Monday, February 8, 2016

5 Things in the Third Draft

5 for the Third Draft
I'm deep in the edit cave and working the kinks out of The Outlaw's Rebel Lady. I made a list of things as I worked through the second draft and now I'm shining up the manuscript to send to my publisher. What things am I doing in this incarnation of the novel.

1. Using the 'find' feature to check for repetitive and weak words. Some of mine, very, actually, obviously, and the worst, just.  I've already done this in the 2nd draft but it always needs another look.

2. I check the timeline again. I usually pretty good with this but it needs to be perfect.

3. Dialogue tags? Are the ones I have necessary? Do I need to add some so the reader understands who is speaking?

4. I am writing a romance, so can I make the hero and heroine click more? Add a little more sexual tension?

5. Does every scene and chapter end in a way to make sure the reader wants to keep reading?

And here's the big thing. I want to have this draft done by next week at this time. Good thing we're supposed to have snow for the next two days. Hopefully, we only get the couple of inches they're calling for and not 30 inches like that last storm.
found on Facebook

What's New?

We had our writers' meeting last Saturday. It's always fun to get together with other writers. It's a really talented group but also very enthusiastic. Our president allowed time for some discussion of industry news and concerns. One of the things discussed was Amazon's new attention to books that have quality issues brought to their attention by complaints. Though some people are concerned, the majority feels this is to address books with major formatting problems or so many misspellings that customers find them unreadable.

Another issue discussed was the writers who have gone the self-published route and have now abandoned it. The most common reason is the amount of work they have to take on themselves. All writers now have to do the majority of the promotion for their books but don't we all just want to write? Many of these writers turning away from indie publishing are looking to small presses. Now if we all can survive Amazon's takeover of publishing.

Personal News

I decided on my A to Z Blogging Theme. I enjoyed my theme last year but I'm going to like this one even more. And the theme we're using over at IWSG, is going to be fun.
Last Friday, my oldest son, the one who got married last summer, asked me to spend the day with him. He scheduled a car inspection. So I picked him up at 8 am. We went to Starbucks until the bookstore opened at ten and hung out there until his car was ready around 5 pm. I took along a book I knew he would like, Son of the Black Sword. He brought his computer to take care of some emails. I took along a paper copy of my book to work on the above 3rd draft. And we talked about books, TV shows and movies, teaching, football, family, and all kinds of stuff. The day was the best gift a mother could ask of her children. He read the entire book, by the way. We both recommend it.

How many drafts do you do of a book before you send it to a publisher or agent? Have you heard about Amazon cracking down on quality of book editing? Did you come up with your theme for A to Z Challenge?

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

IWSG: February 2016

New image for IWSG

It's the first Wednesday of the month and that means IWSG blog hop. This terrific group started by Alex J. Cavanaugh, is a time for writers to share our insecurities, ask for help and offer support and advice to each other. Though you may write alone at your desk, it doesn't have to be a lonely occupation. So join us and share.

It's that time of year when we gather our tax information in preparation of paying with blood and tears.
“The hardest thing in the world to understand is the income tax.”Albert Einstein
My husband is a self-employed painter and I'm a self-employed writer so we always have to pay taxes rather than have any refunded. We do both have a lot of taxes withheld from our teacher pension checks but it's not enough to cover our other income. But as much as I groan at owing taxes, when I add up my writing income, I cringe. All those hours and so little money to show for it. What does that hourly rate work out to? About $.25 per hour. Add in the time spent promoting or the work I do for various writing groups and we're at about $.18 per hour. I'm making those numbers up but you get the idea. Why am I doing this?

I really do love writing. I like creating stories. I love it when a characters motivations and fears become so clear I can't wait to cause them more angst. I revel in that moment when my own writing makes me laugh or cry. I love being part of the writing community both those I attend in person and the online community I've come to know. I adore the emails I get from readers and the reviews from so many others. So few writers are actually able to earn a living from their writing alone. Most of us are like me, earning income from another source. But I'm going to keep writing. It may never make me rich but I didn't expect it to when I started. And who knows, maybe the SyFy channel will make one of my books into the next Sharknado. So I'll keep on trying.

