I Just Can’t Like You Anymore

Lately, I’ve been having a lot of problems liking people, which is new for me since I generally get along well with others. Here’s the scoop. I’ll start with Facebook. I love Facebook, don’t get me wrong, but this past while I’ve noticed, I no sooner “like” something then I notice that “like” has been taken away, disappeared into the great wide world of the Internet. Zappo! Poof! I don’t think it’s just me and my slow connection since others seem to agree with, but not everyone. Some say it hasn’t been a problem for them. And it’s not just the likeability thing. I’m sometimes told I can’t comment or else the comment I make disappears too. Well, okay, I’ll accept that, but when I want to comment on my own status it’s a bit annoying to be told I’m not allowed to.

Is it fair to knock these free services? I’m not sure. Do we have a right to certain expectations? I kind of think so since the whole idea is for us to interact with one another. Free or not, it’s difficult not to find yourself grumbling a time or two when these things mess up so frequently.

Since were on the subject of likes:

Now onto WordPress. I love the “like “ button we now have, because let’s face it sometimes we just don’t have time to think up a comment or sometimes we just have nothing to add, but still want to say, “Hey, I liked your post!” It’s a support thing and it’s great. However, most of the time my “like” button won’t load. This, I’m fairly sure is because of my connection and not a whole lot I can do about it. Every now and then I’m surprised when everything loads properly. So, it’s not that I don’t “like” you all anymore. Really it’s not you…it’s me.

The last of the proofreading for my book was done over the long weekend. I swear no matter how many times something is proofread, by yourself and others, those nasty little typos are bound to appear from out of nowhere. It’s seems inevitable. Yet we all hope. My editor says it’s impossible to catch them all. It’s soon off to the printers! I’ve been in touch with the Publicist from Nimbus and we’ve discussed launch dates although at this point it’s a bit tricky since there’s always the chance that things will get tied up at the printers. Can’t have a launch if the books have been delayed, right? For now, I have a tentative date since I needed to book the community centre ahead of time. No official announcement yet.  It’s all moving straight ahead.

Today Miss Charlotte comes to visit and we’re pretty excited. She hasn’t been down since Christmas. Hopefully, she’ll find lots to do and the weather will be great.

So, that’s my bit of news for the week. What are you all up to this week? Are any of you are having a problem “liking” people?

The New Cover

Here is the cover image for my new book. I’m told the text could possible change for the final, but this is the image we’re going with. As my editor said, “There are so many layers of meaning in a relatively simple image.”  If you read the book, I’m sure you’ll agree. As with the cover for my first book, simple seems to work well for the right kind of book.

 

DSC03615

Finally, A Little Book News

Comparing your first born to your second child is sometimes a bit difficult not to do. When that second little one comes along we start right away by comparing their sleeping patterns. At least I know I did. Often times your first-born is more advanced when it comes to language because they have more of your undivided attention. But that doesn’t mean your second child is any less special. All children bring their own special gifts to the planet. It is what makes all of us unique. The fact that we sometimes compare the development of our children doesn’t make it right, but it doesn’t make it any less so.

I know, what does this have to do with my upcoming book? Nothing. Well, maybe something. Maybe just the fact that it’s difficult not to compare my first book to this next one, and even the whole process of publishing. For instance, Bitter, Sweet was relatively short even though, during the editing process, 5,000 words were added to the story. My upcoming book is a tad too long which means I have to make cuts this time. When my editor told me I had to add 5,000 words to Bitter, Sweet I cringed. I thought it was nearly impossible. However, editors don’t get to be editors by not knowing their stuff. Caitlin made suggestions as to where scenes could be added and slowly but surely the word count came up to where it needed to be. It wasn’t nearly as bad as I’d originally thought.

But cuts feel like, I don’t know, like an amputation of sorts. I’m mulling the idea of getting rid of a few very minor characters as well as a few small scenes. Writers often refer to it as “Killing off your darlings.” Might sound a bit extreme, but this late in the game it does feel extreme. I blame myself for being too wordy during the first edits. (I had an inkling this might be the case.) But laying blame doesn’t change what is. I still need to decide what can go and what can stay. Luckily, I’m not talking about 5,000 words this time, but still….

