Sunday, January 30, 2011

I Just Fell in Love (Don't Tell My Husband)

Above Ground
A.M. Harte

When nineteen-year-old Lilith Gray heads above ground for her first glimpse of the sun, she hardly expects to stay there — much less be trapped on the surface with no way back home. Stranded in a city of infected, her only hope for survival lies with the taciturn werewolf Silver who rescues her for reasons even he cannot fathom.

This is Lilith’s first encounter with the infected, and if she isn’t careful it may be her last. Hunted by trackers, threatened by Silver’s pack, and with the dark mysterious Snake on her tail, Lilith only has one option: adapt or die trying. Will she survive long enough to return home?

So, the book pretty much sells itself because it sounds cool. But. BUT. I ran into a post on Kindleboards from A.M. Harte and went, "Huh. Cool chick. Pretty, too!" So I checked out her site. (I'm not petty. I just like pretty things.) Then I started reading, and was startled at how well-written everything was. I mean, we're talking fully-published quality here, people. Her hooks are unbelievable. So I got more intrigued. Dug a little deeper. Discovered she had books out. ONLINE. For FREE. YOUNG ADULT STYLE.

Went back to reading her blog. Decided she was a seriously cool chick. Thought about e-mailing her to tell her I'm in love with her. Thought she might get scared. Decided to blog about her instead.

So... You know... Why are you still here? Go read! It's definitely on my TBR list. ... Along with all the others. (KATIE I HAVEN'T FORGOTTEN YOU!!!)

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Finished! And an Ulcer

Man, why is this blog always about my writing?

The good news: I've finished draft one of The Quest of Dai: The Eroe. (HOORAY! ZOMG IT'S DONE!)

The bad news: I'm pretty sure I have an ulcer.

No matter what your doctor tells you, folks, it is not okay to overdose on Advil. It'll rip right through your tummy. I did it almost four days ago, and my stomach is still in pretty bad shape. I'm nauseous all the time. I'm drinking milk by the gallons, but that only helps temporarily. I got a bottle of Pepto this afternoon and I've already gone through half of it. It's not a lot of fun.

And, oh man, do I miss my caffeine... But apparently, just FYI in case you think you ever have an ulcer, anything with acid in the drink (ala Coke) will make you... sick. There you go. Polite terms. So don't do it.

I don't have all of the symptoms, so my husband and I aren't sure I have one. But this has been pretty intense for a few days now, and it's still bad. Slowly getting better, but still lame. And every website says to go see a doctor.

Except my doctor is over an hour away. It'll make me late for work.

Ugh. Oh well. I'll let you know how my steady diet of milk and Pepto works out. Oh, and sleep. Crazy amounts of sleep. But that could be because I'm generally sleep deprived and I get sleepy when I write. (Weird, huh? It's either a writing high and I can't stop, or I can't keep going.)

So hopefully everyone else is doing better than me health-wise. And hopefully you're looking forward to the new version of The Eroe? I'm going to do a better cover for the Kindle version. I think I even know what I'm going to do with it, so that's exciting. Maybe a different cover will catch the eye more. I loved the cover of this one, but everyone I asked hated it.

I'm so out of touch. Man.

Friday, January 28, 2011

OMG, Vivian, You Did What?!


I'm currently on page 167 of 266 of The Quest of Dai: The Eroe. I've basically rewritten everything up until now, because, wow... There is a lot of really, really bad writing in there. Everyone who liked it, I bow to you and love you from the bottom of my heart for being willing to read through all of my horrible errors. Some of it actually makes me cringe.

And, because I've already written and completed book two, and a draft of book three, going back in to book one and adding in all these little hints is pretty fun! Note to any future authors out there: NEVER PUBLISH BOOK ONE UNLESS YOU'RE POSITIVE YOU KNOW THE ENTIRE REST OF THE PLOT. I knew how book three was going to end, I knew the basic plot line, but since I'm not an outliner, I had no idea about the rest of it. So... Wow.

Also, the book was really long. Oh my gosh, it's so long. I go back through and read it and say, "Yep, I know what I was thinking there." (It's like a time capsule!) But it was, really, unnecessarily long. I put in a lot of things that were filler because I thought I needed them--but I didn't. Filler doesn't make a book good, y'all. Filler detracts from the main attraction! Sure, long books are the latest craze, but there's something to be said about not pulling your readers away from why they picked up the book to begin with.

As I mentioned, I'm about halfway through the book, and I've cut--brace yourselves--60 thousand words.

I'll give you a minute to digest that.

I cut SIXTY THOUSAND words from this book so far, and guess what? I've made it BETTER. Streamlined it like crazy. Improved the flow. Removed the tangents.

