Grace's Mosaic Moments


Saturday, November 24, 2018

Writing Out of the Mist - Again


Found on Facebook & so very appropriate, not only for Thanksgiving week
but for every day of every year in our tumultuous age


Cassidy in front, Riley directly behind to the left
Cassidy, a mid-fielder, scored goals in their last two games.
Riley plays defense.

The girls are now faced with umpteen performances by the Citrus Singers for the holiday season. They are not, however, among the five girls for whom I made the capes. Here they are, debuting in the Citrus Singers' Christmas program at the Orlando Museum of Art on Sunday, Nov. 18.




























I had to cut five inches off the cape (originally a tree skirt!)
for the wee one on the left.



~ * ~


WRITING "OUT OF THE MIST" - AGAIN

I plunged into the first "from the top" edit* of my latest Regency Gothic this week, which inspired a  topic I come back to every now and again because I am determined that newbie authors not be intimidated into thinking they must compose ten- to thirty-page synopses or outlines before they write Word One. 

*Grace note: Please recall that this first "from the top" edit is actually a THIRD edit. I edit after every chapter and again after every five chapters.


There is no ONE way to write a book.  

 Alas, there are all too many so-called "experts" who try to tell you differently. Do not listen to them. Yes, you need to have an idea of your overall story. You need to create your major characters, if only in your head. You need to name them. You need to have a good concept of your setting, so you can paint a vivid picture of both characters and setting right up front. And you need to do whatever research is necessary to get plot, characters, and setting off the ground. BUT here is where various approaches to writing differ . . .

Writing style is highly personal. Every author needs to find the approach that works best for him or for her. Some people would feel lost if they did not know what was going to happen, right down to the last detail, before they begin. Some prefer to write separate scenes, tying them together later. Others, like me, want to be free to improvise as we go along. We want to build each scene on the events in the previous scene (which was only a vague idea until we sat down and typed it out). We do NOT want to know what is going to happen two chapters from now, let alone in the final chapters. We often don't even know who the villain is until the book is nearly done. If we plotted it all out to begin with, we'd be bored: Oh, that's what happened? Really? If I know that, why bother writing the book?

The problem is, unfortunately, that many advocates of lengthy, detailed synopses insist that is the only way to write. IT IS NOT!


I have previously cited the example of the speaker at one of our RWA chapter meetings who proclaimed with horror: "If you don't plot, you have to go back and add things!"

Uh . . . that's what I do with every book I write. I consider it a part of editing. All too frequently I leave out descriptions or do not make a point strong enough, or . . . whatever. Adding (in some cases, deleting) is a standard part of editing. Yes, sometimes I write myself into a situation requiring more drastic editing. In Shadowed Paradise, a Romantic Suspense, I created a really scary anonymous villain, but—oops—I realized about three-quarters of the way through the book that the character I had in mind for this role just wasn't "right." So I had to create a new character and insert him into the book. Which I did. And it worked. Shadowed Paradise is still one of my all-time favorite books.

Which brings me to why I've brought up this topic again this week. In The Ghosts of Rushton Court (a real ghost story, by the way, not a euphemism), I carefully laid out a number of possible villains with no idea which one was going to be the actual villain. I was, in fact, down to the final chapters before I made my decision. (I can see the "plotters" rolling in agony as they read this!) And, of course, when I did, I realized I had not done enough set-up for this villain. I needed to insert more details early on, a hint or two here and there. Which I am currently doing as I execute this first "from the top" edit. 

Do I mind? No, indeed. I'm happy to spot the people, ideas, and/or events that need a bit of tweaking. As I wrote the final chapters, I scribbled notes of what needed to be added earlier in the book, and there they were, legal pad notes paper-clipped together for my perusal before I started editing. (And yes, I edit hardcopy as that works for me. I often do some of my best work with pen in hand instead of fingers on the keyboard. However, if you prefer editing onscreen, that's fine. Do whatever gets the best results.)

