Posts Tagged With: author

Editing and Cupcakes

Draft #3 of Cerulean Bound is officially done and off to my editor and alpha reader!

It took about three months to slog through all the revisions, and I only managed to cut 3k words — but in my defense, I added about five new scenes, so it’s frankly a miracle the word count didn’t shoot through the roof. I’m still aiming to get it down below 100k before I’m done with it, but this is a good start.

In other news, my best friend has bought her first house (woo!) and now lives only 10 minutes away. As such, we had a “walk the dog and bake cupcakes” date on Thursday. Check out our mad cupcake decorating skills (and my friend’s mad photography skills):

 

 

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Categories: Writing | Tags: , , , , , | 7 Comments

Cerulean Bound Update

Happy April, everyone!

It’s been pointed out to me by the lovely Celeste DeWolfe that I haven’t blogged since January. Whoops! My incredible bad. Here goes!

Since my January post, I’ve been plugging away at editing Cerulean Bound. I rewrote a ton of stuff, added a bunch of new scenes, completely changed one of my villain’s motivations, etc. I finally finished going through all the editing notes, and now I am at the stage of “re-read the book again and make sure all the edits actually make sense.” This is my favorite type of editing, because I’ve hypothetically worked out all the kinks, so I shouldn’t have any big things to change — just enjoy the story, and hopefully shave off a few thousand words in the process. Streamline, baby!

Once the re-read’s done, I’m going to send it back to my alpha reader and editor for a second go-through. Hopefully they’ll have fewer notes this time, which would mean once I correct the new stuff, I’ll be able to start sending the book out to beta readers. From there … another round of editing, maybe two? My editor is a perfectionist, which is great in that it means the end product is always top-notch, but terrible in that it takes forever to do anything. (I love you, Mom!)

In life news, I recently went to Disney World with my mother, brother, and best friend. It was lots of fun — we ate, we drank, we rode assorted roller coasters, we ooh-ed and ahh-ed at fireworks, etc. Thank goodness for Fast Passes — waiting two hours in line for a 90 second ride is just silly. Some of my travelling companions got hit with a nasty cold during the vacation, but I ate many oranges and managed to escape the virus … until I returned home, and it walloped me in the face. I am now sniffling in my fluffy bathrobe with a mug of hot tea, surrounded by tissues, vitamin C, and throat lozenges. Nooooooooo!

I’m off to make cookies after this, then get down to some freelance proofreading work. (By the way, if anyone needs any proofreading done, hit me up!) Once that’s done, it’s back to editing Cerulean Bound. I’ve also started re-reading Imminent Danger and Chasing Nonconformity, in a valiant attempt to make sure I don’t contradict myself in book 3.

I’ll check back in when I’ve got more news on Cerulean Bound. I know it’s been a long while since book 2 was released, but hopefully there are still a few people out there excited to read book 3!

Have a great week, and stay awesome 🙂

Categories: Self Publishing, Writing | Tags: , , , , , | 9 Comments

Finished Cerulean Bound Draft #2

Phew!

After noodling over the second draft for about three months, I finally got the darned thing done! I have my editor and alpha reader to thank for this: my editor, for reminding me that she has a ton of free time over the holidays to read it, so finish it already, and my alpha reader for promising to read it over this weekend if I could get it to him by noon today. Technically I got it to him at 12:15, but hopefully he’s willing to overlook the tardiness.

The first draft clocked in at 142,000 words, and I managed to get the second draft down to … drum roll … 110,000! There is still some chopping to be done, of course. I’d like to get it down into the 90,000 range, which is more reasonable for a quick-paced YA story, not to mention that forcing myself to get rid of ~15k words will make the story tighter and better. But I’m pretty proud of losing 30k words in one fell swoop. Hopefully I didn’t cut anything too important …

Anyway, draft 2 is off to my editor and alpha reader. I should hear back from my alpha reader by Monday (we’re doing lunch), but as for my editor … it could take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. It’s difficult to say with her. It’s the off-season in the B&B world, so hopefully she’ll have lots of time to devote to tearing the manuscript apart. Fingers crossed!

