Posted in Blog Tour, Cloudy Rainbow, Solstice Publishing

Want to Win an Amazon Gift Card? Check out the blog tour for Cloudy Rainbow

I’m celebrating the re-release of my paranormal romance, Cloudy Rainbow, with a blog tour by Silver Dagger Book Tours. The tour runs through October 3rd and includes a giveaway for a $10 Amazon gift card. You can follow the tour and enter the giveaway from Silver Dagger Book Tour’s website or from any of the tour spots that are linked below with their scheduled posts.

kickoff at Silver Dagger Book Tours

Sep 10

A Modern Day Fairy Tale

 Sep 11

Viviana MacKade

Bedazzled By Books

Sep 12

A Pinch of Bookdust

Books all things paranormal and romance

Sep 13

All the Ups and Downs

Bookish Reviews

Sep 14

Books a Plenty Book Reviews

Girl with Pen

Sep 15

Nicole’s Book Musings

Sep 17

books are love

Inside the Insanity

 Sep 18

Bound 2 Escape

Luv Saving Money

Sep 19

Kerrific Online

Momma Says: To Read or Not to Read

Sep 20

Midnight Book Reader

Rambling of a Book Nerd

Sep 21

Maiden of the Pages

Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer

Sep 23

The Book Dragon

Sep 24

My Chaotic Ramblings

Sapphyria’s Book Reviews

 Sep 25

Triple A – REVIEW

Paranormal Palace of Pleasures

Sep 26

Rabid Readers Book Blog

Scrupulous Dreams

Sep 27

Stormy Nights Reviewing & Bloggin’

Sylv.net

Sep 28

Anna del C. Dye official page

Stacking My Book Shelves!

Sep 29

Twisted Book Ramblings

 Oct 1

fundinmental

eBook Addicts

Oct 2

Reads and Recipes – REVIEW

Declarations of a Fangirl

Oct 3

book review virignia lee

Teatime and Books

Excerpt:

Dulcie took a seat in the tapestry covered armchair, while Valerie sat on the couch next to a white lump of fur that had to be Coronet, the nine-hundred-lives kitty. The lump rolled over when she sat, but Valerie just patted it a few times and nestled next to it.

            “Well, then.” Mrs. Hanover took the matching chair on the other side of the room. “I know you, but you don’t know me yet. I’m Marjorie Hanover, but you can call me Marge. You, too, Val. I’ve been meaning to tell you to stop being so formal. I’ve always loved art and had an opportunity to collect nice pieces when my husband was alive, and we traveled the world. Since he passed, and I’m not sure when he’ll be back, I’ve bided my time here, but it has been a bit lonely.”

            Now it was Dulcie’s turn to roll her eyes at Valerie. How could she have gotten her involved in this insanity?

            “I realize you gals have a lot to do, so I’ll make this short,” Marge continued. “I’m a clairvoyant, but I don’t tell too many people about my power. I was surprised to learn I had this gift when I was ten years old and my dog Rudolph died. I had a dream the night before that he was hit by a car. I tried to tell my parents, but it was too late. Luckily, he came back as my cat Priscilla several years later. I knew there was no way we would be separated forever…but getting back to my point.”

            Dulcie was on the edge of her chair with her fingers on the cell phone in her pants pocket.

            Marge turned to face her directly. “This trip you are shortly going on will be the most important one of your life, my dear. I had to tell you that, so I asked Val to bring you over.”

            “I see.” Dulcie’s voice was a bit too high, but Marge didn’t seem to notice. She was using all the phony fortunetelling tricks of false mediums, telling people they were going on a trip, guessing their names, etc., although there had to be explanations for all of it. Dulcie would play along. “What about romance?”

            “Oh, that’s part of it, if you want it to be.” Now she was reaching. “Are you sure you girls wouldn’t like anything to drink or eat?”

            Valerie saved her from making another excuse. “We really can’t stay long, Mrs. H., I mean Marge, but thank you.”

            “I get the hint.”

Marge stood up from her seat and turned her back. Dulcie feared she’d go to the kitchen for that sharp butcher knife, but the woman was smiling when she turned back with those unnaturally bright teeth that had to be false. “I’ll see you tomorrow night then, Valerie. I have this Renoir you must see. Nice meeting you, Dulcie, dear.”

