Hello Line Edits!

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Hello, my amazing readers! I thought I’d start out with a little treat. Here’s a behind the scenes look at Six Train’s sequel in progress. It’s a screenshot of what the line edits from my editor look like for the first page of Six Train’s sequel.

My amazing editor, Jessica Jernigan, sent me the line edits on April 21. I’m hip deep in them right now working on 50 pages a day.

This page was a pretty easy page to accept all changes after I’d read through them. Other pages, I agonize over a change. 90% of them eventually get accepted. But 10% of the time, I write a comment to follow up for clarification with my editor or to reconsider before making a decision.

There are 4019 insertions, 4133 deletions, 18 moves, 115 formatting, and 106 comments that all need to be reviewed, evaluated, and approved or marked for follow up by me.

This is intense brain work. I tried to do 75 pages in a day and I was fairly certain my mind was melting like the wicked witch from the Wizard of Oz.

Phase 2 of line edits is smoothing out the new version and making sure it is polished up for the copyeditor, which means I should be done with line edits in 3-4 weeks.

Copyedits will take a month between me and the copyeditor.

Then the book moves onto internal formatting.

ARCs (advance reader copies) will be available in July on NetGalley (as an ebook) and through giveaways on Goodreads and here on the blog (as a paperback). So please do stop back in June and July to enter those giveaways.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in revision, Writing, wrtiting | Tagged , , , , , | 16 Comments

A Tale of Two Short Stories

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As I was wrapping up developmental edits for my editor on Six Train’s sequel, I thought I would do something fun on the side. I decided to enter a short story contest.

This was going to be a nice break from novel writing. I had a flash fiction piece that I could weave into a cool short story. I started working on it in March. When I handed in my developmental edits at the end of March, I had 2 weeks to really work on my short story before the deadline.

Doctors visits were scheduled, chores I hadn’t gotten to were going to happen, and I was taking care of other life things that I neglected during revisions. But this would be my only writing thing. Unfortunately, as I got more and more into edits, I realized this short story didn’t quite fit the requirements of the contest. But it did fit another contest I’d heard about and that contest had a deadline at the end of April.

Now I needed a new short story for the initial contest deadline that was coming up in less than 2 weeks.

I tried not to panic. But I did panic. Then I remembered that I kept a file of ideas and stories I’d started. There had to be something in there. I found 400 words I’d written back in 2010. I love this idea and never got back to it. I could weave it into a short story. Now I had something to enter in the first contest.

 

It was hard and challenging and frustrating. But then I realized, I hadn’t written a short story in 5 years. This was exactly how it should be.

One story “One Last Night” came easily and quickly. I had a detail that I had to work out, but the beginning, middle, and end were always apparent to me. It was short–1300 words. It had a more literary style of writing and was present tense. I submitted that last week.

With the other one “Her Mother’s Bones,” the end eluded me. I couldn’t figure out how to wrap it up. I got feedback from writing buddies and yet the end still wasn’t making sense. I didn’t know how to bring the story together. It took me another two weeks to see the ending. It’s far more plot driven and written in past tense. And now that’s almost ready to submit.

It made me laugh when I realized that my short stories also paralleled my writing styles with Six Train and The Girl.

Keep your fingers crossed for me. I’ll let you know if either wins or gets selected for an anthology.

Do you write short stories? Do you submit them for anthologies?

 

 

Posted in Contest, Personal, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

Are you the protagonist or antagonist?

I’m a bit under the weather so I thought I’d repost an old blog post on characters. Hope you enjoy it!

Kourtney Heintz's Journal

As I develop characters and decide on who is the protagonist and antagonist in my story, I realize real life is not nearly that simple. Sure in my life story I’m the protagonist. But in someone else’s story, I may be the antagonist.

Many times, I’ve been the sidekick. Even, an ancillary character that fills in the background. And the character I portray in other people’s lives is very different from the character I am in my own story.

Which randomly brings to mind this Klimt painting. Each character is drawn relative to the other. If you remove one, the others lose their positions. And I think that is what makes storytelling so interesting. Everyone’s role is defined by the others. Remove one person from the picture and everything shifts.

What got me thinking so deeply about this? My online Writer’s Digest class. We had to describe our protagonist and…

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Posted in Ramblings, wrtiting | Tagged , , , , | 13 Comments

The Funny Thing About Numbers

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Emerson freshly groomed and needing to cuddle in bed

 

Numbers don’t lie, but the conclusions we draw from them can be faulty. I used to think the majority of my readers of The Six Train to Wisconsin were paperback lovers. After all 70% of my sales were in paperback.

But that wasn’t the whole story behind that number. Because I wasn’t pursuing Kindle readers with the same focus and gusto as I pursued paperback readers. I have dozens of in-person events each year. Online, I did the blog tour, the giveaways, and the online ads, but had I really done the equivalent of all these in-person events?

I thought about it and realized I needed to play with price. It was the one thing I hadn’t done yet. Because I’d been advised to hold off until I had the second book in the series out. But I figured at this point what was there to lose.

First I did the 99 cent sales days. They created a nice bump in sales.

Then I tried the limited freebie days and after that ended, I saw a big jump in Kindle sales and in Kindle Unlimited reads.

