Category Archives: Editor

Dallas Launch Events

One of the unexpected pleasures of working with the copy editor on my book was receipt of the Style Sheet, a document summarizing the editorial conventions to be followed in preparing my text for publication.  Included were explanations of my usage, “narrative is colloquial, may not always be strictly grammatical” (thankyouverymuch), a list of ironic labels I enjoyed seeing all in one place, and a roll of place names and proper names that, when presented in such a businesslike manner, seemed oddly real, like seeing my children dressed up for Easter brunch.  On March 29, I will celebrate the birth of My Jane Austen Summer and welcome my 57 new fictional characters into the world, including:  Lily, Willis, Vera, Nigel, Omar, Magda, Archie, Bets, Gary, Lady Weston, Randolph and Pippa, one cat, one dog, and all the others I spent five years wrangling into a plot.  

Please join this book birthday celebration at either of two launch events to be held in Dallas.  Here is your formal invitation:

My Jane Austen Summer Launch Day Event 
Tuesday, March 29 at 7 pm
Border’s Books and Music
5500 Greenville Avenue (facing Lovers Ln.)
This event is free and open to the public and no reservation is required


Tea with My Jane Austen Summer
Literary Launch in The French Room
The Adolphus Hotel
Saturday, April 9
2 to 3:30
$48.86/person, includes Afternoon Tea, tax and gratuity
Make your check payable to: My Jane Austen Summer
and mail to:
Tea with My Jane Austen Summer
6301 Gaston Ave., Suite 530
Dallas, Texas  75214

Seating is limited and your ticket to this event is non-refundable.
Questions?  Email 
Lily Berry’s Pink Rose tea will be served and period attire is encouraged!



Filed under Editor, launching things, My Jane Austen Summer

My Author Photo

Taking a picture of myself that is worthy of a book cover is nearly impossible.  The only other process that comes close to requiring perfect sync of so many variables is the miracle of conception.  Yet the world is full of author photos, and agent and editor both neeeded mine yesterday.  On a day when hair, weight, and attitude were momentarily aligned, I called husband and invited him to lunch at the arboretum.  We took 200 pictures.  Upon review, not one was a keeper.  In case we were being too picky, I sent a batch to my good friend for her honest advice.  She said, “Do you have any shots that look like you?”  

We tried again and again, always with the same results.  We took turns making a case for improbable shots where half of my face was in shadow, for instance.  Under pressure, I sent a selection of the best to my agent.  “Do you have any shots that look warm and inviting?” she asked.

We sought the expert skills of a fashion photographer we know, and although his pictures were museum quality, he could do only so much with the subject (me).  On a photo shoot, overcome with the pressure to look warm and inviting, to be a face that sells books and still look like myself, and wondering what any of this had to do with writing, I sat on a picnic table and cried.  Those are the very worst pictures of all.

Then, one evening, husband had an idea.  “Let’s just think of this as practise,” he said.  We took our wineglasses onto the deck and, in the waning light of a summer evening, took pictures until it grew dark.  This time, we got an angle that seemed to work.  The only problem was the background:  two wineglasses in plain view and a blue mini-van emerging from my left temporal lobe.    

Time was running out.  Two more sessions and absolutely no good shots later, my editor requested a picture.  ASAP.  I pulled out the practise shot and turned on the photo editing tools.  I cropped as close as I could to take out the wineglasses, and painted green foliage over everything that didn’t belong in an author photo.  Then I braced myself and hit send.    

My editor wrote, “Do you have any shots where you look less startled?”  

I envy photogenic authors who do what comes naturally and get a great photo in one session.  I sent her my other shots and she opted for startled.


Filed under Agent, Cindy Jones, Editor, First Reader (aka Husband), My Jane Austen Summer, The business of writing...

The Scoop on Author Blurbs

Author Will Smile For Blurbs

Here’s the scoop on author blurbs:  start early.  Obtaining endorsements for a book is an author job they don’t tell you about in Writing 101.  When my ARCs came in, (Advanced Reader Copies made from uncorrected proofs), my editor asked me for names of authors to contact for blurbs. 

Who, me?

