Sunday, May 27, 2012

Alive and Kicking

Despite rumors to the contrary, I am still alive and writing.  Thank you for asking—those of you who did.  I've pretty much cut myself off from the internet these past two weeks.  Don't expect more of me, either, until about June 9th.

Why?  Well, every waking moment has been taken with either gardening or editing.  Have I gotten more done? Why yes I have.  I'm halfway there, folks.  Of course, halfway just isn't good enough, Dangit!  Which is why I've concocted my master plan.  Do nothing.

Hahaha, Just Kidding!

Oldest son is going to stay at grandma's for a week, and while he's there, I will be house sitting for my parents at their place.  An empty place.  With no distractions.  Except New Baby, of course.  But he's just gotten over a cold so he should be good for another 2 weeks.

Yeah, I forgot to mention that.  I'm about 25 pages behind because my parents came up for a week, then New Baby got sick, and now my sister and her husband are visiting for Memorial Day.  Which is all good and fun (except for sick baby, who spent literally a full day in my arms), but doesn't get the work done.  So the first week in June is my big push.


I swear, if I get another email or message or comment telling me how much someone liked the book and how excited they are to read the next one, I will expire from guilt!  Seriously, I feel soooo bad.  I feel like I'm letting people down.  Not a good feeling.

So yeah.  I will try to update next weekend, but if I don't, you know it's because I'm WORKING.

Happy Reading!

Sunday, May 13, 2012


ROW80 confession time, folks.  It turns out that my editing eyes were bigger than my editing stomach.  In other words, I'm not as far along as I want to be.  In actuality I'm 47 out of 216 pages finished with editing Aeris.  

Yeah, I know.  Ultimate writer FAIL, right?  But it takes sooooo long!  I can't help it.  At this rate, much to my dismay, I think it's going to take about a month to finish these edits.  *sigh* Which pushes back my May release of Aeris to end of June.  That is the bad news.  The good news is, I CARE about how this book ends up.  The good news is, rather than do a slap-dash, half-assed effort and speed through my edits, I'm looking at the overall picture, the chapter-by-chapter picture, and the sentence-by-sentence picture.  My personal vow, and my commitment to my readers is that I'm going to put out the best possible product that I can, starting with my edits.  Thankfully, my proofreader is a very patient woman! So, Onward!  Remember, my Word Of The Year is DETERMINATION.

And now, to take my mind off of my troubles, I'm going to talk about what I've heard most authors discuss at one time or another: Inspiration.  More specifically, musical inspiration.  :)

I've read several different authors' blogs, and everyone has their own thing.  Heck, Vicki Keire posts her ongoing playlist for readers to sample.  (Much appreciated, Vicki!)

I am a Pandora girl by nature.  I have about... 20 different playlists going right now. hahaha  But here is my issue.  I can NOT write if the music has words.  I love music so much that if I hear a song I know, I start singing it and forget about writing. hahaha  So I had to find something else to inspire my writing.

Right now, my writing is pretty much all fantasy, what most would call "high" or "epic" fantasy.  It requires lots of dramatic writing: romantic, lots of action, full of longing.  It takes a special composer to write music that fits my world vision.  But I found one!

Let me introduce you, dear readers, to Bear McCreary, the genius behind the best sci-fi series of all time: Battlestar Galactica (reimagined version). (Side note: never thought I'd say that about any series but Firefly, but BSG is fully awesome!)  This is seriously some of the best music I've ever listened to.  Violins, piano, DRUMS, DRUMS, DRUMS!  Just what the author ordered. I've posted two of my favorites here.  SOOO GOOOD!

My other recent discovery is a guy who is admittedly an amateur composer.  The coolest part of his story is that he reads books and composes inspirational songs to match.  He is passionate about The Hunger Games, and has 3 albums worth of music for each of the 3 books.  His name is Sam Cushion and he is FANTASTIC!  Seriously, I love his compositions.  Here are two of my favorites.