Oh, and Dai's character got a bit of a makeover. No more whining and feeling sorry for herself and throwing tantrums. I still see why I did it, and I still think I was right to do it, but frankly, her character doesn't work written like that. Dai needed a change--and with her change, came Westly's.

I think my heart is saddest about the change I put Westly through. He's still got that "badass" in his character, but the coldness that made Dai think he was going to kill her is gone. Why, you ask? Why would I shred one of my favorite characters of all time?

Because it didn't work for book two.

When I re-read book one, I was astonished. "They really hate each other," I said to my husband, stunned. "Book two can't work if they hate each other."

"It works," he argued. "It makes sense."

But it doesn't make sense. -_- It doesn't make sense because, well... I can't tell you. Just trust me on this one.

NOW. You're probably going, "Whoa, wait, hold up. You destroyed the book! How am I supposed to pick up with book two if you've completely rewritten book one?!"

But never fear. I left in all the major plot points. Everything you'll need to know for book two is still in book one (and a few extra hints to book three!). Plus, if you've read the summary for book two, you'll know that Dai's memory's been wiped. So you'll be just fine.

That being said...

If you happened to have liked The Eroe, and you were gracious enough to purchase it, I am going to do the right thing and SEND you a copy of the updated one. Free. Because I think you'll like this version better anyway. ;) All YOU have to do is e-mail me your address. But don't do it right now... It's not ready yet.

I still have that horrible backlog of books (that I regrettably still have NOT read), and I promise promise promise they are absolutely next on my to-do list as soon as I finish this manuscript. Right now I'm at kind of a break--one of those horrible "blocks" writers often speak of--where I'm trying to figure out what to do with Fiona.

Did anyone LIKE Fiona? Really? I toyed with the idea of writing her out altogether, but since she's pretty integral to the rest of the series, she stays. I just need to know what to do with her. I kinda just want to poke her with a stick until she goes away.

So, that's all for now. Sorry I haven't updated much, but it's literally been work-write-sleep for the last week. Somewhere in there I find the time to eat. Sometimes.

'til next time!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Z.O.M.G. - The Quest of Dai: The Eroe

Truth time, y'all.

I made so many edits to The Quest of Dai: The Eroe that I no longer had a copy of the manuscript once I sent it in to Outskirts Press. And I had made SO MANY changes and I had SO MANY versions of the damn manuscript that I didn't even know which one was the final one anymore. So it was literally impossible for me to correct the book without typing it out word-for-word (all 164,692 words of it...) from the published novel.

Based on the suggestion from one of my readers, I requested the HTML files from Outskirts Press, and my representative (the wonderful, super kind woman) graciously delivered them to me.

I'll give you a moment to digest what that means.

Give up?

It means, for the first time in three years, I have a FINAL, COMPLETE version of The Quest of Dai: The Eroe.

In Word.


I honestly teared up when I saw the files. I got choked up when I started copying and pasting them into a Word document. And now, as I sit here, literally rewriting the entire thing (oh my god, how did I think this was ANY good three years ago...? How little I knew...), I am overcome with happiness. Because I'm going to make this something I can really be proud of.

I was proud of The Quest of Dai: The Eroe when I published it. Really--I was. But it should have been better. It should have been the story that I wanted to tell. At the time, I just didn't know what I was doing. I was 24, and it was my dream to be published. I wanted to tell my story. I thought it was okay to publish it as it was. I didn't understand that it wasn't okay to just type things out as they came to me and hit "publish". I mean, don't get me wrong, I rewrote the damn thing more times than I care to remember. But I didn't get it. I didn't understand what it really meant to rewrite. I thought rewriting meant, "Making sure it makes sense." (I know, I was 24. I should have known better. ... I didn't.)

But I'm literally giddy as I type this. I'm one page in, and I've already ripped it to shreds and am putting it back together. Properly. Now I know that a book doesn't have to be 164k words to be "the right length." I know so much more now. Things I wish someone had told me.

I'm honestly hesitant to publish The Wrong Path until I fix The Quest of Dai... Because just in case someone likes The Wrong Path and wants to pick up The Quest of Dai: The Eroe, I want to make sure they get a quality piece. The piece that should have gone out in the first place.

So... if you're reading this, I'm kind of begging for some help/guidance here. I'm going to push my ass off to get this done and re-uploaded to Kindle before the end of January so I can still release The Wrong Path ON-TIME... But would anyone be offended that I lied if I pushed both releases to February? (Would it make you feel better if I said I was born in February?)