Work on the fall Nimbus catalogue is about to start. That means I’ll soon have a cover for my book. Contrary to what many people think, I’m not responsible for coming up with a cover, and thank goodness for that! You really wouldn’t want to see what I’d come up with. This doesn’t mean I won’t have any input. Once they come up with a cover, it’ll be sent my way for approval. If I hate it they’ll keep working at it. The day Caitlin sent me the cover for Bitter, Sweet I was afraid to open the file, wondering what I’d do if I absolutely hated it. Luckily, that wasn’t a problem. I loved it right away. I can’t imagine it being any different.

As for the title.

The title of “Bitter, Sweet,” was originally, “Bittersweet.” I remember when the comma was suggested. I immediately thought it looked weird. The concern with the title was there were so many other books on the market with bittersweet in them, and they wanted this one to stand out. They also thought the comma gave the book a more literary feel. The comma certainly seemed to do that. I mulled the idea over for a few days and then decided that the compromise didn’t feel that horrible, and really wasn’t all that different from the original. Of course, now I couldn’t imagine the title without a comma.

So what about the title of this book? During discussions with my editor, we’ve decided to make a slight adjustment to the title. Instead of “To Fly With a Broken Wing,” We’ve decided to change it to “Flying With a Broken Wing.” Just a small change, but I’d originally titled it, “Fly With a Broken Wing,” until it was pointed out that images of “a fly” were difficult to get past. Hadn’t thought of that when I originally titled it. Now it makes me giggle.

So yes, the book is making progress. We’re working toward publication. I know it feels really slow, and a lot of people have been telling me they’re getting anxious. I’m sure you can appreciate how I feel being the author and all. But patience is something all writers learn. In fact, it’s a must. As soon as I have a cover I’ll post.

So I’m off now to start making some cuts. Wish me luck!

Let the Edits Begin

Seems as though the things we often expect to happen a certain way end up going off in a totally different direction altogether. Life is funny that way. This month I thought I’d have time to devote to my new writing project, but low and behold I received an email from my editor at Nimbus Publishing. It is time to start editing my new YA novel, “To Fly With a Broken Wing.”  Yippee!!

“If you could have the edits done by January that would be great,” she said.

“No problem,” I replied.

No problem! Oh right, there’s this thing called Christmas coming up this month. I forgot all about Christmas mere seconds before I fired off the email. *gulp*

Okay it’s really not THAT bad. My editor is understanding and did add that if I needed more time it was fine, just to let her know. And truthfully, edits seem a bit overwhelming at first until you actually start addressing each comment and suggestion as you go. Personally, I’m just happy to be working on it and gearing up for the book’s release next fall. The exciting part is, the book is making progress. Edits have begun and, Christmas or not, I’ll get the work done. Authors are funny that way.

But it hasn’t been all work. I’ve been balancing things out as I go. A little shopping, a little gift wrapping, a lot of editing, a little decorating. If I play my cards right I’ll even get to watch an episode of “Grimm” this evening.

DSC02991A big thrill this week was meeting up with Donna Morrisey at a book signing. Donna’s new book is “The Deception of Livvy Higgs.” If you remember, I mentioned in an earlier post that she was on my list of authors to meet. Little did I know at the time our meeting would happen so soon. Yes, life certainly does throw in a surprise or two. This month has been busy with lots of authors doing book signings and I’m heading out again for one tomorrow. I’m sure I’ll either post about it on Facebook or my blog.

I’ve also had a disappointment this week. I’d been planning for months to get high speed Internet service, but it just wasn’t to be. I know this is difficult for many of you to understand, but here in rural Nova Scotia we don’t necessarily have the option for High Speed and that sucks. One company put up towers and many people can receive a wireless signal, but I happen to live in an area where too many trees are blocking that signal. I’ve got to say, dial-up makes life very challenging, and many times I have problems with pages loading, especially those blogs that have lots of photos posted on them. Then again, it can sometimes be impossible to comment when it does load. But I’m dealing with this challenge the best way I can. Some things are out of my control. I sometimes think the thought of something better makes us less tolerant for what we have. So perhaps now, I’ll accept what is and feel grateful to have Internet service at all.

Anyway, despite Christmas and the edits for my novel, I’m hoping to be around Blogland a bit more this winter. I have a lot to catch up on.

