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Taking a sick day

Due to a nasty cough that is circulating around my house, I’m neglecting my blog today. Hopefully, I will dodge this germ and be up and be back and blogging on Wednesday. Don’t forget to enter the giveaway!

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Editing for dummies

I never feel dumber than when I receive my ms back from my editor. Nevermind the fact that this time I went through specifically looking for all that she pointed out before. These are all the new things I got wrong this time around:

 

1) I overused the word look/looks/looking/looked. Sad thing is I think I did a search for this word before I sent it off so I need to open a thesaurus for this exhausted verb.

2) On occasion I began sentences with And or But, apparently these make weak sentences and my editor suggests just removing them.

3) She flagged many run-ons and comma splices and suggests to use periods or semi colons.

4) Many words were repeated close together. These are so hard to point out to yourself.

5) I need clearer sentence tags in instances where I have people talking of the same sex.

 6) My horse in one of the lives changes back and forth from stallion to mare. Ooops! I changed this after the first draft and I must have missed a few.
    7) I have to quote what she actually said right here because it’s so funny and true, “All-caps and multiple exclamation points are weak writing. Exclamation points even look like little baseball bats, and you’re just whacking your reader over the head with them when you use more than one. And oftentimes, even one is too many. ;-).”   I must stop using them so much!!!
      8)  I still switch my narrative into past tense. I have gone over my ms a dozen times just looking for this since I originally wrote these three novels in past tense and my jaw drops with how many I still miss.

       

      I wish I could see what someone else’s draft looks like after an editor return so I might feel better at all these corrections. But then again, that might depress me if I saw much cleaner versions. Part of me worries that if I keep making my editor work this much she’ll realize it’s not worth the time and money to help me or she’ll increase her charge since I make her work so much more.

      Honestly though, the corrections were half the amount this time than the first of the series, so I guess I’m improving, but I really thought I’d done a good job this time…oh well, maybe by the fourth of the series I’ll impress her with my grammatical improvement.

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      Front Cover (eek!)

      Back Cover

      Spine

      First Page

      Chapter 1

      Random Page

      I can’t believe it. This day has come. I saw the small book-sized package on my front step and I couldn’t remember what book I’d ordered. Upon opening it I could hardly breathe…

      my proof had arrived!

      It was such a strange surreal moment. As if something you had only imagined had materialized right before your eyes by some white magic. As if you wanted something so badly that it wished its way into the world.

      Now, that’s not obviously what happened since I have been toiling away trying to bring this book to life –revising, beta-ing, work-shopping, editing, copyediting, formatting, and uploading, but it suddenly felt like it just appeared out of no-where on my front step.

      I’d heard on other self-published writer’s blogs that you shouldn’t expect a bookstore quality version in print, that they have bleeds, pages askew, smudges, shiny thin covers and poorer quality paper, but I was incredibly impressed.

      The 5.5″ x 8.5″ size feels wonderful with its hearty 280 pages. Yes, the cover’s shiny, but I thought it looks like many of the shiny covered Grisham/Patterson novels in my bookshelf. The cream paper is a perfect thickness and all of the print was smudge-less and straight. My mother was with me when I opened it and both of our jaws dropped with how professional it looked and felt. It was only when my husband saw it that he pointed out one flaw — the cut was slightly narrower at the top than at the bottom. Of course, now it’s all I can see, but if that’s the only thing that’s not perfect than I can live with that since it doesn’t interfere with reading. I don’t think it’s something I can tell Create Space to correct, but I’m going to get another proof to see if the same thing happens.

      All in all, this little bound book made the biggest smile spread across my face. Everything looked fantastic inside, the formatter and cover artist did a terrific job. I passed it proudly around to my large family and they all couldn’t believe how great it looked. Watching them all thumbing through it, inspecting it, and smirking (many of them doubted that I would see this through) was priceless.

      I realized that this is a huge milestone. I’ve already achieved something that not many people do. Whatever happens after this won’t take away from the fact that I set out to bring this story to life and I’ve done it –through countless distractions, agent rejections, self-teaching, and self-doubt –I’ve accomplished a life’s goal and that’s a pretty amazing feeling.

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      Why I haven’t posted…

      So sorry for the delay everyone. I’ve been in baby heaven this whole week! I had a fantastic and virtually pain-free delivery and I’m over-the-moon with this little cutie:

      My sweet little Annabelle

      I might have to delay a few more posts until I can bear to put her down for the computer, but I will be back in action and working toward my launch once again soon I promise!

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      9/11: Ten Years Gone By

      With so many things in life there seems to be a strange confliction in how much time has passed. When I think of where and who I was ten years ago, it seems like just yesterday and an eternity has gone by. So much has changed since then–so much in my life and so much in the world.

      I was in my last year at college, living off-campus in the middle of rural Pennsylvania. That morning I was already cleaning out cages at the wildlife rehabilitation center where I interned. I was sent back to the work shed to get another wheelbarrow and heard on the radio, that was left on all day regardless of an audience, that a small plane had hit the World Trade Center. I heard it just as I was walking back to the bear cages and it seemed like the newscasters where doubting the information and many thought if it was anything it was only a small wayward private plane crash.

