pbray: (TFB)
As an author, it's always difficult to tell which pieces of promotional swag are helpful, and which ones are a waste of money. The strongest reaction I ever received was for the lizard keychains/bottle openers I gave out for THE FIRST BETRAYAL. The lizards were both fun & useful, and were remembered by Elizabeth Bear when it came time for authors to list their favorite book swag in the essay Love It or Leave It.

One lizard to rule them all....
pbray: (TFB_Cover)
Cover art for Первое предательство by Патриция Брей, otherwise known as the Rusisan edition of THE FIRST BETRAYAL. Very cool.



There were several reviews out on a discussion board, but the Google assisted translation renders all comments hilarious, making it impossible to tell if they were originally meant as praise or scorn. Come to think of it, I ought to run an English to Russian and then reverse translation before reading my Amazon reviews.
pbray: (Default)
Becoming a published author involves mastering many skills, one of which is learning how to write a synopsis for your book. If you've never seen one before, this can be a daunting task, so [livejournal.com profile] jpsorrow put out a call for his friends to share examples, and declared that March 18th was S-Day.

For my part, I've posted the synopsis for THE FIRST BETRAYAL, the first volume in The Chronices of Josan series. Because this was a proposal based on sample chapters rather than a completed novel, the package included detailed background information as well as summaries for all three books in the proposed series. In order to avoid spoilers for either THE SEA CHANGE or THE FINAL SACRIFICE, I've removed those sections from the synopsis posted on my website.

At the time the synopsis was written, I has only writen the opening chapters of THE FIRST BETRAYAL. Astute readers will notice differences between the synopsis and the final book. I like to think of the published book as the "Director's Cut" of the story.

You'll also notice that many of the details in the synopsis never made it into any of three books, such as Prince Lucius's family tree, or the detailed history of the Ikarian empire. This is an example of world-building--as an author I need to know the underpinnings of the world and civilizations that I've created, but it's not necessary to explicitly include these in the story.

In his livejournal announcement [livejournal.com profile] jpsorrow refers to synopses usually being 3-5 pages in length. This is where I beg to differ--while shorter is generally better, synopses come in a wide variety of lengths, depending on the project and the author. The synopsis for THE FIRST BETRAYAL was the longest one I've ever written, mainly because it wasn't associated with a completed novel--there had to be enough detail in there to convince the folks at Bantam that I had enough story to sustain a multi-volume arc. Luckily Bantam liked it, and as you've probably guessed, they bought all three books in the series :-)

So, without further ado, click here to read my synopsis. Then take a look at the links posted below, to find more examples.

Enjoy!

Plot Synopsis Project participant links:

For more examples, check out the links below. Note, authors are posting throughout the day, some links may not be immediately available.

Edited on 3/24 to add permanent links to the blog entries.

[livejournal.com profile] desperance Chaz Brenchley's entry
Mike Brotherton's entry
Tobias Buckell's entry
[livejournal.com profile] scbutler S.C. Butler's entry
Barbara Campbell's entry
[livejournal.com profile] davidbcoe David B. Coe's entry
[livejournal.com profile] jennifer_dunne Jennifer Dunne's entry
[livejournal.com profile] sleigh S.L. Farrell's entry
[livejournal.com profile] difrancis Diana Francis's entry
[livejournal.com profile] frostokovich Gregory Frost's entry
Felix Gilman's entry
[livejournal.com profile] jimhines Jim C. Hines's entry
[livejournal.com profile] jackiekessler Jackie Kessler's entry
[livejournal.com profile] mindyklasky Mindy Klasky's entry
[livejournal.com profile] madkestrel Misty Massey's entry
[livejournal.com profile] mizkit C.E. Murphy's entry
[livejournal.com profile] naominovik Naomi Novik's entry
[livejournal.com profile] jpsorrow Joshua Palmatier's entry
Maria V. Snyder's entry Link takes you to Myspace page, then search for 03/18/08 entry
[livejournal.com profile] smokingpigeon Jennifer Stevenson's entry
[livejournal.com profile] msagara Michelle West's entry
[livejournal.com profile] ladnews Sean Williams's entry

pbray: (Josan)
The last week has been full of ups & downs, which perhaps explains why I've been quiet. Still dealing with one of those downs, but today I'm going to focus on things that make me happy, and remind myself of how very lucky I am. So in that spirit--

Thanks to my editor for pointing out a nice review of THE SEA CHANGE from the Contra Costa Times.

Googling turned up a hysterical entry from the University Book Store in Seattle entitled The Legend of Patricia Bray. (On foot! In the rain! Possible wolves!) I had a silly grin for hours after reading this.

