Editing and Weeding

Sigh. It has been one of those mornings. I was feeling pretty good. But, I’ve spent most of my morning making kids do their chores and school. Took a break from edits last night and wrote. I wrote about 2500 words yesterday, probably doubling my month’s total. I’d have to go look at earlier blogs to check for sure, but I’ve spent most of this month editing! Even some of the earlier word counts were from adding in scenes, description, etc while editing.

I EDITED A LOT THIS PAST MONTH. May was edit month because, well, just because. Then June came and OMG it was all about edit this and edit that LOL Well, I’m an editing fool! Editing is a lot like weeding. I told my critique parter, I wanted to be writing, crocheting, and planting. Not, editing, wishing for time, and WEEDING. But, think of how fast the weeds grow in your garden? Or your friends garden if you don’t have one. I leave my weeds for a day or two and SLAM! Even averaging 30 minutes a day in weeding upkeep, they get away from me.

Well, same for editing. If I don’t spend regular intervals editing, I start getting lazy in my writing and more problems will be there when it’s time to edit. And, as has happened in my garden this week when I was too busy (and in too much pain) to do much yardwork and new weeds were introduced, you’ll end up with new problems you hadn’t noticed before.

There is also a lot of good in weeding. This is the first year we’ve really gotten this yard under control. For various reasons, the yard has lain fallow for a number of years, not even grass in last few due to flooding having completely ruined the yard. And, when weeding areas I’ve planted some ground cover, I’ve also discovered some new wildflowers growing 🙂 It’s fun and exciting to find them, especially since I’m sure the seeds had lain there, dormant, until I watered and cared for the area.

Same with editing. You will find unexpectedly good places that you know you wrote, but had somehow forgotten how beautiful they were in context. How, when working really hard at getting this or that skill, unexpected extras happen in your writing. Those moments when you see your book improve, the quality raised another notch. That is what editing is about. A beautiful discovery of gems and sanding and polishing them until they shine, like a rose among the thorns.

 

 

I haven’t figured out how to write the code so that when you click on my cover of The Ulfric’s Mate, it’ll go to my publisher’s website for order, so I’m going to inlcude the link here (it took me years to figure out how to do THAT much) about once a week 🙂 Thanks to everyone who has already ordered and if you haven’t yet, what are you waiting for? 😀 😀 The cover alone is worth the price of admission.

My little darlings.

If you’re a writer, then you KNOW I don’t mean my kids. I mean special turns of phrases, or specific characters. I have a book out on preorder (as I think the WHOLE world must now know :P) and went through MANY stages of editing. The only one that gave me real trouble was the line item edit, and some of that seems to be “cultural” differences. Most of which, a forward seems to have helped. (Werewolf lore seems to have been mistaken for actual Native American lore. Um, no. Yeah. LOL) I just had to find a few links to add to the geographical information and voila. Not anything difficult. I have no issues cutting things out or rewording them for clarification. I want my reader to see, feel, and hear the whole bit. Now I know you can’t please everyone, but I try 🙂 LOL

 

In fact, even with cutting out whole paragraphs, I almost always end up with more. Yes, even on the edits I did for The Ulfric’s Mate. I do believe it started out as 54k+ and change (well it started out as 12k+ if you’ve been following along lol but the contract was offered on the 54k+ version) and is now nearly 58k. Only 13 words shy. Perhaps I should have made the characters speak more 😀 LOL

 

Anyway, whether it’s changing the wording, or straight out cutting whole lines or paragraph’s, I’m pretty much, *bow to the lovely editor who is the goddess of words* and do what I’m told and try to learn from it. But last night, as I pre-read all the edits and comments before starting up (all the grammar changes are done, now time to dig in with it on paper and FIX this thing), I realized, for the first time, I’m going to have to kill one of my little darlings. The phrasing didn’t come across correctly and to explain it longer will bog down the story too much. Sigh. *insert big crocodile tears falling on pages*

 

It was a bit of a shock to learn that this really is the first time. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve killed off characters I liked (a fact which stalled my book as it completely changed what could happen in second half. I had nothing to fill in the space with :P) although they weren’t my special darlings, put them through the wringer, about the only thing I haven’t done to a character is make them stupid. I can’t abide stupid hero/heroines. I hate them with a passion. In real life, people use intuition and clues to figure things out, otherwise, how would you know when someone was really mad before they say anything?? Ticks me off when a character is too stupid for words. Okay, off that rant.

