Overused Words

I think I’ve written about this issue with editing before, but it bears repeating, and it is how I’m spending  all my time now except for celebrating Thanksgiving, of course.  photo (2)

From Margie Lawson, I’ve learned the value of checking my manuscript for overused words. Margie’s original list of about 40 words and phrases has grown to over 70. Some words I’ve learned to eliminate when I’m rough drafting. Others despite my best intentions creep in. Each book has it’s own special words I  add to the list.

One thing I like about this tedious process is it makes me read read each sentences as a stand-alone and not  get caught up in the story. In making changes, if I don’t delete the word, I use more specific words, growing the word count.

Examples and how I changed words follow.

Going to 73 down to 2 (Seems like a lot, but it’s fewer than in previous works.)

“So, Kim, what are you going to do over this waiting period?”

“So, Kim what are your plans for this waiting period.”

Well, I can take care of that. I’m going to come pick you up, and we’ll go shopping and eat dinner out.”

“I can take care of your problem. I’ll pick you up, and we’ll shop till we drop before eating dinner at a restaurant.”

“No, I mean after. What are you going to do after?”

“No, I mean after. What will you do with your life after the divorce?”

“One of the things I’m going to help Kim with is recognizing what her skills are.”

“I will help Kim recognize her skills.”

That from 335 to 53

She pulled into a garage that went with the condo, not that she needed all that space.

She pulled into a garage connected to the condo, though she didn’t need all the space.

Most remaining “that”s are pointing to something and not the connection (that) we use that is grammatically correct but unnecessary.

Began 14 to 3 (A word I used to use all the time but have mostly eliminated.)

Cooper set his sacks on the table and began to remove the items.

Cooper set his sacks on the table and removed the items from the bags, setting them on the counter.

They all exchanged hugs and exclamations and began chattering like they had only seen each other last week.

They all exchanged hugs and exclamations and chatted like they had only seen each other last week.

Darkness began to crowd the outer edges of her vision.

Darkness crowded the outer edges of her vision.

This change especially makes the action more immediate.

What I find with this editing process is my writing becomes tighter and more specific.

Really went from 80 to 7. Some went from 88 to 7. Watch went from 7 to 2. I seldom use watch or see anymore. Again, there’s an immediacy to the writing you lose when you say, “Jane watched the band.” As opposed to “The drums reverberated in Jane’s chest as the band marched down the street in perfect step.”

A few phrases from the list I don’t use are: in order to, by means of, for the most part, as a matter of fact, and so forth and so on.

IMG_6903

I’m fortunate to have four Beta Readers for the last book in The Second Chances Series, ACT OF SURVIVAL. When I’ve completed this word check, I’ll send it off to them. Then I’ll contact my cover artist Charlie Volnek. She’s done all my covers, and I love her work. Following that I’ll get the book edited. Shooting for not later than March. Had hoped to get the book out in late January or February, but I keep pushing the date. Life happens. 😊

If you’d like to have a copy of my list of words, I’d be happy to send it to you. Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. It was one of our best, despite one daughter being sick and one grand sharing her germs with me.

I’m running a $.99 cent sale through Nov. 29 on all sites for my first book.Vermont Escape 300dpi (1)

Please sign up for my Newsletter on my website http://www.marsharwest.com Contact me at marsha@marsharwest.com , and follow me on my social media sites. https://authormarsharwest.wordpress.com/ for my Blog https://www.facebook.com/?ref=tn_tnmn

https://www.twitter.com/Marsharwest  @Marsharwest

https://www.pinterest.com/marsharwest/

https://sisterhoodofsuspense.com/blog

 

Advertisements

Writing Rules

When I began writing people told me to follow the rules. I’m a rule follower, so that should’ve been easy, right? Tell me the rules, and I promise to follow them. Problem is, I can always find folks who are very successful (like award-winning) who don’t follow the rules.

IMG_0202

One of the rules I worked hard to learn and to follow is “no head-hopping.” You know what that is. When you’re in one character’s head (POV) and within the same sentence or paragraph you hop over to another character’s head. In the old days, authors wrote this way. It was called the omniscient author. Nobody thought anything of it.

