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Thursday, April 26, 2012

And We Have A First Draft

Wrote the final chapter of "Game Faces" today, completing the first draft. Of course, there's still a lot of work to be done on it, as previously mentioned: adding sensory details, verifying consistency of facts, fleshing out characters, adding more description to action sequences. My piecemeal approach to writing generally requires this additional checking/expanding step. I'll be in the middle of, say, Chapter 10, and realize that I need to go back and set up something or explain something much earlier so that it doesn't bog down the part in Chapter 10. It's all part of my process. There may even be an element of not wanting the story to actually end yet once I've written that final line. I go back and re-read and tweak and augment because I want to stay in that world.

"The Changeling Kill" is days away from publication. I will, of course, need to get into publicizing it, mainly through my various web outlets.

And there's the book fair in Glen Ellyn, Illinois, in June. It's not far from where I live, and it will be a chance to sell books. I'll have paperback copies of "The Dreamer Gambit" but I'll take along promotional materials for "Two Faces, Two Faced" and "The Changeling Kill." This will be a new experience for me, sitting on the other side of one of those tables trying to sell something. At this point, I'm not sure if it's nerve wracking or exciting.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

One Step Closer

Received the final cover art for "The Changeling Kill" today, and it looks fantastic with the lettering on it. Come May 1st, I'll update this page so it is there with the other two novels. And then I'll update Goodreads, Authors Den, my Google page, and Facebook. Whew!

Making progress on "Game Faces," as well. I've sketched out ideas for the wrap-up chapter, although there's one big confrontation scene I'm still tinkering with in my head. I've also gone back to earlier chapters to tweak things, scatter around important information so I don't have to do it all at the very end, and added sensory-type imagery. More of that to come. I believe I'll also have to read through it while making notes to be sure there are no anachronisms, i.e., stuff being said before it happens. Those crop up easily during these backtracking sessions.

And, oh dear, I'll have to start thinking about another cover! Once again, I have an image already in mind, but figuring out how to execute it is a whole different thing. Should I try drawing it myself? Haven't done much drawing in many years although I used to come up with some fairly decent renderings. Maybe have an artist do it? I know someone who knows someone who might be able to do it. Ah well, there's certainly time. Having a completed first draft is a long, long way to having something ready to publish.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Put It To Bed

"The Changeling Kill" corrections, etc., were sent off to Write Words this morning, so now it's back to work on "Game Faces," to my relief. As much as I like writing novels, and to some degree reading them, it does get a little tiresome going over and over the same thing in a relatively short period of time.

In "Game Faces," I went back today and lengthened a couple of scenes. In one case, a new character needed better definition. In the other, Alex needed to get up to speed on Tracy's current jam sooner rather than later. While I did not have her hash over it in detail, merely put in a paragraph of her telling that she told him, later scenes make more sense now. I know there will be another scene inserted as well, which will provide the setup for the conclusion. Since the big action sequence is over, I also have to write the wrap up. Part of the purpose for all the additional scenes is to have some of the reasons and explanations already covered so that no new material gets introduced at the end. (So Sherlock Holmes, holding out until after it's all over to produce key bits of evidence!)

Once I have a complete first draft, inserted scenes and additional see-feel-hear-touch details, then I'll probably let it rest a bit. I'll also have to start thinking about cover art.

And on to the next project, but what will it be? I have some vague ideas for third installments of both "Dreamer" and "Faces" series, but they are so ill-defined, they don't even warrant being called "plots." I'm giving real thought to going back to one of my earlier manuscripts, the one with supernatural-psychic-new age themes. It will require some rewriting, mainly to introduce conflict much earlier in the story. There are also a number of other older novels which could benefit from rewrites to varying degrees, one of them never even got finished before. So hard to decide  . . .

Friday, April 20, 2012

Quite a Day

Lots of writing progress on "Game Faces": up to page 292 and done with the major climactic scene. Now it's time to do the wrap up. Of course, this is only a first draft. I already have some notes about things to add, augment, check and/or change. This is what my publisher, Arline Chase, has referred to as layering. Get the whole story down first and then go back and add elements to set the scene, bring the reader into it, add sensory details--sounds, smells. For "Game Faces," I need to make sure these additional elements take my reader to Florida.

One of the tricky parts of the first person POV is giving her the information needed to draw conclusions and form hypotheses when she isn't finding that information first hand. Tracy needs to get information from the police detective working the case in a way that seems rational and feasible. It's not terribly realistic for him to offer up his discoveries to her without being asked. My heroine is not an investigator herself, and she has no position of power. It's a two-edged sword. It presents an obstacle to extricating herself from trouble and puts her in a sort of everywoman position, but as previously noted, it also requires special handling to keep it all plausible.

