Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Rough Drafts to Completed MS - 10 Step List

Happy Tuesday, good people of the blogosphere! Today, I'd like to talk about rough drafts and how many steps there are between that and a completed book. I'm elbow-deep in Melody and nearly finished with the last chapter. But that's my rough draft. So, how long will it be until the book is finished? That all depends on how busy my editor is when I'm done with my first two rounds of edits. Here's what goes into polishing up that rough draft:

Step one: Read for content and slash/add.
This is where I re-read all the books in the series and make sure things are matching up the way they should be. Yes, I have copious notes about facts, dates, events, and visions. But I still goof up now and then, as we all do. I just have to make sure those oopsies don't make it into print. I also cut scenes, add scenes, and re-write scenes.

Step two: Check for tension.
I read each chapter and grade it on a tension scale of 1-5. If it's ho-hum or boring, I add and cut until it has the punch I'm looking for.

Step three: Grammar/Spelling/Punctuation checking.
This is where I dissect every sentence and make sure there are no dropped words, errant commas, misspellings, or pronoun confusions. I also check each sentence and paragraph for repeated words; changing them when necessary.

Step four: He said, she said.
While this is okay to use now and then, many of them can be changed to action tags to move the story along, rather than letting it all go stoic and be bland on the page by two people just gabbing at one another.

Step five: Off to the editor.
This is when I send my work over to my editor. She goes through steps 2-4 and tells me if I missed something important or used the wrong word.

Step six: Application of suggestions.
I put her suggestions and changes to good use.

Step seven: Resting period/cover design.
I let the MS sit for a week while I design the cover, then proofread.

Step eight: Off to the proofreader.
My proofreader catches the little things (because that's what she's focused on).

Step nine: Formatting.
This is where I format the book for print and prepare it for digital distribution across all channels. I don't want to have to mess with formatting it ever again.

Step ten: Publication.
I upload and hit the publish button.

A lot goes into any novel before it's put out there for public consumption. If you're skipping one of these steps, I have to ask why. Are your reviewers commenting about it?

How many steps do you take?

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!


Monday, July 29, 2013

Recaps and a Winner

Happy Monday, good people of the blogosphere! Today, I bring you recaps of all the active rafflecopter giveaways going on and announce my Indie winner! I do hope you're all as excited about these prizes as I am. Here we go!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Congratulations to Alesha!

Good luck to you all! We'll be back with our regularly scheduled program tomorrow and talk about writing, editing, and formatting books for print.

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!


Friday, July 26, 2013

Merry Un-Birthday! Day Five

Happy Friday, good people of the blogosphere! A very merry un-birthday to you all! Happy birthday to me! That's right, I'm a year older and a year wiser today. I love giving things away for my birthday! Last year, we had a blog party and we gave away some great prizes. This year, I'm wishing you all some happiness and spreading the love yet again. *warm, fuzzy feeling*

Today, I'm starting the giveaway for a Fan Pass. It's a little prize I've come up with that entitles the bearer to one copy of each of my published books to date and any that will be published in the year listed. This one is for 2013. How many books have I published so far? Nine. And there's at least two more coming this year. One of the most anticipated is Melody, book four of the Mystic series. If you don't know what it's about, read on.

Melody Acworth sounds like an angel. If she's not careful, she'll become one soon. Enrolled in singing lessons at age seven, she took to the stage and began to get fan letters. Some were good, some were detrimental to her psyche.

When Melody sees magazines laden with beautiful girls, she begins to look at herself in the mirror and think she should look more like them. Her mind takes the cruel letters to a dark place and she stops eating altogether. Before long, she's in the clutches of death.

By the time Markaza, a mystic with purple hair and tattoos, shows up, Melody's on her last legs. It's either eat or die. Markaza works furiously to try and repair the mental damage done so she can get Melody to New York; where she must learn to use a power hidden deep within herself to save the world.

They're running out of time. As December 21, 2012 approaches at an alarming rate, Markaza's visions turn dark and foreboding. The creature grows stronger every day. Soon it will rise and destroy mankind unless all six women band together to fight it.

Melody must be saved or the world will be destroyed.

Here's the entry form! Finish all the tasks and you may get a little surprise!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!


