Author Update: Book Release & Writing

Notecards1

I’m planning my next book, as you can see by the note cards. Okay, I’ve already written over 20,000 words of it, but I’m doing some MORE planning.

Last week was exciting, Earthbound was released on Wednesday and is now available for sale on all ebook platforms. My first novel. J And I learned that it only takes 14 sales to jump you from an author rank of 600,000 to 79,000 on Amazon. (I presume that is because there are so many backlist and older books that do not sell much or at all.) Then the trailer came out for my book on Saturday, which is so much fun! (Thanks to JM Robison, Fantasy Author.) And my author rank stayed closer to 80,000 than 600,000, but peaks and valleys are to be expected over time.

However, it’s past time to get back to that second novel. Over the weekend, I focused on two things – sending review requests to more book bloggers and reading back through what I’ve already written on the next book, Firebound.

During NaNoWriMo last year I made a solid start on Firebound, writing about 20,000 words. As I read back over them to get back into the flow of the story, I was pleased with the scenes I’d already written, and even more pleased with the planning on scenes that I’d forgotten I’d done. I have a pretty solid outline.

As I finished reading what I’d printed, I realized I was missing my first chapter. Where did it go? Had I not saved properly? Or did I write it in a different file during Camp NaNoWriMo in the summer of 2019?

Yep, there it was, another 2,500 words, that begin with the line, “I’ve decided to become a nun.” And she isn’t kidding.

Firebound is set about 6 to 8 months after Earthbound and is from the perspective of Ally’s best friend, Jennifer, who was burned in a car accident. (Caused by a demon, of course.) She has mostly recovered but a lot has changed for her.

I’m using the Scene/Sequel method to plan out the story from one scene to the next. It helps me keep a logical flow to the information as I move through the scenes.

Basically, the point-of-view character has a goal which someone opposes. In order to keep conflict moving the story forward, the character is either denied their goal or they achieve it, but with strings attached. In a sequel, the character reacts emotionally, reviews what happened using log and reason, then anticipates what will happen in the future based on several optional paths forward. Finally, the character makes a choice about what they are going to do, or their next goal, which leads to the next scene.

I’m still marketing on the first novel, but I’m jumping back into writing the second novel. I find my mind turning to it at bedtime and while I’m driving. This is the most fun part, the writing.

Editing the Ellipsis for Ebooks

Three Wooden Pieces Depicting the Countdown from Three to One

Publishing in any form is a journey each time with its own learning curve. I published a book of poetry on my own last year and learned several things about formatting the ebook, though I don’t think I got it quite perfect for all the different ways it can be viewed. I was, however, very happy with the print copy.

This time around I’ve been working with an editor that my publishing house, Tirgearr, assigned me. Author and editor, Lucy Felthouse, has kindly answered any questions I had. I was quite concerned by the sheer number of changes in the first draft but she told me to take it one at a time, and it went pretty quick. The second one went even faster. (The final read through still caught a number of things I hadn’t noticed before.)

One thing that I learned from her was in regards to the use of ellipses in an ebook. I had learned that the proper format for an ellipsis was space/period/space/period/space/period/space, with an additional space/period if the ellipsis came at the end of a sentence.

I noticed that Lucy was eliminating the initial space after the word. I asked why that was, if there was a different style guide that I should be referring to than I was used to?

She explained that the reason she eliminated the space was because in publishing an ebook, if the text wraps around, the sentence can become disassociated from the ellipsis and that can cause a great deal of confusion. I will remember that in the future.

Now, my book has been turned in to my publisher, and I await the next step!

Editing Update: Oy vey.

proofreading english document

Editing my paranormal romance, Earthbound, has proven a little bit trickier than I expected.
 
I opened the document and decided to look at the summary of changes. Track changes said there had been over 3,500 changes made to the document. Yikes!
 
Apparently it counts every single little key stroke or something.
 
I went to review it but found that I couldn’t really follow the little light gray cursor as it jumped from change to change so I decided to print out a copy and review it that way then make the changes needed.
 
Big mistake, I added a lot of work for myself. Next time I’m going to play with screen resolution, brightness, and color saturation until I can see that darned cursor.
 
Finally, I got into the meat of reviewing and editing. I never realized how much I overused simple words like “that” and “but.”
 
Then there’s the phrases that I overuse, like “eyes narrowed” and “took a deep breath,” not to mention all the smiling and nodding that went on.
 
Oy vey. However, this too shall pass and I will have a completed book.
 
Onward!

Weekly Writing Update: Aliens and Autism

Earth

Weekly Writing Update
 
Well, I drafted my creepy doll head flash fiction story in short order so now my brain is percolating a story I started a year ago and mean to finish SOON. It is a science fiction with a main character who is a formerly non-verbal autistic teenage girl.
 
I had the good fortune to be contacted last year, just after I started the story, by a woman who is formerly non-verbal and autistic. I am going to think about her speech patterns and some things she had to say and let that inform the story.
 