Any opinions would be greatly appreciated! <3

(Also, as soon as I'm done with this, I'm totally sending it back to Outskirts and asking them to replace the paperback version of my book. Because I still really love Outskirts Press. Seriously. If you want to go with a POD publisher, choose them. It's been such a positive experience for me... Even if it costs me an arm and a leg, there is NOTHING like holding your book in your hand if you're a writer. Absolutely. Nothing.)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

My "TBR" List

The "TBR," or, "To Be Read" list, for those not in the know (those like me, who had no idea what the hell that meant for the LONGEST time), keeps growing. I'm packing this Kindle full of books and they're all at unbelievably low prices. I haven't paid more than $2.99 for a book yet! And considering that books now-a-days will cost nearly $10, I'm pretty stoked about it.

And so, I've decided to share my current TBR list here, because, frankly, I'm tired of talking about my writing. ;) (Just like I'm sure you're tired of READING about it! It's going fine. [/story])

And because I'm SO nice, I'm even going to include links to the books, so you can check them out yourselves! Look at all this energy and effort I put in for you guys... I'm such a giver! <3 Also, if you really want to check these books out--and why wouldn't you?!--I'm willing to loan! But in exchange, you have to leave a review on Amazon or B&N. See? I'm SUCH a giver! Just leave your e-mail address in a comment with the title you'd like me to send you. Note: You do NOT have to own a Kindle to get the loan! I think you just have to get Kindle for your PC. Or phone. Or something. I'm not exactly sure how it works...

Seventeen year old Glory Templeton’s blood holds the cure for a deadly pandemic-plague and she embarks on a quest to save humanity. When evil forces conspire to stop her, three supernatural beings are assigned to be her guardians. Forbidden love, ancient secret societies, mysterious astronomical monuments, vampires, witches, angels and demons all contribute to the high adventure that tests the character of this remarkable young woman. The legend of Glory begins! “Twilight meets The DaVinci Code...” 

Why I picked it up:
Hello! Angels? Demons? Forbidden love?! It reminds me of a story I was working on and never finished. (Mine was about Lilith and Lucifer, but that's neither here nor there.) It sounds epic, doesn't it?! 

Harsh Climate [Kindle Edition] - Camille LaGuire (Author)

On a lonely country road, in the cold of winter, two runaway teens are out of gas and stranded. They seek shelter in a distant farmhouse, only to find it's the lair of a gang of vicious kidnappers. Can they dodge the crooks and the weather long enough to save the kidnapped child...and themselves?

HARSH CLIMATE is a fast paced novella of crime and suspense, approximately 30,000 words (100 pages).

Why I picked it up: She had a badass banner on the Kindle Boards. I wish I were kidding. I saw the banner and thought, "Runaway teens? Shelter in a crook's lair? Could be fun!" So I picked it up. Besides, I like her. I wanted to support.

The Guardian [Kindle Edition] - Katie Klein (Author)

Seventeen-year-old Genesis Green is living anything but a charmed existence. As far back as she can remember, she and her mother have been bouncing from town to town trying to make a better life for themselves.

Late one evening, Genesis and her boyfriend are in a car accident. Carter’s SUV rolls, and Genesis finds herself injured; lying on the pavement. Just before she slips into the darkness, an unfamiliar voice calls out to her: promising everything will be fine.

His name is Seth, and he’s the Guardian assigned to protect her.

Now, strange things are happening: Genesis is having bizarre visions. The biggest surprise comes when she learns that, through these revelations, she has the power to change the outcome—to alter courses.
When the Guardians learn about her gift, they ask her to join forces; to help them. The only thing standing in her way is Seth. To join the Guardians means stepping into the middle of an epic battle between good and evil. Even with supernatural protection, there’s no guarantee that Genesis will ever be safe again.

But before she can choose between the angel she loves and the purpose she’s discovered, the Evil Ones make the choice for her.

Why I picked it up: Well, you all know about my obsession with Katie by now... (I think she's afraid of me, but that's okay. She'll warm up to me. ;) ) But, seriously... check out that teaser. Tell me this book doesn't sound incredible. I double dare you. Plus, the dude's name is Seth. And that's the name I used for the very first full-length book I ever wrote. I died a little of happiness when I saw this.

The Venom of Vipers [Kindle Edition] - K.C. May

A supervirus threatens to wipe out the human population.

The only hope for the future is a cure hidden inside Ryder Stone. Created in a lab and brutalized, betrayed and hated by humans, Ryder yearns for freedom. On the outside, a group of human genetic purists want him dead.

When Katie Marsh, a brilliant young geneticist, discovers his secret, she must fight to protect Ryder, gain his trust...and convince him to save humanity before the purists destroy them both.

