Saturday, August 17, 2013

ARC Thoughts, plus Giveaway: Win a Signed Advance Copy of A Song at Twilight by Pamela Sherwood

I've always loved receiving parcels in the mail, whether they were Christmas gifts from relatives who lived out of state, care packages from home during my graduate school years, purchases from mail order catalogs like Lands End and L.L. Bean or internet companies like Amazon or ebay. But nothing so far beats the thrill of opening a parcel containing the first ARCs for your book.

Your book. And for me, that's the best thing about an ARC: seeing your manuscript in book form--bound, formatted, and blurbed--for the first time. The realization of your dream, the fruit of your labors, the successful culmination of a year-long (or so) journey. Not even the discovery of minor errata--and let's face it, there's probably no such thing as a perfect ARC, so thank the publishing gods for giving you one more chance to tweak things with galleys and page proofs!--can dim the excitement or the sense of achievement in that moment.

All of which is my long-winded way of announcing that the ARCs for my October release, A Song at Twilight, are finally here! I was especially eager to see this one in printed form. Some books are crystal-clear in your mind from the word "go," flowing effortlessly from your fingers, making you eager to get up every morning and race to the computer, one hundred percent sure of your vocation and your ability to Get Things Done.

A Song at Twilight . . . was not one of those books. More like pushing Sisyphus's boulder uphill--at least for the first third of the way. I sweated, I cursed, I snarled at the screen, most notably during the pivotal "first kiss" chapter that I had to rewrite three times because the set-up repeatedly failed to jell. I berated my characters, especially my exasperatingly secretive and taciturn hero. I looked from my computer screen to my wall calendar, calculated the time remaining on my deadline, and despaired. And kept on pushing until the boulder finally reached the top of the mountain--and suddenly, obligingly, rolled down the other side the way it was supposed to!

And in spite of or perhaps even because of all the difficulties, I came to love A Song at Twilight fiercely. Sometimes, it's your "problem children" who make you the proudest. And this is the book I took more risks with, at first because I did not want it to resemble my first book, Waltz with a Stranger, too closely. And then because the dramatic possibilities associated with those risks excited me for their own sakes.  The lovers were older, more seasoned by life, warier and more guarded after the failure of their past relationship. The obstacles, especially on the hero's side, were higher, harder, and at times seemingly insurmountable. It would take guts, brains, and determination for them to navigate their way to a safe harbor and back to each other's arms.  I put Robin and Sophie through the wringer--and rejoiced to bring them together and give them the happy ending they'd been denied the first time around. I hope readers will enjoy their story as much as I (ultimately) enjoyed writing it.

For both of my books, I've been fortunate in my covers and my back cover copy, which seems to have been written by someone who read the book! (Isn't it annoying when the summary of your book bears no resemblance to what you actually wrote?). Although I must confess that the cover copy on A Song at Twilight sticks pretty closely to my initial description of the book:


 Late in England’s Victorian age, the world is changing–new freedoms, new ideas, and perhaps a chance for an old love to be new again…

A love too strong to let go …

Aspiring singer Sophie Tresilian had the world at her feet–fame, fortune, and true love–until the man of her dreams broke her heart. Now she’s the toast of Europe, desired by countless men but unwilling to commit to any of them. Then Robin Pendarvis walks back into her life …

Four years ago, Rob had hoped to make Sophie his bride, but secrets from his past forced him to let her go. Seeing her again revives all the old pain–and all the old passion. It might be against every rule, but somehow, some way, he will bring them together again…



I've been lucky so far in my reviewers as well. Mary Jo Putney and Teresa Grant, two authors whose works I much admire, have provided the following lovely quotes for the book, although they don't appear on the ARC. (Incidentally, a high point of the recent RWA conference in Atlanta was meeting Ms. Putney, who is every bit as classy and gracious as her books and blogs suggest, as well as a most deserving recipient of this year's Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award.)

“Written with a lyrical grace reminiscent of Rosamunde Pilcher, Pamela Sherwood’s A Song at Twilight spins a powerfully romantic tale of two honorable, star-crossed lovers trying to find their way back to each other’s arms.” Mary Jo Putney, New York Times bestselling author of Sometimes a Rogue

“Rich with drama and mystery, Robin and Sophie’s love story is a sweeping tale filled with the drama of the Cornish landscape and lyrical yearning of the music Sophie sings.” Teresa Grant, author of The Paris Affair

Sound good? Because I'll be giving away a signed ARC of A Song at Twilight to one commenter below, until midnight on Monday, August 19. Please leave your email address for contact purposes if you're interested in entering.

