Category Archives: Revisions

Pre-orders, giveaways, and box sets

Riley swim classNovember…the time to give thanks! PJ Sharon here, and it’s been a crazy busy month–what with editing HEALING WATERS, finishing up my Christmas novella, and taking my sweetpea to baby swim classes. Have I mentioned that I LOVE being a grammy?

The good news is that everything is coming together. HEALING WATERS, book three in the Chronicles of Lily Carmichael trilogy, is now available for pre-order and set for release December 23rd!

For those of you who can’t wait for this final installment, I’m offering a Goodreads Giveaway of three signed copies (Giveaway starts tonight at midnight). Enter below between Nov. 13-Dec. 15th, or pre-order it now to make sure you have the ebook before Christmas!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Healing Waters by P.J. Sharon

Healing Waters

by P.J. Sharon

Giveaway ends December 15, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Box set coverSpeaking of Christmas, I’m putting together this nifty box set. Sami’s Christmas Wish List (a brand spankin’ new 30k novella) ties together all the characters from Heaven is for Heroes, On Thin Ice, and Pieces of Love in one heartwarming Christmas story. Since all the girls hale from the same fictitious CT lake town, the box set is aptly named The Girls of Thompson Lake. I’ll be sure to let you know when it will be on sale!

I guess that’s it for now. Back to work. But don’t think I won’t be enjoying the Thanksgiving pie this month. I’m grateful for countless blessings, as always…family time and pie nearing the top of the list.

What’s your favorite part of Thanksgiving?

#amediting

Good morning Scribes and Scribettes. PJ Sharon here, writing from deep in the edit cave. I thought it might be useful to share an Indie’s perspective on the editing process. It’s about seven weeks until the launch of my next book and the pressure is on.

Coming June 24, 2013!
Coming June 24, 2013!

I received my final set of edits from Carol, my super-editor who looks at everything from plot holes, inconsistencies, and characterization, to misplaced modifiers, repetitive sentence structure and comma placement. She is very thorough and brutally honest. She gives me fantastic feedback that at first makes me grumble and sometimes even cry in frustration at my own lameness as a writer. But then I realize that her suggestions are right on the money and that I would do well to listen.

Her best advice in the end for WESTERN DESERT: “Paula, if you can learn to write sentences that do not rely on “this” and “that” but are specific and vivid, your writing will improve enormously!”

You’ve got to love English teachers!

Carol’s straightforward approach makes me continue to grow as a writer and I am eternally grateful for her as a resource and a friend. But everyone’s view point is limited so I am going through another round of edits on my own, employing her suggestions, layering in details that will enrich the story, and developing more deeply, the character arcs. By this point, I’ve also run the entire manuscript through an editing program called Auto-crit which gives me reports about overused words, repetitive phrases, clichés, and much more. I could make myself crazy with it, but I’ve learned to use it to catch those pesky bad habits we all have (55 occurrences of the word “that” in one chapter, please remove about 34 occurrences). Eeek! Using the program helps me to see where stronger verbs and more vivid language are needed.

Next–as in today–I’ll hand the book over to editor #2, Jane. I feel like this round of edits is what fine-tunes the story, bringing it to life on the page and cleaning house on all the picky details like grammar, punctuation, and overall flow. Don’t get me wrong; Jane will also catch me on plot points that need clarifying, missed opportunities to deepen character, and stilted dialogue. She, too, is extremely thorough and honest—two necessary traits for a great editor.

When Carol and Jane are done red-penning my baby to death, and I’ve done my level best to write a compelling and entertaining tale, I’ll send the manuscript to Createspace for print copies.This step takes a week to ten days (usually less), so I use this time to work on marketing and promo plans. Initially, I can only buy four copies since I haven’t approved the final at that point. I give two of these copies to Beta readers (avid readers with a keen eye for what works in a story and what doesn’t), and send the other two copies to reviewers. Most of the big review sites require copies several months in advance of release, but it won’t hurt to send one to Publisher’s Weekly and hope for the best. This is also the time I will send the e-version in PDF format to on-line review sites. I have a yearly subscription to Author EMS, a website that pre-filters a list of reviewers perfect for my book. It’s a lot of work querying and sending out requested material, but I think it’s worthwhile. (I’d love to find an assistant to do these types of tasks for me).