In unrelated news, I’m still at my dad’s house for the holidays, hanging out with him and my brother and generally “chillaxing” as the young’uns like to say. We play a lot of Civ 5, go on walks in the frigid outdoors, and occasionally watch movies (just saw Jumanji yesterday — hilarious). I’ll be heading back to Nova Scotia this upcoming Tuesday, which hopefully will not be buried under a mountain of snow when I arrive.

Happy New Year to everyone! My resolution is to write every day. So far I’ve managed it, but we’ll see how that shapes up once I get into the busy B&B summer months. Maybe I should try getting up early and writing before I head downstairs to cook breakfast and clean. Then again, I’m so not a morning person, so maybe not.

Until next time!

 

Unrelated media of the day:

Every time I listen to this song, I want to conquer a foreign country. Possibly I’ve been playing too much Civ 5.

Categories: My Works, Writing | Tags: , , , , , | 12 Comments

Imminent Danger Sequel Update

Great news! Revisions for Chasing Nonconformity are coming along quite nicely. I’ve got all my beta reader feedback in, save for two folks who are sending it my way soon. And I’ve incorporated all the feedback I already have into the story. I’m now in the process of re-reading the book and making random edits here and there as I go.

Once I get the last two remaining beta reader comments back and get their suggestions worked in, I’ll send the novel off to my editor/manager/life coach/mother, who’ll read it through and make her own random edits. Then it comes back to me for another read through. And maybe a few more random edits. Definitely a few more random edits.

Next up, formatting time! The book goes into my Createspace book formatting document, where I add pretty chapter headers and put in page numbers and whatnot. Then I send off the page count to my graphic designer so she can whip me up the paperback version of the cover. Then I print off 2 copies of the book — one for mother, one for me — and we do more reading and editing.

Finally, once we’ve read and edited the proof copies to our hearts’ content, and I’ve gotten the fancy paperback cover from my designer, it’s publishing time! Ebook goes live, paperback goes live — victory!

So that’s the game plan. We’re looking at a mid to late August release date at the moment, depending on when I get that beta reader feedback in, and how long mother’s multiple read-throughs take. She’s busy with house renovations, so she’s low on free time, whereas I’m totally unemployed and have all the time in the world! Huzzah!

Have an awesome week, everyone, and thanks for reading the update!

 

Unrelated media of the day:

I have a weird feeling I already shared this one, but I never removed the bookmark, so maybe not. Either way, enjoy!

Categories: My Works, Self Publishing, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Pro Editing Tip: Remove Filter Words

Today’s editing tip is courtesy of the glorious Nicholas C Rossis, who was kind enough to beta read Chasing Nonconformity. (Note: Yes, I’ve finally started revisions! Book should be out by summer’s end! Huzzah!)

In his excellent beta reading notes, he mentioned my overuse of “filter words”. These are, essentially, words that make the world seem as if it’s being filtered through the character’s eyes.

So, for example:

With filter: Gabby felt her heart shatter into 1,558,309 pieces.

Without filter: Gabby’s heart shattered into 1,558,309 pieces.

Another example:

With filter: Humphrey heard someone squawk violently.

Without filter: Someone squawked violently.

One more:

With filter: Olivia saw the duck transmogrify into a treble clef.

Without filter: The duck transmogrified into a treble clef.

Removing filter words will both tighten up your writing, as well as help to remove that extra layer of distance between you and the character. And removing distance is always a good thing. Not removing distance leads to separation anxiety, which leads to my roommate’s dog literally crashing through the screen door to reach her owner.

To learn more about filter words, the extraordinary Nicholas C Rossis recommends this article. Seeing as I’ve now described him as both “glorious” and “extraordinary”, I’m confident we can trust his good judgment.

To infinity and beyond!

 

Unrelated media of the day:

Random Harry Potter jokes, because my roommate has been marathoning the HP movies and it seems appropriate …

Source: http://imgur.com/gallery/QO5Z6

 

Reminder: Imminent Danger is free to download today (July 6, 2015) — grab it if you haven’t read it yet!

Categories: Writing | Tags: , , , , , , | 14 Comments

The Dangers of Naming Characters After Friends

Yesterday morning, I got an email from my mother. She’s been compiling all the comments from beta readers for Chasing Nonconformity (you rock, mama!), and during this activity she came to the realization that I have yet to name a character after her.

Oh dear.