 

But this time, I’m going to have to delete it completely. Whoosh. DELETE DELETE DELETE. Say bon voyage, hasta la vista, baby, good bye, gone. *more crocodile tears*

 

How does that make me feel? Nostalgic, but happy. Yes, despite the big crocodile tears, this makes me feel happy. It is a step in being a published author (which still hasn’t sunk in. I mean, I’m working my arse of here. What? I know. Could be worse. Making money crocheting and growing my own food isn’t the worst kind of work a person could be doing :P). A step that means, I have arrived at the real starting line, and that all that happened before was just prelim rounds.

 

I sure hope this horse doesn’t mind a fat, albeit slimming down, jockey riding it 🙂

Inclines to Hills

What a day!! Lost my train of thought in middle of scene this morning cuz of my allergy meds. Then my 11yo gets up and he’s not feeling well, mostly allergy crap, I think, so we had easy school day. (Yes, we do school on Saturdays, and no, we don’t stop for the summer.) I hate it when I can’t remember where my brilliance was taking me. Of course, it would have been brilliant. All the lost ideas are fantastic. It’s like a rule somewhere. This story just sort of came to me the other day, so the idea is a new shiny and I’m still ironing out the issues 🙂 It’s going to be a short/novella. I think. It’s SUPPOSED to be anyway. Something to work on whilst I figure out the other things on Search for Sorren.

Roll call for this week: Worked on Search for Sorren (editing AND writing), one of the shorts, a paragraph/idea for the other, and my garden, and crocheted. And where are all those projects?

Search for Sorren: WC 57,737 and 113 pages edited.

Short#1: 6,575 words, and research done on area and some wild animals, and hunting seasons.

Short#2: 94 words, and some ideas, may end up elsewhere as start for novel #3 in the series.

Midwife’s Moon: Currently out for edits by CP, staying steady at 20,655, with CP saying first two pages do good job of setting up tension, etc so that’s good news 😀

Crocheted: Afghan #1: 35%ish (had to redo 1%ish cuz of mistake a few rows back. I probably could have fixed it, but I’m anal retentive when it comes to my arts and crafts.

Afghans 2&3 still at 1%

And, I’m forgetting something… I learned how to do a google document for the style sheet for my The War of the Weres series 🙂 I did said style sheet. More networking/marketing things done as I get reviews, interviews set up. Kinda stalled until my review copies are ready 🙂 R

an invites on my FB author link. Hadn’t done that since I set things up.

OH and I ran. And lost weight/inches. *throws confetti*

While running, I had some thoughts. First one, inclines. I have them. Lots. I always kind of thought of it as flat. Well, when I’m in a car, it is mostly flat. I did some magic awesomeness on map my run and saw my inclines. one of them is 16ft over course of about .1 mile, maybe .15ish. Idk. But anyway, 16 ft over .1 isn’t that steep, it isn’t. Not like my running partner who does a 36 ft hill (and it’s apparently not the only hill, or she does it twice or something)

Now, when I first started runnin, I ran to a specific place, then back, then the rest of the run/walk intervals along an actual flat tenth of a mile, back and forth. Well, I got up to 2.7 miles doing that. I had my bits of inclines, but more than half on pure flat. I decided I need to push it harder, get stronger, so I went a bit further up an obvious incline, then back, and again, running on the flat to finish up my time. Well one day, I wanted to really push myself. I ran/walked 2.9 miles, a different route which takes me around an orchard. And guess what? The last .9 miles is all up hill. A gradual hill. But let me tell you, when you’re a newbie to running and the last bit is all up hill… yeah.