Yes, every time I go to Boston, I feel like spilling a little tea in the harbor. Except I don't like to waste good tea. Many of you know I live in Pennsylvania. I don't like to talk politics but our state government has yet to agree on and pass a state budget that was due last July 1st. The question in the street is why can't we fire the bunch of them? So it is with great resentment that Pennsylvanians fill out those state income tax forms this year. It's better to laugh about taxes than cry.

“The IRS spends God knows how much of your tax money on these toll-free information hot lines staffed by IRS employees, whose idea of a dynamite tax tip is that you should print neatly. If you ask them a real tax question, such as how you can cheat, they’re useless.”Dave Barry
The difference between death and taxes is death doesn’t get worse every time Congress meets.”Will Rogers

Are you feeling insecure this month? Dreading tax season? (Why do taxes get their own season?) How much do you think you make per hour writing? 

Monday, February 1, 2016

QotM and Lost & Found Hop

February already. The month of more winter but also of love. Time to think of what keeps you warm when the world turns cold.

Lost & Found:  Valentine's Edition

       Do you remember  that special feeling of love found?   And who hasn't experienced the emotional experience of love lost?  Some of you might have even lost a love only to find that person later for another go around.

And this blog hop is being combined with Michael D'Agostino 's first Monday Question of the Month blog hop. You can find the list at A Life Examined where Michael asks:
“When have you lost or found love?”

You see how the two hops have come together for one big fun time.

         Tell your story about love lost or found in our special Valentine's blogfest.   Your post can be a short fiction, an essay, poetry, or even a song--let your imagination run free.   Any genre is fair game, be it romance, historical fiction, memoir, or even science fiction.   After all there are no limitations when it comes to love.

          This special blogging event was inspired by a collaboration between Arlee Bird and Guilie Castillo-Oriard.   Joining in hosting will be Elizabeth Seckman,  Yolanda Renee,  Denise Covey.  and  Alex J Cavanaugh.   Don't be left out! 

After nearly 33 years of marriage, I can't really recall much about the loves I lost in the days of my youth. From the perspective of where I am now, they seem so shallow compared to the depth of what my husband and I share. As I write this, I think of all the sorrows and joys we've shared together. We've lost three of our four parents and a beloved nephew. We've stumbled through raising my two stepsons and our four children. We've struggled financially and worked long, long hours to see them through college. More than one day and night was spent in a hospital or a doctor's office because when you have children, that happens. Sleepless nights filled with worry and glorious moments of success shared with those wonderful children. And through it all, my dear Ron and I supported each other. It wasn't always easy or peaceful, but we've always been there for each other. We appreciate each other's strengths and forgive each other's faults. There has been more laughter than tears, more joy than sorrow and mostly there is love. My husband is more of a romantic than I am and no matter how difficult times were, he has always given me flowers for Valentine's Day, our anniversary and my birthday. I love the man and will always be glad that we found each other.

"It has made me better, loving you ... It has made me wiser, and easier and brighter."
Henry James, Portrait of a Lady

"Who being loved, is poor?"  Oscar Wilde, A Woman of No Importance

And it's getting closer. Later this spring, IWSG first short story anthology will be coming to a retailer near you. How about that lovely cover. More news coming your way soon.

Parallels: Felix Was Here
Freedom Fox Press
A division of Dancing Lemur Press, L.L.C.

Enter the realm of parallel universes!

What if the government tried to create the perfect utopia? Could a society linked to a supercomputer survive on its own? Do our reflections control secret lives on the other side of the mirror? Can one moment split a person’s world forever?

