Getting Excited? Cover art and blurb preview!

We inch closer to publication, and the excitement mounts! I think we’ve finally nailed down the cover and the blurb, so take a look.

First, here’s the cover:

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The artwork is Henri Francois Mulard’s Portrait of a Lady, circa 1810. When I saw this portrait, I was struck by its resemblance to my mental image of my heroine Cleo.

And who is Cleo? Well, you’ll have to read the book to find out, but the blurb gives a few clues:

“In Regency England, a young lady makes her fortune by marrying it. But Cleo Cooper has come to London with a different idea – she’s going to make her fortune by stealing it. Raised abroad by unconventional parents, Cleo has no use for the rules and strictures of the ton. She’ll pretend to fit in, but she has a secret scheme.

Arthur Ramsey, Duke of Winton, is in the market for a wife. He imagines a sweet, conformable young lady who will gracefully fill the role of Duchess, secure the succession with an heir, and not interfere with his scientific pursuits. That’s what he’s looking for – but what he finds is Cleo.”

Sound like fun? So where are we at? A few more text tweaks and then on to formatting for publication! I’m looking at mid-February at the latest.

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Here’s a preview of my upcoming Regency, A Feather To Fly With

Do you like traditional Regency romance? (Traditional? What does that mean? It means no sex scenes, no vampires, no time travel. But plenty of noble titles, Almack’s, ballrooms, and humor.) Then check out the first chapter of my upcoming traditional Regency, A Feather To Fly With:

 

A Feather To Fly With, Chapter One

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Catching up

It’s been a while, hasn’t it? And I have some achievements to tell you about.

First, since I know what my public likes, let’s start with a recent Jazzy picture:

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Here she is just back from the groomer. (Later that day she did some digging in the yard, but let’s just pass quietly over that.)

In the fall, we took a puppy obedience class. It was a bit of shock to go from a dog with nine years of training to a puppy (bouncy!) with zero years of training, but we both learned a lot. We do little training sessions around the house now, hope to be all impressive for the next class in the spring.

I got Jazzy a dog harness to ride in the back seat, so here is a growth series for you.

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She’s very good about it. I told her when I first put the harness on and she was so baffled about it that she’d love car rides, and it’s true.

In other news, remember that Regency romance novel I’ve been going on about for (ulp!) over a year now? It’s DONE! Well, not done done, but I actually got to the end of the story, and am now in edits. And my Art Department (waves to Jane) is hard at work on the cover art.

So mark your calendars, early in 2014 (January, I hope) look for the release of A Feather To Fly With.

And I’ve started work on a sequel!

Isn’t that exciting? I’m like a pup with a new stick!

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Jazzy and the Cats

So people ask me, ‘How are the cats and the puppy getting along?’. And I answer, pretty well, all things considered.

Pretty well means that no blood has been drawn. And all things considered means that for the first couple weeks, Jazzy was completely unable to control herself around the cats (AKA ‘the little black dogs who can fly‘).

She still finds the cats perplexing. They’re puppy sized but they simply won’t play puppy games. She keeps trying. But she has calmed down a bit.

For the first couple weeks, if a cat entered the room, Jazzy would turn into a circa 1965 teenybopper spotting a Beatle. “Ohmigod ohmigod ohmigod – he’s Right! There!” And then she’d leap at the cat with shrieks of joy and devotion, often knocking him down in the process. Not surprisingly, the Fab Two didn’t appreciate such treatment and would head for higher ground.

But she’s moderating that behavior somewhat. Sam seems to be training her. He will hang around the floor within reach and issue a correcting box to the ears if she pesters him too much. Sometimes I’ll see them both sitting on the floor absorbed in their own projects. Makes a mommy quietly proud. Even Liam is spending more time out on the floor, so progress is definitely being made.

Here’s a recent video of Jazzy and Sam. See the improvement? She’s merely being a pest, not a complete menace.

