Saturday, December 6, 2014

A Smoking Keyboard and More...

It's been another crazy week, both writing and real life wise.....

LIVE MUSIC

Last night was Hubby's staff party and we went to King's Corner Bar and Grill, to listen to some live music and have fun.

Normally I am pretty leery of listening to any band that is not either rock or heavy metal. I admit, I am pretty darn finicky when it comes to my taste in music, heavy metal comes first, and hard rock and alternative are next.

I had no clue what the genre of music the band that was playing that night would be... And I admit I was a bit hesitant and ready to nurse a headache because it was country, dance or something I can't stand.

It turns out that I was pleasantly surprised, and had a blast. Last night's band, TWIST OF FATE, does cover songs but holy smokes, they are great! They started off with "Copperhead Road" by Steve Earle and played mostly songs that I grew up listening to.

They played only two songs I can't stand, "Brown Sugar" by the Rolling Stones (I am NOT a Stones fan, EW!), and "Mustang Sally" - a song that was done a lot by terrible singers during my years as a regular at Karaoke in various spots around town, so it kind of drives me bananas when someone plays it, either live or one of the many recorded versions of it. YUCK.

The rest? Pure platinum. These guys are talented to the nines, and I thoroughly enjoyed their performance last night. Any band that can do covers of anything from Neil Diamond to Dobie Gray and to Billy Idol are tops in my book!

I'd love to thank them for putting on a great show last night, and say I hope to see them live again sometime soon.

TWIST OF FATE FACEBOOK PAGE

WRITING UPDATE:

If the last few weeks have been a little disappointing for me writing wise, things were made up this past week.

I finally got over that stupid speed bump at the end of Chapter 5 and figured out how to work things in Chapter 6. That was on Monday...

I remember opening Word, bringing up the main file, getting things straightened out, and after that, it becomes a bit of a blur until the 2 p.m. alarm went off.

The same thing happened yesterday. I opened Word and didn't come out of the writing fog until bus time.

Monday was a 5K day. Chapter 5 was finished and ALL of Chapter 6 was written up.

Yesterday (Friday), I thought I had 3200 words added... Turns out it was about 3900.

It was a 9K week in total, with the additions I made here and there in Chapter 5 and other spots.

Daffy doodles doesn't cover it. It took me two whole days to recover from Monday and it may take the entire weekend for me to get my brain back in order after yesterday.

Total word count in the manuscript is about 26.5 K right now (26,500 words), and I'm closing in on a few areas that are going to be tough to write up, but are so integral to this particular story. I just hope I can do the scenes justice.

I have at least one writing day next week, so if I can get another 1K added to it, and wrap up Chapter 7, I'll be happy.

Have a great weekend everyone, and keep rocking!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Nor'Easters and More...

Considering what the majority of Canadians have been getting over the last while, getting a rainy nor'easter is nothing, even with a leaky roof and the power holding on by a wing and a prayer. I can't complain, it is NOT snow and that's the main thing.
If the amount of rain we got overnight last night had been snow, we would have been buried under half a meter (50 cm or 20 inches in American) of the white garbage. The ditches along the side of the road were full, as was the yard across the road from us... A lot of rain came down in one heck of a short time. I'm glad it wasn't overly cold and the temperature did not drop until it was close to afternoon bus time. Otherwise, the roads would have been treacherous for the buses.

WRITING NEWS

There is progress to report on Twelve, in the same area I was working on last week. The first draft of that area is almost finished and it looks like it's going to cover an entire chapter. It is choppy in spots but where it's a first draft, that's okay for now. I can fix it later, right? :)

I have also started rewriting the last scene in chapter five, because I was stuck and realized I was doing a huge information dump in that spot. It's better if I have the information scattered throughout the entire manuscript instead of one area, less painful for the readers.

That's if this one ever sees the light of day...

OTHER NEWS

Gang, the "Creed" part of my blog title doesn't just refer to music. Creed is my favorite band of all time, and to me, they represent the best of my favorite bands.

Yes, I have heard the news, and watched most of the statements released by Creed's frontman.

Here's the thing. I'm CANADIAN. Up here, we generally don't pay attention to stuff like this, and any celebrities living and working in our music, film, television, etc industries are generally left alone.

This means I don't believe most of the rumors flying around about any celebrity out there, and I tend to be skeptical even if someone ultra close to the celebrity shares "something". Even someone as honest and frank with his fans like a certain band's frontman has backstabbers hiding amongst the "friends" after all.

I ask, out of respect for him, his family and those who remain loyal to him, that no one posts anything derogatory about him on my personal and my public areas. This includes my personal and author profiles in various spots, my Facebook page, and of course, comments on this blog.

Saying you don't like his music is one thing - that's your opinion after all - but getting on a soap box and calling him everything but a male isn't being polite or civil.

This is my first, last and only public statement on the matter.

I leave you with a photo taken at his November 20, 2010 concert in the Schooner Showroom of Casino Nova Scotia in Halifax, and the official video of his song, "Slow Suicide" off his 2013 album "Proof of Life".




#helpScottStapp

Friday, November 21, 2014

Burning Along...

This week was interesting, writing wise.

First of all, I discovered that Word 2013 allows a person to produce a PDF offline, for publishing purposes or to allow you to email the file to someone else.

It's a great feature and one I put to the test when I sent the most recently edited copy of Away to Me to G and the other members of my reading team.

When it comes to Twelve, the current WIP, Wednesday saw me at another crossroads on what to do with the story itself. I find I move faster if I do things a certain way and try not to let myself fall into the "ultra wordy" pattern I land into sometimes.

I also see a possible rewrite of a lot of the scenes in the first five chapters. They are too wordy and too much like something I'm trying to avoid.

That said, there are a few things that are working wonderfully in those first few chapters and those are staying for now.

Since I wasn't sure how to continue in the main file, I decided working on something that's been bugging me for a few days wouldn't hurt. It's a scene that happens much later in the story and I thought it was best to write it up before I lost it.

Wednesday morning and all day today was spent writing up the first and middle parts of it. It looks good so far... Even the "naughty" scene in the middle part is close to what I was hoping to get in its rough draft.

It isn't done yet but it will be sometime soon, ready to be spliced into the main file when the time is right. It will probably encompass an entire chapter, even with compressions and edits by the time it's done. It covers most of one subject so yeah, it's best I have it all in one chapter, or as less than one.

D has a copy of what's in it so far, just as an example of what's going to be highlighted in the parts near the end and to show off its heat level. I'm thinking there may be a few more sex scenes in this one than there was in "Away to Me"... Or the same amount. I'm not sure yet, we'll have to see how things go with this one I guess. lol

I know I've grown and changed as a writer, even since finishing draft one of "Away to Me" six months ago.

I just hope all of those changes are for the better.

Anyway, I have only four or five writing days at most before the holidays are upon me... Hopefully I can make a lot more progress in Twelve before I have to take two whole weeks off from writing.

Now taking bets on how long it'll be before I start gnawing on the monitor while Son's home on winter vacation..................................................................

Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Geek'd Out!

"Away to Me" went into Draft 4 mode last week... I'm hoping this is the LAST time it moves up a notch draft wise before I start sending it out for rejections in the new year. G has mentioned a few suggestions for edits and yes, I am doing those now, in between different things and having fun with something.

The "something" I'm having fun with is new software.

A couple of weeks ago, my computer decided it was "time" to "upgrade" to Windows 8.1... This resulted in a HUGE download - over 2 gigs worth - and the computer telling me I "had" to restart it and it would be another hour or so because it had to set things up for me in the new OS.

Okay, I can deal with that. I decided that I may as well do some housework while the computer was going through its rigmarole.

I had to redo a few things - like redo some of my settings - and set up some things in the start menu but for the most part, I'm liking 8.1, a lot better than I liked 8.

Something I had to get used to again was having the Start Menu button on the task bar. I haven't seen that since the last time I used Vista, over a year ago, and I was so used to putting the mouse pointer into the right hand corners that it took me a while to start remembering I don't have to do that all the time now.