Exploring the fantastic, ten authors offer incredible visions and captivating tales of diverse reality. Featuring the talents of L. G. Keltner, Crystal Collier, Hart Johnson, Cherie Reich, Sandra Cox, Yolanda Renee, Melanie Schulz, Sylvia Ney, Michael Abayomi, and Tamara Narayan.

Hand-picked by a panel of agents and authors, these ten tales will expand your imagination and twist the tropes of science fiction. Step through the portal and enter another dimension!

Whew that is a long post for me! Don't forget, first Wednesday posting for IWSG is only two days away. Is February a romantic month for you or just another cold month in which to curse winter? Have you found or lost a love or perhaps re-discovered one? Isn't that a great cover for the anthology?

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

What Weapons Not to Use in a Zombie Fight by David P. King

I'm thrilled to be part of  David Powers King blog tour for the Undead Road. I bet some of you have taken those silly Q&A on Facebook that determine how long you would survive a zombie apocalypse. Well, David is going to give you a little help.

Three Weapons You Don’t Want To Use in a Zombie Apocalypse

Thanks for having me, Susan! Well guys. It’s happened. An outbreak has occurred. People left and right are turning into these flesh-eating zombies. What’s average people like us to do? To survive a zombie apocalypse, our chances are only as good as our weapons. We can try to run and hide as much as we’d like, but we’ll run into trouble soon enough. Pretty much any gun or item from a hardware store will do, but are there any seemingly good options we should avoid?

Here’s the top three weapons we shouldn’t use against zombies.

1) Lawn Mower – sure, it looked cool in the movie Dead Alive, but let’s get practical here. It’s heavy, requires gas, and it’s a bloody mess—literally. We’re just asking to get infected with all that muck potentially getting in our mouth and eyes. And it’s noisy. Same goes for chainsaws.

2) Spiked Bumper – if we have the means to go all Mad Max on the undead horde, we’d have the coolest ride in town for sure, but it will weigh our car down and eventually stop us dead, if we impaled too many of them. Plus there’s no guarantee that the zombies will die upon impact.

3) Flame Thrower – wait, what?! That’s the coolest weapon ever! True, but again, we need fuel. Depending on the zombie, it may not take them down right away. What’s worse than zombies chasing after us? Zombies chasing after us while they’re on FIRE! Plus it smells terrible.

There you have it. When zombies come to our towns, use practical methods to fight them off. You and your loved ones will thank you for it, and they likely won’t have to put you down.

Undead Road

Title: The Undead Road: My Zombie Summer: Part One
Publisher: Dashboard Books / CreateSpace
Ebook Release: January 2st, 2016
Paperback: January 26th, 2016
Cover by Steven Novak
Edited by Reece Hanzon


Nothing brings the family together like a zombie apocalypse …

Fifteen-year-old Jeremy Barnes would rather watch a zombie movie than shoot a real one, but he has no choice if his family wants to survive the end of the world. Their plan? Drive across the infected United States to a cabin in the Colorado Rockies without a scratch, but their trip takes a complicated detour in the middle of Nebraska when they find Kaylynn, a girl who can handle a baseball bat better than Jeremy can hold a .45 Berretta. And when they stumble into a sanctuary, Jeremy soon learns that Kaylynn is stronger than she looks—a deadly secret lies inside her.

After the radio picks up a distress call from Kansas City about a possible cure, Jeremy’s parents go with a team to investigate. They never return. The only way to find their parents is for Jeremy and his sister Jewel to rely on a dangerous girl who might just turn on them at any moment.

And for this week only, Jan. 25-29, Undead Road is for sale on Kindle for only .99!

Praise for The Undead Road:

"For me, zombie stories are never about the killing. They're about the survivors and how people deal with the apocalypse. To this undead end, David Powers King has come up with the most original spin on zombies I've ever read." - Michael Offutt, author of Slipstream and Oculus

Contest Details:

Visit and leave and comment and/or tweet about The Undead Road (at least once) for a chance to win a free ebook. One out of every 10 comments and tweets is a winner! Use the Twitter Button below to ensure the author will see your tweet. Thank you!

