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Posts Tagged ‘susan bischoff’

I’m actually in the middle of writing two stories, which is something I’ve never really done before. Now that I have two pen names, it might be necessary to do this fairly often. Anyway, for the Lauralynn name, I’m writing a sequel to Soul of a Vampire. This one is going to be a little tricky. The story focuses on Jan, the best friend of Tessa, the “shero” in Soul of a Vampire. However, this story is going to have a sub-plot. I’m very weak in the sub-plot area, so this is going to be hard for me. Anyone have any suggestions on how to write a great sub-plot? The biggest problem with this one is I’m afraid the sub-plot might overpower the actual plot if I’m not careful. The sub-plot is going to be an adventure, but a lot of the main plot is, too. The main plot will have a lot to do with feelings, too.

I must get out Susan’s Toolkit and do some work!

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Is is REALLY time for Round 2? Seriously? It seems like just yesterday….

Anyway, I’ve tried to find a doable word count goal. I’ve done those in the past, and I’ve done time goals. Daily goals, weekly goals, on and on. It’s so hard to find a good fit. Then I saw these spreadsheets. Word Count Spreadsheets. How can you not love a spreadsheet with Sam and Dean? I have my own word count spreadsheet, but these spreadsheets are full of awesome! And if you’re more into fantasy, check out THESE. It got me thinking about a MONTHLY word count. That way, if I have a bad week, I can still make up for it with a good week. I’m going to give that a shot and try for 15,000 words per month. The spreadsheets have all kinds of bells and whistles, letting you know how you’ve done, what you still need to do, percentages, etc. This website is also where I got my word count meter.

Now on to another thing. I have an idea for a…hmmm, what shall we call it? Cozy mystery? Romantic mystery? There will be a romance and a murder mystery. There will be food involved. And it will be okay, because it’s part of what the shero does, so no one can say I’m talking about food too much. I’m looking at you, Pink Hammer. Bwa ha ha. And this is where I have to decide if I’m going to use Lauralynn or my real name or another pen name. I’ve been seriously thinking about creating a publishing company so I can publish under that imprint for two different names. The only drawback to doing this is that I would need to buy my own ISBN numbers instead of letting Smashwords (for ebooks) and CreateSpace (for print books) assign the ISBN, which would show those two entities as publishers. I would like some opinions and feedback on this. If I understand the process correctly, you have to have one ISBN for print and another for ebooks. But I THINK you can use the same ISBN number for the ebooks at all retailers. You just can’t use the same one for e and for print. Is this correct?

So that’s all for now. I would love to hear your comments!

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Forge

This new book finishing service started out because of a conversation between my friends, Kait Nolan and Susan Bischoff. They were talking about the need to earn a little extra money. Let’s be honest here…it’s a hard time for authors right now. Although, it’s great that everyone is able to publish a book now, it DOES lead to more and more books being available to readers. It takes awhile to build a big enough platform to get yourself well-known among readers. In the meantime, money gets tight.

There are three services offered at The Forge. Susan Bischoff is the best content editor I know. Also known as “The Pink Hammer”, she has a wonderful eye for what is missing, what needs to be added, when something doesn’t flow right, etc.

Kait Nolan is one of the most organized, computer savvy people I know, and she knows a LOT about formatting ebooks for publication. She’s one of those people who has to have everything just so wants things done right. 🙂

They still needed a proofreader, and that’s where I came in. I know most grammar rules, and when I’m in doubt, I look it up. I’m good at spelling, and I’m a comma Nazi. I am FAR from perfect, but I strive to do my very best to proof manuscripts to the best of my ability. When people put their trust in me, I want to deliver.

When I was asked to be a part of this, there was a slight hesitation on my part. The reason is, I have a couple of VERY good friends who are proofreaders, and my first thought was “Will they see me as competition?” But, as another friend pointed out, these days, there’s enough work for everyone. And we probably wouldn’t even be exposed to the same potential customers, especially when we all have so many other circles of friends and acquaintances. I’ve been told I always worry too much about these kinds of things, but that’s just me. I can’t help it. LOL.

Anyway, if you are looking for a content editor, proofreader, and/or formatter, check us out at The Forge. You might need one, two, or all three services. We are all independent contractors, so you would contact us separately for whatever service you need.

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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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This has been a so-so week.

Writing: I’m still sitting on that last chapter, almost afraid to look at it. One more day. I’ll look at it tomorrow and see if it sounds insane or awesome.

Exercise: I didn’t get back to the gym for my normal Monday-Wednesday-Friday schedule because I had to go to the doctor Monday. But he’s very pleased with my blood sugar and me in general. And I’ve lost 2 lbs. this week already. I’m going back to the gym today.

