That Guiding Push

 

Easter morning at Lincoln Park, 2014

Easter morning at Lincoln Park, 2014

Last week I said I was putting aside End of Daze for now and going to pursue something else. I’ve been doing some career soul searching and re-evaluation and had decided to go down a different path for awhile.  That’s confirmed, I have my new bearings for now.

The path I thought I might go down, however, turned out not to be where I want to go at all. I got one of those unexpected guiding pushs in life last night that make you wake up and realize you’ve been sleepwalking and not at all where you are supposed to be.

Where I wound up going, I am very happy with.  Tonight I churned out over 2,000 raw words and am thrilled with the direction they took.  There’s a lot of polish still needing to happen, but the basic frame and flavor I like.

So, to sum it up: The path I thought I was heading down turned out not at all to be where I wanted to go so I have turned aside on a jaunt and then found a really good path that I’m loving.   Make sense?

Maybe it will in the morning ;D

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Editors: Are they REALLY that important?

From Angela: Another excellent guest post from Amy Eye, and this time she cuts close to home with how important are editors really…?  What do you think?

TypewriterHey, everyone! As you can imagine, this blog post hits really close to home for me… even more so than usual. Since I began this trek into the world of publishing I have seen some very heated debates on the matter of editors. Should an author even bother with an editor? Are they worth it or not? Should they be charging what they are charging? What should I expect when I hire an editor? How do you find a good one? Is there anything else I will get out of editing rather than a headache, loads of rewriting, and some punctuation fixes?

These are all questions I have seen, been asked, and heard people debate about. So, I’m throwing in my two cents, and NOT just because I’m an editor. I also do my own writing and have been on both sides of the fence. I’m going to break this down into several posts for you guys so I’m not bombarding you all with a bucketful of information all at once. This week, I want to talk about a couple of my questions above.

Should an author even bother with an editor? Are they worth it?

I’ll start with these for now and tackle some other ones in later posts.

Should an author even bother with an editor?  Some sources will tell you no. That they have a degree or their mom has an English degree or maybe their best friend is really good with English and he/she has looked it over, or heck, maybe their neighbor reads a lot and he/she said it looked great. Well, well, well… I guess you are all set then, right? Nope.

You need an editor for several reasons. For the obvious… They will be properly correcting your mistakes, and while there are other people qualified to do that, grammar rules and spellings change quite often. It is your editor’s job to be on top of the trends and the new rules to make sure your manuscript is the way it needs to be. And done right.

Also, your editor will have experience looking for complex issues in your manuscript most people wouldn’t even pay attention to. Then why fix them if the common reader wouldn’t notice, you may ask… Well – to be perfectly honest – because it’s wrong. Even if only 5% of your readers may notice it, it’s still wrong. And why put out something wrong when you can get it right? You are perfecting your craft.

Writing is your craft, your art form. Don’t you want it to present its best possible face? But there are things in the manuscript that people may just have this “feeling” about. Something that is just “off,” but they don’t know why. Here is another reason why your editor comes in handy. He is capable of helping you find those places and giving you ideas on ways to fix it or to maybe avoid that problem altogether.

So let’s tackle another question: Are they worth it? Let’s face it. Editors are not the cheapest part of your writing process. You can spend an upwards of a thousand dollars for a good editor on a normal-sized manuscript if there is a lot of work to be done or if you are doing a developmental edit.

So, is the cost worth it? I guess that depends on what type of writer you want to be. Do you think Stephen King ever put anything out there without having his editors going through his books? Not on your life. How about Anne Rice? George R. R. Martin? John Scalzi? My guesstamation would say there is no way they would let their work see the press before they knew it was as perfect as they could make it at the time. So why would you rush your process and put something out that has the potential of being its best?