 Twitter Button HTML:

If the HTML doesn’t work for some reason (it won’t for me), please post this text:

"Nothing brings the family together like a #zombie #apocalypse..." #scifi #horror .99 cent #kindle! @DavidPowersKing

Blog tour hosts:

Alex Cavanaugh         Jan 25th
Donna Hole                 Jan 25th
Chemist Ken               Jan 26th
Elana Johnson             Jan 26th
Nick Wilford               Jan 26th
Susan Gourley             Jan 27th
Tara Tyler                    Jan 27th
Kristin Smith               Jan 27th
Lidy Wilks                  Jan 28th
Elizabeth Seckman      Jan 28th
M.J. Fifield                 Jan 29th
Michael de Gesu         Jan 29th

About the Author:

David Powers King was born in beautiful downtown Burbank, California where his love for film inspired him to be a writer. He is the co-author of the YA fantasy novel WOVEN, published by Scholastic. An avid fan of science fiction and fantasy, David also has a soft spot for zombies and the paranormal. He currently lives deep in the mountain West with his wife and three children.

What weapons might you use to fight zombies? The three feet of snow we have might slow them down today but it would slow down my escape too. 

Monday, January 25, 2016

It's Back!

It is time. Today the sign ups for the annual A to Z Blogging Challenge are open. I'm writing this well ahead of time as I fear the winter storm hitting us this weekend might knock out the power. By the time you read this, I hopefully will have my name on the list. And hopefully the snowplows will have opened our roads for the second or third time as they drift shut again and again.

Last year I worked as an administrator for the Challenge and believe me, it is work. This year I've backed off and resumed my role as minion the Alex J. Cavanaugh. I'm happy to be helping in some small way but without so much stress. I'm still thinking out my theme but I'll figure it out sooner rather than later. And Alex does have a really cool minion badge for his helpers to display.

Speaking of the storm, nearly three feet before it started drifting, it was a lot of shoveling but our very kind neighbors helped us. The three feet of snow remained on the township roads for more than a day and a half after the snowfall started. Not good.

Being stuck inside gave me plenty of time to write. I managed to finally type THE END on the second book on The Galactic Outlaw series. It's a very rough first draft. I hope to finish the second before A to Z starts in April. And now I have a lot of other little things that I've ignored while in my writing cave. Time to get back out into the social world.

A little industry news. Here's a link to Publisher's Weekly article about The Hot and Cold Book Categories of 2015. Apparently, The Martian really helped the sales in the science fiction category. It seems to happy when certain mega-sellers help a category like 50 Shades of Grey did for romance and The Hunger Games did for the YA category. Who knows what the next blockbuster will be? And if you happen to write in that category it may help your own book sales.

There were some funny posts on Facebook leading into the storm. One measured the storm not in expected inches but expected bottles of wine to be consumed. We fell into the 12 cases categories.

"In wine there is wisdom, in beer there is Freedom, and in water there is bacteria." Benjamin Franklin

I didn't drink 12 cases of wine.

Did you sign up for A to Z? Did the big storm hit your corner of the world? Are you writing in one of the hot or cold categories of books in 2015? Do you read in one of those genres?

Monday, January 18, 2016

Happy News

Barely into the new year and exciting things are happening. To read about the coolest things so far in 2016 world of writing, visit IWSG and read all about it. What is it? And a very warm and hardy welcome to Chrys Fey to the IWSG team of administrators. She's a terrific addition.

The Insecure Writer's Support Group Newsletter will feature articles by industry experts, IWSG members, and administrators. There will also be a dozen links to helpful articles for writers in each edition, as well as a special Member Spotlight. Even if you're not a member of the blogging group, you'll greatly benefit from these FREE monthly newsletters.
First issue goes out on February 24!
Sign up link - :
Those who are part of the IWSG monthly blogging are already signed up.

