Monday, June 20, 2011

On the brink

Lots of fun stuff has happened since last I showed my face 'round these parts. The biggest news is that Three Girls and a Baby is finished. Like, done. For real. I can hardly believe it. It's been critiqued, beta'd, revised, edited and proofread several times over and I'm now at the point where I'm happy with it.


To be honest, a huge part of me is terrified that I've missed something, that I've made a mistake somewhere, that there's something I could have done to make it better. But I'm sure I would have felt like that no matter what. I think, for me, fear is the nature of the beast. So now the book is ready to be released out into the world--where it will be the subject of much acclaim and success, I can only assume.

In addition to a finished manuscript, I also have a lovely book cover. I hired Tamra Westberry, a wonderful graphic artist, to design for me, and I'm very happy with the results. I think the cover is cute, eye-catching, and screams chick-lit.

So the next step is formatting. Basically, when you publish to these various channels (print on demand paperbacks, kindle, nook, ipad, etc.), there are very specific formatting guidelines you have to follow. I decided to start with my paperback because it will take some time to get the proof (sample book that I need to approve) back. I figure while I'm waiting I can work on formatting for kindle and nook. If the proof copy of the paperback looks okay, I will approve it and...the book will be on sale the first week of July. That is such an exciting prospect I almost can't stand it!

In fact, the excitement is making concentration very difficult. I should be getting an approval from the printer in the next few days, letting me know the proof is ready to be shipped and I It's horrible. I need to be put out of my misery.

The best way to stop thinking about one novel is to focus your attention on another. I need to get my energy flowing in a productive way, and stop with all this waiting around. I need to start writing again.

So tomorrow I am heading up to the cabin, where there is no internet to distract me (or TV, for that matter). I plan to stay there for about two weeks. And during that time, I am going to finish the draft of the sequel, Three Girls and a Wedding. Finishing the draft will require me to write about 55,000 words. That's a lot. Like, really a lot. It's a crazy, huge, overwhelming, crazysauce kind of goal. But you can't be a writing rock star without kicking some ass. And that's what I plan to do these next two weeks.

And hopefully when I get home I will have a first draft in my hands...and a shiny proof paperback, all ready to be approved.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Awaking: Chapter One

Okay! Here goes for Sample Sunday. I think this is pretty close to what the finalized chapter one of Awaking will be, and I'm excited for people to read it.

Morgan Abbey is not the average seventeen-year-old. From the unexplained disappearance of her mother ten years ago to her unorthodox part-time job—telling fortunes for her classmates—Morgan has always stood out. Now, suddenly, she begins to attract more notice than usual. Kellen, a mysterious stranger, approaches Morgan and insists he knows more about her mother, and herself, than she does. Soon, Morgan is swept up into a world she didn't know existed but to which she is inextricably linked.

Awaking (The Naturals: Book One)
Excerpt from Chapter One

Morgan Abbey noticed him during a routine day of telling fortunes at the park. Her last customer of the day was just sitting down when she became aware of him, standing some fifty yards away from the shaded picnic table at which she sat, looking almost too cool in his dark blue jeans and black T-shirt, leaning up against the pole of a swing set and staring off into the distance.

Morgan’s first irrational thought was that he was a drug dealer. Her second irrational thought was that, though he wasn’t looking in her direction, he was watching her.

But before there was time to do anything but register these ideas in her mind, her thoughts were interrupted by the perpetually petulant voice of Tasha Rush. “Morgan, are you paying attention?”

“Of course,” Morgan said, fixing her gaze on Tasha’s face. “You were saying your sister’s annoying? And that summer school’s boring.”

Tasha looked mildly mollified  by Morgan’s summary. She shifted on the bench, looking excited. “Okay, so…”

Morgan raised an eyebrow at her. “Anxious?”

She smiled. “I always get a little anxious before a reading; you know that.”

Morgan nodded. She picked up her cards and shuffled them with a practiced rhythm. They weren’t tarot cards, just a regular deck. She’d tried out tarot toward the end of middle school, but gave up when the boys who came for readings couldn’t stop giggling at the sight of the nude lovers. Every now and again, someone would comment about the cards, but mostly no one cared. In general, people just wanted to be told what they wanted to hear.

Morgan would oblige only occasionally.

She dealt out four cards: the nine of spades, the queen of diamonds, the ace of diamonds, and the six of spades. Made a face.

Each card had a meaning in itself. The queen of diamonds was the card that represented Tasha—the signifier that these cards were for Tasha. If that card hadn’t shown up, Morgan would have re-dealt the cards. The nine of spades meant loss and worry. The ace of diamonds and the six of spades together foretold news of failure. Morgan took a few moments to consider this information and what it might mean for her client.
When she glanced up at Tasha, she snuck a glance over Tasha’s shoulder. The guy was still by the swing set. She turned her attention back to her customer. “So, bad news,” she said bracingly. “Summer school’s a waste of your time.”

Tasha smiled, rolling her eyes. “I know, right? I mean, do you know how much I’ve had to give up this summer because of stupid summer school? I’ve barely been to the beach. And look—” She held out her arms. “—not even a little tan.”

But Morgan just shook her head. “That’s not what I mean. I mean, it’s a waste. You’re not gonna pass.”

“But…but…” Tasha seemed unable to form a coherent sentence for a few moments. “But I’ve been to, like, every class! They can’t fail me!”

Morgan considered mentioning that grades weren’t based solely on attendance but changed her mind. She sighed and forced a smile. “Well, forewarned is forearmed. Now that you know what path you’re on, you can maybe change something.”

Tasha made a scathing noise in the back of her throat. “Not likely. It’s almost over.”

Morgan shrugged. “Then I don’t know what to tell you.”

Tasha pouted. “What am I gonna do, Morgan? My mom’s gonna kill me. She’s been such a mondo-wench about having to pay for this class. So obnoxious, you know?” Then Tasha looked up at Morgan, eyes wide, realizing her faux-pas too late. “God, Morgan, I’m so sorry—”

“Why?” asked Morgan coolly. “Did you take her?”

Tasha’s mouth moved wordlessly. “I’m—oh, my god. I didn’t—I wasn’t thinking…”

Morgan didn’t bother to respond. Maybe she shouldn’t have pushed the matter—she knew Tasha wasn’t trying to be malicious with her remark—but it drove her crazy how people could speak so disparagingly about their mothers when she didn’t have one around…Not anymore.

Morgan remembered the day vividly. It happened when Morgan was in the second grade. Her mother, Chelsea, dropped Morgan and her cousin Joss off at school, the same as every day before it. But when the bell rang at the end of the day, Chelsea was not there to pick Morgan and Joss up. Morgan and Joss waited and waited. Eventually one of the teachers at the school noticed them, called Morgan’s house to see what was keeping Chelsea. When no one answered, the teacher tried every number on file for Morgan’s and Joss’s families. Finally they got in contact with Morgan’s father, but Dylan didn’t know why Chelsea wasn’t there.

