Isaac’s Decision Trivia

The cover was made by Bonnie Steffens (one of my awesome readers). 😀

I knew Isaac and Emily would end up together while I was writing Eye of the Beholder. This was while both Cassie and Mary were pregnant. Cassie was further along than Mary was. Cassie was surrounded by Neil’s mom and two friends (Connie and Maureen) while they were talking about Cassie’s baby moving in her womb. Cassie offered to let Mary feel the baby move, and when she did, I thought, “Mary’s child is going to marry Cassie’s child. Dave is going to be pissed.” 😛 Hey, every story needs conflict right? So that’s when I decided Mary would have a boy. I knew right away Cassie and Neil would have a girl. I felt Neil needed a girl after the way he treated women all of his life because it would show him how wrong he’d been to use them the way he had. Only a daughter was going to turn him around.

This book was completely different from how I had envisioned it when I started the story. Originally, Isaac and Emily were supposed to elope but Isaac was going to have no clue when it came to providing for her. The two were going to be knee-deep in financial problems. Emily was supposed to feel like she had no place to go to since there was supposed to be this blowup between Dave and Neil, and she didn’t want to make things worse. So she was going to leave and search for her real mother. Cassie was going to be in this huge house entertaining guests and having a wonderful time. (Sorry, but Cassie didn’t end up in a ditch somewhere, which I’m sure is what most people wanted to hear.) The basic idea was that sometimes bad people get away with doing bad things (at least in this life). Emily was supposed to feel like she had no one, but Isaac was supposed to follow her and tell her he was sorry and that he loved her and was going to do whatever it took for them to be together. Then somehow, they were going to work everything out between Dave and Neil. That was my original plan for the book. As we all know, the characters went on a totally different tangent.

Dave’s hope that Isaac would marry Eva Connealy was based partially off of my mom’s hope that I was going to end up marrying a guy I was dating in college. She was very excited about him. He was a nice guy, but there was no “spark” between us. I tried, but you can’t force something that isn’t there. Poor Isaac was in the same situation with Eva.

I really liked Eva, but since I already knew Isaac was going to choose Emily, I had decided I would do a book for her in the future. That book ended up being Boaz’s Wager.

Emily felt the same way about book reports that I did in school. I loved to read, but I hated doing those reports.

A minor character I had mentioned but never showed in the story was Mrs. Ritter. She was pregnant and worked in a factory. Her husband had recently died. I had planned to set her up with Isaac’s friend, Wiley. Other stories, however, took over, and I never did write it.

In the first draft, when Dave found out Isaac had eloped with Emily, he punched Neil out. After some time to think it over, I decided that was too extreme. Plus, I had no idea how Dave and Neil would ever be able to work things out after that. So, I deleted that scene. Instead, I opted to have Dave in tears as he wondered where he went wrong.

I had Isaac tell Emily (disguised as Elmer) about The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner by James Hogg because I wanted a book that would shock Eva. Eva was created to be a contrast to Emily. So I had to pick something that would get Emily into trouble. The Confession book fit perfectly. I found it during a search on Goodreads, and I read through the plot descriptions and the spoilers. To this day, I have no interest in reading that book.

Another little trivia is that I have never read over half the books I mention in my stories. Some people are under the impression that I enjoy reading certain authors just because my characters do, but that’s not true. Some of my characters love the books they do because I’m conveying something about their personalities. For example, Eva loves the classics, and she hates dime novels. To Eva, dime novels are fluff. They are a waste of time. I, personally, prefer entertainment over the classics because I like fluff. I read to relax. Eva read to be educated. I still like Eva, though. But her choice in books says a lot about her, as does Emily’s choice in books.

It was nice to finally heal old wounds between Dave and Neil. It paved the way for me to write another story where one of Dave and Mary’s children would marry another one of Neil’s kids. That led to His Convenient Wife where Harriett Larson married Stan Craftsman.

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Update on A Deceptive Wager and I Got the Hero for A Perilous Marriage

Quick Update: As I was starting to write in A Perilous Marriage, I remembered that I had Lewis Cotter tell Stephen Bachman about Miss Tumilson’s impending marriage to the Duke of Jowett in The Marriage Contract. So nix the whole thing about me placing the Marriage by Necessity Series before the Marriage by Fairytale Series. This series will be put back after the Marriage by Fairytale Series. Sorry for the craziness. (Now to update the series page on this blog.) 😀 And I will still keep Charles as the hero of this book.

