Heavy Lifting and Other Trials

Lifting heavy physical objects is easier.  You can always put them down.

Lifting heavy mental objects is a lot stickier, and often you don’t know how or cannot put them down when you want.

I have been working on my 4th then 5th edit of my manuscript.  I have a wonderful new title, a book blurb, an improved map, and thanks to absolutely incredible work by my aunt Jane who turned the full force of her professional teaching experience on the manuscript a mechanically cleaner, smoother, more glossy copy than I ever had before.

All this to set up for a professional editor.

So now the terrifying step of finding a pro to tear into my work again.  I have been so focused on this product, I am sick of seeing it.  I love it, but dammit, get off me!  It’s just like when my lovable doodlebug wanted to sit on the couch with me and I couldn’t put up with her laying on me anymore.  I love you dog, but you’re too heavy and hot and stinky and drooly.

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I also started a 99designs competition to design a logo for Akiniwazi.  It’s in progress at the moment, but I’ll leave that for another update.  I will say this though, 4 days is too short a time to accept submissions.  Too short by far.

But now, I need to get my mind off of my first book and writing, but I know I can’t because I want to do my next book.  I want to move the story forward, but right now, I’m so bound up, I don’t know how I’m going to pull that off.  So I think I’ll just focus on getting an editor, scheduling it and focus that way for now.  There are so many other things I can be doing that are related to writing.

There it is.  5 drafts in the can.  The beta reads have been absolutely wonderful to go through.  So many things that are done right, but to see my work laid open like it was… wow… I see why some writers dread hearing back from their editors even though, like surgery, it makes you whole again.

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Do You Wanna Build a Logo?

Yep, seriously.  Do you want to try your hand and make some money designing the logo for Akiniwazi?  If so, you can enter the contest here.  Yes, there is real money involved.  The winning design will be paid.

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Enter at 99designs
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If the link doesn’t work.

Come on…. replace this bad boy here with something awesome!

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You know you want to!

Standing on the Edge, Amazed at the View

Nine months ago I started this journey to publish my first novel.  Looking back at all the things that I had gone through to get here, I am frankly amazed, but still so frustrated because I wished I was already putting the book out already.  But everything in God’s timing I guess.

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As you may or may not have noticed I removed some of the content from my pages that was previously free.  It will be coming back, but not in a manner you all remember.  Instead, it is going to be refined, and done up as a free offering to those who sign up for my blog, and by extension, mailing list.  If you are already following this blog, don’t worry, you will be getting copies of that as a thank you.

In the next week or so, I will be utilizing my list, particularly from my beta readers for opinions on re-titling, cover image ideas and see what you guys think of the new book cover blurbs.  So expect some interesting stuff that you can participate with.  Now’s the time to sign up if you haven’t already.

 

X-Post Fact Toast #? 7? Yeah, 7. I think…

Edit 4B is now complete.  It went better than expected, despite some soul crushing realizations.

Words and phrases I use way too much and must DIE be replaced.

  • all
  • also
  • each
  • for the first time
  • just
  • massive
  • now
  • though
  • with

Common misspelling that thankfully I won’t be doing as much anymore.

  • Toward (Amazingly, there is no ‘s’ at the end,  derp.)
  • Whose (Not who’s.  Who taught you inglish?)

 

Now, (see what I did there?) one last structural edit, a quick review and yep… It’s that time… everyone panic!

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Some Changes Be A-comin’ & Other News

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I must remind myself, yet again, that the deadlines I give myself must be multiplied by a factor of 3 in regards to time. 😦  I also must remember that I am not in a race to publish, and that I need to stop it with those deadlines.  I am just so frustrated that I seem always too far away from where I want to be.  Editing seems to have me in a Norman Juster-esque geographical oddity.

In preparation for the upcoming release of my book, I need to reorganize some things on my site and do other things.

First, I have noticed almost zero traffic to my Library and Studio pages, so I guess it’s time to pull them down.  That doesn’t mean that the content is going to go away completely.  Instead, I am going to spend some time, once I can take my focus off the editing grind, and work on finishing the timeline and atlas of Akiniwazi for future giveaways.  So if you liked it in the future, but have not signed up or jumped on the mailing list, it will become available again for those who desire it again.

Second, I have been plotting book 2 in the background (Book 3 is ostensibly written, but had to be pushed back one novel because I had points and characters from the first book that originally got nothing in what had previously been written.) and have come to a major hook to string all these neat scenes in my head together.  It is under the working title, for my own sanity, of “Finnsoga”, since the 3rd book is technically Reimarsoga: book 2.

Third, I will be re-titling the whole shebang once I get closer to publication and will be putting up a poll for people to vote on titles, preferably before I go to the artist for a cover, so expect that soon.