Why I picked it up: Because I like K.C.. Plain and simple, really. I just dig her. She had the most incredible hook on her signature at the Kindle Boards ever, and I couldn't get it out of my head. So I bought her book. It's not my genre (mine's obviously YA), it's not my area (this is Sci-Fi), and it's not something I probably would have picked up otherwise. I just like K.C.. That being said, I did start scanning through the first few pages, and it's really well written. It's got an interesting story, so, why not, right? (Sometimes it's good to branch out?)

Night Camp [Kindle Edition] - L.C. Evans

A spooky graveyard. A creepy basement. A pair of coffins.

Thirteen-year-old Shane Andrews hates summer camp. When his parents allow him to choose, Shane decides to pick the worst camp he can find. Night Camp must be terrible. For one thing, activities take place at night and campers sleep during the day. That can’t be good, Shane reasons. His parents will realize Night Camp is even worse than they thought and they’ll come back to get him. Then Shane’s plans for summer freedom fall apart. His cousin Brad, a boy with a huge collection of tabloid magazines, convinces Shane that two of the camp counselors are vampires. Shane enlists the help of Brad and a girl camper named Nicole. The three set out to save themselves and the other campers. Then Shane uncovers the secret of Night Camp…

Why I picked it up: I have a crush on L.C., and this is the only book she wrote that wasn't for adults. Not even kidding. This is the nicest woman ever. Whenever I see her avatar on the forums, I know the comment is going to be nice, supportive, and encouraging. She always has a kind word for everyone. I'm a huge fan of L.C.'s.

So... any takers? ;)

Monday, January 17, 2011

How One Tiny Little Section Changes Everything

How does that happen, you ask? How can adding just one little scene, one TINY little section, change an ENTIRE STORY? Well, I'll tell you how.

First, you write a story. You leave a blank spot called [football scene] because you don't watch football and you don't know anything about it, but you don't want to disrupt the writing flow by looking it up. You just know what's going to happen. So you skip it.

Then as you're editing, you go back to add in [football scene] and end up writing something very cool, something you love, something that just WORKS for the rest of the book... But you'll need to reference it in a later chapter.

So you go to said later chapter, add in that paragraph referring to [football scene] and, of course, have to add in the reactions to this new paragraph. Sadly, this is where it gets messy.

Because suddenly the next set of paragraphs doesn't make sense. But that's okay! Because you can just rework the scene--and besides, it's better this way!

Oh, but, you'll need to reference something said in post-football scene in another chapter.

And the cycle continues...

Pretty soon, you've rewritten the entire novel.

Now, this is just my most recent happenstance of this "rewrite nonsense," but let me tell you... It has happened on MULTIPLE OCCASIONS with this book. (It happened even more with The Quest of Dai: The Malo... I don't want to talk about it.)

And, I ask you... Why can't we just write in order? Why can't these "brilliant ideas" come to us while we're writing? Why do they have to come POST-finishing, which in turn means that we have to rewrite the whole damn thing? Does that frustrate anyone else? Does anyone else do that? Or do you just add in a couple of paragraphs and let it go at that?

On the plus side, and there IS a plus side, The Waif and the Bad Boy (one last time for old times sake!) is... wait for it...


That's right, folks. Totally complete. Chapters all put together properly (I told you, adding scenes really messes with a manuscript...), missing scenes filled in, final read-through done except for the newest scenes I added today (which will only get another read-through)... We're GOLDEN. Ready to rock and roll! Just got to add in that Table of Contents, the disclaimer, and title page... And I think we're ready to send this baby off!

C'mon... Who's proud? ;)

I'm thinking of publishing on the 24th. I don't know why. I just like the number 24. It would probably be smarter to do it on a Friday so it's ready for a Saturday/Sunday release, though. Like the movies! If you have any good advice (or any advice, really... suggestion?), I'm willing to listen!

Why I Wish I Were Traditionally Published

Why I Wish I Were Traditionally Published
Vivian Marie Aubin du Paris

Because then I could write whatever I wanted, spell and grammar check it, and send it to my editor, and THEY would have to deal with telling me, "Viv, you can't use this many ellipses..." Or, "Yes, this might sound very good to YOU, but what do you think the reader thinks?"

I talk about this at length on my blog, so forgive me for another one of "these" posts, but I struggle with this all the time. I have edited The Wrong Path so many times and changed so much of it that the "unique voice" that I gave the story is all but washed out. It's now a pretty commercialized, standard, run-of-the-mill teen romance novel. Don't get me wrong--I still like the story, and I actually think it probably flows better now. But I'm sad. So what if I used run-on sentences? It got my point across better than splitting the sentence into two. It FLOWS better now, and it's easier to READ now, but the previous version was more me. It was more of the directive I was trying to send the reader in.

