Tag Archives: novel writing

Wicked Ways of the Wandering

An Apt Pupil once told me that A Good Marriage was the ticket to The Bazar of Bad Dreams. Blockade Billy tried to find hope in a Bag of Bones, but his wife Carrie left her Children of the Corn for dog, Cujo to eat during the Cycle of the Werewolf. Through a Cat’s Eye there is a Cell just beyond Desperation. Delores Claiborne may have been in Different Seasons of her life when she fell asleep under a Dreamcatcher and woke up in Duma Key. Fortunately Everything’s Eventual and at the End of Watch it’s Finders Keepers.

At Four Past Midnight From a Buick 8 they will find Full Dark No Stars and Gerald’s Game plays out at the Hotel at the End of the Road. No one leaves happy and everyone leaves their Hearts in Atlantis. It will cause Insomnia Just After Sunset and trust me, it’s no Joyland. Not King’s, but LT’s Theory on Pets that is the real Lisey’s Story. The Lawnmower Man is just another one of The Langoliers. Misery doesn’t come without Mr. Mercedes and he’s driving in Maximum Overdrive.

Nona thinks she wants Needful Things but it’s just a bunch of Nightmares & Dreamscapes The Outsider told her she would have if she visited Pet Sematary. She signed up for Quitter’s Inc. and thought The fifth Quarter would bring Revival but she met Rose Madder who was just another Sleeping Beauty. The Shining Skeleton Crew took The Stand and in The Institute The Girl who Love Tom Gordon is standing alone at The Dark Tower. The Dead Zone is not really dead but The Eyes of the Dragon will haunt The Dark Half if there is anything left.

By the time Uncle Otto’s Truck comes to take us Under the Dome Umney’s Last Case of  the American Vampire will be the Word Processor of the Gods and the Woman in the Room will cast everyone out to The Wastelands.

Just a fun little trot through one of my favorite author’s tales. Do you know who it is? I could not come up with a title for K. Can you? X, Y, and Z doesn’t count because those days have not played out yet.

Welcome to the A-Z Blogging Challenge. This year I think it will bring a lot more people together with this crazy pandemic. Being quarantined means people will flock to the web looking for things to do. This is a great way to meet new friends/contacts. Maybe you will read something new, find a new hobby, or just be entertained by some random musings. Whatever the case may be, stay safe, drink plenty of liquids and enjoy the trip.

Writing a Novel isn’t so Novel


Novel – and inventive prose narrative that is usually long and complex and deals with human experience through a connected sequences of events. New and not resembling something formerly known or used; original or striking especially in conception or style.

Writing a novel used to be just that — original. Now it seems everyone talks about writing a novel, everyone wants to write a novel, and a select few have actually written a novel. There’s nothing novel about writing a novel anymore. Everyone is doing it. It really is true that there is nothing new under the sun. If you can dream it, the chances are, it’s already been done. Your only hope is to come up with an innovative way to make it sound (or I guess I should say read) more appealing than the last person.

If writing a novel is your dream, your goal in life, your wish, your secret desire, do it. Write it. Don’t talk about it, just do it. Don’t ever give up. Don’t listen to what other people tell you. If your heart is in it, do it. You will write that novel.

If publishing that novel is your dream, your goal in life, your wish, your secret desire, do it. But before you publish it, do your homework. Research the markets of where the genre you write will fit best. Do not go with the first offer that comes along. Research and know what is available out there.

If you cannot find a publisher that meets your dream, your goal in life, your wish, or your secret desire, you can always self-publish. This is one way a lot of unknown authors get their name out there. Just keep in mind that self-publishing also mean self-promotion. If you don’t have time to self-promote hopefully you have a huge following of friends and family that will buy your book, and help promote it.

Don’t take reviews personally. Not everyone likes the kind of reading material you like, and therefore not everyone is going to like the material you write. Someone may read your novel with the hopes of one thing happening, and they become disappointed because it did not meet their expectations. This causes them to write a bad review. That doesn’t mean your story is bad, it just means that person was not satisfied with something they were expecting to read. Same is true with positive reviews. Don’t let these go to your head. Sometimes a five-star review comes from an obligatory read.

Finally, know what your goal is before you set out to write the “All-American-Best-Seller” that’s going to be on the New York Times Best Seller List. Is that the goal? Is the goal to just write the novel? Is the goal to be published? Is the goal to make a lot of money? (If that’s the goal, you better stop right now). Truly, it doesn’t matter what your goal is, just as long as you set one, so that you know what you are working toward in the long run.

So, what are you waiting for? Get your butt in gear and write that novel!

Be sure to check out some of the other great bloggers taking part in the A-Z Blogging Challenge.


Red Flags


Red Flags

So you are ready to publish your book that you’ve work hard on. You are ready to make that dream become a reality. Let me share with you some of the things I learned with getting my first book published. They have been hard lessons to digest. For someone who has had the dream of becoming a published author for the last 35 years or more, when the contract came via email you can imagine the excitement I felt. Even though I posed very articulated questions and received vague responses, I just figured it would work itself out in the end. It didn’t matter that all of my questions weren’t answered. No big deal, the biggest thing was getting that book published. That is what every author wants when we first set out.

