Monthly Archives: May 2016

We Remember

With sincere appreciation to everyone who serves,

and immense gratitude to those who paid the ultimate price…

We Remember,
you are not forgotten.

Happy Memorial Day

Stops and starts …

This past week has been full of stops, starts, and shifting of gears. On one note, my short story is finally coming together. Hopefully, I’ll be writing the final chapters in the next week or so. Whether or not this turns into a new series remains to be seen.

I’ve been having some interesting chats and phone conversations with the beta reader that just finished reading Eternal Embrace. She had an interesting idea about moving one of the scenes closer to the beginning of the story. While moving the scene would allow one character more leeway, it would also leave gaping holes in a lot of other areas. I had to really think on this one. While I could see the plausibility of what she was talking about, I would have to rewrite a good bit of the book. After a lot of tossing the idea back and forth, I opted to leave the scenes as they were.

It wasn’t only the amount of work that was daunting. It was the fact that she told me the first half of the book had ‘meat’, but was lacking the ‘potatoes’. She said the second half was great. But she could tell where I had hit my stride and the words started to flow. Apparently, this book has a slow start; and I need to fix it. Back to the drawing board …

This is the kind of feedback I need. I value the opinions of my beta readers, and take their advice and comments seriously. Beta readers and editors are vital to an author, and crucial to the finished polish of their books. Without them, our stories would be grammatical messes with plot holes large enough to sink into to. I’m doing my best to avoid most of that. My job now is to tear apart Eternal Embrace paragraph by paragraph. I’m going to put some potatoes alongside the meat and make a complete meal.

I hope you enjoy your holiday weekend. Please don’t forget the reason behind the extra day off. Remember to honor the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. We owe them our freedom.

Until next week,

~ Madison

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It’s “T” time

Alphabet week #20

5/27/16 – “T”

Perhaps no week in recent memory is so easily culled to the page as this one. Of all the ideas we have as authors…the go, go, go of getting words to the page, the thing that escapes us, or leaves us feeling guilty is this weeks topic: Take Time for you. As writers we have learned that to get it done we have to drive and be accountable…suit up, show up, and write the next great book, right? While we’ve not talked about it, there’s an alternate route name for that besides success…it’s burnout.

As many of you know I’ve been dealing with a family situation for the last couple of years now. It has worn me to the bone and taken my will at times. Mostly, it has consumed every spare moment that I have and a few that I don’t. My writing has been moved completely off the stove, there isn’t even room on a back burner. For now, that has to be okay. I know, as with the weeks following a book, that when this draws to a close, I will do then, what I have done before…take a break. The value of self-time and self-love cannot be understated. We need the down times to have reserves for the up ones.

We have understood the value of breaks since Kindergarten…it was then called summer vacation, or winter holiday, or spring break. We looked forward with baited breaths to the final bell that proclaimed us free to breathe for a few days, weeks, or months. We understood then, and looked forward to with zeal, the need for down time and we celebrated the time. As a writer, it’s no different now. We need to cherish, and yes, celebrate the time when we AREN’T writing or driving our business brand to the readers. Call it what you need, but remember that you are worth the personal holiday. Allow yourself to relax, revive, and restart to a bright and busy next day…just don’t allow yourself to let it become the prevailing norm. Work needs doing and words need writing.

.abyrne.

Plan With Me – Step 1

Step 1 – Determine Your Role

Last week I started the intro to this series. Plan With Me. So let’s get right to it.

You can be the author,  you can be the writer, or you can be both.

Before answering consider the following:

  • Do you have any experience writing a full-length novel? An answer of no does not  mean that you can’t do something new.
  • Do you have the time to write a manuscript? Most of us are pressed for time already and the additional demands of writing would  increase our stress levels.
  • Do you have the money to pay a writer? Don’t laugh at this.  There is nothing wrong with writing an outline and then paying a ghostwriter for their time and efforts.  Some of the big names have done this. James Patterson has made no bones about the fact that he hires ghost writers to write his stories. As a creative, I wouldn’t feel right putting my name on something that someone else actually wrote, but that’s just me.

If you are interested in hiring a ghostwriter, you can Google ‘help writing a book’. Fivver has a place to hire ghost writers as well.

Some people are more interested in having their name on a book than in  the actual process of writing the book. There is no shame in either way.

As the writer, you are exchanging time for money eventually.  As the author, you are exchanging money for someone else’s time. As both author and writer, you are spending your time and money to write a book.

Are you OK with spending your time isolated and focused on writing? We each have the same 24 hours a day. Decide what you want to spend your time doing and own it.

Consider the avenues that are available to you and the end goal that you are shooting for. Once you have decided what your role is, then the next steps will  fall into place.