In some cases, where a whole page or scene was added, I wrote them as separate documents and later found a place to insert them. And yes, I edit the inserts as severely as I edit the original manuscript. You must also be sure to revise the transition into your Insert and the transition out of it, so the chapter works as a whole and your Insert doesn't rear its head up like an intruder at the gates then disappear in a puff of smoke, with no relation to what went before or after.

Below is an example of the first version of an Insert, complete with edits:



Don't bother to attempt to read the above. It's intended to show only how much I edit my originals. And please note that I reminded myself to watch the Transition! And, oh yes, on a second edit, I expanded the above to one and a half pages. (And in a later edit, eliminated the entire addition in favor of a couple of  less "spoiler" paragraphs elsewhere.)

Word of the Day:  Never be afraid to revise, change, add, delete, even make up a new character when you're in the final chapters of your book. Enjoy tinkering, enjoy expanding. Revel in the opportunity to make your work better. Don't settle for the plodding simplicity of a story confined to putting all your carefully planned plot points together like a picture puzzle, when your story could soar out of the lines, out of the frame, exploding into far more than you thought it could—because you followed your characters' personalities and used your imagination to make your book so much more than the vague idea that began it all.


Don't settle for mediocrity when creative editing can make your book great!

~ * ~

If you're looking for Christmas stories that are something more than sweetness and light, take a peek at my novellas, Mistletoe Moment and A Lady Learns to Love



 




























Both books can be found 
on Amazon, Smashwords, 
Barnes & Noble, Kobo,
and other online vendors














~ * ~ 


For a link to Blair Bancroft's web site, click here.

For Blair's Facebook Author Page, updated 11/5/18, click here. 



For a brochure for Grace's Editing Service, Best Foot Forward,


email: editsbyBFF@aol.com 
 

Thanks for stopping by,
Grace  
 

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Books in Need of Love

On Monday my daughter informed me that she needed Christmas capes for five of the Citrus Singers by Friday. Needless to say, that meant no new blog this week. So I am falling back on a bit of promo for four of my more unusual books. As regular readers know, I do not like to repeat myself over and over (unless I'm pushing editing!) Although I love writing novels set in the Regency era (c. 1795-1820), I have frequently paused to write other genres, including suspense, mystery, sci fi, medieval, pseudo-medieval, and just plain romance. Below are covers and blurbs for four books I'd like to see appear more frequently on my Amazon and Smashwords sales lists!

And please do not forget my two Christmas novellas, Mistletoe Moment and A Lady Learns to Love, as 'Tis the Season . . ." 


My all-time favorite cover

A tale of young love, set against the seething times of the dynamic Henry II and his feisty wife, Eleanor of Aquitaine. Alecyn de Beauclaire, an orphaned heiress, is torn from her home at age nine, becoming the "ward" of an earl and later of King Henry. Her only friend during her long captivity is a penniless squire who cannot even afford a horse and armor. It does not seem possible that they will ever be together. (This story featuring many actual people and incidents, was written for Young Adults, but adult readers should also find it enjoyable.) 



My venture into Steampunk/Alternative History

Recently orphaned Araminta Galsworthy travels to the home of her new guardian, Baron Julian Rochefort, an inventor like her father, only to find herself hastily married, and attacked by evangelicals who consider her husband's airship a work of the devil. Add a rebellion on behalf of a young princess against the Duke of Wellington who has taken over the government, and well, you have Alternative History with a strong dash of Steampunk.


Medieval Times in Florida
Florida Knight is based on my years as a member of the Society for Creative Anachronisms, an international Medieval-reenactment group with a whole slew of active chapters in Florida. And also on my years as "Roving Information" for the annual Medieval Fair at the Ringling Museum in Sarasota. In addition, I was aided by advice from the husband of a friend of mine, a Florida State Trooper. And if you think the background in this is over the top, think again. The story may have come from my imagination. The Medieval-reenactment group if spot on.

A Florida Highway Patrol officer investigates his brother's injury in a Medieval Fair tournament and discovers an astounding sub-culture in today's Florida—the Medieval-reenactment group, the Lords & Ladies of Chivalry. He also finds a Lady Knight, fighting her way out of years of abuse. Michael Turco and Kate Knight both have a great deal to learn before they can solve a crime and lay each other's ghosts and preconceptions.