This is why writers write!  To inspire and uplift!  Can you imagine someone loving your books so much that they want to write music dedicated to them?  That is so cool!  Sam Cushion, I salute you and your passion for reading!  You are awesome.

What do you listen to for inspiration?  If nothing, then I suggest you try out my two favorites.  
BTW- Here is a link to Sam Cushion's Website.

PS- That is New Baby putting in a cameo.  Can you believe his expression?  We still have no idea why he made that face.  There was no flash involved in the picture. :)
PPS- Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers!
Happy Reading!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

I Must Have Been High

Seriously, have you read Aeris?  Have you?  I knew it would be rough.  I did.  But MAN ALIVE I HAD NO IDEA.

Honestly, I don't know if I was on crack when I wrote it or what, but IT NEEDS SO MUCH WORK!!!  Like 5 or 6 edits per kindle page(that's at LEAST, most of the time it's whole blocks of text that need work). 

Some people have problems with the words: writer's block or story structure.  They doubt themselves, their work languishes.  The words have never really been a problem for me.  No, the editing is where my big doubts hit.  I look over my work and shudder.  "This is awful!"  "What was I thinking?"  "This makes no sense!"  "How can I call myself a writer?!?!?!"  

It certainly doesn't help that I've read so many awesome and amazing books lately!  All I can do is read my words and fret over my characters not being kick butt enough, my stories not being action-packed enough, that my readers (the ones who've emailed to tell me how excited they are about the new book) will HATE where I've gone with the story line.  I don't want them to feel like I've let them down.

Anyway, to get my mind off of my troubles, let me tell you about my process for editing.  I've recently made a couple of changes, too, thanks to Elizabeth May and her FABULOUS ENTRY ON EDITING and also, if you're a glutton for punishment take a look at her really educational First Page Edits HERE and HERE.

I'm not that far yet.  I'm still in the early stages of my process.  The first thing I do with a book when I finish the rough draft is put it aside.  I sent it to beta readers.  I think about the overall arch of the story.  What are my character's motivations and does my plot reflect that?  Is there anything I put in that doesn't make sense for the story?  How will this book move me along toward Terris?  All of my musings are mental.

Then I start making notes in my Wonder Woman notebook (which is dedicated to all my Five Tribes scribblings.  Scrivener, anyone?).  I wait for the feedback.  With each passing comment, I get a sharper image of what I need to do to improve the book.  

I finally open the book again for myself.  It's been interesting this time around, because some of this stuff I haven't read in a YEAR, so it is totally foreign to me.  So I do a quick format job on my book (OMG, I HATE .mobi, did I mention that?  I have scads and scads of random paragraphs in italics, for no apparent reason!) and start reading.

Here is where I started to feel bad for my beta readers, because IT'S SO LONG!!!  It takes me an hour to get through 5 percent of the book, and I'm a fast reader.  I think it's gotta be close to 500 pages.  Holy crap?  Did that come out of my brain??  Using kindle notes and highlights, I mark the rough draft up for changes.  

What are my trouble spots to look out for?  Bad words: just, like, as, SO, basically, really, likely, and barely.  I keep my eyes out for adverbs (those bad TELLING -lys): softly, angrily, roughly, wistfully.  I don't have a huge problem with them, because I've become good at training myself out of using them when I write.  -ING on the other hand.  What a nightmare!  I'm like an addict.  So I mark those up.  I highlight anything that seems confusing or doesn't make sense.  I highlight stuff that is repetitive, or gives away any surprises I might have coming up.  I mark passages that are too passive or places where there is too much dialogue and not enough description.  Basically, my rough draft is a plethora of notes to myself.

And that is where I'm at right now.  The book took longer to read than I thought, so I will have to push back my editing deadline.  I'm thinking that it won't get done till the end of next week.  At which point it goes off to the proof reader and I get started on some of the other things on my list.

Happy Reading!