I do love how you can shrink the start menu buttons down to ultra small... It saves a lot of room. I also love some of the new applications like the Alarms are able to be implemented on certain days only. I have four set up, all for bus times as of right now, but that may change. School gets out at 12:15 every other Wednesday so I'm now trying to figure out how to get it to go like that.... Meh, I'll get it sometime. lol

Another thing that came with 8.1 - and 8 - was MS Office 2013... Since I have XP Pro - which includes Access AND Photo Editor as well as Front Page - I decided that activating the new one wasn't worth the expense or the effort. It was working fine for me as a writer - Word is my favorite word processor after all, and I'd prefer not to mess with something I'm used to and love already - so updating things never occurred to me.

Until recently... A few authors I know mentioned something - Pro Writing Aid - and it got me thinking... It is NOT compatible with Word XP Pro, XP Pro is too darn old to work with it.

So this past Monday, I finally got around to activating Office 2013. I've played in Excel a couple of times, but have been having a lot of fun trying to figure out things in Word. I've been playing with Twelve in it and although it takes a LOT of getting used to after using something like XP Pro for years, it's not bad. I see the PW protection is STILL there, thank heavens - can't have the little guy getting into things he should NOT be seeing! - and a lot of other features I loved from XP Pro.

One problem: NO blue background, white font feature on this one. DRAT!!!! So I'm going to have to take it really easy sometimes with the eye strain and whatnot. At least I can turn down the contrast and brightness on the monitor.

The zoom is easier to access, huge help. So is the "word count" feature in the bottom frame, near the left hand side of the taskbar. THAT is a feature I am going to really appreciate in time... I will still keep track of word count in Excel like I normally do, BUT it will be so much easier for me to just glance at the number, minus the "Chapter X" breaks and have a word count within seconds instead of it taking a few minutes by doing it the old fashioned way.

According to Word 2013, Twelve has 17 389 words but ten of those are chapter breaks and there are about 200 words at the start which are my notes on it. So technically it has about 17K words right now.

Including the synopsis, "Away to Me" is about 73250.

Cool.

Both "Away to Me" and Twelve's main file are now converted over to Word 2013... I'm going to be slowly converting things over to the new software as needed, with all stuff related to those two stories' current drafts first, and everything else on a "need to convert" basis.

Any new stories or new documents will be in 2013 from the get go.

I hate to say it but it is finally time to retire XP Pro. It was great software for its time, but it no longer owes me anything and it is time to let the newer versions of it have their time on my computer too. Besides, 2013 is better for 8.1 anyway... XP Pro is for XP or Vista, neither of which I no longer have.

I have been working on Twelve on and off between things... And managed to get a very intense area written up last week, one short and one long scene. It turned out a lot better than I expected... Although I'm expecting the beta readers to tell me to COMPRESS THE DAMN THING a lot when they finally see it.

I will if I have to... Hell, I'll keep rewriting this one until I get it perfected.

Or as perfect as I can get it.

Have a great Wednesday everyone. :)

Monday, November 3, 2014

"Dark Matter"

Halloween/Samhain has come and gone and our little ghoul made out like a bandit again this year. Unfortunately his costume from previous years no longer fit him but with a little ingenuity, some quick thinking and some creativity on his father's part, he wound up getting a great costume, one that a lot of people loved this year. Thank the heavens Son's father and I are like minded a lot of the time!

I'm also on Day 109 of my quit smoking journey... Half the time I don't even think about cigarettes nowadays.

I guess that's a good thing, right? LOL

It is now the dark half of the year, post harvest and pre planting time. This is the time when I get ideas for my work but I generally do not write until things start turning toward the warmer months of the year.

It is official: I do have another story in the works. I am at the start of Chapter 5 of its main file and I am starting to get that "daffy doodle" feeling I normally get when I'm deep into a story. I admit I am daffy as a rule but I get worse when I'm deep into writing a story.

I've hit a few speed-bumps but it's coming along, better than I had hoped. Before anyone asks, yes, this is the one I have been working on since late September, with the character bios and other things. Its designation is "Twelve" right now.

I do have the title for it, and everything else including a list of key scenes in order. I find I'm getting more and more organized with prep work and other things before I'm deep into a story with each new manuscript I attempt or start.

Okay, that is VERY scary... Me, organized? Wow. That rarely happens!

(I can hear my two best pals, my brother and sister, and my sister in law laughing now...)

Today I was at a crossroads with the writing so I took a day off to do a reread of "Away to Me", something I've been putting off for the last couple of weeks. I've been too damn busy getting this new one off the ground that I keep forgetting to do checks on the old ones.

To me, it looks almost pristine, but my editing skills are horrid at best. I'm going to see what my sister in law, Bestie, G and A have to say before I do anything wonky, like send it out before it's ready!

I'll get back to Twelve later this week. I figured out where to go with the start of Chapter 5 so it should be smoother sailing from this point on in the story.

I don't know about anyone else, but man, this time change back to Standard time over daylight savings time has me knocked out of whack....

Have a great week everyone!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

A-Rocking, A-Rolling, and A-Writing....

I've hit the three month smoke free mark in my quit smoking journey, and I am feeling great! I've been off the Champix for about two weeks and so far so good. No major cravings, none that I couldn't handle anyway.

The worst time for me wanting a cigarette these days is when I have a manuscript open and I'm writing new stuff into its file(s)... So... to keep the cravings there to a minimum, I now use a nicotine free vapor stick to help me transition writing as a non smoker. I'm liking either mint/menthol or blueberry flavor by a certain brand for those days.

LIVE MUSIC

It just happened to be that my 3 month anniversary as a non smoker fell on the same day that a friend of my brothers in law was holding a charity event, to raise money for a local fire department. I wasn't sure until about a week or so ago if I was going or not... It all depended on if my husband was working during the time my favorite local band Whom Gods Destroy had their set.

Luckily the guys were playing in the evening and my husband worked the day shift. So I was able to go.

Talk about a great lineup! It was an all day event, from noon on the 18th to 1 a.m. this morning (it's after midnight here on the 19th), and the musicians' genres ranged from soft rock to country, and alternative to heavy metal.

I can't remember the name of the band that was on before WGD, but they were good.


Whom Gods Destroy performed their set... They started off with "Signs of Life" and "Tears of My Immortal Soul", "Ready for the Bite", "The Traveller", "She May Be Evil", "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich", and "Higher Planes".

And like I said on my video blog on Facebook, I was going to shoot them for not playing "Sea of Tears" but I can forgive them for it since they did play "The Traveller" and "Higher Planes".

Whom Gods Destroy:
Adam Bondarenko, Drums and Lead Vocals
Eli Bondarenko, Bass
Tim Gaudet, Guitar and Backup Vocals




Now anyone who follows the local metal scene in Nova Scotia that says they have never heard of the band VICIOUS is either lying or has been living under a rock for the last few years. They are a hard rock/heavy metal band originally from Kingston, NS that is now calling the city of Halifax their home. Known as "The Beast from Canada's East", these four talented guys brought a lot of attention to yesterday's charity event, just by being on the roster. I swear some of the people there last evening were only there to see this particular quartet rock the house and strut their stuff.

I have seen them before, during "The Heart of the Metal" this past February, and knew they'd put on another great show. Watching lead singer/drummer Jake Gracie's ultra high energy with both his vocals and amazing percussion skills was more than worth the admission price. Yes, the band may have had a few lineup changes since I first saw them live last winter, but they can still kick ass and rock any venue they play.

Vicious:
Jake Gracie: Drums, Lead Vocals
Garth Potter: Bass, Vocals
Connor Riley: Guitar
Brandon Colborne: Guitar
Let's just say I hope Rockzilla Seven hosts another all day gig like this again sometime soon.... That man always winds up getting the best of the best of the local musicians in all genres!

WRITING UPDATE

"Away to Me":

The latest draft of it has been sent to the now final two members of my reading team, as of earlier today. It's a husband and wife team, so I will also get a male perspective on this one. I wasn't expecting G to see it until after it was sent out to various publishers. No complaints, he and his wife A are professionals and will let me know if I mess up or anything else. Nothing that I put into my stuff these days bothers them either, as in they don't projectile vomit at even the distant mention of "something"...

