I’ve Been Tagged: The Next Big Thing Blog Hop

This is a meme going around for about a month wherein tagees answer WIP-related questions and pass it along to others.

I’ve been tagged by Janice Hardy, fabulous YA author of The Healing Wars trilogy, and by one of my Beta buddies Linda Morris, whom I’ve had the pleasure of Beta reading two of her works and am so happy they’ve found publishers!

Rules for The Next Big Thing Blog Hop:
***Use this format for your post
***Answer the ten questions about your current WIP (work in progress)
***Tag five other writers/bloggers and add their links so we can hop over and meet them.

Ten Interview Questions for the Next Big Thing:

What is your working title of your book?

I have several works in various stages of the pipeline. My current WIP is NOT ANOTHER DARCY, a magical realism/meta fiction romance, which I’m doing for NaNoWriMo this month. Langouring in revision is my steampunk romance STEAM ME UP, RAWLEY. Coming out on December 19th with Secret Cravings Publishing is BEER AND GROPING IN LAS VEGAS. But the one I’m going to post about is the one that I shopped for an agent, my time travel romance MUST LOVE BREECHES.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

I’ve always been a sucker for time travel and I’m a Jane Austen nut, so when I was brainstorming ideas for NaNoWriMo back in October 2010, I thought it’d be cool to go back in time to the Austen era and do some kind of tie in. But then there’d been others who’d explored that ground already and so I was noodling around in Wikipedia looking at famous people in that time period my heroine could meet and looking at Lord Byron’s page. It was while looking at that that I saw the entry about Ada Lovelace, and I was like HER. My heroine needs to meet her! So I readjusted the time period to 1834.

What genre does your book fall under?

Time travel romance, and in contests that usually falls into the Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal category. I do get dinged by some judges saying they don’t understand why it’s in the paranormal category, which is frustrating, because that’s where it’s supposed to go according to their own definitions.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Oh man, I’m horrible with actors’ names and who’s who. I know that during revision, when I saw Toby Stephens play Mr. Rochester in one of the Jane Eyre versions, I sat up and thought, hey, that’s the closest in my mind to Lord Montagu! So him, but for Isabelle I have no clue, sorry!

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

When a modern American girl working at the British Museum finds herself stranded in pre-Victorian London by a mysterious artifact, she must find a way home while navigating the pitfalls of London society, resisting her growing attraction for a hunky lord, and ultimately having to decide when her true home lies.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I signed with Maura Kye-Casella at Don Congdon, Associates on October 4th. We were scheduled to start submitting November 1, but Hurricane Sandy has delayed that, but hopefully we’ll be submitting soon.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

I think it took me a little over thirty-two days? I did it for NaNoWriMo and passed the 50K mark after twenty-eight days, but I kept writing as it wasn’t finished and I seem to remember that it was a couple of days after NaNo ended. But that was in 2010 and I’ve been revising and polishing it until this past September.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

That’s a tough one. For time travel and humor, maybe Sandra Hill’s The Last Viking. In my queries I compared the tone to Lauren Willig’s The Secret History of the Pink Carnation and Katie MacAlister‘s contemporary romances. After querying, a comp did come out: MacAlister published a time travel in September, A Tale of Two Vampires: A Dark Ones Novel. However, I also said that fans of the movie Lost in Austen would enjoy it as well.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

NaNoWriMo looming around the corner back in 2010!

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

I think it’s a little different in that it explores an aspect of 1830s London often overlooked, which is the scientific side of things. Not only is Ada Byron Lovelace a main secondary character (credited as the world’s first computer programmer), but my heroine stays at the home of polymath Mary Somerville, and she attends a soiree at Charles Babbage‘s house, and sees him demonstrate The Difference Engine. She narrowly misses seeing Michael Faraday at the same party.

Include the link of who tagged you and this explanation for the people you have tagged.

Here’s my peeps (these are all Beta buddies–those whom I’ve swapped stories with for feedback):

  1. Kate Meader, who has a wicked-fun sense of humor, so I jumped on the chance to Beta her MS. She then landed an agent a couple of months ago and already sold her first series! Her debut (the one I Beta’ed) is Feel The Heat, coming out in 2013 by Grand Central!
  2. Donna Cummings, who ALSO has a wicked-fun sense of humor, so I also jumped on the chance to Beta her MS I Do… Or Die, which also recently found a home. Look for it December 10th with Crimson Romance
  3. Stephanie Lawton, fellow Mobilian whose gritty and haunting YA paranormal I beta’ed and just loved, recently found a home for it with Evernight Teen. Be on the look out for Shrapnel in January!
  4. Celia Breslin, urban fantasy and paranormal romance author, whose first chapter of a geek novella I critted and can’t wait to read the rest!
  5. Sarah Wesson, whom I’m eagerly awaiting for her to finish revising Full Metal Librarian as it just needs to be published, that’s all I’m saying!

