Inside the mind of a fantasy writer

Posts tagged “editing

July Updates

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It’s been awhile since I’ve done an update, so I apologize. I’m doing well with my promise to blog more, which I hope I can keep up with.

My current projects and book updates….

ck1fabricatedbeautyI’m focusing on Christian’s Kisses edits/rewrites. I’m debating whether or not to take huge chunks out of books #3 and #4 and make them one book, or tweak it and add a bunch to both books. Book #2 is ready to go, I just haven’t committed to a release date, yet.

CK is a big project, so I haven’t had time to work on much else. I’m getting a little burnt out from editing, but I’m trying to take a little break here and there so I stick with it. CK is something I’m doing on my own, so I have to make my own deadlines. It’s easy to slack when you get to do that. Thanks to the readers that have been nudging me to finish the next book, it helps give me the drive to trudge through edits. Besides that, I really don’t have any writing/editing goals.

A little side event….

One of my cover designs (not for my books, one I did for a publisher I work for) was in a cover art competition. Sexy men or something. It was an awesome design, but it didn’t win 😦 I think there’s another one of my covers in a competition coming up, too, but I can’t remember what. If I find out, I’ll mention it.

When I do a cover commission, I don’t always get to see where it goes after I hand it over to the author (or publisher), so it’s always nice when the authors keep in touch with me to tell me things like that. I’ve had a few of my designs win competitions, and one was even used in a convention as an example of great cover art (that was cool). These are my warm fuzzy moments hee hee.

Outside of writing…..

It’s summer time, so I’ve been busier. Last month, we went on vacation to upper Wisconsin and spent some time at the lake. I love the state of Wisconsin. If I could choose to move somewhere, it would be Wisconsin. Though…it’s only a few miles from where I live, so I go there a lot, anyway, so there’s probably no need too lol.

I picked my own strawberries this year, too, something I’ve ALWAYS wanted to do. And yes, they were yummy. Strawberries are my favorite food, by the way 😉

My boys are getting bigger every day, little Tank is going to be two already next month. How crazy! My oldest, Kyle, turned eight last month.

Also, it’s butterfly season, which means Kyle is looking for caterpillars. It’s a big thing around our house lol. Last year, we raised a few monarchs and released them.

It was a neat thing to see and I learned A LOT about monarchs. I’d encourage anyone to do it with their children. It helps keep the population up, which I hear is going down a bit.

You’re supposed to be able to get these tags to put on them to track where they go, which we may do this year. It would be neat to see where they go after you release them.

I’m going to a Starset concert on the 29th, which I am REALLY excited about. They are my favorite band so having them come here is frickin’ awesome. Hinder and Pop Evil are going to be there, too, and they’re okay, but…seeing Starset is the ONLY reason I’m going 🙂

I hope the rest of you are enjoying your summer and doing lots of fun things, as well.

 


Prologue?

I’m working on final edits for CK#2, and I’m debating whether or not to put in a prologue to do a slight recap from book #1. I won’t do it for all the books, just ones that might need it. What are your thoughts on prologues in series? Do you like them, or would you rather the story start at Chapter One? I’ve never added one before, but in CK I think it would be helpful. I’d like to get some opinions, so feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments.


Teaser Tuesday: The List (From CK2)

Okay, here’s my first “Teaser Tuesday”. I’m doing mostly graphic work today, but in-between that I’m working on edits for CK2. Here’s a small tease from the book. A little tidbit–“the list” is a hit list given to the vampires.

He handed the list to her. “Go to Caron and find Master Vallore. He’s the leader of the vampires. He’s the only one who can help you with this. Find him fast enough, and you may convince him to pardon someone on this list.”

Taking a deep breath, Addison snatched the paper. She opened it up and looked at the names, which were in alphabetical order by last name.

Covering her mouth when she read a name she knew, she began to cry, big tears rolling down her cheeks. She tried to hold them back, but couldn’t dam them.

He plucked the list from her hands and put it back in his pocket. He was observing her tears with silence, his expression hard. He spoke softly. “Make a decision, Miss Collins. You can’t outrun fate.”