I'd like to have this one sent out by spring at the latest.

Other projects:

I'm still continuing to work in a WIP, the same one I've been working with the last few weeks... And although it is slow going by times, it's still going.

The nitty gritty? It's one I started a long time ago and am finally getting the original idea back for it... So I'm writing it, in my style, with my ideas, and what I can tolerate in the love scenes - and maybe more.

It won't be for the prudes with the ultra sensitive gag reflex that goes into overdrive at even a distant reference to oral sex, that's for sure..... Or anything I write period, for that matter...

I also have a possible name for another older story if I ever write that idea.....

And the original idea for another one is starting to come back to me as well.

So I have lots of ideas to keep me busy for a while.

I'm just glad I have a near photographic memory and I'm so darn meticulous about backups... Else the original ideas for all of the above may not have come back to me.

Lesson learned, Uni. Do things MY way and TO GENRE GUIDELINES, ETC.

Have a great night everyone... Keep rocking! :)

Yours truly, the ultra crazy rocker chick aspiring author.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Prelims

Wow has it been over a week since my last update? I've been so crazy lately with things it's a wonder I remember to catch a few hours of sleep every night.
As the title suggests, yes I have been doing more preliminary work for another possible manuscript. As I posted in the last blog entry from September 29th, 2014, I have done a few character bios for this one, as well as some ideas. I have added to that list, with a list of key scenes and their approximate location in the story itself. The timeline is done and has been tweaked, the scene ideas files are now on the go with a few ideas in each one, and I have a lot of the research for it out of the way - and filed in the appropriate spots.

I've even started playing around with writing a bit... Not saying how much is written up but yes, I have tried writing a scene or two... Or, do I mean more? *looks innocent*

And just what is this story about? It's a contemporary romance. Nope, I don't care to say any more than that outside of certain trusted people who know better than to go telling tales out of school, and of course, my fellow Divas and Dudes in my favorite writing forum. *wink*

I know there are some out there who will read this and think I'm only pretending to have another possible story in the works... Well, I have news for them. I actually DO have a potential new WIP in the works. It would NOT be on the blog if I wasn't doing it. Said someones know I'm telling the truth about it too.

Just saying........................................................................

Anyway, as for "Away to Me" I am still waiting for more edits from the rest of the crew. Hoping to get those soon so I can get that one ready for publishers.

Have a great week everyone! :)

Monday, September 29, 2014

Dropping By for a Second...

Hi everyone, just dropping by with another ultra quick update. Things have been nuts here, between Son and I both having colds (he got over his, I'm still feeling horrid), homework and other school related stuff, going out with friends, and me trying to get another story on the go.

Last week, D and I went to Mahone Bay, and we did some walking and shopping, notably in two shops she adores and that I adore now too. Tea isn't my normal hot drink but I do like it and I admit I kind of splurged on a large bag of cinnamon tea. It's good, or I think it is, I can't taste much with my senses dulled due to this *f-bomb* cold.

We also popped down to our favorite place to purchase stones and other related items... I kinda went nuts in there and got a gorgeous pair of dreamcatcher style rawhide earrings and a few other goodies.

And yes, we discussed what direction I'm taking with my writing. It's not one that D was recommending... I was kind of expecting her to whomp me in the arse a few times, but she is leaving me alone on one condition: I do it to my genre's standards but in my style, and my style only.

This idea was my original idea, so it's "legal" to use as a story, in all aspects for me as an aspiring author. I spent my writing time on Wednesday doing detailed character bios/profiles - from their physical appearance right down to the jewelery they wear - and jotting ideas down for it as they came to me.

I'm still in the early stages of that one, although I am close to getting its "hook" - the first line that gets the reader interested and keeps them reading to see what happens next.

Not saying what idea it is or anything else right now. That's between me, my readers/editors and my writing pals. Heck I'm not sure if it's going to stick or not, so I'm not saying anything publicly. I don't want to jinx myself.

I'm not sure if this one is going to work out or not... We'll just have to see. *wink*

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Quick Update

It's hard to believe the 2014 - 2015 school year has started. Our summer went by in two blinks, and the leaves are already starting to turn in my end of Nova Scotia. Son is happy to be back with his friends and teachers, and gets up with eagerness each morning.

Day 54 of my quit smoking journey is here, and although I've been craving a lot, I'm still smoke free and determined to beat the nicotine addiction for good this time. 

So this is what's going on in my writing world...........

Last week, I had two full writing days and utilized them to do some polishing and rewrites in "Away to Me". I made a few POV changes, put something more in line with what my breed expert says would be right for that particular breed of dog, and made some other editing changes like compressions and other fun things we authors need to do during the editing phase of getting a manuscript ready for publishers.

I'm now in the "waiting period" for more edit suggestions from the readers again, so the current draft of the manuscript is set aside until they tell me where it needs work.

It's official: Ten has been shelved. It's too much like the "Legacies" duology in style and storyline to be "mine" at the moment. I'm not sure if I'll ever finish that one or if I do, it'll be completely revamped.

I don't have any other ideas grabbing me by the throat right now either, and it feels odd not to be working on something writing wise.

Please... Before anyone starts messaging me with ideas, don't bother. I do appreciate the sentiments, and y'all thinking of me, but I have enough ideas of my own. I'm trying to figure out which one is the best idea to run with, and which one will hit me like "Away to Me" did when I started working on it.

Besides, the last time I wrote a story that was someone else's idea, it turned into a huge disaster, known as "Family Portraits"... Or, if you prefer, "The Worst of VJ's Finished Manuscript Drafts".

The idea I run with has to be mine, in concept and everything else from the start, else we'll see a repeat of that mess.

The one bright spot of not having anything hitting me right now is that even with that, I'm still getting vague images and ideas for scenes in anonymous stories, and a title for one.

Have a great week everyone. I hope to be posting that I am deep into another story soon.... I just have to find it first! :)

Friday, August 22, 2014

Renovations and Revelations

Day 36 of my quit smoking journey is here and I'm really coming out of the brain fog, so much that I'm getting the urge to write. That hasn't really happened since I had my first smoke free day on July 18th! It feels great being back into it. I really missed seeing an open manuscript in some form open on my taskbar, and didn't have it all summer. I didn't want to risk messing things up while I was still waking up after being blindsided with BS for the last three years and still going through the "just quit smoking fog". 

"Away to Me" went into Draft 3 mode at 11:20 a.m. ADT today, and I've started another reread/edit on it. I'm focusing on things my sister in law has pointed out to me so far, along with things my longtime friend D noticed.

So far, so good. My sister in law is one hell of a great editor and caught a LOT in the first 8 pages of the manuscript. It may not seem like that much considering the manuscript itself is only 138 pages long at this point, but if she's catching that many mistakes already, awesome. It also shows just how awful I am at editing, and how much I need to learn about it.

D notes that I have to work on certain areas and has prescribed time with a certain breed of dog. No problem, I know who has two of the cute fellows and will be seeing them all on Tuesday! *Grins!* Other than that, she liked the story overall and said it needs to be polished.

Hey, I knew that much. My writing isn't perfect, I admit it. It needs a lot of work even in sixth draft, or it does in my opinion at least....

So, it looks like "Away to Me" may be deemed "good enough" to send out to publishers in time, once my sister in law, and my best friend are finished going over it for me. I may get someone from one of my writing forums to give me a critique on it too, just to be extra safe. There are some awesome folk at both of them, who know what they're doing...

I've also made a few changes with the Alpha and Beta Teams. Local Alpha A has been changed to "Critique Reader" and will be just reading the story to see how it flows overall and if it's good story wise, and believable. D is still Alpha Reader #1 and my "breed expert". Sister in Law and Bestie are the Betas.

D also noted a few things about something I thought she wouldn't read and comment on until after "Away to Me" was off to publishers... A while back, I had sent her a current draft of "Family Portraits" (sequel to "No Regrets") and told her not to worry about reading it. I'm not revamping those two for a while - IF EVER - and I want to focus on writing the shorter, less complicated stuff before I tackle THAT task.

She read it anyway...

And didn't like it.

