Month: December 2013

MERRY CHRISTMAS and/or HAPPY HOLIDAYS

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Where I’m at Wednesday is going to be a quick update, due to the holiday festivities.

I had something tragic happen. Last week, I mentioned that I was working on chapter 18; however, it got sent into the world of “Never To Be Seen Again”. Yup! When I went to retrieve the chapter from off my iPad, it was gone. And iCloud didn’t back it up. So, I painstakingly had to rewrite it.

After I cleared my head of doubt and discouragement, I focused on the issues and conversations in chapter 18. The rewrite is going slower, but I think it is better.

This isn’t the first time my work was erased. In To Desecrate Man, an entire chapter was accidently deleted. I will admit that I cried. It was at the pinnacle point—the energy and heartfelt emotions gushed out of the chapter; only to be obliterated. Starting over was not easy. The overwhelming feeling to give-up compressed me. It took awhile to recoup, but then I continued.  When I finished the book, I felt so accomplished!

If you are a writer—don’t give up! We all suffer setbacks.

Merry Christmas and/or Happy Holidays!

Take care.inner Christmas tree

Where I’m at Wednesday December 18th, 2013

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I started “Where I’m at Wednesday” as proof-positive that I am working. After The Sphere of Archimedes launched, so many people lovingly harassed me—needing more. The book does leave off with many unsolved conundrums, and every book in the series will do that until [obviously] the final book. Some authors write book series with each one standing on its own; however, others do not. I am included with the “others do not” authors. My intentions are that every “sphere” book will be an exciting journey, but leave readers wanting more.
I will admit that the last book is going to be thick. The grand finale has a nasty adversary that keeps our heroes busy for a long while. He (if I can call it that) is the worst-of-the-worst kind of enemy. This—“it” will shock and astonish your imagination. But, there are a few amazingly good characters to come as well. From my stand-point, I know exactly where our heroes are going, and how everything will end.
Last week, I jumped forward, and started writing chapter 18. I can do that, because there are three different stories happening at the same time. To be honest, I needed a break from research.
In lieu of researching other countries, terrain, or travel, someone mentioned that I should have our heroes just show-up at their destinations. It sounds easier, but I enjoy adding the realism—visually visiting other countries makes it more tangible. When writing, I like to highlight the journey for people who can’t take a physical trip.
I’m the type of person who loves road trips. It isn’t just the destination that’s exciting, but the ‘getting’ there. I like to watch the scenery pass-by from the car window.
In 2010, my family & I drove “Six States in six days”. We traveled through: Utah, Idaho, Montana, Washington, Oregon, California, & back to Arizona. The landscapes were amazingly filled with beauty around every corner! We would not have been able to see all those sites from a plane. Leaving out the details would be like having a celebration, holiday, or birthday without the decorations.
Speaking of holidays, I’d like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas! I truly hope the best for you and your families.
Thanks for reading.
Take care. 

