Pubish15

Write In Style – Publish 15

Pubish15

Bobbie Christmas

Hosted by: Bobbie Christmas Editor & Author, Zebra Communications

Attending my second class I was feeling good about my past decisions after Go Big or Go Indie, now I had to learn how I could be better than my past.

Write in Style was hosted by an energetic editor and author Bobbie Christmas. She has been editing for more than 40 years. After hearing her presentation I instantly thought about some obvious mistakes I and most authors (even the famous ones) make when writing. Interested in making myself the best possible writer for my style I purchased her book Write in Style. She just republished it this year so stay tuned when it is available for purchase on her website. Below I have outlined the important lessons I learned in her workshop leading me to needing this book!

  • Start with the End in mind. Why are you writing this?
  • Set Goals & Deadlines. 
    • This normally is easy for me. My current career outside of writing is all about setting achievable goals and due dates. Normally I have others holding me accountable at my day job outside myself. Writing is a solo career, publishing may be different, so it is all about self-motivation. Since I have not been doing a great job by myself on setting deadlines I have decided to start keeping a daily tracker of my writing and book pursuing habits. Now the world can judge my baby steps. Each day I post a quote to describe my day and what I did or didn’t accomplish. My goal is to write/edit 1000 words of my current rough draft for Book 2 and finish it by 8/17/15.
  • Mind Dump – First Draft lay it all on the table, don’t go back to edit just keep writing until it is all over. Remember you are writing for your target audience. 
  • Editing. Remove more than you put into it. Avoid:
    • Adverbs & Adjectives. At times theycan be short-term friends but only at times.
      • I.E. slowly walked traded for sauntered (stronger verb)
    • Weak Verbs. To be, were, be, am, being, get/got, do (weakest), make, began.
    • -ing words.
    • Repetition. Most common overused word As.
      • Find repetitive words by using the find tool (CTRL + F or Command + F) Put a space before and at the end of the word you are looking for. I.E. _as_
    • Wordy Phrases. Down, up, in order to, all at once, all of a sudden, at that moment, at that point, without warning, just, just then.
    • Undefined Pronouns. There was, there were, there are, it was, it is.
    • Dangling Modifiers. often, start, with, -ing.

This class was a real eye opener of the common mistakes writers make without even being aware. When you are writing your draft it shouldn’t be bogged down by what you should and shouldn’t do. As long as you know how this will all end, you have set goals to get there, and you know your target audience then you have finished a book. Next you have to kill your little darlings. These tips she showed us in the workshop were just the beginning. Some of these tips I wouldn’t have understood until she showed her examples. Once I finish writing my second book I am going to binge read her book and wear out the Finder tool on my document.

Visit Zebra Editor and join their newsletter. Hopefully she won’t find too many editing mistakes on this blog lol.

What editing and writing in style tips do you have?

Review: Pride & Prejudice & Zombies

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One of the first novels I ever read was Pride and Prejudice. This was an easy must read for me because I am a huge fan of the zombie revolution. It was an obvious pick but after I read the book I found they had made more differences with their changes than I had first anticipated.

From my understanding the writing would lightly be touched in this transitioning story from the calm rhythm to the slaying type. The intention was to input passages about zombies and any attitudes or details needed to intertwine the story together with a new layer. It reminded me of watching Abraham Lincoln Vampire Slayer, which I thought at first would be a stupid movie only to find it was quite enjoyable and their twist to history made the idea captivating. If Abraham Lincoln can slay vampires then why can’t Elizabeth Bennet slice her blade through the decrepit zombie necks desiring a bite of her tasty brain.

Overall it was quite enjoyable. The zombies were the originals I remember seeing in the basement with my poppy when he watched scary movies all night. I would stay up late with him to catch a glimpse of the world he liked to view when he wanted to escape from reality. These zombies were definitely the dead kind, dead for a long time. The ones decayed with rotting flesh and yellowed skulls crawling their way out of the dirt. They didn’t have super speed or a need to eat the flesh. They were dumb enough, distracted by cauliflower because somehow it look similar enough to brains in their eyes.

The relationships stayed the same in the story with a few exceptions where several things bothered me. This book is my favorite and I was looking for an interesting twist but I didn’t like how the writer portrayed characters in ways I wish I could remove from my mind. Too much personal defection and demoralizing further in the mentalities of those we already knew were of poor character. All in all some of the people were picked on a bit much more than I would prefer.

