e. ardell

I’m on a mission to get on everyone’s nerves. I can’t help it. I want to show off. Everything that’s going on right now is so amazing. Editing, discussing cover art and tag-lines and back-cover summaries. Also, if you follow this link you can visit the publisher’s site to see ME at: https://48fourteen.com/profile/E.+Ardell/

So let me tell you how much it is to discuss cover art. First, I got to find a bunch of covers of other books in my genre that I really like and think could translate well to the series. Then I got to think about concepts like what scene or image do I want on the cover, and do I want cover models, a symbol, and what not. Of course I want cover models. 😀 I love books with realistic looking people on the cover. So then I got to send in pictures of actors and models who look like my characters to give the cover artist ideas. Surfing the web for cutie pies that fit my characters’ descriptions was awesome sauce. I even got my sister involved. Next thing I know, it turned into a project to find models and actors for ALL of the characters in the series. I only sent in images of the main characters, so four guys (all cutie pies), but it was a blast finding all those other pictures and making graphics and name plates for them. I think Pinterest and I are going to be best buddies from here on out :D. I can’t wait to see some drafts of what this book cover is going to look like.

The other thing I did was come up with tag-lines. Tag-lines are hook phrases on the front of your book. I made a list of different phrases, some funny, some serious, some cute, and paraded them around my social circles, letting people vote on their favorites. I ranked the tag-lines according to popularity and shipped them out to the publisher. She liked a lot of them.

Now we’re just working on the summary for the back of the book (which I tell you is harder than writing a book itself), and I’m coming up on another round of editing for the manuscript. This has really been a learning process and I love being so involved with everything.

I’m going to close this by saying, if you’re not a Facebook buddy of mine (you should be, jk), the image above is what you missed out on seeing! Click the image and get taken to the link! I appreciate any visits and participation I can get :).

 

 

 

toot my horn

I turned in all my edits on Sunday, and on Monday and today (Tuesday), I updated all of my social media accounts, submitted a head-shot and an author bio, established my pen name and sent in a summary to go on the back of the book. Here’s what I have to say about all of that: EEEEEEEEEEE!!!

Profound, I know. Soon, I’ll be up on the publisher’s website, and hey, I can post the link so all of you can see it too! I can’t wait to start discussing marketing and… COVER ART! Who doesn’t get excited about cover art? Do I get cover models, do I get a symbol, I don’t know. I think I do have some say in it all, though. And here’s my say on all of this right now: AAAAAAAAAA!!!

So, yeah, I’m tooting my horn. But you know, people put such a negative spin on tooting your own horn. There’s nothing wrong with acknowledging that you’re doing cool things. Sometimes, if you don’t, no one will ever know what you’re doing and how strongly you feel about it. Feel good about yourself people. If no one else pats you on the back and tells you “good job”, you should. Only you truly know what you went through to accomplish certain tasks.

Okay, so I really didn’t have all that much to say in this post aside from sending off all those materials. It just makes it all feel more real. In the words of Jessie Spano from Saved By the Bell (there I go dating myself again!) “I’m so excited…I’m so excited… I’m so excited.”

Now, I need to get back to sequel-writing. I’m SO very glad of my decision to bring the second story to a good stopping place before going on with the edits for Book I. It has been more than two weeks since I touched the sequel and now I’m starting cold. I’ll get back into the swing of it, but I’m going to need to reread and do a little editing.

That said, I’m going to sign off, so I can do some rereading. Take care and thanks for keeping up with me!

 

 

 

 

We_Can_Edit

The publishing house’s edits came last Tuesday. Yes, last Tuesday. I read the e-mail from the publisher which gave general directions on how to proceed in the editing process and then gave praise. The editor said: “Wow… this author is freakin’ fabulous!” Made my morning. I went to work in the best mood.

Then, I had to decide when to look at the edits. I have been on such a roll writing the sequel that I didn’t want to switch gears right away. I decided to get book 2 to a good stopping point. I didn’t want to stop in the middle of an action sequence or while I was building tension. I didn’t want to come back and have to reread to try to find that inspiration again. So, I gave myself a deadline. I said that I would write either 25 pages more or complete the current chapter because the story would totally change pace after the occurring events.

But let me tell you how tempting it was to break open those edits. I kept gazing at the e-mail all week, like hmm… just a little peek. But I resisted, because I know me. I would open the attachments and be a No Limit Editing Soldier on book 1 for the next week or so and lose my stride on book 2.