            They had almost escaped and were inches from the front door when Marge, coming up behind them, added, “So sorry about your cat, Dulcie. I know how special he is to you.”

Author Bio

Debbie De Louise is an award-winning author and a reference librarian at a public library on Long Island. She is a member of International Thriller Writers, Sisters-in-Crime, the Long Island Authors Group, and the Cat Writer’s Association. She has a BA in English and an MLS in Library Science from Long Island University. Her novels include the three books of the Cobble Cove cozy mystery series published by Solstice Publishing: A Stone’s Throw, Between a Rock and a Hard Place, and Written in Stone. Debbie has also published a romantic comedy novella featuring a jewel heist caper, When Jack Trumps Ace, a standalone mystery, Reason to Die, and has written articles and short stories for several anthologies of various genres. She lives on Long Island with her husband Anthony; daughter Holly; and Cat Stripey.

Social Media Links

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/debbie.delouise.author/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Deblibrarian

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2750133.Debbie_De_Louise

Amazon Author Page: Author.to/DebbieDeLouise

Website/Blog/Newsletter Sign-Up: https://debbiedelouise.wordpress.com

Sneaky the Library Cat’s blog: https://sneakylibrarycat.wordpress.com

 

 

Advertisements
Posted in A Stone's Throw, Authors, blog challenge, Books, Cat Writer's Association, Cloudy Rainbow, Limitless Publishing

#LifeBooksWriting Blog Challenge: My Publishing Journey

blogchallengegraphicupdatedI’m very excited to participate in the blog challenge Sophia Valentine of Lifestyle and Literature created (see graphic for topics and dates if you have a blog and would like to participate. If you’re a reader, I’m sure you’ll enjoy learning about some of the great participating authors).

debbiehicksvilleThis week, I will be talking about my publishing journey where, how, and why I started on this path, how far I’ve come so far, and where I hope to be in the future.

lobaughawardI’ve always loved reading and writing. When I was young, I would drive my family crazing making up and relating stories before I even knew how to write. In college, I majored in English and became a Features Editor on the student newspaper at Long Island Unversity/C.W. Post Campus. I received a special award for my writing on the paper, The Lawrence C. Lobaugh, Jr. award in journalism. When I decided to become a librarian and enrolled in the Palmer School of Library and Information Science also at Post, I volunteered to edit and publish the graduate school newsletter, Annotations.

debbieaward1After college, I wrote articles for cat magazines and published a short story in a mystery anthology called Cat Crimes Through Time. I also joined the Cat Writer’s Association and am still an active member today. In fact, I just won their Glamour Puss Award sponsored by the Hartz Mountain Corporation for my article, “Brush your cat for Bonding Beauty, and Better Health.” I received a beautiful plaque for this award and a check from Hartz.

cloudyrainbowAfter my beloved cat Floppy died, I self-published a novel, Cloudy Rainbow, and made him a character in it. My daughter was young at this time, and I stopped writing for some years following the publication of Cloudy Rainbow, but I started back up again after taking some Gale Online Writing and Publishing Courses that my library offers free to library card holders. I began submitting articles and stories to various publications and was published in my local paper and Catster.com, an online cat magazine.

stonesthrowamazonIt was at this time, that I also began writing my mystery, A Stone’s Throw, that was published in November 2015 by Limitless Publishing after their managing editor liked my tweet on a twitter event called Pit2Pub and the publisher offered me a contract after reviewing my manuscript. I had found out about this event as I became further involved in social media to help promote my work. Here is a link to my interview with Kristin Kristin D. Van Risseghem, the organizer of this event. http://bit.ly/1Yxazt8

Once I became traditionally published, I learned much more about the publishing business. The amount of time and effort that authors put into marketing and promoting their books was an eye-opener. By networking and interacting online with other authors, I discovered what happened after your book is published. I found out about book blogs, blog tours, Facebook and Twitter parties and events, newsletters, mailing lists, book talks, author signings and conferences, and much  more. It was overwhelming at first, and I’m still finding it hard to balance the time between writing, marketing, and working a full-time job as well as spending time with my family.

Currently, I am working on the sequel (possible 2nd in the Cobble Cove Mysteries) series and am very close to announcing some great news about it. I also have a completed manuscript for a psychological thriller that I’m hoping to submit to an agent for a chance at having my work considered with a larger publisher.

