book promotion

A (possible) blurb. Plus additional wry remarks.

Not Sly. But I love those eyes.

Creating a good hook (a blurb) for a book is a tricky business.  

Short and punchy is the rule of thumb. Get as many eyes as possible to your first page. But, my book is not easily conveyed in a few phrases. I could call Rogue a grand gallivant (true as it can be) but that doesn’t capture the insanity.

What I can come up with here, now, on the fly? 

> Puss in Boots as you’ve never seen him. On the money, but trite, and useless, tells you nothing.

> A smarty-pants cat kicks butt in sixteenth century Europe. Closer in spirit, but still way short of the silly stew I’ve … ah … concocted, from numerous sources.

I’ve done a huge amount of historical research, from biographies to period pieces (Margaret Cavendish, called the first female scientist, liked to put her theories into verse. I’ve taken her impulse and run with it) to a marvelously enjoyable Ph.D thesis on a walled town in southern France not far from my first locale. (I borrowed details of the landscape, with permission of the author. I managed to track her down to the BBC.) Rogue is a merry mash-up filtered through my own off-balance point of view.

Rogue is my personal An Incomplete Education, a wonderful book that purports to give an overview of all the information we should have absorbed in college. Twenty years of poking around in history books has made me moderately well versed on the sixteenth century in matters large and small, able to regale you with, for instance, the curious circumstances surrounding the invention of the pencil. The new technology, initially a military secret, figures in my story in strange ways.

The Rogue Decamps is a bit challenging, quirky, and (horrors!) complex. It’s not Disney. Nor is it a rehash of the traditional tale. It’s arch this-and-that. I have some social commentary, but – relax – those remarks are decidedly screwball. It’s black humor in spots, snark more generally, sweet from time to time. My cat is a fully formed personality, with all the faults and foibles of the human kind. He drags a load of regrets around with him, and obsesses over them, delightfully. (IMO) He’s a bully, a con artist, a sweetheart and a snot. Like any cat, right? (I should know, I’ve lived my life – seventy years so far – in the company of cats.)

Writercoop-ers ( Have I said anything useable here, or have I shot myself in the foot? I can’t do a bait and switch, cast a wide net with an uncomplicated blurb, lose readers soon thereafter. They have to have an inkling of what they’re in for.

My few followers on Facebook: If you like this . . . flavor, chances are you’ll find much in my opus (a three-book series) that will have you giggling your head off. Or, as the kids say, ROLF.

I’m nearly done with what I’ve vowed will be the final revision. Plot (conventional momentum) be dammed, I prefer to stop and smell the roses.

One last try at a bite-size blurb: 


Sly! The Rogue Decamps. (Intro/novella to a series.)

A Smarty-Pants Cat Kicks Butt in Sixteenth Century Europe.

From a faux-visitation by the Virgin Mary (the goal, to lure religious tourism to a dirt-poor backwater realm) to a joint effort with Elizabeth’s Royal Astrologer to eradicate a nasty rodent infestation in a North German town, a whacky wiseacre offers astute but invariably self-serving advice to creeps, cranks, and kings.

Sylvester, aka Sly, is a poet . . . of interesting verse. A scholar . . . devising his own theory of gravity fifty years before Newton . . . folks, he’s Puss-in-Boots, reimagined from the boots up.

He’s the original animal rights activist. He’s got a whiff of Vonnegut about him, how can you resist that? He’s a good-hearted know-it-all, and I furnish him with a series of hapless sidekicks to bounce ideas off and to push around.

The guy’s a corker, full of piss and vinegar, cute as he can be. Aren’t you curious? Step into my ready-to-rollick Wayback Machine. We’re off on one hell of a jaunt.


I plan to give the novella away as a promotion. This is one of my more sophisticated marketing schemes. Another is to hand out leaflets, dressed as a cat, in Times Square, maybe get myself arrested as a public nuisance, maybe land on the evening news. Or take videos to post on YouTube. A third ploy is to create bumper stickers, mail piles of them to everyone I know to, hopefully, pass out. If you see a bumper sticker, My Guy Sly – that will be the name of my future website – you’ll know I’m up and running.

Sly was taken. Screwball was gone. I pounced on My Guy Sly for a domain name. It is already in use, here, there, as a user name. On one site it belongs to a dodo who adores Sly Stallone. Didn’t move quickly enough there.