Ah, you don’t have the money for it. I understand that all too well. But there are options. One, some editors will allow payment plans. Two, who said you have to get it edited right now, just because it’s finished? Save up. Yes, it may take a while, and patience is a virtue many of us lack in this digital age when everything is at our fingertips in an instant. But this is your baby—your words come to life on paper. Do you want to have people bad mouth your literary child because you rushed?

What would you prefer? Having a profession tell you where your strengths and weaknesses are before the public has a chance to read it, or having a reviewer tear the book apart because obvious issues were not dealt with prior to publishing? Once those reviews are up, they are there for the world to see. And of course you will have those people who will hate on you in reviews no matter what you do, but you can’t change that, so we will just breeze over those particular unpleasantries.

So while I didn’t go super in-depth with my little post here, these are a few things to think about when you are making the big decision: to be one with the editor or not… :)

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Alaqua Pet of the Week – Mae

portrait MaeAllow me to introduce myself. My name is Mae and I would like to offer my services, as your very own personal trainer! Spring is here and it’s time to get moving and I love to walk!

I am about 7 years old, and spent my life as the beloved only pet of a wonderful family. Sadly, due to family illnesses, they could no longer keep me. My family was heartbroken, but they made sure I was placed in the loving hands of the nice people at Alaqua Animal Refuge.

Here’s the deal, I have been loved so much by my humans, that I kinda feel like I am part human. That can be a really good thing, because I am a faithful and loving companion. I always mind my manners, and I fit in just perfectly with humans. You could even say that I am a perfect “people-pet”!! Unfortunately, I’m not too fond of other dogs. Sorry, I’ve tried; I’m just not a fan of doggies!

Now, back to this offer of being your personal trainer. I promise to motivate you to walk with me, morning and evening. I know, you’re thinking, “how is this dog going to motivate me”? It’s very simple. I will dance! Yes, I am a very good dancer! Any little bit of attention I get or need that I have, results in dancing paws!

I promise to help you rise in the morning, with a gentle, but loving nudge with my cold nose. If that doesn’t work, I’ll start to “shake my booty”. When all else fails, I’ll follow with a full-blown dance routine! Oh, you may be grumpy at first, but once we’re outside and start our walk, I’ll show you how fun it is to get moving! Before you know it, we’ll be a team! Just you and me!

Don’t worry about the pace, or the distance, I’m a lady of maturity, so it won’t be too fast. Your job is to enjoy the scenery and the beauty of the outdoors! Soon, we’ll be walking a lot! Your doctor will be happy with your progress, you will feel better, and I will be right there by your side! All I am asking for is a chance to be your forever friend.

Think about it, and if you or someone you know might want to “hire me” as a personal trainer, tell them to come out to Alaqua. My fees as a personal trainer are not too high, I just need a soft bed, a couple of good meals a day, and a bowl of fresh water. Oh, one more thing, I do need some love, but I promise to return that love a thousand times!

Come on out to Alaqua and I’ll show you my “happy dance”. I’ve been practicing a lot, because I know my human is out there somewhere! Just remember, no other pesky doggies. I want to be your best friend. I am simply looking for that special someone to share my life with.

For more information about this or any of our other adoptable animals please visit our website, www.alaquaanimalrefuge.org/FindAPet. Alaqua Animal Refuge is a no-kill animal refuge located in Northwest Florida. The refuge has placed over 9,000 animals of all kinds since it’s inception in 2007, and has grown to become a recognized leader in animal welfare and animal cruelty prevention.

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Guest Post: Tara Fox Hall

Angela: Today’s guest is Tara Fox Hall - tune in to hear the interview on Journal Jabber and check out her guest post today… Thanks Tara!

jj 3Everyone who has ever read a vampire romance novel knows there are only two probable ways the vampire-human romance is going to end: the human lover (male or female) is going to become a vampire, or they are going to die. Yes, once in a while the lovers part, but that is usually a plot twist mid-book or near the end of the novel, to “up the thrill” of a reuniting HEA in the final pages. I knew when I began writing the Promise Me series that I wanted something different for my heroine Sarelle. After all, that was the whole point of writing my own books, to go somewhere other authors hadn’t been able to take me. Drastic measures were needed. That was when I came up with my idea of resistant blood.

