Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Top 10 Things I Learned From My First Round of Edits

For a new author, the thought of publisher edits can be intimidating. Review, re-write, re-plot, re-align subtext, and forget if you have action scenes.
My first round of edits reached me while I was getting on a plane at the Las Vegas airport. Paul and I were from a great vacation. The shows were spectacular. I was excited to see what my editor, Denise Nielsen, had for me. I tried, without success, to read her edits on my android phone before I had to turn off my phone. I would have to wait another five hours.
Once back home, I read the message and instructions, made a large pot of coffee and dug in. To start, I read all the track changes and comments to get an idea of what lay ahead for me. After 13 days (one day ahead of deadline), I got the edits back to Denise. I found I worked hard, got frustrated, made changes, had several aha moments, and fell in love with Arik, Rebeka and their story, Knight of Runes, all over again.
Here are the top ten things I learned from my first round edits. Go get your coffee and enjoy.
10. Well meaning friends, who are ‘in the know,’ sometimes don’t know. The advice of a good friend and published author was to remove irrelevant words in order to stay in the action and make things sound crisp and immediate. It’s the way to hold your reader attention. Not, however, when you splice commas. Words such as and, but, are essential, not extraneous.
9.  Cut extraneous exposition and let the reader see it. What some people see as extraneous exposition (which I went through and deleted) my editor said was necessary to set up the next scene or action.
8.  Don’t give your editor (and reader) a headache by head hopping. Head hopping, I mean real leaps in the same scene, may work for Nora but not for Ruth. Ever.
7.  POV is an art. If your POV character can’t see it, hear it, and doesn’t know it then it doesn’t exist. Unless, the other POV character says it or (this was an eye opener) thinks it in his head. Cool heh.
6.  Edits are a learning experience and my editor is a fabulous, and patient, teacher. I learned to see patterns, hear echoes, and feel rhythms. It only took the first 100 pages to get there.
5.  Immediate voice is much more powerful and compelling than passive voice. Chopping ‘ing’ to makes the action sound immediate. It’s is essential, although, passive voice has its place, but only occasionally.
4.  Filler words do not move a scene along. These words can usually be eliminated without changing the meaning and will also make it more immediate.
3.  Questions in the readers mind can be provocative. Some of Denise’s comments were questions that were answered in the next paragraph or scene. I made my reader think. Not bad!
2.  My deepest apologies to Mrs. X. My high school grammar teacher must be spinning in her grave. I won’t embarrass her by mentioning her name.
The number one thing I learned from my first round of edits…
Call me crazy, but I enjoyed working through Denise’s track changes and comments. She made me think, make decisions, see opportunities, and ultimately she helped me make the story the best it can be and isn’t that what we both want.
Come on Denise, I’m ready for round two.

Monday, June 20, 2011

A Free Gift for You

This week's blog is a gift from me to you from Carina Press.

Carina Press is a digital-first imprint from Harlequin. They connect authors with a great story, with readers who will love to read them.

At Carina Press you'll find weekly releases of ebooks from talented authors in a wide variety of genres. New Releases are added every Monday. Find them on the Carina Press homepage, or see Carina's weekly release schedule on their New Releases page.

Whether you like to read contemporary romance, steampunk, erotic romance, gay/lesbian fiction, science-fiction, fantasy, or any number of other fiction genres - you'll find something to love at Carina Press.

Every weekday, all week, Carina is offering a spectacular title for free download. And when they say free, they mean ACTUALLY free. Not "sorta free", or "free with a $50 purchase" free, but actually, totally, no strings attached FREE! So, get thee to Carina press to download a free book every day! Here are the books being offered, and the links and promo codes for your free download:

Monday's FREE BOOK is:
The Debutante's Dilemma by Elyse Mady
Just type in the promo code DEBUTANTEFREE at checkout
(insert the following link:

Tuesday's FREE BOOK is:
Demon's Fall by Karalynn Lee
Just type in the promo code DEMONFREE at checkout
(insert following link:

Wednesday's FREE BOOK is:
The Twisted Tale of Stormy Gale by Christine Bell
Just type in the promo code TWISTEDFREE at checkout
(insert following link:

Thursday's FREE BOOK is:
Blue Galaxy by Diane Dooley
Just type in the promo code GALAXYFREE at checkout
(insert following link:

Friday's FREE BOOK is:
Friendly Fire by Megan Hart
Just type in the promo code FRIENDLYFREE at checkout
(insert the following link:

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Birds of a Feather

 Years ago, I’m told, all authors had to do was write. They left promoting their books up to their agents and publishers. It’s different today. Now authors are not only the creative product developer, in charge of research and development as well as delivery of the final manuscript, but also the head of marketing and promotion.  Authors must proactively promote their work by developing a relationship with their readers through regular contact and interaction. A great example is Twitter, with 140 characters of unique pithy interaction.

With thousands of Tweets flying around, how do you get yours noticed? Just when is the best time to Tweet?

For the last two years, HubSpot’s Dan Zarella has been studying tweets and has come up with some suggestions for the best time and frequency to tweet.

·         Be prepared to resend your tweet 2 to 4 times a day for maximum impact.
·         Schedule tweets for 2 PM, 4 PM, 6 PM and the last one at 8 PM. This will expose your message to the most people and drive your traffic and retweets.
·         Alter your message for each tweet so it doesn’t look like spam
·         Zarella also found that the best days to tweet were Saturday and Sunday
Do you Twitter? What time is best for you? How often do you Tweet?

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Happy Birthday

 I’ve seen more birthdays than I want to admit besides, at my age one is much like the last. Now I watch the children get excited about their special day. But this past week I’ve been excited about one particular birthday. On June 7, Carina Press will celebrate its first birthday.

Smart Bitches had a wonderful blog when Carina Press launched.

“Carina is a constellation in the Southern sky, and is Latin for “keel” - as in, the fins and structures operating below the surface of the water unseen yet keeping the ship balanced, and on its course. Here’s an interesting bit of physics I didn’t know: the keel’s job is to convert a sideways force to a forward force, sort of like trying to figure out how to convert a changing tide or market to keep your industry moving forward. 

Nice name. 

It’s even more awesome when applied to Harlequin, who launched Carina Press today, a digital-only publishing house. It is a division of Harlequin Enterprises LTD but because it is digital only, as in, no print, it operates separately.”
Angela James, the Executive Editor of Carina Press, called me February 3 to tell me Carina Press wanted to publish my book. The call was exciting for many reasons. I would be part of a forward thinking, major publisher. Many of us have our dream publisher, Carina Press was mine.

Carina Press, a division of Harlequin Enterprises the largest publisher of romance books, publishes books weekly across many genres, not just romance. There are currently over one hundred Carina authors and the number keeps growing.

 I lift my virtual glass and salute Angela, her team, her authors, and Denise Nielsen (my editor extraordinaire).