Posts Tagged ‘swashbuckling’

I ran across an interesting article today talking about the evolution and current trends in historical fiction cover art.

As both a historical fiction writer and an artist with a degree in studio art, I’m afraid to admit how much time I spend pondering what the cover of my yet-to-be-published novel LADY BLADE should look like. Not that it monopolizes my thoughts, but if I’m out pruning the rosemary,  pulling weeds, or perhaps painting the bedroom walls and my mind wanders, that’s often where it goes.

I wonder how to capture the adventure and swashbuckling spirit of the book. I have this fantasy that it will be a painting of a long-haired girl in breeches and vest on a bluff with her back turned and a sword in her hand. She’s tense, ready for action, and she’s watching a tall ship in the bay beyond. That never happens in the book. But I love the look of tall ships. I can’t see their image without my heart stirring. I also love women with swords – and its hard to get the sense of a tall ship from the deck, you need distance.

I do know from the research I’ve done that authors seldom get much say in the cover art of their books from major publishers.  That seems odd to me. Who better to find an image that captures the essence of their work? That’s one definite advantage to self-publishing – creative control. On the other hand, I know that marketing is not my forte and like many writers I tend to be an introvert. I’d love to have an experienced and professional organization running my marketing scheme.

But I digress. Here is a taste of a very interesting article. Enjoy

The book and its cover: historical fiction cover art

by Bethany Latham

Pick up an old book, say an Edwardian-era printing. The cover may be plain, cloth-covered board or tooled leather with gilded type. Regardless, it’s a slate upon which are written only a few words: a title, perhaps an author. Otherwise, the publisher has offered no preconception of what should be inside, beckoned us with no images of what it thinks we wish to experience. The author’s words are allowed to speak for themselves.

Things have come a long, long way.


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An image created by the poster.

An image created by the poster. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I love being a writer. I love the opportunity to take something I’ve imagined and make it come to life on a page. I love getting into the hearts and minds of my characters and caring about what they care about. Creating people, places and situations is a little like playing God and who wouldn’t love that.

What I don’t love – leaving my future as a writer in some stranger’s or strangers’ hands. I’m talking, of course, about waiting for the announcement of the winners of the next round of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Competition. The winners won’t be posted until next Tuesday and I’m already nervous. This could be a huge break, one I’ve been working toward the last ten years.  Or not.

I know what you’re thinking, “yeah, like anyone likes to wait.”  I get that, but there is a sense of helplessness that goes along with waiting for your fate to be decided – especially when you can’t argue your case or at least face your judges. At least if you’re sending your manuscript to an agent, with a little research you can put a face, a name, and some sense of character to the person that’s judging you.

Am I whining? Yup. Sorry. Thanks for listening. It’s just the downside of the job that needs to be dealt with – hopefully without ulcers. At least next time I need to write an anxious and frustrated character I’ll have visceral experiences to draw on.

A gigantic hug and galactic thanks to everyone who’s reviewed my first two chapters for the contest.

Done whining, back to work.

Catherine Thrush

PS. If you have a few minutes to read and review the link is above.

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Hi Guys!
You’ve all been great! I’ve got 26 stellar reviews on my entry into the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest. Thank you so much! If even a quarter of what you’ve all said it true I did my job well.

Currently there are 5 people with more reviews than me (one person has over 70! Can you believe it!) Since the next cutoff for the contest is the top 25 entries – and there are 5 categories – I’d love to be in the top five in the number of reviews in my category. So if anyone one out there hasn’t done a review yet and has a few minutes to read the first two chapters of my historical fiction novel, Lady Blade, and do a review, I’d be over the moon. It doesn’t need to be a long, a few words is just fine.

You can download the chapters free from Amazon for a Kindle. If you don’t have a Kindle you can also download a Kindle app for free to your computer or PDA.

So if you haven’t already, please help me win $50,000 and a book deal, and I hope you’ll enjoy the read in the meantime.

Here’s the link to LADY BLADE entry

What’s it about you ask? Well, here is the pitch that got me this far in the contest.

Francesca DiCesare is the daughter of Italy’s most illustrious fencing maestro – and his most gifted pupil. From the speed of a parry, to the power and grace of a perfect lunge, she sees the art of the sword as an elegant and electrifying dance. Francesca never thought of her sword as a weapon; not until the morning of Papa’s duel – not until Papa lay dying and his opponent lay dead by her hand.

Forced to flee Italy or face the gallows, Francesca takes ship for England vowing to uphold Papa’s uncompromising code of honor.

Francesca enjoys the sea’s ever-changing moods and thrills at the bucking deck and the snap and hum of the crisp white sails – until pirates attack from the starboard bow. She fights with all the skill Papa has given her, and eight pirates die by her sword before she’s taken captive by pirate captain Will Massey.

Forced to join Will’s crew as they raid the Spanish Main, Francesca is drawn into the pirates’ nefarious world, and to the bold and vital captain. As she makes friends with Carter, an orphaned ship’s boy, and Miller, a grizzled old pirate, she learns that life is seldom as black and white as Papa led her to believe, and that Papa was not the paragon of honor she thought him to be.

Francesca’s swordsmanship earns her respect among the pirates and wins her the captain’s heart. To her horror, she discovers she adores being a pirate – not the killing, which flays her conscience day and night, but the freedom, and the thrill of adventure. Can she give up the man she loves and the life that she seems destined to live to keep her vow?

You guys are the best!

Catherine Thrush

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