The one thing she said that's really sticking out for me is that it didn't feel like it was me writing it. It felt like I was writing like someone else and it didn't work. She said a few other things and well, by the time she was done, I was thoroughly embarrassed that I had sent it to her. It's in horrible condition and if she didn't like it, it's gross.

Now that my brain fog has cleared and I can see the truth, I can easily understand D's point. Like "No Regrets", that story was heavily influenced by someone else, someone who wanted me to write their "ideal" romance story. Because I was stupid and listened to this person instead of my gut, my natural talent was so darn muffled and dulled, you can't read "me" as an author at all in it. It was like I was trying to ghost write for this other person, and it turned into a huge "FAIL", for me as an author and it is now one of the worst stories I've ever written.

No wonder why those two stories do not feel like "my" work, and now I can see why I'm so darn detached from them. It wasn't "my" style coming through, it was someone else's style and ideas.

I am rather ticked off at myself right now, for writing that story the way I had, and all of the hours/days/months/years wasted on two manuscripts that aren't worth using for kindling. Maybe if I had followed my gut and wrote them the way *I* wanted to write them when I first came up with the original idea four years ago, I wouldn't be feeling this way now.

Lesson learned, Uni.

I really don't know if either are salvageable or not. I'm thinking they're probably not, even if I rewrite them in my style and let my talent really shine. I have a feeling that hearing all of this stuff from D and knowing what I know now was the final death blows to the "Legacies" series. Hubby thinks I should rewrite them, after I have a few more books under my belt.

I don't know. I really don't know. I'm too damn embarrassed and ticked off at myself right now.

Boy talk about a revelation, a huge one.

Again, lesson learned, Uni. I got it this time.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Rejuvenation, Healing, and Corgis....

It's been an interesting two weeks.

I haven't done anything writing wise, but conditions still aren't ideal for it. I'm still feeling rotten physically and that's keeping my concentration at a bare minimum, which isn't good for writing or editing. I've been so bad the last couple of months that I've had to retire from admining all but my author's page and two of the groups I was running. I was too darn sick to watch those, but left them as "inactive" during the worst of it. I'm only starting to get my author's page going again, and I'm still not doing a lot with it.  

My sister in law is still sending me edits for "Away to Me" and I'll soon be hearing back from D and A, along with my best pal and her suggestions.

My goals for the rest of the month include giving "Away to Me" another read through while doing suggested edits, and going over Ten to see what can be kept, what can be tossed, and what has to be rewritten, and so on.

I'm starting to come out of the "just quit smoking" fog a little more so hopefully I will have the mental energy to do that soon. I'm on Day 23 now and things are finally starting to ease up in more ways than one. I'm finally bringing up interesting and gross gunk now, and I'm able to breathe a little easier. This is part of my lungs healing after abusing them for over 20 years, and heavily for the last 8 or so.

Tuesday, one of my longtime friends and alpha readers D and I spent the day together. It was so much fun! We went to my favorite beach, where she took some photos of me, and we had some fun with one of her corgis, a sweet fellow named T. He is so gentle and cuddly. I fell in love with him instantly!

I wish I had been smarter and worn shorter jeans but in the end it was worth it. Some of the pics turned out great and all of us had a great time. We went to her house for a few hours after that, and I met two of her other dogs, a Sheltie named "S" and her other corgi named "S". Sheltie S was pretty timid and wasn't sure of me at first, but she was soon accepting any treats I dropped for her and even let me touch her nose once or twice. She's a gentle and sweet girl, and so gorgeous. Corgi S is out of this world gorgeous, and he exudes a really upbeat, silly and fun energy one can't resist.

D's dogs are amazing. They stole my heart!

Fun fact: Her dogs are the inspiration for a dog in one of my manuscripts. She's helping me with getting the movements and everything else down pat in that story, that way I won't get lynched by the breed's loyal servants!

In other news... As part of my quit smoking journey, I'm giving myself rewards once in a while, as motivation to keep going and have something to look forward to. Part of my "Surviving Heck Week" reward came this week... Bejeweled 3 is one of the things in Part One of the reward. I did have it years ago but lost my copy of it before I purchased my current system. Son didn't like not having it and kept asking me to get it. I saw they finally had it on sale in an online store and ordered it. He's now VERY happy and is playing it a LOT during his evening computer time.

The other part of Part One of that reward is a CD I've been wanting for a while... "Proof of Life", which is the latest solo album by my favorite singer of all time, Scott Stapp, who also happens to be the frontman for my favorite band of all time, CREED. It's GOOD and I now have a lot of the songs from it in my main play list on Media Player.

The final part of the reward will be here within the next couple of weeks, it came from a store that advertises on this online shopping site. It's Bejeweled Twist, another game I had on the old system and lost the disk for it. Son didn't play that one a lot but he said he wants to learn this time... Okay with me as long as he doesn't mess up the computer or MY stuff at all! LOL

Have a great weekend everyone!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Summer Writing Time 2014, Part Deux....

Wow, has it really been over two weeks since I last updated the blog? Time's a-flying again...

So... Sister in law has started reading "Away to Me" and sent me her list of edits for the first two chapters and the synopsis so far. I have a lot to do with just her suggestions alone. Bestie got her copy about a week ago at the most but won't get into it until sometime next month. D and A are reading it now, or will be shortly, so that's all good.

I haven't worked on Ten much the last couple of weeks, other than a glance at it or jotting down an idea for it. I haven't been up to doing much writing wise this summer, between my health being the pits, the mosquito population and quitting smoking just over a week ago. I'm hoping now that the "just quit" fog is lifting that I can get back into it over the next month or so.

As for Ten, I may wind up having to rewrite it from the start... It's too wordy, which is part of what I'm trying to avoid. It is going in the right direction that I want to take my writing, somewhat, but not like "Away to Me" did, and it's starting to tick me off. I can do a lot better than this.

I know I can do so much better, and I know what has to be done to do it right, too. "Away to Me" isn't a failure, unlike my first two manuscripts. I don't want Ten going the wrong way after all.... Lesson learned!

Have a great week everyone!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Lazy Days of Summer? Get Real!

This past week has been crazy. Our internet finally went back to normal on Monday, and I've been going nuts catching up and other things... Including working on Ten, and getting "Away to Me" cleaned up even more for the Alpha Readers. 

I had a little writing time earlier this week, only 2 hours worth, and I managed to get 800 words added to Ten, in between some edits on it. Chapter 6 was finished, and Chapter 7 was started. It's not progressing as fast as I would like it to, but I'm lucky it's progressing at all between everything happening in real life and my writing life... It's crazy right now, and it's supposed to be my summer break/recharge time!

"Away to Me" came out of another stasis cycle this past week, so I could highlight any possible problem areas for the Alphas, and do another round of editing on it. I removed a lot of the repetitive stuff, compressed a few of the wordier areas, and if there was a missing word, added it.

I also did a word count on it last night, and it was shortened by almost 2K. It now stands at just under 76K words, for the record.

My three Alpha Readers got it in PDF form last night at 8 p.m. my time (Atlantic Time zone), and one of my two Beta Readers got it this morning. The only one who hasn't gotten a copy of it yet is my best friend, and she'll get it the instant she says she's ready for it! The Alphas have until August 19th to read it and give me their list of necessary edits, etc, and the one Beta reader is allowed to take her time with it... She has until the same deadline my best friend has, whenever that will be. Bestie isn't ready for it by a long shot, so at least the other Beta has lots of time to go over the story with a fine toothed comb....

I'm pretty darn nervous right now. It's the first time anyone other than me has seen the story in its entirety. I know it's better than "No Regrets" was when I sent it out to publishers last year, but I still know there are mistakes in it.... I just hope between the six of us, we can get it perfected enough for publishers' eyes sometime!

I just hope they like it......

So, now that "Away to Me" has been sent out to the helpers, I have more time to worry about Ten, and getting that one going again. I hope to get moving with it more now that I have more time, and don't have the edits/rereads of "Away to Me" at the back of my mind.... With a little luck, that one will be zooming along come fall, and I'll be going nuts trying to finish that one while my best friend is absorbed in writing up the loooooooooooong list of edits that "Away to Me" will need before it's perfected enough for publishers.