Has life given you any unexpected surprises lately?

Celebrate Good Times

Hey, look at me I’m celebrating—nothing outstanding, mind you, just the fact that this is post number 400.  Impressive, don’t you think? Why not have some dessert with me as part of the celebration?

So if I figure an average post of about 500 words (give or take) that means I’ve written 200,000 words for you, WordPress.. You ought to be a little proud. That’s a couple of novels I’ve sacrificed, maybe even three or four depending upon the length. So what do you think, WordPress, am I ready to be freshly pressed anytime soon? Be honest, I’m used to being rejected by editors, I can take it.

Hehehe..But on a serious note, when I first began blogging I wasn’t sure what I’d even write about or if I’d even write on a regular basis. Now, look at me 400 posts in. That’s kind of cool and a reason to celebrate I should think. But the biggest reason I have for celebrating is all of you for stopping by and reading what’s going on in my mind. I do appreciate everyone’s visits and the comments you leave that sometimes make me giggle, sometimes make me think, and are always entertaining.

Here’s to another year of blogging!

I Got A Postcard From Hell

So, yesterday I got a postcard from Hell. Wow! That didn’t sound weird at all!

And in case you’re wondering, nope the devil’s not out to get me. I haven’t done anything THAT bad, at least nothing that I know about. And you’d think I’d know, wouldn’t I?

I know many people claim to have been to Hell and back, but how many of them actually have the proof? Oh yeah, there’s proof out there. Why not? You go to Hell nobody’s going to believe you unless you’ve got some proof.

Little did I know when I opened my mailbox what was awaiting me. My sister hadn’t bothered to give me the heads up. I was totally in the dark. Oh she’d mentioned something about Hell when we spoke on the phone after she got back from her cruise, but I just figured she was exaggerating. I mean someone mentions Hell you have to humour them right?

So what do I know?  My sister really did go to Hell and back while on her cruise a few weeks ago. Apparently there is a place called Hell on the Cayman Islands. You might have heard of it. I think it’s quite a popular place—Hell yeah!

Hell’s not all that big. I bet you’re surprised to learn that. There’s nothing in Hell but a post office inside a gift shop. (And I thought East Dalhousie was small!)  Many of the tourists take their passports to get stamped while in Hell.

Look at that, it only costs about 20 cents to send a postcard from Hell. I say let’s all go to Hell where the postal rates are affordable. I mean Canada Post has been bleeding me dry for years. I wonder how much it would cost to mail a full manuscript from Hell? And wouldn’t you love to be the editor to make the claim that she just received the manuscript from Hell? On second thought that’s probably happened more times than we could collectively count.

The postcard my sister sent was to make up for the fact that she’d left Bitter, Sweet  behind on the cruise ship that day. That’s right, my book nearly went to Hell and back. But a postcard is better than nothing so I’m not going to complain. Nice to know that when little sis made her historic visit to Hell and back that she was thinking of me—Um I guess.

I think the postmark is absolutely divine. Is it okay to say divine when speaking of Hell? Just asking…

New on the Horizon

Our grandchildren accept us for ourselves, without rebuke or effort to change us, as no one in our entire lives has ever done, not our parents, siblings, spouses, friends – and hardly ever our own grown children. ~Ruth Goode

Isn’t this the greatest quote for grandparents? All the grandparents out there are nodding their heads I’m sure. I can honestly say that being a nanny is totally awesome even though it has already been established on this blog that I’m far too young for this.  ;)

A few days ago, we noticed the tulips Miss Charlotte helped to plant last year are coming up through the ground. Miraculous, considering they were beneath three inches of snow just last week. When Mother Nature gets her spring up there’s just no stopping her. What a gal! While we’ve been having more than seasonal temperatures, in fact the last few days have felt more like late May than March, other parts of the country have been totally opposite. Go figure! But for now, I’ll take this beautiful weather with a great big thank you!

Next week is bound to fly by as Miss Charlotte and Momma are coming for a weeklong visit. If the weather cooperates, which I think it will, we should have a great visit. Heck, even if the weather is crappy the visit will be terrific. I heard Miss C is quite excited to visit Guppy B’s house.