Well, at some point between “the old days” and when I began writing eleven or so years ago (wow, can it be that long?), the rules changed, and head-hopping fell into disfavor. So I took on line-classes, attended conferences, I practiced, I submitted to contests, worked with critique partners, and eventually I cut out the head-hopping. (Oh, occasionally a hop will slip in now, but I catch it on edits and rewrites. 😊 ) IMG_0248

So, why you wonder am I writing about this particular rule? I recently bought a book by a well-known, award-winning author, whose name I don’t remember right now. OMG! The author head-hopped all over the place. Not just having paragraphs switch back and forth. No within paragraphs. The process threw me out of the story, which was pretty good. I had to stop to see if the author had really head-hopped. And the author had.

Here’s my question for readers: Are you aware of POV when you’re reading a book? If so, does it bother you if the author bounces around between characters’ POVs? Does it bother you to have more than tow POV characters?

And for you writers out there: Has the rule changed, and I haven’t kept up? I confess to not attending a conference in a while. When you’re reading, are you aware of head-hopping? If so, does it bother you?

IMG_0207

The reason you have fall pictures scattered throughout this blog is because I couldn’t think of a graphic for this topic. These pictures from my recent trip to  Belfast, Maine, which I did promise you last month. Hope you enjoy. them 😊 Love to hear from you.

Two of my books are set in New England: VERMONT ESCAPE,  and ACT OF BETRAYAL, Book 3, The Second Chances Series, which is set in Maine.

Please sign up for my Newsletter on my website http://www.marsharwest.com Contact me at marsha@marsharwest.com , and follow me on my social media sites. https://authormarsharwest.wordpress.com/ for my Blog

https://www.facebook.com/?ref=tn_tnmn

https://www.twitter.com/Marsharwest  @Marsharwest

https://www.pinterest.com/marsharwest/

https://sisterhoodofsuspense.com/blog

 

September & Fall

Technically, Fall began on September 21. I’m saying “technically” because in Texas we are still experiencing days in the 90s. Some years, we’ve even hit the 100s. That’s not fun in July, and I really hate it during the fall. But so far this year we’re experiencing a rather mild and wet fall. All the rain is welcome because we had fire scares back in the summer. Nothing like the poor folks in the western part of the country and Canada. Still, scary.

No leaves turning yet. We don’t get color change until late November, sometimes even in December. But oh, I love to see the leaves change. I’m a sucker for all those FB posts that show the glorious colors. You know I’m a fan of New England, but one year we went to the northwest, Washington and Oregon, and they have great color, too.

Do you decorate for the seasons? I do, at least for fall. Love pumpkins, and I set them out all over. And of course, leaves. I’m not one of those folks who is happy to see Christmas decorations out already in the stores. That makes me nuts, but yeah, can’t bring out the fall stuff too early. So, I decided to show you some of my favorite fall pictures. I have a lot of these and will get some more next month when we go to Maine, so I may show more for my October post, if we’re lucky and find good color.

MRW iPhone Oct 2104 511 White Mountain Resort in New Hampshire, the first place we stayed when visiting New England.

MRW iPhone Oct 2011 080Stowe, VT. It was a warmer fall than usual and we had to drive all the way north to find color.

MRW iPhone Oct 2011 095 Deerfied, MA has a huge number of old homes with people still living in them. I used this house as a prototype for the heroin’s rental in VERMONT ESCAPE

RGW phone Oct 2011 126 The entry of the Woodstock Inn, Woodstock, VT also used in VERMONT ESCAPE. Whenever my family decides to go to Hawaii for Christmas, I’m going to stay in this lovely inn. 

MRW iPhone Oct 2104 513 This gorgeous color makes me smile. It’s also Vermont.

 MRW iPhone Oct 2013 060 The Library in Boothbay Harobr, Maine was a prototype for one  in ACT OF TRUST. 

Are you nuts about Fall or does some other season make you crazy happy? Don’t these pictures make you want to schedule a fall vacation to New England as soon as possible? Love to hear from you.

