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Posts Tagged ‘ruth ann nordin’

I think it’s time for me to get back to blogging. One reason I haven’t is that I haven’t had that many likes or comments lately, and everyone is saying they just want to communicate on Dramabook Facebook. But I miss the days of blogging where this is my space where you come and visit. Or that’s your space where I come and visit. And you can say so much more. So I’m going to try to get back to it. I have a couple of people who regularly comment on my posts, and I appreciate that so much. So maybe, if I start doing this more often, I can get my following back.

So what’s going on in my life?

1. I’m writing again. It’s going slowly as I get back into it, but it’s going.

2. I’m editing for clients quite a bit, but it still seems to be feast or famine. Since I haven’t had too much editing work for the last month, I’ll probably suddenly have four people wanting an edit RIGHT NOW. LOL. I want to thank Ruth Ann Nordin for always giving me plenty of time. She always plans ahead. 🙂

3. This is third on my list, but certainly number one in my heart…I have a brand new granddaughter! This makes two for the oldest son and one for the youngest son. *eyeing my baby boy*

4. I’m trying to get fit again. I think I might have mentioned, at least on Facebook, that I fried my Fitbit fitness tracker in the ocean when I was on vacation in May/June. Fitbit offered me 25% off a new one, which they didn’t have to do since I was going to buy one anyway. Great customer service! Anyway, the new one does a few more things, including telling me to get up and walk if I haven’t done at least 250 steps in that hour. And I’m doing it almost every time. You can’t argue with your Fitbit! 🙂 I’ve been tracking my food faithfully with the Fitbit app. I’ve been getting on the treadmill at home, and I finally bit the bullet and joined the gym again. My insurance will pay for it if I go at least 12 times per month. I have more energy, at least on the days I get enough sleep. That’s something else I need to work on. The Fitbit tracks my sleep; it even tracks what sleep stages I’m in and for how long. One thing I’ve noticed is that I wake up several times during the night. I usually average about 45-55 minutes awake per night. I don’t know what’s up with that, but I think I’ll try to start going to bed earlier.

Anyway, that’s my life right now.

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I’ve been playing around with Dragon software. It’s been really strange trying to dictate my books instead of typing them out. I’ve tried this several times, and in the past, it really hasn’t worked for me very well. But my friend, Ruth Ann Nordin, has been using this. I figured I would give it another try. After all, I did buy the software, and I hate having something I paid money for and not be able to use it. So, as we speak, I’m actually using the Dragon software to write this blog post. And I did write about 900 words today on my current WIP using Dragon software. One of the things I noticed was that when I dictate instead of type, it seems like my dialogue sounds more natural in the story. This kind of makes sense when you think about the difference between typing and speaking something because we speak naturally, and that’s what dialogue is. I’m going to continue using this for a while to see if this really helps.

One of the things that I do differently than Ruth is that I speak my punctuation. It’s kind of a learning curve because it can take you out of your story, but I found that if I don’t do the punctuation then when I go back to edit it, it really takes more time than if I had just typed it in the first place. I really don’t want to spend that much time editing. So I’m just practicing doing the punctuation such as speaking periods, commas, question marks, etc. and seeing how that’s working for me. I think I will be able to do okay with that, but I’m still having a little trouble with saying “open quote” and “close quote”. (I actually had to type those words because, when I said them, it actually put quote marks instead of the actual words I said. LOL)

Do you use Dragon Naturally Speaking software? If so, how do you use it? Do you like it? What do you feel like the pros and cons of this are? I would love to hear from you.

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first-day-first-paragraph-tag

Thanks to Ruth Ann Nordin for tagging me for First Day, First Paragraph.

Here are the rules:Publish your own post on the first day of the month.

  1. Use the graphic above.
  2. Thank and link back to the person who tagged you.
  3. Explain the rules like I’m doing now.
  4. Post the first paragraph of a story you’ve written, are writing, or plan to write someday.
  5. Ask your readers for feedback.
  6. Finally, tag someone to do the post next month (for example, if you do the tag on the first of January, the person you tag has to do it on the first of February), and comment on one of their posts to let them know the good news.

For my first paragraph, I chose a short story that’s free to download. I chose this instead of one of my novels or novellas because this one has always been near and dear to my heart. I love the Beauty and the Beast type stories, and this one has a special twist.