Now, I go so that one mile of my run is up and down a couple strong inclines, as my everyday run. I’m making 2+ miles so I’m happy. But I got to thinking, as a writer, when we don’t know of the bumbs, the problems, the inclines that we face going into writing, it can seem like all flat land, or smooth sailing, to mix my metaphors.

But, as we go along, we find out, there’s some hard parts in this. You’ve maybe forgotten grammar you knew, you found out you had to learn to write a query letter, and the days of a writer being a hermit and the publishing house doing the majority of the work (except actually signing the books ;P) are long gone. You have to become a computer guru, internet saavy, instantly understanding the ins and outs, or thought not to be serious in some circles. It’s hard work. What do you do when you come across these inclines? Do you work harder so they become easier? Or do you bypass them, thinking you’re doing great, only to find out there’s an actual HILL coming up and since you didn’t work on the inclines, it’s too hard? What can you do?

Writers are a great family of friends. Yes, I said family of friends. It is what we are. Recently, a writer friend, whom I’ve never met “in person” went into a coma, from toxic shock syndrome. A large number of writers went into a period of grief, all at different levels. Why? Because we are a family. This person was a vibrant, loving, giver, who touched us all. When she went down, we all felt it.

My advice, if you have a sincere wish to be a writer, become a part of our community. Don’t do it falsely, be there. Ask questions, offer up encouragement, but don’t be fake. Then, when you see that incline, that looks like a mountain, it will only be a mole hill with the help of your writer family. A small bump in the road to becoming a published writer. Conquer those inclines so that when a real hill comes along, you’ll be ready.

Too Close to a Nuclear Meltdown aka Chocolate Saves the Day.

Today has been a day seriously lacking in productivity. Didn’t even get my run in yet. Haven’t felt too well, and the kids are having one of those days where they’re loud, obnoxious, and doing anything and everything to get out of school/chores. I’m ready to pull my hair out.

Course, I should have known it would be a looong day. I got my phone back yesterday. It was in the inlaws couch. And it has yet to work properly. It was getting tempremental already, but this is ridiculous. It continued to not work this am, my tablet died in the middle of the night, but it had had a full charge, AND my internet quit working in the night and didn’t start working until after 930. That, is how my day started. Some days, it doesn’t pay to get out of bed.

Yesterday, I’d had a bunch of work done by this point and was researching stuff. I had like what? 800 words written as well as having done some cleaning/schooling things AND a run.

Today? I did get a painting mailed off… and 2 pages edited on Search for Sorren (which is now at 57,586 words, yay! Anything past the 52-55k mark makes me happy since I’ve been stuck there forever.), and about 200 words written on one as yet untitled, which puts me at 2443 with most of the notes deleted (yay!), and emailed back ups of my current WIPs to myself. I wrote back to two questions from my editor. followed most of the peeps on #tweet4authors. Unfollowed people who aren’t following me back, especially if I remember they followed me first. Ticks me off, it does.

I also wrote a character reference and retyped a cover letter for my ex husband. Aren’t I nice? LOL anyways, feeling rather crabby today. I can’t wait until I get a new phone. Then if my internet is out, I won’t freak out so badly. I can handle not having a phone, or internet, but not both. Especially less than a month from publication!! My heart went into over panic mode and my brain froze and my body said, screw you. It was not a happy moment. As the title says, came very close to a nuclear meltdown. This am was preceded by last nights episode w/ the xbox. That thing is possessed. It downloads things even when you don’t want it to, and it froze up my internet last night. When I was trying to learn how to make a google doc and also update the doc I needed to put into google doc. Yep. Meltdown in 3,2, and it’s averted once again. We may thank chocolate and pepsi and clay for that. (kids and I played with clay last night 😉

At least, my internet is working again. I’m off now, to do more marketing and writing.

