Monday, August 14, 2017

Ana's Editing Progress

Ana muses on her editing progress.

I'm going through Stormy Hawkins for the fourth, and, I'm told, final time. And, I'm still finding things to change.

I've fixed all the formatting things: Oxford commas, two hypens instead of an em-dash. I learned that 'blonde' is used only to refer to a blond-haired woman.

This morning, I re-read my first sex scene to be sure that what I changed last night still makes sense. (The sentence where they roll over so she's on top got edited out somehow in the first three rounds of edits.)

Now I'm checking a later love scene that ends with misunderstanding. I realized, in last night's read-through, that I could bolster the scene's twist by adding in a reference to a pivotal scene at the story's midpoint, a recollection of dialogue between the heroine and a minor character that propelled the heroine into chasing after the hero she's just rejected.

This addition never occurred to me before, but I feel 99% certain I need to add it. This means I will have to do another read-through, but that's the way it goes. The SoulMate editor says what I send back is IT.

So I have a question for you more experienced authors: Does the debate to tweak things ever end?

Monday, August 7, 2017

Roadblocks and Detours

Debra is facing a dilemma.

Believe it or not, this is the last week of summer vacation for me. I'm really trying to figure out where the time went. I mean, wasn't it just June for Pete's sake? I feel like I've had a fairly successful writing summer in that I made quite a bit of progress on my WIP and I've been trying to get myself out there more by making regular use of my Twitter account, visiting other blogs, and even put my Fourth of July book on sale for the month.

However, as everyone knows, the writing road is not always a straight one. It's often filled with roadblocks and detours. And I had plenty of those this summer, too.

I started really getting serious about my writing in the middle of June. Before that there had been a long, long, dry, dry spell. I'm talking like time measured in almost a year, not months. But I started grooving again and was really pleased with the progress I was making on my WIP. I wasn't necessarily aiming for a particular word count each day, just making sure that I sat down and wrote something. Most days, I was recording anywhere from 500 to 2,000 words. Not too shabby. I was pretty pleased and well on my way toward meeting my goal of finishing this story over the summer.

And then, BAM. Roadblock. In the middle of July I got sick. Bronchitis, laryngitis, and pink eye. Fever. Chills. Hacking cough. You name it. In the middle of summer!! It was awful. I was totally down for the count. I literally laid on the couch for ten days, not having the energy or motivation to do anything else except watch tv. (I had a mega "The Office" marathon. I think I watched three or four entire seasons.)

But eventually I started feeling better and got back into a normal routine...although believe it or not, I still have a lingering cough and a slightly scratchy voice...and was once again making progress. I'd lost a bit of momentum, but still felt I could meet my goal of finishing my 65,000 word story. From there I planned to print it out so I could do several rounds of edits, send it to a couple beta readers to gather their opinions and insights, and then send off a query to a new (for me) publisher.

Then, just when I thought I was on the right path again...FORK IN THE ROAD. I was aiming for a 65,000 word novel. I've been so used to writing novellas, that writing a full-length was a bit of a challenge for me this time around. It was going to be stretching it to reach that 65K, but I was confident I could do it. And then I looked at the submission guidelines for the publisher I was considering. Turns out they want novels 85,000 to 100,000. (Now, yes, granted, this is my fault for not checking sooner. Although I swear I did check once upon a time and it said 65,000. But maybe I was just thinking of my current publisher. Who knows?) To say I was discouraged was an understatement. I lost any and all motivation to write and let the mss sit once again. Eventually (about a week later) I got over myself and sat down to finish the darn story.

Anyway, now I'm faced with a dilemma, and I'm not sure which direction to go. My story is for all intents and purposed finished. There's a beginning, a middle, and a happily-ever-after ending. It's at 63,000. There are a few scenes I'd like to add to here and there, which will bring me to what I thought was the magic number of 65K. I can still follow those first two steps. Polish it up. Get a few beta opinions. And then submit it to my current publisher (that I really, really love...don't get me wrong.)

But I'd envisioned something a bit different for this one. Stepping out of my comfort zone and putting myself and my story out there. Just to see what happens. But to do that, I'm going to need to add at least 20,000 words to my story. That is A LOT of words. I mean, it's an entire novella. This wouldn't simply involve adding or extending scenes, this is adding a whole ton of content. Not just extending the story, but going back to various places in the middle and creating new scenes, chapters, and interactions.

I don't know if I have it in me. I know I won't have the time to write like I have been. Like I said, I'm back to school next week. I'd love to think that since I'm back in a writing routine, I'll at least be able to clock something each night. My writers' group is doing this great challenge, too, which is wonderful motivation. It's the 90 words for 90 days challenge. (#CN90wordsfor90days) Starting August 1 and going through October 31, the idea is to write at least 90 words everyday. There's a chance for a prize at the end for those who accomplish it. It's definitely helping me to stay motivated at the moment, let me tell you. I'm I'm still averaging about 1200 words per day at this point, so the 90 I can do standing on my head...most days.