I plan to get A Deceptive Wager out in January. That will finish up the Marriage by Design Series, which I have to say is one of my favorites. I’m very pleased by the way the whole thing turned out.

Here’s the series for quick reference:

Breaking The Rules new ebook cover2  Nobody's Fool ebook cover5  A Deceptive Wager ebook cover

In a previous post, I wasn’t sure if A Deceptive Wager was a more dramatic romance or a romantic comedy. Now that I have gone over it after taking a couple of weeks away from it, I can safely say that is a drama type of romance. It’s more like Breaking the Rules.

Nobody’s Fool has comedic tones to it that make me think of A Most Unsuitable Earl, His Reluctant Lady, and Kidnapping the Viscount.

A Deceptive Wager makes me think of Love Lessons With the Duke, The Perfect Duke, If It Takes A Scandal, and The Earl’s Secret Bargain. These are all books where there was tension between the hero and heroine to some degree, and they had to work through it. So if you enjoyed those books, you’ll probably enjoy A Deceptive Wager.

Now I’m done with A Deceptive Wager (and moving it into edits), I am starting a brand new Regency series. This series will fall between the Marriage by Fate Series and the Marriage by Fairytale Series. I know some authors can write books and series in specific chronological order, but my brain just doesn’t work that way. Sometimes I have characters I want to write about, but it’s best I wedge them between series or even within a series. I’ve given up trying to be like other authors. I’m just going to write the series as they’re ready instead of the exact order they come in.

I looked at the year on Kidnapping the Viscount (which is the end of 1819) and the year The Marriage Contract begins (which is the end of 1824). I want to bring in some side characters from earlier in the Regency timeline, and it’s easier to do that between 1819 and 1824 since those characters are all in the ideal marrying range.

I just went in and updated my Regency timeline. Here’s my Regency timeline so you can see the order things are.

Marriage by Necessity: Book 1

Regarding A Perilous Marriage, I want Miss Tumilson to be the heroine, and yesterday I finally decided who the hero will be. I’m going to bring in Mr. Charles Duff. I need the kind of hero who is on the serious side, and he qualifies from the things he did in Kidnapping the Viscount.

Marriage by Fate: Book 5

For those of you who read Kidnapping the Viscount, Charles was the heroine’s brother. He’s not a bad guy. He wasn’t the villain. But he was so sure that Gill didn’t want to be with Heather that he thought he was helping Gill by dragging her back to London. So, I saw his role as a very serious person, and once he thinks something is a certain way, it take a lot to change his mind. That is exactly the right kind of character I need for A Perilous Marriage. I need a hero who is convinced that his friend died because the new wife (Miss Tumilson) murdered him.

I just need to come up with who Charles’ friend was, how he was murdered, and how Charles is going to work his way into the “good graces” of Miss Tumilson so he can get close enough to her in order to find out how she did the crime. Of course, she didn’t. I have no idea what really happened, but I’ll find out when I write the book.

I expect this book to be similar to The Earl’s Scandalous Wife in the tone and feel of it.

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Making Audiobooks

I’m still in the process of working on the first audiobook I have narrated myself, and it’s been a lot of fun. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but once I got into it, I found myself in the story and acting out the characters as I read the dialogue.

I never thought of narrating fiction as a form of acting, but that’s what it is. I’ve heard radio shows in the past, and that’s what this reminds me of. You’re not on the screen, but you’re still acting out the role of the characters. And yes, I was moving my arms around, using all sorts of facial expressions, and really getting into it. I didn’t expect that to happen. I always wondered why people who speak roles in animated movies moves around and altered their facial expressions to match the mood of the characters. Now I know. When you put all of yourself into the character like that, you can’t help but “be” the character, and your body goes right along with it.

Anyway, this trial of narrating a book has been a lot of fun, and I feel like I added another dimension to the book that I didn’t have before. For that reason, I have decided to keep narrating more books.