      I told the owners of the center what happened and they shrugged their shoulders and we continued to clean and feed the animals. I jumped into my jeep wrangler and headed home on the country road, listening to John Denver, and passing beautiful Amish farms. The crisp sunny autumn weather made me yearn for an apple cider candle. I decided to stop at a candle store and found the shop eerily empty. I located the two cashiers in the back of the store with hands over their mouths watching two buildings burning on the small TV. They didn’t even turn at my presence and I realized something was horribly wrong. I rushed out the store and turned on my radio as I speed home. On the way the first tower collapsed and I ran into my little house to see what they described on the TV. It was such a gut twisting sight, to see that tower cave in. I remember feeling that it all must not really be happening. That this was such a profound event that it couldn’t possibly be true. Strange how shock interferes with reality.

      I called my mother first and tried to think of everyone I knew and if they worked in the area. My mind even raced to figure out if anyone I knew was flying on a plane that day. I had a sister that had flown out only days before from the same airport they hijacked the planes from and a sister who normally worked in NYC was vacationing in France. Thankfully everyone I knew was safe that day. The boyfriend I was with at the time worked in Paramus, NJ directly across from the Towers and his building had bomb threats right after the attacks. He could see the World Trade Center towers smoking and saw the whole area consumed by the dust cloud. It took him all day to get to my house with the bridges being closed due to terror threats. Classes were canceled and I stayed glued to the TV for the next few days. I drove home the following weekend and cried when every bridge I passed had our stars and stripes hanging from it. Houses all flew their flags as well as passing cars. I will never forget that incredible feeling of patriotism surrounding me.

      So now it’s ten years later. The anniversary ground zero readings all seem to blur to a single rainy, tear-filled day. I’ve graduated, said goodbye to that boyfriend, found a job completely unrelated to the animal behavior major in NYC, got married, had my first child, and now I’m about to have my second. It’s quite possible that he or she might be born on that day and I’m not so sure how I feel about that. Obviously what’s meant to be is meant to be but it’s day filled with so much emotion, I wonder if it has room for any more?

      All of us who were alive on that day can relive each detail this Sunday. It’s a day etched and fortified in our memories…the day that can never be lost.

      How are you feeling on this day? Does it really feel like ten years have passed? How have these ten years changed you?

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      Gone Fishin’

       

      Due to a fantastic vacation I will not be posting this whole week! See you next Monday 🙂

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      Searching through various blog achieves I found a great post that hit home with me.

      Write the story you want to read.

      I didn’t write my series because I had a deep love for historical fantasy. Don’t get me wrong, Jules Watson, Marion Zimmer Bradley, and Susana Kearsley wrote some of my favorite books, but I also love suspense, historical fiction, paranormal, thriller, horror…and the list goes on. I fall in love with a story, not a style or a genre.

      Instead of a rebellious streak (although I’m sure my parents would say I’ve always been rebellious) or an experimenting phase in my teenage years, I went through a new age/occult stage. I read books on palm reading, astrology, witchcraft, ghost hunting, pendulum swinging, gem stones, Ouija boards, dream interpretation, and many other interesting topics. I sought out new age speakers like Sylvia Browne and searched for authentic psychics, past life regressionists, and palm readers.

      One of the things that excited me most was reincarnation. The idea that we’ve lived before along with others we care about in this life. That we continuously work through issues with the help of others. We might start out selfish and extremely flawed and improve with adversity. That we’ve traveled throughout time and brought our love of eras along with us. How our attachments and hatreds stem from a history of loyalties or let downs.

      After reading many past life books discussing others remembered experiences and hearing about my own possible experiences during hypnosis, I still felt like I wanted to try to feel what this really would be like. I remember sitting in the movie theatre, a trailer came on, and for a few instants it sounded like the movie of my dreams was about to be released; finally the past life epic saga that I yearned for! But after more explanations I realized that it was another story. I’d pick up a book with a past life theme but would be let down upon reading the blurb that it only went back one life and the major focus was a romantic soul mate relationship. Just one person that was important to the main character, not a whole group of important people? They weren’t realistic, if a soul returned in many lives there would be more than one person that traveled with them. Furthermore,  the focus of each life would not be only a romantic one, life is much more complicated than that.

      Where was the book/movie that took the viewer from the very beginning of the first life and showed their detailed development throughout time evolving along with their closest companions and enemies?

      What did I decide do?

      Write the books.

      I wrote the story I wanted to read. I culminated all I’ve read, experienced, and fantasized about. I chose the time periods I loved or have been told I’d been a part of. I created characters I would have wanted on my journey; loyal and exciting characters as well as captivating, flawed characters that you love to hate. Even characters that may surprise you, those who begin much differently than they end up.

      Oh well, I won’t give anymore away but this is why I’m pushing so hard to get this series out. I’ve heard before that this is an ambitious project, that the nature of the series is extremely complicated, and takes a lot of effort to keep track of each character’s progression through the novels, but this is what I wanted to read. This is what I was looking for!

      If I was craving to see this story come to life than others must want to see this portrayed as well. I just have to find them 🙂

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