But, like I said, I'm stuck trying to figure out which direction to take with this book now. If I go one way, it's super exciting to think I might be close to finishing it. If I go another way, it's super daunting to think about creating so much more plot. At this point I don't need to rush...even though summer is over, I can take my time in attempting those additional 20,000 words. But come December it will be a year since I've had a release. And who knows how long the process will take, if I even would get a contract from this new publisher, to get this book in print.

I'm stuck. I honestly don't know what to do. Any thoughts? Advise? Sarcastic comments? Smart aleck remarks? Any and all would be appreciated.

For now, I'm going to get out my lap top and clock those 90 words right now.

Until next time,

Happy Reading!


Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Two down (or up?), seven to go!

Paula’s novels are being re-released – gradually!

Last April, I received the shock news that my publisher, Rebecca J. Vickery, was closing down due to ill-health. Of course I understood why she had (very reluctantly) made this decision but I was still devastated. I’ve been with her for over 5 years, and she and her team have been the most supportive and friendly people any writer could ever wish to work with.

My major problem, of course, was what to do with my books. Several people encouraged me to self-publish them, but for various reasons I didn’t want to do that. My first reaction was to try a British publisher and I sent two books to them. However, when I discovered it could take up to a year for each one to be re-published, I withdrew them. No way was I going to wait for up to nine years for all my books to go online again!

To cut a long story short (including three months of uncertainty - and despair at times), I was over the moon when, with Rebecca’s help, I linked up with a new publisher. It was still a sad day when all my books were taken down from Amazon on July 19th, prior to being transferred to their new home with Fire Star Press, an imprint of Prairie Rose Publications, but I received a wonderful welcome from Cheryl, Livia, and Kaye.

They decided to re-publish my Irish novels first, as the ‘Mist Na Mara’ series. Anyone who has read the novels will know exactly what Mist Na Mara is! A flurry of activity followed, and I’m thrilled to report that the first two books in the series went back up online yesterday, with stunning new covers designed by Livia.

The cover of the third in the series is already done, and the fourth will follow. My other five books will be phased in after this – and at least it has given me the opportunity to do some re-editing – I can never resist tweaking and tightening, although without changing any of the actual stories.

So I am entering a new chapter in my writing life. I will always be grateful to Rebecca, who became a friend as well as a publisher (and we’ve both said we will continue to keep in contact) – and I look forward now to working with Cheryl, Livia, and Kaye.

My books are currently featured on the Fire Star Press blog (please pop in and leave a comment for me!)

and if you find my photo on the Prairie Rose website and click on the Q&A, you’ll see my answers to Livia’s interesting questions:

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Thank You!

Jennifer has a new book release...

It’s been an exciting week for me, as Addicted to Love released on Friday. I’ve had such lovely support from friends, family and fellow authors. I’ve watched stats rise, seen tons of re-tweets and Facebook posts and I’m almost at the point where I’m sick of myself.

But not of my book, never my book. This is the first book I’ve published after a long dry spell. That dry spell was partially of my own making and partially due to circumstances beyond my control. It was filled with stress, self-doubt and dashed hopes. With this publication release, though, I am once again filled with purpose.

I also am filled with extreme gratitude for everyone who has wished me well and hammered home what a lovely community of romance writers we have.

So thank you!

And if you’ll indulge me one last time, I’m going to do a quick promo:

Blurb: Dan Rothberg struggled after an accident killed his wife and he nearly lost custody of his daughter. He can no longer allow himself to get attached to anything or anyone. Until he meets Hannah.
Hannah Cohen is a young executive with a meddlesome grandmother and a troubled brother. She’d like nothing better than to find her own Mr. Right, after too many Mr. Wrongs. A sexy older man with a teenage daughter was never in her plans.
As they navigate their relationship through adolescent attitudes and grandmotherly interference, they realize age is just a number and love can be right in front of them. But when the terrible truth of Dan’s former struggles is exposed, Hannah must decide if she can get past his deception and allow love to conquer all.

Buy Links:
The Wild Rose Press:
Barnes & Noble:


Thursday, July 20, 2017

Progressing while waiting

Ana reports...on waiting... and on progress

Two weeks, and I'm still waiting for promised Stormy Hawkins edits to arrive from the publisher.
I've not seen the cover, as well, but I do have a release date. September 27th.

I'm trying to stay calm. Stormy was rigorously edited before submission and acceptance, but I'm sure there will be changes and tweaks. Hopefully not to many.