So today, I got to my perfect stopping place in book 2 and cracked open my edits. The first attachment was just a generalized one-pager with overall notes about being careful of word repetitions and overuse of ellipses, em-dashes and dialect. However, there was a special emphasis on the dialect suggestion to let me know that it was only an opinion. So, then I had to think about just how much dialect to change if it isn’t crucial.

So, after I let all that sink in, I opened the actual story with the track changes in it. The notes in the suggestion column are easy to follow, and there are even some compliments tossed in there. The editor offers suggestions for word repetitions and does a good job eliminating unnecessary words.

I look over and see that while my document’s 94,000 words there are only like 1700 revisions throughout the whole piece. So, I’m like okay, that’s really cool.  I’ve heard stories where people say an editor ripped their work to shreds, but here it’s not so. I like the usage of overall suggestions and I love the grammatical advice. Sometimes you just don’t notice lazy habits until someone points them out.

I want to give a shout out to everyone who has ever critiqued or just read through The Fourth Piece. It was a clean manuscript before submission and it’s all because of my unpaid friends and editors. That being said, no matter how clean you think your work is, there’s always stuff that can be better… and always a typo.

Going through the edits and accepting or revising changes and justifying leaving something the same is fun. The only pain now is Microsoft Word. The more comments that are left in a document, the slower the program moves. Grrr…

But it’s okay. I’m making pretty good progress. I think I can have this done in a week, and then I’ll wait and see what happens next!

Oh, and as for the sequel, I reached 115 pages in a month. Hopefully I can get this draft done before my birthday in April. How awesome would that be? Then I’d start… book 3. That’s kind of scary to think about. Book 3 is the end of the main story–a story I’ve wanted to tell since 6th grade.

Sniff, sniff, my baby is growing up.

Thanks for reading my rambles. Until next time!

 

 

 

 

So, I know I’ve posted before about writing sequels and how much it kind of sucks. The sequel I’m working on now, which is the sequel for the book I signed the publishing contract for 🙂 D :), has had four lives. One of these lives made it to page 220 before I decided the story was going in the wrong direction. The second lived to page 20, before a genius read it and said, “You need to flip-flop the events.” The third had a promising life. It was going smoothly, people in my critique circles loved it….

Then, the publisher accepted my first book and said: “The ending is a little lackluster. Can you spice it up?” So, needless to say, the first book got a new ending which ended the third life of the sequel. Now there were some people who were upset about the third’s brief life and quick death–and hey, I really liked that version of the story too.  But you know what, the fourth life was born about a month ago, and it’s been pouring out of me at rapid speed. It has almost reached 80 pages and, in those 80 pages, the plot has advanced further than 220 pages of the first version of the story. I’m actually in Act II. I’ve never gotten past Act I in the lives of the other sequels. Having to kill that last book is probably the best thing to happen to this story.

So, yeah, I’m having fun writing a sequel. I never thought this would happen, but then I’ve never felt this connected to a sequel either. Maybe it’s because I’m actually pretty comfortable about the events of the first story now, so moving on is something I feel better about doing. That being said, I might get the edits back from the publishing house’s editor that will nicely say: “Write it again!”

We’ll see. I’m so new to this. I’m actually excited to see red marks and wondering how much control I’ll have over the edits if I don’t agree to something. It’ll be interesting and fun.

So… here’s something I promised, some head-shots from my photo shoot a few weeks back. If you noticed, my profile picture has changed. That is head-shot one. Here’s another!

headshot 7

Thanks for reading guys! Happy New Year and take care!

 

 

mugshot cat

So, now it’s time to start thinking about how I’m going to look inside my book jacket and on author pages. I mean, I know some people selfie it up, but I’m not trying to have a selfie in my book. When you see pictures of authors in their books or on their pages, you can automatically tell when those shots are selfies. I don’t want people opening up my book and snorting at my blurry selfies.

I’m a member of a great Meet-up Group and the organizer is  a photographer who believes all women should have a great head-shot for professional purposes. She put together a few head-shot days at a discounted price and offered make-up services. I missed the first one, so when she put the second one I took that as a sign to get my picture taken.

Now here comes the dilemma. I’m infamous for taking mug-shots. I am one of those people who has to smile in all my pictures or I look mean. But you see all these great shots of people not smiling and looking all intense. However, when I try to do these looks, I can picture myself holding a metal plate with a number on it.  So, I went into the photo shoot thinking the pictures would be nice pictures of me, but nothing to write home about because, well, I just don’t take good pictures. I’m the person who runs and ducks and dodges the camera. If I’ve got something to put over my head or face when a camera flashes, I’ll use it.