Below are some interviews and articles about me that include further details about my publishing journey. I have also included my social media links and website where you can sign up for my author newsletter that features a monthly contest and updates on my writing and books.

Interview for Lifestyle & Literature Blog

Interview for Jane Hunt Writer Blog

The Braille Club Interview

Interview with Natalina Reis on her blog, Never Too Late

Local Author Releases Second Novel

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/debbie.delouise.author/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Deblibrarian

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2750133.Debbie_De_Louise

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Debbie-De-Louise/e/B0144ZGXPW/

Website/Blog/Newsletter Sign-Up: https://debbiedelouise.com

 

 

Posted in A Stone's Throw, Cloudy Rainbow, Monday Blog, Writing

Have you been to your High School or College Reunion Recently?

debbiegraduation
I graduated from the Palmer School of Library and Information Science at C.W. Post/Long Island University in 1989 with a Masters in Library and Information Science and a Bachelors in English.

I came up with the idea for this post after I was asked to submit some memories of my time on Long Island University’s C.W. Post College newspaper, the Pioneer, for an article their current advisor, Carolyn Schurr Levin is writing. It was a pleasure to speak to Ms. Levin who is helping arrange a 60th anniversary for the student paper. While collecting my thoughts for this project, I felt it would be helpful to write a blog post about the process of recalling events from over 30 years ago and why some of you might also want to reminisce about your own school days and even plan a reunion with fellow classmates or club members.

I was involved on the Pioneer from 1983 until I graduated C.W. Post in 1989. I came to Post as a slightly “older” student who returned to college after working a year as a secretary. I enrolled part-time as an English major to test the waters before I made the full-time commitment.

Debbiepioneeroffice
I was hired as secretary by Adam Pardonek in 1983 and later became Features Editor.

One of the first things I did was to seek a way to familiarize myself with and participate in campus activities. I remember that September day when I walked down the second-floor corridor of Hillwood Commons to the activity wing where the newspaper office was located. Adam Pardonek, the Editor-in-Chief at that time, spoke to me in his office about my interests in working for the student paper. I explained my situation as a new student who had prior experience as a secretary and also enjoyed writing. He suggested that my skills could be put to good use on the Pioneer. Many of the writers and editors could use help in having their stories typed. There was also an opening for a Features writer on that year’s paper. I accepted both positions.
My part-time job as a secretary was approved by the administration, and I was paid a small wage. The workload sometimes became intense, especially close to deadlines. At that time, I used WordPerfect to input the stories into a computer.

productionroom2editedfinal
Editors in the 1980’s laid out the student paper by hand and then brought it to a printer to be printed. (Left to right: Editor-in-Chief Tim Votapka works with Sports Editor, Mike Gannon, in the Production Room laying out the week’s Pioneer.)
debbiepioneerparty2
The Pioneer staff members were like a family and, besides production night dinners, we celebrated other special occasions and staff member birthdays.

Unlike today’s technology, the paper’s layout was done in-house in a production room and brought to a printer for copying. My memories of Production night dinners on Wednesdays are still clear after all these years. The advertising manager had an agreement with the local Fireside restaurant where the editors could have dinner each week in exchange for advertising copy in the paper. We all looked forward to these meals. Thinking back about eating with the editors as we discussed our stories, I can still taste the fried mozzarella sticks and recall the comradery and some of the jokes that were told. We also celebrated birthdays and special occasions of staff members.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

lobaughaward
I received the Lawrence C. Lobaugh, Jr. Memorial Award in 1984 for my work as Features Editor on the Pioneer. The award was given in memory of a Pioneer editor who died in his Sophomore year at Post.