I just hope I have more than three stories in me, and hope I can finish a fourth manuscript before next year this time....

Have a great weekend everyone!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Writing Update and Hurricane Arthur 2014

Things haven’t been going as planned for writing.

Once again, our entire mosquito population seems to love zooming around our house after dark, and this means distractions for me. I haven’t had a chance to work on Ten much at all since summer vacation started a week ago, and I’m starting to get a little frustrated.

Hurricane Arthur hit my province over the weekend, and I’m really lucky to have power right now, let alone an internet connection. We were on the eastern side of the storm when it hit on July 5, 2014, and that meant a huge windstorm. We lost power around 6 a.m. Saturday morning, it came back on around 9:30, went out around 12:30, and Hubby decided it was best for Son and I to go to my mother in law’s house if she had power. Son was cranky, and demanding we do something to “fix” the power outage.

We wound up spending a good chunk of the evening with my mother in law. On the way to her house, we noted there were trees down everywhere – not just broken branches like our poor ash tree suffered. There was even a tree down across the entire road about a mile north of our house, on our road that day. Thankfully, we could easily travel the other way, or the “long way” to town, called because instead of being nine miles like it is on our regular route, it’s twelve miles.

Mom’s power was on but her phone, cable and internet were out. Son didn’t mind. We watched a LOT of Star Trek on DVD that evening.

Our power was on when we got home around 11 p.m. after Hubby was finished work that evening, but it went out again at 3 a.m. Sunday morning. This time, the phone was out too, so I couldn’t drop a report into NS Power’s automated outage line.

Mid morning on Sunday, we prepared to head to my mother in law’s house again... Just as we were heading out the door, the power came back on, much to Son’s delight. We still went to see Mom and my brother in law for a bit, and even got a few cuddles from their cats, Puffy and Mr. Black.

When we got home, the power was still on, the phones were working, but the internet was out. I use a turbo stick, which runs off cell phone airways, and back here, I normally get between three bars and a perfect signal. The stick was not getting any at all most of the time. I was able to get on to let people know we’re fine and everything is okay here, but that was it.

It’s still not working properly and although I’m able to get on, it crashes after a few minutes. I barely had enough time to catch up this morning in only a couple of spots before it died again. I’m getting two bars at most the majority of the time it’s working, and it can drop down to “Data Service Not Available” at any time.

I’m glad that’s the only thing that isn’t working right at the moment... It could be worse. There are still people in the province without power or phone service right now, and not having internet all of the time is a small inconvenience compared to that. It’s been humid too, and I can’t imagine being in this heat without a fan going. I know NS Power is undermanned but you’d think other provinces would pitch in and help... Then again, it seems Ottawa doesn’t care about anything or anyone east of Quebec’s easternmost border...

While I’m unable to be online, I’m working on getting the final edits for “Away to Me” out of the way before it is sent off to the Alpha Reading Team, or “ART” for short. If I can’t send it to them from here, I may wind up having to take a memory stick with everything on it to either a public spot or a family member’s house to send it. Hopefully the internet lasts that long, or is back to somewhat normal by the 20th, my deadline to have it to all three of them!

To all affected by Hurricane/Post Tropical Storm Arthur: I hope y’all are safe, and that things go back to normal ASAP! I haven’t heard of any deaths, but I know the damage has been astronomical, comparable to Hurricane Juan in September of 2003. My thoughts and prayers are with all of you.


Have a great week everyone. I’ll drop a quick update when I can, and if I get anything done in Ten in the meantime!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Summer Writing Time, 2014: Part One

Here we go... Summer writing time, 2014.

So far, it's been interesting. I haven't had much time to work on Ten since my last writing day of the 2013 - 2014 school year, other than a few quick rereads/edits of the last couple of chapters. I did have some quiet time the other day, but I wound up doing a read through of it and edit instead.

I was up till 3:30 a.m. the other night, working, but not on Ten as everyone would assume. You see, things have changed up with getting "Away to Me" ready for future publication - IF my Alpha and Beta teams think its story and how it is written will be perfect for it, either by a publishing house or going Indie (self/independent) publishing - with a lot of editing, of course.

Things changed with it because well, who says I can't change it up once in a while? I know my best friend, who is also a member of my awesome beta team, won't be ready to read it until very late this summer at the earliest, but I also have an amazing Alpha team, who are getting it first. There are three members of it, my local pal D - who was originally a beta reader, my BIL's girlfriend, and Sandra. All have their strengths in picking out different things, and all are either avid readers or writers like myself.

I thought where Bestie won't be ready for it for a bit, why not have a few others look at it while I'm waiting? She's good at both seeing the storyline AND any mistakes in grammar and sentence structure, etc., so she'll be one of the last ones to get it... And where the Alpha team needs some time to read it, give me their commentary/opinion on it, and I need time to make any necessary corrections in it, doing it during the summer months seems to be the perfect time to get it all out of the way.

It came out of stasis at 9:31 p.m. Atlantic time on June 25th, and its first read through as a second draft was finished last evening around 6:30 p.m. Atlantic time.

I did notice a few typos here and there, and those have been fixed. So far, so good with that part, at least! I probably missed a few but those will be picked up and corrected in time, between me and my amazing teams. I've compressed a few areas, taken out some repetitive stuff, added a word or two here and there if I thought it needed it and reworded a few things to make it easier to read.

It's back in stasis again, for a few more days. The next step is highlighting any areas that I think are "problem spots", like passive scenes or areas that seem too wordy in my opinion, so the Alpha team knows I've picked up a few areas like that already.

My deadline to get this round done and out to them is July 20th. In return, their deadline to read it and get back to me with comments, necessary edits, and their opinion on the entire story is August 19th.

As for the Beta team - my best friend, and my brother's wife, or the "Grammar Nazis" as I call them - the schedule with them depends on when my best friend is ready for it. When she tells me she's just about ready to go over it, I will dig it out again then, and do one last edit on it before I sent it to her and my SIL. Hopefully that will be sometime in September or early October at the latest.

You know, when I was reading it, I was comparing the set up of it to that of the Legacies series - "No Regrets" and "Family Portraits". It is very bare bones compared to those two... I do some detailed descriptions in it, but even those tend to be short and power packed, and I hardly describe the characters' physical attributes at all. I may mention the LF's eye color once, maybe twice, in the entire story, and there are hardly any repetitive character descriptions at all. The two "epics" have multiple descriptions of the mains, and well, I've learned that it can be ultra boring to most readers out there. Once is fine in some cases, but not much more than that.

"Away to Me" is my shortest novel length book to date, due to it being so bare boned. It's less than 78K long, which is in the right range for publishing via most romance publishers.

The question is, "Will it be up to publishing house standards, even after it's edited to perfection?"

I know it isn't now, and I'm not sure it ever will be. I'd like to think so, but it's only my first attempt to write a shorter, less complicated story, and I'm still learning. It may never be up to the publishing house standards, even after a thorough edit by everyone. I'll have to see what my Alpha and Beta teams say about it before I decide to send it out or not.

I know it's far from being perfect to be Indie published right now, and not sure if it ever will be good enough for an Indie publication. It has to be so perfect that not even a Grammar Nazi can find fault with it, and the storyline has to be dead on, unique and well written.

It's so far from being that good and that perfect grammar wise right now, I may as well be orbiting Eris!

I may never be good enough for an Indie publication for all I know. I know I'm far from ready for it now.

So glad I decided NOT to put the Legacies series out as Indie publications after I got rejections for "No Regrets" as it is, like some people out there suggested to me... That would have been a disaster. They are not ready for being published period, and may never be, even after being revamped.

As for Ten, I'm hoping to get a few hours to work on it here and there over the next week or two. I'd like to get at least the equivalent of a chapter written into it over summer vacation.

This summer is going to be crazy... And of course, I'm still wanting that salad dressing.... My words taste horrible by the way.

Have a great weekend everyone, and if you're in Canada, have a safe and fun Canada/Dominion Day on July 1st!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

And a Cup of Salad Dressing For Me Please...

