Proof Positive

My proofreading editor sent back FOR BETTER OR FOR WOLF to me today with the final proof edits. And as I go through them I think about all the steps that got me to this (somewhat) last edit.

Brainstorming that started back in the prior book of the series so I could set up the heroine for book four (I’m tricky like that), followed by writing and writing and did I mention writing?

Then it went to content edits, then regular edits, then final line edits before I sent it to proof. And in between all of these steps, I read and reread the book some more. Soon I will be sending it for formatting as well so that it can be sold as an ebook and a print book. (But not before another read through).

It’s a journey for sure, but it’s always amazing to me when I get to this point as I read through the book, that I created this world, this story, and these characters. It’s a part of me and I love to share it with my readers.

So as I finish my edits, I thought I would share the joy with you 🙂

Just One More Chapter

I thought I would share my new T shirt with you. What do you think? Obviously, any avid reader would give a thumbs up to the idea of “Just One More Chapter” and I found it especially cute since it had a cat with glasses on it. How can you go wrong with a bespectacled kitty cat?

But what makes this saying even more appropriate for me is that I am in the midst of editing the next book in my paranormal wedding planner series. And so I forge ahead with each chapter to work through the notes/edits my wonderful editor sent me.

Edits can range from simple grammatical issues to having to rework a scene. I am plowing through all the changes I need to make. And of course there is also the clean up that can drive a writer to distraction. For example…how many times can you have your characters smile? or frown? nod? or shake their head? Apparently a LOT. Which means going through the manuscript and finding different ways to express things (like the dreaded dialogue tags).

But I move forward so I can share the story. I am not the only one who wants me to complete JUST ONE MORE CHAPTER before I call it a night…

 

Family Time

Happy Monday, my friends! You may have noticed last Monday that I didn’t post a blog. I was away for Memorial Day weekend with my family. It was so wonderful to reconnect and spend time with everyone. It seems like we go a million miles an hour now on planet earth which leaves us little time to celebrate each other. But I did get some quality time with my family and it was GOOD.

This past weekend I spent time with my imaginary family; three crazy-sexy demon brothers, an over-the-top father, a mischievous grandmother, and an opinionated adopted sister. You guessed it, I was reading through the demon trilogy books in preparation for edits.

Whew – what a crazy ride that was. Three books in two days, making sure they flowed together and made sense. As much as Russian demons who live in Cleveland can make sense that is. But these books are very much about family. Let’s face it. Most people don’t fall in love with one person and only interact with them. Oh no, family is definitely involved. And in this trilogy, family is play a HUGE role in the relationships. They provide angst, and humor, and frustration, and support. And they add layers to the story, and giggles, we can’t forget those!

So I got to spend time with my imaginary family this weekend and it was GOOD too.

Redline IS My Friend

You might think that my blog title this week is a bit strange, but let me explain. While some people see corrections as a bad thing, I put my writer’s hat on and say, “no way!”

Edits are actually a very GOOD thing. My editor sent back edits on the first book in my demon trilogy and while those red-line edits and comments might seemingly glare at you, they serve a purpose.

Besides the obvious purpose of catching typos and grammatical errors, edits can catch issues with flow, logic, plot holes, character issues, etc. You name it, a good editor can find it.

What I learned early on in this writing business was that I wanted to give the best possible story to my readers. To do that, I had to put away my ego and accept that having someone else help me just makes sense.

In this instance two heads are better than one. So when Misha’s story is finally released, it’s truly what everyone has been waiting for…

Spring Had Finally Sprung

In an hour, it will officially be the first day of spring in the states. And even though it might snow tomorrow in my part of the country, I am still looking forward to breaking out of a very long and cold winter.

It seemed appropriate that this weekend I finished the first rough draft of the second demon book I have been writing. My editor is in the process of editing book number one, and I am multi-tasking and working on the next one. I got quite a jump-start on this second book and now I need to read it through and start my edits before I send it to my beta readers.

Writing is a cyclical process much like the seasons. Ideas – writing – content edits – detailed edits – proofread – format – publish. Start all over again…

And when you are working on more than one book at a time, it’s like your seasons crash together – kind of like snow on the first day of spring…

(See how I tied that back to what I said in the beginning? Cool, right?)

Edits are a Second Chance

Friday, I got my edits back for TO HAVE AND TO HOWL, which meant I spent Labor Day weekend…well, working.

But that’s okay, since the book is getting closer to release. So this first edit, read-through, next edit, read-through, proofread and, you guessed it, read-through, will prepare us for the fall release. Yay!

There is something cathartic about editing. Not my favorite thing to do in this process, but there’s nothing wrong with making things better. There are a lot of things in life that don’t get the benefit of editing, so books are special.

And as I dig through my editor’s notes and fine tune the story to make it even better, I can’t wait for you all to read it!