The Beast in the Mirror

Here’s the paragraph:

From the shadows he watched her. She was exquisite…perfect. He knew he would only be able to watch her from afar. She was beautiful, and he was a beast. So he would watch her, admire her, but he would never speak to her or even let himself be seen by her. Her delicate senses didn’t deserve to look upon such ugliness as his.

What do y’all think?

So, I’m going to tag L. S. Engler for March 1!

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I often list other goals besides writing goals on these ROW80 posts. This round, I’m going to focus on my writing goals. I might share some of my other successes from time to time, including weight loss, but my STATED goals are going to be writing related. I’ve been too lax on writing, which caused me not to publish anything but a short story for an anthology in 2013. If it’s in my power, I will publish this year. So….

1) Work on edits for Hearts of Evil based on beta readers’ suggestions. I have two beta readers who are VERY good editors AND proofreaders. I’ve heard you should never mix those and that you should have different people for these three jobs. However, this is working for me. Two of my beta readers are authors. One is an editor in her day job. The other is a well-known “seasoned” author. They kick my butt (in a kind way), so it works. My other two beta readers are, well, readers. One has the unedited version. The other will get the edited version. This last one catches typos that others sometimes don’t. Which is odd since she’s 79 years old and doesn’t see well. LOL

2) Work on plotting Fire Wizard starting today. I have a lot of questions already answered based on Susan Bischoff’s Story Toolkit. She’s a little more detailed than I want to be, but I use what works for me. I now just need to write out what will happen in every chapter.

3) Write 5,000 words per week. I’m not going to specify which days I’ll write like I did last time, I just need to make that 5,000 word goal.

4) Publish Fire Wizard by June 30, 2014. I downloaded a simple publishing worksheet set up by Ruth Ann Nordin. I’ve already filled it in with my projected timeline for this book, including word count goals and first draft. The 5,000 word per week goal won’t necessarily be all about First Wizard, although some weeks it might be. I have another project that I abandoned a while back that I might take back up. More on that later.

I hope your eyes haven’t glazed over yet. I tend to skim when people write blog posts that are really long (unless it’s really exciting!), and I try not to go overboard, but these are my goals, and I needed to talk about them. Now I’m going to pop over to some of the rest of my ROW80er’s blogs and see what they are doing this round. You know, in between doing what I’m supposed to be doing here at work. 🙂

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I used to think I could edit and proofread my books all by myself. Really, I did. After all, I catch errors in other writers’ books all the time. But here’s the thing…you KNOW what you’re trying to say, so if you say it wrong or misspell a word, your mind sees what you MEANT to say or type. Our minds play tricks like that. You should always be the first editor/proofreader of your book and you should be the last. But in the middle, you should have other people looking at your manuscript.

So, what if you can’t afford an editor? Barter for services if you can! This advice actually comes from my friend, Ruth Ann Nordin, a very prolific author. And that’s what I do. I have some very good beta readers who are also great editors and proofreaders. One actually does that in her full time job. I do the same for them, and it’s worked very well for us. And it’s funny how one might catch totally different things than another. In the last book I had them read, there was only one thing that two of them suggested changing, and both of them had a different way of changing it. That’s when you, as an author, have to make the decision. Should you do it your original way, or pick one of the ways the editors suggested? Remember, I said you should be the first and last editor. Ultimately, it’s your book, and you’re going to be responsible for the content.

There are at LEAST four people who look at my books. Two of them are authors (they write in totally different genres), one is an avid reader, and the last one is my mom. Yes, my mom. I have several different people take a look. Now, I know people say not to use relatives or friends because they won’t tell you the truth. Well, my mom will definitely tell me the truth. And the funny thing is, she’s almost 79 years old, and yet she caught an error a professional editor didn’t catch. That’s the beauty of having multiple people look at your books.

I can honestly say that, lately, I’m finding as many or more errors in traditionally published books than in indie published books. The book I’m currently reading is published by a small publisher, so I don’t know what kind of editors they have, but I’m finding multiple errors in the book.

