Thursday, February 26, 2015

On Thursday, February 26, 2015 by Adria J. Cimino in
We didn’t wear berets, but we were feeling pretty Parisian anyway! Thanks to The Pure Malt in Paris’ 4th arrondissement for hosting the launch of Velvet Morning Press’ first anthology, That’s Paris: An Anthology of Life, Love and Sarcasm in the City of Light.

That's Paris Launch Party: The Books

Stephen Clarke, author of international best seller A Year in the Merde and writer of the That’s Paris foreword, attended, signing our books and delighting us with his humor. We were also thrilled to see contributors Frédérique Veysset, Jennie Goutet, Didier Quémener, Laura Schalk, Audrey Chapuis, Emily Monaco and April Lily Heise.

VMP's Vicki Lesage and Stephen Clarke
VMP's Vicki Lesage and Stephen Clarke

Contributor Frédérique Veysset and her companion
Contributor Frédérique Veysset and her companion

VMP's Adria J. Cimino and Lindsey Kent of Pictours Paris
VMP's Adria J. Cimino and Lindsey Kent of Pictours Paris

A big merci to all of the friends and readers who attended the party—even in spirit!

Adria J. Cimino
&
Vicki Lesage

Monday, February 23, 2015

On Monday, February 23, 2015 by Vicki Lesage in ,
Author photos span the spectrum. Some look amazing, but also look like they cost a small fortune. And some were obviously taken by a webcam, evident from the underlit glow of the subject's chin in an otherwise dark room.

If you're an author on a budget, how do you take a high-quality photo without breaking the bank? Glad you asked.

4 Do's and 4 Dont's for an Author Photo
Photo credit: BigTallGuy / Foter / CC BY

Even the shyest among us need an author photo for our book cover, marketing promotions, and for Mom to point to when she brags to the neighbors about having a published writer in the family.

Having seen tons of bad author photos, let me start by telling you what NOT to do:

4 Mistakes to Avoid With Your Author Photo


1. Don't have your cat/dog/bird in the photo unless they contributed to writing the book.

2. Use a recent photo or at least one that could pass for recent. If your bio says you've been in the IT industry for 25 years, don't try to fool me with your wrinkle-free face. (Or at least let me know which eye cream you use.)

3. No selfies unless you're a teenage pop star writing an autobiography.

4. Go easy on the props. It's not a garage sale.

With that out of the way, let me share four easy tips to get a great, natural photo. Whether you hire a professional (recommended, if you can afford it) or rope your significant other/aspiring photographer friend/dog into doing it, prepare beforehand with the following tips:

4 Tips For A Snappy Author Photo


1. Pick a neutral outfit. I know I said not to use a photo that was 25 years old but at the same time, you want this photo to last at least a few years. Don't wear anything too flashy or trendy that will date the photo in six months. Also, you don't want anything detracting attention from your beautiful face. For my photo, I chose a plain gray sweater that was flattering but didn't stand out.

2. Pick a setting that reflects your personality or your books. For my photo, I chose a typical French cafe, since I write about living in Paris. Having the Eiffel Tower in the background would be going overboard but I did want to instantly convey the French connection to my readers. If you write action-adventure, try an outdoor backdrop. If you write chick-lit, an indoor setting with a light, bright background can help convey your tone.

3. Choose one prop, maximum. The majority of photos look perfectly fine without a prop so don't force this. When in doubt, leave it out. But since my photo was in a French cafe, I figured it would be appropriate to have a coffee in front of me. If you're a romance writer and are known for your love of wine, a glass of red could be a nice prop and give you something to do with your hands. Or if you're a mystery writer, having books in the background (a home library, maybe) can be a nice touch.

4. Practice your pose at home. My husband took literally 100 shots of me in different poses before I found the perfect one. Try tilting your head at slightly different angles, lacing your arms and hands in various positions, and varying degrees of smiles/half-smiles, until you find the most flattering shot. Then copy that pose exactly for the real shoot. Don't forget details like wedding rings (make sure it's not turned at a weird angle) and flyaway hair.

Want to see the before and after shots? Of course you do!

Author Photo for Vicki Lesage, Take 1
OK, but not perfect. My 3-month-pregnant belly was too exposed and my thighs looked ginormous. I needed more focus on my face and less on my body. Also, at that angle the tank top I was wearing under my shirt was noticeable and distracting.

Author Photo for Vicki Lesage, Take 2
Much better! The belly is still unflattering and the angle of my face could be improved, but we're on the right track.

Author Photo for Vicki Lesage, Take 3
Nope. We were closer with the last one. The head tilt looks too girlish.

Author Photo for Vicki Lesage, Take 4
Bingo! If we can just hide my preggo belly we'll be in good shape! And maybe move my arm to the side so it's not dominating the photo.

Author Photo for Vicki Lesage, Final Take
The final shot

Once at the cafe, we made a few last-minute changes. My hair was behaving better than usual, so I decided to wear it down. And the height of the table nicely covered my belly. My arm isn't as prominent as in some of my test photos.