The next few days—or weeks—were mixed up in Morgan’s memory. There were lots of people around, always around—police officers and reporters and family. Morgan spent quite a few nights at Joss’s house. Joss told Morgan over and over again that everything would be okay, that Aunt Chelsea was just lost and the police would find her and bring her home again. Words like missing and alibi and kidnap and murder were whispered everywhere. Then, one day Morgan went home. There were no more people, no whispers at home. If Morgan asked where her mother was, Dylan would say that he didn’t know, but that the police would find her. And Morgan believed him.

But days and days and weeks and weeks and, finally, months passed. And the talk began at school. Older students taunted Morgan, saying her father was a psycho and a murderer and that Morgan must, too, be crazy. At first, Morgan and Joss stood together, defending Dylan and Morgan alike. But after a while, Joss stopped standing up for her cousin. And Morgan stopped caring what people said.

And Chelsea hadn’t come home.

Morgan rarely spoke of her, partially for the reason that people who were aware of what had happened often reacted much in the same way as Tasha. They didn’t know what to say—they were afraid to say the wrong thing. And Morgan had no interest in making them feel better for making her feel worse.

For a minute, Tasha just sat there, staring blankly at the cards on the table before her. Finally, with a sigh, she stood up. She eyed the payment she’d given at the beginning of the reading. Morgan never put the money away until a reading was over—her tacit money-back guarantee. For a moment, Morgan though Tasha might ask for a refund, but then she seemed to think better of it. She straightened and, with an awkward wave, muttered a farewell and walked away.

Morgan watched her briefly before taking the payment and placing it in her velvet drawstring purse. She wondered momentarily if she shouldn’t’ve told Tasha a different fortune. But, then again, that wasn’t really how Morgan operated.

She looked out into the park again, wondering vaguely if the guy in the black T-shirt was still there, but her search was halted by the appearance of her best friend and business partner, Clarissa Perry, Ris for short. Ris, who had been at a nearby table during Morgan’s readings, commented about the day’s turnout and mentioned something about not thinking word-of-mouth was the most efficient way to communicate when Morgan would be at the park giving readings. Morgan was only half paying attention.

“Hey, Ris, did you notice that guy over there?” Morgan said quietly as soon as she could get a word in edgewise.

“What guy?” Ris asked, voice too loud, turning her head in all directions.

Morgan groaned. “Dude, seriously? Could you be more obvious?” She moved a few inches to her right to look around Ris toward the swing set. No one was there.

Ris grinned sheepishly and then shrugged. “Well, at least we know spy school’s out for me. But what guy?”

Morgan shrugged too. “He was just standing over by the…Never mind.”

“Was he hot?” Characteristic Ris question.

Morgan rolled her eyes. “Yes. Naked, too. And holding a sign that said ‘Ris Perry, will you be my Princess Leia?’”

Ris closed her eyes and put her hand solemnly to her chest. “Han Solo has finally come for me.”

“Really? Han Solo?”

Morgan’s eyes snapped over to where the speaker stood and she immediately felt an unaccustomed heat in her cheeks. The guy who had been standing against the swing set now stood before her.

If Ris noticed anything off in Morgan’s reaction, she didn’t show it—which Morgan took to mean Ris hadn’t noticed anything. Ris was rarely adept at hiding her emotions.

“Can I help you?” Ris asked in her professional voice.

The guy appraised Ris, something of a smirk playing on his lips. Meanwhile, Morgan appraised him—hair brown, but not too dark, and artfully tousled to look like he woke up that way; stance casual but sure.

“Depends,” he said with a slight shrug. “What is it, exactly, that you girls do out here?”

“Morgan’s a psychic,” Ris replied promptly in a chipper voice that made Morgan groan inwardly. “She does readings. Cards and palm.”

“And what if I said I don’t believe in that kind of thing?” the guy asked.

Ris shrugged. “Then I’d ask you why you were here.”

The guy smiled, but it wasn’t an amused smile. To Morgan it looked more secretive. “I’m where I’m supposed to be.”

“Well, that’s kind of cryptic.”

Morgan spoke the words before she even realized she’d thought them. Ris glanced at her appreciatively.

The guy crossed his arms over his chest. “As the two of you seem to be,” he said. He glanced at Morgan. “How does one become a professional psychic, anyway?”

Before Morgan could think of how to explain herself, Ris was talking.

“It’s not something you become, it’s something you are,” Ris explained patiently. “She’s good, too.”

The guy didn’t look surprised by the information, only mildly interested. Eyes fixed on Morgan, he took a few steps closer.

“Is that right?” He looked from Morgan to Ris and back again. “Quite the entrepreneurs, aren’t you? Young business prodigies and all that?”

Irritation flared somewhere in the back of Morgan’s mind. He was teasing them. “What are you, like, a year older than us? Two maybe? At least we’re here for a legitimate reason. You waiting for some middle school boys to show up so you can push pot or pills or something on them?”

“Drug dealer? Really? That’s your best try?” He let out a short laugh—not derisive, amused. He glanced at Ris. “Maybe she’s not quite the psychic you think she is.”

Ris glared at him. “She’s not reading you now,” she said, as though explaining the obvious.

A second later, catlike, the guy was sitting across from Morgan at the picnic table. “Okay, then. Read me.”

Taken aback by the request, Morgan did the only thing she could think to do: she smirked, hoping the expression belied the nervousness she felt. The only people she ever gave readings to were people she knew—her classmates and other students at Arthur B. Casey High. The thought of reading this stranger was unsettling.

But she couldn’t let that show.

“Sorry, we’ve closed up shop for the day,” she said, jiggling her change purse in her hand. “We’re back Monday; you can leave your name with Ris and she’ll get you on the list—”

He put his hands out, palms up. “Why wait? What’s the saying—there’s no time like the present? What d’you charge for a palm reading?”

Ris opened her mouth to respond, but Morgan cut her off. “Why are you here?”

He shrugged. “Maybe I wanna know my future.” He placed his hand on the table in front of Morgan, palm up. “Care to fill me in?”

Morgan glanced at Ris, who waggled her eyebrows encouragingly. She then nodded at her friend and Ris backed away to the table she usually occupied during readings.

For a moment, Morgan felt anxiety bubble up somewhere in the vicinity of her lungs. What was she doing? Ris would say she was doing the same thing she always did, but Morgan knew this was something very different. Despite what Ris and others might think, Morgan relied on the background knowledge she carried into each reading. But for this guy—whose name she didn’t even know—she had no information.