I’ll still be around blogland next week, and will try to get caught up on some of the blogs I hadn’t been able to get to last week while I was working. The next three weeks are mine, though. Maybe I’ll finish up a short story I’m hoping to have in shipshape to submit to an upcoming anthology. The deadline is June 1, but I hate letting things go to the very end. I have to say, it’s been awhile since I submitted a short story. This is one I wrote a few years back but didn’t submit.  The theme for the anthology is social justice. It shouldn’t take too much tweaking to bring it closer to the theme. It was very close to begin with. I find when a theme is so broad, it’s often tricky to know what a particular editor is looking. Perhaps they aren’t sure themselves. Maybe it’s one of those, I’ll-know-it-when-I-read- it deals. I can go along with that. As editor Penny Ferguson once said on this blog sometimes”it is just a matter of connecting with the /right/ editor in the /right/ mood on the /right/ day!the right editor on the right day.” You can read the rest of Penny’s post here. Penny was the editor of the Amethyst Review, the very first literary magazine I was published in. Even though the review folded some years back we kept in touch.

While on the subject of publishing for those of you who like good news, I’ll have some to share with you all very soon!  

Is there anything new and exciting on your horizon?

Enjoy your weekend!

Letting Go

There’s an important difference between giving up and letting go.” ~Jessica Hatchigan~

Have you ever asked yourself,  when is a good time to give up?  At what point do I call it a day? When do I walk away and just let go?

 I asked myself these questions about a novel I wrote a few years back. I’d submitted it to a few places but ultimately it was rejected. At the time I was disappointed, not crushed –I’ve had my share of rejections in the past– but disappointed nonetheless. Using one editor’s suggestions I decided to revise the story which took many, many hours. I felt the story idea was good and it was a story I wanted to tell. I soon found out that good ideas don’t always turn into good stories. I resubmitted it only to have it rejected again with the suggestion that I allow to the story to set for a time or else abandon it permanently since it seemed that the best part of the manuscript was the idea behind it. Ouch!  I’m being honest here. That one stung.

Writers learn to make rejection a part of our lives. We send things out, they come back, we send them out again, and again. We try and take suggestions from editors if they make sense to us. We resubmit if the editor asks us to.

So I let the story set for a time. I wrote another novel in between. No doubt I learned a bit more about writing. Having one novel under my belt certainly didn’t prove I knew everything there was to know about writing. But that other novel kept niggling away at me, staying in my thoughts.

Maybe I simply like beating a dead horse to death. Maybe I’m as stubborn as the day is long. Maybe, just maybe, I knew I had more in me to give.

Fast forward a few years. I’m hard at work rewriting that same novel I started out with several years back. I stripped it down to the bare bones and began again. Is it working this time around? I’ll let you know as soon as I can. I’ll give you a hint, don’t hold your breath. It may take some time for me to flesh it all out. What I can tell you is, that although the story has the same basic elements, it’s totally different this time around.

Now you might think I just don’t know when to give in, but I can assure you that I’ve left a trail of unfinished stories behind me, stories that I knew were just never going to make it. Sometimes the story we’re writing is just practice for the next one. I’ve had plenty of practice over the years, but I’ve also had plenty of success.

There are times, and situations in life, when the best thing to do is to simply let go, especially if we want some peace in our lives. I’m a believer in letting go, but only if letting go is the right thing to do. Other times we know deep down that giving up is not the answer no matter what others might tell us. Ultimately we know ourselves and what we are capable of. I knew I would never be happy if I let this particular story go. The editor who said that the idea is good was right. It is a good idea. So I’m back at it, giving it one more shot, one final go round before I finally willing to let it go.

At what point do you decide to let something go? Do you believe in sticking with something and seeing it through to the end? Perhaps you have a personal story to share where you were told to let something go but you then went on to succeed.

Making it Shine

Hard at work on a manuscript, I was suddenly reminded of those Pledge commercials that used to air during the soap operas back when I was a kid. You know the ones where a fine mist covers an already spotless piano and is wiped up quickly without a smudge or a streak. Pure magic right before our eyes! And don’t forget when lemon Pledge came on the scene. Not only did it clean like a charm, but it had that great lemony smell. Ah lemon–what more could any good housewife want?  I’m not sure how many of us owned pianos back then but seeing that wood shine is a memory that sits pretty in my mind. If we’d have owned one of the darn things I’d have surely spent my days polishing away.

