Monday, October 31, 2011

The Red Road Belongs to Me!

It's official, Walk the Red Road is all mine. Technically it's been mine since August, but it does give me a bit of a boost to have the actual paperwork in hand. It came in pretty fast, compared to the 9 long months it took to get in the paperwork for Beyond the Western Sun. Seriously, I could have had a baby in that time. For Walk the Red Road, maybe a litter of kittens. (I should note, NO BABIES for me. I will gladly accept kittens though, so long as, you know, they don't come from me and all)

Ok, that got weird. I give you, my official copyright!

So, that's all.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Editing Process

So, a little while ago I showed you my nice, shiny new manuscript all pretty and printed out. Remember? It looked a little something like this (oh and no straining to read the text, cheaters):

The paper editing process (and my final edit) is now complete (just waiting for one last edit from my mom). It took a little while for S and me to both finish, but finally we are done. Now, I can be a bit big-headed at times, but not so much that I can't admit to writing awful first drafts. Seriously, they are terrible. Words spelled wrong, sentences half-finished, scenes that don't make any sense. I even had two Chapter 46s and had to go back and fix everything. That was really annoying.

So for the purpose of being totally honest and showing just how many revisions I have to make, here are a few sample pages:

This one's not so bad. I make dashes off to the side whenever I make an edit to ensure I don't miss it when comaring the paper copy to the computer document. Dashes mean an edit, a ">" means to add or expand upon something.

A little worse. Adding in chapter breaks, some random notes to myself.

Gah. So many issues.

WHAT HAPPENED HERE? Also, you'll see S's note that I use the word "mate" a lot. There were a few words or phrases that were overused that he pointed out, so I had to go back and do a search to find all instances of those specific words since I don't notice them when writing. I need a reader to point them out for me.

See the circles off to the side? That's what happens when I get bored editing my story for the 27th time.

Oh, and just for fun, a super adorable picture of Sir Whisky, who slept next to me today while I finished the edit:

Saturday, October 22, 2011

What’s Keeping Me Sane

Terra Nova

I’m a big fan of dinosaurs, even though the thought of coming across a velociraptor scares the crap out of me. So I was very excited to come across this show. Some of it is a little lame (Slashers? Really? That’s the best name you could come up with?) and the CGI is questionable (I’ll never understand how Jurassic Park could have such awesome animation and yet, some 18 years later it seems we’ve reverted back to cartoonish dinos), but overall I’m loving the show. By the way, has it really been that long since Jurassic Park came out? Holy crap, I’m old. I still remember my mom and stepdad coming home from the theater and her telling us all about how horribly scary the movie was and that she spent the entire film hiding her eyes in my stepdad’s now stretched out shirtsleeve. I’m pretty sure this happened. I may have dreamed it, or it may have been a different movie. I’ll have to verify it later.

American Horror Story

Those of you who know me, know that I’m a little deranged. I think of weird stuff and I have a warped sense of humor. So, AHS is pretty much perfect for me. However, little kid ghosts and the thought of being possessed scare the hell out of me, so I pretty much torture myself every Wednesday night at watching this show. I will say though that I’m glad the burned dude (AKA Russell from True Blood) killed who he did this past episode because I was not going to sit through an entire season of that drama.

Transformers 3

Say what you want about Michael Bay, but the man knows how to put together an awesome movie. The chick in this one wasn’t as annoying as Megan Fox, but she came close at times (I mean, really. Getting pissy because your boyfriend is bailing on a stupid work dinner so he can, oh I don’t know, go SAVE THE WORLD? Lame, Carly. Very lame.). Luckily, my man Shia, who I’m not ashamed to admit I’ve been watching since his Even Stevens days, saved the day by acting his usual crazy self. The third installment was probably my favorite, and I totally want Carly’s car. So what if it’s a decepticon? As Tyrese said, decepticons get the good shit.

Pirates 4

Oh, how I love my pirates. I just got this movie and have watched it like 5 times already. I’ve always wanted to be an old-school pirate or a mermaid (or live in Neverland where there are BOTH), so this movie pretty much fulfills most of my fantasies. And, it’s got Johnny Depp. ‘Nuff said.

The Son of Neptune

I haven’t had time to do much pleasure reading lately, so I was very excited to find the next book in the Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan. I didn’t even know it was out when I want to Barnes & Noble for something else (a boring web writing book. Blah). I’m a big Greek mythology fan (minored in Classic Civilizations) and I love YA, so I can’t get enough of these books. I won’t even go into how much the movie massacred the first book. Let’s just say I force myself to view them as two completely separate entities otherwise I’m just irrationally mad. Hollywood, bring me in. I’ll give you some good shit to work with.

