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!

 

 

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!

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!

 

impossible

I’m back and ready for a challenge.

I never was good at keeping diaries or journals.  I wondered how long I would be faithful to doing a blog entry at last once or twice a week.  Answer: About 6 months, lol.  Well, now I vow to do better.  I am challenging myself in two ways.  Way 1: I will blog at least once a week.  Way 2:  Well this one’s the big challenge.

I know a lot of people know about NaNoWriMo where you pledge yourself to write 50,000 words in a month.  Well, a great writer by the name of Stephen King wrote one of my favorite writers craft books.  I don’t really read those things anymore, as I had a writing teacher once say something wonderful: The best way to learn to write in your genre is to READ in your genre, and read a lot.  Many rules and grammar lessons and such just don’t apply, especially as current trends in your genre are constantly evolving.  And, sometimes writers craft books are boring.  If you feel like you’re doing homwork, suddenly writing is not fun.  I ran into that rut for a while.  Writing became work and no play.

But anyways, I digress, Stephen King says writers should get all of their first drafts out in a month or you lose focus and intensity on what you’re writing.  I find the longer it takes me to get a work out the more spread out my ideas become and I have to do a lot of “tightening” up editing.  I’ll use my fan fiction as an example because I have finished fan fiction stories. ;). I find that the fan fics I finish in 4-6 weeks are tighter with better structure and more consistency than the ones I take a year to finish.  Mostly because my writing style is always growing, so you can tell what I wrote in January from what I wrote in May, and mainly because my interest in the project wans over time.  By the end of the year, I’m thinking about and working on different projects, so my focus is split.

So, I challenge myself.  I have gone back to a project I shelved for a very long time (7 years).  It is a novel that I’ve wanted to write since I was a kid, but I put it away because I let a lot of people tell me it was implausible and no good.  I’ve reworked the concepts and characters and I wanna try it again.  I’m very excited, but I also don’t want this to become another 6 year project.  (My last book took that long and now the edits are taking forever because… well, the writing differs in places and it’s too spread out due to me writing parts of it over the course of years).

So, here’s the bet: I bet that my novel, The Fourth Piece, will have a complete first draft by my birthday on April 10th.  I have given myself 4 weeks (1 month) to deliver.  If I loose, well, you guys can throw net bananas at me.  I will blog at least once a week to report my status.

Whoo, four weeks.  I can do it, I can do it.  When I’m not distracted, I’m a fast writer, and I have a bit of an outline to go off of.  Well, wish me luck and ice cream for banana splits.

You guys take care!

challenge sign

So, I’m trying to write a sequel.  It started off great, and now I’m stuck.  I’ve been going to a weekly writers group and a few of them say I give too much back story away too soon, but then I have other people say I don’t give enough back story away soon enough… and I’ve had people say: Hey, I think you’ve found the perfect balance.

I am trying to stop myself from revising every time I read back through the work to figure out where I am.  Too much revision keeps you from finishing anything, or makes a 6-month project turn into a six-year project.  It took me four years to write the first one, I do NOT want to take that long for the sequel.  I gave myself a 3 month goal.  I think I can do it, if I could just get over this sticky patch.

I’m actually outlining to see if that can help me out.  We’ll see.

Okay, now it’s rant time.  The security alarm in my apartment still doesn’t work and guess what it decided to do ALL day and ALL night last night?  Chirp! Chirp-chirp-chripity-chirp chirp!  Chirp! Chirp! CHIRP! Chirp! Chirp.

Did I sleep?  No.

Did I have to get to work early this morning?  Yes.

I called the complex and they gave me a code that is supposed to make it stop.

If it doesn’t work ye all shall see me on the news.

 

Yay, I heard back from the agent I sent my full manuscript and synopsis to.  She took exactly one month from the day that I sent it to her.  She didn’t give me a standard form letter; she wrote me a nice, brief, note.  She said that while I am a promising new author she felt that she could not empathize with the main character enough to be able to champion her story.

I take that as positive feedback.  She didn’t say: Yuck, this sucks.  Or you need to read these craft book or revise.  She just said: You’re good, but this isn’t my cup of tea.  Good luck!  Lol.  So, now it’s time to decide who to send to next.  I really should start sending out to more than one place at a time.  In fact, I think I will this time.  I already know one place I’ll send it to next; I’ll hit up The Writers Market for some more.  I’ll try to do a submission a week :D.