So, I get to the photographer’s place with my wardrobe changes (excellent reason to shop for myself instead of buying Christmas presents, btw), ready for pictures. I get my make-up done and told how to pose and all the while there’s awesome music playing. I was so comfortable and had a blast singing and dancing and posing, and that blast ended up photographing really well.

I picked out some shots I liked (and those were all before retouch, so I’m really excited to see the end product), and I’ll see which ones I end up keeping. All in all I got some good head-shots today, and a couple of mug-shots, but those were too funny.

Today was great. I’m starting to feel more and more official. Now, I’m just waiting hear back from the editor about story edits. While I’m waiting, I’m still writing. I had to change the ending to the first book, so now I’m rewriting the sequel–again. But this new beginning is really working for me. I’m glad I started anew.

So, next time I post I hope to be able to make comments about the editing process when working with a publisher. Maybe I’ll have one of those head-shots to post too… (and maybe a mug-shot, some of them were hilarious!)

Take care!

 

 

 

 

 

minions celebrate

I don’t want to jinx it because the ink hasn’t dried, but I just signed a publishing contract.What does that mean? It means my first book is being published! Published! I will see my pen-name on a book cover. I think I’ll scream or maybe even cry when I hold the actual book in my hands.

Non-writers don’t understand. They cheer and pat you on the back and then look at you strange when you keep dancing on. I’ve been doing the running man, the MC Hammer, the cabbage, the twerk, and a couple of other dances I made up for the past few days. This is a life goal. This calls for celebration.

And the book being published is a story near and dear to my heart. I’ve been working with these characters since the 6th grade, building them up and giving them story. The drafting process was not easy. There are so many different versions of this story on various disks and old computers. Heck, in old spiral notebooks, back when people used to hand-write things.This is the story that received no love what-so-ever when I work-shopped it in grad school. Give it up. Write something else. You’re not a good enough writer to write this story.

I shelved it for years after graduation and finally came back to it almost 2 years ago with a fresh new outlook and confidence in my writing that I had lost along the way. The publisher read the manuscript in a matter of days, gave me glowing feedback, and then made the offer. The contract came in a few days ago.

I did some research on what makes a good contract and what makes bad contracts and compared the articles and examples to mine. It looks great, but one of my co-workers has a fiance who knows legal people so he offered to read the contract over for me. He also offered to call in a second opinion from others who work in the creative property side of law.

Everything checked out… and so I signed! Whoooooo!!!! “Do the Humpty-hump. Do the Humpty-hump!”– Yeah I just dated myself, but whoooooooo!!!

So here is something else that’s amazing: one of my co-workers is also a writer, a fabulous poet, who is getting his book published as well. He was the one who pushed me to start seriously submitting my book and gave me a deadline. He said: You must have  published book in hand by December of 2017 when I retire. I said: You’re on.

So, we’ve been dancing together. Now, I wasn’t going to make the announcement to my other co-workers or anyone outside of my inner circle until the ink dried… but my poet co-worker went to the boss and excitedly told her: Eboni has big news, big, big, news, but she can’t tell you yet.

Well, at work we’re experiencing a staff shortage. People are getting married, having babies, and moving away. My boss kind of got a little freaked out, because she was afraid I was going to say I was getting married or pregnant. She approached me when I returned to work (after an awesome Halloween week with my sister), wanting to know my news right then, and I had to tell her. Not to worry, boss, I’m not popping out any little people and I’m not wearing a ring. I’m just getting published. 🙂

Published!

So, the contract is in, and now I’m making the suggested revisions with a deadline of November 18th. I can’t wait for the next part in the process.

Until next time!

Cat_Dog_01There is nothing like struggling for weeks to write one stupid chapter. You start worrying. What’s wrong? All the other chapters came out so fast. Am I running into that dreaded disease called Writer’s Block? Am I losing interest in the story–because, let me tell you, after a few weeks, you sure are bored with that chapter and you really are becoming disgusted with the whole project.

Then, it suddenly dawns on you. Maybe you’ve picked the wrong character to tell the chapter through. Huh. You start thinking it through, and then realize what you must do. You must scrap all 10-20, sometimes even 30 pages of crap you’ve been hammering out for weeks and start fresh in that new voice. You hate throwing stuff out (and I really don’t. I have a massive file for all my stories called: Cut Scenes), but once you do and start fresh, suddenly, you’re writing. Your chapter’s through in a matter of days and you’re happy and mad at the same time. Happy, because YAY you’ve got a new chapter that you like. Mad, because you wasted 3 weeks working on something that was never going to work.