Yesterday's mail brought my copy of the contract for the Russian language edition of THE FIRST BETRAYAL. It's fun to look at--each page is printed in two columns, English on one side, Russian on the other. I have only their word that the terms match, but so far the publisher has treated me very well, so I've no reason to doubt that I'll be happy.

Just learned that Bantam has sent THE FIRST BETRAYAL back to press--THANKS GUYS.

And finally, and most importantly, my editor liked the revised manuscript for THE FINAL SACRIFICE (giant sigh of relief is heard.)

So now it's onward and upward.
pbray: (TFB_Cover)
Folks have been asking how I came up with the title for THE FIRST BETRAYAL, so I decided to share the answers here. Warning: spoilers under the cut tag.

So how do you come up with those titles anyway? )
pbray: (TFB_Cover)
Had a great time at Flights of Fantasy yesterday.

Drove up in the pouring rain, and arrived early so I grabbed a cup of coffee to fortify my mental processes before heading over to the store. Met Maria, Joe and Gil for dinner at the Italian restaurant across the street, then returned to the store for a reading, followed by a discussion, then a half-hour of signing and individual chatting. It wasn't the best reading I've done--I could feel myself rushing a bit, but it wasn't my worst.

Even with the foul weather the event was well attended, and the audience asked thoughtful questions. Maria had laid in a stock of the DEVLIN books, so I sold a few of those as well as a large stack of THE FIRST BETRAYAL, then signed the rest for stock. Gave away the remaining marketing lizards and lots of M&M's.

The audience seemed to have a good time. Flights of Fantasy is one of my favorite places to do a booksigning because the folks there genuinely love books and love the genre. The audience asked all sorts of interesting questions about the book and the writing process. As we bantered back and forth I got a cool idea for a crab attack ("I pinch!"), which may feature in a forthcoming book.

There were a few questions about the next book in the series, but I could only discuss it in general terms in order not to give away massive spoilers for TFB. I'm looking forward to seeing the LASTSFA folks again after they've read the first book, when I won't have to be so careful in my descriptions.

Then, reluctantly, I packed up for the 2 1/2 hour drive home. The rain was intermittent so I was able to pop in my new CD and listened to the soundtrack of Wicked. A good soundtrack, even competing with the rain and windshield wipers, but I found the part of Elphaba (the Wicked Witch) to be lacking--the vocals didn't match my memory of Saturday's performance by Eden Espinosa. Not that it was bad, merely just not as good as I remembered.

Now reality strikes with a thud, as it's back to the day job!
pbray: (TFB_Cover)
Tonight I'll be appearing at Flights of Fantasy, 488 Albany-Shaker Road, Loudonville, NY. Dinner with the folks from LASTSFA at 5PM, followed by a reading and signing at 7PM.

Looking forward to a great time. If you're in the area stop by to say "Hi!" and grab some of the M&M's.

If you can't make it, I'll be signing copies for stock, so you can pick one up later this month. But the M&M's will be gone :-)
pbray: (TFB_Cover)
It's finally here! THE FIRST BETRAYAL has been spotted in the wild, and [livejournal.com profile] libwitch reported that there are copies at my local Waldenbooks ready to go out on the shelves.

Happy Release Day!

ETA: See the Bantam Spectra website for this month's newsletter and their interview with me.
pbray: (Default)
Back from Balticon. The long weekend and drive back drained all functioning brain cells, so expect a longer post on this later in the week. For now, here's a quick recap.

The Good: met old friends and made new ones. Most of the panels I was on were very good, and today's reading from TFB was all I could hope for. I was intrigued to meet several students from Seton Hill University's Master of Arts in Writing Popular Fiction program. Maria Snyder, this year's Compton Crook winner, is currently in that program.

The Bad: programming was disorganized, to put it charitably. Among other issues--the pocket program only listed program titles, not descriptions, so both panelists and con attendees were left guessing as to the purpose of some of the panels. For the most part they'd also failed to identify moderators, which left panelists scrambling to choose a moderator as they were sitting down.

The Odd: there were actually two cons going on. The Neil Gaiman con, with a large contingent of his fans only interested in going to his events, and then the con for the rest of us. Preregistration was over 2,000 with many more registering at the con, yet when I was in the public spaces it had the feel of a much smaller con.


In other news, The First Betrayal goes on sale tomorrow. Which completely explains why BN.COM just sent me an email saying that my preorder would be delayed since the publisher had changed the publication date. I called the Ingram's stock line to confirm that the books were in the warehouses, and they are, so BN.COM appears to be experiencing the electronic version of a brain fart. It wouldn't be the first time. I always preorder copies of my titles from the online bookstores, just to check to make sure they are in the channel and shipping, and about half the time I run into a problem with at least one preorder being arbitrarily cancelled, outright lost, or receiving strange status messages.

Anyway, that's all the news that fits to print. More later this weekend, after I recover!