The thing I disliked the most was how the Bennet’s received their training. Back then it took a lot to travel by carriage to get to a friend’s house fifty miles away. Yet somehow they trained in China and others trained in Japan. I especially find this out of character for all the Bennet’s to get this training considering the original book’s Lady Catherine helps point out the Bennet parents lack of educating their daughters in many ways from writing to playing….so how is this any different. Regardless of danger. Back then it would be normal for men to do the slaying than woman so why are so many woman slayers? I thought it would’ve been better for Elizabeth as a skilled killer to further show she marches to her own drum and is ahead of her time. Everyone doing it…..while then Elizabeth isn’t so special.

Overall I think it is hard to read a book you love with an alternate thought process trying to change things while making them the same. I enjoyed it but I also would have preferred reading the original just as much. I did watch Pride & Prejudice after reading the book.

Pubish15

Go Big or Go Indie – Publish 15

Pubish15

Go Big or Go Indie: Traditional vs. Self-Publishing

Post inspired by: 

Bennett-Coles-e1429909954126

@BennettColes Publisher & CEO, Promontory Press, Author

Jonathan-FRENCH-e1429910231191

@JFrenchAuthor Author, Autumn’s Fall Saga

Laura-McNeill-e1430166138143

@LauraMcNeillBks Author, Center of Gravity

This past weekend I went to the first annual Publish 15 workshop. They hosted 5 workshops a day to sharpen your skills from writing to networking and hosted classes on traditional publishing and self-publishing. During breaks we were able to visit the Exhibition Hall which hosted a variety of vendors from Authors to Publishing Companies and Printing and more. Several booths were doing giveaways, free headshot, and other items. It was a lot of fun. If you’re interested in widening your knowledgeable on writing and publishing or perhaps landing a deal by pitching to Literary Agents then stay posted for Publish 16 in the future. The below are notes I took from my experience and the learned experience of those that hosted the workshop. Below is the first Workshop I attended Saturday morning and to the side are the inspiring Panel:

 

Traditional Publishing has not changed much with advancement of technology. I like to call it winning the book lottery, if your work really does have the chance. This process is all about pitching your book to the right person at the right time.

  • Finished Manuscript.
    • Advice: Get plenty of honest friends, acquaintances and an editor to review it. An editor can really be worth the money to make sure your work shines. Find reputable editors through the Association of Free Lance Editors.
  • Query Letter. 
    • You will most likely be writing this pitch on you and your book to get a Literary agent. To view Query letters I recommend Shark Query. This team will pick Queries to review and edit then post them online. You can learn from advice they have given others and you can submit yours for possible selection. Follow them at @QueryShark.
  • Literary Agent. 
    • The literary agent is your connector to the publishing house. They have relationships built with many houses and are able to use their energy and resources to give your book the change to land a deal.
    • Search for a Literary Agent that fits you and your books needs and interests. Don’t just apply to anyone. Research their interest and background. Engage with them on any of their social networks. If you feel they are a good fit then send your Query Letter. Some may want parts or more of your book emailed.
    • To see a list you should get the following book often published yearly: Jeff Herman’s Guide to Book Publishers, Editors, and Literary Agents
  • Finances. 
    • With traditional publishing you will get an advance and there will be a standard royalty for your work. Of course the newer you are the less likely it will be a large advance.
    • Often authors choose to put the money straight into marketing. @LauraMcNeillBks recommend investing in a Publicist.
  • Advantages: 
    • If you land a deal you will be able to focus more on writing, social networking, and marketing while the business and publishing process is primarily handled by your Literary Agent and Publisher. You will have a house backing your work up and making it a stronger platform to get your books in the stores and out to the people.
  • Disadvantages: 
    • Pursuing this process is going to lead to early rejection before your work is in the public eye. Just remember, even Stephen King was rejected 30 times for Carrie. Click this link to view some of the FAMOUS books rejected.
    • You will have to give up your work and they often have more control on artwork, marketing, distribution and say when it will be released and if they will continue to keep your book in print.

Self-Publishing is when you choose to publish a book by using publishing services requiring you to pay up-front.

