Weekly writing check-in: pumpkins and print

So, do you know what I have this week?

I mean, other than a pre-order?

Print books (in process) and pumpkins!

And I’m exhausted. It’s not that hard to do, but it adds up when you’re creating paperback, large print, and hardcover editions.

So, I will keep this short and take the rest of the day off while the title winds its way through all the various vendors and systems. 

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Weekly writing check-in: the one with the pre-order

You know what I have this week?

That’s right. I have a pre-order.

People, people. It. Is. Done.

Well, almost. I’m currently getting all the print versions. That will take a few more days. But really?

It’s done.

I went with a release date of October 31st. Halloween fits both the story and the entire series. I had hopes of releasing the book last year, also on Halloween. But we all know what happened last year.

So, like a lot of couples, Katy and Malcolm had to postpone their wedding. But now?

It’s on.

And you can find The Ghosts You Left Behind at your favorite e-book retailer.

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Weekly writing check-in: of autumn and edits

Okay, at this point, I should call these check-ins: Whenever I want writing check-in.

But! I’ve been working on the edits for Coffee and Ghosts, Season Four.

It’s. Almost. Done.

The last episode is with my proofreader (and she does a tremendous job), and I have the Vellum file set up, so all I need to do is drop that last episode in, and then I can generate all the files for publishing.

Before I sent the manuscript for proofing, I tried something new with my listening edit this time around. I made a free account on Amazon Web Services and used Amazon Polly to create audio files.

Then I played the files on my phone and did a “story and sound” edit. I’ve done these in the past, but I’ve been tied to my desktop PC. This way, I was able to move around and pause the audio when I heard something hinky.

Curious about doing that yourself? Joanna Penn has everything you need to know. Check out this post on The Creative Penn.

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Weekly writing check-in: that’s a lot of words

For the most part, I am making sense of all my squiggles.

I’m currently working in Word with Grammarly opened in the side panel. This is something new. In the past, I’ve completed my edits and then would open Grammarly to pick up on anything I might have missed.

Note: this is not the way I draft anything. When I draft, spellcheck, grammar checks, everything is off, off, off.

But I find Grammarly a bit tedious. There are any number of things I simply skip (and you should too). And I wasn’t looking forward to running a check after I was all done with the edits. So? Two for one!

It seems to be working. The edits may be a bit slower, but that’s not a bad thing.

Also, I’m pretty sure the only reason Grammarly has “checked” +300,000 words is it runs the check each time I open the manuscript or wake my desktop. I look far more productive than I actually am.

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Little Free Library: currently on offer

Currently on offer this week: great books and a lot of variety.

Some fantasy and speculative fiction, an awesome WWII novel, some fun middle grade and young adult books, a little nonfiction, plus a handful of books for the small set.

And plenty of sunshine for reading in the park.

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Weekly writing check-in: It’s not going to edit itself

Oh, look at me doing two check-ins in a row. I know. It’s crazy.

This week, I made it through all the hand edits. I ran out of blue tabs, so I had to use yellow for episode two. Then I ran out of pink for the chapters, and episode three is in purple and green. And I used all the green tabs as well (episode three is the longest).

But the thing with hand editing like this? The updates aren’t going to magic themselves into the manuscript.

That’s my task for today and this coming week (I’m hoping the long US holiday will help with that).

So, I’m going to dive into all those tabs and squiggles I’ve created. We’ll see if they make sense.

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Little Free Library: How it’s going

So, we’re officially official! My Little Free Library is up and ready for reading.

You’ll notice we opted for the easy, screw-in library post. We are not digging holes for this. (That being said, I did check with all the utility/cable companies to make sure we wouldn’t hit anything crucial or dangerous).

Wouldn’t you know, we’ve been in a drought all summer, and the moment we set up the library, we get rain. You’re welcome.

But! The library really is waterproof, and we apparently added enough coats of varnish to the wood that the design is holding up just fine. (I say we, but you know, my daughter.)

I loaded it up with some books and then hoped for the best.

You guys, people are already finding it. They’ve taken books to read and dropped some off as well. Someone brought a handful of children’s books for the small set. I have mostly middle grade, young adult, and adult titles, so this was a boon.

I literally check it several times a day (I’m outside anyway, and hey, it’s better than scrolling social media), and every time I see a new book or that one has vanished, it’s like a gift.

The local Barnes and Noble was having a 50% off book haul sale, so I stopped in and picked up a few more titles as well.

In the months to come, I hope to have even more fun with this: theme months, featured authors, and so on. But for now, I couldn’t be happier.

So, if you’ll excuse me, I need to step outside and check on my library.

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Weekly writing check-in: done and then some

Yes, I know.

I should probably call these posts monthly writing check-in. I’m not going to make any promises about posting more often, except I want to blog more about my new Little Free Library, books, and writing in general. Let’s just keep our fingers crossed, okay?

So, not only have I finished the draft of Coffee and Ghosts, Season Four, I’m well into the revision. In fact, I’m through episode one, the short story, and started on episode two this weekend. 

When I draft, I write in block format. I use Cambria typeface (the default for Microsoft Word on Mac), and I only use scene breaks, no chapters. Also? Spell and grammar checks are off.

For the first round of edits, I first do a quick spell and grammar check. Just the big stuff, so the mistakes don’t annoy or distract me. Then, I change the font to Times New Roman, bump it up to 14, and then put it into standard manuscript formatting. 

Honestly, I think making it look different does wonders for adding emotional distance (as does time–I haven’t peeked at episode one since I finished it). 

I go through the entire manuscript and mark it up by hand. This is also when I figure out where I want the chapters to be. 

New for this edit: I decided to mark where all the scenes are (blue) and where I think the chapters should fall (pink). This gives me a good visual for where the chapters should be. Also? I highly recommend a header with page numbers, at the very least. You drop this thing? And the papers scatter all over the floor?

It’s nothing but wailing and crying and gnashing of teeth after that. 

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Little Free Library: How it started

So, I’ve wanted a Little Free Library probably from the first time I ever spotted one. This year, for Mother’s Day, I decided to buy one for myself.

It didn’t take long to reject the idea of building one from a kit. That wasn’t happening. An unfinished one, however? That my daughter could paint as a Mother’s Day present?

Totally doable.

People, it took us at least a month to figure out how we wanted to paint it. An entire month. But have you seen some of the designs? So amazing. We scoured Pinterest board after Pinterest board. Then, one day, I said:

“What about a Starry Night library?”

And an idea was born.

The first thing we did (I say we, but it was really my daughter) was prime the entire library with exterior house paint primer. Then my daughter bought some good acrylics.

The problem with acrylics is they’re not weather-proof, so once the painting was all done, we (again, she) gave it several good coats of an oil-based sealer.

Of course, once you paint your library, you have to get it into the ground.

But that’s a post for another day.

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Weekly writing check-in: home stretch (with sunflower)

IMG_4424Well, yes, it’s been about a month now. So can I really call this post a weekly writing check-in? I’m going to be optimistic and say: yes.

I haven’t been posting for a variety of reasons. One, I got a new computer! Yay! I’m still setting it up, getting it to where I need it to be. The other is … I still hate the new WordPress interface, and blogging has become a chore, and it’s never been that before.

So, I either need to get over myself and learn to love–or at least tolerate–this new interface or figure out something else.

But in actual writing news, I’m in the home stretch with Coffee and Ghosts Season 4! Three scenes to go, more or less. I hope that next week I can report that the draft is done.

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