Weekend Grab Bag – From Writing Tips to Vader In A Kilt On A Unicycle Playing Bagpipes (I Kid You Not)

Song playing right now on my playlist: “Stray Cat Strut” by Stray Cats

Writing and the Writing Life:

Romance Writers:

Ada Lovelace:

Jane Austen:

Browncoats:

In Geekdom:

Oh, For A Title…

Next to perfecting my query, coming up with a better title than TO OUR FUTURE is a big one for me. I thought summarizing the story into one sentence was hard, but now I need to do it with a title.

I did some brainstorming exercises yesterday to try to come up with some possibilities. By the end I was getting pretty silly. I thought I’d let it stew in my head and let my subconscious work on it for a day or two, but just now, when I turned off the TV after watching Castle, an alternate title for this blog post popped into my head: Oh Title Where Art Thou?

No, no, no! Stupid subconscious! Work on the title for my book. Argh!

Anyway, a full day’s gone by and not a peep from my creative juices for the book title. I finished the 3rd draft in the beginning of October and thought it would be good to take a break from it so that I could see it with fresh eyes when I got my betas’ feedback. But now I’m thinking I’ve been apart from it for too long and have lost the thread of it. So I think I’ll  reread it straight through over Thanksgiving break and see what might pop out at me for a title.

Are you also struggling with a title?

I know that some say you shouldn’t get too attached to a title, because the publisher might change it. But I’ve also read that agents can be drawn or repulsed by a title. If we can have a strong title to help sell it, why not, as long as we know it might change. Here’s some links I found that helped me brainstorm.

  • Agent Rachelle Gardner’s How To Title a Book
  • I love Katie Macalister‘s titles, so I added her name to my search parameters and came up with this post: Finding the Perfect Title
  • Someone on critiquecircle.com had a great brainstorming list, but since that’s password protected, I just googled and found the same list here. By the time I tried this though, my brain was pretty fried and I couldn’t come up with numerical much less ironical versions.

Titles need to set the tone

Besides all the other reasons why nailing the title is important, there’s also setting the expectation for the reader with the right tone. A quirky, fun title for a dark horror story would just not work.

My story is light and funny (mostly), and I’d like the title to reflect it. I’ve revised my query down to this so far:

Isabelle Rochon has met the man of her dreams.  There’s only one problem: he lives in a different century.  Talk about a long-distance relationship!

A modern American working at the British Museum, Isabelle just wants to know what it was like to live ‘back then.’  But not really. When a silver card case strands her in 1834, she must navigate the pitfalls of a stiffly polite London, find out how to get back, keep her origins a secret, and, oh, resist her growing attraction to Lord Montagu, the Vicious Viscount so hot he curls her toes.

To Lord Montagu nothing makes more sense than to keep his distance from the strange Colonial. However, when his scheme for revenge reaches a stalemate, he needs her to masquerade as his fiancée. A bargain is struck. What he did not bargain on is being drawn to her mentally as well as physically. Now, nothing makes more sense than to make their engagement official. Except to his fiancée.

Isabelle must find the case, or she’ll be stuck in 1834 where they haven’t heard of toilet paper or women’s lib. The fact that she’s falling in love with Lord Montagu isn’t helping either. Staying would be the ultimate follow-the boyfriend move and she can’t go through that again.

TO OUR FUTURE is a 95,000 word novel featuring such historical figures as Ada Lovelace and Charles Babbage. Fans of LOST IN AUSTEN will love the modern woman’s fish out of water foibles, while experiencing a more scientific and mechanical London. It is similar in tone to THE SECRET HISTORY OF THE PINK CARNATION, and Katie Macalister’s contemporary romances. It is a standalone novel with the potential to be a prequel in a series of steampunk romances.

So here’s what I’ve come up with so far, from the okay, to the bad, to the just plain silly:

  • A Viscount In Time
  • Man from Another Century (the literal approach, lol!)
  • A Kiss in Time
  • Soulmate in Time
  • Time for a Soulmate
  • Lord Drool-Worthy (that’s her nickname for him in the beginning)
  • Timeless
  • London Calling
  • Dang This Corset
  • Worlds Apart
  • My Historical Hunk
  • Sweet Adorkable You
  • To Love is to Embrace
  • Like Water for Corsets (I know, bad!)
  • Isabelle’s Excellent Adventure
  • The Once and Future Dork
  • Should I Stay or Should I Go
  • Time’s Embrace
  • Embracing Corsets
  • Ripping Breeches for Fun and Profit (this one was so silly I had to tweet it to some tweeps I knew would appreciate it)
How about you? How do you come up with your titles? Do you have your title before you even start writing, or do you struggle afterwards like me? Please God and all that is holy, do you have any ideas for me? :D Do you have any authors you love who have great titles?