Sibel-Hodge-ebook/dp/B00JPFB11S/ )

Naked in Death by ‘JD Robb’. Futuristic(ish) police procedural based around Lieutenant Eve Dallas. Recommended to me somewhere on this site or FB. I will search you out and thank you! This is, in fact, Nora Roberts, and she damn well should write a good book, she’s had plenty of practice and tops the NYT list often. In fact, I screamed at her when she did a little bit of PoV head-hopping, which I hate (and which publishing houses would not allow a newbie writer to do). It’s a tribute to the rest of the book that she got me back and left me happy. There are lots more in the series. ( http://www.amazon.com/Naked-Death-Book-1-ebook/dp/B003MQM7B4/ )

A Drink Before The War by Dennis Lehane. PI thriller. I’ve had troubles with Lehane before. Then I started Mystic River and the writing led me back to give him a second go. ( http://www.amazon.com/Drink-Before-War-Dennis-Lehane-ebook/dp/B004ZLS5QQ/ )

All recommended!

Books I’m having trouble with…

Angel’s Blood by Nalini Singh. Urban Fantasy / Paranormal Romance. Umm. Good writing, highly regarded writer. If this story is what you’re looking for, you’ll love it. For me, stuck at page 100 and waiting for something to happen, other than orgasmic pondering about why she’s so attracted to a handsome angel who kills and tortures humans for a hobby, who holds her life and her organization in his hands, and to whom she is instantly, constantly and aggressively insulting…

Enemy Within by Marcella Burnard. SciFi. Dumb capture. Then endless hormonal meltdown while trying to sword fence with hot pirate who’s just kidnapped her whole ship’s crew. Just not for me.

Tell me if you disagree!