And that's where an editor would be awesome. They could tell me, "Sure, Viv, you can do that." Or, "Nope. CUT." And it would be okay, because they're the editor, and THEY KNOW.

So, dear editor/publishing house/agent-y person, please pick me. I'm super easy to work with, I'm a hard worker, I'm extremely down-to-earth ("I said REGULAR Coke! Not Diet! Get this ^&%$ away from me!"), and I'm a pretty nice person.

Most of the time.


I'll share my Red Bull with you?

Alright? kthxbye.


Sunday, January 16, 2011

Forum Participation

Have you ever participated in a forum before?

I have done it a few times in the past--quickly discovering that it wasn't for me. But I really like the Kindle Forums (as I'm sure you can tell by now), and as I was reading through one today, I found a signature at the bottom of a post that really caught my eye.

It caught my eye so much, in fact, that I was inspired to write an entire post about it on the Kindle forum (my first ever--and boy, was I nervous... So nervous that I actually forgot to make my point in my post and had to go back and redo it...). You can read it at "How Your Signature Did (or Didn't) Make Me Buy Your Book", but I'll summarize it for you.

I talked about Katie Klein's signature, and how it had caught my eye (read about that two posts below). Then I talked about another author's signature, and how her book's hook had drawn me in. I said I wasn't insulting people who just used their book covers as their signature, but as a reader, their book cover tells me nothing about their book. I don't know the genre. I don't know the type of book. I don't know anything.

It's not like a bookstore, you know, where you can head straight to your area and go, "Yay! All these books are in my genre!" Or a search on Amazon/B&N, where you're only within your realm. This is a general forum covering all sorts of topics. Your signature can be a powerful thing, but only if you use it right.

The first two responses were very positive, and I was pleased. I was glad that I had taken the time to share that with the authors out there, maybe who were as unsure about this whole process as I was.

But then I got one response that almost made me want to stop posting on forums altogether. Again. The opinion itself wasn't bad (she said she preferred just to look at titles) but then added in a thinly veiled dig at me and my signature, which is only a line of text on the forum, as I haven't started any book promotion over there yet.

I was appalled. Hurt. Angry. Upset. Flustered. Confused. "Why," I asked my husband, when he read the comment, "did she feel the need to be mean just because she disagreed with me?"

"Some people are just like that," was his response. "You should really read the WoW forums sometime, honey."

Now, maybe I'm just taking it personally. Maybe she was offering constructive criticism and I'm just super sensitive. If she had said something in her comment about my signature, I would have explained why my signature is the way it is. But she didn't. She thinly veiled an insult. And it hurt. (Also, how much of an idiot would I be to write a post about signatures and how they can sell books and not even follow my own advice if I wanted to? That's just silly.)

I chose to ignore the comment, and many people replied after with positive comments of appreciation for my thoughts. I've already noticed a difference around the forum, which has been wonderful. (I'M LIKE A GOD. ... joke.) I even clicked on, and purchased, some books I hadn't previously, just because I know more about them now.

So... Do you participate in forums? Do you find people take what you say the wrong way, or find that you're attacked for your opinions? Do you fight back or just let it go? Do you worry about what you write, concerned that someone will take it the wrong way (because someone always seems to)? Or do you just write whatever you feel like writing and worry about explaining yourself later?

Saturday, January 15, 2011

COMING SOON! The Wrong Path: A YA Romance - Caught Between Two Brothers

They were the ones everyone wanted to be. Except on the inside.

Annabelle's life was finally going according to plan. She had the right group of friends. Her childhood crush had finally started to notice her. She was pretty, popular, and in love.

And then one terrible night at a party Will enters her life and everything changes.

Will is the polar opposite of his older brother Trevor—Annabelle’s new boyfriend—the popular, straight-A, quarterback high school star. He's wild, charismatic, and full of secrets. He's completely different from anyone Annabelle has ever known, and soon their accidental run-in becomes a pattern as Annabelle finds herself seeking him out wherever she goes. Despite his open hostility with his older brother, Annabelle is drawn to him, wanting to be with him. Will opens a new world for Annabelle, one where she can shed her carefully constructed mask and be herself.

But being with Will comes at a price. And when tragedy strikes, she has to make a choice between the two brothers.

And the wrong one means losing everything forever.

Watch the trailer:

Coming January 2011 to Amazon Kindle and Barnes & Noble!

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Guardian - Katie Klein: My First Indie Buy!

So I've been on the Kindle Boards for a while now, and as much as I totally love all of the authors there (and I do, because they're AWESOME), I'm a YA writer and a YA reader, and most of them lean toward the adult world. It's just not really my genre.

But then I read the most amazing post today, which I just have to quote because it was that damn good.

The question was, "How hard is it to write a book?"