 Please sign up for my Newsletter on my website http://www.marsharwest.com Contact me at marsha@marsharwest.com , and follow me on my social media sites. https://authormarsharwest.wordpress.com/ for my Blog https://www.facebook.com/?ref=tn_tnmn

https://www.twitter.com/Marsharwest  @Marsharwest

https://www.pinterest.com/marsharwest/

https://sisterhoodofsuspense.com/blog

Planning

Are you a planner? Well, I am. I like to feel in control of situations, so I do lots of planning beforehand to be prepared for whatever might come. If I’m going to read scripture at church, I like to have the liturgy ahead of time, so I can practice. I like to know what we’re going to have for supper, so I know what to eat for lunch. I mean you don’t want to eat left over pasta salad for lunch if you’re going to an Italian restaurant for supper, right? So yes, I like planning.

Of course, I use it in my writing, but as I’ve written here before I seem to be morphing into something of a pantser—or plotser as I call my process. Planning with some freewheeling.

Are you completely in the dark about where I’m going? Hang in there. I’m about to get there.

photo(8) This is the screen shot on my phone. 

In three years, God willing, my husband and I will celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary. Twenty or twenty-five years ago, I attended a 50th wedding anniversary at the Country Club for long time members of our church. It was quite lavish, great food and drink. People were dressed up. The kids of the couple put together a charming video depicting their parents’ lives. Right then, I decided that was how I wanted to celebrate our 50th when time came.

Flash forward a ton of years, and I’ve realized I don’t want to ask our kids to go to that much trouble when they are super busy. Recently, I’ve heard of several families who planned a family vacation for the parents’ 50th.  And I thought. Hmmmm. I’d love to share Maine with our family.  When I ran the idea past our kids, they thought that sounded great. Dates to be determined later, but summer 2021. There will be 9 of us on the trip.

photo(7) From a cottage off the Demariscota River. Prototype of setting for ACT OF TRUST.

I’ve already begun planning. Yes, I know it’s three years off, but great places book up more than a year in advance. And as I said, I enjoy planning. And that gives us time to save up. 😊 It’s not inexpensive, but it will be less than the big country club party. And it will give our kids and grandkids, who will be 12, 10, and 9 then, awesome experiences. Hopefully, when we’re gone, they’ll still want to make periodic trips to Maine. Or at the very least, they’ll look at pictures and remember a wonderful time with us. They won’t get these beautiful fall colors since we’ll be going in the summer.

This is near Boothbay Harbor. photo(11)

I can’t tell you how much joy I’ve already experienced in researching locations and places to stay. Well, mostly places to stay, because I’ve got the location nailed: Somewhere on the mid-coast of Maine. I’ve only shared a couple of my gazillion Maine pics, but you can see why I love it so much.

I began looking at Resorts—two especially. The first is The Samoset Resort in the Camden/Rockland area. http://www.samosetresort.com/about-us/  We ran across it on one of our trips when we were looking at a nearby lighthouse. It has some fun activities: pool, kid area, awesome views. Haven’t found exactly the right room arrangement but closer to time, I probably can.

Then I looked at Spruce Point Inn & Resort near Boothbay Harbor, a place we’ve stayed twice.

https://www.sprucepointinn.com/resort/overview/

Again, good activities, even lawn size chess. Our grandson and his father would love that. But I haven’t nailed down the perfect accommodations, yet.

Family trips work well when you have a good balance between separate space and together space. Recently, I ran across a HomeAway link, and I got to thinking about large houses. The two below are are possible winners.  I have to choose between ocean or river views and have eliminated lake views, because we have that now. 🙂 Leaning toward ocean, since that’s not as common for our crew.

https://www.homeaway.com/vacation-rental/p158384vb

https://www.homeaway.com/vacation-rental/p868993vb

The houses are less expensive than the resorts, but there might be more to do at the resorts. But I want to make sure we take car trips to see many of the wonderful sites up and down the mid coast of Maine. I love this area so much, I actually put a Mid-coast road trip in ACT OF TRUST.  I used it to show a growing attraction between the hero and heroine, but mostly just to showcase this beautiful state. 🙂

51AoTTvhxHL

Don’t know what we’ll decide on, but I have had a ball looking. Do you think I’m nuts for looking this far out? I mean, we might not be alive, or we could be seriously ill by then. Hope and pray not, but….  Are you a planner?  Love to hear from you.