About Editing:

So the process began. First the book went to an editor. She sent it back to me for my approval three days later. Her comments were indistinct, and I really had no idea what I was supposed to be looking for. I asked. She responded with ‘click on the check mark if you agree. If you don’t, add a comment and we will discuss’. She also pointed out that the edits weren’t that much, mostly compound words. I wrote the book, the publisher liked it so much they wanted to publish it, what could possibly be wrong with it? Not to mention that the editor told me the edits ‘weren’t that much’. That being said, I approved what the editor changed and posed that needed to be changed. I signed off and it was forwarded back to the publisher.

So the process continued.

About Publishing:

The publisher found some serious errors that she would have expected to be corrected in editing.

{Out of curiosity, I asked what was expected of the editor. I had never been through this before, I didn’t know.}

This was the publisher’s response:

What we expect of our editors is this:
1. Manuscript review and recommendations to ensure logical development of content.
2. Substantive editing to determine what should be added, developed, or deleted to enhance the structure, completeness, and tone of the manuscript. If there had been major revisions required, your editor would have to have contacted me before those could proceed.
3. Copy-editing to eliminate incorrect or unclear grammar, word choice, factual inconsistencies, syntax, and inconsistent style.
4. Editors are necessary to making sure a book is the best that it can be. You certainly don’t want the embarrassment of a reviewer pointing out the bad grammar, misspellings, and missing punctuation. So, don’t argue with the editor. Don’t tell them that they don’t know their job and have to listen to you.

She asked for my feedback on how the editing went with the editor. And she wanted me to be honest. What was I supposed to say? I wrote the perfect book. I didn’t think there was anything wrong with it.  She pointed out a whole list of things she saw while proofreading my book to give the reasons why. Normally, she doesn’t proofread books, but her proofreaders were all busy, and she doesn’t like to see books sitting around, so she was doing that until they were free.

What to expect from the proofreader.

Once the editor is done. Proofreaders are vitally important, to catch the things your editor missed. They are very good at what they do. So, give your proofreader the time to painstakingly read your book, word by word and then line by line. You’d be amazed at all the little things they catch.

After she finished with all that she found wrong and corrected, she attached a copy of my manuscript for my final review. I needed to take my time going through the book, correcting anything I found wrong, paying particular attention to the items that she mentioned. One reason is these kinds of errors can get bad reviews and lose you readers and fans. So she told me. The second reason is that the publisher recently implemented a new policy regarding making changes or correcting errors to books once they’re published. They no longer do this due to abuse by a few authors in the past. If something is missed, which by should have been caught in editing and proofreading plus your final review, we can do nothing about that.

{Pointed out to me after the contract was signed. Red flag!}

Again, I will mention I wrote the book, the publisher liked it so much they wanted to publish it, what could possibly be wrong with it? She said she finished with all that she found wrong (...proofreaders are vitally important, to catch the things your editor missed) and corrected, and attached a final copy. What else could possibly be wrong?

There was plenty. I found several mistakes and corrections that were said to have been made that were not made. If you take the time to read my book, Blackhorse 2015, I can assure you if you are looking, and even if you are not, you will find several errors that were missed in the steps that were supposed to have been taken. {My fault?}

About Promotion:
What kind of marketing/promotion will the publishing company do?

The publishing company promotes the work of our authors on Facebook and Twitter daily/weekly. Not every author is promoted every day.

{Would you like to know how many times my book has been promoted by the publisher on Facebook since it released on June 9th? Once. I found Twitter to be a waste of time so I deleted my account so I don’t know if it gets promoted there. Quite frankly I believe this publisher leaves all of the promoting up to the author unless for some reason it’s going to promote their company. Red flag?}

About Royalties:

Our statements are done on the 20th of the month. {I didn’t get my statement until the 29th of the month. Red flag.}

I questioned the report.

10% of what we were paid was the $-.– that was put in your statement.

The contract I signed:

Print Books: “Ten percent (10%) of the retail selling price of each copy sold. Books are not guaranteed to go into Print”
“20% for sales up to 300 books”

{I know … very misleading…is it 10% or is it 20% for the first 300? Red flag}

“We drafted new contracts in April to make that all more clear. If you would like a new contract we would be happy to send you one.” {Really? After I already signed the first one? Red flag}

“Your book is listed at $–.–, which is set by (blank company). We can’t raise or lower that price.”
{I recently self-published a couple of books with (blank company) and found this statement very misleading. Red flag.}

“Either you trust us, or you don’t. We aren’t here to screw you over. But, if you feel we are, you are welcome to request your rights back.”

“The only way to guarantee you know exactly how many have sold is if you had access to the accounts. For obvious reasons, we do not allow this for our authors…”

{If a bank can do it with millions of customers, why can’t a publisher do it for a few hundred authors? BIG ASS RED FLAG!}

“If you still don’t understand, email me. This is not something we will discuss further in group.”

“That’s the cold hard truth. If you can’t let go and trust your publisher then you need to put your stories on a blog or try self-publishing.”

