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Archive for August, 2014

Here it is the last day of August, and I’m wondering where this year has gone! I’m sitting here already ready for church. I’ve made and ate breakfast with hubby (biscuits and gravy, a treat every couple of weeks), already walked on the treadmill and ready to go! 🙂

Fire Wizard is now with beta readers. I’ve already had one person come back and say they couldn’t put it down so they stayed up late reading it. That’s a good thing, right? The cover is practically done, just a little tweaking needed. I can’t wait! I plan on having a Facebook release party, but this time, I’m not going to do it myself. More about that later.

I spent hours yesterday reading a tutorial on Scrivener. I’m still not sure if I’m going to get it (I have the trial version), but I’m leaning toward it since somebody told me I could convert the file for my print book (with page numbers) as well as ebook formats. It’s only $40, which is a bargain considering all the bells and whistles it comes with. It would be a great tool for those who are serious plotters. But it’s good for pantsers who need to plot just a little.

What’s up with y’all?

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Is September almost here? Wow, where did the summer go? But I’m really looking forward to fall. The cool breezes, the colorful leaves, Halloween.

I’ve been hard at work, reading through Fire Wizard before I send it out to beta readers. Here’s the problem. I’m finding little typos and places where I want to reword stuff. But I’m not finding any major changes that need to be made yet. I know when the love scenes (NOT sex scenes) come up, I’ll need to expand a bit on those. But the actual story up to this point seems pretty tight. I always worry about this because everyone always talks about revisions and rewrites, etc., so I think I’m supposed to do those, too. But I rarely have to do any major overhauls. Which makes me wonder if I just don’t see those things. And, yet, my two MAIN beta readers are VERY good authors, and they don’t usually suggest anything TOO major, either. And I respect their opinions a LOT. Have I just been doing this so long that my first draft is already pretty tight? Is it because I’m an “edit as I go” writer? We are told not to do that, but here’s what I usually do. I don’t edit the chapter I’m working on. But before I start a new chapter, I always go back to the chapter before and make changes that need to be made, while that part of the story is still fresh on my mind. Maybe that’s why the first draft is close to ready. Because I’m already tweaking it while I’m writing it. I just don’t know. Maybe experience plus continual tweaking is the reason. I hope that’s it instead of me just being too clueless to see I need to fix stuff. Again, I trust my beta readers, and they would tell me. And who knows, maybe they WILL find something that needs major overhauling in this one. (I hope not, LOL.) We’ll see. I can’t wait to see what they think.

What about you? Do you just spit out words as fast as you can and THEN do revisions, or do you constantly tweak as you go like I do? (That doesn’t mean I don’t sprint sometimes, but I would go back and fix everything the next day, LOL.) I would love to know if there’s anyone out there like me or if I’m just weird. Really, really weird. LOL

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decision

I try not to read reviews anymore. It doesn’t help the sanity of most authors to do that. I fully intended to work on my website during lunch, but since I had to go to my book pages on Amazon, etc. for links, I caught myself reading the reviews.

Here’s what I found. Many people don’t like my novellas. Club Blood (which is probably my least favorite anyway) has less than a 3 star average. See Me and Guardian Vampire have 3 star averages. (Guardian Vampire has 11 five star and 10 one star, and very little in between, so that must be an either love it or hate it book.) These were some of my earliest books. A Rocky Path, which was my very first novel, has a 4 star average, but there aren’t that many reviews. It’s not a good seller, and Anya and I are talking about revamping the cover. Most of my full length (although fairly short) novels have 4 star averages.

Okay, here’s the most important thing. My favorite of all my books is Haunted Lake. It’s always carried a 4 star or more average and it has quite a few reviews. Then, back in April, I got a 1 star review that said, “I only read a couple of chapters. Too much filthy talk which I do not like at all. Not recommended for my Christian readers.” Now most of you that know me, know I don’t do “filthy talk” in my personal life OR my books. There’s a little heat in some of my books, but it’s very mild (except maybe for Starfane, which has more heat). And this person only read a couple of chapters, and even if there had been “filthy talk”, it wouldn’t have happened in the first couple of chapters. A couple of people commented on the review and asked if she even reviewed the right book, because obviously either she didn’t or she was lying. This whole thing still upset me because it brought my average stars down. But…when I looked today, I noticed I had gotten 3 reviews this summer, 2 five stars and 1 four star. That made me very happy. 🙂 And it brought my average back up to a solid 4. Out of 44 reviews, I have 20 five stars and 10 four stars. So maybe reading reviews isn’t all that bad.