jj1In the Promise Me series, a vampire’s bite alone will not turn a mortal; they must lose a fair amount of blood first, and then a vampire must give them some vampire blood. An agent in the blood, referred to in the novels as a “vampire virus,” then acts on the human to make them a vampire. This is nothing new, and variations are in almost all the vampire novels out there. But all viruses have those beings that are at least resistant to infection, if not immune, because of their own genetic makeup. A faerie or other werecreature in the Promise Me universe cannot be made a vampire under most circumstances (although they can be made a sort of vampiric golem with magical means, per the transformation of a wereeagle in Lash Book #4, Revenge). That “myth” is also in many shifter/vampire books: a magical creature of one type usually cannot be another at the same time. So if some beings are immune to the vampire virus naturally, why not create a human who is resistant to it?

jj4Enter Promise Me series heroine Sarelle McGarran, whose summer blood—though extra sweet to vampiric taste—renders her very hard to turn into a vampire through normal means. That is not because she is magical herself: she is mortal, and her parents were mortal. She’s a capable woman not afraid to stand up for herself, but she has no superpowers, or innate magical ability. As the Promise Me series progresses, Sar does gain some powers, such as that of teleportation, via her exposure to demon blood. But that power is a practiced skill that takes her a long time to master, not something she was born with.

As in most vampire novels, a human-vampire romance in the Promise Me series spells death usually for the mortal involved…and a broken heart for the vampire. But resistant blood brings a plethora of possibilities…chief among them a HEA to a vampire human romance that keeps the vampire able to partake of his human lover’s blood…and have her remain human. The vampire Devlin recognizes this resistance in Sarelle’s blood the first time he tastes it, on the night they are first introduced by his brother, Danial. For Devlin had known a woman with similarly resistant blood close to two hundred years ago: his beloved Anna, whose visage has haunted him ever since the moment she died in his arms. Devlin’s path is clear from that moment on: he wants Sar for himself, to love him and fill the gaping hole Anna’s passing left in his heart.

It takes him much maneuvering over several books to get Sar in a position where he can take her for his own. But even then, Devlin is stymied, because it is he, not Sar, that falls in love in the hours that they spend together. When Sarelle begins to exhibit signs of turning months later with no vampiric attentions, it is Devlin that recognizes that her resistant blood has altered, leaving Sarelle dependent on regular infusions of the vampire virus to live. And it is Dev that races to save her life, arriving one cold bitter day just ahead of a blizzard.

Blurb: In a desperate effort to halt her transformation to vampire, and stop her longing for the sultry Devlin, Sarelle willingly takes a drug to kill her desire, even as Danial prepares for the introduction of their son Theoron at a Vampire Gathering on New Year’s Eve. Faced with Theo’s betrayal at the eleventh hour, Sarelle must either trust in Danial to save her, or join forces with Devlin, revealing her secret desire for him.

Excerpt: The clock chimed eleven. Worried, I glanced outside, wondering if Aran would call to cancel. He’d said he’d be going by on an errand for Cia, but the sky was dull white now. The impending storm forecasted for noon might begin at any moment. There was no sign of him.

We were supposed to get a foot or more, something that irritated me. We’d gotten three feet so far this season. With no warm days to melt any of it, the drifts were huge, surrounding the plowed driveway like tall mountains.

I let out a yawn, blinking my eyes. With the completion of the cookies, despite my eagerness earlier, my utmost desire was a long nap under a warm blanket. Grinning, I made a deal with myself that as soon as the snow flew, the couch was where I was headed. Until then, I needed to keep on track. I hurriedly did some light cleaning and laundry. I was just putting the vacuum cleaner away when the clock chimed twelve.