This has been the case for me for the past month on not one but two stories. Because yes, I’m one of those people who writes real novels and fan fiction at the same time. So both of my stories were at a standstill, but hey, now they’re not. I’m glad to be moving forward, finally!

Why am I blogging right now? Because I’m actually writing right now and so amazed (and mad) at my discovery that I had to share it. I also have to share that I now have 40 plus pages of cut scenes this month.

On the publishing front–I’m still playing the waiting game. (Worst… game… EVER). But, hopefully, I’ll start hearing more from people soon. Most of the agents and publishers have a 6-8 window, and I’m approaching 6 weeks for some. We’ll see what happens.

Until next time!

gaston can't read!

That would be me! I’m the world’s biggest hypocrite. I’m always complaining about people not reading signs or directions and today, I was a repeat offender.

So, good news–I have sent out queries to fifteen different places, agents and publishers. I have heard responses from three, two said thanks but no thanks, and one said, go ahead and send us the full manuscript so we can take a look.

I’m really excited about that, but do you know I misread the directions on submitting to this publisher not once, but twice. The first time, I misread the instructions for labeling my files. The second time, I sent the manuscript to the wrong e-mail address. Both times I corrected my errors, but my gosh. I sure hope this publisher doesn’t think: Well darn, she can’t follow instructions EVER.

I want to blame it on excitement, and just being tired. I keep telling myself not to submit late at night, because I make dumb errors, but there just aren’t enough hours in the day. Sometimes, I have to submit when I can, or it just won’t happen.

I know I’ve said it before, but preparing materials for submitting takes such a long time. I almost wonder if it’s not harder than writing the book itself.

So, anyway, my full manuscript is in the inbox of a teen lit publisher. I’m crossing my fingers and praying that they like it. But you know how it goes when you send off a submission. Just yesterday you liked your story just fine, but now that you know someone else is going to be reading and scrutinizing it, you’re thinking: Man that story sucks. Lol!

Well, here’s to hoping they don’t think it sucks. They liked the query and the first three chapters (prologue included.) So, we’ll see. And hey, if they don’t like it, it’s not the end of the world. I will continue to submit. There’s power in pressing “send”.

So now, I need to get back to writing new material while I wait. It’s hard, you feel restless, but you can’t put your other projects on hold for months while you wait for responses.

Until next time!

now we wait

First off I want to start off by saying: “BWHAHAHAHA!! I blogged again this month.” Okay, I’m done. Next off I want to share that I’ve submitted 8 times in the past week and half to agents and publishers (one by snail mail). I am no longer lazy or procrastinating… or chicken. I’ve been hitting “send” on e-mails like I hit “purchase” on Amazon. No problem, NEXT!

Now what has been time consuming is getting stuff ready for different publishers and agents. I had a query letter all prepared for agent submissions, and suddenly, they all want cover letters. I had a one page synopsis ready, and they want a one paragraph synopsis… or one that is three to ten pages. They want pasted manuscripts with 1.5 spacing, they want attachments in Courier. They want my query letter to answer their particular questions. Why it’s almost like they want met to tailor my submissions to meet their requirements!–hah, I’m kidding. I just never thought it would take days to get each submission of the same material ready for send-off.

I’ve learned to take my time and to read all directions at least three times. Some agents are vaguer than others and leave a lot to creative interpretation, while some tell you to the letter what they want and what they don’t. It would really stink to get rejected due to improper format. I’d kick myself.

Oh, and tell me why, 200 reads later, I’m still finding typos in the manuscript. Even after other people have read and edited, new typos just pop up. I think a little troll comes in the night and deletes single words like “to” from every 14th sentence on every 15th page. Well, maybe not quite that often, but still. Every time I see where a word is missing from a sentence, I think: When did this happen? Has it never been there? Did I accidentally delete it while editing something else? It’s irritating, but then you think, if me and like fifteen other people missed this, then it’s very likely to be missed by fifteen more people. Hopefully whoever reads my manuscript won’t notice them.