FlyLady: I’ve kept a shiny sink so far this week. I did my 15 minute mission on Monday, and it ended up being more like 25 minutes. When I checked my mission for yesterday, it turns out I did both missions on Monday. LOL. So I felt like I could slack off yesterday. *looks around to see if Susan is seeing this*

I hope to have much more to report on Sunday. Later!

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Has it actually been a WEEK since I’ve posted? Where does the time go?

I know it’s weird for me to have a blog post again involving plotting. I’ve always been such a total pantser. But, lately, I’ve gone over to the dark plotting side. I’ve done a couple of posts about all that. Susan Bischoff, AKA The Pink Hammer, has shared a lot of notes with me, helping me understand how plotting can help. It took me so long to get it into my thick head that just because I do some plotting, that doesn’t mean my characters can’t go in another direction if they want to. I always thought plotting meant I had to be rigid and not veer off the path, but after some strong talking to, I’ve been convinced that doesn’t have to be the case. The class I took at RNC with Lynn Lorenz also helped. All plotting has to do is give some structure and the basic things you need your story to do. If you think of something different, you can change your outline. Or notes. Or however you plot. I use a combination of a spreadsheet and some notes Susan has set up to ask basic questions. I don’t think I’ll ever get as detailed as Susan gets about a story, but there is a happy medium between extremely detailed plotting and pantsing. And I think I’ve discovered that happy medium.

So what does this mean for my current book? Well, I broke it down into 24 chapters (figuring a 50,000 word manuscript with a little over 2,000 words per chapter) to be adjusted if the story is longer or if there are more or fewer chapters. I went ahead and did the chapter headings with section breaks. (Doing the chapters ahead of time is a suggestion by Lynn Lorenz.) I know everyone is used to using page breaks. But you have to use section breaks for print to get the page numbers right. And when I checked my last book on the little thing they use on Amazon to see what your ebook looks like before submitting, I saw that when I use page breaks, it starts the chapter headings right after the previous chapter, but when I used section breaks, it starts a new page. But I digress. That’s not our topic here. 😛 Anyway, I was already almost halfway through my manuscript when I started plotting. So I went back and did the outline on my spreadsheet for chapters 1-10, which I had already written. Then, I did some outlining for chapters 20-24, because I know what needs to happen in the last part of the book. The challenge is going to be plotting chapters 11-19. That 3rd part of the book is always the hardest for me. I want to make sure the plot continues to move forward with no lagging parts. There has to continue to be mystery and eeriness. I think I’m going to add some extra angst to the hero, who is a very FLAWED hero, but redeemable.

Okay, this whole blog post is getting me anxious to start writing when I get home from work. I might let hubby talk me into watching Sleep Hollow before I get started. So now, lunch break is over, and it’s time to get back to my real job. Wait, writing is a real job, right? Unfortunately, this job pays more, so I need to get to work. 🙂

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In my last blog post, I stated my three main goals for this week. They were:

1) Write at least three hours this week
2) Do at least 15 minutes of housework per day using the FlyLady challenges
3) Get back to my healthy eating habits. (I’ve been doing great on exercise, but my old eating habits are sliding back into my life.)

I was a miserable failure at 2 and 3. No housework to speak of. I’m still struggling with the eating habits. Not TERRIBLE, but not that good, either.

Let’s talk about that first goal. Honestly, I can’t say I succeeded or failed since the week isn’t over. However, I’ve been reading all of Susan Bischoff’s notes on plotting (using the term “notes” is putting it mildly) and figuring out how to apply them to my current WIP. So I HAVE been working on writing stuff, but not actually writing. I’m planning on doing the actual writing on Thursday and Friday, when I’ve got some things sorted out. I usually write more on Saturdays, but since hubby and I are doing our anniversary trip on the weekend, I’m going to try to get my three hours of writing in on those two days.

More writing news. I’ve been tossing around a paranormal romance idea (no vampires or ghosts this time!) for awhile, and I think I’m going to start doing a little plotting with that. I want to see how I do with Susan’s method on something I’m just starting rather than something I’m halfway through. I’m excited about this idea because, like Soul of a Vampire, the title came in my mind before the story. And the cover for this one can be awesome considering the subject matter. Curious yet? 😉

So, how are the rest of you doing so far this week?