Please sign up for my Newsletter on my website http://www.marsharwest.com

Contact me at marsha@marsharwest.com , and follow me on my social media sites.

https://authormarsharwest.wordpress.com/ for my Blog

https://www.facebook.com/?ref=tn_tnmn

https://www.twitter.com/Marsharwest  @Marsharwest

https://www.pinterest.com/marsharwest/

https://sisterhoodofsuspense.com/blog

 

 

 

Ahhh! Technology!

I’ve written about Technology here before. Those of you who follow me on my blog have read lots of stories about my misadventures. I sort of have a love/hate relationship with the big T.

Last Friday, I was getting my new Surface ready to go to the Saturday NTRWA meeting where were going to have a giant writing fest. Lots of folks were away at RWA, so this was a good plan. So, I charge up the Surface, which I’ve only had a month or two. It’s so light and fits into my purse. Love this about this device.IMG_7185

I opened Word, so I could save my book document and the character list to the Surface which I’d emailed to myself.  I got a message that Word was about to expire and if I didn’t do anything, I could lose my work! Not words a writer wants to read. Ultimately, I didn’t go to the meeting. ☹

Sunday afternoon, I took the Surface to Best Buy and explained what the deal was. (I do love the Geek Squad. They are all so very nice, and never make me feel like an idiot. 😊 ) The kid asked if I had other computers at home and did I have that message on them. I knew I didn’t on the big computer and told him I’d check the laptop when I got home. So, I checked, and the Laptop is okay. If my husband can find the documentation for the program (I think that’s not the right word.), I can just update it on the Surface. If not, I’ll take it and let the brilliant Geek Squad guy/gal unload and reload it on the Surface. (Should I use the “the” in front of Surface? It sounds a bit odd either way.) 😊

So Sunday, after church Bob and I ate Mexican food for lunch.taco-2610649_640 (Free from Pixabay RobinsWorld)

(Just because it’s 109 outside is not a reason to skip Mexican food.) I responded to a friend’s text and then ten minutes later I was going to text the family. (There is a whole other issue about whether I should’ve been doing anything on the cell phone while I was at a restaurant with my husband!) I picked up the phone and a black screen stared back at me. Nothing changed when I punched the bottom button. I punched the on/off switch. NOTHING!

IMG_4730 (It does have a cracked face, because I’ve dropped the phone too many times!)

I don’t know about you, but pretty much my whole life is on my phone. Well, not my books, or reports I’m working on for the church move, but everything else. I know my cell number, which would do me no good, since the phone wasn’t working, and I know my daughter’s cell number, which she’s had since she was 16. She’s in her very early 40s now. Other than that, I know nothing.

I asked Bob who was on his way to work (long story) to text the family so they knew I was out of the loop.

Driving to the store with no phone was like driving naked. I mean, what if I had a car wreck? What if I ran out of gas? (I had a half a tank, but still….) What if I went too fast, and a police officer pulled me over? Being naked is scary.

You know how at technology stores they have greeters who open the door for you and ask what the problem is? Well, this nice young, emphasis on the young part, woman looked at my phone and did two things, and the little apple with the bite out of it popped onto the screen. Now I don’t know what caused the problem in the first place, but the next time this happens, I know what to do to try to fix it myself.

Push the bottom button and the side on/off button at the same time. Somehow that resets the whole deal. So for little time and no money, my cell and I were back in business. I am a happy camper.

Do you have those heart clutching experiences with your technology? Or are you a ninja warrior where technology is concerned? Love to hear from you.

PS Thanks to all of you who helped spread the word about my 3-Day $.99 sale I had going to celebrate the 5th birthday of VERMONT ESCAPE. Forgot to take it off so it’s still on Sale at Amazon https://amzn.to/2LgWGBh

Vermont Escape 300dpi (1)

Please sign up for my Newsletter on my website http://www.marsharwest.com

Contact me at marsha@marsharwest.com , and follow me on my social media sites.

https://authormarsharwest.wordpress.com/ for my Blog

https://www.facebook.com/?ref=tn_tnmn

http://www.twitter.com/Marsharwest  @Marsharwest

https://www.pinterest.com/marsharwest/

https://sisterhoodofsuspense.com/blog

 

 

Living Healthy

I’ve written here before about my efforts to lose weight. Even given that I should lose 20 lbs or more, I’m still pretty healthy. I exercise twice a week at my daughter’s Pilates studio. And that works my mind, body, and spirit. I love Pilates. It’s helping me keep my 5’2’’ in height! I walk 10 thousand steps a day, more days of the week than not. (last week I missed it on two days, that was unusual.)

