I Must be Crazy!

Happy Friday! Please remember to visit me over at the Scribes for Cal’s Double Chocolate Cherry Cookies. Yes, you did read that right. I did use double, chocolate, and cherry all in the same sentence.

It’s hard to believe that it was only a year ago that I started this blog (in April 2011). And last May, I was preparing to pitch to editors (see here). Well, CT Fiction Fest is back (tomorrow!!) and I will be pitching again. Only this year, I’ve decided to throw an agent or two into the mix.

Now that I’ve sold two books, I’d like to expand my horizons or maybe it’s more accurate to say broaden my reach. I’ve realized that in order to keep motivated, I need to update my goals. For so long, the goal was – sell a book!

Mission accomplished. Now it’s time to dream bigger which includes writing more stories. And believe me, I’ve got loads of them locked in my head, scribbled in notebooks, and even all over Post-It notes. Coming up with ideas is not a problem. Executing those ideas, while promoting Mystic Ink and preparing The Undead Space Initiative for release all while maintaining a full time job/life, is not so easy.

But, hey, I’m not complaining. No one is standing over me with a gun making me write. I could walk away at any time. Of course, I wouldn’t be happy with myself. I already know because I’ve walked away from writing before and it drove me nuts.

Don’t let life drive you cuckoo!

Since stopping isn’t an option, eventually something will have to give. At the moment, I’m focused on Mystic Storm and a totally different novel. That’s means not so much time spent on social media or other activities. The only way I can create time for writing is to take it from something else. That’s just how it is.

Buried deep in my mind is the fantasy that some day I can quit my day job. There is 8-9 hours, right there, plumb for writing. If I need to  acquire an agent to do that – I’ll consider it. If I need to stick to e-pubs for a while – yup, that works. If I need to Indie publish – that’s a viable option too.

So back to pitching, this year, the focus is on –  where can I go next? And what can I accomplish with the time I have?

To a non-writer I know this seems like crazy talk! But in reality, you have to really love what you’re doing to keep going. Selling a few books was exciting, but by no means the end of the story. Like anything writing is a journey, not a destination.

How about you? What are you trying to accomplish? What are you willing to give up to get there?

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There’s a Gremlin in my Book!

Happy Friday everyone! Be sure to check out my post over at the Scribes – Stagnant Brain Syndrome.

This week, I’ve been furiously re-reading my manuscript – The Undead Space Initiative so I can hand it in for final line edits.

And man, let me tell you, I swear there is a little gremlin sitting in my computer deleting words (that no one seems to notice are missing). The gremlin also likes to play with formatting and add extra spaces or delete space that should be there.

I know that all manuscripts have typos and missing words. It comes with the territory. Very frustrating, especially when you have a perfectionist personality like I do.

One way to combat the gremlin (besides the obvious thing – using spell checker liberally and often) is time away from the book. I haven’t read USI since last year. I’ve had time to forget what I wrote and see it with fresh eyes.

The other helpful tip: read in short, focused bursts. That way you won’t get sucked into the story and forget to check for those pesky errors. Any time I caught myself actually “reading”, I stopped and did something else.

Another suggestion: scatter the order of the pages. But, I converted the document to the publisher’s format and removed the page numbers. I had printed the entire book when I realized what I had done. Oops. Maybe next time!

Of course, time away has a downside – the urge to change everything. I nipped that in the bud when I realized I was letting The Doubt Monster mess with my head again. My editor at Pink Petal Books enjoyed the story and asked for minimal changes, so Doubty can go torment someone else.

You’ll have to forgive me today, if I answer comments later than normal. I’m having fun with my family and I’ll respond as soon as I can.

Tell me about your gremlins. Perhaps you have one that eats the socks in your dryer or likes to steal your favorite pen off the table. Or maybe something more interesting?

Something Old and Something New

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! Don’t forget to visit me at the Scribes – I Heart Ebenezer Scrooge!

Since the holiday is fast approaching, I don’t have much to report this week. I’m excited to be on vacation all next week and I hope to make progress on Devil’s Advocate. I had worked on it way back in May and June, then stopped to write The Undead Space Initiative.

Now, I’m in the process of getting back into the groove and submerging myself in the story. I’m excited about this one because it’s based on the very first novel I ever attempted to write. The book was never fully completed and it’s bugged me that I never finished it.

Let’s face it. I had no idea what I was doing back then! It’s better if that story never sees the light of day. Yet, I couldn’t forget my heroine. Devil’s Advocate is my attempt to breathe new life into her.

I still have some decisions to make – first person POV or third? Urban fantasy or romance?

(Who am I kidding? Romance always sneaks into my books.)

Whatever I decide, I’m hopeful to add another manuscript to my completed pile!

Have a safe and wonderful holiday season! Leave me a note and let me know how you plan to spend the holidays!

Do or Do Not. There is No Try.

Happy Friday. Please remember to visit me at the 7 Scribes for today’s topic – Story Overload.

My plan all along had been to wait until September 1 to submit. Except, this past weekend, we were hit with Hurricane Irene. The fear that we might not have power for a week was a great motivator.

Saturday night before I went to bed, I hit the send button and off they all went.

I’m happy to report that full manuscripts for Ascension and Mystic Ink have been requested by several editors. If any offers appear, I’ll be happy to share the good news.

So – the moral of the story – nothing ventured, nothing gained. Even if no sales result, at least I did it. And I will continue to send my books until someone buys one (either traditional or indie pubbed).

Halfway There!

Happy Friday! Please remember to visit me at Writing Secrets of 7 Scribes for my post about Change.

This week, I’m pleased to report that I’ve surpassed the halfway point. Total word count to date is 59, 806.

Due to family obligations, I had a few days where I was only able to hit 1,000 plus words. With vacation coming soon, I hope to be back on the 2,000 words a day track and possibly even surpass it.

The story has reached the mid-point climax and is rolling towards the black moment/reversal (hopefully next week).  After that, the final wrap up. Next, I’ll re-read the draft, plug the plot holes, fix the word boo-boos and ferret out any other transgressions.

This kind of aggressive first draft approach is new for me. I usually stop after the first act and re-read what I’ve done and make corrections. Not this time. I’m blasting through to the end and then reviewing the plot as a whole. I’m not sure if I’ll do this for my next book. We’ll see. Depends on how the process goes.

I’ve resorted to this method because, often times, I start second guessing the plot and playing the “what if” game and then I believe the whole story is crap, resulting in the urge to toss it out.

When I finish the first draft, I will share the blurb for the book. I can tell you, it’s something new for me and not like my other books.

See you next week!

Quickie!

Last Saturday,  I attended Connecticut Fiction Fest. It was an amazing, whirlwind day. After four pitches, I came home with six requests (4 for Mystic Ink, 2 for Ascension). So, needless to say, I have been busy preparing my submissions.

It’s amazing that no matter how many times and how many eyes review a manuscript, there are always  typos, missing words or misplaced punctuation marks. While giving both books a last minute look over, I had to resist the urge to start tearing into the text.

Even harder, swallowing back that inner doubt (you know, my writing sucks, no one will ever like my book, etc.). To combat the doubt, I remind myself that these are the best books I could write based on where I was at the time they were written. If none of the submissions work out, there are other publishers out there. And I can always indie publish too. All options are on the table.

Upward and onward – I have an aggressive goal of trying to complete two books this year. Not sure if I can do it, but I will do my best. The only way to become a better writer is to keep writing. And that means letting go and moving on to new ideas, new stories, and new characters.

I can’t wait!!