Based on my long-time love of Cape Cod
My father's first job after Harvard graduate school was Principal of the High School in Wellfleet, MA, on outer Cape Cod (just two town down from the tip of the Cape). I was only four years old, but even after we moved away, we went back every year, and many years later, my parents retired to the Cape. So my love of Cape Cod goes back more years than I care to admit to!

After winning a case she wished she'd lost (the defendant was a rapist), defense attorney Victoria Kent rushes off to her parents' vacation cottage on Cape Cod, only to find herself nose-to-nose with 9mm Glock. It seems the cottage is occupied. By John Paolillo, a homicide detective from New Haven who has been sentenced to two weeks' "rest"after hitting a defense attorney.

They end up not only sharing the cottage but exploring the outer Cape together and managing to fool themselves into thinking people with diametrically opposed views of the law can become a couple. But disaster strikes on the teeming streets of Provincetown, and it’s going to take more than physical attraction to find a way past the basic conflict that has split them apart.



~ * ~


For a link to my Christmas novella, A Lady Learns to Love, on Amazon Kindle, click here.
 
For a link to Smashwords, including a 20% free read, click here.
 



For a link to Blair Bancroft's web site, click here.

For Blair's Facebook Author Page, updated 11/5/18, click here. 



For a brochure for Grace's Editing Service, Best Foot Forward,


email: editsbyBFF@aol.com 
 

Thanks for stopping by,
Grace  



 

Saturday, November 10, 2018

More on What's Next




This gem found on Facebook

For my foreign readers who might find this one a bit of a challenge: The word wanted is "retinal." 
"Rectal" refers to a part of the body—ah—somewhat south.


How anyone learns English, including Americans, is sometimes beyond comprehension.
~ * ~


WHAT'S NEXT?
Part 2

Okay, your manuscript has been polished until it shines, and now you're faced with the challenge of what to do with it. After my first post on What's Next, I was curious to find out how much the world of publishing has changed since I went indie in 2011.  The answer: A LOT. There has been a huge amalgamation among print publishers, so many of the well-known publishing houses are now divisions of the Big Five: Penguin Random House, Hatchette, Austin Macauley, Macmillan, and Simon & Schuster. Some of these "biggies," however, have electronic publishing divisions that accept Direct Submission from authors. Below, I am going to attempt to pass along some of what I discovered, but in the end the research and decisions are up to you. Remember your choices: 1) the generally long-term effort to find an agent, who will then submit your manuscript to the publishers he or she thinks best-suited to your work; 2) submitting your work directly to an online publishing company which, if they accept your work, will take care of editing, cover, publishing, and marketing on their website; 3) preparing and uploading your manuscript yourself to Amazon Kindle, Smashwords, or other online VENDORS. Please note these are not "publishers." For #3, YOU are the publisher. You edit, provide a cover, and do the marketing. You also get a hefty share of the sales.

In Part 1 we talked about finding an agent and how to find guidelines for indie publishing. The information below is devoted to #2: how to find electronic publishers to whom you submit your work as you would to a print publisher. These e-publishers who will accept or reject your work, and if accepted, will act in the same capacity as a print publisher, taking over your rights and taking care of all the details. (Although additional marketing on your part will almost always help.)

Here is a link to a recently updated blog by Joan Edwards titled, "50 Publishers who accept Unagented Submissions":  To view, Click here. 

Here is a list of the online publishers I discovered that accept Direct Submission:

For Harlequin/Silhouette (print & e), click here.


For Avon's Impulse, click here. (Harper Collins)

For Kensington's Lyrical Press, click here. 

For Forever Yours, e-division of Grand Central, click here. (Hatchette)  

For Austin Macauley, click here.

Macmillan - see Austin Macauley  

Simon & Schuster appears to have established a division titled Archway, which aids in self-publishing (as in Amazon, Smashwords, Nook, Kobo, etc.) I.e., acting as a VENDOR not a publishing house.

I also found a link called, "How to Self-publish Poetry":  To view, click here. 