I still have my desk plaque that reads “Debbie Smiloff” and fond memories of my time on the Pioneer. I also received a special award for my feature writing my first year on the paper, the Lawrence C. Lobaugh, jr. Memorial Award in Journalism. Along with a plaque that is displayed in the Great Hall, I was given an engraved medal. I was the last Pioneer person to receive this award because the donor passed away that year. The award had been given in memory of his son who had served on the Pioneer and died much too young. It was quite an honor to receive this award, and I have treasured the medal for 32 years.

cloudyrainbow stonesthrowamazon

 

 

 

 

I saw many editor-in-chiefs come and go after Adam who graduated that year. I remained staff secretary but also advanced to Features editor with my own group of writers. Through my interviews for feature articles, I also met professors, students, and school administrators. The experience I gained from working on the paper led me to publish articles in magazines and, after I married, a few books, as well. My first published novel, Cloudy Rainbow, actually features some chapters that take place at the Pioneer. My current book, A Stone’s Throw, includes a librarian, like myself, who is a Post graduate from the Palmer School. One of the book’s settings is Brookville where C.W. Post is located.

debbiemikefestival
Mike Gannon, the Sports Editor I worked with for several years on the Pioneer, surprised me recently by attending one of my local book signings.

Many people say that college is the best years of one’s life. I agree. Even though classes can be tough and there are many additional stresses as one faces impending adulthood, the opportunity for friendships and extracurricular experiences such as those I gained from the Pioneer, can’t be duplicated. I look back on those days and the person I once was and realize how much my participation at the paper made a difference in my life. I am also happy that, as the Internet and social media has developed ways of staying in touch, that I’ve been able to reconnect with some of my fellow Pioneer friends. Over the summer, I did a book signing at the Levittown Library and was pleasantly surprised when Mike Gannon, a previous Sports Editor on the Pioneer, dropped by. He saw my Facebook post about the event and wanted to surprise me. It was the highlight of my day. I hadn’t seen Mike since he attended a Pioneer reunion during Homecoming in 2000, 16 years ago.

debbiescan11
Pioneer alums gathered at Homecoming 2000 during a Pioneer Reunion in the News Office. (Sitting L to R: Mike Gannon, Adam Pardonek). (Standing: L to R: Marianne Kolbasuk McGee, Bob McGee, Tim Votapka, Mela Gerbasi Stevens, Cheryl Turi Coutts, and Debbie Smiloff De Louise)

I believe the bond formed among Pioneer people remains strong despite time and distance because of the special experiences we shared on the paper. Not all the times were happy or fun, but we were all in them together. We worked to create a product that served the entire campus body. We were proud of our individual achievements but also realized it was a team effort. I imagine that those who belonged to other campus clubs, sports teams, or sororities/fraternities feel a similar bond.

As I complete my notes for Ms. Levin, I’ve formed a Facebook group for previous Pioneer staff to keep in touch. I’ve also scanned some old photos from those days. As people grow older, they realize the importance of preserving these memories. There are also more opportunities to locate old friends and schoolmates today.

debbiescan18 (1)I know some people avoid reunions for fear that don’t look as attractive as they did in their twenties or because they’ve put on weight or simply because they are uncomfortable in social situations. However, as people age, they realize that these are not the important things to care about. Since college, I’ve had many changes in my life. I’ve married, had a daughter, lost my father, mother-in-law, and a close friend. No one knows how long he or she will be around, in good health, and with clear memories. My father had Alzheimers and my 89-year old mother has poor short-term memory. While it’s important to consider the future and live in the present, it’s also nice to look back and find your past and the people who were in it. Homecomings, reunions, and social media are great ways to do this.

Posted in A Stone's Throw, Authors, blog challenge, Books, Characters, Cloudy Rainbow

#LifeBooksWriting Blog Challenge: How I Create Characters

blogchallengegraphicupdatedThis week’s blog challenge is called character inspiration. Sophia Valentine of Lifestyle and Literature created this challenge (see graphic for topics and dates if you have a blog and would like to participate. If you’re a reader, I’m sure you’ll enjoy the posts from the great participating authors).

interviewblogpostThe characters I feature in my books are fictionalized composites of people I know or have known. The main character usually shares some of my personality or background. For instance, in “A Stone’s Throw,” Alicia Fairmont is a librarian like I am. Although my husband is still alive, thank God, Alicia is a widow. Her marriage was quite different from mine, as her husband kept his past secret. When she searches for his family that she has never met, she ends up meeting and falling in love with John McKinney, the publisher of a small town newspaper. John’s character is mostly imaginary. His occupation and interest in journalism and novel writing is another aspect of my personal experience. I worked as Features editor on my college newspaper and also edited and published my library school newsletter before writing articles, short stories and novels.