The A-Team

I’ve seen this movie probably 37 times now since HBO is playing it nonstop. I can’t help myself. Liam Neeson is sexy and the movie is just awesome. And, the beginning is one of my absolute all-time favorites. Alpha. Mega. Foxtrot. In other words…well, you get the picture. It reminds me of The Losers with the rocket launcher. Apparently I like it when stuff gets blown up.


So it’s not a movie or book or whatever, but it pretty much tops everything. I’m always thinking about it but lately I’ve been shopping. I pride myself on getting people awesome gifts. And now I just signed up for Secret Santa with my equally awesome group of friends so I can’t wait for the day after Thanksgiving so I can put up my tree. S won’t let me put it up sooner than that.

*All pics from Google Images

8 Weeks to Go…Maybe?

Walk the Red Road is finally in the works, out of my hands (almost entirely) and with the publishers. FINALLY. I’m still finishing up my last edit and waiting on S to finish his (oh, and my mom’s. Come on, people, time’s a tickin’.). I’m relieved, almost too exhausted at this point to be excited. OK, I’m a little excited, but mostly just waiting for the next stage since it’s not over yet and I still have a long way to go. People don’t realize how much work all this is, except maybe S since he has the fun job of dealing with me all the time.

Whisper has been running around in my head for months now. Years, really, but she’s only been walking the Red Road since last April or so. She demands my attention almost 24/7, invading my dreams and requiring at least three to 4 hours of additional work after I get home from my “real” job. Hopefully she takes a couple months’ break after this before heading off to her next adventure. And oh, what a grand one it will be.

I think I could go on with this story for books and books and books, but I’ll probably try to keep it to just four. Maybe five. I love series books, but only so long as they stay true to their characters and don’t cause the story to go stale. Some authors can pull it off—Anne Bishop and her 473 (this might be an exaggeration) Black Jewel books (which are AWESOME), Rick Riordan and Percy Jackson, the Gears with their mile-long series about Native Americans (different characters, same concept). Others fall short and end up destroying their characters. The first that comes to mind is the book-that-shall-not-be-named (aka The Land of Painted Caves), which felt like the author punched me in the gut, stabbed me in the heart with a fire poker and spit on my brand new shoes in the end after the character I admired so much and made me believe that some men were decent after all was completely and utterly unforgivably destroyed and OH MY GOD I can’t even talk about it anymore without being depressed.

So, yeah. I don’t want to punch people in the gut with my sequel. Or any following books. That’s been my biggest fear when writing Walk the Red Road and I’m seriously agonizing over this with each page I edit. The book-that-shall-not-be-named has ruined me in this regard. Either I worry too much, care too much, or I’m just weirdly insane. S says I’m just crazy. Wait, no. Actually he says “You are the weirdest girl I’ve ever met.” This was after a debate over why the North Pole should be part of a continent that went a little something like this:

Me: “But why isn’t it part of a continent?”
S: “Because it’s just ice and stuff. There’s no landmass. Nothing lives there.”
Me: “Yeah-huh. Stuff lives there.”
S: “What?”
Me: “Santa.”
S: “Santa doesn’t count.”
Me: “…We are no longer friends.”
S: “…..”
Me: “…..”
S: “You are the weirdest girl I’ve ever met.”

(Google pic)

See? I'm right.

Anyway, I forgot my point. I’m not sure I ever had one. OH! Yeah, I was going to say that since I’m bored, I’m going to make a whole new blog post about what’s been keeping me sane (hah) these past few weeks as I prepare to release Walk the Red Road. So, enjoy.

Also, here is my updated To-Do List – See, I am getting things done!
Revising manuscript according to editors--ALMOST DONE
*Finding a way to print out manuscript without spending a fortune--DONE
*Give book to S to read and revise—IN PROGRESS
*Insert chapter breaks and edit again (last time)--IN PROGRESS
*Purchase barcode--DONE
*Assign ISBN to barcode-- DONE
*Purchase self-publishing package--DONE
*Write book synopsis--DONE
*Write interior text--DONE
*Complete book cover once art is received--DONE

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Feelings of Fantasy

So I was watching Avatar again the other day (hear that, James Cameron? I’m supporting your royalties. Still waiting on that phone call) and it re-inspired me to get my butt in gear. Aside from preparing for and working the Family Days event, I’ve been working really hard on my story. Tomorrow I'll even be on a conference call with the publishers to finalize plans for Walk the Red Road. I admit I was getting bored with it (you can only read/carefully scrutinize/analyse something so many times in a short period of time before you’d rather rub sandpaper in your eyes than read another word), but alas, Avatar has restored my love.