He motioned with his head toward the hospital. “Choose your leader wisely. The time has come for your life to change. No more running.”

“I’m not ready.”

“Get ready, because you’re out of time.”


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Quote: Lie’s Prince

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Black Kat Excerpt: The Race

I’ve started Check Mate’s Prequel, and couldn’t wait to share an excerpt with you.  It’s temp title is Black Kat, so if you’re looking for it in the WIP section on the site, that’s what it’s listed as.  Right now, I’m at about 30k, which is about halfway-ish.  I started it last Friday, so that shows how fast I write.  Also, I didn’t edit it, so pardon any glaring errors.

I was going to pick a shorter excerpt, but hell, I’ll give you something a little longer.   But, keep in mind, the characters are younger in this book, so they are slightly immature. It’s in the New Adult genre (aimed at the 16-25 audience), but too risque to be a YA.  There is A LOT of swears in it, and there’s really no way around that.  My boys are turning out to be a little more foul mouthed and uncouth than I was planning on.  I can’t wrangle them very good.  Especially Sam.  So, please forgive me.  They’re brats, I know.

There’s a few issues with the story line I’m still struggling with, but hopefully with a little research I’ll be good.  I think…lol.  Anyway, enjoy the tease and feel free to tell me your thoughts.

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Back story of the excerpt.  At a New Year’s Eve party, Gwen bets some of the Kats she can beat them in a race.

 

…….So, seven laps.  Starting at the south entrance.”

Gwen nodded, and they skated toward the south gate.  They were about to start, but a voice interrupted.

“You boys ain’t playin’.”  Morgan glared at Gwen, “This little brat is mine.”

Gwen’s chin was raised, an arrogance in her stance.  She was extremely angry, and wearing her tough girl face.  She had not forgiven him for their fight earlier, and as stubborn as she was, it would take more than beating her in a race to get back in her good graces.

“So, what’s the wager?”  Morgan turned to Nate.

“A new year’s kiss.”  Gwen answered snarkly, “And if you lose, no Augusta State.  You stay with the Kats next year.”

“You have to beat him, Gwen!”  Nate shouted, the mood playful.  “He can’t abandon his Kats!”

“You know you’re gonna lose.”  Gwen cooed in a husky voice.  “I’ve beaten you before.”

“Like, when we were ten.  And you cheated, anyway.  You always cheat.  So…when I win….”  Morgan’s mood suddenly turned upbeat as he pointed to her.  “I get those panties.”  With his words, the boys all started laughing.

Gwen’s draw dropped, and she stared at Morgan blankly.  After taking a few seconds to recover her angry face, she grinded her steel toe into the ice in annoyance.  Her long, black and red laces bounced, as she spoke through gritted teeth.  “Fine.”  She spun sharply.

“Ten laps.  No handicaps.”

Gwen shook her head, a great confusion in her eyes.  “What?”

“Means I’ll check your hot, little ass if I catch up to you.”  Morgan’s eyes narrowed as he pointed to her. “Porky.”

“You’re bigger than me.”  Gwen put her hands on her hips, shaking them to the left in frustration.  “That is not fair.”

“So, you’re forfeiting?”  Morgan punched his open palm, an excited look in his eyes.

“Well…”  Gwen was stumbling over her words, “No, but—“

“Awesome.”  He reached over and tapped her shoulder.  “Let’s race, Roberts.”

Holding up a fist, she glared at her adversary.  “I’m gonna kick your ass, Tanner.”

“I look forward to it.”  He reached back and slapped her butt, Gwen retaliating and slapping at his shoulders.

“This race is gonna be awesome.”  Nate whispered to Kingley, but Kingley wasn’t really laughing.  Nate’s voice then raised, “So, who’s gonna judge it?”

“I’ll do it.”  Sam held up his hand.

“You’re here too?”  Gwen glanced at her brother.  She wanted to beat him as much as she did Morgan.  Her eyes jumped to the sidelines, where Jenny and Anne were cheering her on.

“Yep,” Sam answered cheekily.

Gwen rolled her eyes, then turned and readied herself to start.  “Let’s just start already.”