‘Til next time

Ellie

 

 

No Pain No Gain

No pain, no gain. As a writer, you may think I’m talking about the writing process and the inherent struggle to get out of my own head, but in this case you would be mistaken. In this case, I am talking about getting my body, which hasn’t done any real exercise for about 7 years. YIKES!

The first decision was to get off my hiney and check out the gym. Let me tell ya, you can check out gym after gym, but it doesn’t count unless you use the equipment. I liken checking out various gyms to watching those exercise infomercials….very entertaining and easy to say, “that doesn’t look so hard. I can do that.”  Uh huh,,.prove it, (don’t you hate that condescending voice in your head that tends to call you on your bs?)

Any way, I did it. I joined a gym…on a month to month basis, and I edged my chances of sticking with going to the gym by NOT signing the membership contract. Yep. I’m trying reverse psychology on myself. *shrugs* A girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do.  It’s been a couple of weeks since my initial visit. I’ve been making the rounds visiting various weight machines, the treadmill, and the two different kinds of bikes, and really…softer seats on the bikes would greatly appreciated.

There is one section in the gym that mocks me every time I enter. The 12 min ab lab. *head desk* It’s one of my goals to flatten my abs and tighten my core and I have yet to step foot in that lab. Why? Because I’m a wimp. There. I said it. I’m a wimp and yet I know it needs to be done. It’s my goal for Thursday. I’ll let you know how it goes….if it doesn’t kill me first, lol Wish me luck.

Anyway….as we gather, in the coming days, to remember those who paid the ultimate price that allows all of us to ramble on endlessly about whatever we want,  I want to wish all of you a Happy Memorial Day weekend and a heartfelt Thank You to the families who made the ultimate sacrifice.

Until next week….Happy Reading!

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~Jolanthe~

Ain’t worth the penny for wishin

Ahhh, some days I’m gold. Others, not so much. Today, is the not so much side of things. Spent Saturday moving stuff out of my mother in laws house – since she fell a couple of months back she has not been able to recover enough to go home with anything short of 24 hour care and will likely never do so again, so the process of clearing has commenced. My everything hurts. I’m not worth the penny I’d need for wishin at the well.

I did manage to get some time in my writing cave this weekend, but sadly once there, I lacked the focus to be productive. What I did get done were mindless things with the single exception being the image for a game that needed to get announced…that took a couple of hours. If you know me at all, you know image work is so far beyond my realm…a couple hours is actually pretty good for me.

And now it’s Monday again. I’m back jumping hoops and such for work, chasing my maintenance worker to get some ‘stuff’ to deal with mice since I’ve now seen two in the building ( I DO NOT DO MICE), and playing phone and text tag with medical personnel who have left my mind reeling from the absolute absurdity of the requests they are making. I am LOGIC driven…I cannot do stupid, panic, or “I don’t know”…it’s not in my DNA. That they have known FOR WEEKS about an upcoming surgery and have pissed away the time, but now want a battery of exams and tests has me seething.

The forecast for the next 10 days says that this is the last good one before the storms start rolling through, and I’m actually really hopeful for them to get here ahead of schedule. I love a good thunderstorm. Even better if there’s some good wine or an old scotch, some smooth jazz, and a cigar involved. 🙂 🙂 I can totally get involved in the zone out. Sadly, I’ll be at work most of the time and that just puts a quick damper on it all.

Wednesday in the exception. My daughter graduates Wednesday morning and that is something I can be excited for. She’s nearer to her goals and ready to ship out. This soon to be Blue Star Mom is so proud it’s near epic. I’ll post pics and stuff when I can. For now, I should probably get off my pity pot, hitch up and ride this rodeo pony. Goodness knows, it isn’t going to come to me.

Research

I am doing something new, research. With the first series I had been cultivating the story in my head for so many years that I didn’t really need to do any research. I had friend that I asked questions on areas I wasn’t too sure of and I googled a couple of things but that was it.

The trilogy that I am working on is a spin off of the series so again no research is really needed. The next book I am writing is switching gears a little bit and will be a contemporary romance. It is also one that has been rolling around in my head for years and doesn’t need any research.

The next series that has taken root needs a lot of research. I have started reading books that are giving me the information that will build my story. I am switching gears a little again. This series will have nothing to do with romance. It will be a paranormal suspense. I am almost all romanced out. I am excited about the new direction but nervous about the unchartered waters.

I have more than one subject to research for this series. I am almost done with the books I got for the first one and can’t wait to move on to the next set. Only a writer will get excited about the reading for research for a project. I have a stack of books that I have barely made a dent in but am excited to get to. It is great to write about things that interest you so that when you need to get more detailed information you enjoy the books you read to get that information.