I cast a look outside. Snowflakes had begun to fall. Soon, they were falling fast and furiously, obscuring my view of the barn. “C’mon, Aran,” I said, scanning the drive. “You don’t get here shortly, I’m walking down those cookies to the mailbox and you can eat them frozen.”

All of a sudden, the snow-dampened roar of a motorcycle was heard in the silence. Aran drove down the driveway, his lone headlight catching the snowflakes in its circular light as they fell. He was dressed in his usual black leather.

“You’re crazy,” I muttered, throwing cookies into a plastic bag quickly. “Maybe werefoxes don’t get as cold as normal humans did, but you still have to be cold in that.” I closed the bag, then headed for the front door. “At least it’s something between you and the pavement.”

Aran pulled up in front of the deck and parked the bike, but didn’t turn it off. He faced the house for a moment. As I opened the door, he gestured around him, then pointed to my I opened the door and yelled to him, “Sure, you can stay ‘til it stops. I’m glad of the company. Go to the bottom garage, I’ll let you in!”

He nodded, the visor of his helmet and his shoulders already covered in snow. He drove on as I shut the front door and ran downstairs. Pressing the button, I raised the overhead door and he drove in.

Shivering in the cold blast from the door, I quickly shut it as he parked his Harley and shut off the engine. He began brushing the snow off himself. “Why’d you bring the bike today of all days?” I said, giving him a sarcastic smile. “I told you it was going to storm. Now you’re stuck here. Cia’s not going to be happy.”

Aran got off his bike and continued to brush him and it off, melting snow creating puddles on the concrete floor. “Why don’t you give me your coat, and I’ll put it near the fire. If you want, we can watch a movie or something. I was planning to head to the couch any—” Aran unbuckled his helmet and in one smooth motion pulled it off his head. Gold curls and waves fell almost to his shoulders. This was not Aran. This was Devlin.

He stepped off the bike, and came toward me. I was lost from the moment I looked into his golden eyes.

Buy Links:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Her-Secret-Promise-Tara-Hall-ebook/dp/B00GXJCBH2/

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Her-Secret-Promise-Tara-Hall-ebook/dp/

B00GXJCBH2/

Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/380698

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/19019644-her-secret

Melange Books (PDF, print-Lulu, and HTML): http://www.melange-books.com/authors/

tarafoxhall/hersecret.html

Lybrary: http://www.lybrary.com/her-secret-promise-me-series-6-p-418687.html

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/her-secret-tara-fox-hall/1118025878?

ean=2940148276654

Tara’s LINKS:

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/TaraFH

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/tara-fox-hall

Melange Books: http://www.melange-books.com/authors/tarafoxhall/index.html

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5286654.Tara_Fox_Hall

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Tara-Fox-Hall/e/B005YPAA4W/

Website: www.tarafoxhall.com

Email: tarafoxhallATgmail.com

Blog: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5286654.Tara_Fox_Hall/blog

Facebook Page:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Tara-Fox-Hall/151813374904903

Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/TerrorFoxHall

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Daze Delayed Due to Writer’s Flood

vintage-niagara-falls

This is what my brain feels like…

I’ve been having writing issues.

Usually a work may be delayed due to writer’s block, but in this case I’m calling it writer’s flood. I have some new projects I’d like to be moving ahead with but I’ve been forcing myself to finish End of Daze first. That has made me cranky and impatient.

After an interesting discussion with my daughter that bordered on angst-y teen soul searching (from me), I’ve decided to set End of Daze aside for the next few months and go ahead with some of my other projects. End of Jewel Eye should be published by the beginning of May and then I’m taking a different tangent.

I won’t be going anywhere myself, I’ll just be putting these folders away until maybe midsummer. And with that comes one of the most exciting parts of being an author… new outline!

 

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A Photo Moment

Favorite Quote from

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Independent Authors Network

IANIf you look in the column to your right you will see a new badge in my sidebar proudly proclaiming that I am now a member of the Independent Authors Network.

