WIP Wednesday

Yes, it’s March, and yes this is technically my first WIP post of the year. Luckily, no one missed much as I’ve been working on this last line edit for book 3 in the TGIB series for…oh…three months now. I don’t know what it’s like for other writers, but there is no stage of my writing process quite as treacherous as that final line edit.

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I’ve gotten really good at not editing as I go, simply for the sake of finishing. If I read each draft the way I do the final one, I’d never get anything done. But once it’s time for me to strap on my editor hat for that final line edit, it’s like I get sucked into a black hole. I’ll glance at the clock and realize that I just spent half an hour on one paragraph or that an entire day has gone by and I’ve only completed one chapter. It’s tedious and heart wrenching but it’s also necessary. I just wish I could find a more streamlined way of tackling it, or better yet, maybe the universe could just add a few more hours in the day. Once this is finished, which I pray will be in the next few weeks, I will no doubt emerge looking like a zombie, probably smelling like one too. But who has time to bathe when there are words to be sliced and sentences to be diced?

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Once book 3 in the series is finished, and it WILL be finished this month, I will move on to the fourth and final book in the series, which has been patiently waiting for my attention since…oh, jesus, November. I plan on taking things at a slower pace with this novel because I really want to get it right. That means it probably won’t be done until the end of the year. But the good news is I’ll be alternating drafts with my contemporary romance novel that’s also been shelved for far too long and then…once all that is done I will finally be able to start something new. It’s been an entire year since I started a new project. For the past twelve months I’ve either been editing or picking up where I left off on abandoned drafts. By the time I start book #9 (yes, NINE!) it’ll likely have been two years since I’ve started something new. And I can’t freaking wait.

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Protect Educators, Protect Your Community

There isn’t a parent out there who hasn’t agonized over the decision of where to send their child to school. It’s in the back of every childless couples’ minds as they buy their first home and keeps every new parent up at night. It’s an important decision, one that doesn’t just effect the child’s future but the parents’. The best you can hope for is passionate hardworking teachers and compassionate diplomatic administrators–people who care about your child’s future as much as you do. But the awful truth about the public school system is that it’s broken in more ways than one.

There’s always that one teacher who hasn’t cared about her students in ten years but still won’t retire. Or the coach with no compassion who leaves emotional scars on his students long after they’ve graduated. Or the principle who rules with an iron fist and a heavy dose of manipulation, scaring her teachers into silent complacency.

You could say these are just stereotypes, but I can recall someone from my school days to fit every single one. I know most of you probably can too. How is that possible when we’ve all grown up in different communities in different cities across the country? It’s possible because somewhere along the way parents felt helpless, people stopped caring, and things got political. And now children’s futures are at risk. Because we forgot that it’s supposed to be all about them. Not who has power and who doesn’t. The bureaucratization of our public schools is robbing them of their futures and we’re not doing enough to stop it.

It’s time to stop letting policy makers and bullying bureaucrats strong arm our school boards into making decisions that don’t reflect our communities and values. It’s time to start showing up and getting loud. Parents need to have a voice. They need to be aware and involved and so do the rest of us. Because whether you have a school-aged child or not, the failure of our schools effects all of us. If one school district thinks it can get away with corrupt and atrocious behavior, the district in your community could be next. Greed is a beast that is never satisfied and we can’t allow it to effect the way our children learn. Teachers need support, parents need more control, and students need to be surrounded by adults who care about nurturing their potential and helping them succeed.

My cousin is the Assistant Principal of Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD and she’s been placed on administrative leave for a health reason that is both discriminatory and illegal. She’s an amazing educator who has always gone above and beyond for her students and someone I have always deeply admired for that reason. Unfortunately, she along with other staff members and parents tried to take a stand against an abusive administration on behalf of the students they care about, and are now being harassed, discriminated against, and punished for their actions. Now other parents and members of the community are demanding that an investigation be done, not only to vindicate the people who have been hurt in this situation, but to fix what is broken in this school district so that its students can once again have a safe place to learn and grow.

This is a school in a small suburb outside of Ft. Worth, TX, but what’s happening there is happening in school districts all over the country. It could be happening in yours, or if not now, someday. Someday you might feel just as helpless as these parents or just as terrified as these teachers. Someday you might be faced with a school board that doesn’t understand, nor deeply care about the true needs of your child. Someday you might realize that fighting for your child’s future is more dangerous and requires more sacrifices than you could have ever imagined. Or maybe there is no someday. Maybe the fight starts today.

If you care about your community, your children’s futures, and the amazing educators who help cultivate those futures, please consider reading more about the situation at Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD, watching this video, and signing this petition.