Balticon

May. 23rd, 2006 10:40 am
pbray: (TFB_Cover)
Balticon has finally released a schedule for this weekend, and here's where I'll be when I'm not in the dealer's room or bar:

Friday 10:00PM: Arrrr, Matey! It Be A Pirate Panel
Saturday 11:00AM: Strong Female Characters
Saturday Noon: Separating Villains from Heroes
Sunday 11:00 AM: What Kind of Life Does an Immortal Really Have?
Sunday 2:00 PM: Beyond Mansquito & Frankenfish
Sunday 6:00 PM: Meet the Crook Winners
Monday 10:30 AM: Reading from THE FIRST BETRAYAL







Looks like a fun time, though a tad disappointed that the "Writing about Beer & Ale" panel didn't make the final schedule :-)

If anyone is going to Balticon, stop by my reading on Monday morning, where I'll be giving away chocolate and copies of THE FIRST BETRAYAL.

pbray: (Default)
Been busy, so haven't been posting recently.

A few tidbits of good news--DEVLIN'S JUSTICE went back to press for another printing, and the author's copies of THE FIRST BETRAYAL arrived over the weekend, more than two weeks before the release. Usually I get my copies after the book is in the stores, so I'm quite impressed.

Plans for biking this weekend were canceled by rain on Saturday and yesterday by other obligations, as a friend's mother insisted I join the family for their traditional Mother's Day celebration. Read more... )

The sequel to TFB isn't finished yet, but it's moving along. At this point I'd be willing to cut open my skull and insert the brain in the universal input port, if I thought that would speed things up.

Reading: Finished PATHS NOT TAKEN by Simon R. Green. One book left in the series (so far).
pbray: (bike)
Writing: Got a chunk of writing done today, not outstanding, not bad. Also worked on the interview for Bantam Spectra. I'd set a new standard for brevity in my answers, and realized I needed to expand these a bit, lest my editor think I was supplying cryptogram clues as opposed to an actual interview.

Biking: First ride of the year. I suck, but not as badly as I'd feared. I noticed an immediate difference with the new chain--gear changes are smoother, and all of the gears seem just a tiny bit easier to pedal than they were before the winter break. Still trying to figure out biking shoes--my old shoes need to be retired so I'm exploring my options. I don't need new shoes yet, but I will need them when I start serious rides. Sadly there isn't a bike store around here with a decent selection of women's shoes, so I'm going to have to deal with mail order, which is always fun when you're trying to order shoes.

Reading: Finished HEX AND THE CITY by Simon R. Green. Whee, I'm on a roll.

Yesterday's mail brought an advance copy of THE FIRST BETRAYAL. The ARC was beautiful but I'd been concerned that it was on the slender side. To me it looked like a 75K novel, far thinner than one of the DEVLIN books, and I was afraid that the thin spine didn't scream "epic fantasy". But I'd worried needlessly, as the difference in the paper and binding process between the ARC and a massmarket is larger than I'd guessed. The final paperback is a respectable 1" wide, compared to the 3/4" ARC.

Not much else new. Still fighting off some kind of miscellaneous crud that's been going around.
pbray: (TFB)
It's that most wonderful time of year, as the first review is up. Harriet Klausner's review of The First Betrayal was posted on BN.COM. Ms. Klausner isn't known for her critical analysis, but she's almost always the first one to post a review for new books, so it's a bit like spotting the first robin of spring. You know the others can't be far behind.

I saw that the review exists, but haven't read it yet. I almost never read my reviews--or at least not until they've been pre-screened by a minion. Even a favorable review can drive me crazy if it gets details wrong, or reveals too much of the plot.

I'm wondering about the rest of the authors on my friends' list. Do you read reviews of your work or do you find them too aggravating?

ETA: [livejournal.com profile] jennifer_dunne read the review and assured me that it was favorable, but also gave away key plot points. Par for the course.
pbray: (TFB)
Congratulations go out to Valerie Jachimowicz who won the autographed review copy of THE FIRST BETRAYAL, and a bag of custom printed M&M's to snack on while reading.

For those who didn't win, THE FIRST BETRAYAL goes on sale in 44 days (grin). Just in case you needed a reminder.
pbray: (TFB)
Win an autographed review copy of THE FIRST BETRAYAL and a bag of the custom printed M&M's to snack on while reading.

The First Betrayal arrives in stores on May 30th, and to celebrate I'm raffling off an autographed review copy. To enter the contest, post a comment to this livejournal entry. If you don't have a livejournal id, please be sure your comment includes your e-mail address so I can contact you if you win. All comments will be screened so no one else will see them.

Contest closes at midnight on April 15th, and the winner will be announced here and on my website.