For a one time fee of $40 (I used a referral code to get 20% off – mine is  IAN-2014-128) I now have an author page up that can list up to seven of my books, trailers and links plus a 21 day Tweet welcome to their massive 119k strong Twitter following.

The page is maintained by IAN.  For a Bronze membership ($25) you get a similar package without the Tweet salute. You can also go bigger and get Gold and Platinum packages which I think I will do when I have my books better organized and republished.

The whole point of IAN is to allow authors to cope with the necessary evil of promotion in an affordable way – something I’ve been looking for.

Check out my page here, or click the IAN button in the sidebar.

Here’s the list of other IAN authors you can browse.

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My Goal: Healthier Living

Yogurt Muncher

Even my son is getting into healthier eating!

Since last year I have been running full tilt trying to keep up and I can really feel my energy flagging some days.  I used to grab a sugary snack to pep up or chug some cold coffee but it doesn’t do much to recharge me beyond just a quick burst.

I quickly realized that if I’m here for the long haul I better get some new, more sustainable habits.  Enter Yoplait Greek Yogurt :)  It satisfies my sweet cravings and the high protein sticks with me.

I’ve been having one for breakfast and one as an afternoon snack and that seems about perfect for me.  Just in time too – the sweet and creamy, healthy snack makes even the ice cream man not so tempting!

JJ3And now trying Yoplait Greek is a better deal than ever – :Dandilyon Fluff readers can get one Yoplait Blended Cup for FREE when you buy one Yoplait Greek 100 Calorie Yogurt Cup. Please click this link for coupon, available while supplies last. 

For a limited time, save even more on Yoplait Greek Yogurt:

Print-at-home coupon

  • Buy One Yoplait Greek 100 Yogurt Cup and Get One Yoplait Blended Yogurt Cup for Free
  • Click here to access coupon
  • **Void in Tennessee. Available while supplies last.

In-Store Savings, available at Publix

  • Yoplait Greek 100 on sale 10/$10 from 3/13 – 3/19

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Show; Don’t tell

Angela: Amy Eye is our contributing blogger of the night with an excellent tutorial on an often overlooked subject. Any is a professional formatter and editor at The Eyes for Editing and the author of several soon-to-be-released children’s books, including Sable.

JJIf you have been writing for any amount of time and spent any of that time with a critique group or an editor, I’m sure you have heard the phrase “Show; don’t tell.”

But I bet there are some of you out there who are still a bit fuzzy on what in the heck that means. How do you show anything in a book without pictures?

We aren’t watching a movie. How are we supposed to show something with mere words? That, my friends, is what I am here to tell you today.

When we write a book, we want the story to play like a movie in our reader’s head. We want them to feel the tension, mourn loss, gasp with excitement, and envy the romance. But how do we do that?

We immerse the reader in the world with the words we choose in the manuscript. Let me give you an example…

Johnny was thrilled it was his birthday. He could hardly contain the happiness at seeing his friends and family all there to celebrate his big day with him. When his cake came out of the room, his best friend, who had moved away last year, carried the cake in. Johnny couldn’t believe his eyes.

OR

Johnny bounced up and down in his seat. He jabbered to anyone who would listen about the balloons, the presents, and the guests who had attended. As the cake’s candles emerged from the darkened kitchen, Johnny grasped the edge of the table to hold himself in his seat. His best friend, Jacob, who had moved away, held the cake below a smile brighter than the dancing flames below his face.

The previous two paragraphs are an example of showing verses telling. Can you tell the two apart? Which one tells you more about what is going on and which is showing you the scene, letting you gather the information yourself based on what you have read? Go ahead – reread them. I’ll wait.

Now, by this time, I gathered that you noticed it was the second paragraph that was showing more. We got to see the scene better, we felt his happiness, could sense it. The narrator didn’t just tell us what was going on “Johnny was thrilled it was his birthday.” The scene showed that one line throughout the entire scene by everything that was going on.