“So, how does this work?” the guy asked.

Morgan flicked her eyes up to meet his. “Depends,” she said evenly, stalling for time. “What do you wanna know?”

“Depends,” he said, leaning over the tabletop toward her. “What do you want to know, Morgan?”

Morgan’s eyebrow’s pulled together and she offered a wry smile. “Now that’s not how this works.”

“You sure?” he asked, leaning in even closer. “Because I already know so much about you, Morgan Abbey.”

Morgan was taken aback by the use of her surname, and before she could ask how he knew it, he was talking again.

“You’ve been running this little psychic business since middle school. Your classmates always tell you how right your predictions are.” He offered a smile and a soft chuckle as if this information amused him. Then his face turned serious. “Your mom went missing almost ten years ago. You were seven.”

It was like the wind was knocked out of her lungs. Morgan stared at the guy sitting across from her. His expression hadn’t changed; his hazel eyes continued to gaze intently into hers.

How could he know that? ABC was the logical answer—but Morgan was sure she’d never seen him at school. Perhaps he knew someone at ABC? Maybe this was an elaborate prank to get back at her for some reading someone didn’t like?

But what if it wasn’t?

“What do you know about her—about my mom?” Morgan asked, voice low to avoid Ris’s notice.

“She’s alive.”

“I know that.”

“No,” he said firmly. “You think that. You hope it. But I know it.”

“How do you—?”

“Suffice it to say I know it. I know things.” He held her gaze for a moment longer and then stood up. “But that’s enough for now.”

Morgan stood, too. “Wait—you’re just leaving?”

He shrugged and nodded. “Yeah.”

“But—you can’t,” she hissed. She cast a furtive glance toward Ris, whose attention was on her cell phone. She turned her attention back to the guy. “You can’t drop a bombshell like that and then leave. I don’t even know your name.”

A smile played on his lips. “Well, then. Until we meet again, consider me a man of mystery.” With a wag of his eyebrows, he turned and walked away.

For an instant, Morgan considered going after him. But then cool logic took over. He was screwing with her. He had to be. What could this guy possibly know about her mother—he couldn’t have been more than ten years old when she’d disappeared. It was a joke, orchestrated, probably, by one of Lynna Rochester’s minions—Marya McKenzie or Shayna Malcolm. Or else the guy was just seriously strange. He could have learned much of his information from an internet search. Perhaps he got his kicks freaking people out.

In any event, Morgan resolved not to go after him. Taking in a deep breath and releasing it slowly, she turned her gaze from the guy’s retreating back to Ris, who still sat at her table, eyes glued to her cell phone.

“Ready?” Morgan called over.

Not turning toward Morgan, Ris held one finger up. Morgan sighed and collected her cards and the drawstring purse she kept payments in. It was then that she realized the guy hadn’t paid her. Though, Morgan supposed, she hadn’t really done a reading, so it didn’t really matter.

By the time Morgan made her way over to where Ris sat, Ris seemed ready to go.

“Sorry, I was at a really good part in this book,” Ris said as the two started down the path that would lead them out of the park. “How was the reading?”

Morgan put her hand out and tilted it from side to side. “Eh.” She decided not to let Ris in on the details.

“You think he’ll come back?”


“You hope he will or hope he won’t?”

Morgan considered this. If he was telling the truth…But he couldn’t be. “Won’t. He was a little creepy.”

“Creepy how?”

“I don’t know—creepy.”

“But like…I-make-awkward-intense-eye-contact creepy or, like, it-rubs-the-lotion-on-its-skin creepy?”

Morgan gave her a playful shove. “You’re the one who’s being creepy now. Subject change!”

Ris sighed but acquiesced. “You know how I was saying word-of-mouth and mass-texts don’t seem to be the best way to get the word out about when you’ll be here? Well, I know what you’re going to say, so hear me out first.  I think we should have an online group—”

“Ris,” Morgan whined, tucking an errant strand of bottle-red hair behind her ear, “you know how I feel about social networking sites…”

“You don’t even have to go on it, though. I’ll run it.”

Morgan sighed. “I’ll think about it.”

Ris grinned and poked Morgan in the side as they got to the sidewalk beyond the park. “All you have to think about is telling fortunes. Let me worry about the business end.”

Morgan ruffled Ris’s strawberry blond spikes. “I always do.”

With that, Ris launched into her new business plan. Morgan attempted to pay attention, but her thoughts kept circling back to the guy in the park. Though she was at least ninety-nine percent positive he was just a creeper, something about him mad her just a little unsure…

“I am, right?” Ris asked suddenly, looking at Morgan in the nervous way she did when she was seeking Morgan’s approval about something.

“Yes…right,” Morgan replied.

“Like you suggested earlier…?” Ris prompted.

“Oh, yeah––spend the night. Yes, right.” Morgan smiled. Ris pouted. “Sorry,” Morgan apologized.

“You’re thinking about that guy, aren’t you?” Without waiting for Morgan to respond, she grinned. “He was pretty hot.”

Morgan rolled her eyes. “That is one hundred percent all you think about, isn’t it?”

“That and Han Solo. And since Han Solo is hot, yes, there is a certain singularity in my thought processes.”

Morgan sighed. “Sometimes I can’t figure out why we’re friends.”

“Because I’m hot?” Ris ventured.

Morgan bumped into Ris’s shoulder as they continued down the street toward Morgan’s car.

*     *     *     *     *

Awaking (The Naturals: Book One)
Summer 2011 on Kindle and Nook

Any comments or feedback would be appreciated! Thanks for reading!

Monday, May 23, 2011

the death of a language

Sometimes I wonder if the English language isn't dying a slow, agonizing death.

Every day, I see the language mangled and abused in a variety of ways and by a variety of people. Sometimes, it's merely functional--for example, using abbreviations in a tweet because of the length limitations. Sometimes, though, it's out of either laziness or ignorance. This is what I can't abide. In today's information- and technology-filled world, there is really no excuse for an ignorance of the basic rules of spelling and grammar.

So it's down to laziness.

Maybe it's my background. I am an English teacher, after all. But even among English teachers, I seem to be a bit more of a grammar-nazi. Maybe it's just me. Perhaps I'm just too stuck on the rules. Rules are made to be broken, are they not?

Short answer: No, they're not.

Grammar and spelling rules exist to help make writing clear, to help make the meaning of the written word unambiguous. Unfortunately, many people don't seem to understand the simple fact that you can't assume your reader knows what you mean--especially when you're not writing in a coherent fashion.

