Tuesday, July 31, 2012

August Releases

I only have one book on my list this month. It's strange that I don't have more. Although, with my self imposed internet break and the push to get my manuscript polished I haven't had any time to read. So, I guess one book added to my to-read list is a good thing for me right now. 
 Defiance (Defiance #1) by C.J. Redwine (8/28/12)

Why -> This book looks so good. With her dad missing Rachel is on a mission to find him, despite defying the Commander to do so. Forced to protect the girl who declared her love for him years earlier, Logan if forced to change his plans to escape the tyranny of the Commander. Together the two fight for their lives running from a monster and assassins in the Wasteland. Oh, and I almost forgot to mention, Rachel can use a sword! So, awesome. I've been waiting a while for this one. :-)

Your Turn -> What are you looking forward to being released this month?

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Word Choice

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net
I really should have written this post a while ago, but never did. As I was looking over my "Edits Folder" I came across a note I scribbled back when I was editing Barely There. It was a simple note that wouldn't mean anything to someone other than me.

Flashed -> Transported -> Materialized

It doesn't mean a lot, right? In reality it had my critique group laughing one Sunday morning. It also brought about a lesson in word choice. Where I wrote one thing and my critique partners had their minds in the gutters when they read it.

In the original piece I submitted this is how it would have looked.

"I flashed to one of my favorite places in town, the Sunset Mall."

Several members of the group mentioned that they had a different picture when I said "flashed" and in certain sentences it really did sound awful.

The note I wrote to myself was during the editing process post meeting. I changed the word "flashed" to "transported." After reading it, though, I didn't like it. Finally, I changed it to "materialized" and it's stayed that way since. I hope it works better now. It was definitely worth the laugh, though. And the lesson.

ALWAYS have your work critiqued!!! What you mean to write and what you write are not always the same.

Your Turn -> Have you ever found yourself writing one thing and your critique partners reading it completely differently?

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Evolution Of A Series

As I've been editing Midnight Raynne I continually ponder what to do with book 2. After I had written and run through a couple edits of Midnight Raynne I sat down and wrote the rough draft of book 2, Spring Raynne. However, I haven't returned to that draft since I finished it.

That was well over a year ago and it's still not sitting well with me. I've known since right after I finished that draft that it was missing something. The question has always been what is it missing. I thought after I edited book 1 a bit more something would hit and the light bulb would click on above my head.

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Well, folks - It finally did. Without giving too much away about the ending of book 1 I figured out that I was missing an entire POV.


It hit me about a month after reading Crossed by Ally Condie. The first book in her dystopian trilogy, Matched, was entirely from Cassia's POV. But, with the second book she added a POV, Ky's. As I thought about her trilogy more and more while editing my own trilogy I realized I was missing a POV in the second book. While hers is dystopian, my trilogy is more in the paranormal realm, but I still think it will work great.

There's a lot of stuff going on behind the scenes that the reader can't see or know about from Raynne's perspective, but if I were to add in one more perspective things might come together better and the book won't feel so blah.

So, once I finish editing Midnight Raynne and working on the middle grade series I mentioned a few posts ago, I'll be adding the rough draft of a completely different POV in Spring Raynne. I actually can't wait to get working on that one.

Your Turn -> What's your take on adding POVs from book to book?

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Beta Reader Questionnaire

Since I talked about beta reading on Tuesday I thought I would let you see the questionnaire I send out with my manuscript. I did a Google search before I created this one and basically chose some of what I found, tweaked some, left some questions out, and added some of my own. You can obviously do the same. Mine is based heavily upon this questionnaire I found online. I also found another really good questionnaire that I'm definitely going to be borrowing questions from in future versions I send out. I've also already added a couple questions to the end that I thought of after I sent out Barely There.

Image(s): FreeDigitalPhotos.net
My Beta Reader's Questionnaire:
  1. Did the beginning draw you into the story and leave you wanting to know more? Why? 
  2. Does any part of the story drag? 
  3. did the ending leave you satisfied? If not what went wrong? 
  4. Did the story leave any unanswered questions? if so, which ones? 
  5. Which part of the story was the best? 
  6. Which part of the story was the worst? 
  7. Could more have been expanded upon? 
  8. Was it long enough? 
  9. Does each scene lead logically into the next? 
  10. If you could change any scene or scenes in the story, which ones and why? 
  11. If there was one scene you could remove from the story, which one and why? 
  12. did the chapters break clean? 
  13. Can you see every action clearly in your mind like a movie? 
  14. Could you see what the characters looked like clearly? 
  15. Could someone who was not familiar with the genre see what the characters looked like clearly?
  16. How does the setting work with the story? 
  17. Is the dialogue or voice believable and consistent? 
  18. Do the character reactions seem logical and realistic?
  19. Could you feel the emotions between the characters?
  20. Did the characters seem in character? Did any act out of character? If so, which one and how? 
  21. Does any one character get in the way of the story? 
  22. Was there a character that would have made the story better by being left out? 
  23. Any other thoughts you would like to add? 
  24. Would the story have been better in 1st/3rd person? (I usually write in 1st person)
  25. Would the story have been better in past/present tense? 
Your Turn -> What questions to do you think are important to ask a beta reader?