I’m way late to the party on a number of fronts. Hey, if I’d been on the ball twenty years ago, I could have bought Amazon. I am no financial visionary. I am no marketing genius. Tech, web tours and such, confounds me. I’m going to work it the old-fashioned way, on the hoof, channel P. T. Barnum, raise a ruckus, my marketing in sync with the anything-goes approach of the story. You take the high road, I’ll take the low road. I just may get to Scotland afore ye.

Next time, kids, I’ll talk about my idea for a Sly-mobile. Now, my husband may not go for our new car plastered bumper to bumper with decals. I believe I’ll wait a while, a good while, to spring that on him.


14 thoughts on “A (possible) blurb. Plus additional wry remarks.

  1. GD Deckard says:

    In place of a standard blurb, why not use all of your examples & more as lines from various reviews attributed to 16th Century reviewers, maybe, characters from your story?


      • GD Deckard says:

        “Puss in Boots as you’ve never seen him.”
        – Anne Boleyn

        “A smart-ass cat kicks rat-butt in sixteenth century Europe.”
        – John Dee, Elizabeth’s Royal Astrologer

        Liked by 4 people

        • But GD, if we’re keeping with period flavor and faux-Elizabethan dialogue, wouldn’t it come out sounding something like: “Puss-in-Boots as thou hast ne’er seen that good King of Cats.”

          Careful though–when Shakespeare used that particular phrase in Romeo & Juliet . . .
          What wouldst thou have with me?

          Good King of Cats, nothing but one of your nine lives . . .

          . . . the phrase hit period ears as meaning:

          “Prince of Cats” (which Baz Luhrmann puts on a title card when Tybalt first appears, seemingly unaware of what it means) is an insult. It reminds us that Tybalt is named after the Prince of Cats in the medieval tales of Reynard the Fox, where the King orders “Tibert” to convey his summons to court to Reynard. Reynard welcomes Tibert but under pretext of showing him a place where he can find some nice plump mice, lures him into a trap meant for the fox. He’s caught in a snare, beaten, and loses an eye.


          The phrase also connoted (in addition to one’s character being akin to a quarrelsome, trouble-making cat) that one might very well be “the son-of-a-bitch of all sons-of-bitches”. (Thank you, Jim Conway! English class circa 1976. I never forgot.)

          Which meanings, come to think of it, might also work for Sly, eh Mimi?

          Liked by 2 people

          • GD Deckard says:

            🙂 It was just an idea that I’m not sure how Mimi would express. The lady has a unique voice and amazing talent. I’m looking forward to reading her book.

            Liked by 2 people

  2. mimispeike says:

    Thank you GD, I was a little worried that you didn’t like it. I showed it to someone else today and she seemed very underwhelmed. But I had to explain to her the meaning of ‘arch’ so I am able to drastically discount any opinion she may have.

    Thanks to Carl also. I hope you both realize how much I value your opinions.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. mimispeike says:

    It’s summer, there’s a lot to do. I see that Scribophile is very slow also.

    I did get an email: desideropacem liked your post. I love to see the unknown-to-me names, but I wonder why they never comment.

    There is no post in the queue for Thursday, so I’m game to put up something else. I’m thinking about calling it Add Nauseam. It will be more Sly. Anybody had their fill of him, feel free to head me off at the pass.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Much as I love a steady diet of Sly!, there is a post scheduled in the hopper, Mimi. I put it up last night: REJECTED! I’d like it to run next Monday.

      I believe Atthys intends to put up the July showcase either today or tomorrow to run this Thursday. Can’t wait to see what you guys came up with! (200 words max on the word “draw”.)

      Liked by 2 people

      • GD Deckard says:

        @ Carl:
        I see only your post currently in the hopper. If there is no other post, yours will go live tomorrow unless you tell us differently.

        I can come up with something but, obviously, I’d rather yours or Atthys’ or Mimi’s or somebody else’s post run tomorrow.

        Liked by 1 person

      • mimispeike says:

        Damn. Got to get my entry in. One last look first.

        I just emailed my piece. And I sent an attachment. An image goes with it. You need the image for it to make sense.

        Liked by 1 person

        • mimispeike says:

          I can add a few words explaining the image, if I have to. I just made room by deleting something else. Atthys, let me know if you can insert the image.


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