Update on The Light Side of the Moon

As you can see from the title, this post is just to give folks a The Light Side of the Moon update.

titleI know people are curious–I just received another Facebook message from a fan.

So last week, my publisher and I began speaking about a release date and this morning, I awoke to a message in my email with my edited manuscript!

I went over the edits of the first 5 chapters. Mostly, I like her suggestions and have started to work on them. In the three editing passes of Other Systems, I was told over and over again to add more detail, I think this time, I might’ve added a bit too much. As I like to say, “On to new and better mistakes.” Maybe my next book will be just right. :)

While I can’t tell anyone exactly when the book is coming out yet, I received one question I can answer: The Light Side of the Moon will be released in multiple E-book formats and paperback.

Draft #3 of the Grove is finished…but no, its not done.

Draft #3 of The Grove is finished, but all that means is it is ready to be sent to my first reader. This first reader is NOT my publisher. She is a friend of mine who loves fantasy–especially urban fantasy–which is why she is the one who gets to read it. She also has a good sense of humor about reading books before they go on to the next draft and then off to publisher.

When is it coming out? I have no idea. While everyone tells you to get your book out yesterday, if I try to write rushed  I write a bunch of crap. Besides even if my first reader LOVES it, I still have to sell it.

Other Systems took seven drafts before it was sold.

I tried to do less with The Light Side of the Moon, but then it went through a full rewrite. It was accepted for publication, then during editing I was told to change some more things. If I add those in, I did about seven drafts.

This is how I create a novel:

Step 1: My outline.

Now this is a loose story written in a fews day with major scenes and plot points.

Step 2: My first draft which is very rough and fast. I do about a chapter or couple scenes a day. I don’t worry about grammar. I sometimes don’t even add description or do research. There was actually a tag that said: LOOK UP HOW WICCANS CAST A CIRCLE. Another said, DESCRIBE THE SOUND OF THE SEA

Grove Inspiration CapeLookout

Cape Lookout Oregon State Park is inspiration for The Grove

Draft Two is when I do research and  add it into the manuscript. Dialogue becomes crisper. If the characters want to not cooperate with the plot this is where they will change things.

Draft Three is where I make sure the character’s motivation feels real. I also look for TELLING spots such as:Oliver visibly relaxed and change it to something like: Oliver flopped onto his velvet couch and unbottoned his fly, allowing his soft belly to fall over his waistband. (No this is not a real line in the book, but I think its funny.)

The final part of Draft Three is a self copy-edit so the reader isn’t disgusted and confused by mistakes. Now I can give it to a first reader and get some feedback.

Draft Four is where I add the feedback and change the story as needed.

Draft Five is a heavy self copy-edit. This is also where I am going to start sending it out. If I happen to get any more feedback I use it to make the manuscript even better.

And on it goes.

So that’s my process, how many drafts do you go through?

 

Why I did not enjoy Jupiter Ascending…but you might…

MV5BMTQyNzk2MjA2NF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMjEwNzk3MjE@._V1_SX214_AL_While most people this weekend are talking about 50 shades, thankfully that’s not in my genre, so I’m explaining why Jupiter Ascending was not for me.

Mila Kunis stars as Jupiter Jones, a Russian immigrant and a maid in Chicago who gets targeted by a ruthless family. Her life takes an unexpected turn when the genetically enhanced mercenary Channing Tatum comes looking for her. If you love pretty imagery, a fun science-fiction story with no science, you might love this film. The spaceships and buildings are gorgeous.

I watched it with my husband and my neighbor. We are all science fiction fans. Dennis and I didn’t enjoy it, while our neighbor did.

It was a beautiful movie, mixing science fiction with fantasy elements very reminiscent of Dune. For Dennis and me, there was serious storytelling flaws. I can’t suspend disbelief when magic boots save the day.

Before someone claims they weren’t magic, allow me to explain with this quote from the film.

Jupiter Jones: Are those flying boots? 

Caine: They harness the force of gravity, redirecting it into differential equation slips so you can surf. 

Jupiter Jones: Yeah, I heard “gravity” and “surf”. 

Caine: Up is hard, Down is easy. 

Jupiter Jones: Thank you, wow!