While watching the movie, I started thinking about how much I love fantasy. I guess it makes sense, since I make my living telling made-up stories, but it’s interesting (to me, anyway) because I used to hate reading fantasy. Fantasy movies, totally love. Books, well they bored me. Then I wrote BTWS, and I suppose its elements of the supernatural gave me a new appreciation for the genre.

This year all I’ve read are fantasy books. Pretty much everything by Ann Bishop, The Mortal Instruments series (for like the sixth time), The Hunger Games series (kind-of fantasy, but I say it counts), Brom’s The Child Thief, the Percy Jackson series (hey, this one counts too), to name a few. I’ve absolutely loved them all.

The only problem? Now my imagination is in constant fantasy mode and I can’t turn it off. I’m constantly picturing new worlds and imaging myself in other-realm places, especially Narnia. Oh, how I love Narnia. It’s my favorite fantasy. When I’m falling asleep I imagine myself being transported to that world, sailing the Dawn Treader with Caspian (played by Ben Barnes, of course), battling the White Witch, searching for the lost Prince Rilian.

For your viewing pleasure (all Google pics):

That’s the existence meant for me, and sometimes I forget that I can never have it, and that such magic doesn’t really exist.

Or does it? I’m convinced my bank might be magic, or at the very least, that tiny people live inside the ATM. They started this new thing where you make deposits without needing an envelope and I can’t figure out how the damn thing works. You can put in up to 50 bills and 30 checks at a time and it counts them all, and accurately. How? How does it know what’s written on a check? How does it read the bills? It’s magic, or money elves. There’s really no other solution.

But anyway, I think I had a point to this long, drawn-out chronicle of hearing myself talk, if I can remember it. Ah, yes. Fantasy. It’s more than just a genre to me; it’s a way of life. Or at least, it’s become one in the way that I view writing.

Do I truly believe that I’ll one day be the best-selling success that is Nora Roberts or Carl Hiaasen (I use them as examples since they are the only ones I’ve ever met)? Do I think that booksellers will be lining up to schedule nationwide book tours? Honestly, no. I’m not so na├»ve to believe that such things are possible for all people who wish it.

However, I cannot give up hope that someday, perhaps some modicum of success will be mine. Perhaps this depends on how you define success, as I don’t define it by how much money one makes, but rather how well you get your story across, and make people want to read more and more of your work. I think I have this in me, and a part of me even thinks that one day James Cameron really will call to discuss movie rights, or that a major bookseller would eagerly stock my novels and set up a nationwide tour.

Or maybe, as Wendy would say, “It is your biggest pretend.”

Hey, if this is my fantasy, my dream, then I’d say it could be worse. Let’s just hope I never wake up.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Family Days Was a Success!

It was a lot of work and took a lot of talking, but Port Orange Family Days was definitely a hit. I want to give a major thanks to my awesome helpers, including my mom, Kenz, my aunt, and my dad. I couldn't have done it without any of you! I sold a crapton of books and did a lot of networking. Now, I'm exhausted and tired of talking about my books. So instead, I'll write about them!

I generated a lot of interest for Beyond the Western Sun, so I'm hoping to get even more fans for Walk the Red Road (which, by the way, is getting closer and closer to publication!). This weekend I met a lot of my younger, middle school-aged fans and even saw my kindergarten teacher, who actually remembered me some 20 years later. The mayor bought a book, a woman who runs a local book club wants me to come in and speak, and I got some great tips on places that hold book signings. So, all the hard work was worth the effort. I'm sure the free candy helped too (Family Days is like pre-Halloween for everyone--free candy at booths for the kids, free keychains and pads of paper and coozies and whatnot for the adults.).

Obviously, talking about Family Days isn't all that entertaining for you, so enjoy my weekend in pictures:

Getting the tent set up.

More setup.

Prepping the sign. This was my first time working a booth at Family Days, so I learned a lot about what to do for next time. What kind of weights to bring (these were provided for us), bring zip-ties for signs, cut holes in the board beforehand, better tablecloth, etc.

Finally figured it out.

Yay, sign!

All ready to sell.

Selling and signing.

Remember how I was complaining about my hands/wrists/fingers? Well, it has resulted in this. Medicated arthritis pads on my wrist and the top of my hand, all secured with a brace. I hope you're happy, computer and keyboard.

All in all, I'm a happy camper right about now.