  • Finished Manuscript.
    • Same advice as I gave for traditional publishing.
    • After my last review, and those of my choosing I like to have a beta reader review my workbecausetheyaremore objective.
      • Find them on Goodreads. They are often people who just love to read and are possibly your target audience if you did your research on them. Most are free and some who pay more attention to detail and grammar cost a small amount in comparison to an Editor.
      • My favorite beta reader is @KJBetaReading. She will read your first chapter and edit it for no charge so you can make a decision to get the full book looked at for a very reasonable price.
  • Editor.
    • Same advice as I gave for traditional publishing.
    • It is ABSOLUTELY necessary to do otherwise your books will be torn apart by your audience for small mistakes an Editor would have found. Make sure it is someone reputable and reasonable.
  • Artwork. 
    • Don’t go cheap. This has to be amazing and match your books concept. People will often buy a book or learn more about it due to the cover.
  • Finances. 
    • Determine your publishing route.
      • I go through BookLogix. They did my editing, artwork, all the business things like copyrighting and serial numbers, distribution to all the major ebook stores. and they even invited me to Publish 15. If you search for publishing services do your research and make sure they are reputable.
      • Or you can publish with Amazon on CreateSpace.
    • You will be paying up front so it’s time to save or get a good loan if it’s worth it. If you are good at marketing and need to get some more money to reach your goals I would suggest a KickStarter campaign.
  • Marketing
    • You are your only backer unless you get the word out and find promoters or higher a marketing service or Publicist.
    • Become good friends with social networking and start early. Don’t wait for your books release.
  • Advantages.
    • You are in full control. You choose who you want to work with and what is worth paying for as well as getting higher royalties for your product.
    • If you have a good platform and become successful or the right eye catches your work you can still land a traditional deal for your current or future work and you may have more bargaining power on your negotiations.
  • Disadvantage. 
    • You are in full control so now you own the business and it is up to you to motivate yourself everyday when everything stacks against you.
    • You have to budget and perhaps you may find yourself waiting to take the next step.

All three of the speakers to this workshop started out or still are successful at self-publishing their books. All in all getting a book published can be done whether on your own or with the help of others. Good luck. Stay posted for future blogs reviewing my Publish 15 experience. Does anyone out there have advice on the subject of Go Big or Go Indie? Have you made this choice before? Or are you considering which road to take?

Sleeping Habituals = Time Wasters

Daily Prompt – Sleepy Time: More and more of us go to bed too late because of sleep procrastination. What are the nighttime rituals that keep you up before finally dozing off?

Something about night keeps me up while the day light I try to fight to stay awake. I’m not sure why but my body prefers to live in the dark. In reality there are no rituals that keep me awake but my determination to take advantage of every minute I have left. Just knowing that the day is going to end makes me frustrated because it means I have to wake up and start all over again. I feel as if I have to fit in every moment of fun before my life shuts down and I go through the motions again.

There are many things that I choose to stay occupied with….school, work for my job I don’t want to do in the morning when emails and other attention hogs try to inflate my time, catching up on that TV show that just can’t wait tomorrow, youtube videos…..WHY

For some reason I get foolish. I can choose to do any of these activities the next day but my body just says why wait. What if tomorrow sucks?

Dr. Who Sells Me The Latest & Greatest

Pick You Gadget Daily Prompt: Your local electronics store has just started selling time machines, anywhere doors, and invisibility helmets. You can only afford one. Which of these do you buy, and why?

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Times are changing and with technology these days you get more than you ever expected possible at a pricy fee. Walking into the electronic store with my life savings I was ready to splurge on some entertainment.

Taking a look at their large wall of tv display a salesman from headed my way.

“Hello there, my name is Dr. Who. What brings you in today?”

“Okay.” I stared at him surprised by such a name and decided if we were playing games I would to. “I’m Ms. Where.”

He smiled at me as if he was hiding a secret. “Well Ms. Where I have just the right product for a women of your means.”

Raising my eyebrows I wasn’t sure if I should be offended or go with his interesting sense of humor.

“We have three new products that just hit the shelf. This right here,” he put his hands up against a steel door that stood in the middle of the aisle “will lead you anywhere, hence it’s name, the Anywhere door.”

“Do I look like a sucker?”

He smiled. “Do me a favor and think of any place imaginable that is real and you will be taken there.”

Going along with his scheme I imagined going back to Rome. Placing my handle on the door, I rolled my eyes, then pushed it open.

There was nothing to see but the end of the aisle. “Now that I’ve tried how about you show me something worth my time.”

“First just entertain me and step through the door.”

Begrudgingly I stepped through and when my first step hit the pavement I was astonished. Here I was opening the door to the Pantheon. Tourist were filled in the room looking at the angelic statues and tombs. I just stared up through the shaft of light that came from the roof leading to what looked like Heaven. Turning my eyes back to the door that led me here I rushed back in worried that I was stuck and without a passport there was no going home.

When my feet crossed the threshold I was back on the linoleum floors. “How the–”

“If you think that is a wonder please follow me this way.”

I was dazed and confused but I followed him without caring what joke was pulled next. We stopped at a blue phone booth for what seemed like the Police?

“Isn’t this technology a bit antiquated?” I stated.

“Not if it has been reprogrammed.”