One entry per person, please.
ETA: Yes, entries from overseas are acceptable, although naturally the M&M's may be subject to import restrictions. Also note since all entries are screened, only I will be able to see who has entered (cue evil laugh track).

pbray: (TFB)
Today's mail brought an ARC for THE FIRST BETRAYAL. Very pretty, with the full-color cover. Much more impressive than the ARCs they used to have, which merely had black typeface on colored cardboard.

Now that the ARCs are being mailed out, any bets on how long it takes one of them to show up on e-bay? My favorite part of this process is when a seller posts the JPG of the book cover with the "Not for Sale" label clearly visible to prospective buyers.

As we get closer to the release date I'll be raffling off an ARC, and a bag of the custom printed M&M's. Details to be posted here in April.

Pretty

Feb. 22nd, 2006 07:43 pm
pbray: (TFB)
My new icon is from the title page for the new book. Very pretty.

Finished up the project box by tossing in the photocopy of the galleys, and writing today's date. For those keeping score at home, the project box for THE FIRST BETRAYAL consists of:
- Original Proposal
- Interim outline (shown only to [livejournal.com profile] arcaedia)
- Revised proposal (version that sold)
- Submitted manuscript
- Revised manuscript
- Copy-edits
- Galleys
pbray: (Lizard)
One of the least fun parts of the process is the painstakingly careful reading of galleys. Your eyes burn, your brain melts, and you find yourself instant messaging a friend because you can no longer remember how to spell the word 'been', as in had been seen which you hear in your head as had beeeen seen.

Convinced that the book sucks, since no prose is improved by concentrating on the punctuation over the unfolding storylines, the ordeal is redeemed when you stumble across a gem. Such as the one I found at lunch today:

"Surely you cannot doubt the loyalty and devotion of your followers?"

It was not their loyalty he doubted, it was their intelligence.


Still, all in all, I'm grateful to receive the galleys and to have one last chance to try and correct any mistakes before the book hits the stores. At least I'll know that I've done my part, whenever the inevitable typos are discovered.
pbray: (Lizard)
Back from Boskone which was lots of fun, but unfortunately didn't get to hang out with friends as much as I wanted. Saw [livejournal.com profile] matociquala and [livejournal.com profile] truepenny only briefly to say "Hi!", as we kept meeting while on the way to panels/readings/appointments etc. Had a nice chat with [livejournal.com profile] arcaedia, got to meet Neil Clarke [livejournal.com profile] clarkesworld, saw [livejournal.com profile] tryslora who recommended a new author to me and admired the custom printed M&M's, chatted briefly with Walter Hunt about his new project, had a fantastic dinner Saturday night with [livejournal.com profile] wen_spencer and Ann Cecil, saw [livejournal.com profile] rolanni and [livejournal.com profile] kinzel and commiserated over the printing problems which meant their new book wasn't ready for Boskone, and saw many others whose names/LJ ids have slipped my mind.

Handed out many postcards for THE FIRST BETRAYAL, as well as lizards and the M&M's. Overall a great weekend, but a tad rushed and no time to actually see Boston. Furthest I got from the hotel/Prudential center was a walk over to Turner Fisheries for dinner.

[livejournal.com profile] jennifer_dunne and [livejournal.com profile] jpsorrow proved admirable traveling companions, sharing the long drive and the hotel room with grace. Sadly they discovered a new game to play while visiting the game room, so I can see more game nights in my immediate future.

Bought many books from Larry Smith, including Patricia Briggs' new urban fantasy MOON CALLED which immediately sucked me in.

Came back to the day job to find everyone in crisis mode--the automated forecast process on Friday didn't work so everyone is manually cranking numbers and I'm trying to troubleshoot the database. Fun.
pbray: (Lizard)
Heard back today that yes, the due date was a typo, and I actually have nearly two whole weeks for the galleys, which is the longest I've ever had. So I've returned the TARDIS and will now only be slightly crazed rather than completely crazed this weekend.

I'd still like to get them finished up before I head out to Boskone.

After a few emails back and forth, my editor and I have ageed upon the excerpt from THE SEA CHANGE that will be included at the back of THE FIRST BETRAYAL. It's a cool excerpt and would entice me to hunt down the author and shake her down for a pre-release copy :-)

While formatting the excerpt we realized that we'd never come up with a name for the series. I've been calling them "the lizard books" but that's not quite a marketing handle. I sent in a few suggestions which included The Ikarian Chronicles, The Chronicles of Josan and Tales of the Lizard just because I couldn't resist.

[livejournal.com profile] jennifer_dunne was tremendously helpful throughout this exercise, coming up with such gems as The Man Who Would Be Lizard, Mr. Monk and the Imperium, Empire and Lizard, and Surf and Turf, referring to the sea power/land empire conflict.

None of the suggestions particularly grabbed me, so we'll see.

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