Category Archives: Reading

but w-h-y?

on August 30, 2020

Yep, Fanny Newcomb and the Irish Channel Ripper has a new cover.

But W-H-Y?

Here’s what I told fellow crime novelist Vinnie Hansen when she interviewed me for the Sisters in Crime NorCal newsletter earlier this year:

“Last June I was at the Historical Novel Society Conference and saw my book on sale next to all of the other “Gilded Age” novels. My existing cover—which featured turn-of-the-century pornography which ties into my story—really stood out, and not in a good way.

Suddenly, my cover was not at all attractive to me, which meant that it probably wasn’t attractive to other readers either. And if it’s not attractive, it’s not going to sell. I want Fanny to find a home with many readers, and I’m hoping that a new cover will open her to a new market.”

So there you go. I want to share Fanny’s story with more readers and realize now (two years after publication!) how much an attractive front cover helps to, well, attract readers.

What do you think? Doesn’t Fanny’s new cover make you want to read on?

And thanks to cover designer Fiona Jayde for helping me with my dream of an attractive Gilded Age New Orleans cover.

 

A new look for Fanny Newcomb!

on August 29, 2020

As you can see from my homepage (and from my FB Banner and elsewhere), Fanny Newcomb has changed!

Yep, the cover of FANNY NEWCOMB & THE IRISH CHANNEL RIPPER has definitely changed.

Gone are the drops of blood and the photographs of Gilded Age prostitutes. Gone is the back cover copy proclaiming “Gilded Age New Orleans is overrun with prostitutes, pornographers, and a malicious Jack the Ripper copycat.” And gone, even is the IBPA Gold Medallion for Historical Fiction (although of course, Fanny is still a winner; only the Medallion has been removed from the cover).

The back cover copy has also changed, and it begins with a wonderful quote from one of my favorite historical mystery authors, Ann Parker:

FANNY NEWCOMB & THE IRISH CHANNEL RIPPER is a ripping good read. Author Ana Brazil brings the dark underbelly of Gilded Age New Orleans vividly to life as her trio of determined female sleuths seek out a Jack the Ripper copycat killer.
–Ann Parker, author of the award-winning Silver Rush series

 

But WHY did I change the cover of FANNY NEWCOMB & THE IRISH CHANNEL RIPPER?

That question will be answered tomorrow!

Well, this is sobering….

on December 18, 2019

I just got my “Ana’s Year in Books” email from Goodreads and I only read 4,413 pages across 14 books.

14 books over 12 months! What a slouch!

I know I read more than 14 books this year; I just didn’t report them on Goodreads. I like this Goodreads feature–especially since we’re going to be discussing our year-end favorite books later this month on Paper Lantern Writers–but I’m going to have to get better about reporting my reads.

ALSO…it would be great if Goodreads could tell me how many pages I’ve written during 2019. And I’m sure it’s more than 4,413!

Rhys Bowen’s IN FARLEIGH FIELD

on May 26, 2019

I downloaded IN FARLEIGH FIELD to my Kindle a while back and just started reading it today. I know, I know, it’s an award winner, it’s highly recommended, but still, there are so many great historical novels out there to read.

And I must admit that I try to read historicals “in my era”, that is the Civil War through WWI. And I try to read American historical fiction because it is so wondrous and original.

I was impressed with IN FARLEIGH FIELD from the very first screen, when it provided a CAST OF CHARACTERS. And the characters were identified much as a working writer would describe them.

And then there was the first chapter, set in an English cricket field, showing how life was lived outside and inside in England in 1939.

And then we get to WWII and the work at Bletchley Park.

So no, this isn’t a review, because I’m so very little into the story, but I wanted to share what I realized from these few pages: I always think of, rely upon British historical fiction to be VERY ORDERLY. In England, everything & everyone has a place and a purpose and very little ever seems random or jumbled. Even during wartime.

And in that, IN FARLEIGH FIELD does not disappoiint.

England, and historical fiction about England, seems very controlled and scripted and defined, with a CAST OF CHARACTERS and the same English cricket field in every village. I’m not saying the fiction or the setting is dull, I’m saying that I appreciate entering a world that has provides me with order and continuity.

Perhaps because there seems very little of that in contemporary life, English or otherwise.

And as a writer, it’s a fine thing to start a story with a controlled, orderly setting. Because when you blow up that setting, the story will be even more brilliant and the characters will need to be even more heroic to survive.

Want to read THE AWAKENING?

on April 14, 2019

You can read Kate Chopin’s 1899 novel THE AWAKENING for free. At many places. Including your public library, of course.

Just to make it easy for you, here’s where you can find THE AWAKENING on Project Gutenberg.

ENJOY!

 

Kate Chopin Tussles with a Novel Ending – Now Available!

on March 25, 2019

I’m very pleased to announce that my historic short story “Kate Chopin Tussles with a Novel Ending” has been published in Fault Lines: Stories by Northern California Crime Writers.

This stunning anthology includes “19 short stories that explore crime, guilt, and justice in our earthquake-prone region and beyond.”

My “Kate Chopin Tussles with a Novel Ending” is one of the “beyond” Northern California stories, and examines fault, blame, and guilt in late 19th century Louisiana.

Kate Chopin, author of The Awakening

Here’s more from my author’s note:

Although Kate Chopin’s novel The Awakening is celebrated today as a declaration of female sexual independence, when it was first published in 1899 it was scorned, derided, and deemed vulgar.

What, I wondered, would have happened if author Kate were confronted by one of her early readers? A reader who—like Kate’s protagonist Edna—had her life changed forever by her sudden sexual independence? But a reader who—unlike Edna—would stop at nothing to blame Kate for where that independence lead her.

Writer or reader, it’s not always easy to know who’s really at fault.

For those of you keeping chronological score, “Kate Chopin Tussles with a Novel Ending” takes place in 1899, ten years after my Gilded Age New Orleans novel Fanny Newcomb and the Irish Channel Ripper.

I hope that you enjoy both of these Gilded Age Louisiana stories about ambitious and intelligent women.