Wow is right. Because they still worked when there wasn’t gravity around. And when Caine hands were tied, he was able to burn through his bonds. Why would we assume that gravity = heat?

The film has the same issues with genetic modifications which is a major plot point which I won’t go into since I don’t want to give spoilers. Since it basically boils down to magic with the only explanation that we couldn’t understand due to our technological infancy, I rolled my eyes.

In fact, I rolled my eyes several times through the 127 minutes.

 

One of my guilty pleasures: the Food Network!

I feel no remorse, but one of my guilty pleasures is cooking and cooking shows. Chopped, Guy’s Grocery Games, Cutthroat Kitchen are some of my favorites.

FN-ShowBanner-CutthroatKitchen-2014Q3-994x140

Why? Maybe because when I was a kid I loved game shows. I still do, but now I like it better when cooking is involved rather than trivia.

It’s nice to focus on something that is not science fiction or fantasy.

I get ideas for meals. Though on most days, I only cook for two people, I dread the words that every home cook dreads: what’s for dinner?  Of all my chores, meal planning, cooking and keeping the kitchen clean takes the most time. I love to cook, I hate not knowing what to cook. I also tend to learn cooking techniques: one of the best hints I got was from Alton Brown.”If you need to add liquid, don’t add water that just waters it down, add broth or cream or …”

However, the truth is I watch them because I like watching people freak out.

Five Time Management Tools for Writers

Some days, you might ask yourself, “Why do I still feel like I can’t get everything done?” Or “Why can’t I get any writing done?”

I’m going to make the assumption that everyone who reads this blog post is on Earth. That means we all have 24 hours a day. Those hours are broken into minutes, those minutes are broken into seconds.

While I am not debating the realities of time dilation, we  like to think time is relative. It’s not. We say time flies when you are having fun or drags when you’re not, but the truth is we all have 24 hours a day. And since I have become an adult, all time is moving too fast. Even Virgil agrees: fly

I lose chunks of time during the day. I have a house to keep, dogs to walk, and meals to cook. I have a curriculum and the accompanying handouts to write for my summer art courses. I have artwork and novels to create. While no one, not even me, cannot eliminate interruptions, we get a say on how much time we spend on them.

Here is how I keep myself productive:

1) Every Sunday night, I write weekly to do lists broken down by project.  

If I don’t get something done by the end of the week, it gets moved to the top of next week’s list.  And you will notice two items for the coming week. Last week’s list looked like:

To do: 1/19 – 1/24 

Other Systems Universe

TLSotM Reedit

  • Mon: Chap 26
  • Tues: Chap 27
  • Wed: Chap 28
  • Thur: Chap 29
  • Fri: Chap 30 – 31
  • Friday: Print out TLSotM manuscript (I’ve jury duty this week)

Short Stories

The PeaceKeeper

  • Add ghost of commander
  • Name dead soldier
  • Add screaming victim about the False King

Other

  • Dentist Wednesday Jan 21 @ 12
  • Page 2 Books – pick up cosigned books and check
  • Inventory
  • State and City Taxes

Websites/Social Media

  • Twitter Goal: 10,000 followers
  • Blog Post for Mon 1/26

2) Alarm! Alarm! Alarm!
When I am writing, I set an alarm on my phone so I remember to pick up my husband from work or run timed errands such as my dentist appointment.

3) Meal Plans

I keep a weekly meal plan on the kitchen calendar so cooking is easy. 

B: PancakesL: Hotdogs w Chips
D: Steak Kabobs
B: Quiche & Cros.
L: Work
D: Orange Chick
w Rice
B: Ham Scramble
L: Work
D: French Dips
B: Sand w/ham
L: Work
D: Tacos
B: Eggs & BaconL: Work
D: Quinoa Salad
B: Sand w/baconL: Work
D: Spaghetti & Meatballs
B: Biscuits & Gravy
L: Orzo Salad
D: Enchiladas

4) Scheduled Chores

I keep a schedule with weekly, monthly, and quarterly rotational chores. Monday is laundry, Tuesday is vacuuming, etc. 

5) Deadlines!
I use major conventions to act as deadlines both for writing and marketing projects.

So that’s how I get projects done, how do you do it?

My RustyCon Speaking Schedule!

