Monday, June 20, 2011

so close!

This weekend, we hooked up Scarab for print on demand. Tammy wrote my author bio and chose the background colors. She even insisted on/chose the author photo. I should get the proof copy back some time in the next 9 days.
I even recorded the first 30 minute / 2 chapter audio book episode for Scarab, but I need a way to send it to that McAfee will allow. Tammy has offered to read the books aloud with me, a team project.

Foundation for the Lost is all ready to go in every format (smashwords, amazon, print on demand) as soon as I get the cover. Renee started on that officially today. I did all my own interior drawings using a CAD program.

I combed over Icarus again, 55 pages -- better than I remember. I might charge 99 cents. Who knows? I'm waiting for an editor or at least proof reader on this before I release it.

Jezebel's Ladder is at 69 out of the target 80K words for the first draft.

Did I mention that I've started accumulating notes for a sequel to Foundation tentatively called 'Hero of Fire'? Aaron is now an outcast, barred from entering New Salem. He has to find some way to break in before Rose has the twins--no one else would survive the firestorm of their delivery. He has to learn an entitely new set of rules, as well as how to overcome an army of djinn. I usually collect notes for 6-8 weeks before writing the first word.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Edit Day - Foundation for the Lost

I have been waiting for this moment since last Thanksgiving when I finished writing what I thought was my best story ever -- Foundation for the Lost. My manuscript came back from CreateSpace Saturday. The letter with it was very complimentary and professional. I spent all weekend incorporating the changes recommended. The big question: Did I get my $2000 worth? Well, on the plus side, she:
  • Introduced me to the Chicago Style Manual
  • Showed me a few more comma cornercases (without stating the grammar rule I violated)
  • Combined compound words into one in about 50 places
  • Saved me from about 25 embarassing mistakes like Ray said to Ray (that my 7 proofreaders missed)
  • Got me to better explain the action in about 10 places. I need more signposts
On the negative side
  • I found about 45 mistakes in her edits.
  • When I said that Aaron doesn't use contractions all the time, the editor got rid of them all for me (after the second chapter). He sounds like a Romanian now. I don't want people hearing Count Dracula when they read my story.
  • It did not take my writing to the next level. This is all there is--the Wizard of Oz has given me my diploma.
Other than art, this book could be ready to ship today. On the balance, the experience was good education to have once.  I can page through the Chicago Style Guide myself. Until I start selling over 1000 copies a year, the embarassing mistakes could be handled more economically by offering free books/Amazon gift cards to people finding typos like Joseph Devon does. As long as I don't damage my brand, that's what I'm planning to do.

Thank God my wife is supportive.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


My two kids are off school now. I downshifted to 32 hours a week so I could watch them for half each week during the summer. We're all learning the ropes together. I have a whiteboard with the new rules and each day's TODOs.

I'm spending most of the wait time writing Jezebel. I'm up to 64K words and entering the second phase of the story. I originally planned to just drop my novella in as the next 30K, but my writing style has changed so much in the last 14 years it's not working.

I'm not worried about reaching the right length; my characters could expand "a week later" to ten thousand words if I let them. The byplay and problems in their daily lives even keeps me entertained. The problem is "forcing" them to do what I want them to when I want them to, especially with my first female lead.  For example, Jez was supposed to jump the male lead as a reward after he rescues her from torture. But after that trauma and threats of rape she refused to feel sexy. Go figure. They also both had two casts for broken limbs. Try writing that scene. When they got casts removed a month later, she couldn't because it felt rushed and she hadn't fully bathed in a month. After getting officially engaged, she wants to and he wants to wait. Eventually, they end up having really hot married sex, something you don't see a lot in fiction.