This is perhaps especially important in the world of self-publishing. I recently purchased a self-pubbed book for 99 cents. After reading the synopsis, I was very excited to read the book. However, it didn't take long to realize that this author might not be quite the grammar maven I am; however, if you're going to publish something and charge people to read it (even only 99 cents), you should, at the very least, make sure all your grammar, word choice, and spelling errors are corrected! I find myself cringing on nearly every page.

And here's the really disturbing thing: Amazon is full of five-star reviews for this book. Only three (or so) mention the atrocious grammar. The other reviewers seem unaffected.

Is this because the other reviewers are just more able to deal with the incredible lapses in grammar than others? Or do they honestly just not notice?

And if the latter is the case, what does that say about the state of the written language?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Hitting send

This has been a big couple of days for me in my development as a writer. I did something that I typically have a hard time doing- I let someone else read what I wrote.

That probably sounds pretty crazy, right? Someone who wants to be a writer has a hard time letting people read her writing? Crazy, perhaps, but true. Many writers have talked a lot about how they always wanted to be a writer, about how they never stopped writing no matter what . Maddie has plenty of unfinished or partially finished manuscripts under her belt. My journey has been somewhat different.

I love writing, and I always have. When I was younger, I wrote a lot of fiction. Once I got to high school, I pretty much stopped. While I still really enjoyed writing essays and articles, the fiction just stopped for me. I'm not sure why.

Actually, I do know why- I lost confidence. I didn't think I was good enough. I didn't think there was any point. And that self-doubt translated into terror at showing anyone my fiction. That feeling has stayed with me for many years.

Finishing this novel has been such an amazing accomplishment for me. I never believed I could do it. The only thing more amazing is that I am willingly (eagerly, even) sharing my work with other people. I have sent the completed draft to be read by three beta readers (all friends) and have sent the opening chapters out to critique sites to get feedback from strangers.

It was scary, hitting that send button to deliver the manuscript to other people. But it was exhilarating too. And you know what? I've gotten some really awesome feedback- and not just from my friends. Strangers seem to like my book too! But the weirdest thing is this: the positive reviews (though really fun and awesome) are not my favorite part of this process. The best part, for me, has been the constructive feedback I've gotten. I have a dozen or so really good ideas for changes. Things that might make my book better.

I'm so excited to do that- to make my book better. And I'm even more excited to share it with all of you when it gets there.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

throes of revision

So, Rachel's got her book revised and off to beta-readers and critique groups...and I'm still revising.

I think it's really good that Rachel and I are on this journey together because I get to compare my progress against someone else's. If I didn't have her constant tweeting about how awesome she is (because she is!), I might think I'm doing alright. And I guess I am, really, I just wish I were a little further along in my process.

But, I've only got 17 more days of school (plus records' day, but that doesn't REALLY count). After that, I've got approximately three glorious months wherein I'm going to live the life I eventually want to live full-time: the life of a writer.

I say this every summer. Every summer, I have a list of things I plan to do--writing is usually one of those things. But I'm lazy by nature, and other things seem to win out (lame movies and TV on DVD are perennial winners). But this year, it's real. I think having a goal in mind (namely ebook publishing and having all three books of my trilogy out by August) will keep me focused. And, of course, a little friendly competition.

It's good I've got support for this venture. Not that people in my life haven't always been supportive of my wanting to write--this is just a different kind of support. Not only do I have Rachel, I have another friend who is also writing YA who is giving me LOTS of feedback and advice, and I know Awaking will be much, much better for it.

It also helps to have a timeline for everything. Yes, I want the Naturals trilogy to be out by August. But that's not the end of the dream. Rachel and I have plans to be 30 and out (as evidenced by our created Twitter hashtag). Now, I know I can't control how many people buy my books. I mean, I can encourage them to do so, but, really, I can't force anyone. So, I'm focusing on the one thing I can control: the books themselves. I'm working on these revisions to turn this book into the great story I know it is (somewhere, deep down). I'm still working from the advice given to me by my mentor teacher in high school: you can't assume the reader knows what you know. I used to start scenes all the time with dialogue and just assume that the reader would know that the characters were at lunch, at a baseball game, on the moon, etc. I would, of course, reveal said location a few paragraphs in, but I didn't realize that the reader needed to be told before that. It's kind of the same thing in Awaking right now: The reader will realize certain things down the line, but if I don't get her attention to begin with, she won't read far enough to figure it out.

So, now that I've got the bare bones down, I need to finish my surface revision/edit (adding simple scenes, fixing awkward wording and typing errors) and then start on the real work. I need to amp up some characters, I know it. I need to add more interactions with said characters. I need more intrigue, I need more investment...

I know what I need. I have ideas in my mind of what needs to be added and modified. I just have to do it.

And I will. I'm going to start right now.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

on a roll

So, I'm for-real revising. I've moved things. I've added things. I've even deleted bits.

It feels good, but weird. The first couple chapters have been written for so long, so changing anything in them is strange. I think it'll be easier revising the newer stuff, just because I'm not as used to it.

I'm just excited to make things better. I really, really like this draft, but I know that there are some bits missing. (And not just the scenes I skipped over toward the end.) There are some things to change, some things to clarify.

I can't say that revision is the most difficult part of the process, but it's definitely a challenge. I shift between being convinced that what I've written is right and doesn't need any improvement and thinking that I'll never be done fixing it. And then, of course, there are the thoughts of impossibilities: How do I differentiate my characters' voices so that they don't all sound like the same person? How do I keep readers interested throughout the whole story? Throughout the whole series?

It'll be worth it, though. That's what I keep telling myself. Everything I do is making my book better. I hope.

I really don't want to put out something mediocre just because I'm so excited to get something out there. As much as I want to get started with ebooks, I want what I put out there to be great.

Truth? I'm totally jealous of Rachel, because she's farther along on the journey than I am. (Though she is busy watching Fringe of late, so maybe that'll give me some time to catch up.)

So, in order for me to get things done, I've got to stop watching Stargate SG-1 (Walter Bishop's in this episode!) and continue the revising process. Chapter two! I saw two bunnies today, which is an auspiscious sign.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Big Weekend

First of all, I just wrote this post, and then lost it before I could publish. It started as a post full of excitement and optimism. Now I'm grouchy. I'll try to regain the happy fun talk...

So, it was a big weekend! Maddie came over for the first ever Writer's Weekend. It was really awesome to spend the time with Maddie. Plus, I got A LOT done!

First, and most importantly, I completed my first draft. I am so excited! I have never finished a novel length piece before, so I'm awfully proud. Ive been doing a fair amount of revising as I wrote, so I'm hoping the editing/revising process goes fairly quickly.

Speaking of which, I contacted a proofreader. He did a sample for me and I think its going to work out really well, so that's exciting!

