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Silly Me

January 19, 2012 by in category Archives tagged as , , , , ,
Okay, show of hands. How many of you thought once the book was through final edits and in the publisher’s fair hands, your job was done? You could rest on your laurels, take a few weeks off, visit with friends, then start the next NYT best seller.

Come on, be honest. At least in the beginning of your writing career? Yeah, me too. I understood the blood, sweat and tears expended in book production, but the rest of it–cover, production, advertising–that was the publisher’s job.

Pretty heavy duty fall when you found out otherwise, wasn’t it? I know I was thoroughly gob smacked (great expression, don’t you think) when I found out only a select few authors got the champagne and caviar treatment from their publishers. The rest were relegated to mid list unless or until they were noticed.

Somehow, when I wasn’t looking, along came the digital age of publishing. Seems like there were indie publishers everywhere, and it was a whole new world. Harder in a lot of ways but at the same time there was a very real feeling of being in control of your own destiny.


Along with sending in a spectacular book, you now have to plan and implement your sales campaign, and build your own buzz. So you set up a blog and/or website, you join writer’s groups if you weren’t already a member, and you push push push your book.

Double gulp.

You can also have serious input into your cover, your blurb, who does your reviews. Now that’s a bit more promising. Might even call it positive. Unless you go into brain freeze at the thought of writing a blurb, or your artistic abilities stop with a rousing game of Hangman. Even so, having read many times about the disappointment in poorly executed book covers (and having snickered at many of them when the author wasn’t looking) cover input is truly in the plus column for me.

Enough to off set the rest of the promotional requirements? Well, maybe not but it is a huge rush to get credit for the artwork on the cover as well as the writing inside. Or in the case of My Killer My Love, to share credit. I knew what I wanted the cover to look like, but I went into another brain freeze when it came time to put it together.

And (sigh) the same thing happened when I tried to put a trailer together. I took this great class, broke down the story into quick bits, started looking for images. Sadly, I am prone to the “ooooh shiny object” syndrome and can become easily sidetracked on any search, thereby losing many hours of what should be writing time. Once I found the images I wanted, yep you guessed it, chilled frontal lobes.

At this point it was time to move forward with this book since I signed a contract with Black Opal Books for the next story. So my Christmas present to myself was an inquiry to Lex Valentine, who put a trailer together for me with no muss, no fuss. I’ll be doing the same with Teach Me To Forget (if we keep that title). In the meantime I’m back to writing.

Really need to do something about the temperature of my gray matter and I don’t mean what’s on top of my head. Especially since that’s silver, as anyone with an artistic eye will tell you.
Oh, yeah, the book trailer: MY KILLER MY LOVE book trailer

Monica Stoner writes as Mona Karel.  Read more on her blog,  Discover the Enchantment in Romance  or buy her books from Black Opal Books.  

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A Naughty Victorian Lady travels to Italy as “Bionda Samurai” by Jina Bacarr

May 11, 2010 by in category Archives tagged as , , , , , , , , ,

by Lady Carlton née Katie O’Roarke, heroine of “The Blonde Samurai”

I take up my pen today not to write my romance, but to impart to you news, important news that has reached me in my place of solitude where I deign to call myself a novelist.

Morning sunlight, wiggling through the petit-point pattern on the lacy curtain, hovers over my shoulder to see what I’m writing. A red-breasted robin fluttering about on the window sill holds its breath, pen scratchings fill my ears.

I am beside myself with excitement, spilling blue ink on my gown and smudging the fine rice paper upon which I write with dirty fingerprints, but I know you shall forgive me for word has reached me that my memoir, The Blonde Samurai, has found its way to faraway shores.

To Italy.

A place where–

The romance of carnival and exquisite masks enchants the eye.

The sacred mount of the holy saints restores one’s faith.

The musical language of the arts and literature delights the ear and enriches the soul.

I must recount to you how pleased I am that the story of this Irish-American lass and her samurai has made its way to such a grand place.

Here then is the visual and audio presentation in Italian of the publisher’s synopsis of “Bionda Samurai” (available May 13th). Grazie!


Postscript: I have also included the English translation for you:

“During the latter part of the nineteenth century, a beautiful and fascinating American woman named Katie is about to release her memoir with more than a hint to scandal, a scandal that will unleash an uproar in Society.