Here was Katie's answer (I've crossed out the part I didn't love):

"No. It's not easy. It's the hardest thing I've ever done. Every writer I know has quit a hundred times. There's a difference, though, in wanting to write a book and needing to write a book or you'll die. (lol) (This is me being dramatic.)

Most of us here can't imagine not writing. We'll always come back to it whether we're traditionally published or indies forever, have one reader or a million readers. We start and we quit and we start again and we quit again, but we always come back to the story no matter how hard it gets. Smiley "

Why do I love this so much? Because in a few simple sentences, she captured the absolute essence of writing, of being a writer, and the journey OF writing. It was so perfect, it almost broke my heart. So I quoted her in my response on the forum, then went back to check out her profile to see if she was a blogger I could follow.

Then I saw her tagline on her post.

Most authors on the boards just have pictures of their books, which is great, don't get me wrong. But it doesn't tell me anything about the book, about the genre, or about why I would want to click on the link (unless I'm judging a book by its cover, which I do, if I know the genre). But Katie's tagline had a picture of her book cover and this:

The Guardian
A YA Paranormal Romance
Kindle UK:

JACKPOT! I thought. YA. Check. Paranormal. Cool. Paranormal Romance?! WIN!! I clicked on that link faster than almost any link I've ever clicked on!

And then. Oh. Then the description of the book.

Lots of descriptions, if I even make it to the book description, lose me. Because they're, frankly, boring. But not Katie's. It was exciting, and thrilling, and gave me just enough to tantalize me by setting up the story without lots of extra words and run-on sentences. (You'd be surprised at how quickly a run-on sentence can ruin your description's excitement.) And her names... Oh, she picked good names. She even picked a name I used in one of my stories! (Am I biased? It's okay to be biased, right?)

So. I bought. You're damn right I bought. I bought my first Indie Kindle book!

I opened that sucker up, and to my disappointment, I discovered that it was written in first person, present tense. (Not only do I hate first person, I REALLY don't like present tense unless it's done so impossibly well that you say, "Yes, it couldn't have been done ANY other way.") But Katie, wonderful Katie, with her beautiful way with words, waylayed all of my fears and arrested my attention with the end of her first sentence.

"sparks exploding in a kinetic frenzy."

So. There you go. If you haven't already gone out and purchased the book--why not? You can get Kindle for your PC, you know. You could be reading IT instead of my blog.


I'll post a review when I'm done. For now, I have some writing of my own, and some reading of my own, to do. <3

Until next time!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

It's... So... Blurry...

I'm currently on edit four of the (previously titled) manuscript The Waif and the Bad Boy. I've edited, changed, rewritten, and added all new chapters. I've read and re-read the manuscript word-for-word almost four times. I kept the ending, and gutted a lot of what was in the middle.

And now I'm at that point.

YOU know that point. That point where you hate everything you've just written? Where you can't possibly read it one more time? Where the words are all blurry and none of it makes any sense anymore and you add in and take out the word "that" half a dozen times?

I hate that point.

I'm trying (frantically) to get this book Kindle (and Nook!) ready by this weekend. I don't have any particular reason for THIS weekend, but I just want to. I've stayed up until 1:00 A.M. every night almost every work day and until almost 3:00 A.M. every weekend night for over a week (over a week?) trying to get this done.

And, of course, I'm still toying with the idea of having it REALLY edited. The super-y awesome Jane Rutherford offered to read my work pre-publishing, and I just keep thinking it's a good idea. (Thank you, Jane, btw!!) I mean, I'm sure I missed something somewhere in there.

I've also been over at the Kindle Boards lately (link to the right). NICEST. GROUP. EVER. Holy cow. Sooooo nice. I pop in when I need a quick break from editing to see what topics are being posted about, and there's always some interesting discussion happening. Someone warned me it was addictive being there, and man, were they right!

AND I sent in an inquiry to iStock photos to see if I could use their photos on a Kindle book cover and a print-on-demand book. I THINK I can (other Kindle publishers have), but I'm not sure about the print-on-demand book. I e-mailed them on Sunday night and still no response. I'm starting to get a little ticked off. It's a pretty simple question! As soon as I hear back (maybe before, if I get impatient!) I'll reveal the cover of my new book, along with the title. I even made a trailer! It's not as cool as my trailer for The Quest of Dai, but I'm a little biased--I love Dai.

Ahhh! Okay. Back to editing. The goal? To be done on Saturday! Then Saturday's blog? The cover and trailer (and title!) reveal of the latest manuscript! Wish me luck!

Friday, January 7, 2011

The Quest of Dai: The Eroe is on Kindle, but...