Morgan stood next to her, whispering in her ear.  “You’re gonna get your ass Tanned.”  He stuck his tongue out at her playfully, Gwen slapping him in annoyance.

“On five!”  Sam’s voice was loud as he raised his hand.  He then started counting down.  Gwen’s breath was quick, her jaw stiff.  Morgan, on the other hand, was pretty calm.

As soon as Sam yelled “go” Gwen took off.  Morgan let her ahead for a lap, Gwen gathering more speed by the second.  Thinking she was winning, Gwen smiled and glanced back.  Her eyes widened when she saw Morgan barreling towards her.

Morgan yelled “Check” as he slammed into her the barrier.  And it wasn’t a soft action either. This was a competition, and he seemed determined to win it.  Gwen tripped, but caught herself before she fell to the ice.

Morgan spun, skating backward a few lengths as he sent her a wicked grin.  Gwen quickly regained her footing and took after him.  Every time she tried to pass him, he’d shove her over a foot or two.  Then, Gwen started shoving back.  Her face was scowled, and she tried to shove him away, but couldn’t do it.

Morgan was laughing hysterically, and even in plain clothes, he towered over the slender, figure skater.  Their speed slowed, and the race got heated.  Gwen’s face was stressed as she tried to knock him over, her hands repeatedly shoving at him.

“Move…you big…”  She was speaking through gritted teeth, each failed attempt fueling her anger.  “Ice prick!”

“Last lap!”  Sam shouted.

Slamming into her,  Morgan hooked her foot slightly, and tripped her.  Gwen fell to the ice and winced.  It was cold against her bottom, but the sting only made her anger grow hotter.  She sprung to her feet, and came up on him from the rear.  She shoved him from behind, but he didn’t fall, he just stumbled a bit.  They shoved and pushed the whole way to the home stretch.  About two feet from the finish line, Morgan shoved her hard, and she fell to the ice.  With an agape expression, Gwen watched him finish.  She didn’t get up, her eyes narrowing on Morgan.  He was laughing, and pointing at her, which only made her scowl deepen.

“That was not fair!”  Gwen kicked her feet, letting out a little whine as she balled her fists.

“Stop being a sore loser.”  Morgan held out his hand and helped her up.  The back of her skirt was wet, her stockings now speckled a brownish color.  Leaning forward, he whispered in her ear.  “I win, Porky.”He watched her skate away angrily.  “Gwenie!”  There was an upbeat tone to his voice though he was upset.  “What about my prize?”

With a quick turn, she stopped and glared at him from several feet away.  Reaching under her skirt, she shimmied down the boy shorts covering her panties, and awkwardly pulled them over her skates.  She then threw them on the ice.  “I hate you, Morgan Tanner!”


Author Interview: Rich Voza

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Welcome to another exciting author Interview!

You should be super psyched about this one.  Today my interviewee is one of my good writer friends and my editing advice guru.

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“More than 50% of the time, persistence wins over talent. Too many times the more talented people give up too easily, and then the less talented people get the job.”

-Rich Voza

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Meet Rich Voza!

Rich is the author of The Curse, which made it as a quarter finalist in the ABNA last year.  I think that may be the reason I first started talking to him but I can’t remember exactly.  Anyway, his story totally beat out mine that didn’t even make it past the pitch round (or it so would’ve gotten farther).

He lives in a house on the beach, something a lot of us dream about.  Not really me though, I’d take a beautiful farm in the country instead, though the beach would make an excellent vacation spot 😉

He’s also a retired English teacher now turned editor and full time writer (when he isn’t spending time with his children) and writes movie reviews.  Right now he’s been working on many short stories like The Bus Stop, The Lie and The Accident but has also written several books like the Room 317 and The Curse. He’s got a cute little puppy, who’s probably not only a total chick magnet but a fun little companion to take on long walks on beach.  Awww…..

If you need a great editor, give him a shout out, he’s great at it and I’m sure happy to help.  He had some very helpful posts on grammar, check them out.  You might learn something 🙂 Find some of those HERE and HERE.

And now onto the interview…..

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1.  What is the hardest thing about writing a book (story)?