This arose as a result of my naming one of the characters in the sequel “Akaeli”, which was inspired by my roommate Kaleigh. I have a habit of calling her name in a sing-song voice when she walks through the front door, and have grown very fond of her name as a result. Hence, I borrowed her name, alienized it, and stuck it in Chasing Nonconformity.  I would like to note that the character wasn’t based on her in any way, shape, or form — her name just inspired the character’s name.

Which brings me back to my mother, who put forward the question: Why have I named a major character after my roommate, but none after my own mother/editor/manager/life-giver?

The basic reason I gave her is that I haven’t named a character after her because I don’t name characters after people. Sure, I’ll honor my friends by throwing in their name as like a school name (Barlow Collegiate Institute!) or a kind of pudding or something, but I don’t do that with characters. Characters get names that fit them, that work with the story and the setting and the culture. If one of my friends’ names gets twisted around into a major character, it’s not because I felt a pressing need to insert them in the story, or because I have chosen to honor them above all others — it’s because I enjoy the way their name sounds, and think it goes well with the character.

Mother accepted my reasoning, as she is an eminently reasonable woman, and the topic was put to rest. So, all’s well that ends well.

What about you guys? Have you named characters/buildings/stuff in your books after friends? And if so (or if not!), what have your friends said in response?

 

Unrelated link of the day:

Funny article about romance hero tropes: Things I’ve Learned About Heterosexual Female Desire From Decades Of Reading

 

Categories: Writing | Tags: , , , | 29 Comments

BIG Imminent Danger Sequel News!

As you may know, my mother and I have spent the last few months doing an intensive edit of Chasing Nonconformity (sequel to Imminent Danger). And I am almost ludicrously pleased to announce that finally — FINALLY — we’re done!

What does this mean? Well, first, I’m going to spend the weekend re-reading the entire thing to make sure we didn’t do anything too crazy during our editing sessions. Then, early next week, I’m going to send the book out to my top-notch beta reading squad. They’ll read it, send me comments, I’ll spend about a month going through them all and making revisions as necessary, then I do a bit of formatting, and then BOOM! Sequel is published! Summer 2015, baby!

On that note, anyone want to be a beta reader? A few of you have already expressed interest (Misha Burnett, Celeste DeWolfe), and it’s possible others have and I’ve just forgotten about it because my memory is laughably terrible. SO, if you’d like to beta read, please let me know! You’d have about a month to read and send me your comments — and your reward, of course, would be a shout-out in the Acknowledgements section and my eternal gratitude.

That’s all she wrote! Wooooooo!

***

Totally related media of the day:

So as I was SHWOOP-ing over the past 5 months (gasp!), I randomly tweeted fun SHWOOP moments. I shall now share my favorites here. No worries if they don’t make sense out of context — very little that I say or do makes sense.

 

 

 

Categories: Writing | Tags: , , , , , , | 21 Comments

Chasing Nonconformity Cover Reveal!

At long last, I’m psyched to reveal the cover for what will be the second book in the Imminent Danger series — Chasing Nonconformity! The cover design was done by the talented Ravven (same as the Imminent Danger cover). And thus, without further ado …

chasing_full

Wow! Not gonna lie, guys, Book #2 gets a bit intense. In fact, here’s a summary for you of the plot:

Still reeling from accidentally marrying an exiled alien prince named Varrin, and from almost getting her head blown off by a six-armed lizard man with anger management issues, seventeen-year-old Eris Miller is ready for a vacation. But Varrin is desperate to rescue his beloved spaceship, the Nonconformity, from the clutches of the galactic government, so her vacation will just have to wait.

While Eris and Varrin chase after the stolen ship, they’re unaware that trouble is brewing on the other side of the galaxy. The villainous Emperor of Rakor has assembled a task force, led by the commander of the deadly Skin Slicers, to hunt Varrin down. With enemies closing in and the Nonconformity slipping further and further from their grasp, Eris must ask herself: how much is she willing to sacrifice to ensure her happily ever after?

Chasing Nonconformity will be published in Spring 2015, and if you’re interested in getting a signed copy, I’ll be running another crowdfund campaign around that time in which you can grab a copy or three. Until then, if you’d like the matching set, stop by my current IndieGoGo campaign for Imminent Danger and grab the first book in the series!