So, Outskirts Press is awesome and published my book up on Kindle lickey-split! I heart Outskirts. I really do. They're so fast!

I thought one of the pluses of being up on Kindle would be that I could fix all the horribly embarrassing errors I had left in the book when I published it originally (such as spelling sheath "shief"--did you know Word wouldn't catch that as a misspelling? 'cause... I didn't...). So I went into the Kindle author bookshelf to download the book so I could happily update the HTML file...

And lo and behold, Outskirts locked the file.

I cannot update it.

I tried like mad to download the file, to no avail. It is locked to me. I can't fix it. I can't update it. It's as locked as my book.

So, the book is on Kindle. It's .99. But I'm not announcing it because... Let's face it... It's kind of embarrassing.

Sadly, it looks like I'm just going to have to suck it up and contact Outskirts and ask them to give me an estimate on replacing the manuscript. (They give you a cost estimate on "updating" the book post-publication on a case-by-case basis, I assume based on the length of your book and how much effort it's going to take them to update it.) But if I'm going to update the misspellings, I'm just going to update/revise the whole damn book. There are so many things I want to fix...

UGH. How frustrating... /sigh

So, if you don't mind some terribly misspelled words, give the book a shot. Hey--it's only .99 cents, right? ;)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

On Cubicles and Chewing With Your Mouth Closed...

So, if you're one of the unfortunate thousands (millions?) who are unlucky enough to have to work in a cubicle, I have a little advice for you:


Yes, I said it. I did. You know why? Because everyone thinks they eat quietly. Everyone thinks they eat politely. Everyone thinks their food smells good. That's why they're eating it. But guess what? Your neighbor across the walkway thinks your food stinks. Your neighbor across the walkway doesn't want to hear you rustle your god damn sandwich/burger/pita wrapper. Your neighbor across the walkway thinks that you chew with your mouth open and doesn't want to hear you slurping on PASTA of all things.

Therefore. If you choose to eat at work, and most people do, then I advise you to either get an office (which means you have to stop being a disgusting slob so you can gain some upward mobility) or eat in the kitchen with the rest of the people who think that they're perfectly sanitary eaters.

Alright? Thanks.

Whew. I feel better. Back to editing!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Quest for Couches...

We need a couch.

We decided when we moved to Newcastle that we would leave our old, cat-shredded couch behind and let the movers toss it into the dumpster. It seemed like a brilliant idea at the time--no need to bring that ratty old thing with us to our nice, new apartment. But now that we're expecting company in two days and have no where to seat them in our furniture-barren living room, it occurs to me that perhaps we should have purchased a couch prior to dumping our old one.

On the plus side, for Christmas my parents gave us money to BUY a couch, so now we just need to find a place that will deliver it before-or-on Friday afternoon.

I don't suppose anyone has any suggestions? I was told to wait until January because there were lots of furniture sales in January, but I'm lazy and I'm thinking just buying one on like I had planned is still the best option. The downside, of course, is that it likely won't be here in time for our friend's arrival.

Oh curse my poor, poor planning!

Oh well. Good thing our friends expect no less from me, right??

I'm now editing page 52 of 74, which means I'm almost done. (Hooray!) This is going SO much faster than The Quest of Dai: The Malo. I have one character who made a sudden shift in behavior that bothered me, and while I kind of knew why in my head when I wrote it, as I've been going back through editing it it's been bugging me more and more. Luckily, while my husband and I were discussing the story this morning, I was struck with inspiration for a new chapter that would explain everything, so I was pretty pleased. I'll go back in and add that chapter in once I've finished this revision.

I think I'll probably have three edits before my final read-through. This edit, the next edit to fill in some scenes, and then another edit to clean up anything else I might have missed (and fix any mistakes I made in the LAST edit--not that I would EVER do that...). Then the final read-through.

Then off it's going to go to Kindle world! (And hopefully Nook world--I'm going to check that out!)

I've been doing a little bit of research around submitting manuscripts for the Kindle, and I have to say, it doesn't look easy. There are lots of rules and formatting that you need to follow. Some companies offer their services to format it for you, but since I'm doing a Kindle-only publish, and not doing it through Outskirts this time, I think I'll try to do it myself.

The manuscript is still unfortunately titled The Waif and the Bad Boy right now. My husband has been absolutely no help in trying to come up with a name for it. And I've been so focused on editing that I haven't considered a name. Usually I name the books in a moment of inspiration (or while I'm saving the document before heading off to bed) and that's the name that sticks. Who knows--maybe I'll keep this name for the book. It would certainly be... different.

And on that note, I'm going to start editing (the current) chapter twelve, which is the Homecoming scene, and one of my favorites. So time to get to it!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Compared to Your Main Character...