“She is determined to recount her adventures in every detail, from the electrifying moments to the salacious, her life ruled by her insatiable appetite for all things sensual. Her story takes us from London to Japan, where the journey takes you through a maze of raw and vivid eroticism.

“Tantalizing and provocative scenes of sensuality await you in Japan. This is the return of class because Jina Bacarr (author of “The Blonde Geisha” and “Cleopatra’s Perfume“) puts forward with her usual skill a story that is unique and has earned her millions of readers around the world, her themes more endearing and bold with provocative situations raw and sexy but always romantic.”

The Blonde Samurai

“She embraced the way of the warrior. Two swords. Two loves.”

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Blogging in Victorian England by Jina Bacarr

January 11, 2010 by in category Archives tagged as , , , , , , ,

Imagine if Queen Victoria twittered (“We are not amused today…”) or Dickens posted a Facebook Profile (Relationship Status: married with ten children, Employer: law clerk turned freelance writer) or Jack the Ripper updated his status on his MySpace page (Mood: agitated. Headed over to Whitechapel).

What if you wanted to blog about Victorian England as your character? What challenges would you face? It was a different lifestyle back then with a different manner of speech, decorum and way of life. A world without Blackberrys and YouTube, yet a very civilized and fascinating world.

And more of a challenge than I realized when I set out to write a blog in the voice of my heroine in my February 2010 Spice novel, “The Blonde Samurai,” the story of an Irish-American heiress who weds a British lord then falls in love with a handsome samurai in 1873 Japan.

I was determined to offer readers an amusing and witty look at the world of Victorian England and Japan in the late nineteenth century. A Naughty Victorian Lady tells all…” launched at the eHarlequin.com website with A Naughty Victorian Lady’s Christmas Stocking.

Everything was going well until–

I wanted to blog about the video I made in the voice of my heroine, Lady Carlton, showcasing “The Blonde Samurai.” Not plausible, since the first celluloid film (a few seconds long) wasn’t shot until the late 1880s, years after my novel takes place.

Fortunately, the idea of “moving pictures” wasn’t as outlandish to Victorians as one might believe. Several patents were applied for during this time, including a British patent for “…moving images optically combined with a reflected ‘background’ ” and another for “Improvement in the Method and Apparatus for Photographing Objects in Motion.”

Interesting, but not the amusing and romantic tone I wanted for my blog.

What was a writer to do? Go with what I know best: romance. I combined Victorian England and Japan in a romantic setting to describe my video about “The Blonde Samurai.”

Here is an excerpt:

Believe that I have fastened together silk paintings and that I shall make them “move” by flipping through them; or that I have painted scenes on the ribs of a folding fan, then I shall open it slowly to make the scenes change from one to the next.

Imagine, if you will.

So I request that you transcend the world of London with its insufferable saffron-colored fog and the bone-chilling weather this time of year that makes you don flannel petticoats to keep the cold from darting up your backside–

And come with me back to the warm Spring of 1873 as I tell you the story of The Blonde Samurai in a most unique and charming manner…

February 2010: meet The Blonde Samurai

“She embraced the way of the warrior. Two swords. Two loves.”

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Cleopatra’s Perfume Video

June 11, 2009 by in category Archives tagged as , , ,

by Jina Bacarr

I’ve been writing about Lady Eve Marlowe’s adventures in 1928 Weimar Berlin in my Berlin Sex Diary blog. For Lady Marlowe, it was as if those days came alive again. She was kind enough to assist me in making a book trailer (”You mean like the film trailers? I’d be delighted…) about her adventures in “Cleopatra’s Perfume” during World War II in London, Cairo and Berlin.

We shot the video and picked out a charming piece of music called “Paris” by Dan Graham. When we looked at the final cut, Lady Eve turned to me and said, “It’s lovely, Jina, but so many great films during the Second World War were shot in black and white.”

“You mean like Casablanca?” I asked, remembering the dramatic lighting and emotional tension so beautifully filmed by Michael Curtiz.

Lady Eve nodded. “What if we produced two videos–one in color and one in black and white?”

And that’s what we did. Here are two versions of the book trailer for Cleopatra’s Perfume: one in color:

And one in black and white:

Which do you prefer?



Follow me on Twitter: www.twitter.com/jinabacarr

Jina Bacarr is also the author of The Blonde Geisha , Naughty Paris, Tokyo Rendezvous, a Spice Brief, and Spies, Lies & Naked Thighs, featuring an Indiana Jones in high heels.

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