Jazzy and Sam

(I have to send you to Photobucket for the video, because WordPress doesn’t seem to want to upload a MOV file here.)

In other news (remember, I’m Jazzy’s Mommy, but I’m not JUST Jazzy’s Mommy), I’m trying to regain the threads of Real Life, all the other stuff I used to do pre-puppy. I’ve been going back to the pool and to tai chi class.

And try not to get your hopes up too much, but I’ve actually written a bit more on The Book! Not a lot, though – I’m getting to the tricky part, where all the characters are in motion and there are three or four different misconceptions in play about what is going on. And I have to consult maps and make sure I’m not getting people places faster than horses could take them there, and though this is the exciting and dangerous part, I need to also keep in mind that this is romantic comedy and there still needs to be an element of humor involved. Whole lotta moving parts. So I frequently just throw up my hands and leave the computer to go out to the yard and throw a tennis ball for my dog.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

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Houston…

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We have Earlift!

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Latest News From Jazzyland

Here at Chez Pup, Jazzy is learning a lot – and so am I. So I thought I’d share some of these learnings with you.

First and foremost – dogproof is not the same thing as puppyproof.

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“Ya THINK?”

Yeah, I know, sounds obvious. But remember, it’s been ten years since I’ve had a puppy. A girl forgets. Dogproof but not puppyproof is not just that puppies are smaller and can get into tighter spots than full grown dogs can. It’s also that they’re more motivated. They can obsess, maniacally, on getting into that place, getting ahold of that thing. It becomes a mission.

I’ve spent a good amount of time this week pruning the front shrubs. Why, you ask? Well, because they needed it. Of course, they’ve needed it for a while, but the real motivator this week is that I hadn’t realized they’d grown to the point where I couldn’t get between the shrub and the house. So Jazzy realized she could get under them and be in her Seekret Puppee Klubhowse – No Mommees Alowd. And we just can’t have that. Can we?

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Once the path to the Seekret Puppee Klubhowse

Yesterday’s project was to block off the access to under the porch. Those holes to allow access to under the porch have been there all along, and I think they were big enough for a grown dog to eel her way under. But Maggie never even noticed. Jazzy noticed it right away, and has been in and out of under the porch since the day she arrived.

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“It’s right through here.”

Now when I say ‘porch’, it’s really more of a stoop. Three steps and a small landing at the top. No room for a lawn chair, just an entryway. But it’s a nice little nook for a puppy, and another place Mommy can’t get into. I added blocking that off to my to-do list, but she couldn’t really get into any trouble under there. Could she?

But yesterday, she got under the porch and started barking and barking. And I got to worrying. Could there be snakes under there?

I got down to the hole and looked in and she was faced toward the lower steps, barking away. Then she started to back out and I hauled her out of there – and she’s got a turtle in her mouth!

It was a little guy. It was sealed up tight and I made her drop it. Later on when I looked, the turtle was gone, so I guess there was no damage done.

But when I looked under the porch, it seemed to me that getting under the porch gives access to under the house. There’s a drop off of several feet, but an intrepid pup could make the leap and then there she’d be. I haven’t been down into that crawl space in over twenty years, and I have no intention of starting now. So I found some scrap lumber and rock and blocked off the entry to under the porch.

I just don’t let her have any fun.

Actually, that’s not true. We did some more leash walking yesterday, out on the road and everything! All sorts of interesting things to smell. At least Jazzy thought so.

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More Jazzy

I think you’re all just going to have to accept that for a while this is going to be more of a dog blog than a writing blog. Yeah, I imagined I’d bring home the puppy, spend a weekend bonding, and then come Monday I’d be back to office hours and an exercise routine. Ha! I say, Ha! Consider me on pupternity leave.

We’ve been training! Jazzy will sit on command – without a treat lure! Down and stand still require treats and coming when called? Well, that’s a work in progress.

As a reward for visiting my blog, here are some more Jazzy pictures.

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