The most wonderful thing has happened, the thing I always wanted, and I’m in here under the covers hiding from the book launch day for my first novel, The Renaissance Club. It was published on January 23 by Fiery Seas Publishing, a wonderful new publishing company. Your book launch may not be as scary as mine, but probably it will be. You might find yourself hiding like I am because after all the effort to write and rewrite a book, suffer rejections from agents and publishers, finally find a publisher who finally sends it out in the world, you just have too much wrapped up in this thing. All I’m thinking right now is how can I survive the attention?
The Writing Path
In Places That Verb Your World- Around the World in Books, I’m going to create a series of posts about novels and nonfiction books that take you traveling. Armchair traveling is one of my favorite ways to travel around the world. I’m not much good on an airliner these days, unless in First Class, and so I do a lot of my traveling via books. I have my longtime favorites and my new favorites, which I’ll list in this series of posts.
Travel Books I Love – Durell’s Books
Lawrence Durrell’s two classic memoirs, Bitter Lemons and Reflectionls on a Marine Venus are nothing less than exquisite love letters to places. They contain some of the most beautiful descriptions of places I’ve ever read, gorgeous prose that made me want to be a write when I read them in my early twenties.
The month-long blog tour arranged by my publisher, Fiery Seas, has yielded a wonderful, thoughtful review of my novel The Renaissance Club. I’m very pleased at today’s review on the book blog, What Cathy Read Next. This sensitive reviewer has visited some of the places in the book — Rome and Venice — and seen some of Bernini’s art. One of my favorite paragraphs in the review connects my writing as a poet with descriptions of the carnival of beauty that is Italian Renaissance art. Cathy writes:
“As a reader, I felt almost transported to the various artistic sites The Renaissance Club visit on their tour thanks to the author’s wonderful descriptions of church interiors, frescoes and sculptures. There are also some evocative descriptions of the cities the group visit on their tour: Rome, Siena, Assisi, Florence and Venice. For example, this description of Rome: ‘Ancient city walls next to rough-piled medieval palazzos, Egyptian obelisks rising from Baroque fountains. Rome was a hot mess of beauty.’ (I love that phrase ‘a hot mess of beauty’. If you’ve ever been there, you’ll realise how apt it is.)
“Or this description of Venice: ‘White-domed churches shouldered next to palazzos of earthy colours, and the filigreed palaces, with fluted chimneys and Juliet balconies, were jewels against the blue sky. Venice was the gaudy inheritance of a rich empire built on water, imagination, and bold ambition.’ The author also writes poetry and I got a real sense of this in some of the imaginative phrases and metaphors in the book. For instance, as May feels herself slipping between past and present: ‘The city kept doing this to her, zigzagging through its eras so fast she had time-whiplash.'”
It’s very true, that my love of the place and the art drove the creation of this story of a young art historian also in love with the magic of Italian art and architecture, and by transposition, in love with one of its chief creators, Bernini. I nearly fell in love with Bernini myself, touring the Villa Borghese, which houses so many of his creations. Especially when I stood before his life-size sculpture of David, so different and so much more dynamic than Michelangelo’s David, I wished for Bernini himself to appear. He modeled the statue on his own face, so I felt we were literally staring at each other.
Cathy’s review was summed up in three words: Imaginative, romantic, time travel. She compared The Renaissance Club to Susanna Kearsley’s The Winter Sea (a huge compliment!).
This review of my novel was thoughtful, detailed, and honest — her standards for book reviewing. I recommend this book blog, What Cathy Read Next, for the quality of reviews and for her selection of books. If you’re into reading about books as a way of finding your next good read, this is an outstanding resource.
My novel, The Renaissance Club, has been very well launched! My wonderful publisher, Fiery Seas, not only threw a five-day virtual launch party, but also organized a 31-day blog book tour! These book reviewing blogs feature excerpts, author interviews, reviews, and Q&As with authors.They’re the online equivalent to flying the author around the country to appear at bookstores to sign and read from their books.
In the new world of social media and virtual appearances, book blog tougs are a new, great way to spread the word about your book.
The advantages of a blog tour for The Renaissance Club are largely the advantages of online publicity versus traditional newspaper and magazine coverage: low cost, ease of preparation, longterm impact. I didn’t even have to wait through a security line! Or find a crushable hat to pack. Or decide what to wear for two weeks that would fit into a rolling suitcase.
An introvert’s dream, the blog book tour also boasts attractive features for book promotion for authors with inflexible schedules that don’t permit a multi-city book tour. Here are the basic advantages of a blog tour for promoting your book:
LOW COST. No travel expenses, no hotel, meals, airfare.
ADVANCE PREPARATION. The work can be done ahead of time — preparing book excerpts, answering interview questions, creating an author bio.
SOCIAL MEDIA SHARING! This is perhaps one of the greatest advantages. While it might be fun to post a photo of yourself signing books in a store, such posts don’t direct people to online retail outlets to impulse-buy your book. A blog tour stop can be linked directly to Amazon, Barnes & Nobles, etc.
PERPETUAL ADVERTISING. The blog post lives on the Internet. You can link to it again and again in social media.
I was fortunate that my publisher organized my blog tour, but you can arrange your own as an author. To give an idea of what a book blog tour stop looks like, here are a few of my latest stops — with thanks to the book bloggers for featuring my book:
Thrice Read Books – review + excerpt
The Vagaries of Us – including excerpt
Talk to your publisher, or even book your own book blog tour in advance of your book’s release. Here’s a good article on organizing your own blog tour for promoting your book. This article cites blog tour companies you can hire to arrange your tour.