I need it so my words taste better. *SIGH*

Remember how a couple of weeks ago, I said I would "not" have a manuscript nagging at me this summer? Well, I'm eating my words... Again. I should know better than to say I'm "not" doing something or "don't have any current WIPs waiting to be finished for a while", because the universe always seems to find the perfect way to made me realize that sometimes, things cannot be controlled.

My writing is one of those things. I had planned not to get into another manuscript this late in the school year, especially since my past experiences showed it takes me a few months to come out of one manuscript's story enough to get into a new one. "Away to Me" was finished less than a month ago, and here I am, deep into writing another first draft.

Ten is progressing better than I hoped it would this soon after wrapping up another story that had me by the throat, like "Away to Me" did for only a couple of short months. It's picking up speed, and the story itself is starting to really take over my mind, just like the other finished first drafts had when I was deep into writing them.

I thought I had three writing days this week, but due to a change in Hubby's schedule, it was only two, Wednesday and yesterday. I'm glad I set only daily goals this week, just to be safe.

Either way, I beat both day's goal of 1500 words each. I went low, I know, but I didn't think I'd be setting fire to the keyboard with this one so soon.

Wednesday was almost 3600 words and the majority of Chapter 5 was written up.

Yesterday was over 3800 words... I wasn't expecting things to go the way they did in the main file for a very pivotal scene, but geez... Once the idea hit me, I ran with it and I think it's better this way than the original way. It fits in more with the characters' personalities and experiences too. Chapter 5 was finished, and the majority of Chapter 6 was written yesterday too.

I'm also now officially on "Summer Writing Time", and anyone who has been following me for a while knows what that means. With summer vacation just about here, I don't have any days that I will be alone for hours on end, setting fire to the keyboard. This means that for the next two months, I will be nabbing whatever writing time I can get, whether it's an hour or so here and there while Son is being quiet or gone to run errands with his father, or the late nights - which wind up resulting in a rewrite the majority of the time.

I'm not feeling the effects of not having at least one day per week of writing time yet. My last official writing day of the 2013-2014 school year was only yesterday, so the "gnawing on the monitor" feeling won't hit me until either next week or after the final report cards come out on June 30th.

I'm not looking forward to going through that for the third summer in a row. 2012, it was "No Regrets", last year it was "Family Portraits", and now this year, it's "Ten" or whatever its title will finally be.

I suppose the silver lining in this breaking for two months thing is that I managed to get one full manuscript written without having to take more than a week or a few days off from writing it during a school break. I am glad that I finished "Away to Me" in record time, and I think my keyboard is still smoking somewhat from how fast I went through that one's first draft. If I hadn't gotten it done before now, I would have gone completely bananas this summer. Bad enough Ten is going to drive me a little crazy, and I'm not fully into this one - YET. I'm almost there though, and when it fully takes over my mind, watch out everyone.

"Away to Me" is still in stasis, but it may come out once over the summer, for a full read through and edit. Things are changing on one end, and it may be sent out to the Alpha and Beta Teams early, depending on what's happening over the summer in a certain area. We'll see how things go, and I'll keep everyone on both teams updated if anything changes.

Both teams can't say I didn't warn them... Buwahahahahahaha!

Anyway, I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend, and HELLO SUMMER! A very happy Litha to all of my friends who celebrate it in the northern hemisphere, and a very happy winter solstice to all in the southern hemisphere. Enjoy the season, whatever it may be, everyone!

I'll post updates over the summer as things progress.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Closing in on Summer Writing Time...

Progress in Ten is starting to pick up speed a little, even with idiots abound in certain spots that allow trolls and jerks to flourish. (NOT saying where though, just glad it's not any forums I frequent!)

This week had two writing days... Wednesday and of course, today. I didn't set a goal for the entire week, I wound up setting a goal of 1500 for each day, just to change things up a bit. I'm still not fully absorbed by this story yet, so I'm playing it safe and keeping the daily/weekly goals sort of minimized for now.

Wednesday was over 2200 words, and I was happy to get it. I was running into more speed bumps with some of it than I can count, but determinedly pushed myself over each of them and kept going.

Today's word count was slightly higher, at 2445 words, which isn't bad considering it's Friday the 13th combined with a full moon, and Mercury Retrograde on top of it. Idiots galore is an understatement! (GEEZ!)

So if anyone was hoping to deliberately throw me off the writing curve, or hoping to see me not write for some stupid and nasty reason, they're going to be sorely disappointed. *SMUG GRIN*

I'm now partway into Chapter 5, and getting into stuff that's making me think it's probably time to put password protection onto the file - Son knows how to use the computer, probably better than I do, and I'm the family's computer tech! *THUD!*

For the record, the main characters haven't gotten to "that" point yet, but this story seems to be flowing more toward the "adult" stuff being in it from the very start, unlike my other manuscripts. What it is and other things are "top secret" until this one's published. *NYAH*

Oh well, gotta change it up to keep my writing fresh and exciting, right? *WINK!*

And in other news, I found out when schools start in my district this coming fall. It's September 4th, so it looks like "Away to Me" will be coming out of stasis on that day - unless I'm so deep into Ten that I don't want to set it aside for a day or so.

We'll just have to see how it goes, I guess. I will have a month to get it ready for the Alpha and Betas when it comes out of stasis, so I'll have plenty of time to get moving on that round of edits.

Speaking of summer........

Yesterday, Hubby and I took a drive along the shore, to one of our favorite spots.

It's a 1.7 km (one mile) long beach named Crescent Beach. I am not sure, but I think it was named after its shape. It's like a half moon, or crescent, and loops northward from west to southward on the eastern end, poking out into the Atlantic, and the road between it and the salt water marsh to the north is used to connect the LaHave Islands to the mainland.

It's one of my old childhood haunts. My family and I were at that beach a lot when I was a child, and I still love it down there to this day.

Hubby and I parked in one of the spots for that purpose on the back side of the dunes, climbed over a lot of boulders, and hit the beach. I took over 200 photos, a few videos and wound up uploading almost 150 of them to Facebook, along with five of the videos.

Here's a sample of some of the photos:

Facing eastward, toward the LaHave Islands.

Facing west, toward Petite Riviere and West Dublin.


Periwinkles on rocks at the east end of the beach.



At the east end of the beach, facing the open ocean.

East end of Crescent Beach.

Here's a video from down there, just waves hitting the shore. So peaceful!


And another one, while facing the LaHave Islands, eastward.


And look, there's a beach bum!

((Yes, this is really me!))
I hope you enjoyed the photos and videos of one of my favorite spots in the world.

Have a fantastic weekend, everyone!

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Pray for Moncton and an Update

Before I bore my readers with one of my writing updates, I'd like to say something regarding the events of this week.

I ask that no one mentions the name of the Moncton NB suspect/perpetrator anywhere on my areas, out of respect for the RCMP and their families. This is for my Facebook page, my author's profile, my Twitter posts and shares/retweets, my real name profile, and in the comments section here on my blog.

I have a lot of respect for the men and women in every tier of the RCMP, and I do not tolerate any disrespect for the Mounties. Mentioning his name at all is disrespecting them in my opinion. He's had his 15 seconds, and didn't deserve any of it, nor does he deserve to be remembered.

Remember those who serve to protect our nation and its citizens, not those who coldly and deliberately hurt or kill others. Simple as that.

My thoughts and prayers are with all RCMP officers across Canada, no matter where they are stationed, and their families. I'd also like to thank ALL of our Mounties, still commissioned or retired, in every detachment across the country, for making sure the civilians in our beautiful and vast nation are safe, and for putting their lives on the line daily.

Thanks to all Mounties, from an aspiring author in southwest Nova Scotia. 

My author's page will continue to have the #PrayForMoncton banner for the rest of the month, to show my support for the city of Moncton New Brunswick, and respect for all RCMP officers and their families. 

#PrayforMoncton #RCMP #RCMPNB

*********************

Writing Update:

Some progress has been made in my writing world.

"Away to Me" went into stasis for the summer on Monday, June 2, 2014 at 6:28 p.m. ADT. It will remain there until September 5th or 6th, depending on when my first writing day of the 2014-2015 school year is. It will be coming out for another read-through and round of massive editing before my alpha reader and beta team get it. Due date to send it off to them is October 13, which is the Canadian Thanksgiving and Columbus Day in the US. My best friend is on the beta team, and won't be ready to sit down and enjoy it while she's covering it with red marks until then, hence the long stasis period and four month wait.