“The only place in the contract where it states retail sales is with print books. While that is a typographical error, we will honor it.” {It was their typographical error shouldn’t they honor it?}

I don’t mean this to be a “bash the publisher” post. I am telling it like it is. The trust issue was pointed out to me more times that I care to mention. {Red, red, red flag!} I wish I took the time to read things more clearly and wasn’t so gun-ho to hurry up and get my book published. It is just a warning to you: the writer, the author, the next New York Times best seller. Be aware of what you are signing on to. If it’s not black and white ask. If it’s still not clear, ask again. Don’t make the mistakes I made. I’m sharing this with you because I know there are people out there wanting to publish their books. There are people out there who will take advantage of your naivety and inexperience. Publishers are out there to make money, not to make you the next best seller. They don’t care that you have busted your butt for the last two years on writing your book. They want to make money. Heed the warnings. Research everything you can, and most importantly, listen to your heart. If it sounds too good to be true, chances are, it probably is.

1. What would you do?
2. Has this ever happened to you?
3. How would or did you react?
4. Do you have any other suggestions for future authors?

I would love to hear your comments.

To Write or To Talk About it


I just conversed with my editor regarding the manuscript.  Seems weird to me to have a publisher, and an editor.   Kind of makes my head swell just a little bit.  I remember all the creative writing assignments I did in Mr. McCutcheon’s class back at Hampden Academy.  All C’s.  Nothing more than a C+.  I still have most of them with his chicken scratched notes scrawled in red ink across the top of the front or back page.  I hated that man back then for grading me like that.  I thought my stuff was good!  Just recently I was told that “C’s earn degrees”. I don’t think he’s alive now.  I wish he was, so I could thank him for being part of my accomplishment.

Not sure what degrees earn, but those C’s he gave me back in high school didn’t discourage me.  I kept on writing.  I wrote short stories for kids with the Institute of Children’s Literature in the 80’s, I wrote short stories for Writer’s Digest and the University of Southern Maine creative writing courses I took in the 90’s. I wrote radio commercials for a station I worked for, repossession letters for a bank I worked for, letters for insurance companies and tax information for an accounting firm I worked for.  I wrote company newsletters, marketing templates, sales pitches, and the ever-so-not popular Christmas Newsletter for a direct mail company I worked for.

As the years passed I never really took the time to put the effort into marketing or selling the things I wrote.  I just put my effort into writing what made me happy. I created a blog with tons of recipes – oh yeah, I cook too. I motivated people to help me write a cookbook, and wrote all the marketing and sales promotions for our company’s business website.   All the while still wanting to do what I always wanted to do as a writer.

I wanted to write a novel.  That feeling of wanting to write has never left me since I started a diary in the sixth grade.  No matter how many times I tried to pre-occupy my mind with something else, that desire has remained.  In fact, I still have the totes upon totes of journals and notebooks that seem to take up more space every year.  Crackerberries was going to be the name of my first novel, my life story.  Then I decided it would be the name of a little farm stand where we could sell our pickles, relishes and jams that we make from our garden.  Somehow it became my brand, if you will.  I guess my life story will have to be called something else.

I’m here to tell you if you have a dream, if you want to write, if you have a goal, do not give up.  It is possible.  You can do it.  Don’t talk about doing it, don’t worry about people liking what you write.  If you like what you write, and it makes you happy, that’s half the goal.  Then comes the sweat and tears, but don’t worry.  Everything else will fall into place in due time.

Not sure when Blackhorse 2015 will be available.  It’s in the fine hands of my editor right now.  I’m excited, and I know there is much work to be done.  As soon I am able to share more about Blackhorse 2015, you’ll be the first to know.  As for now, I’m off to work on the next one.


Today is a Blank Page


Today is a blank page.  Yesterday was depressing.  The day before that, I finished the novel that I’ve been working on for two years.  It came to an end, as far as the writing is concerned.  Now the real work begins.

I was surprised at the emotion I was filled with at having written those final words: THE END.  I thought I would be happy, and there would be cause for celebration.  To my dismay, there was no one to revel with in my achievement.  My husband was busy at work, and all of my friends and family are too busy with their own achievements to be interested in any of my mine.  So I wallowed in my self-pity, spending the day researching publishers, and sending out query letters.  It was not a wasted day by any means, just a depressing one.

I’ve heard it said before that a writer’s life is a lonely life.  I didn’t really believe that.  When I’m writing I’m creating characters who I love, who I hate, who I like, and who I could do without.  They are my ‘social media’ per say, and they keep me company.  When the book came to an end, so did the characters, and that was a day of loneliness.  They came to the end of their reality, and it was time to put them away and move on.  That was depressing for me because I fell in love with my characters.  I now understand the meaning of a lonely writer’s life.  When it was time to face the reality that the story had to end, that it couldn’t go on forever, I longed for those characters to come back into my life.  I am grateful that little bit of depression only lasted for a day.

Today is a blank page.  Today I begin to create new characters that will come to life on the page in a new story.  Today I will make new friends with new characters I love, new characters I hate, and new characters I can probably do without.  Today is a beautiful blank page.