My husband snapped a few shots and once we were sure we liked the set-up, I ordered my coffee. Sure, the coffee could have been cold in the photo and no one would have been the wiser, but I did want to actually drink the darn thing after all that work!

All in all, we spent about 10 minutes at the cafe getting the shot, just enough time for my toddler to get bored and start pulling sugar packets and ashtrays off all the tables. Literally one second after the last photo was snapped, I jumped up to chase him. I'm SO glad I prepped everything in advance or we would have never gotten through the shoot. We could have hired a babysitter, but then how would I afford my expensive coffee habit?

Where you spend your money is up to you and your budget. But you'll still want to follow the tips I outlined above to maximize what you get out of your photo shoot.

Monday, February 16, 2015

On Monday, February 16, 2015 by Vicki Lesage in ,
Step into the world of That's Paris... Enjoy these quotes from our Paris-themed short story collection! No two stories are alike, and neither are the quotes!














Paris—the most romantic, beautiful and frustrating city in the world!

If you've ever traveled to Paris, lived in the City of Light or dreamed of setting foot on its cobblestoned streets, you'll enjoy escaping into this collection of short stories about France's famed capital.

From culinary treats (and catastrophes) to swoon-worthy romantic encounters (and heartbreaking mishaps), this anthology takes you on a journey through one of the most famous cities in the world.

View this cosmopolitan metropolis through the chic eyes of Parisians, francophiles and travelers who fell in love with the city and haven't quite gotten around to leaving yet... That's Paris: a glimpse into living, loving and surviving in the City of Light.

Author proceeds from sales of That's Paris benefit the charity Room to Read, which supports literacy and gender equality in education. Thanks for supporting the cause!

Check out the full list of contributors and their bios.

Buy on Amazon | Add to Goodreads

Monday, February 9, 2015

On Monday, February 09, 2015 by Vicki Lesage
Writing, gourmet meals, champagne… These are a few of our favorite things. And we’re putting them together for a unique retreat that will delight you!

Foodie & Writer's Retreat

The writing:
This isn’t a close-yourself-in-a-room-and-write experience, and it isn’t a conference with various speakers. At this retreat, there will be small hands-on workshops with VMP editors Adria and Vicki. Since we are limiting the group to a maximum of seven people, we will design our programming to suit the needs of the attendees. Possibilities include character development, pacing the action in your novel, how to choose the proper voice to name a few. And then there is the marketing aspect: We can teach you how to write the perfect author bio and book blurb, for example.

The food and champagne:
Breakfast, lunch and dinner will be prepared by a personal chef, serving up our favorite seasonal French specialties according to your tastes/special diets. To accompany the meals, champagne and wine of course. After all, this retreat will take place in France’s Champagne region—right on the property of champagne producers.

Meals prepared by a personal chef

Put the elements together and what do we have? Your days will include workshops, private appointments with Adria or Vicki focusing on your individual projects, free time to write or wander, and delicious meals to inspire your taste buds.

Retreat at a vineyard in the Champagne region of France
Date:
Wednesday, May 13th to Sunday, May 17th

Location:
A guest house, located on a vineyard in Belval-sous-Châtillon, France

Price:
For lodging, food, drinks, writing workshops, private appointments with Vicki and Adria, tour in English or French of the family run vineyard:
1,650 euros for independent room in the guest house
1,400 euros for shared room in the guest house
10% off if booked before March 15

Extra options:
150 euros for pickup/dropoff at the train station in Reims
100 euros for a cooking class with our chef


Hurry—there are only 7 spots available at this exclusive retreat! For more information, or to book, email contact@velvetmorningpress.com.


Photo credit: eklarkins / Foter / CC BY

Monday, February 2, 2015

On Monday, February 02, 2015 by Adria J. Cimino in
Today, it’s all about Paris.

Velvet Morning Press announces the release of That's Paris: An Anthology of Life, Love and Sarcasm in the City of Light, featuring a foreword by international best-selling author Stephen Clarke.

Stephen, author of A Year in the Merde and Dirty Bertie: an English King Made in France, and more than 20 writers share thoughts and stories about Paris in this anthology of fiction and nonfiction stories.

***

If you've ever traveled to Paris, lived in the City of Light or dreamed of setting foot on its cobblestoned streets, you'll enjoy escaping into this collection of short stories about France's famed capital.

From culinary treats (and catastrophes) to swoon-worthy romantic encounters (and heartbreaking mishaps), this anthology takes you on a journey through one of the most famous cities in the world.

View this cosmopolitan metropolis through the chic eyes of Parisians, francophiles and travelers who fell in love with the city and haven't quite gotten around to leaving yet... That's Paris: a glimpse into living, loving and surviving in the City of Light.

Buy That's Paris in print and ebook format on Amazon!

***

Author proceeds will benefit Room to Read, a charity promoting literacy and gender equality in education in the developing world.