The "squirrel on speed" feeling I normally get was bad on Tuesday and Wednesday, and I had to do something to stop it. I know what I did was bad, but it was either do it or lose it!

I know I'm supposed to be recharging my writing batteries over the summer, and was going to set things aside until September so I wouldn't have a story driving me nuts during July and August, but I am writing again. I know, it's been just over a week since the first draft of "Away to Me" was finished and I should take a short break, but I'm still fired up writing wise, and hate leaving an unfinished work on my desktop.

So, I'm back to working on Ten for the time being. I had two full days this week, and although it was slow going, managed to get Chapter 2 finished and Chapter 3 almost there in the rough draft. I've made a few modifications to the timeline and storyline to make it more plausible and to get things moving faster. I'm slowly getting into the habit of having a story happen over the course of three to nine months, tops, instead of over the course of years or decades.

I don't know if I'll finish this one before another one comes to me. We'll just have to see how it goes. I'd love to finish it sometime, preferably before 2015 rings in, but if I don't and another story gets written in the meantime, fine with me. I'll just plug away at it when I can, and as long as the story is there in my brain somewhere, it will get done somehow.

I know I no longer feel like a squirrel on speed, so that's good. I'm not driving myself and so many others crazy with me bouncing off the walls because I don't know what to work on next!

In other writing news... My local beta reader, D, the one with the dog leashes, now has Family Portraits waiting for her to read, along with a bunch of frying pans to hit me with. It's filled with mistakes, passive areas and so much JUNK. I'm going to be lucky if I'm still able to write when she's done clocking me for sending her such a horribly edited manuscript!

I have a couple of writing days ahead of me this coming week, and I hope to make more progress in Ten. I'm now starting to build up a relationship between the two main characters, and a key event will be happening sometime soon. I just have to find the right balance between not boring the reader and not making things move too fast. I'm still learning how to do that, and wind up going to one extreme to the other. Hopefully I can get it right in this story without a million rewrites.

Have a great weekend everyone. Namaste.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

The "Fun" Has Begun...

Editing is not my favorite thing to do, especially when it comes to my own stuff. I like perfection in my work, and previous experiences tell me I'm not perfect at picking out the inconsistencies, passive and wordy areas and everything else an editor at a publishing house doesn't want to see in a submitted manuscript for their consideration. I really have to get out of that mindset and don't expect much when it comes to me editing my own stories, even though I've learned a lot in the last five months, since I've joined two writing forums and am getting advice from some of the best - authors right over to the editors, etc - in the entire writing business.


The "necessary evil" of the editing and proofing have started on "Away to Me" and it's worse than I imagined. Passive areas, repetitive stuff and glaring inconsistencies everywhere. It's going to take another week or so working on it full time to get it up to snuff before it goes into stasis for the summer. I was hoping even with keeping it bare bones that it would be a lot better than this, and I'm really ticked off at myself for not doing a better job at it. Then I remember I'm still learning and I'm not as ticked. I'm still kicking myself, but not so badly, and I start prepping the frying pans I'll be giving to my betas with their copies of "Away To Me" this coming autumn. I'm expecting a LOT of cracks on the head for all of the mistakes, and other things in the second draft, even after I get the worst ones out of it.


I'm slowly getting things cleaned up though. Friday would have been another writing day for me if I was into another story, so I used the entire day to work on getting the first edit/reread of "Away to Me" in its entirety. 


Here's what I did:
  • Took out a few passive areas.
  • Compressing of timeline started.
  • Started putting chapter breaks at the beginning of a new page.
  • Began removing repetitive stuff.
  • Compressions of wordier areas started.
  • Started smoothing out choppier areas.


My local beta and longtime friend D asked me how long of a time period "ATM" took place... It was originally about 15 months. She suggested I compress it to six months. 

That was "fun". I went back, checked things over and managed to squeeze it into a bare nine months over all. Not bad, could be better though. I don't think I can get it more squashed than that. I'll have to see.

Yes, I got a lot done but still have a long way to go before it's ready for stasis, round one. I have a couple of hours here and there and a day or two to get back to the editing this week, and I'll be deep into things when I have the chance. It's slow going but it's getting there, one step at a time. I'm learning as I go too. And boy have I learned a lot in the last six months, more than I could have imagined!

I thought I knew a lot but didn't know squat about the REAL writing world, even with two finished first drafts under my belt. I'm shocked at how far I've come in only a couple of years, since I first sat down, dug out "No Regrets" initial idea and its few components at the end of 2011 and tried to see what wasn't working with that manuscript, once that I had the time to do something with it.

"No Regrets" was "hell" to write by times, and if it hadn't been for me talking with various people, thinking about it CONSTANTLY, rereading everything I had written, brainstorming, countless hours researching and all of the other stuff entailed with writing a unique and interesting story, I would have tossed it aside, given up on it and tried to find something else to amuse me, while making excuses why I wasn't trying to get past the speed bumps and other nasty things I encountered while working on it. Rewrites - UGH! So many... *Shudders!* Passive areas: galore! *GAG* Repetitive stuff.... I think I lost about 2000 words just with taking THAT stuff out, and I think there's more to be removed! *THUD!* Sent it out, got rejections for it. My own stupidity and overconfidence, in my writing skills and editing. Lesson learned, big time! Will be revamped before it's published, probably via a self publisher in a few years.

"Family Portraits" presented its own unique set of problems, and other nasty things, despite it being the follow up to "No Regrets". Even though I flew through that one too, I still had problems and had to do a zillion rewrites. More rewrites. Passive areas. Wordy areas. Choppy scenes. The list is LONG in that one, and it needs more work than even "Away to Me" in its current condition. Will be published via self publishing in a few years, after it's cleaned up and if "No Regrets" sells at all. (DOUBTFUL!)

"Away to Me": the first completed manuscript that is NOT related to the Legacies series and well under 100K word wise. I still had a lot of problems getting over speed bumps and other things in it, despite it being bare boned. It needs a lot of work, but not as much as "Family Portraits". Will have five people reading it and whapping me over the head with frying pans after they see the errors in it this time.

What I'm trying to say is that I DID NOT GIVE UP. At all. I've hit more speedbumps writing and editing than I can keep track of, and I have a great memory! If I gave up each time I hit a roadblock, a problem I can't figure out right away, a bout of writer's block or anything else we writers/authors wind up running into on a daily basis with our work, I would have NEVER finished one manuscript's first draft, let alone THREE! 

If you run into a roadblock and are SERIOUS about writing, you won't give up on it. You'll find a way around it, over it or through it and KEEP GOING. NO EXCUSES. If there's a will, there is a way.

Keep in mind that I write only PART TIME, I have two neurological conditions that hinder me sometimes (occipital neuralgia and carpal tunnel syndrome, which affects the HANDS), and I have a special needs child that needs constant attention when he's home.

If *I* can write without any excuses, anyone who is serious about it can do it too. If you can't, you're not serious about it at all, and will keep making excuses not to continue while you put down us really serious writers, which is really nasty and petty.

Simple as that.

On a side note, congrats to WHOM GODS DESTROY for finally getting onto the radio! They're being played on CKDU, which is Dalhousie University in Halifax own radio station. They have a live stream on their site and if you live in Halifax-Dartmouth, you can catch them at 88.1 on the FM dial. Great job, Tim, Eli and Adam... I knew you could do it, and it's the first step toward getting on stations across our beautiful nation!

Have a great week everyone! I'll post another update when more progress is made, either editing "Away to Me" or anything else in my writing world!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Breaking the Tape...

Today I am like a phoenix rising out of the ashes of a raging blaze, and I refused to let unrealities mess up my writing vibe despite everything that happened!

To quote Stewie Griffin from Family Guy, "VICTORY IS MINE!".

It's official:

I have completed my THIRD manuscript in less than three years!

Y'all read that right.

Eleven's first draft was finished at 1:44 p.m. ADT today!

