I seem to have written a feminist romance. Which is interesting because I’ve had a long and complicated relationship with the label of feminist. I think now I am in a place where I feel able to claim it, but I still have a lot of opinions that are not really mainstream feminist. On abortion, for instance. I do truly believe that life begins with conception and, therefore, it is as wrong to kill an unborn child as it is to kill a baby after it has been born. Hattie, however, the heroine of Flirting With The Camera, thinks differently from me on this issue. She had an abortion in her early twenties and she is okay with that. It was a hard decision in difficult circumstances, but it has not ruined her life.
Abortion is a rare occurence in romance novels. Accidental pregnancy is EXTREMELY common, but almost every heroine I’ve ever read dismisses the notion of abortion instantly. Partly this is for plot reasons – a baby is an ongoing potential source of conflict. But I think even more than that it’s because there is an idealised notion of a romance heroine: limited sexual experience and preferably a virgin, not bitchy, often lacking self-esteem and having low body-confidence. And she must be a maternal woman who would never dream of having an abortion. Hattie is, um, not exactly like that. She’s confident in herself and her body, she enjoys sex, she can be a little bit bitchy at times, and she not only contemplates having an abortion, she does it.
I love her.
I really, really love her.
Usually, I’m very sanguine about criticism of my books. I don’t think they are heartbreaking works of staggering genius. I don’t expect everyone to love them. It’s fine.
I don’t think I can be dispassionate about criticism of Hattie. I don’t think Flirting With The Camera is a perfect book and I can see why not everyone will fall for Tom. But I think that if – when – people start criticising Hattie, I will have to go and hide in the corner and have a little cry.
Anyway, you can see what Jackie of Romance Novels for Feminists thinks about her – and the whole subject of abortion in romance – here.
And Flirting With The Camera is finally on sale at Barnes and Noble and Kobo.
Today has been a somewhat trying day.
After uploading Flirting with the Camera to Amazon yesterday, I got the email this morning to say that it had gone live. Except it hadn’t. The link in the email went to a 404 error page and searching Amazon brought up no results. I emailed customer support. Then checked the forums (should have done this first). Apparently, that is now a thing. So I waited and a few hours later, it appeared. Hooray! Except, boo, no table of contents. So I redid the file, converted it to mobi, checked it on my Kindle and uploaded it again. Except somehow I uploaded the Smashwords file instead. Disaster! You can’t make any changes until the book is live again, so I waited, and have finally just uploaded it again. If it’s not right this time I shall scream. Or cry. Probably both.
Anyway, once the link went live the first time, I was able to add it to the new editions of the other books and upload those. Hoping that they have the right files! I think they do. The kdp uploaded did spot a couple of typos in Reckless Runaway, so I have corrected those. And uploaded a corrected file at Smashwords.
So now, the state of play is that you can buy all the books at Amazon, though you may not get the best file of Flirting with the Camera if you buy it right now. You can buy the up-to-date editions of all the books at Smashwords. And you can buy old editions of everything except Flirting with the Camera everywhere else. This is because they are all still pending review at Smashwords, before they can be pushed out to the other retailers from there. This tends to happen in stages, over the course of a week or two. You’ll recognise when the new editions are available because they will have the new covers. And of course I’ll add the links for Flirting with the Camera here as they go live.
In amongst all this, I have been sending out Kickstarter rewards. So far, I’ve done all the non-personalised ones and one personalised one. The rest are going to have to wait until tomorrow, I think. I’m too tired and frazzled to do it right today.
I really love the bright, fresh colours and hopefully they also have easier text for reading in thumbnail size. I’m happy to have everything with a consistent look and I think it will help to have the word ‘romance’ on the cover for attracting potential new readers.
What do you think of the new look covers? They’ll be rolling out in the next couple of weeks in preparation for the launch of Tom and Hattie.
I finished the content edits on Lying for the Camera last night and it’s now safely in the hands of the copyeditor and proofreader. These are two separate processes but I have hired the same person to do both. Hopefully that will work okay. She anticipates getting it back to me in about 10 days. During that time, I’ll make sure I’ve got everything else in order – the final version of the cover, the back matter, the table of contents. It’s a while since I formatted my own ebooks so I want to remind myself how all of that works. But all being well, it should be going on sale in the last week of September.
And, to celebrate, I am re-launching ALL my self-published books. They will all be getting new covers – I want to have a more consistent look across all the books. I’m also going to do some minor edits of things that people have pointed out. The ginger kitten from Reckless Runaway at the Racecourse is going to have to decide once and for all whether it is male or female, for example. And my American characters in Twelve Days will no longer say ‘bloke’ or ‘biro’. Another thing which I’m going to look into is making a print version available. I can’t afford to do a traditional print run and print-on-demand books tend to be expensive. So what I’m wondering about is an anthology: Reckless Runaway at the Racecourse, The Tycoon’s Convenient Wife, and Lying for the Camera all in one volume. If that comes in at a reasonable price, then I’ll do it. I need to do a print version of Lying for the Camera for some of my Kickstarter backers, but that will be a limited edition and not for general sale.
So these are exciting times. I’ve been thinking about the year ahead and making plans. I’ve got a short story that I’ll finish writing this month and send for editing in October, to publish in early November. My next title from Entangles is due out in December. I’m aiming to write two more books and a couple more short stories by next summer, but I’m still thinking about which to self-publish, which to submit to Entangled, and whether to try again with Mills and Boon. I’ve got a linked series of three books in mind which I think might suit Entangled. And another standalone which is definitely for self-publishing. But there are other ideas percolating that I’d like to try for M&B. Watch this space!