Lastly, I contacted a cover artist and spent a lot of time looking through stock photos for the cover. I have at least four very different ideas for what I want, which makes it tough. I wish I had at least some ability to use Gimp or Fotoflexer so I could play around a little. Sigh.

But for the most part, things are going well. I am sitting here on the couch with a binder filled with my draft next to me. I just keep looking at it- I wrote that! I'm so proud of it!

Pathetic, isn't it? Can you imagine how bad it will be when I actually have a paperback proof in my hands?

Monday, April 25, 2011

cut or keep

Well, I've got a rough first draft of Awaking completed. Well, "completed" is perhaps the wrong word to us. I'm missing probably a dozen or so pages--I just skipped over them in favor of writing something over staring blankly at my computer screen.

I printed out all the pages I have so far, I've read through most of them, made some notes, corrected some errors, highlighted some hads...But now I'm to the point where I started skipping stuff to begin with. And I'm faced with the same question that plagued me before: Do I keep a character or do I cut her? In the original plan for this series, she had a definite role to play, but so many things have changed since then. I'm not sure whether she fits anymore. So I can't fill in the spaces now until I decide whether this character stays or goes.

I want her to stay, but I'm not sure if she'll just be taking up space if she does.

So, I guess I need to get into detail about the next two books to see if she has a definite purpose. I always tend to plan my stories out in broad strokes, allowing the characters to fill in the little things. But I don't think that'll work here. Since it's a trilogy, things need to be a bit more planned out.

Sigh. So not my style. But if it'll serve my purposes/help me writing these books faster/make everything better/cause bunnies to leap for joy, I'll do it.

So, I'm going to take an aspirin (woke up with a headache I've been hoping would go away but hasn't yet), perhaps get a scoop of ice cream, snuggle Fat Baby, and tackle this character conundrum.

Wish me luck.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

starting and stalling

Today is day three of the first annual Writers' Conference at Rachel's house. While it's been fun, I'm a little discouraged about my progress. I didn't write nearly as much as I'd hoped. But I did get the climactic scene written, which is saying something. (Now I just have to go back and make the scene fit.)

I also had some fun with cover design ideas. I went to to check out some of their royalty free stock photography and I found three distinct possibilities for covers in the Naturals trilogy. I even came up with tentative titles for books two and three. I played around on and have three cover art ideas (one of which is now my computer's background image). So, that makes me feel good. Makes it feel a bit more real.

But before I can do anything with the covers, I have to actually finish the book. And I haven't yet.

(I know, I know...Poor me, right?)

I head home today, and, while it's sad for the conference to come to an end, I'm ready for it, too. I haven't seen the Fat Baby in days--I didn't even get to say goodbye to him before I left because he was hiding somewhere. I missed last night's episode of Fringe. And, if I'm lucky, I might catch the husband before he leaves for work today.

In other news, when I was stalled out on Thursday night, I spent some time reading over the 6,000 or so words I have in a WIP called No, My Sister is Not a Muslim, and Answers to Other Frequently Asked Questions About  my Dysfunctional Family. I laughed out loud at a number of places, which made me very excited for the day when that work is back on my front burner.

I love, love, love when things I've written make me laugh.

So, that's where I am. I still have about half my break left, which is exciting. And when I get back to work, it's almost the end of April. That just leaves May and a week or so of June before I can write all the time for a couple months. To say I'm excited would be an understatement.

Okay, back to working on Awaking. Wish me luck.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Title, title, where is my title?

I'm getting a lot written this week. This is wonderful. I am feeling proud, and excited, and other good things.

But I am getting a bit frustrated that my novel does not yet have a title. I am sick of referring to it, always, as "my novel." It needs a name, and the name needs to be good. It needs to scream, "Hey, I am an entertaining, humorous, romantic, chick-lit novel. Buy me. Read me."

I want the title to touch on the plot/themes of the story (young girl finds herself unemployed, single and pregnant. Must navigate a job search, ultra-sounds, co-habitating with her two best friends, and possibly falling for Mr. Right.). I also want it to evoke that certain chick-lit feeling- the feeling that this book will fun, slightly fluffy,romantic, and funny.

I also want the title to possibly make room for sequels- I am thinking this book will be the first in a 3 book series. It would be great if I could find a title that would nicely tie to titles for the other 2. But so far I've got nothing. Nada. Zilch.

I would be happy-nay, thrilled!- to entertain suggestions...

Saturday, April 16, 2011

back at the office (or rather, in)

Since I've been back to work, I've not really gotten much written. Last weekend, I hit 35,000 words. As of this moment, I'm only at 37,759. That's less than 3000 words over the course of, like, seven days. And 1000 of those words were written in one day.

It's sad, friends.

But I've put the laptop back in the office, which is a start. (That damned TV is just too enticing for me.) I've got a pint of Atwater Block Brewery's Vanilla Java Porter, which is part two in my writing plan for tonight. This week is Rachel's week off and her goal is to be done with her draft by next weekend (our two woman writers' conference). I would also love to have that be the case, but...

Well, let's face it: I'm bad a time management. It's always been my downfall. I barely remember what happened to my time this week. It seemed like the perfect week to writewritewrite because I didn't have many assignments to grade. Alas, other life-related things were happening and, well, less than 3000 words.

But Rachel is at 40,000 words at the moment (the most she's ever written. She is AMAZING). So, I hope to hit that tonight. A little competition's good for the soul, right?

My mind's already on edits I'll make once this draft is done. One friend who's been looking over Awaking thus far has given me some EXCELLENT suggestions (not specific, like, "do this here," but general stuff) that I will definitely incorporate to make this book even more rocking. It may or may not cut down on word count, but really, I'm not concerned about that. My aim is between 50,000-70,000 words when the book is all said and done.


As sad that I am at my abysmal progress for the week, I am happy at where the story is. So happy, in fact, that I'm about to get back to it. It's almost party time. (Really.)

Until next time, peace out.

Friday, April 15, 2011

I'm so excited!

Spring break officially started for me at 3:05 this afternoon! I cannot tell you how happy I am about this. I am envisioning a week full of non-stop writing and I just cant wait. I plan to pretend that I am a full time writer this week- live the dream, baby!

I really (really, really) want to have my first draft done by Thursday afternoon. Why Thursday? Because on Thursday night Maddie is coming over to participate in the first ever "Maddie-Rems Writer's Conference" (more on that later), and I am determined that by the time she arrives I will have a complete draft ready. I want to spend the time we have dedicated for writer's conference on editing, revising, coming to terms with gimp software (for my cover), and possibly even starting book 2 of my trilogy.

So in order to accomplish this, I need to write approximately 24000 words in the next 7 days. That's a tall order, I know. But I also know that they dont need to be perfect words, or the final words. I just need a template, a base from which to get the story cleaned up.