So… now I’m playing the “Waiting Game”. The one where you want to check your e-mail every five seconds, though the agents and publishers say: Give me 6-8 weeks or longer. One says: six months. But it still doesn’t stop you from looking. You get all giddy thinking what if someone got my e-mail, opened it right away because your name sounds cool, read your stuff immediately because you’re awesome, loved it, and can’t wait to contact you. Whoo hoo! (And yeah, right.) If anything, when an agent responds within a day it’s usually an auto-reject. I know; I’ve gotten them before, lol.

Here’s the process I’ve decided on to keep me from going nuts. Since submissions take so long and I get so antsy waiting, instead of doing submissions every week, I’ll do them every other. I’ll submit 2-5 times a week, then take a week off to write new material and hopefully distract myself with what I love to do: write. I’ll still check my e-mail a lot, but I’ll have other deadlines to meet as well. We’ll see how it goes. 🙂

Okay, random change of subject. I want to talk about this creepy book I’m reading. I run a teen book club for the library I work at. The kids voted to read The Diviners by Libba Bray. I’m listening to the audio book of it, because I had a free audible credit. So, I’m chilling, listening, enjoying it… then things in the book get weird and I flashback to being a little kid looking at Freddy Krueger. The narrator, January LaVoy, is awesome. This is officially one book I don’t want to listen to before trying to go to sleep at night because I’ll end up lying in bed seeing shadows and hearing noises. (It doesn’t help that my water heater makes noises like someone trying to knock the house down with a sledgehammer in the middle of the night for no reason.)  Anyways, I haven’t finished the book yet, but so far so good.

To sum up this post: I’m all over the place, but doing what I’m supposed to do. I’m submitting, I’m going to be writing new stuff soon, and I’m keeping organized (somewhat). I’m anxious to hear some feedback, always ready to hear positive things, but hey if I don’t, there are many other agents and publishers out there that I’ve yet to try!

I will blog again soon, I hope. And maybe I’ll have some news :).

procrastination

 

…a procrastinator.  You know what, never mind. I’m not even just a procrastinator. Maybe I’m just chicken. So, I’ve got two manuscripts that I could be submitting. I get all excited and maybe submit once or twice, never hear back from an agent, and then start editing again. At some point you just have to stop and say: I’m done. I’ve said “I’m done” so many times, but this time I really mean it. I’m done.

I have set a goal for myself. I’m going to submit my manuscript 3 times a week, 2 agents, 1 publisher. I’ve been doing my research, I’ve been formatting manuscripts and query letters and synopses to fit what each place wants. And most importantly, I’ve been hitting: send. We’ll see what happens. I’m excited, but not disillusioned. I’m not expecting to get wild and crazy acceptances from everyone I send to. I’m not expecting to hear from them all and get detailed feedback. Hell, I’m just happy to be able to put entries in my Submission Log, lol.

Okay, so on from that, let’s talk about what I’ve been up to: throwing parties… left and right. Baby showers, bachelorette parties and going to see The Lion King the stage play. Let me tell you that play is amazing: the costumes, the dancing, the music, the story. It was like watching the movie in the theater back in ’93 when I was a kid. It was nostalgic but at the same time, it added new elements to the story. Characters and relationships were deepened, I was in love… and then “Be Prepared” came on. Scar started singing and the hyenas came out…

So, I think they told every male dancer who auditioned for that play, “If you do not have an 8 pack and do not glisten when we rub on oil on your chest, you need not apply.” The hyena troop stomped out on that stage… and yes, they had amazing technique, but the rippling muscles distracted me from that just a bit. Adult Simba was no slouch himself–lucky Nala! I wanted to leap into Simba’s arms too.

Needless to say, it was such a great time I went to see it twice, and they did not disappoint.

So… when my writing buddies ask me what I’ve written this month, I say: Um… It’s all Simba’s fault for being so fine–I mean–talented! But I am getting back on track. I’m going to do something I did a while back and create a writing schedule for myself. I need designated times for editing, writing new original material, and writing other things (fan fiction, my guilty pleasure). Last month, I’d taken to kidnapping myself after work and going to a coffee house with my laptop to write. I ended up getting a lot of new material that way. The only problem with that method is that I ended up at coffee houses filled with cakes and cookies and pies every other day. My willpower is only so strong. (Sigh) So, new pages and tighter pants.

New revelation: Writing is fattening, lol.

Okay, so today is October 4, 2015. Mark this date, because it’ll be another year before I blog again. No, I’m going to blog again this month. In my designated writing time schedule, I am going to plug in a time for blogging too. So, here’s the challenge:Blog more than once a month. We’ll see what happens, lol!

Until then!