This will sound rude, but the hardest part of writing a book or story, seriously, is just time.  I have written four novels and seven short stories.  Maybe eight.  And I’ve never written anything during which I have not suddenly been hit with what seemed like a better story.  Then, I feel like I have to rush to finish what I’m currently writing so I can get to the next great idea.  I hate saying that, but it’s true.

2.  What are you currently working on?

I’m currently stuck as hell.  I have two stories that I need to revise.  They’re ready to be pitched.  But I have this fabulous idea for a really creepy stalker story.  However, if I don’t actually get something finished, queried, pitched, and all that, then I’ll remain the best writer who’s never done anything beyond his own computer.  And blog.

3.  What is the best story, in your opinion, have you ever written and why.

The best story I’ve ever written is a great story – but it’s poorly written, and I have to totally re-write it.  It’s called “The Curse,” and it’s about a slave owner who puts a curse on his slaves to prevent them from running away.  But the curse backfires on him instead of being put on the slaves.  I love it.  It was a quarterfinalist in the ABNA last year.  The readers loved the first three chapters, but I didn’t finish it well enough.

4.  As an editor, what is the grammar issue that most annoys you?

I suck at knowing when to break for paragraphs.  I know that you break when the location or the time changes, or when the speaker changes.  But sometimes there are other changes, and I get confused as to when they should be.

5.  As a reader, what do other writers do that most annoys you?

Clichés.

6.  What is your greatest strength as a writer?</h2

Dialogue.  I always get compliments on it.  The reason it’s m strength is because I talk too much and I constantly watch and observe people.  I’m  nosey as hell, watching people when they don’t realize it.

7.  What genre do you find hard to write?

Not sure because I only keep to what I know I can do.

8.  When did you write your first book?

In a way, I wrote my first book when I was in third grade.  We had a summer reading assignment, which I didn’t do.  We could have read anything, and I read nothing.  On the first day of school we had an assignment, like a book report about what we read.  I totally made mine up.  It was called “Carrot Top Mr. Mouse,” about a mouse with red hair, and the other mice made fun of him, so he ran away.  It was because I had red hair, and sometimes people made fun of me.  I think I’ll have to actually write that one day, but on that day, I made up a cover and a summary.

However, for real, my first book was “Grandpa’s Watch.”  It’s about a boy who accidentally gets sent back in time into the Civil War where his great-grandfather, as a teenager, was involved.  But the boy who gets sent back accidentally injures his grandfather.  Luckily, he knows what the old man did to help the Union win the war, and he now has to take his grandfather’s place, otherwise the South might win.  According to my daughter, it’s too educational and not enough fun.

9.  Have you ever used a pen name? (And if so did you write naughty stories?)

Yes, and yes.  But the “naughty” stories were 100% true.

10.  What is your advice for other writers?

My advice – don’t be lazy like me.  I’ve learned that there are many great writers, great stories, that nobody knows about because those writers don’t have the “drive” to get published.  That’s what I’m battling against.  For me, it’s a fear of failure.  Like, if I don’t pull the trigger, then I can’t possibly miss.  But lately I’ve been working on that.

Also, find a writers group who will read and trade feedback.  Not an online group but a real group that meets at a library or someplace.  Make sure they’re people who know what they’re doing.  I’ve been involved with writers groups in which nobody owned a computer.  I’m not trying to make fun of anyone’s money situation, but I can’t figure out how anyone can really write anything without a computer.  It would take too long.  Maybe that’s stupid, but it’s how I feel.

Also, be careful about blogging.  I just spent a year blogging very successfully.  Never had more people read what I’ve written, and got a lot of praise.  However, what I’ve been writing is nothing I could ever sell.  I spent probably 100,000 words that won’t go anywhere.  But at the same time, it’s a great confidence booster.  Now, after all that, I’ve finally learned that it’s more important to have five good people read my fiction, give me feedback, and help me improve than it is to have 100 people read something and say “Wow, that was great.”  Those 100 people are nice, but they’re not going to get me anywhere.

11.  Who would you love to co write a story with and why?

A woman I know in the Midwest because she can write stuff that I can’t, which makes sense to collaborate.

