Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Classic Reads . . .

Great fiction is worthy of reading effort. My oldest child, a lover of timeless literature, has shamed me into reading DEEP titles. She’ll ask my opinion on a certain classic, and I’m dreadfully guilty of giving her a blank look. Searching my collegiate memory, I can only remember struggling through the mightily complex House of Seven Gables. Did I read more than one classic while obtaining my Liberal Arts degree? You betcha. Perhaps, I was too simple-minded, too youthfully naive to understand great books at that time. So with age, does true wisdom come? Maybe, or maybe I’m simply capable of seeing between the lines now.

Mandy Moore, in ‘A Walk To Remember’, practiced an interesting dying philosophy: focus on accomplishing everything on a ‘to-do’ list, rather than the inevitable end. Not a bad goal for any of us.

In the past few months I’ve read Mark Twain’s, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, and The Prince in The Pauper. I’ve reread for the eight or ninth time, Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead, recently completed To Kill A Mockingbird and tonight started and finished S.E. Hinton’s, The Outsiders. They all have one thing in common: they were worthy of my time.

Have you read a classic recently? Feel free to share the title with me.

If you’re not reading great literature . . . practice the habit. It’s one worth keeping.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

The Edits Are Finished . . .

Yippee!
Yep, that describes it!

As my stories are set in modern-day Texas, the Yippee gets it done. I’m waiting for one final read-through from a fresh set of eyes, then it’s back to the editor.

I’ve utilized an ‘Edits’ notebook throughout this process. More on this in another blog. Honestly, without a technique, I’m not sure I would have been capable of keeping all the changes straight. As this is a Romantic Suspense, multiple threads must be woven through the entire book. Just like with crocheting, drop a stitch and the whole afghan unravels. A disappointed reader is the last thing I want, so I’ve pulled the threads tight to ensure a happy ending and a satisfied reader.

Thanks go to Ally, my editor at Wild Rose Press, for her careful attention on HARM’S WAY. I’m banking all the changes will be worth the wait.

Now, it’s onto the next part of the journey with Ally’s final edits and the return of my galleys.

I’ll keep you posted on the next step in this publishing process.

Do you have a specific question about this writing journey? Feel free to leave your question in the comment section.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Business Card Website

Useful writer site:
http://www.vistaprint.com/

Looking for self-promotion ideas? Business cards lend the air of professionalism to any business--why not to a writer? I found a great site at Vistaprint to order ‘nice’ business cards for reduced rates.

I clicked on their webpage and and signed up for their mailings and received a number of Free offers. Okay, they were FREE from a select grouping of their stock paper and IF I paid for the shipping, which was reasonable.

Below are the cards I had made for just the cost of shipping. That’s inexpensive enough to use a different card for each of my book releases. Hey, I believe it thinking positive and that I will have scads of new book releases.



On my actual cards, I added phone numbers, but not an address. Not really advisable, per several established authors who had some strange fans show up at their very doorstep. Something to consider.

Have you found a helpful promotional website? Please leave a comment and share it.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

The Edits Arrive . . .

They’re here! The edits from my editor. I was pretty darned excited. Okay, not the most eloquently written, but you get my point. This is my first go round on having a paid professional critique my work. (Yes, a few published authors had read it and my Critique Partners have lavished their attention over it—but those people know me, and somewhat like me.) This professional and her invaluable opinion needed to be brutally honest and totally objective so I could produce the best book possible.

Was I nervous to open the document? Um . . . of course. What if she bled red ink across my beloved manuscript pages? DOUBLE scored scads of witty dialogue or great introspection.

But an unopened document is rather like an unopened Christmas package—no matter what’s inside, I had to peek.

So, I downloaded my edits and now, it’s time for learning curve #4083. Okay, maybe not that many, but surely, it’s a HUGE number as I’ve been learning the writing business since Moses was still playing in the dirt.

Learning curve or not, now, it’s back to work and delving into what my editor thinks is the best way to handle a sentence or straighten out a confusing passage.

It is nice to have fresh eyes on the pages. I’ve read these words so many times, I can’t determine where reality and dreams meet.

Six months has gone by since I really looked at the manuscript. It was great to start the read again. I remembered why I’d liked these characters, how much I cared about what happened to them, and how much I wanted the happy ending.

That felt good, accomplished. If I can still want to know about this story (after a zillion rewrites) then hopefully, the reader will find it even more entertaining and enthralling.

I will have done my job well, if that happens.

Here’s back to the edit and hoping . . . for happy endings.

Friday, February 2, 2007

A good day writing

As writers, we love those ‘ah-ha’ moments. We call them epiphanies. Big word, bugger to spell – I always get it wrong on the first try! As writers, we weave the ‘ah-ha’ moments in for our readers: characters learning something new on page, discovering a breakthrough in their own personality, or the unfolding of the plot.

However . . . if we are very lucky, sometimes the epiphany belongs to the writer.

Today was a good writing day. I, actually, should say an excellent writing day as the epiphany was mine. For months I’ve been honing the skill of front-loading the suspense in my under construction manuscript. The first three chapters have been written no less than 12 times! Oh, how I wish I was teasing. 12 times through the first 70 or so pages. At times, I despise these characters and want them to die an ugly death, just so I’m not forced to type their names again. (For those who aren’t writers, it’s okay. I don’t really intend to kill my characters—unless the plot demands it!)

When the pages run together, I remember Ernest Hemingway’s comments about the ending of The Old Man and The Sea. He admitted he’d written the ending 38 times. He said that was what it took to ‘get it right’.

Since our readers expect us to get it right, my 12 times through those first pages doesn’t seem so much trouble. So again, I worked on the suspense element.

I’ve managed to tease the edge of the suspense, but that has been the limit of my success. With the need to weave in believable sexual tension, accurate blocking, the tendrils of the basic plot, catchy and ‘spot-on’ dialogue, and develop likeable characters, I simply couldn’t get enough suspense on the page.

Then today, it worked.

The spider web actually wove today. In brilliant display, I captured the suspense. It was wonderful, fun writing!

Some days, this is a great job!

Here’s hoping all my writing friends are having epiphanies of their own.

Texas sayings

~Watch your step! Cacti, tumbleweeds, and an occasional armadillo might be ahead.

~Welcome to the land of tar-bubbling summers, gas-guzzling pickup trucks, standard Stetson headgear, and mile-high hair.

~Welcome to the Lone Star State, and Romance With A Texas Twist!

Quote of the Day