And it's my son's 10th birthday, so that makes today a doubly special day for me!

Wow. Was it only just over 3 months ago that the initial idea for this one was conceived and the main file started? I can't believe it took less than six months to get into it and really get moving!

I'm in shock. It took me longer to get into writing "Family Portraits" than it took me to write Eleven in its entirety! *THUD!*

Other than that, I'm not sure how I feel. I'm still in the writing fog, and where it's still open on the desktop in Draft One, the wackiness hasn't started yet, and I haven't crashed back to earth yet.

That may not happen until sometime next week though... I'm taking what would have been my normal writing day to go over the manuscript with a fine toothed comb - adding a few things I forgot to slap in during the first part of it, and taking out any passive/repetitive stuff I can see.

After that, it's going into stasis for the summer and won't be touched until school starts in September.

That's when I'll start going loopy-doopy and bounce around like a squirrel on speed. It's the post finishing a first draft let down, and I hope I don't completely lose it this time like I did in 2012 after No Regrets was finished.

Speaking of No Regrets, it's going to be my saving grace - again.

Yes, the revamp will start once Eleven goes into stasis, just so I have something productive to do while I'm waiting for Eleven to fade from my mind and a new story to suck me in. It will be put aside when Ten or a new idea gets going, or if school starts before it's done. Eleven is my priority now, and it will be worked on until it's as perfect as it will be for editors and publishers.

Writing this simpler, shorter story has taught me a lot. Each time I put in a passive area and reread it, I took it out and put something else in that would move the story forward a little faster. I've done my best not to be so repetitive this time, and I think I'm starting to get the hang of stories like this one. I don't know if Eleven is the one that will see me get published or not, but that's okay. I wrote it, learned so much from it and will keep going until I hit gold.

To me, success isn't if you're published or not. It's starting a project and finishing it, even if it takes years.

I have three finished first drafts. That's gold threefold. Not bad for a girl who writes only part time, not at all for two months of the year, AND with a special needs child to boot.

No excuses for me. As difficult as it is for me to work a lot of the time, not writing is NOT an option. It's as vital to me as my son, my husband and breathing!

I'd like to thank everyone who was behind me during this journey... My wonderful husband and son, my writing pals in Facebook and Sanctuary, the Water Cooler gang, my alpha and beta teams (Bestie, D, S, and A), my local friend D who taught me a lot about a special breed of dog and who is one of my betas, my brother and his wife, my longtime pal Sandra Durham, other pals who were behind me, my best friend H/Tabby, and my husband's family members. Finally, the gang in Romance Divas, who seemed to light a fire under my chair... I learned a lot from the wonderful people in that forum, and I'm grateful for everything they've done to help me and motivate me to go, go, GO and finish this manuscript!

And if I forgot anyone, my apologies. Namaste!

Happy 10th birthday and lots of love to my beloved son!

ELEVEN'S FIRST DRAFT STATS:

Name: "Away to Me"
Length: 135 pages
Word Count: 77 477
Chapters: 17
Started: February 20, 2014.
Finished: May 29, 2014.
Length of time from starting main file to finishing: 3 months, 9 days, writing part time.


Noted date and time of finishing "Away To Me"
May 29, 2014 screenshot


Have a great weekend everyone, and I hope all of you enjoyed this particular writing journey!

On to the next one with happy hearts, a dance in our step and tons of optimism!

An ending is only a beginning of something just as good or better... 

Sunday, May 25, 2014

A Look Ahead to Summer 2014...

Even though it doesn't feel like it in my area, summer vacation will soon be upon us, and that means the writing will be put on the back burner until school starts again in September.

For the first time in two years, since 2011, I will not have a manuscript waiting to be finished over summer vacation.

It's official: Eleven's first draft will be done before June 20, just as I had hoped.

I'm not sure if it will be finished this week or next week though. It all depends on various factors - like if I can get my brain to concentrate on just writing instead of editing while writing, and real life stuff - and if I can get Chapters 16 and 17 to go the way I want them to. I'm at the most intense part of the story at the moment and sometimes those take me a little longer to write and get up to par for a rough draft or first draft.

When Eleven's first draft is finished, I will be taking at least one or two days that would have been "writing days" to go over it with a fine toothed comb, to check for errors, compress a few things and to add in anything I may have missed.

After that's done, it will go into the first round of stasis, and will stay there all summer. I will reopen it on my first "writing day" after school starts in September and do another round of edits before it goes into stasis, round two. When round two is over, Sandra and my betas get their paws on it.

So, I need a few projects to keep me busy over the summer, once Eleven is in stasis and the full blown "I have finished my latest manuscript and have nothing to work on/write! squirrel on speed mode" settles in.

One project that's been driving me nuts is Ten. It was started before I even had Eleven's idea, and I would like to try to finish it. I'm probably going to go over all of its parts, try to see what's wrong with it and correct it, if I have to because I can't get back into it. I wasn't really "in" to that story anyway, so that could be why Eleven happened to take over once I got its initial idea. If I have to, I will do a complete revamp on how the two mains meet and get to know each other. It's something I'd rather not do, but it could be necessary for me to finish its first draft. Not sure if this one will be published sometime even if it is finished, but we'll see.

Another thing I'm planning on doing is more photography. I suck at it, but practice makes better, right? I want some new, original photographs for my sites, and for a friend of mine, if she wants me to do some more for her.

I've also been thinking about looking through my "dead manuscripts" and seeing if any of them may be salvageable. If they're not at this time (that can change as I hone the writing skills), I may "steal" ideas from their ideas files for another project, like Ten for example. I've already stolen one from one in that folder for Eleven, and it works pretty darn good in that manuscript. I was going to use the idea for Ten, but went in another direction instead with those characters and their personalities. This idea fits Eleven a lot better.

I have an idea for a new story waiting in the wings... It's one I thought of two weeks ago, and although I haven't done anything other than jot down the initial idea for it, I may start mapping it out over the summer... Searching for character names, figuring out their ages, their personalities, where the bulk of the story is going to take place, and all of the "fun stuff" one has to do in order to prepare to write a story. I can do that easily with both guys home. All I have to do is plug in the earbuds and crank up the music, and I will be set. It's not like actual writing so it doesn't need my full concentration or complete silence, thank the stars!

The question is, will I get into that one or not? I honestly don't know. I never know if a story is going to consume my mind like "No Regrets", "Family Portraits" and Eleven had when I was writing them. It's hit or miss with me, and I guess I just got lucky with those three particular manuscripts. What story I'll finish next is anyone's guess, and it could be another year or more before I find the right one, or the right one finds me. I hope I have at least one more in me, because I want to continue writing, even if I never get published.

And if any of those projects do not keep me busy, there's always going over "No Regrets" and getting that story's revamp going full tilt. That is going to take me a long time to do, because I will be working on it only until I get into a new story, whenever that will be, and when Eleven isn't in stasis or being looked at by the betas.

I also have to consult with my best friend on that one about certain things, and hopefully we'll be able to start talking about it sometime this coming fall or winter. She knows my style, knows what I want to keep in that manuscript, and is one heck of a tough taskmaster when it comes to getting everything perfect. She and I will probably clean up Eleven first so that's ready for publishers' eyes (read: to reject!) sometime early next year, then get cracking on "No Regrets" and eventually, "Family Portraits" in between me writing other stories and the pair of us along with the rest of my betas cleaning up anything else I write.

It looks like I'll have plenty to keep me busy and AWAY from Eleven's file this summer once it goes into stasis for the first time. I just hope that when this story's first draft is finished and finally put away for those two months, that I don't completely lose it like I did when No Regrets was in its first stasis cycle. Oh, I was sooooooooooooooo bad............ Maybe the fact that Eleven took only a few months between its conception date and putting "THE END" into its first draft file will help. I had the characters from No Regrets living in my brain for over 2 years after its idea came to me, and for another full year after that, while I was writing its sequel (Family Portraits)... That could be a factor to why I went so loopy-doopy after the duology was finished, after all.

I just hope I don't chomp on the monitor TOO much this summer... Of course, not having a manuscript waiting to be finished may turn out to be a good thing in that respect!

Have a great week everyone!