And a BIG thanks to those who are doing interviews/reviews of my book, The Ulfric’s Mate! You rock! Anyone else who would like to do an interview, review, or otherwise help market my book, just hit me with your ideas! I’m open to suggestions. I don’t have any money, and my publisher is doing some, but I want to do more 🙂

Technology aka I lost my phone

What a freaking week. However, I do have a bit to show for it 🙂 I have what is recognizeably becoming an afghan (even if I did have to take out a bunch of rows cuz I missed a decrease. Yes, I’m that anal about my crafts.), I have starts on two stories, and by starts, I mean 3 paragraphs in one, and 2 lines in another. The two lines were supposed to go to a short, but then I realized I was starting book 3 of The War of the Weres series rather than an offshoot, fill in short, so had to start again. I want the shorter one done first. It’s how I’m introducing some of the side characters. And I managed to plant a HUGE section of garden, part flowers and part veggies 🙂 I also bought a few more tomato plants. Yes, that makes a lot. LOL I also lost my phone, this time may be it, folks. I also helped a friend design some work for a t-shirt and she’s giving me one when she orders them. Yay me 🙂

That was just this weekend. I wrote a couple thousand on Search for Sorren, earlier in week. Edited some work, learned how to do some techy type stuff. Which drove me batty. And gave me a headache. I used to enjoy that stuff, but it all changes so stinking fast, I can’t keep up cuz I can’t afford all the new toys/software. So now, I’m perpetually behind. I figured out how to do a link on my webpage, what, 2 weeks ago? But had to stop working on it. So last night, I was clearing out a few spam comments, and thought, why don’t I do the links first this time. Guess what? I’ve forgotten. Sigh.

To me, this, the technical stuff, remembering to blog, learning how to do the backgrounds and designs, etc so my page is inviting, all that stuff, is the hard part of being a writer. When I started out, 4 years ago, (I keep messing up the time, where has it all gone? But it was 2007 that I last worked. Started the new year sans job, pretty much, so 2008 is when I decided to try to put everything together into a book and write. Umpteen novels later, here I am 🙂 ebooks were barely getting a serious foothold, and going out on your own was serious business. It could ruin your chances of ever getting published traditionally. Now, it’s all a matter of who, what, when, where, why, and how. The markets have drastically changed. I’m glad I started researching being a writer when I did. I got to see some of the old school stuff, as I remember writing being about growing up, and watch the metamorphis into what is today…which is still a seriously changing market.

Also, blogging, or twitter, or FB or any of the other online presence thingies weren’t crucial, or even desired, necessarily as your agent and publisher would help you get that. Now, some agents won’t even take you on without a website and/or blog. (Which I think is unfair. Websites cost money. And it may not be much, but then you have the designs, upkeep, technical stuff which costs either time, money, or both to keep up!) I just want to write. Don’t get me wrong. Twitter has become a haven for me. A place to meet my friends and hang out. It’s my Cheers. But, I still just want to spend my “writing time” writing and not having to learn how to freaking do links on a website (which I’m VERY GRATEFUL TO HAVE FYI) or how to make my computer and tablet talk to each other, or or or *panic is welling up about to burst* I think I’ll stop there.

How much of the technical, online, or other stuff, not directly related to writing have you learned? How do you like it? Or did you already know how to do that stuff? I am spending a hundred dollars more than I would have to get a phone simply because I have twitter friends who recommend it and I know I can get help with learning how to use it. (It will also keep my appointments, and allow me to look up my docs, etc. when I need to, or I wouldn’t get it.) I’m that much of a techidiot when it comes to today’s stuff. The bugger all of getting anything new is the hours it takes me to learn how to use it. How does modern technology make you feel? Free? Frustrated? Like milk’s curdling in your stomach? Like you’re flying high above the world?

Roll Call of Where I’m At

I just finished a really, really good run. For me. I did 2.2 miles in 27:45 minutes. I went a little longer route so I wouldn’t have to run back and forth the last tenth of a mile. I normally go for 30 minutes, even though this weeks run ends at 28 minutes. I’ve been getting 2.0. So glad I was able to step it up. Although, if I hadn’t gone that longer route, I’d now be thinking I didn’t count right 🙂 LOL

I missed my writing time last night. My boys went to the races with their dad and grandpa and I visited my mother in law while she was babysitting her niece. I ended up with the 3 yo back with me. I didn’t get home until 1 am. However, I HAD to get pullups, so I also got the majority of this weeks checks grocery shopping. So that’s one less non-writing thing I’ve got to find time for this week. I did get a couple rows on my afghan crocheted as well.

