A Crazy Few Weeks, and A Couple Of Shows

No, I haven’t been deliberately neglecting the blog posts. I’ve just been far, far too busy.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, my publisher, Xchyler Publishing, brought forward the release date of Mr. Gunn & Dr. Bohemia by about a month from the original mid-November date. I’m thrilled, of course, but there’s always a downside—in this case, that being the deadlines are now much, much tighter. And so I and my extremely dedicated line editor, Jessica, have been hammering away at getting everything in shape in time. And we’ve done really, really well. The edits of the early chapters were completed four, five or more days past their deadlines, but through sheer hard work we’ve pulled that back in; we’re down to the last four chapters, and from the look of things we have every chance of finishing the job within the next three days—that is, only two days past deadline (and there’s even a chance that we’ll finish only one day late).

Doing that meant pretty much everything else had to go to the wall. Last weekend was twenty-one hours of knuckling down, and since then every lunchtime at work has been taken up, as well as every evening at home. And so, there’s been no time to compose blog posts. This is the first breathing space I’ve had, and it’s only because my editor was out of town yesterday.

That makes it sound as if there hasn’t been anything else. Not true; there has been time taken out for some fun stuff…

A couple of weeks ago we went to see Oleander at Moe’s BBQ and Bowling in Englewood. That was, frankly, a bit weird. I mean, Oleander, people; the band that brought you Are You There? You’ve probably heard it, even if you don’t know it by name. And there they were, playing to no more than fifty people. We were sitting twenty feet from the little stage, and the band members manned the CD/t-shirt sale table in person after the show, and shook hands, chatted, and signed CDs.

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Oleander at Moe’s

Last night we were at the Ogden in Denver to see Seether, who were supported by Eye Empire and Ten Years.

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Seether at the Ogden

Great show. We saw Eye Empire last year, when they supported Seether at the Fillmore; they were good then, and they were even better last night. As for Ten Years, I’d never heard of them until the day I bought the tickets, but I was seriously impressed, and I’ll be buying their CD next chance I get.

So… it’s Sunday, and I have some down time. What to do, what to do… Tea, I think, and a late breakfast. By this time next week, all the line editing should be done, and (if all goes well) most or all of the proofreading. I won’t know what to do with myself. But I’m sure I’ll think of something.

Until next time…

A Warning For Writers

You’re writing, planning to publish? If so, check this out.

There are a number of companies out there who claim that they’re publishers, but they’re not—they are in the business of fleecing writers. They might throw something out there to make themselves look good, but the chances of your book ever actually appearing in print are slim. The chances of you being charged thousands of dollars for nothing in return, on the other hand, are very good indeed.

A point to note: Real publishers don’t charge. For anything. They get paid the same way, at the same time, that you do—from sales of your book, once it’s out there. If a “publisher” says anything about you paying money up front, clamp both hands round your wallet and keep their hands in sight as you back away.

I follow the Writer Beware Blogs on Facebook; their blog is invaluable to anyone looking to publish, and I recommend checking them out. This blog post was spurred by their latest post, in fact; you can (and should) read it by clicking here.

Fake publishers are a cancer right now, fed by the changes in publishing and hoping to catch new writers who aren’t familiar with the territory. And don’t make the mistake of thinking that “big” names are safe—Penguin associated themselves with Author Solutions, one of the worst offenders out there. If you’re about to go with a publisher, check them out first; check that blog, and also find out what other people are saying about them. We all know that the Internet can be a minefield; Internet publishing is no different. Be safe.

Another Milestone

Followers of this blog might have seen Saturday’s post, in which I moaned and groaned about having no editing to do on Mr. Gunn & Dr. Bohemia, and how it was turning me into a nervous wreck.

I needn’t have worried. Before the day was out, a batch of line edits appeared in my inbox, and yesterday (Sunday) turned out to be a busy day—my changes went back to Jessica, my line editor, and then more came back, and before I knew it, files were bouncing back and forth like tennis balls at Wimbledon. A great day for progress.

And in the middle of all this, something else happened, the significance of which I didn’t realise right away. Chapters 10 & 11—the last two that were with Terri, my copy editor—were approved, and sent through to line editing. It doesn’t sound like much, and it didn’t really hit until Terri sent an email later.