Independent Online Publishers:

For Entangled, see their blog. To view, click here.

For Soul Mate Publishing, click here.

WARNING! 

Do NOT choose a publisher who asks for money upfront. Yes, if you are indie publishing, you will have to pay for a cover and possibly for editing, but no reputable online publisher should charge you for anything except buying copies of your own book (at cost).

 ~ * ~

That's the best I can do, friends. There are opportunities out there. All forms of publishing require research, work, and patience on your part, whether you are staying traditional, submitting to an online publisher, or going indie. Each has its own set of challenges. But whichever way you go . . .

1. Make sure you are submitting a highly polished manuscript.

2. Research publishers, research agents. Find the ones who publish or handle the genre you write.

3. Submit! I strongly advise every author to enter writing contests and submit to a variety of publishers before going indie. Get feedback if you can. Explore the market. Learn! Never think you got it right the first time!

4. After you've suffered through the learning curve, then - and only then - consider Do-it-yourself. 


~ * ~


For a link to my Christmas novella, A Lady Learns to Love, on Amazon Kindle, click here.
For a link to Smashwords, including a 20% free read, click here.


For a link to Blair Bancroft's web site, click here.

For Blair's Facebook Author Page, updated 11/5/18, click here. 


For a brochure for Grace's Editing Service, Best Foot Forward,

email: editsbyBFF@aol.com 
 

Thanks for stopping by,
Grace  

Saturday, November 3, 2018

A Lady Learns to Love

Although this week's Mosaic Moments is about my latest Regency Christmas Story, there is something of greater importance that needs to come before the cover & blurb for my latest book. Here is the text of a new hymn written after the massacre at the synagogue in Pittsburgh. This is a tragedy for people of all faiths, for all times. Posting this hymn is my small contribution to the fight we all must make against Hate and Evil.


~ * ~

A LADY LEARNS TO LOVE
A Christmas Story

When writing a blurb, I don't usually lay out the whole story, but this time I did. Perhaps to make it clear that this tale of Christmas isn't all sweetness and light, carols, wassail, mistletoe, and presents. It's a serious approach to the holidays, with a heroine not quite as difficult to please as Scrooge, but well, you'll see . . .



Author’s Note: This novella was first published in a Christmas Anthology as THE LAST SURPRISE, but I always felt more scope was needed to tell the tale of three girls who are orphaned while the eldest is in the midst of a glorious London Season. Therefore, more than ten thousand words have been added. A LADY LEARNS TO LOVE is a poignant tale of those faced with tragedy, amplified by unforeseen circumstances, who still manage to survive, aided by the spirit of Christmas.
                                       
The story:

Lady Christine Ashworth is enjoying her second London Season and about to receive an offer of marriage, when the sudden death of her father, the Earl of Bainbridge, results in Christine and her two younger sisters being exiled to relatives in Yorkshire, while awaiting the return of their father’s successor from the wilds of western Canada. Christine is promptly deserted by the man who thought to become her fiancĂ© and constantly importuned by her Yorkshire cousin who is eager to add her inheritance to his family’s coffers. Her sisters are also miserably unhappy.

No wonder then, when Christine finally meets the new earl, she begs him to allow them to come home. But he is not married and the solution to this problem is painful—for Christine, who has become disillusioned with men, and for Harlan Ashworth, who never expected to inherit an earldom, the responsibility for three females, nor find himself married to a woman he just met. Not surprisingly, the marriage of Harlan and Christine does not get off to a good start and goes downhill from there. Only with the help of the youngest Ashworth and a hefty dose of the Christmas spirit is Christine able to lose her prickly edges and learn the true meaning of love.





For a link to A Lady Learns to Love on Amazon Kindle, click here.


For a link to Smashwords, including a 20% free read, click here. 

~ * ~ 

Next week: More on "What's next?" 

~ * ~




For a link to Blair Bancroft's web site, click here.

For Blair's Facebook Author Page, updated 11/5/18, click here. 


For a brochure for Grace's Editing Service, Best Foot Forward,


email: editsbyBFF@aol.com 
 

Thanks for stopping by,
Grace