I think I was coming at it from the wrong angle and I’ve gone back to the drawing board. I feel like I got off base by trying to write the story the way I write other stories. It’s definitely going to be third person and use the two very strange dreams I had about alien contact. We’ll see what else I find over the next few days for inspiration.
 
I’m very excited to feel like I’m back on track with this one. It’s definitely not horror. I’m going to be working on investing it with a feeling of wonder and awe. Wish me luck!

Writing Update: Pulling Weeds

Hosta

 

I had an anthology all picked out to submit my horror story, Long Distance Call, to but I found the button on Submittable was for submitting to one of their OTHER publications. Sent them an email and now I wait. I figure I’ll give them two weeks before I move on.

It’s the perfect time of year for writing – you can go out and weed while you work out some plot points. Any repetitive work is GREAT for the imagination but I love weeding. There’s the sun and the breeze and the satisfaction of seeing the detritus cleared away so the plants you want to thrive can use the nutrients.

I also started writing another short story in the horror vein.

I never would have thought it . . . me? Horror? Apparently, yes.

Why write horror? Maybe because it’s a retreat from the horrors we read in the news. Or maybe it’s just the joy of the twists and turns. The prompt for this one was creepy dolls and then I came across another note I had made for myself that I wanted to write something having to do with sinkholes. It all falls together. 🙂 

DONE! For now. (A Novel Submission)

Done

Well, I did it. I FINALLY submitted my paranormal romance, Earthbound, to a publisher. My husband poured me a really big glass of wine last night, twice what I would usually pour myself, so I hope I didn’t rush this. 🙂

I wrote the novel, let it sit, and edited it. I rewrote bits and shared some with my writer’s group members. I gave it to three beta readers then applied their suggestions. I gave it to three MORE beta readers and applied THEIR suggestions. Writing is truly a recursive process, you keep going back to a piece over and over, but at some point you have to let it go. So I submitted it last night.

I’ve been working on this novel for several years now. To be honest, I don’t even know when I started. I’ve worked on it, alternating with short stories, poetry and other novels, for quite some time. But this year is about finishing things and putting them out there.

For rejection? Maybe. I hope not. I’m hoping for an acceptance, but if they pass on it, some useful feedback would helpful too. Now, I try to forget about it until I hear back from them.

On to the next thing – plotting the next book, editing my short horror story, and finishing the other science fiction series I started.

To be honest, I’m very excited to move on to the next book, Firebound, about my main character’s best friend, Jennifer, who was burned in a car accident. I saw a youtube video on plotting a novel that I plan to watch – “How to Plot Your Novel FAST” from Ellen Brock. The comments on it are very positive.  

I’m actually feeling very accomplished. I even managed to clean some windows, sort munchkin and my clothes for donations, cook three meals, and do her laundry on Sunday along with submitting the novel. What more do you want from life?

I’ve got some seeds.

Seeds

As always, the past week seems to have happened at light speed. I accomplished quite a bit and yet not nearly as much as I wanted to.

A friend finished her beta read of my novel, “Earthbound,” and now I’m going to apply those edits and hope to submit “Earthbound” to a publisher within a few weeks.

I’ve been reading through “Unprepared” to get a cohesive picture so I can write the last bit. It’s hard to remember everything you’ve done when you’ve written a book in two sections, over two years. For example, I didn’t remember I’d written one scene twice, in rather different ways.

I’ve also spent quite a bit of time researching book trailers on Youtube and getting excited about the different ways to make them and the different options for how you want the trailer to feel. There are some basic elements – text, still images, video, music, and voice overs, but you don’t have to use all of them and you can use the different elements in many different ways to tell the potential reader about your book. It’s a fascinating topic and I’m looking forward to creating one.

I may not have a book deal yet, but I’d say I’ve got some seeds that just might grow into one.

Work in Progress Update: Unprepared

I’ve been reading through of my work-in-progress, “Unprepared,” and it’s already making me cry again.

“Unprepared” – When a particularly virulent flu pandemic hits Upstate New York, an agricultural engineering professor is quarantined not far from home with his wife, a medical doctor, and his daughter. As the pandemic rages on, the professor feels helpless but he may be one of the few people who can help put his town back together again when it’s all over.

UnpreparedExcerpt11March2019

Earthbound: The Final Edits

Earthbound

I’ve been working on edits for my novel Earthbound, based on suggestions from my beta readers. I’m so close!

I have just a couple little, tiny bits to write before I send it to the next set of beta readers. I’ll apply whatever edits they suggest, that fall in line with my vision for the book, and it will be off to the publishers.

I’ve really enjoyed writing this book, and am still enjoying editing it.

Novel Word Count?

How long does a novel have to be? That has been widely debated and seems to change from time to time. The bottom limit has often been regarded as around 50,000 words but I just finished Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury and was much surprised to find that it weighs in at only 46,118 words. I feel much better about the two novels I’ve drafted which came in at around 53,000 and 63,000 words. Onward and upward!

fahrenheit-451-cover

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