Thursday, July 25, 2013

Merry Un-Birthday! Day Four

Happy Thursday, good people of the blogosphere! You have a chance to win some great books by a couple of amazing authors today.

Why are these two books included in my week-long prize pool? I edited one and proofread the other. It's something I do for those who use INDIE Books Gone Wild for their publishing needs. How awesome is it that we promote your books after they hit the market? How many editing teams do that? Without further ado, I give you the book descriptions!

Chasing Memories (Tala Prophecy - Book One) by Tia Silverthorne Bach
Genre: YA Paranormal

Description from Amazon:
There isn’t another way; not now. The others are coming. I can’t let them have you…

Seventeen-year-old Reagan has a problem: She can’t remember what happened the night her brother was taken. Now, the dreams haunting her from the incident are becoming more intense by the day. All the while, the lines between what’s real and what’s a product of her paranormal-obsessed mind are becoming blurred.

Is she losing her mind or has she just stepped into a world she thought only existed in books?

Caught in a web of worried parents, competing boys, Wiccan relatives, protective amulets, and psychiatrist babble, Reagan must determine the truth before it’s too late.

The Disappearing Girl by Heather Topham Wood
Genre: New Adult Contemporary - Ages 17+ due to language and sexual situations.

Description from Amazon:
Kayla Marlowe is slowly vanishing…

Last year, Kayla’s world imploded. Her beloved father died, leaving her alone with a narcissistic mother who is quick to criticize her daughter’s appearance. During her winter break from college, Kayla’s dangerous obsession with losing weight begins.

Kayla feels like her world changes for the better overnight. Being skinny seems to be the key to the happiness she has desperately been seeking. Her mother and friends shower her with compliments, telling her how fantastic she looks. Kayla is starving, but no one knows it.

Cameron Bennett explodes into Kayla’s life. He’s sexy and kind—he has every quality she has been looking for in a guy. As Cameron grows closer to Kayla and learns of how far she’s willing to go to stay thin, he becomes desperate to save her.

Kayla’s struggles with anorexia and bulimia reach a breaking point and she is forced to confront her body image issues in order to survive. She wonders if Cameron could be the one to help heal her from the pain of her past.

Don't those look like amazing reads? They are! Get on the entry form! One printed copy of each is up for grabs!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you missed the contests from earlier in the week, here's a couple of links for you:
Day One
Day Two
Day Three

I'll recap them all tomorrow, when I roll out the last prize.

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Merry Un-Birthday! Day Three

Happy Wednesday, good people of the blogosphere! Today, I have a great prize for all you indie authors! A chance to win a purchase and review of your kindle book! Check out some of my reviews from the past:

Love From Planet Wine Cooler
Taken - Before her very Eyes
Dark Premonitions

All of my reviews are posted here, on Amazon, and on Goodreads. Usually, if I can find the book over on B&N, I'll post it there, too.

Here's the rafflecopter entry form:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I wish you all good luck!

Be sure and check out these giveaways running right now here on the blog. Win some books!
Day One
Day Two

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Merry Un-Birthday! Day Two

Happy Tuesday, good people of the blogosphere! It's time for day two of my giveaways! I heard that cheer. I'm not going to go on and on about what's coming. Check out the list: Prize List. Today, I offer a printed, signed copy of The Bird. That link will take you to a page where you can find out more. The cover and a snapshot of the interior:

Pretty! Here are the entry forms for the contests so far:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck to you all!!

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!


Monday, July 22, 2013

Merry Un-Birthday! Day One

Happy Monday, good people of the blogosphere! This week, I'm starting some awesome giveaways. If you look here: Prize List you'll find a rundown of things to be given away. What an awesome two weeks it will be. You have fourteen days to enter every drawing but one. That one will be the purchase and review contest. It'll be revealed later in the week. No, I'm not saying what day! You'll have to wait to find out. But it'll be a quick contest (only 72 hours).

Today, I'm rolling out the entry form for the Mystic series. That link will take you to a page where you can find out more about them. Here are some snapshots of the covers:

Melody hasn't been released yet. But you'll get an advance copy when it is.

On to the rafflecopter!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Good luck!!

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!


Thursday, July 18, 2013


Happy Thursday, good people of the blogosphere! Today we're gonna talk about backstory and how to introduce it to your reader. There are many ways to accomplish this, and what we want to avoid is the information dump. Don't know what an information dump is? Well, grab those pens and notebooks and let's get going!