Sometimes we form faulty conclusions and they become the premise for future decisions. Whenever you look at the numbers, remember to think about why you are seeing these numbers. What did you do to create these numbers? The causes of the numbers should influence what you do about them.

 

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Reagan in her floatie to keep from licking her hot spot.

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The Writing Goeth…

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The last 9 weeks have felt like this writing wise. I pretty much rewrote the entire book for Six Train’s sequel. And now the developmental edits are done! I want to dance and sing and shout. I feel like what I’m sending to my editor today is much, much better.

But for 9 weeks, I doubted it would ever get there. Though with perseverance, I managed to get through the manuscript 4 times in 9 weeks, so I feel like what I am delivering is pretty polished. *Fingers and toes are crossed*

She’ll get me line edits in a few weeks and I will rework things again.

Then we’ve got to figure out the title and cover concept this spring too.

In the interim, I’m working on two short stories to submit in April to two different anthologies. One was a flash fiction piece I’m expanding to a short story. The other was a random bit of writing from 2010 that I’m turning into a short story. It’s really exciting to do these shorter pieces on a tight deadline.

I’m also making some minor proofreading edits to The Six Train to Wisconsin this week because I plan to re-release the paperback and Kindle this summer. I also want to include an excerpt from Book 2’s first chapter in the back of Book 1’s paperback.

I’ve used up my 5 free Kindle days in March for The Six Train to Wisconsin. I got 10k downloads during that time. My last free day was on 3/23/16. So far there have been 5 new Amazon reviews posted and several new ratings on Goodreads.

I also saw a nice bump in sales and Kindle Unlimited downloads in March. I won’t have final numbers for a few weeks, but it was an inexpensive promo opportunity. All I had to do was pay for promo ads on websites and mailing lists and announce it on my social media.

I have some more promo things coming up for TGWIG at RT Convention, Bologna, and ALA. Interested to see how those impact sales this spring.

I’ve started a happiness journal that was inspired by blog buddy Jill Weatherholt’s post One Year Later–Still Happy. All I have to do is write 1 sentence a day about something that made me happy. It’s funny how easy that is to do. And it starts to shift your perspective a bit. Because every day there is something to be happy about. Thanks Jill!

And lastly,  I’m absolutely in love with Birdy.

This song really helped me get into my character’s head for my short story…

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And the Weekend Cometh…

This gallery contains 16 photos.

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The Devil Was in My Dog

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During the first six months of our lives together, I was fairly certain the Devil was in my dog. Hard to believe, right? You look at that adorable face and you think what could he possibly do?

I used to work very long days at the office. 12 hour days. So I would keep him gated in my kitchen all day.

He had water and a snack. He had a wee wee pad. He had that nice dog bed. He had toys. I’d leave the tv on so he had noise and heard voices. I did everything I could to make him comfortable.

But every day when I came home from work, he’d let me know how unhappy he had been.

I can remember dreading coming home. Because I knew at least 45 minutes of cleaning was waiting for me.

When I got to my kitchen this is what I saw.

He had shredded the wee wee pad, pissed on the floor, and flipped his bed into the pee so it was soaked in urine.

That wasn’t the worst part.

Then he’d pooped on the floor and danced on it so that it was cemented into the tile and grout work.

He wasn’t done yet.

Somehow he had managed to step in the fresh poo and then wipe his paw down my white cabinets.

And this was everyday that I went to work that this happened.

There were times I fantasized about staying in a hotel so I couldn’t face this cleanup.

Clearly he was lonely, but there wasn’t much I could do about it. I thought about getting a dog walker to break up his day. Then I hurt my back and was home with him for six months. He turned into an angel baby. After that, I got a job closer to home and came home every day for lunch. From then on I had the best dog in the world.

 

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Upcoming Kindle Sale Days

 The Six Train to Wisconsin will be free on Kindle on March 15-17 and March 23. It’s a limited time promo thing so mark you calendar. I’ll tweet reminders that day too!

The Girl Who Ignored Ghosts will be 99 cents on Kindle on March 29.

Posted in Personal, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | 30 Comments

Breaking My Rules

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Most of the time, I like to follow the rules. I prefer order to chaos. It’s just my nature.

But every once in a great while I break my rules.

For the past year, I’ve had a reading rule, one book by an author and then I move on. Doesn’t matter if they’ve written a trilogy or a series. My reading goal is to expose myself to as many different writing styles as I can.

And I had no trouble following that rule. I liked it. It made sense. Up until I read The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin. It’s a trilogy. And I fell completely in love with her writing style. It’s fresh and sparse yet rich. I loved the story she created. Her characters feel more real than the people I know.

A few times when I shut the book to go to bed, it took me a few moments to realize who I was and where I was because I was so deep in Mara’s mind that I forgot about me. That hadn’t happened to me in years.

So I broke my rule. I’m reading the second book in the trilogy, The Evolution of Mara Dyer. And I plan to read the final book too.

I don’t regret this rule breaking. There are always occasions when an exception must be made.

Are you are rule follower or a rule breaker? Do you have any rules about what you’re reading?

 

Posted in Personal, reading | Tagged , , , , , | 18 Comments