To get things started, discussion-wise, do you like second chance at love stories, and if so, what is your favorite?


25 comments:

  1. Second chance at love stories are my favorites, and I've read quite a few. A couple of favorites are Sherry Thomas' Private Arrangements and Eloisa James' This Duchess of Mine.

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  2. Forgot this:
    Barbed1951 at aol dot com

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  3. Barbara E., I definitely read Private Arrangements, but I can't recall if I read This Duchess of Mine. One more for the TBR pile!

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  4. Love Mary Jo Putney. She is as gracious as her writing. I enjoyed spending time with you in Atlanta too, Pamela!

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  5. Mia, Mary Jo Putney is a very classy lady, and, as it turns out, we like many of the same books, which is always a great icebreaker. And I enjoyed meeting you (again) in Atlanta as well.

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  6. Pam, I should just say "AMEN" and let it go at that but there's a whole blank box here for me to write in! LOL
    Loved that I've got someone else in the boat with me. Some books just flow out of my mind like a bubbling brook. But then there's that one stubborn cowboy who has to have his rough corners smoothed out or the heroine who's a bit too sassy...oh, yes, I'm so glad to know I'm not in this boat alone. Another thing we have in common...I LOVE getting packages in the mail, especially ARCs and author's copies!

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  7. Carolyn, I think every writer at some time or other has to deal with the "problem character" or plot. The characters who won't open up and for whom the process of discovery is like pulling teeth. But what choice do we have but to persevere with them? At least the effort usually turns out to have been worthwhile! And I agree that it's hard to top the thrill of opening that first packet of ARCs or author copies!

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  8. I enjoy second chance at love stories although I am blessed to be still on my first love. I am thrilled when I open my mailbox and see a book, I imagine that happiness is magnified geometrically when it is something you have written! Congrats and good luck with the new release.

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  9. Elf, there's always a special zest in opening a package containing a new book, whether it's yours or someone else's. Thanks for the congrats!

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  10. argh blogger ate my comment. I enjoy second chance stories - who wouldn't want a second chance at a lot of things! Your covers are gorgeous and I really like the sound of your story. I'm sure it's something I would enjoy.

    catslady5(at)aol.com

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  11. catslady, how true--there must be tons of things we'd all like a do-over for! Glad you like the sound of A Song at Twilight--I hope it lives up to expectation.

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  12. I really enjoy second chance stories. My favorite Jane Austen book, PERSUASION, is a second chance story. It set me up at a young age to appreciate them.

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  13. Julie, Persuasion is a lovely second chance at love story! Quiet but thoroughly romantic, once the lovers' estrangement begins to wane.

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  14. yes, again the magic by Lisa Kleypas

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

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  15. bn100, I kind of remember that one--mainly because it spawned two series, the Wallflowers and the Hathaways.

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  16. Two of my favorite have been mentioned, This Duchess of Mine and Persuation! Nothing is better than getting packages that contain books! Congrats on the newest release.

    nisethusfarATyahooDOTcom

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  17. Nise, packages of books may be my favorite too! Thanks for the congrats!

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  18. Second chance love stories are a secret fav of mine. "Twice Kissed" by Lisa Jackson is an adored read to me! I've read it a few times actually. - And I get so excited waiting for books to arrive. The anticipation is like no other feeling!

    xjaypeezy@gmail.com - thank you for the chance to win!

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  19. JPeezy, I haven't heard of Twice Kissed, but the title alone is very evocative.

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  20. What a lovely cover. I adore second chance at love stories. I like to read and write them!

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  21. Shana, I found myself really enjoying the challenge of exploring the lovers' unhappy past while I was writing A Song at Twilight. And its effect on them when they come face to face after a long separation. I wonder if that's a big part of the appeal: taking something that ended badly the first time and finding a way to make it come out right the second time.

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  22. Hi Pamela, I do enjoy reading second chance love stories. There's just something wonderful to be able to have another go at it, hopefully both parties are wiser since the last time they were together. And I too love getting packages, especially when I'm expecting books in the mail. I keep looking out the window to see if the mailman has come by yet! LOL :)
    thebigbluewall77(at)gmail(dot)com

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  23. Anita H., life has a way of giving people more perspective on past mistakes, which is something I think many second-chance-at-love stories tap into.

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  24. And now I will have another great reason for going to the mailbox! Thanks so much for the giveaway!

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