One thing I want to say to those of you who review. Be kind. I don’t mean you shouldn’t give low stars if that’s how you really feel. But please don’t be nasty about it. That makes the reviewer look vindictive. Be helpful. Don’t say “This book sucks!”. Say, “I really disliked this book because ____”. I had one review that said “The main character was written in third person.” What? And it was a 1 star review that brought the average down for no reason other than the reviewer was either ignorant or just mean. MOST books are written in third person. They said something about the vocabulary, too, but that didn’t make sense either. Anyway, please understand that authors have feelings and when a review is written in a sarcastic, mean, ugly way, it hurts the author and doesn’t help anyone. Please write a well thought out review that explains your feelings about the book. Most reviewers who write ugly things seem to actually enjoy it. Honestly, I probably shouldn’t even have to ask any of you to be kind. All my blog followers are great people, and I can’t imagine ANY of you writing ugly reviews.

So that’s how I feel about reviews. 🙂

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I said in my last post I was finally finished with Fire Wizard. Now I’m in edits. It’s weird, but I’m loving this story. That never guarantees everyone else will, but I keep thinking, if I like it this much, if it entertains me even though I know what happens next, surely someone will like it. 🙂 It’s been a long time since I wrote the part I’m editing right now, so it’s almost like reading something new.

I hope I can get this published in about 3 weeks. It depends on my beta readers and also on my cover artist. Anya said this cover is kicking her butt. LOL. But that’s because she wants it to be GOOD. And when you’re dealing with FIRE….

Soon, I want to start on my mystery. I still can’t decide if I want to publish that one under another name. There are reasons I want to, but everyone already knows Lauralynn. I would have to sort of start over. I’m not sure that’s necessarily a bad thing since I’m not selling squat right now. I guess I’ll decide after publishing Fire Wizard and seeing how that goes.

I hope everyone is having a happy Sunday!

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fireworks

Finally! A check-in where I can say “it’s done!”. Fire Wizard is officially finished. Well, not the editing part, but the writing part. I finally got all the cat litter cleaned out of my office (which I share with the cats) and I felt like writing in it again. I sat at the desk and typed away. The next thing I knew, hubby was saying goodbye. I’m like “What? It’s not time for you to go to work.” Then I looked at the time, and it was after 10:00 PM. Where had the time gone? I was THAT into the story.

Now that it’s done, I’m seriously worried about the ending. Is it too bland? Too sappy? I’m bad about sappy endings. I guess my beta readers will tell me. 🙂 I’ve struggled a lot with this book. I think it was more about having too many other things to do and not having time for it. But I’m learning to use my time more wisely, even though I have so little of it. Ah, evil day job, how you take up so much of my time!

What have YOU accomplished this week?

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Today I have L.S. Engler here on my blog to do a guest post. Please give her some love by commenting. 🙂 Psst! This is a very good book!

There’s a lot a person can learn when publishing their first novel. They can learn about pacing and plot, on how to make sure all the details fit together and how to tighten their writing to get rid of excess details that don’t enhance the story. They can learn about character development, character consistency, and character interaction. They can learn that, no matter now many times you edit your novel, it will never be perfect and there will always be something you’ll want to change. Despite my background in creative writing at Central Michigan University, I still had a lot to learn on all these things when I wrote up my first novel, Soulless. But the one thing that I really had to learn is easily the most difficult aspect of writing, as well as something that, once you conquer it, will make you unstoppable.

I had to learn to just keep going.

Something I hear over and over from people when I tell them I’m a writer is that they, too, would love to write, but they just can’t do it. They get a good start going, then they just kind of peter out, losing interest, or starting to feel like what they’re writing is just plain awful. Or you have other writers, like my boyfriend, who obsesss over making sure everything you put down is perfect. They write the first page, decide they don’t like it, and start again. Another first page, and they don’t like that, either, so, riiiip, start again. And again. And again. Lather, rinse, repeat. I used to be one of those writers, and conquering that obsession was one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself. And Soulless was a big part of that.