And while I’m doing that, I will not stop writing.  I will keep writing my sequel, and hopefully finish it before the summer is up and move on to the last book.  I just feel like I should have so much more material than I do.  Once I get my apartment in order (oh, by the way, the rest of my stuff got here today, WHOOO), I will be able to concentrate more on writing.

Okay, I’m about to discover the joy of unpacking… again.  But yay to hearing back from another agent, and getting a personalized note.  And once again, I say:

NEXT!

I love the airport in Fort Lauderdale and their hospitality towards those with late flights.  I flew to Texas early Sunday morning and came back to Florida late Monday night, or really early Tuesday morning.  My flight landed at 12:30 am.  I got off the plane and went to the restroom and before I even rolled down my pants, the overhead com came on: Hello passengers from Flight 51.  Your baggage has been unloaded.  Hurry to baggage claim or we’ll close and your suitcases will spend the night with us and you can come get them in the morning.  Translation: Get your stuff and get out!

So, I rush to baggage claim, joining a crowd of people from my late flight, only to stare at empty baggage carousels.  Our luggage hadn’t even been put out yet.  Airport personnel just wanted to corral us all in one place, so they could start locking down.  The bags come out and once the last bag is out, they cut the power to the carousels, so we had to walk around looking for our bags instead of having them revolve around us.

Message: You don’t have to go home, but you got to get the hell up out of here!

So, anyway… back to flying to the Lone Star State.  I took a 7:00 am flight that should have gotten me to Dallas Love Field by 10:40 am.  I got there about noon, rented a huge van and drove back to my old apartment.  Once inside, I discovered that I had left behind more stuff than I thought, and it might not all fit in the van.  I repacked and, with a friend, crammed as many boxes as I could into the van.  I woke up the next morning to make two trips to Greyhound to drop off my boxes.

Let me tell you something awesome.  I used this company called busfreighter.com.  You tell them how many boxes you have and approximately how much everything weighs together and they tell you how much it will cost.  I estimated that I had 65 boxes and that each box weighed about 40 pounds: total of 2600 pounds.  That cost about 1600 bucks.  Busfreighter.com sends you shipping labels via e-mail the next day, you tape them to your boxes, and then you drop them off at Greyhound.  Well… I got to Greyhound, they weighed my stuff piece by piece, and the total weight was… 956 pounds.  Busfreighter.com has a policy: if you underestimate the weight of your shipment, they will charge you for the extra poundage.  If you overestimate the weight and pay too much, no refund.  Noooooo!  So, I called them and explained and they generously said: Well, since you were more than 200 pounds off (hell yeah, I was), we will see what we can do about a refund.

Sigh, even if they don’t (and I pray that they do) I still will have paid less to move than I would have had I stuck with those good for nothing movers.

Ah well, now I’m back in Florida, awaiting my multitude of boxes to arrive.  Joy.  More unpacking.

😀

Remember the pee-pee smell of my carpets and me accusing the previous tenant of owning a dog and not telling anyone he did?  Well, my apartment complex insists that the previous resident insists he didn’t have a dog.  So, I really wanted to say: So what you’re saying is the previous resident himself peed on the carpets, because I certainly didn’t do it. 

But anyway, that’s beside the point.  So… the previous resident claimed he didn’t have a dog.  Well, that previous resident really should have had his mail forwarded.  I checked my mailbox for the first time today.  The box was so crowded with mail I could barely get it all out, and only three letters were for me.  The rest were for Ryan Dugan.  Let’s see, I got bank statements, credit statements, investigative reports… and oh, a reminder that his precious dog is overdue for his rabies shot, please bring him to the clinic soon.  Thanks.   Busted!

I think I’m going to take that to management and see if they’ll discount my rent or pull up the carpets.  I doubt it, but I wonder what they’ll say anyway. 

Tomorrow is my first library program at my new job.  I’m kicking off the Teen Writers Group, and I had some teens say they were interested in coming.  Wish me luck on my first lesson.  I hope the kids like it and will want to come back.