I’ve lost my phone. Again. Yes, I know. I can’t even begin to find it. If I didn’t have too many phone numbers on it, I would just go without a phone for a little while. I’m hoping to get a new phone when this billing cycle is over. I’ve got a credit that’ll show up on the next billing cycle. 🙂 Since my son is also helping to pay for part of the bill now, about 25% of the total cost, that’ll give me about 100 dollars toward a new phone, plus it’s time for an upgrade. So, I should be able to get the phone I want without a huge issue money wise 🙂 yay me!! LOL just in time for my book release!!

I got two buddies, tech people, who both, separately said they liked x phone. I said, that settles it then. I’m getting x phone. That way, I KNOW it’ll do what I need it to do. (Like, I now need one that’ll actually keep my appointment schedules for me. Like the due dates of all my edits, etc. the release dates of my books, when I need to have a rough draft finished, and for which publisher!!! I’m no longer going to be able to keep all this straight in my head!!) The phone I have now, I had before, and it lost its memory after 2 months of doctor and work schedule and I was only working 4 days a month at the time!!

Also, I want it to run my couch to 5k program AND tell me how far I’ve ran, etc. Take notes for me, like verbal notes, when I have an idea and can’t stop to write it down, run blue tooth,hands free, etc. So, :D:D:D:D I’m hoping it works…I’m also hoping it has a manual keyboard… one of the issues with my current phone is the screen keeps freezing up and it’s driving me crazy. Maybe if I could type my texts on the keyboard? LOL

Writing news: My writing partner, running partner, critique partner, and sister of the heart, (and yes, we fight and love just like real sisters) Anne-Mhairi has become a guest editor for a small imprint, fox spirit started recently by someone who is an editor for another publisher. You can read the founder’s details on the webpage. Anne-Mhairi is also in one of the anthologies as a writer. As an editor, she has a wonderful idea and now her own page and I’m writing in her anthology 😀 It’s a lot of fun and I’m excited to be invited and accepted by the head editor.

I’m also starting a couple shorts while I wait for my Critique Partner, *ahem* to finish the early edits of Midwife’s Moon. I always have to have more than one project to work on or my writing stalls… Also, I’ve gotten out of my writing funk 🙂 I was having trouble getting any real word counts in (like, anything over 200 words 😛 Although, I did add 1k to The Ulfric’s Mate last weekend, over course of 4 days of editing. That’s still only 250 a day LOL) but I have done a ton of editing, and have a ton more to do. That’s the problem with being a prolific writer. You then have to find a way to be a prolific editor LOL One thing I try to do, is edit the previous day’s writing, before starting the new writing. It helps with the flow and other things. And it helps find *duh* moments 😀 Anyways, I do have quite a few things I’m working on, with main focus of new writing being Search for Sorren, and editing/marketing being anything coming out w/ Breathless Press as I have one coming out in LESS THAN A MONTH *CUE PANIC BUTTON* and the anthology, Ravaged, is coming out IN AUGUST. And I’m writing at least THREE shorts in the next 7 weeks. So, write, plant, water, edit, write, plant, water, edit. OH and crochet. And harvest. I’m going to be a busy girl this summer…

I have 3 commissioned afghans, all HUGE, as in 45″+ is the SHORT side of these, ranging from 58″-62″ in lenght. Status: Afghan # 1, chevron, style #1, turquoise, fuschia, and white, 31%. Afghan #2, chevron, style #2, deep purple, orange, and white, 1%. Afghan #3, heart pattern on pattern, deep magenta, 1%.

Roll call for my works in progress: Search for Sorren: 57,464. Midwife’s Moon (sequel to Ulfric’s Mate) 20,655 (and I’d like to get this finished in next 4 weeks as well). Ghost of Kristen’s past, after recent edits (and is a completed MS) 71,275. Trainchoach of Death, which needs some major revision (I tried to make it a short, first of a series, when it needs to be a full length novel, first of a series), 10,109. Untitled for AM’s Weird Science anthology, 0. Vampire short, 0. Shifter (other) 0. Other TBD short, 0. Now that may look funny, all those zeros, but those are stories I need to get finished, like yesterday.