I had a reader call me the other day (we have a professional relationship in my full time job, and she starting reading my books) and I was so happy when she told me she was impressed because she had found no errors in Soul of a Vampire. She told me she had just read a traditionally published, popular book and found several. She was full of praise for how well my book was edited. That made me all kinds of happy. 🙂

So, tell me, do errors pull you out of the story? Does it depend on how many errors there are? I would love to hear from both fellow authors AND readers who don’t write and see if there’s a difference of opinion.

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These are the books I read while on vacation. I had already started a couple of them before I got to Florida.

Kiera’s Moon – Lizzy Ford
Crossing – Stacey Wallace Benefield
Her Reluctant Groom – Rose Gordon
His Jilted Bride – Rose Gordon
Suddenly a Bride – Ruth Ann Nordin
Runaway Bride – Ruth Ann Nordin

I found all of these enjoyable. The romances by Rose Gordon and Ruth Ann Nordin were sweet and sexy. Crossing was very different, deep, sad, and touching. With a little fun thrown in, because Stacey can’t help it. I was very pleased with the first book I had ever read by Lizzy Ford. Kiera’s Moon was a great SciFi romance.

It was so nice to be able to just read. I’ve read so much romance this week that I finally had to pick something else. At the moment, I’m reading Draculas – Jack Kilborn (aka J.A. Konrath), Blake Crouch, F. Paul Wilson, Jeff Strand. This book is NOT for the faint of heart. I might have nightmares. *shudders*

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So here I was planning to write about what I’ve been reading, and I saw this post by my friend, Emma. LOL. Great minds and all that.

Anyway…

I’ve been listening to Micro by Michael Crichton on audiobook through my iPhone (and car speakers). Well, he didn’t get to finish it because he died before it was done. I apologize to the author who did finish it, because I can’t remember his name right now. This book made me really mad a couple of times. I won’t tell you why because it’s a spoiler, but I wanted to scream. I did sort of yell at my iPhone that was playing the story. This book is about a company who can shrink things and people down to about 1/2 inch. Some things even smaller. We get to see the micro-world in a rain forest, and that was really cool. I didn’t check facts every time I wondered if something was real or made up, but if some of the stuff was real, Crichton did a LOT of research for this book. He always has, though, for his books. I’ve liked just about everything Michael Crichton has written. He is the most eclectic author I’ve ever read. I hate that we’ll never have anything else by him to read. 😦

On my Kindle, I’ve been reading Death is a Gift by Claire Farrell. I can’t tell you how much I loved this book. It’s so full of awesome. In the first 25% of the book, I was already bawling my eyes out. But it was something that kind of had to happen. (No, I’m not telling.) I fell in love with the main character, Cliona, who is a banshee. I felt every emotion she felt as I was reading this book. She had to make some hard decisions, and through this whole book, I couldn’t figure out if it was going to have a happy ending or not. (Again, not gonna tell!) This was a stand alone book. Even though I love Claire’s series, this is by far my favorite book by her. I didn’t want it to end.

On my iPhone, I’m reading The Green-Eyed Doll by Jerrie Alexander. This is the first book I’ve read by this author. In fact, I think it’s her only release, but she’s got some other stuff coming out soon. Anyway, this has been slow reading because I don’t get to read on my iPhone very much. Just little bits here and there when I get a chance. I’m enjoying the book. It’s about a sheriff, Matt, and a woman, Catherine, with a past she doesn’t want anyone to know about it, especially the sheriff, whom she’s falling for. Oh, and there’s a serial killer. I think he’s going to take Catherine soon. This one is a murder mystery/romance. I’m pretty sure there’ll be a HEA.

On my iPad, I’m reading Her Reluctant Groom by Rose Gordon. I put this one on hold just a little while because I was reading on my iPad while walking on the treadmill, and I’ve not gotten back to exercising yet. I also read it a little bit while hubby was in ICU. I need to get back to that book, because I was really enjoying it. I love a scarred hero. And the heroine has some issues of her own. Rose always makes me smile because her books are a little different from other historical romances I’ve read. There’s always a bit of humor in them, which I really enjoy. I listened to His Contract Bride recently, and that book was just a lot of fun. I’m taking some of Rose’s books to the beach with me, along with Ruth Ann Nordin’s. Romances are great beach reads.

I hope to do these posts every once in awhile. Since I’ve about decided not to review much at the retailers, I thought I would just do some of it here.

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