Isn't that grand! I'm so excited to be part of this group.

Just a week from today, sign ups open up for the A to Z Blogging Challenge. I'm very excited for it this year even though I'll probably be in the middle of my next WIP by then. Mark the date and get up early next Monday to get your link on the list.

We're continuing to have mild weather for January though it's chilly today. My heating bill loves it and I'm getting a lot of my exercise outside instead of on the dreaded treadmill. I'm working on getting a stationery bike so I can ride while I read. I try to read at least an hour every day. If I combine biking with my hour of aerobic exercise, that will give me two hours of each. Win/Win.

"The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it." Henry David Thoreau

My publisher has released my the first book in my Galactic Outlaws series but it is only available on their website for the first thirty days. The Outlaw's Prize can only be purchased here for the time being. Like many small presses, they're trying to make more money for me and them by cutting out the middle man. Writers don't like to talk about money, but it's a fact that it's pretty tough to make a living in this business.

Talking of this business, I went to my local B&N yesterday to do some writing without family distractions. The place was so busy! I was glad to see so many children carrying around books, disappointed to see so many adults on their phones while their kids looks at books, and glad I found a table in the Starbucks that is part of the store. The line at Starbucks was long throughout the entire two hours I was there. I'm pretty sure the cafe alone made enough to keep the bookstore open. What was disappointing was the number of people standing in line to purchase books. Zero. That was unsettling. I hope some of the parents I saw purchased those books their children were cradling.

"The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be ignited." Plutarch

Are you excited about the newsletter? Are you signing up for the A to Z blogging challenge? What do you think of my bike idea to combine two important pastimes into one?

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Looking Forward

The TBR List
Barreling ahead into 2016, I have a stack of books on my TBR shelf. My daughter has insisted I read Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo. I'm surprised she liked it because it sounds pretty dark. I also read the first book in a steampunk series by Julia Knight. The Duelists Trilogy starts off with Swords and Scoundrels. It is the tale of a brother and sister, both flawed emotionally but very talented with a sword. The first book was fun and I look forward to the next two. I like how Orbit often puts out fantasy series by publishing one book per month instead of having to wait a year in between.

Our first measurable snow arrived last night. Quite a change from last year when we were buried in the white stuff. It was less than half an inch but enough to make the roads really slick. Not having any snow cover when the temperatures get really low can kill shrubs and perennials so I hope the temperatures stay warm or we do get a little more snow. Never expected to say that after last year.

Fun Fact from The Old Farmer's Almanac:
Walking a mile through 6 inches of snow is the same as walking 2 miles on bare ground.

My daughter went back to Boston to start her last semester at college on Monday. She left a week early to start an internship with a refugee resettlement nonprofit. Her heart is as wonderful as her GPA. But I miss her. This was our last winter break when she had no responsibilities and we could stay up late watching movies, eating popcorn and drinking wine. I do want her to get a job as soon as she graduates but it all went by so quickly. This purple desk chair is the one she would pull up to my writing desk so we could work side by side. It's unlikely we'll do that anymore but I'm keeping the chair in the room. Just in case.

My big wooden rocking chair usually sits on my front porch where I read and sometimes write and blog. I love it too much to leave it outside so I always drag it inside for the winter. It makes a comfortable seat on the porch but not so much inside for some reason. Probably because I have cushioned seats not far away. But I do miss those evenings on the porch at this time of year.

Happy Birthday, Ben
Benjamin Franklin's birthday is coming up this Sunday and it is the time of year we all dread. Tax time. Being self-employed, my husband and I suffer the double whammy of complicated filing and paying in beyond what was already deducted. Sigh....

"In the world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes." Benjamin Franklin

Any book series you're looking forward to this year? Do you like walking through snow or are you more into the joy of shoveling it? Do you do your own taxes?