I’ve been working on a manuscript that requires a little more buffing, just a little more shine, thus the trip down memory lane with the lemon Pledge. (Our minds have a great way of connecting unrelated things, don’t you think?)

So I’m at the place where I need to make this story as shiny as that piano on the lemon pledge commercial. The truth is I like this part of writing, maybe even more than setting the story down. I like reading what’s already there, moving those sentences around if need be, even adding scenes that previously weren’t there because a sudden burst of writing genius has made me see something that I was previously unable to see. This is the part of the writing process where I get to shine, and it’s a good feeling. It’s the place where we can take a good story and make it even better. Others might not see it, certainly not the readers who sees only the finished product, but a writer knows. Oh yes, we certainly do. Sometimes all it takes is the smallest bit of change.

Once I have a clear idea of what idea of just how I’m going to make a story shine, I like to jump right in and get to work. A phone call from my editor a week ago gave me just what I needed to start me off. I now have all the supplies I need to give this next story a shiny new coat. I don’t expect the process to take all that long, but I do expect to enjoy every glorious moment. I’ll let you now how I make out.

And who knows maybe if I pick up a can of furniture polish I’ll become that “good housewife” after all. Now back to work I go.

What part of the writing process do you enjoy the most?

Get Off Your High Horse

What the heck does it mean to  be on your high horse?

For me, being on your high horse means you’re indignant over a situation. How dare so and so expect this, say this to me or do that? I’m much better than that. Who do they think they are?  Sound familiar?

Well, maybe we don’t articulate our woes in quite that manner. Maybe we’re annoyed and hurt by something without feeling or even thinking about the reason why. We’re just annoyed, and we have a right to it. We’ve been done wrong. I mean, they write songs about this kind of thing, don’t they?

But you know what, being up there on our high horse doesn’t serve any real purpose now does it? I’ve been up there a time or two, and I can unequivocally say it never did me any good. It was a miserable, cold and lonely place to be. And I’m not all that crazy about heights if you want to know the truth.

Some years back an editor sent me some feedback on a story I’d written. I’d had problems with the story. I’ll admit that. I simply couldn’t find the voice I was going after. But I had worked my little heart out on it, and was basically being told the story wasn’t worth working on.  Ouch!  Talk about a slap in the face, an upper cut to the jaw.

When we hear something we don’t want to hear, it stings at first. Maybe more than we’re willing to admit. But then reality sets in and the hurt turns to anger. How dare this editor suggest that my story is crap! What do they know anyway? Everyone knows it comes down to personal likes and dislikes?

You climb up on your high horse and there you sit looking down at the world. For awhile you feel as though you have every right to be up there and you’re even enjoying the view. The winds blowing through your hair, feels kind of nice. You’re the injured party. You’ve been done wrong. Surely, this editor could have spared your feelings, broke it to you more gently by perhaps suggesting you take a nice long trip, all expenses paid, and leave that manuscript behind when you go.

The truth is, editors don’t say things to be mean and hurtful, and likely no matter what words they offered up would not have been the words you desperately felt you needed to hear at the time of rejection. Granted, I’ve received as few rejection in my day that had me feeling pretty darn good about my work, ones that offered some solid feedback for improvements and a whole lot of encouragement sprinkled on top, a bright red cherry too if I’m being honest.. One would like to think, that no matter what we’ve written, there is something worthwhile and salvageable. But sometimes, what we’ve written is only practice for that stunning masterpiece that is waiting for us down the road. We sometimes need to get real. If we’re serious about writing that is, and even more serious about being published. Anyone can write (at least in some fashion) but not everyone will be published. That is the reality we face, people.

So what does getting on your high horse really do for us except make us feel indignant and done wrong by, maybe even cause us to be frightened of heights?

Nothing.

It doesn’t make us feel good about our situation nor does it do anything to improve our writing. If anything it holds us back, fills us with miserable and self-defeating thoughts, that keeps us stalled in time until hopefully we get up the courage to climb back down again.

Have you ever been on your high horse over a comment an editor, or even a critique partner, made? What eventually made you get back down?

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