To get those 10 K steps, I go to Walmart and walk there. Walking Charley morning and evening and regular around the house & errand stuff won’t get it.  IMG_7078

Like many of you, I sit in front of a computer for hours. My FitBit beeps at me when I need to get up and move, but I mostly ignore that and count on getting a bunch of steps at one time.

IMG_6555

(Humm. That’s a lot like my writing. I like to do big bunches of words at one time, rather than taking advantage of short time periods to write.)

My Pilates daughter has a paddle board and I envied her the smoothness and the calmness of that activity. I can’t stand up on the thing because I have trouble kneeling, but I found I could sit on it. And so I did. It was fun and calming. IMG_4515

So, then I decided I had to have a kayak. I couldn’t decide whether to get one you sit down into or one more on top like the paddle board. I tried several in the store. Ultimately going with the least expensive which put me more down inside, but not with the top up around my waist. That would make me crazy. I’ve just had it a week and have thoroughly enjoyed paddling around our boat house and past the neighbors on both sides. Not very adventuresome yet. 😊 Talk about great exercise! I expect I may develop Popeye arms! (Does everyone know who that is?)

IMG_7091

Besides exercising, Bob and I try to eat healthy. Fort Worth is a Blue Zones city, and we get lots of information from them about how to be healthy. For instance, eating certain foods daily can help prevent Cancer. (Or not, but you know it can’t hurt.) Those are called G-BOMBS. That stands for Greens, Beans, Onions, Mushrooms, Berries, and Seeds. Pretty easy to do and tastes good too.

You may be wondering why I chose this topic. Walking in Walmart, I see lots of overweight people. Recently, I’ve heard several sad stories about people with Alzheimer’s, brain cancer, or being hit by a car. You know bad stuff. I’m blessed, and I know it. Bob and I are in our early 70s. At some point, we’ll die. In the meantime, I want to try to live as healthy a life as I can for as long as I can. It’s all about choices. No one forced me to eat a 450-calorie oatmeal cookie from Sprouts the other day. But oh, my goodness it was yummy!

So it’s salads for us tonight.

IMG_6918

None of my characters in my books are overweight. They may talk about watching what they eat or exercising, but they look good. I remember reading a book about an overweight character. I empathized with her, but not to the point I wanted to read more books about her. Because my books are inter-generational, my main characters’ parents sometimes struggle with health issues.  In my WIP, ACT OF SURVIVAL, the heroine has almost developed an eating disorder because of her husband’s psychological abuse. Do topics of health/weight show up in your writings? What kinds of things do you do to stay healthy?  Love to hear from you.

Please sign up for my Newsletter on my website http://www.marsharwest.com

Contact me at marsha@marsharwest.com , and follow me on my social media sites.

https://authormarsharwest.wordpress.com/ for my Blog

https://www.facebook.com/?ref=tn_tnmn

http://www.twitter.com/Marsharwest  @Marsharwest

https://www.pinterest.com/marsharwest/

https://sisterhoodofsuspense.com/blog

 

 

Writing vs. Life

Do you set goals? For your job? For writing? For health?

Goals

Well, I have done that for many years. In the past I wrote about strategies to help with goal setting and carrying out the actions to meet those goals for this blog.

Those of you have publishers get your writing goals set by them. Those of us who are Indie Published, set our own goals. Or maybe you don’t. 😊 I’ve always had a date I was shooting for when I planned to release a book. (I pretty much need to have a deadline on almost anything I want to be sure to do—otherwise it just doesn’t get done.)

For the last several years I’ve published one book a year. Not nearly as many as some of you. Perhaps not as often as my readers would like either, but that schedule has worked for me. The goal for 2018 was to release Book 4 in The Second Chances Series, ACT OF SURVIVAL. I started writing it last year, but really struggled with the story.