Copy editing is done. DONE! Another milestone!

But there’s a downside. It means that Terri’s role in the project is at an end. Of course, that’s the way process goes—but I was surprised at just how personally the news impacted me. Terri and I have been working on this book for so long, it’s going to seem strange not having her wit and wisdom for the last stages.

There will be other projects, though, and that’s a good thought.

In other news: the release date for Mr. Gunn & Dr. Bohemia has been brought forward! It was originally slated for November 15, but that’s changed; if all goes well, it’ll be available a few weeks earlier. I have a new date, but for now I’m keeping it under my hat—the deadlines are obviously much tighter now, and I don’t want to say something, only to have to change it again in the event that we slip a few days. But so far, we’re well on track to make it happen. Copy editing is complete, almost two weeks ahead of deadline, and line editing is going well. It’s looking good.

Potential problem, at least for today: I woke up with a fever, headache, and a sore throat. It’s not strep throat—despite the fact that some people at work have had that recently, this is something else. I’ve called in to take the day as sick—but there’s editing to be done, and I know that I won’t be able to rest in bed knowing that I could be doing something, even if it’s only a little bit, to push on. So I’m writing this post as a warm-up. And now it’s done, and it’s time to get some Dayquil and coffee, and take a gentle run at Chapter 4 line edits.

Until next time . . .

Going Round The Bend

For the first time I can remember in something like five months, I actually have no writing work to do—and it’s driving me nuts.

Weekends are, for me, the best days to write. Saturday and Sunday mornings are usually quiet, and I can slam through a couple of thousand words pretty easily, or focus on editing for a long stretch without interruptions and distractions. Recently, I’ve been working on editing Mr. Gunn & Dr. Bohemia, and that’s been keeping me busy pretty much every weekend (except last weekend, of course, since we were at the Salt City Steamfest). It’s been so long since I did anything else, I’ve got used to spending weekend mornings doing that.

Today is different. I looked at the tracking sheet I use to keep up with where things are—and there’s nothing for me to do. Nada. Zip. Of the twelve chapters, two are with my copy editor, and the other ten are with my line editor. Until I get something back from one of them, I’m stuck. I want to move, do something, edit, edit, edit. But I can’t.

As Leon said, nothing is worse than having an itch you can never scratch.

I have other writing projects. There’s Smoke and Mirrors, which is, right now, a half-written first draft that was put to one side several months ago to make way for Gunn & Bohemia. But that’s a big job; I need to completely rework the timeline, for one thing, and then almost certainly rewrite—or at least edit, pretty drastically—every scene that’s been written so far. That’s not something I want to get into until I can work on it exclusively. That means not until G & B is ready to be unleashed. Now is not the time.

There’s the fantasy short I’ve been working on here and there, for Xchyler’s Back To The Future anthology contest. It’s partly written, and submissions are open until the end of the month, so there’s time. The trouble with that one is . . . well, to be honest, it’s boring. The story is complete, and I’m partway through the writing, but it’s too plain. It needs something—a twist, a surprise ending, some whiz-bang. As it stands, everything is too obvious, too easy. I need to think of something to make it stand out. If I can come up with something, perhaps I can really get that one going.

In a little while, there’s Xchyler’s release party for A Dash Of Madness (see my previous post for details and links), and I’m planning on being there at least part of the time. Another Saturday tradition is an hour or so on Skype, chatting with family. And the front lawn needs mowing; I’ll be taking care of that later. This is also the last weekend of the Colorado Renaissance Festival, and we were planning on going—but Kate’s sick with something and not up to the trip. Oh well; next year, maybe.

There are gaps to fill where the editing used to be. Editing drives me crazy at times—but not editing is driving me crazier, quicker.

I think I need coffee.

Until next time, gentle reader . . .

[Update, Sunday morning: three chapters came back from my line editor yesterday afternoon. I am editing. My day is complete.]

Book Release Party on Facebook Today!

Starting at 9am Mountain Time, Xchyler Publishing is hosting a Facebook release party for A Dash Of Madness – a thriller anthology.

From the event page: Come right here to Facebook and meet the eight talented authors who have created stories that explore twisted perceptions and challenge conceptions about right and wrong. Join them as they discuss how they created different avenues for exposing warped cognition and mutilated logic.

Click here to join the fun!