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Get The Boy In Her Dreams for Just $2.99

I’ve been MIA for the past month but it’s been for a very good reason. I’ve been hard at work on the FINAL line edit for the third book in The Girl In Between series and unless something horribly unexpected happens (knock on wood) I’m hoping to release it at the end of March!!!! In celebration of its pending release date I’ve decided to discount The Boy In Her Dreams, which you can currently purchase on Amazon for just $2.99!! It should be showing up at the discounted price at the other retailers soon so keep a lookout!

Also keep your eyes peeled for the blurb and cover reveal of book 3 coming soon and be sure to visit the purchase links below before the sale is over! Thanks to everyone who’s already bought a copy. Amazing things have been happening lately and I’m so grateful to everyone who’s taken a chance on this series. I promise to update more soon, after book 3 is finally finished of course!

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Get your discounted copy:
AmazonSmashwordsScribdPage FoundryKoboBarnes & Noble & Itunes

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A More Official Announcement

I mentioned it briefly in yesterday’s post but I’d like to OFFICIALLY ANNOUNCE that The Boy In Her Dreams is once again available for sale!!!! Thank you to everyone for your incredible patience and understanding!

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Pick up your copy at one of the following online retailers:
Amazon
SmashwordsScribdPage FoundryKoboBarnes & Noble & Itunes

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Mistakes

January has been a tumultuous roller coaster of highs and lows, triumphs and epic failures. My blog tour was a huge success (which I’ll blog about in more detail later) but as it wound down, some emails slipped through the cracks, some information was miscommunicated, oh, and I discovered that the copy-editing for The Boy In Her Dreams still left behind some glaring mistakes. Having published four books prior, I thought I knew how to cross my Ts and dot my Is but getting this particular novel out into the world was a huge test of my patience. I struggled with the formatting the entire way through and once I did finally manage to get it online there were not only spelling and grammatical mistakes but also continuity errors as well. Luckily they weren’t entirely atrocious but were they enough to be distracting? Yes.

I’d never gotten a review for any of my previous novels mentioning problems with the copy-editing so as soon as reader feedback started coming in, of course I panicked! When it comes to self-publishing, whether I outsource some of the work or not, the final responsibility to put out a stellar product is always on me. Only me. And it’s my choice. It’s my choice to have total control. So far it’s been an incredibly rewarding choice but when something goes wrong it’s a reminder of how terrifying that choice really is.

I immediately took the book off sale and started researching copy-editors. The person I’d worked with in the past was a friend and therefore free and now I’ve learned my lesson that neither are good when it comes to doing business. Thankfully I found someone who came highly recommended via the blog of a self-publishing powerhouse who I so admire and I didn’t hesitate to email her. Because this person is actually a professional she got the edits back to me just a few weeks later and basically saved my life in the process. Overall the entire experience was smooth and stress-free and it left me feeling grateful that the entire calamity had actually taken place.

Because I’m indie and my books exist entirely online, I was able to swap out the new revised edition in less than an hour and it was on sale the next morning. I didn’t have to recall print copies or send out formal apologies to my distributors. Did I spend money to make the corrections? Yes, but did I “lose” money because of the original mistakes? No. I didn’t lose readers. I didn’t ruin my reputation as an author. Instead, coming face to face with this particular chink in my workflow has made me better. It’s made my book better and because of this experience, everything I publish after this will be better too. Not only was my learning expedited due to the stressful circumstances but it was also done in private. A few readers, who are total strangers to me, offered constructive feedback, and miles away, alone in my apartment, their words helped facilitate growth.

That’s the kind of direct relationship you get to have with readers when you’re indie. Because readers are not some kind of ephemeral finish line. They’re not just consumers, they’re people. Real people who don’t just read books but who have the power to make them better. If we just open ourselves up and actually listen to them. When you hit publish, you’re creating a real relationship between you and your audience whether you realize it or not. During the few weeks that The Boy In Her Dreams was off sale I was flooded with emails from people saying they’d loved the first book and wanted to know where to find the sequel. I went from feeling like a failure to feeling so incredibly validated and it changed my outlook on the entire situation.

I’m not saying that we should preoccupy ourselves with trying to make everyone happy. That would be impossible. But engaging and connecting and being open to having a relationship with our readers is one of the greatest things about being indie. We’re accessible and that makes us better human beings. They’re accessible and that makes us better writers. We are a team. Whether you’re the person crafting a story word by word or you’re the person indulging in it the same way, we’re all in this together. Creating and sharing and living. The life of a story doesn’t exist between point A and point B, it’s an infinite loop that connects us long after the final word is written, the journey starting over every time that very first word is read.

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