Both paragraphs convey the same message, but the second was more visual because it showed how Johnny was acting, the scene around him, and a bit of the tone of the party.

Many people worry that showing verses telling takes too many words. There are 54 words in my first example, and 70 in my second. So is the showing paragraph longer? Yup – but as I haven’t worried about pruning things down, we could probably lose a few of the extra words in there too. So overall, we are sitting on a passage that is close to the same length. And it’s definitely a better idea to throw in a few more words to make it a much better reading experience for your readers than to try to keep yourself to a word count and have a book where the readers are blind to your scenes. We will talk about ways to cut word counts down in a later blog post. :)

What’s another way to keep with the “Show; don’t tell” message? Abstract words. Words that can mean so many things to so many people. What types of words are these? Here are a few words I want you to think about for a minute.

Big Small Large Tall Short Heavy

Pretty common words right? How can anyone POSSIBLY not know what they mean? How can they get confused? Big means it’s big, right?

Of course it does. But it’s all subjective. What seems large to a cat, will seem small to the horse. What seems gargantuan to a child can be small to an adult. Here’s an example. As I was growing up, my grandma seemed like one of the biggest people in the world. Her arms embraced me when I was sad, and, boy, when I had to look up into her face when she was angry… I had never seen anyone bigger in my life. As I grew up, I quickly stretched taller than her mere 5 foot 2 inches, and suddenly, I was looking DOWN on her. She was no longer “big” – she was just the woman I still wasn’t going to anger. But her physical stature was completely different to me, even though she hadn’t changed at all.

The same goes with the rest of these words above, and all other vague words. Will they do in a pinch if the

“perfect” word isn’t there? Sure. But it’s not very concrete. Try to change these vague words with something a little more identifiable. Let me be cliché for just a moment here and give you an example.

His palms were big. (It’s big, right?) His palms were the size of hubcaps. (Now that is HUGE.) His palms were the size of dinner plates. (That’s still pretty big.)

So if we say his palms were big, how big were they? Different people could interpret “big” to mean different things, and the examples above show us how to convey what our image of big was – it gives them concrete information to go off of.

Play around in your manuscript. Where have you been cutting the scenes of your “movie” and not showing the readers what was really happening? Where could you be a bit more descriptive and less vague? Use these tips to really pack a punch with your visuals.

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A Poetic Tail and a Plea

From Angela: In keeping with the National Poetry Month theme we have noted children’s author and artist Robin Wiesneth to share some verse with verve. She also does a lot of work to help alleviate the unwanted animal population by helping worthy organizations find homes for them, so after you read her poetry and visit her site, come back and share so Juno and Jarvis (bottom of the post) have a better chance of finding their forever home.

Robin WiesnethHi, Robin here!

You may know me from my hilarious but rarely updated blog “ABrushwithHumor” or my Facebook page of the same name. I have a passion for shelter pets and paint a lot of them (to clarify – I don’t actually paint the animals, I paint pictures of them).

Recently I’ve ventured into children’s picture books and I’m having a blast. This poem is about my first book: Tails of Imagination poem

Like what you see? Shipping is FREE!

Drop by my web site at Tailsofimagination and check it out!

Juno and Jarvis are four-month-old Hound/Pointer pups. Juno is an adorable sweetheart with a little overbite and Jarvis is a little snuggle buddy who had a slight spinal injury, which made his back legs a little wobbly. They are looking for someone with a huge heart to take them home forever. These adorable pups are available for adoption to an approved family. For more info call Alaqua Animal Refuge at (850) 880-6399, visit them at 914 Whitfield Rd, Freeport or find them online at alaquaanimalrefuge.org

Juno and Jarvis are four-month-old Hound/Pointer pups looking for someone with a huge heart to give them a forever home. These adorable pups are available for adoption to an approved family.
For more info call Alaqua Animal Refuge at (850) 880-6399, visit them at 914 Whitfield Rd, Freeport or find them online at alaquaanimalrefuge.org.

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