So, on that note, I am off to get a few thousand words in before bed. I'll let you know how it goes.

Friday, April 8, 2011

the ending of an era

I'm slowly coming to terms with the fact that it's Friday.

I know, I know. For most people, Friday is cause for celebration. But for me, this week, Friday only means that Monday will bring the "real world" and its responsibilities. I won't be able to just sit and write and write and write. I'll be lesson planning. And grading.

(In fact, as much as I had intended to not let this happen, I've got things to grade right now. I've avoided them all week in favor of writing. But now it's time to pay the piper.)

The bright side is there, however: Monday starts the fourth quarter of the year, which means the end is in sight. If I can make it to June 6th, then I have until late August to write all I want.

This break has been really good for me and for Awaking. It's been quite some time since I've actually finished a draft that I've started (perhaps even since the first draft of this particular book -- which was a long time ago). That I'm 35,000 words into this draft right now is a triumph.

I only wish I could write faster. Maybe that'll be my goal for book two of the trilogy. Or, let's face it, the rest of book one.

I think I'm going to focus all my energy on finishing this trilogy before I work on anything else. Maybe this seems like the obvious choice, but I've really been struggling with this. I've got the promising beginnings of a sports-related story (another rewrite) and I'm really excited to finish that one off. But I'm thinking that trilogy first is going to be the wisest choice. But what to work on after that is the question that begs to be answered now. I was talking with my husband about this last night: I don't know if I'm genre-specific--and I don't know whether that's a good thing or a bad thing. I've got a few supernatural-type stories kicking around, but I've got just as many (more?) realistic fiction ideas. I'm not sure whether this will work for me or against me in the long run.

Speaking of decisions, I'm currently trying to decide something about the actual release of Awaking. I'm wondering if it wouldn't be prudent to wait until book two is also complete and release them back-to-back. I'm still considering the wisdom (or folly) behind this idea. Any insights?

Okay. It's after nine o'clock and I haven't written nearly as much as I should have today. And today, sadly, is probably the last day I'll have for a while to really sit and just write. Tomorrow I move my sister in to live with me, and Sunday I'm playing at church...and, let's face it, getting ready for the work week.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

spring break joys

Today is the second official day of Spring Break. I mean, I guess it technically started after school Friday night, but the weekend is different from the actual week off.

I'm feeling really good about writing and life right now. I wrote a bunch yesterday, and I'm writing a bunch again today. In fact, I just hit the 20,000 word mark in Awaking. (Considering draft one was only 53,000 words, it makes me feel pretty accomplished.) Now, I've never been one to really focus on word count of a book, but according to something I was reading, young adult novels should be between 50,000 and 70,000 words (with a "compelling" reason if over 70,000). I'm trying to bear that in mind as I write.

I'm having fun with this draft. Over the weekend, I reread the first draft. To say it was lame would be kind. The concept was there, but, if I'm honest, if I hadn't written it, I probably wouldn't have suffered through it. True, there were some funny parts, but the overall story was just kind of...a little out there. There was something missing. My second draft (into which I only got 8,000 words) solved some of the problems, but it was still missing something.

With draft three, I think I've made the tweaks and adjustments to the plot that are necessary to sustain it for a whole trilogy (which has always been the plan for this book).

The best thing, of course, is that the characters are coming alive. Writing this draft is reminding me of what it was like when I used to write back in high school. I'd go in with a general plan, but once I started writing, the characters did things I hadn't planned on. I love that. It's like...I point the characters in a direction, and then I just watch as they tell me what happens next.

I'm really enjoying getting to know the characters. Many of them have changed a lot since draft one. Ris, who, in draft one, was mostly a groupie now has a real friendship with the protagonist, Morgan. She's funny and she's got a personality of her own. I don't think she's annoying the way she was in draft one. Lucas is less of a puss. Corbin is more believable. And Morgan is more real.

I guess the point here is that I'm excited. My dream is still to have this draft finished by the end of the week so I can then solicit feedback from my peeps and do any editing necessary. The plan is to have this book published as an ebook (and perhaps print-on-demand, too) by June. And with my progress so far this week, I'm thinking that plan might actually reach fruition.

So, on that note, I'm going to stop blogging and get back to writing.

spring break

Note: This post was written on Saturday, 2 April.

Spring break has finally arrived, and the plan is to write and write and write.

In Awaking, I'm just hitting the inciting incident. Which means the writing should start getting a bit easier. I've introduced most of the main characters, the conflict has been introduced. Now the fun begins, really.

In truth, I'd love to be finished with the draft by the end of break. I don't know if that's realistic for me or not, but this is my year of dreaming big.

I think that getting our desktop computer fixed will really help. I've been working on my laptop, but the laptop is in the living room, along with the giant TV and Netflix streaming. And I find it rather difficult to sit in the living room without turning the TV on. So, being in the office on the desktop will probably help with my focus. I've got a playlist on my iPod all ready to go.

Brian's at home this morning, but he goes in to work at 2 o'clock. I plan to do some writing as soon as he's gone.

"i heard you were lookin' for me"

Note: This post was written on either Tuesday, 29 March or Wednesday, 20 March.

A few things:

First, guacamole is delicious. For real.

Second, I love Fringe. I'm rewatching season two right now, and I love it. I love Peter Bishop. And Gary Sinise. But that's another story.

Had my laptop at school today and was able to steal a few minutes to work on Awaking. I had been kind of stuck--just not sure exactly how to put into words what I wanted to say next. But I got through it a bit today, which was nice.

I think my problem right now is I'm thinking too big. I'm kind of scattered. Not only am I thinking about Awaking, but I'm thinking of the soccer story, and I'm thinking of Twice Over Water, and I'm thinking of future chick-lit. I need to focus.

I also need to eat more guacamole. And grade some papers. But that is neither here nor there.

Monday, March 28, 2011

looking forward

I'm a teacher (I don't know if I've mentioned that directly--and I'm still not sure I should), and the only thing that's sustaining me this week is the promise of Spring Break next week. Is it because I'll be in some tropical paradise, sipping mojitos and gazing at the majestic ocean as it gently laps at the shore? Nope. I'll still be in cold old Michigan and I have no plans to leave my house. At all.

I'm excited because I plan to devote all that time "off" to writing.

(Note that off is in quotation marks. A teacher is never really off. I am trying to orchestrate things so that I won't have anything to grade past maybe Friday [and as Friday is the end of the marking period, I think I can swing it], but I still have to plan for the coming weeks. Oh, and I'm taking a class for my Master's degree, and I'll have to do work for that over my break.)