I am reading them in a certain order but I really want to skip ahead. There is a reason that I put them in the order that I did but I am so excited and can’t wait to dive into some of them that it is hard to wait. I want to get all that I can out of these books so that all of you can get more enjoyment out of the finished project of my series so I will stick with my original plan.

Until next week, keep reading what brings you the happiness and joy you seek.

~Miranda

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A little of this, a little of that …

My journey to becoming an author is still full of discoveries. I’ve recently learned that I need to master the art of multitasking. Now, we’re talking full blown OCD here. I KNOW how to multitask. Yeah, right. I thought I did. I was wrong.

I am in the midst of putting together several local book signings. I am still working on revisions of my second book. I’m also midway through a short story. Add to the mix, I’m now working on another pet project. And that’s not counting the day to day promos and teasers that I put out on Phoenix Rising, trying to entice interest and ultimately, sales. Yes, my head is spinning. Because that doesn’t even enter into my normal daily routine, that’s just the writer part.

But I’m still enjoying every moment, so it’s all good. I did come to a crashing halt on my short story, however. I needed something climactic to bring my two main characters together. Had a great idea. Realized I needed information to make sure the scenes would be realistic. I called my sister (she knows everything)

Me:       Do we know a fireman?

Her:      Andre

Me:       Neil’s (her son) friend, Andre?

Her:      Yes

Me:       Is he full time or a volunteer?

Her:      He’s full time, a captain.

Me:       Excellent, I need to talk to him.

Her:      Okay. What about?

Me:       I’m going to burn down a hotel. I need some pointers.

Her:      *silence*

Me:       *laughs* It’s for a book

Her:      Ohhh

I love this part about being a writer 😉 So while I’m waiting for my interview with the Captain of the Fire Dept., I’m working on revisions of book two. I let one of my beta readers get a sneak peek and so far, she’s been very helpful about spotting a few glitches I need to work on.

I’m also working on my website. I’m not planning on it going live until December, but it doesn’t hurt to get a head start and figure out how I want to set it up. I’ve also scheduled times in December for the cover art and editing of book two. Eternal Embrace is set to be published in the Spring of 2017. I’ve learned quickly that time flies and it will be here before I know it.

So, my days are full and to be perfectly honest, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I will always be grateful to those two friends of mine that persuaded me to give it a chance. No matter what happens, I will never regret this path.

Enjoy a good book. Relish the scenes; you never know to what lengths the author went to get those details. 😉

Till next week,

 ~ Madison

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Suspended disbelief

I am living in a state of suspended disbelief. The world around me is no longer driven by the wants and needs of my body and soul, but those of the people around me who are all barely registering on the functioning chart. We’ve rushed repeatedly at the call, believing once again “this was it” only to find out that it was a false alarm.

I am convinced that the eventual final twilight will be surreal and unbelievable for all the cries of ‘wolf’ by the shepherd boy. That there is none among my circle who want to be wrong on that front, the race between places continues while no one plans too much, just in case. It has been over two and a half years now of this and I’m tired. This is not living. This is a state of limbo that has wiped out dreams and adventures, vacations and opportunities. Perhaps one day it will be more again. For now, it is not.

Plan With Me

Most of the writers within Eclectic bard are pantsers. Honestly, I don’t know how they do it.  I have three unfinished manuscripts that I “pantsed” and will require some major editing and revision to make  them publishable.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not bashing pantsers.  There is a certain fascination that it holds for me because I  utterly failed at pantsing.

Several years ago during NaNoWriMo, I pantsed  Kiss of the Dragon (copyright Ellie Mack 2013). I amassed a large volume of words, exceeding the goal by more than double.  The word count for NaNo is 50000. Kiss of the Dragon came in at 128,000. Overachiever much? Why, yes I am. 

My pantsing produced a  manuscript that had so many rabbit trails in it,  it was difficult to follow, numerous scenes that didn’t add to the overall story, and in the end led to three more subplots that needed to be  tied at the end.  It was a nightmare and it still sits in my files because I am painfully aware of the amount of work that it still needs in revision.

My methods are not like the others in the house.  My methods are my own and therefore no one but me takes the blame for  incongruent stories.  I’d like to think that I’ve improved over the years. Anyway, . . . planning.

From concept to finished product requires a plan. Whether that includes an outline is up to the individual. It’s been my experience that failing to plan is  in fact planning to fail. We can make all sorts of excuses,  blame life’s demands, other people’s demands on us, our own   habits or whatever it may be that we revert to as our default answer  of why X isn’t finished.

Over the next few weeks, on my posts I will share the key elements of a successful plan that will cut  the time nearly in half from initial concept  to finished book in hand.

I don’t know about you, but I could use some time-saving tips.

‘Til next time

~~~~

Ellie