If you've read my blog at all, by now you know that I blog mostly when I'm writing (and it comes in spurts), and that I discuss everything I'm editing at length with my husband, who gets every chapter via e-mail as soon as it's gone through my editing churn.

So this morning he and I were discussing my latest piece (still regrettably titled "The Waif and the Bad Boy", someone PLEASE, if you find this, help me with a name!) and he compared the main character to a character on a TV show we had watched.

I found this news both alarming and intriguing. Normally when my husband makes these kinds of associations, I'm quick to dismiss them and point out what an idiot he is for jumping to such stupid comparisons. But this time, I was so caught off-guard by who he had named that I had to take a moment to mull his reasoning over. Slowly, as I thought more about it, the more I realized, "Huh... He's right. He does share some character traits with that character."

It should be noted here that this character type my husband mentioned is one I have never written before, and not one I ever would have considered writing if I had been sitting down to write some fanfic.

So you can imagine how surprised I was as I thought more and more about my story, and how much like this other character my character is. And, oddly enough, I was pleased! This story started out as my attempt to step outside of my realm and write two character types (straight from a character trait book!) that I wasn't familiar with, and I feel like I was fairly successful at it. At least, I accomplished everything I wanted to with them. And then to hear my character being compared to this other one--who by all accounts is an incredibly popular character--was flattering.

It did make me wonder, though... How many readers make associations like that? As the writer, I certainly didn't have an image of this character in my head when I started. But as a reader, would I have made that connection? Do I make those connections when I'm reading someone else's work?

Do you?

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Changing Your Voice in the Editing Process

So as I mentioned yesterday, my husband suggested my first book be the one I affectionately titled, "The Waif and the Bad Boy." (Still a working title, forgive me.)

As a result, last night I started the long, long process of editing the manuscript. The good news is that it's one of my more recent pieces, and I think my writing has drastically improved since I started, so I don't think it's going to require as much editing as my older pieces. Plus, it's not The Quest of Dai series, which is so full of twists and turns that sometimes I have trouble keeping it all straight, so it should be much easier to edit.

It's a much more lighthearted, fun read than Dai... Something to curl up with for a couple of hours to entertain yourself and feel good. I think of it like a chick flick of movies--for books.

I was editing for about three hours last night, and out of 71 pages, I'm on 5. (WHOO HOO!)

One thing I hate, and writers, if you ever find this blog, feel free to weigh in... Have you ever noticed that when you write a piece, it has a certain tone and style, and then when you go through and edit it, the style and tone changes almost completely? In a way it goes from being "draft" to being "polished" and "professional", but I also feel like it loses something in the editing process, and that was why, for a long time, I never edited my writing when I wrote fanfic.

Here's what I mean... TWatBB is set from a 16 year old's perspective. It's written in a 16 year old's voice. The text is casual and the words smaller, even the descriptions, to help set the tone of the book. But in the editing process, I'll look at it and go, "No... This doesn't sound good. This sounds like a 16 year old wrote it." And then I'll change it.

Here's an example of what I mean. This was the unedited version:

                It was an unusually warm summer, and with all of the fans being used in the rest of the house to keep the other rooms cool, the only way to get any air into her stifling second-floor room was to leave her window open and the curtains drawn to let in the late-night breeze. This was, of course, a choice she was quickly regretting as she continued to hear the scuffling outside.

And this is what it turned into:

                As she waited in trepidation and fear for another sound, she silently cursed her parents for stealing all of the fans in the house to keep their own room cool in the stifling heat. It was an unusually warm summer, and the only way to get any air into the stuffy second-floor bedroom was to leave her window open and the curtains drawn to let in the late-night breeze—a decision she hadn’t considered as dangerous until she heard the scuffling outside.

The last sentence, especially, I felt like helped give Annabelle her voice for the reader--and yet it was a sentence that as an editor I didn't really feel worked.

Does anyone else ever feel like they lose some of their voice in the editing process?

Saturday, January 1, 2011

The Quest of Dai: The Eroe Headed to Kindle!

Thanks, Amanda Hocking. Your story (and love of Red Bull and Muppets that reminded me so much of myself) has gotten The Quest of Dai: The Eroe one step closer to Kindle. So much closer, in fact, that I finished filling out the paperwork just now and now just need to kick back and wait for it to appear on the Kindle store!

Am I stoked? You bet.

For anyone wondering about Kindle pricing, here are some useful links:
Pricing Guide:!default.jspa?categoryID=32&externalID=453&printable=true
Royalty Explanation:

I still haven't figured out which one of my stories I'm going to work on next, but my husband thinks "The Waif and the Bad Boy," (working title) is the most interesting sounding. So I might just start there...