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Beta Reading a Rough Draft

Image(s): FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Having someone beta read your manuscript is necessary. When writers chose to send their projects to beta readers varies, widely. I always thought that it was best to have a manuscript not only completed, but edited and polished before sending it out into the world. It wasn't until a critique group meeting when beta reading came up that I saw a whole different side. It was brought to my attention that a rough draft is the best to send out for beta reading.

I was so surprised and thought there was no way a rough draft of mine was getting out into the world. Nope, not a chance. Let's face it, rough drafts stink! But, after thinking it over for a while I realized that rough drafts are perfect for beta reading.

Think about it for a minute.

You have a polished manuscript that you have spent a ridiculous amount of time writing and editing. You have spent so much time making it perfect. Then you send it out into the world of beta  reading and it comes back with notations all over it. Things you missed and need to fix, maybe a plot hole, or a character that's hard for the reader to create a bond with.

Now you have major revisions to jump back into.

However, if you were to send it out as a rough draft, or shortly thereafter, you will not have spent as much time editing and polishing, only to do it all over again. This is the route I decided to take with Barely There. I sent it out a few months ago to beta readers. All in hopes that I wouldn't have to waste time double editing.

I did edit it, however, but not to the extent that I might have if I was trying to get it to the polished zone. I made sure it wasn't a complete disaster before I sent it out.

Your Turn -> What are your thoughts on the state of a manuscript before you send it out to beta readers?

Friday, July 6, 2012

Contest Winners!!

INDIEpendence Day - A Celebration of Indie Authors
was hosted by The Indelibles as a way to spread the word about great Indie books and authors!
To see more INDIEpendence Day posts stop by The Indelibles site and use the linky on the INDIEpendence Day Blog Post to navigate between blogs.
With a little help from random.org here are the winners! I will be gifting you the books directly through Amazon, so be on the lookout for an email from Amazon today! 
Under the Banyan Tree by Toni DePalma 
 Goes to: 
Brevity of Roses by Linda Cassidy Lewis 
  Goes to:

Thank you to everyone who visited the giveaway and entered!


Thursday, July 5, 2012

The "Almost" Missing Manuscript

Okay, so as you may know every summer my kids and I take a trip to the one and only Austin, Texas to visit my family. It's a great time and we have a ton of fun at the pool all summer long.

Today I wanted to warn all you writers who plan on traveling with a manuscript. Usually I stuff my enormous binder containing not only a hard copy of my manuscript, but also ALL of my notes pertaining to it, in my suitcase. This year we thought it would be a good idea to ship five of the books I'm planning on reading this summer and my manuscript binder via book rate through the USPS.

We also shipped A LOT of my daughter's belongings through FedEx. (She's going to high school in Austin, at the best school, my high school!) Anyhow, we decided that buying boxes from the local Public Storage was the way to go. We would then ship them from either the post office or FedEx.

Great plan!

But, it didn't exactly work out as planned. You see, as it turns out Public Storage and U-Haul boxes aren't made for the "rough" conditions packages go through when being shipped half way across the US.

The first batch of boxes arrived via FedEx the day after we arrived in Austin, BUSTED. And I'm talking FedEx had to tape the sides shut, and some sides busted open after they left the distribution center on their way to my parents' house. It was just the beginning of the nightmare. The FedEx delivery man said he sees it all the time with Public Storage and U-Haul boxes. He said for some reason they don't ship well through their system.

The second shipment from FedEx was much the same.

Now, I have to note that we did buy a few FedEx boxes in the mix and they arrived in perfect condition. The difference was amazing.

Finally, on the third day in Austin we received the final package from FedEx (A perfect FedEx box) and the first of two boxes of books we sent book rate through the USPS. The picture below only confirms that it's not FedEx taking out the competitors boxes, but the boxes themselves.

This was only one of two boxes we sent from the same post office on the same day. They should have arrived at the same time. They didn't.

Saturday night when I located the tracking numbers for the two boxes I was freaked out to find that they both left New Jersey on the same day and time and they both arrived AND departed Dallas at the same time, but only ONE box was checked in at the main post office in Austin. I immediately tore into the first box to see which one it was.

It was NOT the one holding my five books or my manuscript binder. They were missing. I was completely freaked out. Monday afternoon there was no change according to the USPS tracking system.

However, as I left my parents' house to pick them up from the airport (they had been at my uncle's funeral in Utah) their mail woman arrived at the house to hand me a claim slip. She said the box was too damaged for her to deliver - I had to go claim it myself. *gasp*

Tuesday morning that's just what I did. And here's what I found!

