Still Editing, Folks…

STILL EDITING, FOLKS, BUT …  only about 30 pages left — that is, until I get my two remaining part-two critiques (wow…that was a tongue-twister…sorry).

I truly am excited, because I am nearly ready to submit for the professional edit. They will have it for 3-4 weeks (at least, that’s what they said…), which will give me time to concentrate on the cover design, interior layout and an author’s photo for the back.  Oh…and all of the other little blurbs they want me to come up with…
Then, it’s back to me for corrections before I sign it off as ready for publication.

This process can easily be compared to a pregnancy.

Ooh, so easily!

The thrills and excitement during the conception and growth of the beloved story, the anticipation, the waiting, the preparations…the stressful rush to finish, to meet deadlines, exhaustion…need I say more?

Though I’ve only been pregnant once, I vividly recall all of this.  I  remember the last few months, lugging my precious cargo around — and how much I was looking forward to it being in the past so I could start enjoying the next journey that lay ahead.  It was a long and hard journey — one I would have done again, in a heartbeat.

The same is true of the adventure I’m experiencing with this manuscript.  Despite the major hiccups I’ve encountered as a novice author, I’m excited that there will be more to come — with the experience gained and knowing that it won’t take the decade-plus that this one required, there is hope for a complete series (two or three are already in the works) within a year or two!  And knowing I already have a growing interest in my first one, even though it’s not published yet, is truly exciting.

So, as soon as I post this, it’s back to editing.  Can’t keep the readers waiting, can I?

May your day be blessed with sweet anticipations.


And Now, My Final Edit…

THE BETA READER CRITIQUES ARE trickling in, allowing me time to review each a little before the next arrives.  Soon, I will have all of their comments and corrections digested, notated and will begin my last edit before presenting my manuscript for the publisher’s editor to carve up.

Yes.  That is how I envision it.  In my mind’s eye, I see red pen in hand, ruthlessly slashing sentences, mumbling under his (or her) breath and shaking the head in disgust…my beta readers are been fairly kind, gently pointing out flaws and obvious errors, making kind suggestions — and some glowing comments — that bolster my confidence.  The professional editor, I am sure, will not be so generous.

But, I keep telling myself, this will make it a better book for you, the reader.  I still feel, after it is all said and done, this is a good story.  One that will catch the readers imagination and will create a desire for more.  And more is coming.

The ideas keep flowing in my mind like an unstoppable flood.  I have affectionately dubbed it my ‘never-ending story’.  I have at least four more plots to work out…and more are forming in the back of my mind as time passes.

I am looking forward to getting the initial editing done, getting it out of my hands and into the hands of the publisher.  Then, my focus can be turned to all the little stuff — cover page, tag lines for advertising…and maybe a little time to myself.  Perhaps a trip down the coast, with my camera to refresh my mind…in preparation for the return of the manuscript — so I’ll be ready to once again hunker down to the long — final — editing session.

I’m still hoping for a Fall publishing date.  As I get closer, I will be able to give an actual date.  Until then, dear readers, please be patient.

May your days be filled with the anticipation and joy of life.

Squeeee — It’s Almost Ready…

Beta Readers copy, part one

Beta Readers copy, part one.

IT HAS BEEN A VERY, VERY LONG time in the making, but finally, I have (at least the first ‘half’) the manuscript ready for my four Beta Readers.  One Reader already has hers, the others will soon be distributed.

In the meantime, with tea at the ready, I continue to work on the remaining ‘half’ of the manuscript.  I want this to be a series and am hoping that I can manage to divide this into two reasonable stories.  (And create even more from there.) My Beta Readers will help me determine if this will be possible.

This is an exciting stage to be at — almost there, yet not quite.  I can feel the excitement welling and find myself spending more and more time (as much as I can tolerate) in front of the keyboard, transferring my written corrections to my electronic copy.  The entire manuscript is edited (on paper) for those pesky typos and grammar.  There were a few glaring continuity problems that I finally figured out how to resolve, thankfully.  As I continue making the changes to the electronic version, I will make those drastic changes to smooth out the continuity issues  (saving at the end of each page — am I paranoid?  YOU BET — and at the end of each day, it goes onto a memory stick!)

It’s interesting that the continuity problems are all in this second ‘half’ — well, it’s probably better to say it’s divided into one-third, two-thirds (over 60,000 words in total, the first ‘half’ is only a bit over 20,000…).  But, like I said, it’s all in the second half.  I know most of this portion was written using the pressure of NaNoWriMo’s “writing with abandon” — the goal being to get the elusive thoughts on paper.  It was an amazing adventure, but somehow (oh, I know how…), I ended up repeating myself a lot.  I still managed to greatly exceed the 50,000 word requirement by the end of the month, then finishing it in February of 2013, using the word war concept.  I’ve edited out a fair portion, gleaning the gems from the chaff to create the strong storyline that is my story.

It is my understanding that the publisher will accept anything over 10,000 as a book.  We’ll see what they say when I submit the first bit.  But, that’s a solid month (plus) away.  I eagerly await the return of each manuscript from my beta readers, to sift through, evaluate their comments and make corrections accordingly. Then, and only then, it will be sent on to my publisher.

Excited?  You betcha!  Anxious?  Of course.

Ready for it to happen?  Absolutely!

Ebb and Flow

AS I WANDER AROUND MY YARD, I am constantly reminded how much effort it takes to keep the balance between Mother Nature’s natural desires to grow — to take over, really — and man’s desires to control that rampant growth.  Maintaining and ‘growing’ a yard, no matter what the size, takes plenty of enthusiasm, creativity…and energy.  Oh.  All of those, coupled with massive funds to make it happen. I have oodles of the first two.

It’s those every-elusive energy and funds that are my nemeses.  I have so many projects that have been started, my mind filled with ideas of grandeur, to make this my little piece of heaven on earth.  It’s the getting it done…finding the energy — and/or the money — to complete the jobs that fail me…quite often.  There are times I feel like chucking it all and huddling in some small apartment with no garden at all.  Let the manager deal with keeping everything green.  But, the itch returns and I’ve got to get out there and dabble.  I love gardening.  I love creating.  I just wish I could win the lottery and have buckets of money to throw at gardeners and landscape designers so they could build what my mind creates!

Don’t we all…

But, it boils down to a simple question.  I may want, but do I need all of this fancy-dancy stuff I’ve created in my mind?  To keep my sanity I need to ask, just what do I need?

A roof over my head (check–a more than adequate roof); money to give back to my church, support my sponsored kids, feed & care for myself and my critters (check, check, check…); a place I can be, whether at home or when traveling, where I can re-energize and express my creativity…both the artistic and writerly sides.  That’s not much of a ‘need’ list, really.  But I keep coming back to the actual ‘need’ — the desire to have so many critters.  I love them all dearly.  Clearly.  But can I care for them they way they deserve?  Probably not.

So, I am slowly winnowing my possessions, both animate and inanimate.  A long, slow, and painful process, to be certain.  But something that must be done if I am to be able to do anything more than just ‘maintain’.  I am looking for a sustained existence.  A simplified existence, where I can focus without so much clutter in my mind and life.

This is what is important in life…to be able to focus on what really matters:  God, family, friends and, of course, my artistic outlets…engaging in life on a simpler level.  It is as simple as that.  But it’s the getting there that is the hard part.

So, I begin.  Right now.

May your days be filled with simple beginnings, blossoming into a meaningful life that is more than just maintained.