Lone Star Love 200x300

Then I put it away to write the short story, “the Colonel & Her Major” for my writing chapter’s anthology in honor of our 35th Anniversary. Now it was only a 3500-word short story, but I’d never written a short story before. I discovered it had to be a romance and not a romantic suspense, which I write, because I couldn’t work the suspense into the limited words. So besides never writing a short story before, I’d never written a story with only romance before. So, it took a lot longer than you’d think for such a short piece. I just barely made the deadline. But I did make that deadline. 😊

Anyway, all of that pushed the book into the beginning of this year. The story is set in Wichita Falls, TX, where my husband and I went to college and where we have family living. One of our visits in the spring helped me with the setting. I plugged away until I now have about 35 thousand words. I know. Nothing on a 70-80 K book.

Then we got into the situation where we were selling our 75-year-old church building and buying a new (to us) one. Bob was the lead lawyer on this project and it’s almost complete. We are Presbyterians, and we operate from committees. We have a Session that’s the governing board, on which I sit, and then lots of committees. Well, I’ve taken on the role of the chair of the Relocation Central Commission. We have six committees working on various aspects of the move. It will take a lot of time, but it’s such important work, and I have the skills to do this job. Not everyone does.

IMG_5437 Current church, built for 1500 membership. Like so many main-line churches, our numbers have dropped to about 400.

That is not to say I’m doing this on my own. We have an awesome group on the central commission and people jumped at the chance to serve on the six committees. But I’ve taught meeting leading and chaired or been president of lots of different groups and organizations over the years. This process started several year ago when out of the blue a development company approached us saying they wanted to buy the building. Thus, began five years of wandering in the desert so to speak as deal after deal fell through. At any rate we’re a go now and have about three to four months of intensive work to make the move happen.

IMG_7683 Inside of new facility, a bit of a fixer-upper. 🙂

I gave myself permission to move the deadline for the release of ACT OF SURVIVAL from early fall to late December to even maybe early next year. I write best when I have big chunks of time to dig in. That just didn’t seem like it would happen over the next several months. I will eventually finish writing this book, get it edited, formatted and released. But likely it won’t be in 2018.

The three books in the series are:

IMG_6903

Have you ever had to push your deadlines? How do you feel about doing that? What kinds of things made you push the deadline? As a reader, how important is seeing a book from your favorite author yearly or more often? Love to hear from you.

Please sign up for my Newsletter on my website http://www.marsharwest.com Contact me at marsha@marsharwest.com , and follow me on my social media sites.
https://authormarsharwest.wordpress.com/ for my Blog
https://www.facebook.com/?ref=tn_tnmn
http://www.twitter.com/Marsharwest  @Marsharwest
https://www.pinterest.com/marsharwest/
https://sisterhoodofsuspense.com/blog

 

Writing Lesson #1 Don’t Rush

Too late - conceptual alarm clock showing that you are too late

Hard lesson learned. I hope this one I never repeat! Let me tell you my sob story. I released my last book, ACT OF BETRAYAL, in October 2017. I had set myself a deadline and by golly, I was going to meet it, and I did.

I’d rewritten and edited. I’d sent it out to be edited. Fixed and sent back. Re-edited again. I mean, I must’ve read this book 15 or twenty times during the editing process.  Toward the very end, I caught that I had used two different names for the heroine’s daughter. Blair and Bailey. (That’s a separate post about names.)

I knew I had a problem. I really couldn’t remember which name went with the daughter in this book. I opened the second book in the series, ACT OF TRUST. Sure enough in black and white, there was the name Blair. Okay, I got it. I went through and made the changes using the Find thingy.

Act of Trust 500x750

Problem was, between the time I looked and when I did the process, I mixed up the names. I changed all of the daughter’s name in ACT OF BETRAYAL to “Blair.” You’re thinking, “What?” Well, yeah, I just told you “Blair was in AOT, not AOB. But I mixed it up. The book got uploaded that way, and I ordered 25 print books just like that.

When did I notice this mixup? I was getting ready to do a reading from ACT OF TRUST and the name jumped off the page flashing like a neon sign.  My heart sank and my stomach tightened and red streaked my face. Oh crap!