What's the Secret Ingredient in the McKinney's PB&J Recipe-John’s father, 80-year old Mac, is another central character in my book. He is a librarian and previous library director at the Cobble Cove Library in upstate New York. One memorable characteristic of Mac is his love of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. When I worked part-time in the special collections department of my college library, I worked with an older gentleman who ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches every day. I gave Mac this similar quirk and also his propensity for creative quotes. The tagline of the book, which comes from one of Mac’s sayings is, “Things happen for a reason.”

Sheila, the current library director and a close friend of Mac and John is not based on anyone I’ve worked for. She’s a complex character who is difficult to know initially. As the story unfolds, we learn her hard exterior was built after the tragic loss of her young husband to a brain aneurysm that left her to raise her daughter alone.

There are many other characters in the book including Alicia’s best friend, Abigail Nostran, known as Gilly, who worked with her part-time as a clerk at their library on Long Island. Gilly has three sons and is a very down-to-earth person who likes to wear sweatshirts and casual clothing. She loves to bake and, despite a messy divorce, is a positive person who enjoys talking about the opposite sex. I based Gilly on several women I’ve known throughout my life. I also had a friend at my library who worked as a clerk.

Dora, the innkeeper, who Alicia first meets when coming to Cobble Cove, shares some similarities with Gilly. She has never married and, during the course of the book, develops a love interest in someone. An older woman who runs a bed and breakfast in a small town, she’s a bit wary about new guests. As she gets to know Alicia, she becomes friendlier. Her interests also include baking as well as gardening and making the inn’s bath soaps and lotions.

teaser6teaser5dogTwo other characters that play important roles in my book, although they aren’t human, are the library Siamese cat, Sneaky, and Mac and John’s golden retriever, Fido. The cat is based on my own Siamese cat, Oliver, who is older than Sneaky. The dog is also based on some dogs I grew up with and those I’ve read about in books.

For more information about my characters, you can read  “Interview with My Characters” and/or  “Celebrating Christmas with My Characters” both on this blog.

The sequel to “A Stone’s Throw” will feature several new characters. Without giving the story away, some will be college-age and others children. I base the kids on my own daughter when she was the age of the characters. One young girl who plays a big role in the book, Angelina,  suffers from leukemia. Her character is based on my niece who underwent a bone marrow transplant ten years ago at the age of 12 and is now completely recovered with a baby daughter.

The new book that I am currently writing with totally different characters, features themes of alcoholism. mental illness, and infertility. The main character, Sarah Lloyd, is a children’s book illustrator this time instead of a librarian. She is having problems conceiving which causes stress on her marriage. I have a familiarity with this topic because it took me many years and some fertility treatments to conceive my daughter. Sarah’s mother, Jennifer Brewster, is the alcoholic in the book. While my experience with this topic is limited, I used my knowledge of alcoholic characters I’ve read about and seen portrayed on television. Without revealing the plot or other characters because the book is only in a draft stage, I will say my characters are different from those of “A Stone’s Throw” and my first self-published novel, “Cloudy Rainbow,” although there are some similarities.

I believe most authors put some of themselves in their main characters as well as other aspects of their personalities in non-leading characters. I’ve also found that, once you name a character and begin to feature that person in your book, they start taking on characteristics and motivations that often surprise you.

In case the descriptions of my characters have interested you, you might consider joining my mailing list for updates on my books and monthly contests for prizes at https://debbiedelouise.wordpress.com (just complete the pop-up newsletter form and confirm through the email you are sent). The next newsletter will be out on June 1st where I’ll be announcing the June contest and awarding the May prize.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in A Stone's Throw, Authors, Books, Cloudy Rainbow

Some Things to Celebrate

hollychristeningphoto holly11After finally making all the changes to “A Stone’s Throw” with my editor and preparing for the last stages before publication, I took a break to celebrate my daughter’s 11th birthday this week, if you could call it a break. It’s been non-stop since Friday starting with a school Halloween dance and a sleepover with her friend at our house. On her birthday Saturday, she got together with a few friends at Dave and Buster’s video arcade and then came home and changed into a costume for the Trunk or Treat Halloween event at her previous school. The finale was blowing out candles on a birthday cake she baked and frosted herself, sharing some with friends and family, and opening her gifts.