Why my Cats are Mad at Me

If you have been following my posts for a while, you know that I am in the midst of content edits. These edits are the ones where I dive in and:

  • revise scenes – this could mean tweaking a few lines (easy), or paragraphs (not so easy), or pages (are you kidding me?)
  • create new scenes – this is when I realize I cheated the readers out of something they need or my changes in other scenes necessitate further explanation
  • trash scenes – tears wiped away as I hit the delete key

As you can imagine, this takes a lot of concentration. So my cats have been feeling a bit out of sorts with me. Over the weekend, I was working away and I got this tingling along my neck that someone was watching me. I turned and this is what I saw…

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Yep, I think my cats were feeling a bit neglected.Can you tell they’re not shy voicing their opinions?

But I forged ahead and kept working. And so you don’t think I’m a total ogre, I’ll let you know that both sat on my lap later that night and got some attention. I don’t want them to feel neglected and to be honest I’m a bit scared of them!

I mean, look at those glares…

Balancing Act

20150810_205439If you have been following my tweets and FB posts lately you know that I have just finished final proofs on book 5 of my Mind Sweeper Series. And I am so very happy to be done with that part of the process. Sentinel Lost will be released in September, but my job is far from over. Now comes the preparation for release, preorders, as well as marketing and promotion for this book. While I’m preparing for all that, I am also working on my next book.

Being an author is a lot of things. It really is a balancing act. Like plates spinning on sticks. The plates stay suspended on the edge of that stick as long as someone keeps spinning them. And while my publishing plate spins, my author plate turns on the stick, as does my editor plate…well, you get the idea.

As part of this journey, I have to tell myself that sometimes the plates will slow down and wobble like crazy and that is OKAY. No one (that I know of) is able to spin multiple plates the first time they try. Each of us learn at our own speed. When I first started, I was spinning one writer plate on one stick and it was hard. But I learned. Then the editing plate decided to get involved, and so on.

My friends ask me sometimes if I feel overwhelmed with what I am trying to accomplish. And in all honesty, depending on the day and the plate I am spinning, the answer is yes.

But I also know that each step of this process is a learning experience and each spin of the plate is an opportunity which is why I keep this balancing act going. When the plates are spinning in harmony, it’s a magical feeling.

 

 

A New Fashion Statement

20150713_151448In one short week I will be on my way to RWA Nationals in New York City. And I have been working through my checklist of things to finish before I go…
• Finish editing book 5
• Order books for book signings
• Finish swag items
• Pick out outfits
• Buy essentials
• And the list goes on…

But one thing that wasn’t on my checklist was hurting my foot. Two weeks ago I landed the wrong way on the side of my foot and it proceeded to swell up and turn black and blue. Off to the urgent care I went to get an x-ray. And as I waited for the results the same words kept going through my mind. I’m leaving for NYC my foot can’t be broken…I’m leaving for NYC my foot can’t be broken.

Then I calmed myself down. My friends asked me what I would do if I had to wear one of those wonderfully fashionable medical boots to the conference. My answer? No problem. I would bedazzle it and maybe even screen print the cover of Mind Sweeper on the side. Because I will not be deterred from enjoying the conference.

The x-rays came back with no break, thank goodness. But my foot has only been happy in tennis shoes so far. So what does that mean? I may be pulling off a new fashion statement at Nationals this year. Almost all of my outfits I am taking are dresses. And I do not have the time or inclination to go out and find new outfits that ‘work with’ tennis shoes. So dresses and tennis shoes are now my modus operandi.

And this is the life of a writer. Something will always surprise you during the writing and editing process. Something unexpected that can derail you or you work around to find a new solution.

If you are heading to RWA Nationals and see a woman walking around in (what I think are) cute dresses with ridiculously casual running shoes introduce yourself. Odds are it’s me!

She Loves Me, She Loves Me Not…An Author’s Dilemma

?Have I intrigued you? My post today is not about the heroine’s plight of whether she loves the hero or not (even though that would be a fun post). Instead, it is about the relationship an author has with her manuscript. And yes, there are times when I am truly in a ‘loves me not’ state. Currently, book 5 has gone for second edits to my wonderful editor. I sent it to her today, after I had read it…again. Twice in the past week, actually.

And that’s when the ‘not love’ can rear its ugly head. Look at it this way…It’s like spending time with the same person in a small space. After awhile you start to notice their idiosyncrasies that were endearing to you in the beginning, but are now starting to grate on your nerves. And for an author, that is a precarious place to be in because you don’t want to change something in your book just because it’s the tenth time you’ve read it.

When that happens to me, I have to STEP AWAY FROM THE MANUSCRIPT. Even if it’s for a couple of hours. If I don’t, I could do more damage than good. And what makes it even more scary for me is that I write funny. When I’m in that ugly place, NOTHING is funny anymore. The first time you hear a joke you laugh, right? And maybe the next time your hear the same joke…but the fifth time? Right. I have to remember that the funny is STILL funny.

Ultimately, the person picking up the book for the first time is going to read it with fresh eyes. That’s what I keep in mind. Next week, when my editor sends me 2nd edits, I will be able to once again smile, cheer, and cry along with the characters. Because when it comes down to it, the journey to finishing the book is fraught with emotion, but when I pluck the final petal from the flower it will ALWAYS end with ‘she loves me’.