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Yesterday, I spent several hours with Susan Bischoff. This is always fun, not to mention that she always inspires me to write. We talked about a lot of things. First, she helped me expand on the plotting I was trying to do, giving me lots of good advice about plot points and where they should be in my story. And I finally admitted to someone (Susan!) that I had been finding excuses not to write because every time I thought of my WIP, I got this scared feeling in the pit of my stomach. I’m AFRAID of my manuscript. (And Susan GETS this.) There, I admitted it to all of you. Honestly, this is very new to me. I used to be able to churn out words with no problem, they all made sense, and I wasn’t afraid to publish them. This fear of my own work is SO not me. But I guess it IS me, isn’t it? I’ve never understood writers that were afraid. Now I get it. You know what, though? I’m not going to let myself be held back by that fear any longer. I’m tired of it, and I’m stronger than this. So there! *blows raspberry at the fear*

So my goals for this week (baby steps, no long term goals):

1) Write at least three hours this week
2) Do at least 15 minutes of housework per day using the FlyLady challenges
3) Get back to my healthy eating habits. (I’ve been doing great on exercise, but my old eating habits are sliding back into my life.)

After this week, we’ll see what needs to be done next.

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During lunch today, I took Lynn Lorenz’s spreadsheet template and started (oh my!) doing a little plotting. I actually filled in chapters and scenes that I had already done on my WIP and will work on the future stuff tonight or this weekend. I can already see that I’m going to have to tweak it a little and do it my own way. Lynn makes a great big cell for each chapter, and I have trouble fitting stuff in. I think I’ll make rows for each chapter and maybe have columns in each row for my scenes. I don’t know. I just love playing with spreadsheets. I do want to pay attention to her plot points, though.

I remember when I was eating with Kait Nolan and Susan Bischoff one time, they were trying to explain to me that plotting didn’t have to be scary. That I didn’t have to lose my creativity. That I could still be flexible. Then I tried it and failed miserably. Did I do it wrong? IS there a wrong? Was I just not ready then? Or was the thought of USING A SPREADSHEET what sparked my interest? I don’t know, but I was all excited after I talked to Kait and Susan that time, and then I was disappointed that I couldn’t do it. I think maybe we should have talked about it longer, and they should have beat me senseless so I could have awakened as a plotter. LOL. So let’s see how my latest venture in plotting will go. I’ll keep you all posted. 🙂

Now for something fun. These are the guys we got to spend time with all week at the RNConvention in Vegas. Four of them were the Mr. Casanova contestants, and the one in the middle is a Hunk-O-Mania dancer and a friend of Jimmy Thomas, who was the creator of this convention. Their names are Justin Tatum, Michael Mecucci, Julian Mora, Michael Hendrickson. and Shawn Cunningham. Shawn won the Mr. Casanova contest. The guy is 6’8″ tall! And all of these guys are really sweet and friendly. You know, because it doesn’t matter that they’re GORGEOUS.

the guys

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I’ve been hearing a lot about how important a good cover is. And I agree. It’s very, very important. Many readers won’t even take a look at a book’s description if the cover isn’t appealing to the eye. But I’ve found that the cover isn’t what catches my eye first. It isn’t the most important thing in deciding whether or not to check out the book. For me, it’s the title. I don’t know why that takes precedence over the cover, but for me it does. I’ve been looking at a lot of free books lately because I get emails offering them to me. And I’ve found that even if they’re free, I pass them over if I’m not interested in the title.

So what makes a good title? For me, it has to be intriguing. It has to let me know just a tad about what I might find in the book. Or if it doesn’t, it should make me WONDER what’s in the book. For mystery titles, sometimes the name of the place sparks my interest. Many mystery books use the location as part of the title. If the name of the place sounds spooky, it’s going to catch my eye every time. Ruth Ann Nordin, a best-selling romance writer, just released a regency romance called “Her Counterfeit Husband”. Now that title draws me in. Why is her husband “counterfeit”? I want to know why. Susan Bischoff’s “Heroes Til Curfew” interests me. What about these people makes them heroes? And why is there a curfew? They must be young. Kait Nolan’s “Red” makes me want to take a second look because the title has one word, and I want to know what it means. This is what I’m talking about. The title makes you wonder. I won’t mention any titles that I think are terrible for the same reason I don’t do bad reviews. But I’ve seen some bad ones. And I’ve seen some very, very good ones.

This happens to be a real problem for me as a writer. Why? Because I’m terrible at thinking up titles for my books. I’ve actually had some help with some of my titles. I was very, very lucky with Soul of a Vampire. I thought of the title and the basic story at the same time. It just popped in my head. And I think it’s a good title. The word “vampire” still gets the attention of readers because the vampire craze isn’t quite over yet. Although, it’s never really completely over, because vampire stories have been around forever. And the word “soul” is intriguing to me. It would make me wonder what’s up with this vampire’s soul. Oh how I wish all book titles were this easy for me. I know I’m going to have a real challenge with that when I write the story my husband thought up. It’s kind of a complicated story, but I think it’s going to be a good one if I can write it properly. And if I can think of a good title! I might make him do the title. LOL

What about you? Is a title important to you? Or will the book cover draw you in enough to check out the blurb?

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