On a positive note, even if things go completely cattywampus and I can’t get book one out as soon as I hoped, there is still the chance of 2-3 books coming out in 2017.  I am going to be refining my editing process as mentioned in the past, and well, live and learn I guess.  I know I can get the drafts out there, but my issue has been getting edits done quickly.  My hope is that what I am about to set up for book 2 could shave 2-3 months off of how long it’s taking.  (remember, the original manuscript for book 1 was finished in May, but the major structural rewrite wasn’t done till Sept.  Something I’ll never have to do again I hope.)

So as you can see, things are moving forward.  Just not at the pace I want.

Then again, has it ever?

Excerpt: Good Reason Does Not Always Comfort

Another excerpt from my novel as I plow through my 4th draft.  You know they say that you are starting to get to the point where your manuscript is polished enough when you are sick of going over it.  Well, I’m almost there.  I want to publish, but it’s not quite there.  Some minor structural fixes, a buffet of grammatical errors and word choices to go, then yep… I can send it to a professional editor for the final line editor.

I can tell you this much, the NEXT book is going to be a much more streamlined process.

Everyone was startled awake by a sharp series of whistle blasts. Many of the adults sprung to action. Even Bergamot scrambled to the ready with a wheezy groan.

“Greithr, children. We can step down at the station as the train takes on more water and peat. I will go get us some food for the second half of the trip. You may get off the train, but do not get off the station platform. There is no stockade here, and there might be things hiding in the dark,” warned Brother Finn.

Ahead, they could see the warm light of many torches and a large water tower. Most of them were in a desperate need to climb down and see what was happening if nothing more than to move their legs or use the outhouse.

“If you hear the steamwhistle again, get on top at whatever carriage is nearest. Do not wait. The train will leave without you and then you are on your own. I will not be coming back for you, and no one will take you home.” The seriousness of his words cut into their minds and put a cold needle of fear there. None of them had ever considered being abandoned before. The realized possibility showed with frightened glances. A few jerks and bounces distracted them as the brakemen set the brakes, running and jumping between car tops and spinning the cranks as they went.

As they glided to a squealing stop next to the station platform, the squat stone building blazed with life. Large pitchpots smoked around the building, filling the air with acrid smoke and sparks lighting the area with greasy yellow light. The Huskarls took position at their large springbows at the front and back of the train. Two more of them walked the platform with axes at the ready. Their colors were unfamiliar to Reimar. He reasoned that they belonged to another Aettir in the area. The carriage rocked as people surged off to find food. Only three children got down off the top and stood on the stone platform. Brother Finn rushed quickly into the station with the rest of the passengers to get food and drink. Reimar and Mats slowly walked on the platform, legs shaky from the rocking of the trip. Liesl made a bee line for the outhouse. Hand whistles blew and men shouted. They could hear the groans of llamas and a pair of oxen being taken off a car at their stop then being replaced with a different farmer’s cattle. Occasionally a foul word would color the air as a loader would throw a heavy package on the train.

Off in the dark, just beyond the pitch pots Reimar had the feeling that someone watching. He could not see anything beyond fireflies bobbing up and down among the grasses and weeds. It was beautiful and mesmerizing as he looked into the deep heart of the pinery. He walked away from the snorting engine trying to hear what could be out in the dark and maybe see something as well.

His family was so far away, and in that moment his frailty became known to him. He was just a young boy with only a strange man and his dog keeping evil at bay. Reimar continued to stare away from the noise and the chatter. He did not know what he expected to see out there, but looked anyway.

Then the apparition appeared. Was it a trick of the shadows dancing, or was it something in the trees faintly glowing? Pinpricks of yellow and green flashed like eyes and then vanished like the fireflies. The gurgling and gushing of the water tower filling the tender overwhelmed all other sounds nearby. The shadow returned. It was human in shape, resting a hand on a tree trunk. Reimar’s focus was intense and wanted to see more, but could not move.

The steam whistle blew. The shock of which jolted the boy around and he looked frantically at what was happening. His eyes fixed on Brother Finn, who had just come out with a large parcel of food wrapped in thick paper nodded to the carriages. His expression frightened Reimar with its severity of purpose. As Reimar started to move toward him and the train, he looked back over his shoulder one final time. The apparition was gone.

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Forth Draft Sweep “B” Begins

It has been very humbling to learn I can tell a great story, but suck rocks at grammar!  LOL… well not really lol… unless you mean lol like this:

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Then sure.

That said, I have enjoyed to some extent the editing process, though it may make my eyes want to bleed at times at how many missed commas, passive pronouns and verbs and ugh….  Just… ugh.

Can you tell I’m ambivalent about this process?  I so want it to be done and send to an editor and start focusing on the next book.