However you arrange it, a book blog tour can promote your book for days, weeks, months after its launch. These reviews and articles can keep the attention on your book long after you, in your crushable hat, have departed any bookstore in any city.
Having a book out in the world isn’t a new experience for me. With three poetry books out in the world, I’ve experienced the elation, stage fright, happy overwhelm, and sheer joy in completing a book and giving it an audience. But to have a novel published is in another sphere. It’s a goal I’ve had since I was a child. And yesterday, I achieve it, with the release of The Renaissance Club from Fiery Seas Publishing.
I’ve partied, celebrated, and emailed and passed out bookmarks to spread the word. Right now, I’m happy to share an excerpt, published at Escape Into Life. Thanks to the editors there, you can read the cute-meet of my two main characters, one who lives in the 21st century, and the other who lives in the 17th, but who find a fold in time that allows them to be in the same moment.
Come over to my Pre-Launch Book Party for my novel The Renaissance Club! Today is Quote Day. Post a favorite quote, a quote from your book, an inspirational quote, and bonus points for quote in the form of memes. I’d love to hear the lines from your books — the ones you’re writing or the ones you’re reading. Here are a few of my favorites on writing:
And these are for fun and inspiration:
Nothing is impossible, the word itself says “I’m possible”! —Audrey Hepburn.
Hope to see you at the party! Even if you’re not on the exact day, feel free to post in any category! I often scroll through Twitter and Pinterest for inspiration as I start my writing day. Writers support each other by posting these. We all have to crank up the courage to face the page or screen each day. Here’s one I’ve found numerous times on Twitter, and it always reassures me that I can put one word in front of another and accomplish something today:
“Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” – E. L. Doctorow
The Renaissance Club releases i e-book and print formats on January 23. Pick up a copy at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, or Kobo. You can pre-order today and your book will be sent to you on release day!
If you suddenly found you could time travel, what good could you hope to do by traveling into the past? Could you time travel to prevent a war or a plague? Would you want to ensure that friendly, intelligent aliens landing on our planet weren’t obliterated by weed-killer? Would you want to change your own history to become richer, more successful, or healthier? Would you try to spare someone close to you a catastrophe?
Some of those things are the goal of my main character, May Gold, in The Renaissance Club (now available for pre-order on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, and Kobo). Time travel has been a philosophical problem ever since someone devised it. It’s the problem I asked myself as I sent May back to the 17th century.
And it’s a question I kept pondering as I thought about George St. James, the club’s guide to Renaissance Italy, and for a few the guide to time traveling.
Why did George have this gift? How did he decide to use it only to aid others? In George’s case, time travel appears to be genetic. His grandmother had the ability, though neither of his parents did. But I’m getting ahead of myself, because that’s not in the prologue of The Renaissance Club. It will appear in my third novel, Time’s Wily Thief, which features George St. James.
In The Renaissance Club, art historian May Gold time travels with George’s aid, and she finds herself face-to-face with her hero, 17th century Italian sculptor Gianlorenzo Bernini. As she goes back and forth into his timeline, she starts trying to change things in his life, to prevent disasters that impeded his art.
Happy 2018! What are your new year’s writing goals? Someone in one of my writers groups asked me, while wishing me a happy 2018. I was shocked to realize I don’t have many. My debut novel launches on January 23 — The Renaissance Club, my time-travel love story, available now on Amazon for pre-order. I have a poetry collection coming out in August — Arabesque, from FutureCycle Press. And I’m finishing the last revision before querying agents and publishers of my new novel, The Romantics. Plus I’m writing a new musical play.
For me, 2018 seems to be all about finishing up big projects and sending them off to sail in wider waters, with new readership and audiences. Do you have a book making its debut in 2018? Maybe your writing goals revolve around book marketing — blogging, doing interviews, giving readings, offering giveaways. These all require a lot of writing. But my big 2018 writing goal is to start writing a new novel.
Many people haven’t been to Italy, and without visiting there, it’s almost impossible to see the work of Gianlorenzo Bernini. My time-travel novel, The Renaissance Club, (now available for pre-order on Amazon in either paperback or ebook) features not only his art, but Bernini himself. It’s set in five Italian cities rich with art and beautiful architecture: Rome, Assisi, Siena, Florence, and Venice. Rome especially features his expressive, passionate art. He’s the genius artist of the 17th century, and the idol of the protagonist, young art historian May Gold. Their meeting through the shifting folds of time occurs often near one of Bernini’s artworks.
To help you see the places and sculptures in the book, I created The Renaissance Club Pinterest Illustration Board, illustrating my time-travel novel and has sections for all the cities May Gold visits on her tour of Northern Italy with her Renaissance Club colleagues. All the Bernini art she sees is included, along with places and art associated with time adventures by other characters.
Take a tour of Renaissance Italy — in both May’s contemporary time, and Gianlorenzo Bernini’s 17th century — while you read The Renaissance Club.
Would you give up everything, even the time in which you live, to be with your soul mate?
That’s the question my main character, May Gold, has to ask herself when her adventures in Italy in The Renaissance Club bring her face-to-face with her idol, 17th century genius sculptor Gianlorenzo Bernini. She has always admired — maybe more than admired — the fiery, expressive artist who could make marble come alive. What would you do if you could meet the historical person you most admire?
Click the link below to get a preview:
I’m thrilled to share that you can pre-order it, in either ebook or paperback, on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and iBooks. Delivery date will be the official release: January 23. If you grab a copy now, you’ll do a sort of time-traveling yourself, having it in your hands in January, when it releases. You can congratulate your past self for giving you a New Year’s present! Perfect for a cozy read during winter nights.