If you want to stalk Rich like I do, check out his blog >>HERE<<.  And yes, Rich, I would be awesome to write a collaborative story with 😉

Come back next week because I have another great person to introduce you to.

For the grand finale of this interview, I’ll leave you with one of Rich’s short stories titled; The Accident

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The only thing Jones had been more impressed with than his week-old BMW convertible was himself.  He had pushed the limits of time and energy, along with the art of negotiation, for three years strictly for his promotion and, more importantly, the car.  The car was now upside down at the bottom of a small grassy hill off the right shoulder of Route 295 South.  Jones stood from what seemed a very comfortable seated position in tall grass fifty yards from the car, his car, and stared in amazement to make certain it really was his car with the wheels pointing skyward like a dead turtle on its back.  The crowd of emergency personnel made it more difficult for him to see the platinum-silver car, but he could think of no other reason why he was where he was.

As he approached the car, the hairs on his right forearm prickled up as the breeze from the highway blew across where his right shirt sleeve used to be.  The rest of the starched white shirt remained, along with a bright red tie, which he loosened as he noticed another crowd uniforms gathered around something else – a body covered with a mostly white sheet except where deep red stains were soaking through where the body’s head would be.  On the ground next to the body was the white sleeve he no longer wore.

“Bastard probably never felt a thing,” said a firefighter as he removed his helmet.

“Better that way,” another replied, “when you don’t know it’s coming, no time to think.  You’re just – gone.”

Gone.  The word echoed in Jones’s head and faded like the rush of endless tires on the highway nearby.  He stumbled backwards through the tall grass as voices and flashing lights remained behind.  He dug his wallet from his left front pocket and reviewed his driver’s license just to be sure he was who he was.  The faces of his wife and kids all matched his memory as did his name and picture, and he put it all back in his pocket while taking further steps towards the woods behind him.  He turned and picked up speed until he reached a full sprint, which lasted for only a few seconds before he slowed without breath.  He dropped to one knee before curling in a fetal position and sobbing beneath the frozen arms of a family of oak trees whose spring buds were days away from exploding.  When he pulled his hands from his face a few minutes later, he noticed blood and thought of the sheet over the body back at the accident scene.

He leaped to his feet, hands held away from his body as if his own blood might contaminate him.  His eyes darted until they found the shimmer of a stream, then he walked almost primate-like across a grassy opening in the trees until reaching a bend of a tributary that strayed from the Delaware River about ten miles west.  Jones squatted, thrashing his bloody hands in the ripples before allowing the water to calm so he could see the matted hair that partially covered a gash torn open during the accident.

He felt a wave of panic that began with the men at the crash site, the sheet covering the body with the bloody head, his missing sleeve next to the sheet, and the comfort in the suggestion that maybe he never felt a thing.  After his shoulders relaxed, he stepped knee-deep into the stream and bent forward to rinse his hair of the blood and thoughts about death.

“I guess I get to keep my body.  Good thing I never filled out that donor card.”  He chuckled, forcing a smile.  “But why would I need my body?  Wouldn’t I just be more like a spirit?  Is there a reason I’m still physical?  What about-”

To read the rest of this story, click >> HERE <<


Finished!!

I just finished my Current WIP!!  Yea!  Go me!  Come on…celebrate with me so I don’t have to do it by myself.  Come on, I know you wanna 😉

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So….here’s the specs.

My current WIP is now titled, Christian’s Kisses:  The Seed of The Master and the original Christian’s Kisses, is now titled; Christian’s Kisses:  Initation.  It ended at about 61k but I have a feeling it will get longer in editing.

My love for you fuels the sun, the light that illuminates all that is beautiful.

 

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Here is a summary of the story for those who are interested…

Madly in love with the beautiful wife of the master vampire, Christian Vallore, Monroe will do anything to save her from the murderous lifestyle she leds as a vampire.  He kidnaps her and tries to make her forget the man who made her into what she is now, the man she loves.  By using an experimental drug that suppresses her vampire instincts and makes her appear human, he tries to give her a new life free of vampires.  But the beloved of the master will not go unmissed and soon Master Vallore will seek out his wife and the man who has taken her from him.