But I can see how much stronger it is making the writing so for every time I have this kind of a moment:

 

And I smile because I fixed it, and can that means a better book for y’all.  Hope springs eternal that this draft, and it’s subsequent structural fixes that I must do with it (yeah, I have 2 scenes that need a nice tune up and will increase the drama greatly towards the end) is all for the best.  Now… I NEED TO MAKE MY DEADLINES!!! ARRRRRRRGH!!!!!

 

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Excerpt: The Long Ride Through the Night

You will be getting occasional excerpts from the book till I finish editing, just to wet your whistle.  Enjoy!

Reimar wondered how much of this trip he would remember in the following years. Two carts were readied to go to the Chuffing Pony. They would spend the night on the train while their fathers would stay at the inn, returning in the morning rather than risk being caught out at night. Reimar’s father could not take the journey for their cart had been damaged and there was work to be done. The waste of a single day could be dangerous even with aid on the way.

The ride was enjoyable as the weather had turned into a pleasant early fall day. Brightly dappled sun cut through the trees’ shadows, which were so tall, their branches played with the clouds, or so it seemed to young eyes. Llamas bleated and groaned in their usual cranky way. Sun warmed wood and dry leaves scented the air. It felt like it should be a play day for the children Brother Finn observed, but their hearts were so heavy from leaving, the good nature of the ride had become a cruel taunt.

Two bright, shining ribbons of iron straps on wood beams appeared and the road turned sharply to it towards the station. You could hear and smell it quite a distance away. The smell of oils mixed with burning peat and wood. Many of the trees here had started losing their leaves in the deepening Autumn. A copse of nearby Tamarack Spruce sighed with the breeze, needles turning orange with the season. Before them, the stone and log walls of the Chuffing Pony waited. Two large gates were closed to the ribbons, with men at the ready to open them once a train was seen. They capped the ends of the long stockade around the siding, warehouse, water-tower and the inn. Huskarls walked across catwalks with either a bardiche or slung battle axe and bow in hand. They were Herse Olin Halgarsson’s huskarls or so their crests proclaimed. The scarlet and yellow tabards were signs of their allegiance to the Asbjornaettir who ruled Neezhodayland.

Hissing steam was punctuated with the clinking and popping of valves as the carts of goggle-eyed children entered the station’s stockade gates. Once through, the front of a great iron beast greeted them. It squatted low on eight wheels, looking all at once like a lion, cricket and dragon. Its body made up of a huge cylindrical boiler and tall funnel which spewed smoke and sparks up into the sky. An angled grate at the front looked like long thin teeth, while its angled pistons were its legs set rampant to claw at anything that dared come in front of it. A tail of ten short carriages trailed behind. They were twenty foot long, double decked carriages. Their top deck was covered by a tarpaulin roof and had sets of forward and back facing bench seats for people to sit. The interiors were more plush, but had less room, with button-down flaps for when it rained or snowed while those who rode up top had to contend with much of the elements. The carriages themselves could hold maybe a dozen or more people comfortably on their pair of four wheeled trucks.

Next to the tender, a flat car loaded with squat boxes separated the carriages followed by a pair of cargo wagons, providing distance and protection from the noisy, dirty engine. The engineer was wandering around the wheels and valves dripping oil on them. The two firemen threw another slab of peat through a large open maw into the rear of the beast. The conductor helped the ladies up into the carriages while the train guards stood post on the top with large springbows at the ready. Their holstered axes gleaming on their back, emblazoned with the crest of the ribbonroad company.

“Wait on the platform for me. I will settle our passage,” Brother Finn ordered the men. With a dancer’s grace, he hopped off the cart and Bergamot followed a short way with a sloppy jump.

Once the carts were empty, everyone stood on the platform keeping close by. The station was busier than expected, as the train was delayed, waiting for the eastbound schedule to come by. The children who’s fathers were not there stayed close to Bergamot, following her like ducklings with their mother. For now, she seemed content to sit lopsided on the platform, panting in the warm day with a bored look on her face. Occasionally, she looked expectantly to the door where Brother Finn had gone, and licking her chops, sloppily at peace but alert. Her shifting ears and droopy eyes the only tell of where her interests lay.

Many people had come from other small farmholds and nearby Thiggardborg which was on the river and had a real sawmill. Some talked about a spur being driven towards Thiggardborg in the coming year to help pull out fresh lumber and shingles. Women in beautiful tapestry-like dresses complained about the ash and smoke from the engine’s crown like stack as it burned small holes in their parasols, and the mud caked their slippers.

“Third Nonae! Damer and herrar, please board the train! Third Nonae! The eastbound is due in a few minutes! Finish your arrangements now!” a station agent called out the time loudly and rang a bell. A man climbed up on top of the front of the lion like face of the engine, changing the banners from green to red and lighting a bright trio of lanterns on the front end.

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More to come!