So my first convention of the year is: RustyDates

Held in Seatac, Rustycon is an annual science fiction and fantasy convention with a smaller, relaxed intimate feel. They have multi–track programming in writing, gaming, films and media. They also have a dealer’s room, art show, and a hospitality room for the general membership.

IMG_1880

Here’s a photo of me and Bruce from Rustycon 2014. I’m the human.

If you’re looking for the convention experience without the crowds of ECCC or the pressure of Norwescon, you’ll LOVE Rustycon.

I hope to see you there.

Friday 1/16

2:00 pm
Sexy or Sexualized
Mercer B

When does the depiction of a heroine stop being sexy and become sexualized?

I will be presenting along with Jon Del Arroz and Michael Suiter

Saturday 1/17 

11:00 am
Part3World Building in Sci-Fi and Fantasy or How to Avoid the Infodump
Orcas B

Too much information and the story bogs down, but too little and the reader is left lost. Writers want to deliver an enthralling alternate world, but how do we do that gracefully? Experts share the details that make a world great, and ways to sneak in the brick and mortar of world-building.

I will be presenting with Verna Mckinnon, Thomas Gondolfi, Tom D Wright with Rick Hipps Moderating

12:00 Noon
Designing Character Backgrounds
Orcas B

When you read, do you fall in love with a story or a character? By designing your characters, major and minor, you shape the story they’re going to carry. But how do you bring them to life? And how much obsessing is too much? Do you really need to know their favorite food, color, and dessert topping? Learn how to design a character.

I will be presenting with A. Maire Dinsmore, Rick Hipps, and Todd Tepper

Sunday 1/18

9:00 am
How do I Finish???

You have the story, the big climax.. how do you end it??  A lot of beginning writers (and some pros) have problems with that.  Come get some ideas.

I will be presenting with Will Mcdermott, Verna Mckinnon, and Rick Hipps

11:00 am
Independent Publishing 
Orcas B

Independent publishing has taken off, especially with the recent rise of the hybrid-author, who is willing to sell work traditionally but not afraid to self-publish and promote. From ebooks to POD, which stories benefit from independent publishing and how do you get them ready? Bring your questions about editing, Kickstarter, cover art, sales price, and marketing.

I will be presenting with Jennifer Brozek Dustin Gross and Thomas Gondola

The Light Side of the Moon Update: I see more editing in the future…

We all have heard:

“Kill your darlings, kill your darlings, even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler’s heart, kill your darlings.” 
― Stephen KingOn Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

Well, I tried to kill my darlings, but my editor wants me to I resurrect a few. Let’s just say, it’s possible that  when I did my first rewrite, I might have gone on a killing spree.

firstdraft

And FYI apparently my fifth draft sucks too.

I’m super thankful for the time that my editor has put towards it already.  I was told to tighten up the action scenes and watch my sequence of information in the details, and fix a POV issue.

I’ll also be fixing a problem with the storyline. Without spoilers, I introduced a plot point early in the book, but it didn’t show up until much later. So I need to bring it forward in the story. This suggestion was absolute gold, because this morning, I realized how to do it without hurting the rest of the story…and even more important it makes two scenes towards the end of the book even more poignant.  Another suggestion didn’t work, but I realized in a way it did. She thought I was trying to do X, so she pointed out that Y also needed to occur. I got frustrated, but then I realized since she didn’t understand what I was trying to convey, I needed to clarify. Sometimes by adding back pieces of old scenes that were cut.

Personally, I find the editing process difficult. People think its because it hurts to cut. It doesn’t. It doesn’t even hurt to rewrite scenes and take advice.

As I’ve said before, it’s hard for me to wait to hear back, because I tend to start thinking the worst.

However, now the ball is back in my court, so now I have a different problem. I find its hard to say no to suggestions. I want my editor to be happy and proud of the project. After all, her name will be on it too. And I want to make the acquisitions editor happy she continued to put faith that my writing will make a buck, and I want to make the reader happy enough they purchase it. The only solution is to focus on the words on the page, not any person. Not even me.

While this revision is not as major as the last rewrite, I’m planning to take all of January, because while I’m focusing on this project, I’ve a few other commitments.

So dear readers, thank you for your continued support.  I will answer any questions that I can answer, but please do not ask about plot points at this juncture. If you have any words of wisdom, please add them to the comments.

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