Holly was born a week before Halloween in 2004. To our surprise, she arrived 6 1/2 weeks early. She started Kindergarten before her 5th birthday, so she is now in 6th grade which is Middle School in our district. Up until this year, she attended Catholic School, but she decided she wanted to change two weeks before school was scheduled to start this fall. I think it was the right decision. She has already made some new friends but is still in touch with many of the old ones. She is maturing physically as well as emotionally and is managing to keep up good grades while juggling eight different classes. Her room is still a mess, though, and she takes hour-long showers, but the teen years are just around the corner.

I equate writing a book to having a baby. It’s a journey that is joyful and yet painful but worth it in the end. To see your baby for the first time is incredible. To see your words in print is almost as thrilling.  Often, it takes many attempts for an author to publish his or her  first book. Some don’t even get the chance. Even popular authors face years of rejection before selling a first novel. What’s the secret? Blog posts and webinars have addressed this often-asked question. As someone who self-published her first novel, “Cloudy Rainbow” and is about to publish her second, “A Stone’s Throw” with Limitless Publishing, I would advise those still trying to keep writing, keep submitting, keep reading, and keep connected on social media and writing groups. The bottom line is to be stubborn and not give up.

hollypartyhollycostumeSome people consider stubbornness a negative quality, but it’s a positive trait if used in the right way. Inventors, Artists, Musicians, Athletes — all had to practice many years to perfect their talents. Likewise, those trying to lose weight, kick a habit, exercise more, etc. need to plan and work toward their objectives. It all takes determination and persistence. So, yes, I’m stubborn. My zodiac sign is Taurus the Bull. I tried four years to conceive my daughter. I’ve lost 50 pounds since last year. I walk a mile a day. My first book with a publisher will be released this November. I’m not bragging, but I’m proud of myself. I have some things to celebrate. I’ve set my goals and attained them. It hasn’t been overnight. It’s been a one step at a time, one day at a time, lots of stress, doubts, and tears. I haven’t done it alone because I’ve had wonderful support from my family and friends, as well as the great authors who are part of Team Limitless. Ultimately, though, I was the one who had to make up my mind what I wanted and put all my energy toward achieving it. I’m not the only one in my family who is so stubborn. My husband is also a Taurus. He had an accident at 13 that required several brain surgeries. Although he’s disabled, he works full-time at a college and has never let his physical issues interfere with his life. I see that our daughter has picked up our stubbornness (she’s a Scorpio), not through astrology but through seeing our examples. Sure, she drives us crazy at times by being so stubborn, but if she uses it in a positive way, it can get her far in life.

This Wednesday, October 28th, is the Cover Reveal for “A Stone’s Throw.” Please join me online at my Facebook event.  There will be door prizes and giveaways, and the grand prize winner to my Cover Reveal Contest will be chosen. Also, this Friday, October 30th, I will be at Taylor Henderson and Sara Schoen’s Halloween Release Party  from 6:30 to 7 p.m. I hope you can make either or both events.

 

Posted in A Stone's Throw, Authors, Books, Cloudy Rainbow

Editing for Everyone

creative-108545_1280 I’m on the last leg of my pre-edits for “A Stone’s Throw.” It’s been a long haul, somewhat frustrating but very educational and, hopefully, worth it. For those not familiar with the publishing process, pre-editing is when an author prepares a final copy of their manuscript before submitting it to an editor for further editing. Pre-editing is very important because it provides an opportunity for an author to take another look at their manuscript and make changes before official editing begins.

Although I self-published my first novel, “Cloudy Rainbow,” that I basically edited myself, I still found the process enlightening the second time around. Although I was happy with the plot and characters of “A Stone’s Throw,” I noticed many changes needed to be made. These changes weren’t only grammar, typo, or spelling corrections, most of which are caught by Microsoft Word’s spelling and grammar checker. There were places where the wrong character name was used, a character changed clothes unexpectedly from an earlier scene, a date or age was incorrect,  etc. In addition to checking these details, the overall content of the manuscript needed to be reviewed to make sure the writing flowed well, was descriptive enough, and that every scene made sense.