Also, big thanks to all the wonderful bloggers who helped me out with the cover reveal:

Charles Yallowitz

Misha Burnett

Danielle Shipley

Nicholas Rossis

Anthony Renfro

Audrey Driscoll

Beth Madden

Christina Channelle

Thanks for stopping by, and have a fabulous weekend!

Categories: My Works, Self Publishing | Tags: , , , , , , , | 24 Comments

Burning Bridges as an Author

As I’ve slowly ventured into the world of self-publishing over the last year or two, one thing in particular has struck me: the importance of having a good reputation. It’s not just about presenting yourself well so that readers want to buy your books — it’s also about presenting yourself well so you don’t make enemies.

I’ve heard of several self-published authors who have been the victim of smear campaigns. As in, someone dislikes the author personally, and dedicates themselves to ruining the author’s career. We’re talking getting friends and family to write terrible reviews for the author’s book that drag the book’s rating into the mud.

This is a terrifying thought, especially since Amazon is so notoriously lax about their reviews. There are so many reviews on Amazon that are complete nonsense — I’ve shared a couple of them on this blog, including one where the reviewer straight out admitted in her review that she’d never read the book. I hate the idea that my book could one day get a surge of bad reviews just because someone decides they don’t like me and wants to hit me where it hurts.

Now, I’m not too worried about this, since I’m a pretty nice person (humble, too!), and I don’t make a habit of going around irritating people. But every once in a while a distant acquaintance will do something really awful, and of course my immediate reaction is to call them out on it. Preferably using a lot of dramatic words and run-on sentences. But then I have to stop and ask myself: is it worth it to burn this bridge? Is this going to come back a few years down the road and haunt me?

I ran into this problem today. Not to get into too many details, but basically one of the people who took over running my writers society after I moved cities has been treating a friend of mine really terribly — we’re talking blatant hostility, rudeness, and threats of legal intervention. And the subject this person’s all worked up over is really stupid, making the whole situation even more irritating. I’ve been trying to figure out how to deal with this person for a while now, and after the latest round of stupidity I discovered from her in my inbox today, I got fed up. I informed this person via email to stop contacting me, and explained why as politely and succinctly as I could without resorting to cheap threats or insults. Then I blocked her email address so I don’t have to deal with her inevitable raging, incoherent response.

Did I do the right thing? Probably not. But I didn’t say anything that could get me in trouble (I hope), and I’m really getting tired of all the unnecessary drama, and she really needed a good talking to. Sometimes you just have to put your foot down, and damn the consequences.

Rant over. Return to your previously scheduled activities. Or, share your own stories of dealing with infuriating people!

Unrelated media of the day:

Note: contains curse words. Ahhhh!

Categories: Writing | Tags: , , | 12 Comments

NaNoWriMo Update

More than two thirds of the way through November — seems like the perfect time for a NaNoWriMo update!

I’m failing miserably.

First, I started re-writing a fantasy story I’ve been playing around with for the past six years. I got 15k words in, and realized I was writing Star Wars Episode 1 when I should have been writing Episode 4. Dang. Switched over to my original plan — Book 3 of the Imminent Danger series — and got the first two chapters tapped out with relative ease. Then started daydreaming in the shower about the fantasy story, except this time Episode 4 instead of Episode 1. Lost all interest in Imminent Danger Book 3. This morning, was randomly inspired in the shower again and now am eager to get back to work on Imminent Danger Book 3 again.

My muse is wildly unreliable, and she’s driving me nuts. Also, she only seems to come to me in the shower, which means I now shower for about 45 minutes a day. My roommates have learned to take their showers either before me, or an hour after me, otherwise they get no hot water. Sigh.

In related news, my IndieGoGo campaign is still going on, and tragically we’re $50 short of the goal. Nooooooes! So if you’re interested in snatching up a signed copy of the shiny new Imminent Danger, complete with revised text and gorgeous cover art, pop over to the campaign and claim your copy today! The campaign ends around Dec 9, but the sooner we hit the goal, the sooner I can start coming up with awesome stretch goal prizes to give all the awesome people who’ve donated.

How go your NaNoWriMo attempts? Or if you’re boycotting NaNoWriMo, how go your non-NaNoWriMo-writing attempts?

Unrelated media of the day:

Categories: My Works, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

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