I had a thought.

Really. 😀 I have been posting raw/early draft stories here for a long time. For various reasons, I didn’t post the finished product. I have free reading on my website for people who want a bit more polish. And soon, I’ll have books that have been polished and sanded by multiple people, until I feel like a limp rag trying to keep up with it all. I shan’t be doing that as I’ve had it slapped into me, both cheeks and possibly some whip usage, that I’M BEING PUBLISHED. I can’t put the raw stuff out there anymore. And it hit me. I’M BEING PUBLISHED. My breath hitches and heart races just typing those words.

I know I’ve been spouting excitedly about my book coming out July 6th 😀 *squee* And I have a story in the anthology coming out in August. And now, a short coming out in November. And working on a full length novel on an approved synopsis to another publisher. Have a short in an anthology with that publisher. And YET, yet, I still feel like that woman, who, a little over three years ago, lost her job in a business she hated (insurance) only a year after radiation treatments for thyroid cancer, who decided that she was going to write. That she was going to the take time off from the work force (I still looked for work, but it was very rough in 2008) to write and perfect the craft of writing. *I’ll pause and let my fellow writers laugh and gaffaw their heads off at this notion. You NEVER perfect the craft of writing. There’s ALWAYS something new to learn.*

Three years later, I have a book put out on joint venture (needs more editing but as it’s joint venture, I have to put out the money to fix the errors and if the book no longer fits the cover already made, would have to pay more, so… yeah. suck.) and really, it was a steal for the original price. Only 600, the POD, they gave me cursory editing ideas, and provided a cover. A gorgeous cover. It’s available through Barnes and Noble, yada yada. Well, since then, I learned they are on the Writer’s Beware Hit List, as well as Predators and Editors. I’m pretty sure I haven’t been paid for all copies of the books that were sold. A lesson learned.

Er, back from the rabbit trail, I have put out an erotic, romantic thriller, and a Fantasy as self pubbed works. I have since edited them with some of my skills learned and will continue to edit as I find errors and apply new skills. I’m not changing much else, as I think they are important to my growth as a writer. I’ve had favorite authors and I’ve gone back and read early stuff. Sometimes, I didn’t like it. Sometimes, I did. But always, I could see the growth.

I’ve also now got the afore mentioned stuff happening and about to explode. So why do I feel like a novice? I even told my husband, “Strange. I actually do have writing credits. I haven’t counted them, even when there was a link to prove it. I don’t get why not. It’s not like I’m trying to hide it.”

Even the joint venture is a writng credit. But three years ago, I didn’t know how to put it. “Well, I didn’t pay the 2-3 grand for vanity publishing, but didn’t get an advance either.” I did get a few royalties 🙂 and I don’t HAVE to put out anymore money unless I want it to come out in a cheaper paperback form. I’m not going to cuz I think it would still be 14.99 or something. Maybe, I can do that later, after editing it, if I make a killing out of my later books 🙂 It would be a work of love at that point. The cover really is beautiful. I had book signings in Yakima, Washington, and San Antonio, Texas. That makes it real to me. The stores bought the books and everything. I didn’t bring my own copies.

So, with all of that experience, why do I feel like a nut job trying to prove she’s a writer? Well, first of all, I’m the mother of five. Some would say that proves their case of the crazies. Second of all, I haven’t made large amounts of money yet. Don’t get me wrong, the times I’ve had that check, anything from $12 to $170, have been important and needed. And, I think it would take a long time of substantially larger checks, for me to catch up on medical bills, fix the roof, the floors, the bathrooms, the yard…you see where I’m going?

I think that no matter how much I make, I’m going to feel like that writer trying to prove herself. Underneath all the excitement, the feeling of validation (like waving the contracts in my husbands face) that it brings me to have a publisher publishing my stories, is the woman who still feels like asking, “What’s a query letter?”