*Merry Christmas

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Getting discouraged

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Everyone suffers from self-doubt. We all worry about becoming a failure, facing judgment, or being mocked. As a published writer, those feelings are intensified. I too am guilty of negative thoughts.  Artists (includes a wider category) pour their hearts and souls into their work, bearing it all for the world to see. It is very intimidating, especially when the feedback stops coming in, sales decline, and/or popularity charts drop. We start to feel as though our life’s efforts were futile. But, is it in vain? NO!
It takes time to build an audience. Remember the old cliché: “Rome wasn’t built in a day.”? If you are struggling with doubt, keep that in mind. Sometimes, I don’t know what keeps me going. And just when I want to ‘throw in the towel’, I get positive feedback at that  moment.
Ask yourself, “Do I enjoy writing?” “Do others enjoy my stories?” Keep your eyes focused on that, and not on a broader picture: “AUTHOR”, “World renown”, “Well-known”, “Rich”–blah, blah, blah. You are creating stumbling blocks, and will become discouraged.
Personally, I have stories to tell, and I want to write them. I NEED to write them! They are clogging the space in my head, demanding to get out. The Sphere of Archimedes is a series of four books. I have all of them in my noggin, but if I get discouraged now, my characters are lost or stuck, and my readers will be outraged. I don’t want to do this–some of the readers know where I live.
Also, I would like to see other novels that I have written reach bookstore shelves.  The first novel I wrote [adult fiction] is about a secret military for hire. My second novel is a historical fiction, regarding the Samburu tribe of Africa. If I give-up, they will never be read.
My advice to writers: Keep writing. Don’t lose your heart or your stories. If we lived in a world without television, internet, or other means of story-telling and our only source of imagination was through YOU, why aren’t you showing us? What’s holding you back? Tell us; we’re waiting!
Readers: We all have our favorite authors. If these authors or artists are alive, give them feedback. The most important thing you can do is let them know that you enjoy their work.
Have you ever had a job where you worked so hard, and never heard anything from your superior? I have. But, the moment you do something wrong—boy, you’d HEAR about that!!! It makes you contemplate giving up, huh? The same goes for writers. They are displaying their thoughts to us (the readers), but they aren’t sure if it’s good. Tell them how you feel. Leave feedback on Amazon, Goodreads, Barnes & Noble, or their personal website. It’ll make their day! Trust me.

“Where I’m at” on The Omphalos of Delphi

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I am still working in chapter 17, and am very happy with the direction it’s going. But, I will try not to get too attached, because it might change during final edits.
Recently, I started researching Copenhagen, Denmark. It is beautiful!
 

*copenhagen

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Even though the characters aren’t going to stay long (maybe an hour delay), I’d like to know their surroundings. Then we’re off to London! Thank goodness, I have friends and family members to help answer questions pertaining to England.

 

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TRUE and INTERESTING FACTS about The Sphere Of Archimedes:

—Professor Donovan Spiegler is modeled after UC, Berkeley Professor Richard A. Muller, and Cary Grant’s character: Dr. Noah Praetorius in People Will Talk.
—The character “Ms. Sloth” (not her real name) was my seventh grade teacher.
—Oliver’s “shopping overload” with his mother and sister, was my experiences as a child. My mother and grandmother would take me on long trips to the mall. They spent hours and hours of sifting through racks of clothes.
—Donovan’s narrative, about being bullied, was my uncle’s story. The only difference: When my uncle went to punch his tormentor, he turned his head. Consequently, the bully was struck in the throat.
—Joshua (boy on the cover) couldn’t stop giggling for the photo shoot. When handing him the glass orb, I said: “This sphere sucks-up bullies.” It made matters worse! We had to take a few moments to compose his laughter.
—Oliver’s obnoxiousness is based on a combination of my youngest daughter and husband. My oldest daughter is the source of Amy’s character.
—Our family DOES own a tarantula.
—Gumble’s disposition is based on our dog, Boomer. Sadly, Boomer died a few weeks after I had finished the book; however his goofy, loveable-self is forever immortalized in this book.
—I have only been to the South Rim Grand Canyon once when I was 10 years old. In order to write about North Rim, I had to study the geography of the park, the trails, and stations in the area, because I’ve never been there.
—My mother had a business meeting in Flagstaff, and we stayed in the Little America Hotel™. They DO have the fattest squirrels and chipmunks I have ever seen!
—I knew the road trip from Phoenix to Wyoming was going to be long and boring, so I added many distractions from the drabness of driving.
Special thanks to Google Earth and caffeine!

Wednesday’s update on The Omphalos of Delphi

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Ah—the holidays. It’s a time to relax, enjoy friends & family, reflect on our blessings, and eat. I trust you had a marvelous day?
Shortly after Thanksgiving, the reality strikes us that Christmas is on its merry way. I enjoy the festivities, but not the shopping. Crowds send me into a panicked state. I don’t know why, but maybe it wouldn’t be so bad if people weren’t rude during this time of year. Is the toy, electronic device, or stuff really worth the irritation? If holiday cheer and glee accompanied the shopping experience, maybe it would be less cumbersome. Also, since I’ve worked retail most of my life, I take pity on the cashiers enduring those endless lines, and snippy people. I’ve been in their shoes, and I wouldn’t EVER want to work in retail again!
Okay, on with where I’m at! Guess what? I finished chapter 16, and am currently writing chapter 17. Finally, my characters get to move to different sceneries. Believe me, it is VERY difficult to write about cold weather, when I live in a desert. Seriously, I stuck my head in the freezer several times, to get the feel of being cold. Some of my close friends managed to attain a full-body snowsuit, so it could help with the visual aspects of writing. I’m happy to envision different terrain.