As I edited, my respect for my fellow authors grew. I think most of us find editing more difficult  and time consuming than writing. It’s the most important part of the job because while writing generates raw ideas, editing allows us to take those ideas and shape them into a form that’s most palatable to an audience. I also realized that editing is not restricted to writers. Don’t we all edit every day? We edit what we write be it in an email, text, or social media post. We edit what we say in conversations on the phone, our cells, and in person. This editing can be unconscious, or we can be very aware of it.

One thing that has helped me edit my novel is feedback. Knowing that most authors use beta readers to read and comment on their rough drafts, I asked fellow Limitless Publishing authors and a few friends if they were interested in being readers for “A Stone’s Throw.” Three people responded. I found a list of suggested questions for beta readers online and emailed it to my readers to use as guidelines for their feedback. I found all the suggestions quite helpful. I have to admit I was initially a little upset by some comments until I realized they were constructive criticism. I discovered some problem areas of my manuscript I would not have noticed on my own. After reading it so many times, I became blind to some of its weak spots. My beta readers didn’t only point out faults. They also told me what they liked about the book and in what areas my writing was strongest.

In everyday life, we don’t have beta readers to help us edit our written and spoken words. We are on our own with only our vocabulary, education, and common sense to guide us. To prevent our “putting our feet in our mouths,” pausing to self-edit our thoughts is a useful practice.

For authors, learning to edit effectively is gained through experience. Classes and workshops on this topic can also be helpful. As your writing skills need to be polished, so do your editing ones. Professional editors can do so much with your manuscript. You’re the author, and no one knows your baby, with all its faults and good qualities, better. With time and effort, you can edit your manuscript into the book your readers will want to read, and you’ll be proud you wrote.

 

 

Posted in A Stone's Throw, Cats, Cloudy Rainbow, Romantic Suspense

A Writer’s Journey

journey1One of the hardest things I’ve had to accept in life is change, but, ironically, it’s usually been for the better. In the past nine months, I’ve lost over fifty pounds. I am slimmer than before I became pregnant with my daughter eleven years ago. I feel great. I am walking a half hour a day and am no longer out of breath, nor do I have any pains in my knees or legs that I’ve had in the past. The changes I’ve made in my diet and lifestyle have been gradual but persistent. It’s been a journey of determination, but it’s paid off.

My daughter is also on a journey as she enters adolescence. In the last year, I’ve seen her blossom into a young woman seemingly overnight. In a few weeks, she will be attending Middle School having made the decision to switch from the Catholic school she’s attended since Kindergarten. I know this will be a big change for her, but I’m confident she will meet new friends and expand her horizons academically and socially.

My writer’s journey is similar in many ways to my weight loss journey and my daughter’s growing up journey. It’s been slow but sure, and I haven’t always known where I’d end up. I’ve been writing since I was young. I recall my teachers praising my work in elementary school. I can still recall writing notebooks full of stories and novels in my teen years. When I learned to type, I was using a manual typewriter in those days. Making corrections with that chalky correction ribbon was darn hard!

After I married, I began writing magazine articles. I had two cats then (had cats all my life), and I used them for material. My special cat, Floppy, had asthma and then diabetes. I researched these health issues and wrote about them for veterinary journals. When Floppy passed away, I wrote “Cloudy Rainbow,” my self-published novel that I dedicated to him and my young daughter. Floppy was actually a character in it. At that point, my journey stalled. Working full-time as a librarian and caring for my daughter did not leave much time for writing.

It took seven years before I started again after a patron who’d read “Cloudy Rainbow” kept gently nudging me to write again. I began writing short stories and trying to sell them. I didn’t have much luck, but I also started a book. Somehow, the characters and plot of “A Stone’s Throw, my romantic suspense novel took shape. Writing a few pages each day, I ended up with 85,000 words. I spent several months editing it and sending it out to publishers for consideration. After posting a short pitch for the novel on Twitter, a few publishers contacted me for a query and sample chapters. Limitless Publishing requested the full manuscript and then offered me a contract. I signed with them and am now pre-editing the book before it is published. I am also working on another romantic suspense book, writing articles for my local paper, and Catster online magazine. I am enjoying this journey, although it is time consuming and difficult at times. As with any journey, it starts with a step in an unknown direction. You just keep walking, and you get there. I am meeting fellow authors through groups and social media, and I am learning from them, my fellow travelers on this path to publication. I look forward to sharing this journey with readers, as well. I hope they enjoy my tales as much as I enjoy creating them.