The postal employee actually couldn't figure out how it had busted up so badly. After I mentioned the other boxes condition he said that he's seen U-Haul boxes do just fine, but he really hasn't seen many Public Storage boxes come through. I actually had to wheel it to the car in a basket and it took a couple trips getting it all into the house. Insane! Yes, that box below my cardboard box held the contents that had spilled out of the box. It was full!!!

The moral of this post. Public Storage and U-Haul boxes are just fine if you are moving and they are simply staying in a moving truck. They ARE NOT meant for shipping half-way across the country. We've learned our lesson. Sturdier boxes are required. Also, the ladies at the local Public Storage office were extremely nice and did say that people do ship their boxes. Obviously they never met us and our luck with these things. 

Your Turn -> Have you ever had any close calls and almost lost an entire manuscript? Or worse, actually lost one?

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

June Progress Report

It's time to see what I've been up to this past month. This month was not very productive in the writing or reading area of my life. My personal life was beyond busy and did give me plenty of brain storming time since I wasn't writing or reading much.   

This month was mostly a wash with reading and writing. I spent the first part cleaning house to get ready for my mom's visit. Once my mom arrived we spent a week cleaning and packing my daughter's room. Then the big move of my daughter to Austin began. I finally got back to writing once we were in Austin at the end of the month, but I'm still not where I'd like to be with my writing. I did manage to get through chapter 8 on Midnight Raynne.

Goals For July
I'd like to finish this round of edits on Midnight Raynne. I'm hoping to have it polished and had my wonderful critique partners taken a look at it by the time WriteOnCon in August. I'd like to have a manuscript ready to pitch during that amazing online conference. 

(This month was not good for reading. I had very little time to read, but started two books. I'm hoping to have them both finished within the first week of July.)
Under the Banyan Tree by Toni DePalma (Started) 
Death by Chocolate by Julie Ann Lindsey -  (Started)

Books Purchased:
Loose Screw (Dusty Deals Mystery Series) by Rae Davies
A Writer's Guide To Harry Potter by S.P. Sipal
Rapture by Lauren Kate

Your Turn -> Was your June productive?

Monday, July 2, 2012

INDIEpendence Day & A Giveaway!

INDIEpendence Day - A Celebration of Indie Authors
is hosted by The Indelibles as a way to spread the word about great Indie books and authors!
To see more INDIEpendence Day posts stop by The Indelibles site this week and use the linky on the INDIEpendence Day Blog Post to navigate between blogs.

 As part of INDIEpendence Day I decided to spotlight two books:  
A Young Adult Indie book and 
An Adult Self-pubbed book.

AND I'm giving away a Kindle copy of both books!

First the books: 
There were a LOT of great books I wanted to choose. I decided on these two, because I have read and love both books, and adore both authors.

Under the Banyan Tree by Toni DePalma 
Irena's not sure where she's headed when she runs away from home--she just wants to leave the trailer she shared with her mamma and daddy far behind. When she stumbles upon the Banyan Tree motel, something tells her it's exactly where she's meant to be. But trouble follows Irena wherever she goes, and the Banyan is no different in this story about what it means to be a family.

Where I found out about this book
Toni DePalma is a member of my amazing critique group and we blog together over at Writers By The Shore. She is truly an amazing author and gives wonderful advice.  

Where you can find Toni's books: 
Under the Banyan Tree - Amazon (Hardcover or Kindle), Barnes & Noble
Jeremy Owl - Amazon, Barnes & Noble
Devil's Triangle - Coming soon from Crescent Moon Press

Brevity of Roses by Linda Cassidy Lewis 
Jalal Vaziri has looks, money, women—and a habit of running from reality. When he abandons New York and reinvents himself as a poet in a California beach house, he thinks he’s running from a father who hates him, a career mistake, and endless partying. A fresh start is all he needs. After an intriguing woman enters his life, he believes all his dreams are coming true, but too soon, those dreams dissolve into nightmare. Jalal flees again. Only this time, a woman blocks his retreat and challenges him to finally face the truth about what he’s trying to outrun.

Where I found out about this book
Linda is an amazing author that I had the lucky opportunity to meet on Twitter. I truly enjoy her blog posts and her book. I'm (im)patiently awaiting the release of her newest work after she posted a teaser on her blog recently. I truly can't wait to read it now. :-)

Where you can find Linda's book: 
The Brevity of Roses - Amazon
 The Giveaway!
Since this is the first giveaway I've done on my blog I've decided to keep it simple. 
- I will choose 2 winners, 1 for each book, and announce the winner on the blog on Friday, July 6th. 
- All you have to do is leave a comment on this post and your email address. That way I can send the Kindle books to you if you win. :-) 

Have a great Independence Day! :-)