*avalance

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In this chapter there’s a bit of excitement. Our hero proves his valor – risking his life for another, even if it is just a dog. Next, my characters are going to Denmark. It wasn’t a planned destination, but research revealed the modes of transportation only go to Copenhagen. Even though the characters won’t be staying long, I am excited for the opportunity to research Copenhagen, Denmark
Join me each Wednesday for the insights of The Omphalos of Delphi. Leave comments, questions, or give feedback here by clicking the title of the blog. Like, follow, or just stay tuned.
Take care, my friends.

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Editing

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Why, when, and where do we need it?

I am not going to lie. I NEEDED an editor. My grammar is not perfect. My understanding of words and/or usage of words can be wrong. Even though I was pretty good in English classes, I needed my manuscript polished. It wasn’t bad, but one of my main issues was leading off a sentence too weak. My editor (without changing the content) made each sentence more powerful.
As a writer, we like to believe we are good enough. Some of us can go as far as to say, we’re perfect. But, try not to fall into this belief before you get off the ground. Stay humble. You are a human being with the knowledge that NOTHING is perfect. Even in nature, there is no such thing as the word perfect. Do we appreciate it any less? I don’t. Admit that you need an editor. They aren’t your enemy; they are here to help bring your writing to a whole new level.
I will admit that when I got my manuscript back from the editor, it reminded me of being in school. You remember writing a school essay, and then getting it back with red pen marks on it? It feels disheartening. But after I started reading and understanding the marks, they weren’t supposed to be discouraging; in fact, they were encouraging. She wasn’t there to hurt or hinder my life’s ambitions, but nurture it to the fullest.
I also noticed that she didn’t change the story structure or wording. After I finished going through all her edits, I appreciated everything she had done. Quite honestly, I don’t know how she does it. I couldn’t read, rearrange, rework, reread, and restructure multiple manuscripts in a year without going bonkers!! Hats off to anyone brave enough to take on being an editor.

When to find an editor?

Personally, you should find one before submitting to agents, if you intend to publish traditionally. Agents are busy people, and so are their assistants. They won’t waste their time if the manuscript doesn’t appear professionally written, or have an intriguing plot, and has no marketability.
How traditional publishing works is after you’ve hooked an agent, the agent will submit the manuscript to a publishing house. The publishing house provides an editor, if needed.
Strictly Self-Publishing and P.O.D. authors will need to hire an editor. You would not want to publish a book without being professionally edited first. Unless you are an editor and know the Chicago Manuel Style format, you shouldn’t risk publishing an unedited book.
Alternative Publishing companies usually provide an editor. Some companies charge extra fees. Again, check out different companies and package details beforehand.
If you have no idea what I’m talking about: traditional, strictly self-pub’d, P.O.D, or alternative self-pub’d – check out last week’s blog on the four types of publishing.

Where to find an editor?

Several weeks ago, I talked about: If you’re a writer—find a group. The neat thing about writing groups—they have connections. A lot of editors attend the same functions writers do. Ask others in the group if they can recommend an editor. I found my own editor in this fashion. She was part of my writer’s group, Abba’s Writers.
If you type in “How to find an editor” in your search engine, many options pop up! Don’t jump to any one of these choices without doing research. Check out their reputation, previous works, and price comparisons. Someone I know took her work to a “professional editor,” who was willing to take her money, but only did minimal work. Be careful!
I hope my discussions have shed light on writing, publishing, and editing. All I can do is reveal my personal experiences, and share some of my research. But don’t stop with my blog. Please, venture out, do lots of research, and find more information.
Thanks for your support and readership.