I immediately emailed my formatter who laughed and said. No problem. Those things happen all the time. She’d fix it and send me another PDF. Whew! I figuratively wiped my brow. Okay. She sent it back, and I uploaded the corrected e-book to Amazon and everywhere else. Good, right?

Well, I still had these printed books with the wrong name. My brain tells me that I don’t remember names of characters in books I read, so hopefully, folks won’t notice. (Well, except now I’m telling everyone. LOL) Now, I’ve sold most of them and I have a book signing in June and I need corrected print books.

I really hated to go back to the formatter. Figured I should be able to fix the problem myself. Except, of course, the good copy with the right names was one for e-books. No page numbers. So, I went to my PDF for print and tried to edit it. You know there’s a little edit button on the left-hand side. Trick is I didn’t have the right Adobe thingy on my computer. After many aborted efforts, I finally got the right one uploaded for a cost—way more than I wanted to spend.

Now we’re crackin’. Almost. Making edits on a PDF is not as easy as on a Word doc. After days of working on the thing. I literally mean days, and I’m sparing you the gruesome details about times the words ended up on top of each other! GRRR! I had a clean PDF.

So then I got into it with CreateSpace, not realizing a new edition needed a new ISBN! This resulted in me having to call the good people at CreateSpace where Jose was able to delete one of the books, so I could precede. No wait time to talk to a real person, and he was super helpful.

Act of Betrayal

Now I’m waiting to get the proof (for the 4th time—because I kept seeing glitches with the spacing! And still I know there are at least two that I could not fix.)

The lesson I’ve learned is not to rush the editing process. The deadlines I set for myself are good, (and nothing for me gets done without a deadline), but they can and often should be moved. The quality of the product is more important than some arbitrary date I’ve given myself. And secondly, boy do I love my formatter. She’s worth every penny I pay her. I know some people can do this themselves. And Yes, I did get it okay finally, but all time I worked on that is time taken from working on the fourth and last book in my Second Chances Series. Not a good decision.

How about you? Writers, do you format for yourself? Do you hire that done? Or does your publisher do the job? Love to hear from you.

marsha@marsharwest.com  http://www.marsharwest.com 

https://authormarsharwest.wordpress.com/ Blog

https://www.facebook.com/?ref=tn_tnmn

http://www.twitter.com/Marsharwest  @Marsharwest

https://www.pinterest.com/marsharwest/

https://sisterhoodofsuspense.com/blog

 

 

 

Spring Time

Well, maybe not where you live, but spring has arrived in North Central Texas. Even before the green stuff sprang from the ground and tree branches, the birds declared it spring. In the morning walking Charley, it’s like hearing a symphony orchestra with all the different birds singing a separate part. And the birds have been carrying on this way for weeks now.

IMG_6765

Our temps still drop occasionally at night into the 40s, but days are routinely hitting the 70s and yes even the low 80s. I almost hesitate to share this with those of you packed under multiple feet of snow from multiple nor-easters. I hope your power is back on. However, you will be the ones smiling this summer when you’re enjoying mid 70s and 80s while we will be sweltering in 105 plus and for as many as 40 days or more in a row at that!

29196692_10210728339155537_7864813871846916096_nD'Ann Burrow Snow Pic from D’Ann Burrow from the 3rd Nor’easter.

It recently came to my attention when I was looking through my books for the word “spring” for one of our Sisterhood of Suspense Sunday Hot Lines that I don’t set novels in the spring time. The stories in my books take place in the fall mostly or the winter or summer. Well, my second published book, TRUTH BE TOLD ends during the spring, but only because I couldn’t tie up the story. Spring wasn’t a main part of the book. Winter was. The majority of the story takes place during the two weeks of the Christmas/New Year’s holiday.

Truth Be Told 300dpi

Then I began to wonder, why don’t I set a story in the spring. I really hate summer, and yet I’ve had several books set in the summer. What is it about a Texas spring that makes me steer away?