"The Changeling Kill" is ready, I think, to send to my editor with a list of corrections along with a bio, a cover, and blurb. I'll probably do that later today. Here's a peek at the cover art, minus the lettering which Shelley at Write Words handles:

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Scattered Progress

More added to "Game Faces" yesterday, bringing page total up to 275. Not nearly the progress I've made under more favorable working conditions. Problem is, I feel like the story is concluding too quickly. Of course, once I get through a first draft, I'll be going back over it to be sure I've provided enough information at various stages to make the Big Scene make sense and be sure Tracy has all the clues she needs to put things together when she needs them.

The most recent segment is proving somewhat troublesome. While she's been through a lot to this point, Tracy's a tough lady. But how tough can she be in the current circumstances and still be believable? She's not meant to be a superhero, but if she isn't at least a bit more capable than ordinary people, she won't be as interesting and her getting into these adventures won't seem plausible. It's a fine line to tread.

On a side note, I received the "Love Is Murder" newsletter yesterday, and it mentioned a book fair in nearby Glen Ellyn, Illinois, coming in June. While I did not find any info on the Glen Ellyn site about securing "a place in the tent," I'll keep watch. I have paperback editions of "The Dreamer Gambit" I can sell, and I can make chapbooks for "Two Faces, Two Faced" and "The Changeling Kill." If I can get this set up, it will be a new experience, to be on the other side of the sales table at a fair!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Good Writing Day

In a burst of inspiration (and perhaps a touch of compulsion), I added some pages to "Game Faces" yesterday, bringing the total up to 269. First phase of the action sequence is done, but Tracy has a ways to go before she's out of her situation.

I've made two full readings of "The Changeling Kill" and found quite a few corrections. As many times as I went over it prior to sending to Write Words, I am amazed at how many things I'm finding that I simply missed. Examples: class instead of glass, Eight-seven instead of Eighty-seven. This is stuff that is clearly wrong when reading but that Microsoft Word's spelling and grammar check option will not catch.

Not sure if I'm up for a third go at it. While I may have missed some corrections in the first two passes, I worry that I will not be as diligent on a third because, frankly, I'm a little tired of the story for now. Should I stop at two readings and go with what I have? Proofreading is hard work.

Sunday, April 15, 2012


Taxes are done! Whew!

Just received check for first quarter book sales. Guess I'm not going to be quitting my day job just yet. (Sigh)

Part way through my second proofreading of "The Changeling Kill." As usually happens, I'm tired of reading my own book for the umpteenth time, but I keep finding things and I know I have to proceed carefully to find all the issues.

I am giving consideration to entering a contest which my publisher posted for the best new Kindle books of the year. "Two Faces, Two Faced" meets the publishing date requirements. My last hurdle is signing up for PayPal which will be used for the entry fee. I am always somewhat suspicious of providing account information to places, but I guess I need to get hip with the times.

Eager to get back to writing "Game Faces." I have managed to do a little bit on it in the last few days, but no dramatic progress. As always, I continue "writing" scenes for it in my head.

Friday, April 13, 2012


Making progress on a number of fronts. Proofing of "The Changeling Kill." Further experiments in cover art. Ramping up advertising on Goodreads and Google with tie-ins to "The Dreamer Gambit."

I'm really eager to get back to "Game Faces" since it is in the most exciting part now, just pages away from the confrontation whether Everything Is Revealed. Need to do some sketches of the scene layout to get it straight in my head and make sure Tracy makes all the right turns and nobody winds up doing the impossible.

This weekend, I must spend time completing my tax returns (ugh).

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


Work on "Game Faces" halts while I work on "The Changeling Kill." On a deadline now, and proofing is not my most favorite activity. Too often, I find myself reading what should be there instead of what really is.

Made good progress today, completing my first pass. Some things I missed earlier jumped out at me while reading in PDF formatted text. I started my list of corrections which can be a tedious task. Now I'll give it a rest for a day or so before reading it again.

Still have to do income taxes!

I'm going to put together another cover option for "Changeling," but I can't decide which one to use. Everyone I ask to help me choose, chooses a different cover design. But there's time before I have to go with one and stick to it.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Progress on Another Front

"Game Faces" is up to page 259 and Chapter 16 is started, but it's going on hold for a bit (of course at the most exciting part).

I downloaded the galley for "The Changeling Kill" for proofing, and there is now a scheduled publication date -- May 1. My deadline for corrections is a few days before that, so I'll have lots of time for several readings. Two thirds of the way through my first pass, and I've already found a page full of corrections, some my fault, some due to the vagaries of the software that transforms my manuscript into a book format. It always amazes me how I can start finding more stuff (of my own) even after multiple proof readings before submitting.

I have ideas for a third book in each series already, but they are only high-level sorts of ideas, very general first inspirations. Got a lot of work to do before I start another novel.