As I wrote out this blog post, I realized there was a lot of information in it, so I’m adding subject headings to help make it easier to follow everything I’m throwing out there to those of you reading this. 🙂

The Equipment I Used

I’m not going to say that my narration is up to par with some narrators out there because it’s not. This is my first attempt at this. I used a $35 microphone I got from Staples that was for basic narration to test the waters. I figured if I didn’t like narrating my books or if I couldn’t figure out how to edit the audio files, then I wasn’t going to spend any more money on this project than I had to. A friend gave me an idea for a cheap setup to put the microphone into. It consists of a laundry basket with a cut-up mattress foam pad. This helps to minimize the echo effect.

Here’s a picture of what it looked like when I had it all together so you can see what in the world I’m talking about:

It made the file sound a lot better than it sounded when I didn’t have the laundry basket and foam around it. The sound was better. I haven’t tried out the new microphone yet. I will do that with the next book I narrate.

Audio Software

As for software, I have an Apple computer, and that comes with GarageBand. The best You Tube video I found on how to set up GarageBand for audiobooks is this one:

Most videos are too long or end up boring at some point, so they lose my interest. This one, however, was straight and to the point. If you can get a file to pass ACX, you can get it to pass on Findaway Voices.

There are other audio software programs out there, and I’m linking to a You Tube video that discusses this. (As a side note: this You Tube video led me to the new microphone I just bought, along with the “box” to go around it. That is at the 7:18 mark.) For those of you who don’t have GarageBand, this lady discusses the software at the 11:00 mark in the video. I’m not familiar with anything but GarageBand. She talks about Audacity, which is what a lot of narrators on You Tube seem to use. Anyway, I found this video very helpful for beginners like me, so I wanted to pass it along.

My Advice to All Authors: Learn the Basics of Every Part of Creating a Book

This goes for ebooks, paperbacks, and audiobooks. Learning the basics of how this stuff works will save you a lot of headache in the long run. I’ll explain why below.

I have already had to use GarageBand four times now for the audio files from the narrator I paid to do a few of my books. Three times, Findaway Voices and ACX rejected the files because they weren’t loud enough. All I had to do was take the MP3 file I received from the narrator and “re-create” an MP3 using the audio settings I had in GarageBand (thanks to the video above). After that, Findaway Voices and ACX accepted the files without any problems. The fourth incident occurred because the sample size was a couple of seconds too long. Findaway Voices accepted it, but ACX didn’t. I put the MP3 sample into GarageBand and cut off a part of it so that it was shorter. ACX accepted it after that.

Audio files aren’t the only things I’ve had to adjust over the years. Sometimes I’ve had to add something to a cover a cover artist created for me. Sometimes I’ve had to readjust the size of it so that a retailer would accept it. I have GIMP for that. I have put a cover into GIMP and made the cover larger or smaller countless times over the years. Half the time I make my own covers or buy pre-mades where all I have to do is add text or I pay someone to add the text for me. But even then, I’ll have to tweak something once in a while. Also, I find making paperback interior files a big pain in the butt, so I hire out for that. And once in a while, there will be something Amazon doesn’t like in the file, and I have to go in and adjust it. These adjustments can be the size of an image or deleting a space from the text that is going over the trim line.

It’s little stuff like that authors need to know if they want to be able to do the light stuff on their own. And these tweaks take a few seconds to a few minutes to do. They aren’t worth bugging the person I hired to redo. But it also enables me to manage my own stuff. So if I want to make an audiobook myself or create my own cover or paperback file, then I can. The flexibility offers me freedom to do things myself if I ever want to.

But another reason why it’s good to know how to do things yourself is because there might be times when the other person isn’t able to take care of the problem. What if they end up with a family emergency, and you have a book planned for publication next week? What if they decide to quit the business, and when you go to change something with the book (maybe you corrected a typo), they are no longer around to help you?

I’ll offer another real life example.

I have always formatted my ebooks, and when I started back in 2009, no one required a Table of Contents. Then around 2012 to 2013, I started getting emails from Amazon telling me if I didn’t add a Table of Contents to my books within 7 days, they were going to remove my book from the store. What if I didn’t know how to format an ebook and the person who did was on vacation or too busy to fit me into their schedule? What would I have done? Thankfully, I was able to add the Table of Contents myself, so the books remained up for sale.

My point is, you never know what is going to happen. By learning the basics, you are better prepared to roll with whatever comes. The learning curve can be a pill, but it’s worth it.

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