An information dump is when you stop the story you're telling to give paragraph upon paragraph of your character's past. This isn't good practice when writing because, usually, the past isn't filled with a lot of tension and can tend to drag along. While you may get one great scene with tension, the rest is oftentimes unnecessary.

So, how can you show a character's past without dumping information on your reader? There are a few ways:

The Flashback
These can happen in little snips of memories brought on by something that's occurring in your character's life or something they see/hear. Just like in real life, certain things bring up items from the past. Don't allow your protagonist to dwell though. Give a little and move on.

When one character is talking to another, they'll sometimes talk about life and their past. Use this to insert snips and quips into the storyline. Don't let the conversation drag out too long, and remember to make the speech sound natural. If you have trouble with dialogue, take a look at these exercises on practicing writing dialogue: Dialogue Exercises. You'll find links to fifteen writing exercises on that page.

Contextual Additions
Things you add in the text as you write can show some of a character's past. Whatever action they're engaged in, shoot a sentence of memory through it and allow that to paint your protagonist's past with vivid colors. This also works to show your character's personality.

Other People
Use some of the other people in the story to tell about your character. Have them talk behind the person's back, make remarks, or even react to the protagonist's presence in the room. If people are smiling and hugging your leading lady/man, then you know the others are happy to see that person. When people laugh, jeer, or avoid the main character, it tells the reader something's up and can lead to further discovery in other ways.

Just remember to KISS your reader (Keep It Simple, Stupid), and stay away from too much backstory in a single place. Avoid the blahs.

I hope this reference comes in handy for you all.

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Prize List!

Happy Wednesday, good people of the blogosphere! Today, I'm giving you all a prize list for next week's fun! Strap in and let's GO!

One lucky indie author will win a purchase and review from me.

One reader will win:
The first four books of the Mystic series, in print. Bronya, Lily, and Shelia will ship as soon as the contest ends, and Melody will be sent at the end of August (book releases to the public in September.

One reader will win:
A printed copy of The Bird.

One reader will win:
A printed copy of Chasing Memories, and a printed copy of The Disappearing Girl.

One reader will win:
A digital copy of each of my books that are published at this time AND a digital copy of any others that are due to publish this year - in advance. Winner will receive the books no less than one week before they're published to the market. What's coming? Well, the next two books in the Mystic series for sure, and possibly my urban fiction novel, M. So, this winner will get more than eleven books from me.

Of course, every winner will receive a couple of bookmarks:
So come on back and let's have some fun!

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!


Tuesday, July 16, 2013


Happy Tuesday, good people of the blogosphere! Today, I'm back to tips and tricks to keep your writing interesting. As many of you may know, I'm an editor as well as a writer. One of the things I notice people doing a lot of is starting too many sentences in the same paragraph with the same word. Another thing is repeating a word in a sentence. While both of these may seem like minor details, when paid attention to and rectified, it can create a world of difference in your final product. Remember to use your thesaurus!

Example time! Let's set the stage: Darren just had a fight with his girlfriend of six years.

He went through the door into the living room and exited out the back door. He walked over to his car and pulled open the driver's side door. He got in, slamming the door behind him, put the key in the ignition, started the car, and peeled out of the parking lot. He drove a long time before pulling over and getting out; giving the door another hard slam as he got out of the car.

As you can probably see, there are a ton of no-nos in the paragraph above. While there are many ways to re-write it, let's try on the first pass to eliminate starting each sentence with he.

Darren went through the door into the living room and exited out the back door. Walking over to the car, he pulled open the driver's side door, got in, slammed the door, put the key in the ignition, started the car, and peeled out of the parking lot. It was a long time before he pulled over, got out, and gave the door another hard slam.

Now, while we fixed the problem with the word he, you can tell we've created other issues. How about we fix a couple (like that looooong second sentence)?

Darren rushed through the living room and out the back, leaping down the three short steps to the driveway. Stomping to the car, he got in, started it, and peeled out of the lot. It was a long time before he pulled over and got back out; taking his anger out on the door as he shoved it closed behind him.