I've gnawed some fingernails and started on my author website. I wrote a bio and decided to have a gardening and a recipe page on the website--to add content. I hired a graphic artist to design a website logo-banner. She'll also format one for Twitter and Facebook.

The under construction website is linked already to this blog. I clicked the header and was whisked to here like magic.

So some progress to report.
And some waiting.

Sunday, July 9, 2017


Debra is making good headway on her WIP.

It's been a good writing summer. Something that hasn't happened in a while. Last time I posted I was excited to report that I'd begun writing again, picking up a WIP that had been languishing. I am proud to say I've written almost every day since then. My word count is up to 48,700 with a target of 65,000, so I am extremely pleased with my progress. When I picked it up again in June, I was at 23,100. So in a little less than a month, I've recorded approximately 25,000 words.

Some days it's easier than others and I know just what scene I want to work on and where I'm going with the story. Other days it's a bit more like pulling teeth. Difficult and painful, but in the end I get there and am happy and relieved with the end result. Today (Sunday) I wrote about 1,500 words of a scene that I knew I wanted to include in some way, but hadn't exactly figured out how it was going to move the story forward.

I have been writing a bit piecemeal and not in chronological story order, and I was wondering how everything was fitting together, so I took a couple of days to do a read-through of what I had down. Other than that, except for a few tiny rereads just for continuity information, I've been writing and not rereading, editing, or revising. I think it's working well.

Once I've reached my word goal, I'll do a full read-through and begin the editing and revising process. I'm also planning on snagging a few beta readers for this one. I have a few questions in my mind about the story already, and I'd love the opinion of a reader or two. This will be a new step for me, so I'm nervous and excited at the same time.

In the meantime, I've also been trying to be more active with other aspects of my writing career, while I have the time here in the summer. My book Fourth of July at The Corral is on sale for #99c in the month of July. I've been posting and advertising on various outlets for that. And I'm also trying to be more active with my Twitter account. I'm trying to post something every day, although I don't always accomplish this. I've been posting new release blurbs from fellow Roses and sometimes just a what I'm up to at the moment type thing. I'm refraining from posting 'buy MY book' Tweets every day, but have plans to sneak those in too. At the moment, just trying to build a following and make sure my account isn't sitting there inactively. I'm still on the fence about Facebook, but I've posted a few personal and authory things from time to time there as well.

So, all in all, I'm having a lot of fun being an author again this summer. It's been a while since I've felt like one.

Until next time,

Happy Reading!


Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Trying Something New

Jennifer talks about a new social media tool…

As authors, we are always looking at new ways to promote our books and I’m no exception. This time around, I’m trying to be selective in how much I spend and what I do. I plan to really analyze what results I get and determine which strategies worked and which didn’t. That’s not to say I’ll be able to repeat any successes or avoid any failures, but I’m trying.

One of the things I’m trying this time around is Thunderclap and Headtalker campaigns.

Does anyone remember the shampoo commercial from the 1980’s—you tell two friends and they’ll tell two friends and so on (if not, click here to see it)? Basically, that commercial proved that your sales can increase exponentially the more people you tell about your product.

Enter Thunderclap and Headtalker. You create an announcement on their website—for me, my announcement is the release of my new book. You give it a title, a link, a photo and a little information, as well as a date the announcement is to appear and a goal of how many people you want to help you spread the news. Then you share that campaign with people. Those people click on the social media platform they’re willing to use to share your announcement. If you reach your goal (mine is 100 people sharing my announcement), the site automatically sends it out via the social media outlets people have chosen.

For mine, I am announcing the release of Addicted to Love. I set my goal at 100 people, and I’m setting the announcement to appear on July 21, release day. So far, I have 52 people signed up to help share my announcement using Thunderclap, and 26 people signed up using Headtalker. I have joined a couple of Facebook groups dedicated to publicizing these campaigns. Basically, I agree to sign up for yours if you agree to sign up for mine. The result is that my reach is much greater than if I just tweeted or put an announcement on Facebook or whatever myself. In fact, right now, my reach through Thunderclap is 118,000 people. On Headtalker, it’s 971,000. Those numbers are based on the people who sign up to help me promote, and the number of followers they each have.

It’s free. It’s easy. If I don’t reach my goal, the announcement isn’t made through those venues. But I can still announce on my own, using my friends, etc. So there’s no downside. I’ve attached the links below for you to help me if you’d like. Having helped other people do this, I have learned that there is no problem giving Thunderclap and Headtalker access to my accounts—they don’t post anything else other than what I’m specifically signing up for and they don’t send me spam or anything.

So if you’d like to help me out, I’d love it. And it will also give you a chance to take a look at these two methods of making use of social media. You might find you want to give it a try the next time you’re promoting something.