Once I receive all the feedback from my Beta readers, (I usually give them a week or so), I make one more pass, considering their suggestions as I go. I’m usually still adding layers, sharpening dialogue, and looking for ways to weave the underlying themes throughout the story—basically putting the fine brush strokes on the final picture. Then it goes back to Createspace and I get a few more copies. I give one to a Proof reader, and the others I use as review copies. After the final proof read and final corrections, it goes to my husband for formatting. Although I’ve gotten pretty good at it myself, he is much more patient than I am and is meticulous with all of that awful detail and computer savviness. I approve it on Createsapce and order print copies, 30-50 to start, and upload to Amazon, BN, and Smashwords.

Viola! We have a book. The hardest part of this entire process is all of the other work that is supposed to happen simultaneously, such as planning a launch party, marketing the other books, and preparing my social media strategy for getting the word out. Obviously, I need to get back to work!

Any questions? What’s your process like?

Hot Potato

Hi, Scribe fans! Great to see you. I’m in the middle of a project–doing a rewrite on a novel I wrote for NaNoWriMo a couple of years ago. It’s a contemporary romance (with an embedded mystery, of course!) about a woman with an organizational problem. Ask me how I know about this, LOL! So how about if I share an easy recipe for a winter day, one that doesn’t require a lot of thought or energy? It will get you out of the kitchen and back to your Work-in-Progress in no time.

Mr._and_Mrs._Potato_Head_Toy_Story_3[1]

Easy Potato Soup

5 medium potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped (I like Yukon gold, but any potato will really do)
1 T. olive oil
1 onion, peeled and sliced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and pressed
3 to 4 cups good chicken broth (or a couple of cans–but make sure it’s flavorful)

1/2 c. sour cream (light is okay, just don’t use the fat free stuff) — optional

Place potatoes in a large saucepan, cover with cold water, bring to a boil, then reduce heat a bit and cook until potatoes are soft.

Meanwhile, saute onion and garlic in olive oil over low/medium heat until fragrant and translucent. Don’t allow the mixture to brown.

Drain potatoes and return to saucepan. Don’t turn the heat back on yet. Add onion and garlic mixture. Add 2 cups of chicken broth, and mix with an immersion (stick) blender until smooth. If you don’t have an immersion blender, a potato masher will work fine, although you’ll end up with a chunkier soup. Add enough additional chicken broth to get to the consistency you like. (Remember when we made chicken broth? Click here. Now would be a great time to use it!)

Add salt and pepper to taste and heat the soup gently (over low heat). If desired, swirl in sour cream.

Enjoy as is, or top with leftover crumbled cooked bacon, diced ham, shredded cheddar cheese, or a sprinkling of chopped green onion. Serve with a green salad (get one of those salad kits in the produce section so you don’t have to wash lettuce).

Now, ask somebody else to do the dishes while you get back to work on your manuscript!

Help a sista out! What’s your favorite quick and easy recipe (other than calling for takeout–that’s a given) for when you’re deep in the writer’s cave?

Banging My Head Against the Wall…

Hi friends, Sugar here and I’m banging my head against a wall. I’m 80,000 words into my current WIP and things aren’t going so smoothly. Maybe that’s not exactly true. I can see the end in sight. But maybe I’m just at that point in my WIP where I’m sick of it. Has that ever happened to you? I’m ready to dump my characters and move to a new city.

I’ve got another story brewing in my head and it’s itching to be told. I dream about those new characters at night. I can see the new setting. I imagine that new man that I’m falling in love with. My fingers are itching to pound out this next tale, but I know I can’t move on until I finish this book. I HAVE to finish this book. I’m on a deadline actually. So I can’t take much of a break or come back to it.