The second thing I will say about soliciting blurbs is you can’t start too early.  By the time the ARCs were ready, there was just over a month for authors to read my book and write a blurb in order to meet my publisher’s deadline.  Of all the authors I queried, those with whom I had some kind of connection agreed to try to accommodate my request.  Those who generously provided their endorsement–and I love them–were able to do so because they squeezed my request into their already crushing workload of writing, promotion, and let’s not forget–holiday chaos.  Soliciting author blurbs five years before your book’s publication is not too early.  I sent Karen Joy Fowler, author of The Jane Austen Book Club, an email in 2006, asking if she’d be willing to read my book.   

Karen Joy Fowler.  Right. 

She was busy at the time.  But she  remembered me two years later when we met at Squaw Valley Writers’ Conference.  And she was still busy.  But three years after the conference, when I resurfaced with a publishing contract, she found an opening in her schedule.   

Take away point:  Start early.

Although no one has asked me for a blurb, I’m practicing just in case.  Here’s how I would blurb some of the books I’ve read lately:

  • Freedom by Jonathan Franzen.  I couldn’t put it down.
  • The Wolves of Andover by Kathleen Kent.  The most beautifully written book I’ve ever read.  And I couldn’t put it down.  
  • Nocturne by Syrie James.  Fantastic escape:  four days in a snowstorm with a vampire who reminded me of Mr. Darcy.  I didn’t want to come home!  
  •  Mamalita by Jessica O’Dwyer.  Now I know how it feels when a book reaches out and blesses the reader.  The ending was exquisite.  
  • Friday Mornings at Nine by Marilyn Brant.  Delicious vicarious adventure!  I’ll never meet friends for coffee without remembering this story.  
  • Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda.  I love this book!  Engaging characters, compelling story, and a trip to India.                            
  • Murder at Mansfield Park by Lynn Shepherd.  My favorite characters return to the page in an engaging mystery.  Jane lives!  
  • Cleopatra by Stacy Schiff.  Facinating reading adventure: to be a fly on the wall at Cleopatra’s house.       
  • The Gate at the Stairs by Lorrie Moore.  This engaging literary fiction taught me how much more innocence one has to lose when coming of age post 9/11.    

You, too, can blurb books!  What have you read lately that deserves your endorsement?  Leave your blurb in the comment section.

  To read the blurbs for My Jane Austen Summer, click here.





Filed under Cindy Jones, Editor, My Jane Austen Summer, The business of writing...

Inside Story: The Title Diet


Teenager Not Playing Video Games


My Writing Teacher warned us not to waste calories worrying about titles for our books.  Editors replace working titles–in a heartbeat–at the appropriate time.  Nonetheless, I secretly wasted calories worrying about titles.  I burned calories I could have used writing a sequel.  

FYI:  Title Worry consumes the same number of calories as enforcing time limits on Xbox players.          

I descended into title madness between 3 and 4 am on select nights, generating a vast graveyard of titles too embarrassing to exhume.  Example:  DITCHED BY JANE AUSTEN which I submitted to Editor before First Reader was awake one morning.  Sadly, some of my working titles came within a mere word of the winning title but I couldn’t close the gap, as if my synapses weren’t quite up to the challenge.  Was this a symptom of a deeper affliction?  An inability to grasp the meaning of the 90,000 words I’d spent five years writing?    

Both Agent and Editor referred to my book by randomly choosing a word from the working title collection and writing it in ALL CAPS.  Sometimes Agent called it MANSFIELD PARK.  Sometimes Editor simply called it JANE.  And then one day Editor said, “I keep thinking of this book as THE SUMMER OF MY JANE AUSTEN.”  Taught by my Writing Teacher to eliminate excess articles and needless words, I regrouped and said, “What about MY JANE AUSTEN SUMMER?”  High concept with a hint of irony.   

I burned exactly .0395 calories fueling the two heartbeats that helped nail the title.  About the same caloric demand of shooting one video game zombie.  But the calories I wasted on Title Worry would feed an Xbox party of four for the rest of the summer.  I guess I shouldn’t worry about it.  

NEXT BLOG:  My Novel Picks Up a Subtitle


Filed under Agent, aging synapses, Editor, First Reader (aka Husband), My Jane Austen Summer, My Writing Teacher said..., teenagers, Writing Nightmares