Remember, you have to name the character at some point before you can use the pronoun he. Try not to bore your readers by giving them a blow-by-blow, either. If you do a good job with actions, they'll be able to grasp that your character is pissed, sad, or happy. By the time we say he's taking his anger out on the door, we've already set the stage and given plenty of action to show how he feels. If you tell, it might look like this:

Darren, madder than a mashed cat, left in his car and drove a long time before pulling over and getting out.

While there are less words, it's not as fun to read. Keep it simple, vary your word usage, and show your reader what they should be picturing in their head.

I hope you'll try writing the world's worst paragraph and fixing it. For this is how one learns a new skill. Practice makes permanent.

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!


Monday, July 15, 2013

Book Review - Depression Cookies

Happy Monday, good people of the blogosphere! It's good to be back; but it was a much needed vacation. I only had one complaint: Zero signal on my devices in the mountains and Google blocked my access to my accounts via wi-fi because it was in a different city. While I appreciate their concern for my account security, there should be some way to fix it while away from home. However, it forced me to unplug for a couple of weeks and spend time with my family, so that's all good. I would usually have scheduled blog posts ahead but we had to rearrange dates quickly over a work issue so I had little prep time. Que serra serra! I wouldn't trade the time I had with The Best Boyfriend in the World for anything.

As a bonus, I got to catch up on some reading while I was away. I only had an hour or so each day because we were a busy troupe of monkeys, but read I did. So, as a lovely return gift for you all, I bring you my review. I'll be counting this as one of my Indie Fever, 2013, Reading Challenge books.

Title: Depression Cookies
Author:  Tia Silverthorne Bach and Angela Beach Silverthorne
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Length: 557 printed pages
Amazon Kindle link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00452VATE

Description from Amazon:
Two distinct voices, two stories interwoven within the walls of family and love.

Abby needs some magic in her life, along with a white knight, respectful children, and an exciting career plan. Instead she is drowning in unfulfilled expectations, disappointments, and unmet needs. What she doesn't expect is to find the true essence of magic in the strength, friendship, power, and energy of the female spirit found in her mother and her mother's zany group of friends. Krista cannot believe it's happening again. Her father waltzes in and announces another move. And what does her mother do? Nothing. Don't they realize she's almost thirteen, and this could mean the end of her life? In the midst of teenage melodrama, she is determined to survive a new school, defeat the annoyances of two scene-stealing sisters, and deal with out-of-touch parents. Yet she quickly realizes the double-edged sword of growing up.

I bought a copy of this book over on Amazon out of curiosity. I'd heard great things about it and the reviews were fantastic. To give you an idea, this book has fifteen reviews and fourteen of them are five stars. Once I dove in and wrapped my head around the story, I could see why. So, here we go; my review of Depression Cookies.

From a reader's perspective:
Abby and Krista were two of the most honest characters I've ever read. They held nothing back as they spoke with authentic voices, describing what it's like to be a teenager or a mother of many children. I could identify with them both. Fears, issues, and the inner workings of their minds were all right on target. Krista seemed like someone I would befriend in school and Abby sounded a lot like my own mother. I was pulled in from page one and I hated it when I had to put the book down. If I'd had time, I know I would've read straight through. I laughed, I cried, and I got angry as I read. Books that can pull emotion like that out of a reader are worth every moment spent with one's nose buried in the pages. I loved the alternating viewpoints and getting to see what the child remembers as opposed to what the parent remembers in different situations. It shows that, sometimes, you don't see the whole story or all of what's going on behind the scenes.

From an editor's perspective:
I found a number of grammatical, punctuation, and spelling errors in this book. It needs some TLC but the emotional pull didn't suffer. Example: Thrown for Throne. Darn homophones.

+ 1 Star for creating characters I could really feel for.
+ 1 Star for making me want to read on and on and...
+ 1 Star for a creative writing style that really put things into perspective.
+ 1 Star for ripping my heart out and stuffing it back together repeatedly.
+ .5 Star for helping me understand my own mother a bit more.
- .5 Star for errors.

Overall, 4.5 out of 5 stars. A highly recommended read for women of all ages.

I hope you all enjoyed this review. Next on my list is The Awakening (The Judas Curse) by Angella Graff. I'm already into it.

As you all may remember, my birthday falls in July. I like to give gifts so keep your eyes on the blog for some great giveaways that will be coming soon!

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!