I’ve finally gotten to the stage in my writing where I realized that editing can be a wonderful thing, but the perfectionist in my wants everything to be amazing the first time around. But nothing or nobody is perfect and I just have to get it into my head that it’s okay for the first draft to suck a little.

I also have to remember that I get a little cranky with each manuscript I write.  I wrote this almost exactly a year ago when I was still writing book two in this same series.

Dear Misbehaving Manuscript,

 It’s not you it’s me. Okay, so maybe it is you. We’ve been together for two months now and honestly there were points when I loved you. Oh we used to be so good together! Remember that time we added 3,300 words to our word count in one afternoon? Remember that time we laughed over that little joke in chapter three? Or the times I thought we were going so strong that nothing could break us apart?

What happened to us? There are some days when I don’t even want to work on you. Days when you cause my characters to say boring things and do stupid stuff. Times when there are so many typos you could have been written by a sleepy second grader.

Le-sigh…Even though right now you are causing me to want to pull my hair out, I still believe in you. In us. And I won’t give up on you. At least not today. So please stop misbehaving or I might be forced to punish you by… inserting so much purple prose even Stephanie Meyer would be jealous? ( His eyes were like the clearest of diamonds, sharp enough to cut through her tender heart and bruise her sweetly innocent soul.)  Or  I could end every sentence with an exclamation point? You wouldn’t like that, would you?!!!! Maybe I should let my grandmother read you? “He put his what, where?! Really, Jamie!” (How does one punish a manuscript anyway?) Regardless of what I do, what I won’t do is give up on you, no matter how badly you tick me off. So shape up. Pretty please.

Love always,

 Your crazy writer.

Enough whining from me. How do you cope with it when you are banging your head against the wall?

Do Your Characters Snicker, Sniggle, or Snort?

Katy Lee here with a little tidbit about myself. Are you ready?

I love to laugh.

For me, there is no better stress reliever than a great big belly-laugh, especially in a moment where tension is running high.

Well, the same goes for my characters.

As a writer who puts her characters through some pretty high pressure situations, I want to carry over my love of laughter for them to break a little of their stress. (Even they need a breather sometimes.)

But I will admit writing laughing scenes is a big weakness for me. In fact, in my revision letter from my editor, she says my laughing scene is over the top and needs to go.

OUCH!

I’ll be honest, though, she is right. As writers, we know our weaknesses, and I know when the scene feels “off” or over the top, as my editor laid it out so poetically. Sometimes these scenes don’t mesh with the flow of the book, and in fact, bring the story to a jarring halt for the reader — and we don’t want that.

So, for this reason, I cut the scene and replaced it for the simpler tag line of just saying he/she laughed, which to me can sound boring. I tried to find better taglines to show the true emotion I was going for. Unfortunately, there aren’t enough description words to replace the word laugh.

Giggle? That just makes my heroine sound young and cutesy. Not always the persona I am aiming for.

Snort? I don’t mind doing this for my secondary characters, because it poses such a funny illustration, but I hesitate having my main character projecting this image.

Cackle? I suppose if there’s a character that is a little witchy, but again, not my main character.

Twitter? Sounds flaky to me.

And so, laugh it is. And that’s okay, because this is what I have learned through the process:

It’s more important that the reader laughs than to have your characters doubled over in hysterics.

The Unlocked Secret:  The tension release isn’t only for your characters in their stressful circumstances. The tension release is for your readers as they get pulled along in the story with your characters. A good comedian does not laugh at their own jokes. Their sketch is carefully created to build tension and emotion little by little. It’s all about timing the right words at the right place until the crystal clear visual evokes the emotion you are after, whatever that emotion may be.

Question: Do you have a favorite word to express laughter? Is there a book that has delivered the great stress relief of laughter to you?