I'm jealous when I read about other authors spending hours each day writing. I'd love to do that, but, as I mentioned in my last post, the real world keeps me from it. I suppose I could get up at four o'clock in the morning and spend an hour an a half or two hours writing, but I doubt it would be coherent at that point in the day. Now, I'll be the first to admit that my time management skills leave something to be desired. I know I've spent too many hours watching Stargate SG-1 instead of doing something even resembling productive. (It's just that Daniel Jackson is so pretty...) I would much rather read a good book than grade a test or an essay. And I'd rather check Facebook than do a class assignment.

But that has to change. I know it. And I'm hoping that next week will kick-start everything for me.

I've been meeting my goal of at-least-one-sentence-per-day since I set it last week, but, unfortunately, I'm not getting much more than that. Time, again, is not on my side.

But with next week off and Easter Weekend's writers' conference (at Rachel's place), I think April will be an excellent month for my writing endeavors.

As always, I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The highs and lows

First of all, it must be said, Internet, I have missed the hell out of you! Since the lovely people from at&t left 3 cable boxes and a flashy looking wireless modem at my house, I have been in media heaven. I forgot how wonderful Bravo, Food network and HGTV truly are. I have been on facebook, reading blogs, and checking out writers forums like its my job. Bliss.

Today I am going to make a conscious effort to unplug so I can tackle some writing. It's been a few days since I've put much on paper and I've been feeling crappy about that.

Let me briefly explain how the process of this book has gone thus far:
1.Maddie and I get all worked up about indie publishing, making our dreams come true, fulfilling our life's purpose, blah, blah, blah.
2.I write like a crazy person for a week and a half, knocking out close to 20,000 words.
3. I love, love, love my novel.
4. I wake up one morning and decide my novel is, in fact, the worst thing I have ever written.

Its crazy the way I can feel such different emotions about the same words on two different days. But man, once those doubts start to set in, its tough to even want to write. The whole thing has felt clunky and heavy, the opposite of what you want in a chick-lit novel. So I've been battling with myself for a few days, trying to get out of my head and just write. Regardless of whether its good or bad, regardless of whether I end up trashing the whole thing in revision. I need to just write. But I couldn't get myself there.

But then today I woke up with a vision. Fully formed in my head was a new way to lay the whole thing out and, hopefully, freshen it up and make it feel lighter. And now, again, I'm looking at my novel with a fresh set of eyes. It feels great.

I know this ease of writing won't last forever, I know there will be many more days where I am convinced I, and my book, suck. But for today I will take it and be grateful...and hopefully get a lot of words down on that paper.

Friday, March 25, 2011

to be the rainmaker

I had hoped to update the blog earlier this week, but things have been a little out of hand. Since I took some time off from work last week, I ended up with a double-whammy of work to do this week: the assignments I neglected on my days off plus the work assigned while I was out. Couple that with a late night at work and no blogging is apparently the result.

I, like Rob Thomas, wish the real world would stop hassling me.

On a bright note, however, I have kept to my goal of writing at least one sentence every day. It seems like an insignificant goal, maybe, but I'm finding that having the consistent forward motion (even if it's just a little bit) is satisfying and even inspiring.

(I kind of feel like I should mention the whole Amanda-Hocking-signs-a-two-million-dollar-contract-with-a-traditional-publisher thing, but I have too many thoughts about it and don't want to subject you, dear reader, to the twists and turns in my mind. Let's just say I'll be watching with interest to see what happens next.)

I picked up a magazine on Sunday about writing a novel in 30 days. Now, I've read a book that promises the same outcome, but this magazine suggests a much more...organized approach to the writing process. A few of the tips have helped me to clarify and focus a bit, so we'll see how that goes. I don't know that I'm necessarily aiming for a book in 30 days or less, but it'd be nice. And I have spring break coming up the first week of April. I plan on devoting much of that time to writing. And then at the end of April, Rachel and I will hold a writers' conference over Easter weekend. I'm really looking forward to spending the time writing, reading each other's work, giving feedback, wearing sloth pants, and eating lots of mac and cheese. It should be epic.

As always, I wish I had a robot-me who could take over my daily responsibilities (or maybe just some of them) so that I had more time to do what I want to do (in this case, write). Alas, I have no robot. As with so many things in life, if I want to make this happen, I've got to find a way to make it happen. I've waited too long for the mystical genie to appear and offer me three wishes. It's time to take matters into my own hands and get stuff done.

I don't want to wonder anymore if I can "make it" as a writer. I don't want to wait any longer to "be" a writer. I am. It's in me. And in order to "make it," I've got to first make time for it.

And so, dear friends, I leave you. Time to write.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

setting up for success

So, I'm home from Phase Two of Birthday Weekend Extravaganza. (Phase One was actually going OUT for St. Patty's day for the first time and hanging out with Rachel and other friends. Phase Two was Niagara and wineries. Phase three: dinosaurs.) I managed to get some reading done over the last 48 hours or so: While in the car on the way to Niagara, I read aloud long selections from The 4 Hour Body by Tim Ferriss to Brian (so he would not feel left out), and I also managed to finish Switched by Amanda Hocking.

Interestingly, both of these books solidified in me my resolve to get writing.

I meant to make a post to this effect on Thursday, but I wasn't at home long enough to do so, so here goes:

I'm making a commitment to myself. By the time I turn thirty (364 days from today; 2012 is a leap year), I will have completed (drafted and revised) three novels. (As for which three books, that's still a little up in the air. I really want to work on book one of my trilogy--working title is Awaking. But then I'm already 22,000+ words along in my yet-unnamed soccer story. And I'd really love to redo The Crystal Society simply because it's been around for so long--and I think the premise would be pretty well-received. So, right now, I'm thinking those are the three.) Also by March 17, 2012, I will have published these three novels (probably through Smashwords or something similar). And in order to get this done, I commit to writing at least one sentence every day.

Okay, I know what you're thinking: One sentence? You'll never get anything done that way.

Look, I didn't say I'd write only one sentence, just at least one, every day, no matter what. That's a goal I can live with, and it sets me up for success, unlike a goal of, say, two pages per day.

So, I'll let you know how this goes.

I'd write more, but it's time for me to write my at least one sentence for the day. I think I'll work on...Awaking. I've been thinking about it since Niagara. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

why i have to

When I was really young -- kindergarten, maybe -- I remember walking into my bedroom while my mom called something after me. In my mind, I added, "Mom said."

In the fifth grade, I wrote a story in a notebook. And then another one.

In middle school, all my "story" notebook were the same color (teal, for some reason) so I could discriminate easily between them and my academic notebooks.

(I still have these notebooks, by the way.)

I passed the stories around. I inspired others to write stories, too.