Monday, April 9, 2012


The hell with what anyone thinks! Today I did some writing in place of sitting around in a room at work with nothing to do.

Page 255 and the close of Chapter 15. Tracy is in the thick of it now, but she's showing her strength, spunk, and smarts. Answers are about to be revealed in the big showdown before rescue time. That's when there are a few surprises in store.

As always when I approach the end of the first draft of a novel, I find myself already thinking ahead to what's next, even though there will still be a great deal of work to make the first draft a finished manuscript. I have some ideas for the next installment of Tracy Wiley. I also have some for the next in the Jack Watson series. And then there are the five or six older manuscripts which could be resuscitated with some degree of rewriting, either major or minor.

Makes me wonder about that day job...

Sunday, April 8, 2012

A Weekend Off!

How refreshing! After working 12 days without a break, I had the weekend off. Our best friends came over for one of our monthly get-togethers, and I spent a lot of the day cleaning and cooking. Today, I am taking another look at the taxes (ugh!).

It is truly gratifying to see the hits on my blog trending upward, but I would still really like to see some interaction with my visitors. Even if someone just clicked on the reactions, that would be welcome.

I am hoping that very soon, I can really get down to some furious writing on "Game Faces." I have a lot of scenes developed in my head that need to get set in print. In this sequel, Tracy has faced some heavy-duty challenges, each of which makes her reevaluate some aspect of herself or her life. Her adventures are about growing and learning. As outlined in "Two Faces, Two Faced," she had a happy life and a plan for the future until tragedy struck. Then she put her life on hold for almost a decade, hiding from personal attachments and going with the flow. Through her experience in that novel, she began to change her view about staying totally independent, i.e., without forging new strong connections. "Game Faces" continues that personal journey.

Will there be a third Tracy Wiley novel? Perhaps. I can see some things already developing with a newly introduced character who shakes up her understanding of herself and what she wants. I can also envision the return of a character from the first book, who also makes an appearance in the second, playing a more major role in the third. But that's a ways into the future.

Friday, April 6, 2012

A Bit of Progress

Actually managed to do a little bit of writing during the week. Up to page 239. But I also did a lot of reviewing, making notes for things to correct, augment, and move around.

Not being able to write as freely as I have been prior to this week, especially as I reach the climactic scenes in "Game Faces," is sort of like being in prison, I think. Worse, not being able to stretch my imagination leads to nightmares, literally. Writing is a way of opening the door to my subconscious to let some of the monsters out for supervised exercise. If they don't get their time "in the yard," they make me pay for it in something of a cell block riot in my sleep. Hey, not a bad job of holding onto the prison metaphor there, huh?

I am truly looking forward to my day-job duties returning to normal (or, dare I say it, disappearing) so that I can get back on track.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Project From Hell

Current project at my day job has severely bitten into my writing time. I sit in a room with a bunch of people all day, and while they have things to do, I have little or nothing to do. Yet, for the sake of appearances only, I must spend an entire day waiting around "in case something happens."

I have made a great many notes for "Game Faces" when I finally get an opportunity to work on it again. Being unable to "feed the beast," as it were, leaves me drained, frustrated, and angry at the end of each day.

Perhaps someday soon, they will come to the (correct) conclusion that they have nothing for me to do anymore, and they will send me on my way. That will most likely be one of the happiest days of my life. I can hope for some severance, I'll plan for unemployment, but then I can turn my attention to what I love doing most, at least for a while -- or for ever if I can earn enough at it.

Another idea that struck me was to offer an editing service to new writers. While I cannot claim to be any sort of expert, I have two published novels and have learned a great deal in the process of getting them published. I would offer several levels of editing. First, send me the first five pages and for a fee, you'll get a quick analysis and hints about what could be improved. Second, for a fee, perhaps by the word or page, grammar, spelling, punctuation, word repetition, and formatting errors. Third, for a slightly higher fee, notation of continuity errors, construction errors, and other such broad subjects in addition to what was in the second level. I've seen such structures from other editors-for-hire, so I think it would work.

Writing and helping others with writing--now there's a career I can get behind!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

An Annoying Interruption

Haven't been able to do much writing or blogging in the last few days. My day now seems to require sitting in a crowded room with nothing to do while others scramble around me busy about their tasks. That's how it goes for an IT professional who supports the outgoing system as the incoming system gets going. Rules about company computer usage---i..e., anything created, maintained, downloaded, etc., on company equipment is considered company property--prevent me from writing while at work. The Internet software is so old, it cannot support editing on this blog site. And so I sit, and wait and do very little. At some point, I hope someone will see that there is no point to me sitting around "in case something happens."

I can, however, write in my head and jot notes to myself on paper. I have lots of good ideas for "Game Faces" when I next get a chance to do some heads-down writing.

Looking forward to payment from publisher for the last quarter.