For a majority of the rough draft of Soulless, I hated it. It was sometimes a chore to go in and plow through and write up what I knew I had to. I was so tempted to just drop it and pick up something new and shiny, or to just scrap the last five chapters I had written and start them all over again. I refused to let myself do that, though. I made myself sit down and write at least a page of day, reassuring myself that these rough patches would be over soon, and the the sooner I got through them, the sooner I could get to the chapters I really wanted to write. I had to push forward, almost blindly, full speed ahead, until I reached the very end, even if everything left in my wake was pure and utter crap.

Because you know what? A first draft is supposed to be crap. The biggest challenge and the greatest success can come with merely finishing a rough draft. When you’re done, it doesn’t matter how rough or perfect it may be. You finsihed a book. It needs some work, probably a lot of work, but it’s still there, and you did it. The editing and revision process is where we take this big lump of an idea and mold it into something more refined and beautiful, where we smooth out the edges and fill in the gaps, something that’s much easier to do when you have the whole picture before you rather than little bits and pieces. It’s easier to put together a puzzle when you have the final image to compare your progress to than when you’re just blindly putting the pieces into the spots that fit, right? Right.

Soulless and I had an incredibly tumultuous relationship, I’ll admit that, and I was very close to giving up several times. I’m so glad I didn’t, as hard as it was to forge forward against my critical judgement. The experience taught me one of the hardest and most difficult things I’ve ever encountered in my fledgling career: never give up, no matter what. Set yourself a goal and an end game, and, even though you could set it aside for another time, even though you could push that deadline release day back…don’t. Don’t you dare. You forge through and you fight to the very end. You’ll be bloody and bruised from the battle, but the victory will surely be yours.

In a way, this is all a metaphor for the plot of Soulless, too, which features a bold, strong, fearless warrior, constantly faced with the desire to just give up and let herself go to the monsters that she’s spent her whole life fighting. But she doesn’t give up, not even when all the odds are against her and the world seems to be descending deeper into chaos. The Slayer and I found our strength together, and, hopefully, you’ll find some of it in our respective stories as well.

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Stitch Fix!

Thanks to THIS post by Jess Witkins, I ended up signing up for Stitch Fix. You can click on the link and go to their site to learn more about it, but basically, you receive a box of five items, you try them on, decide what to keep and what to send back. There are no shipping costs, and they send you a bag with the return label already affixed for what you send back. Anyway, I got my first box today. Here’s a picture of what I didn’t like. The shirt was too tailored and not feminine enough for me, plus it was really tight through the chest. And the earrings were bleh.

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This next shirt is one I kind of wanted to keep. If the jeans hadn’t been SO expensive I probably would have. But the shirt was a little too big, anyway, and if I lose more weight, it won’t look good at all.

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This next shirt, AND the jeans, were definitely keepers. The shirt fit perfectly and was so soft, I almost couldn’t feel the sleeves on my arms. And my husband really liked it, too, which surprised me. I didn’t think he would. And these jeans felt amazing. They’re a little long, but I can live with that, and they otherwise fit like a glove. These are the most expensive jeans I’ve ever owned. I gasped at the price. Then I kept them anyway. That’s how much I loved them.

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So, anyway, if you ever decide to start doing this, I would so appreciate it if you would use my referral link here: Lauralynn’s Referral Link. I get $25 off a “Fix” the first time someone signs up through my link and buys something from HER fix. I used the link for Jess (not directly, but I got that fixed…long story). These aren’t cheap clothes. I could only afford two things this time. But they are high quality pieces. And you can choose how often you get a Fix. Once a month, every two months, or you can tell them when you want your next one each time.

All in all, even though I was disappointed in how expensive the clothes were, I was very pleased. I still wish I could have kept that other blouse. But maybe in the next Fix, I won’t buy something as expensive as those jeans and will be able to get three or four pieces. I can’t wait until October!

One more thing…I don’t buy clothes that often, but Stitch Fix is a reward for some good habits I’m establishing and daily things I’m doing. I deserve this reward. 🙂

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