In the ninth grade, I finished my first book. It wasn't my first long story, but it was, for some reason, the most important story I'd yet written. I remember walking the halls of my high school telling strangers that I had just finished my novel (and I probably had a ream of paper in my hand to prove it).

My senior year, I had an independent study wherein my task for the year was to complete a novel.

...and on and on...

There's never a time in my memory when I haven't thought of stories, told stories, written stories. And nothing brings me more joy than weaving a world from words, than crying while I write an emotional moment, than hearing from someone else that they're enjoying reading something I've written.

I think we've all got a purpose in life. Well, probably, we all have a great many purposes, but I'm talking about Purpose. And mine has always been writing.

And finally the planets are aligning.

Can't Hardly Wait...and wait...and wait

Well here I am, all excited to get going on this new project and no internet to help me on my way. I never realized how dependent I was on my computer until I lost it...and until Madeline got me all fired up about finally getting our butts in gear to publish our books. For the past few days I've been itching to get online to blog, to read, to research, to do everything possible to make this book publishing dream a reality.

Not only am I currently without internet (I'm posting this from my parent's house, by the way), but my trusty laptop appears to have died the death. I am struggling to continue my novel on my sister's old machine. The word processing software is...lacking.

They tell me I'll have internet connection back in about a week and a half. I'm not sure when the word processing situation will get sorted out, but hey, what's an accomplishment if not born in strife? Someday, when my book is published (and wildly successful), I'll have fun stories to tell about its inception. Stay tuned...

Sunday, March 13, 2011

revision woes

Rewriting always makes me a little sad.

Now, understand when I say "rewriting," I don't mean "rewriting small sections of text," I mean "rewriting entire drafts." Why, you may ask? Well, I guess the easy answer is twofold: I am both stubborn and lazy. I'll start writing a draft and I'll be convinced it's working. I'll have plans, and the draft will, more or less, follow those plans. And I'll get to the end of the draft and I'll feel very accomplished for having finished something. And then I'll start rereading. And then the pain begins.

I'll think, Really, I thought this was a good idea?

And I'll finally see all the shortcomings my idea had to begin with. Now, I'm not saying that my idea was completely worthless or anything--far from it. Instead, I'll see that I didn't execute the idea to the best of my ability.

Thus the rewrite.

Take, for example, a story I started back in high school. (High school! I've now been teaching high school longer than I ever attended it.) This particular story, which never did have a name, ended up being 87,000+ words long (and I never did "end" the thing). I realize now that, while the basic premise was good, the execution was lacking. It sounds like a high school kid wrote it because, well, one did. So, within the last year or two, I decided to completely overhaul this book. I've kept the same characters and many of the same plot points, but I've changed a great many things, too. I'm now in the rewriting phase.  As of today, I'm at 22,400 words. It's a little sad; the book now is only a quarter as long as the original draft had been. And it's not even like I can cannibalize parts of the original draft: This is, in essence, a completely new book.

Now, if this were an isolated incident, it might not be so depressing. Alas. I have two more "first drafts" that are suffering through the same fate.

I know that the books will be better for the extra work, but it's disheartening. I'd like to think that I could write a really good first draft--one that, sure, would need a few edits, but that would be pretty much what I wanted it to be.

I guess I'm not being entirely fair to myself. The book I referenced above and one of the others are works I wrote in high school. And while, yes, I'd like to think that I had some talent as a high schooler, I'm also woman enough to admit that I wouldn't really like for anyone else to read these works.

So, I suppose what I really need now is the followthrough required to rewrite. Because, let's face it, in the long run, it'll be worth it.

old school thinking in a new school world

Okay. I've already established that I plan to publish the ebook way. New school, right? Make a name for myself, blaze a trail, all that. But there's still something in me that's drawn to the allure of books-in-print. Now, I love my NOOK and seem to find more time to read now than I have in the past, but there's something reassuring about the feel of a paperback in your hand, you know? So I still would like, someday, to see my stories transformed into real-life ink-and-paper babies. Something I could hold out to someone and say, "See this, here? This is mine."

But I guess that's not the only reason. While I'm excited by the prospect of getting my stories out there for people to read, I almost feel like going the self-publishing-ebook way is a bit of a cheat. Here's what I mean: No one has said, "Yes, this book is worthy of publishing. People should read this book." Well, I've said this, of course, but it hasn't been verified by outside sources.

(Perhaps that's where sales and reviews come in. Let the people say what they think of the books.)

I guess my fear is this: I tell someone, "Hey, I've published some books. You should read them." That person says, "Sounds awesome. Next time I'm at the book store, I'll pick one up." And I say, "Oh, you can only buy them online because I self-published online." I fear then the person might not be as eager to read what I've written. It's not gone through any sort of vetting system, so it might not be any good--or so this person may think.

To be fair, there have always been books written and published (traditionally published!) that have been...not very good. I remember one specifically--it was written by a French teen (probably why it was published--a gimmick) and it was not skillfully executed. I think the story was an okay idea, just wasn't good. And I know there are other examples like this in the world. I know more than one author has lamented, "How did that crap get published when no one will publish me?" But my fear is that self-published ebooks might have that same air of mystery (and not the good kind) to them--like mystery meat. It might be okay, but you really don't want to try just in case it leaves you camped out on the toilet all night.

I remember a couple years ago I got an e-mail from a former student. She was doing a poll for a college class she was in and the subject was publishing. One of the questions asked whether I thought there should  be more avenues for unknown authors to use to get published. Of course, that's only what I think the question was asking--it was so poorly constructed I couldn't really tell. That's the thing: I've known a great many "writers" in my time who have thought their work was phenomenal but whose work was really clunky, confusing, poor. (Now, before you think I'm being stuck up, please know that I count myself among these authors. The works I wrote in middle- and high school are atrocious. The ideas were good, perhaps, but the execution is lacking. Not that you could have convinced my teenage self of that.) Indeed, I have seen a couple of ebooks of such poor quality that I've not been able to read them (grammar is not dead!).

My fear is being lumped into that group. My fear is not being taken seriously.

But a bigger fear is never being heard, never sharing my stories. Never living.

So, this old school girl is trying to shift her paradigm and accept the future.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

grabbing life

Well, today is the day, I suppose. It could be said about any day, really, but today really is the day.

Encouraged by the success authors like Amanda Hocking have had with epublishing, my friend and birthday twin Rachel and I have decided to grab life by the cajones and do what we have always wanted to do: write books and make them available for others to read.

So, here we are, less than a week before we both hit the big 2-9, trying to make our lives what we want them to be.

I'm working on a couple projects at the moment, waiting to see which one wins out for the time being. I'll update you with more details later.

So, why am I keeping this blog? Part to be kept accountable. Part to let my voice be heard. Part just to write. Because a girl's got to, let's face it.