Stepping into the booth with him he moved around some things and all of a sudden the impossible once again happened. Lights and surroundings changed drastically until we came to a standstill and I knew nothing was the same.

“For your safety I suggest we stay inside.” He opened the doors for my viewing.

I nodded as I looked at the chaos of the jungle with trees larger than most buildings. The floor began to rumble and I backed against the wall as I was staring at a braunosaurus who was running from a T-rex.

“I think we better get back before my boss wonders where we went. Plus that T-Rex is looking our way now.”

He pressed some more strange buttons and I gripped my hands together as the beast charged toward us. Closing my eyes to watch my life pass I could see a bright light through my lids. Peering at my surroundings I saw we were back and followed him out of the booth.

“I have one more new product to show you.”

I wanted to laugh hysterically at the thought that there was anymore he could show me.

“Please place this helmet on.”

Taking the ridiculously large helmet I decided what more could he possibly show from time traveling to teleporting and decided it was something also worth exploring.

“What now?” I asked as I waited for something interesting to happen.

“Can you please walk over to that mirror and let me know what you think.”

“I don’t need to look, trust me, this is not my style.”

“I think by now you should know to trust my instincts.”

Trust…..what a sentiment to this sales pitch. When I got to the mirror I noticed a distinct problem with this demonstration. Where was I?

That was it. I knew what product I would be “buying”. I walked out of the store with my free invisibility helmet.

And that is the story about how I determined the right product that I could afford.

Daily Prompt – Unexpected Guest

Daily Prompt – Unexpected Guest – You walk into your home to find a couple you don’t know sitting in your living room, eating a slice of cake. Tell us what happens next.

It was as normal as any day when the event that changed my life took place. After a long day of work attending to others needs I was ready to attend to my own. Parking my car in the garage I opened the door only to be surprised by the lack of greeting. My two dogs that normally knocked me out of my shoes, panting to go outside, weren’t there. Walking into the hallway I shrugged it off and put down my bag. Maybe they were just chilling on the bed.

My body went stiff and my breathing stifled when I heard the sound of someone shuffling through my cabinets in the kitchen. Last I checked, my dogs didn’t have opposable thumbs…. Relaxing when I realized that James may have awoken before his shift tonight I remembered that I wasn’t home alone.

Walking into the kitchen I was ready to greet him with a warm welcome, hoping he wasn’t in a bad mood, being up and all a bit too early for the grave yard shift. I was surprised by the swishing sound of a knife that went just past my ear landing in the door frame.

That wasn’t James. The last thought before something hard pressed against my skull.

Waking up tied to my living room chair my head felt hazy and I could feel something trickling down my temples. Finding it hard to breath beneath tape that sealed my lips I took as many breaths as I could until I mustered the strength to look around. Looking up I saw an older women smiling adoringly at her equally pale mate. Both eating a slice of dark red cake with no icing.

Looking over to my right I saw James, knocked out, slouched in the ropes that contained him. Attached to his arms was a tube leading to a bag of his own blood that was being drained. Staring down at my arm I found the same bag draining the life out of me.

“Darling it’s so nice of you after all these centuries to remember our anniversary.” Said the older women.

“Happy 800 blood sucking years my dear. It is so nice of our company to keep us fed with such luscious treats. The creations you make are much more scrumptious then enjoying ones lifeline on tap.”

“Your blood cake is to die for.” She smiled as she looked at me hungrily.

It appeared that I wasn’t done attending to others needs.

I’m Not the Sharpest Tool in the Garage

If I Had a Hammer

Daily Prompt

If you could learn a trade — say carpentry, electrical work, roofing, landscaping, plumbing, flooring, drywall — you name it — what skill(s) would you love to have in your back pocket?

If there was one trade that I feel would be the most valuable to my life for almost any circumstance that could arrive it would be auto mechanics. 

Some of the best reasons would be: 

  • No more paying for an oil change, other than the stuff you need to get it done.
  • Check engine light on again? No worries I’ll fix that. Now I don’t have to worry about some guy thinking he can swindling me. A lot of times you go in for one issue and somehow you have five more that you never knew about.
  • No more buying a car that cost beyond your means if you prefer a fixer upper.
  • More importantly, if Zombies and such finally come forth I will be able to fix my car in a time when mechanics are eaten due to the starvation aftermath.

So why don’t I start now?

Time. Learning something that intricate would take a toll of my life. It is currently easier to pay others than to pay for that education. Oh and the grease, not a big fan of seeing black streaks on my skin. I’m just hoping one day they will finally release the Matrix and let all of us upload as much information as our brains can take. Hopefully that doesn’t mean we already have stored as much as we can take.