I don’t know the answer to that exactly. I suspect it has something to do with tornadoes and severe weather that attacks our part of the country during the spring. It seems to me I need to take that fear, because it really is a fear, of those storms and put it into the next book I write. Well, the next one after Book 4 of The Second Chances Series, which I’m working on now and should come out late fall. That’s a plan. 🙂

I’m curious, is the time of year an important piece of your books? Is there one season you favor over others? Many, many years ago, I read a romantic suspense book (Sadly, I don’t remember title or author.), and the winter weather was an actual character in this book. The author did a superb job making the reader experience the cold temperatures, and the biting wind. I’ve always remembered that book. And yes, I should turn our spring storms into a character in a book.  Love to hear from you.

marsha@marsharwest.com  http://www.marsharwest.com 

https://authormarsharwest.wordpress.com/ Blog

https://www.facebook.com/?ref=tn_tnmn

http://www.twitter.com/Marsharwest  @Marsharwest

https://www.pinterest.com/marsharwest/

https://sisterhoodofsuspense.com/blog

Resolutions/Goals

First, Happy New Year from the Sisterhood of Suspense Blog.  I love new beginnings. The idea of making resolutions or setting goals is exciting to me. As a former educator (are we ever really a former educator?), I believe strongly in the possibility of self-improvement. One way to do that is by setting  Goals

You all know that’s not just saying: “I want to lose weight,” which is wishful thinking at best. Writing down: “I want to lose 20 lbs by May,” that’s a goal. If it’s realistic and you put a plan with that and stick with it, the goal is attainable. That was one of my goals for 2017. Big bomb! Actually, gained a few pounds. ☹ I can rationalize I was still in recovery from my broken ankle and was just going to Pilates once a week instead of twice which I did pre-ankle. However, I just ate whatever I wanted whenever I wanted. For most of us that will guarantee weight gain, especially with limited exercise. LOL

Personal goals I attained for 2017  (I have a file called GOALS on the computer with several years of goals.)

*Walked twice a day with Charley and extra steps to get to 10,000 daily. Only missed a few for the year. Some were during our recent freeze.

IMG_6555 IMG_6459

*Found a new GP, who I love.

*Enjoyed the lake. (There’s something sad about having to write that down in your goals. Seems like it should be natural. Not for this workaholic! 😊) IMG_6354 Who knew lakes had waves?

Work goals I attained

*Wrote & Published Book 3. (Book 3 in the series, not the 3rd book.) ACT OF BETRAYAL was released in October of 2017

.Act of Betrayal

*Wrote weekly personal blog and monthly SOS blog.

*Attended several book signings.

IMG_6171

There were others in both categories, but that gives you an idea.

So what’s for 2018?

Personal

*Be healthy which includes losing weight and getting my blood pressure down without meds. (I have started this by doing the Whole 30 this month. You can read about that in my Jan. 11th blog at  https://authormarsharwest.wordpress.com/2018/01/11/  )

IMG_6539

*Enjoy the lake (yeah, I know weird!)

IMG_6530

*Continue church volunteering—which does take significant time, but is important

*Enjoy my family (I’m so blessed they live near.)

Work Related

*Complete the short story for the book my writing chapter is publishing in March

*Write and publish the last book in the Second Chances Series. Looking forward to this. Don’t expect to ever write another series, even though I love reading them!)

*Put out a monthly newsletter (began this in November when my PR co. went out of business. So grateful to them. I’d have never had a newsletter without them.)

*Write personal blog weekly and SOS blog monthly

*Make presentations whenever possible–one is set up for February

*Be supportive of my fellow authors (with FB and Twitter shares & reviews)

To accomplish the first four, I must be much more disciplined about my time. Difficult when I’m easily distracted. LOL

So what about you? Do you set goals? Please share if you’re comfortable. Even if you don’t share, I hope you set them. IMHO, they do make a difference.

Please tell your friends about our Sisterhood of Suspense blog. One of our goals is to post more often. Every Tuesday and Thursday, you’ll find something interesting, educational, or entertaining. Something to make you think. We always love to hear from you.

marsha@marsharwest.com  http://www.marsharwest.com 

https://authormarsharwest.wordpress.com/ Blog

https://www.facebook.com/?ref=tn_tnmn

http://www.twitter.com/Marsharwest  @Marsharwest

https://www.pinterest.com/marsharwest/

https://sisterhoodofsuspense.com/blog