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Another month, another update!

Have you visited my Facebook page recently? I have a little contest involving the title of the second Silver Moon Saga novella happening right now. Each day I’m revealing a letter of the title, and the first person to unscramble them and guess the title wins a $5 Amazon gift card! Definitely check it out if you can.

I also have an Ask the Author feature on my Goodreads page! I’d love to answer your questions, so don’t be shy!

In writing news, I am just about done with the second novella, which is very exciting. Even more exciting is I read through THE SHADOW STEALER for the third time, made a few more changes, and sent it to my beta! This is a big deal. I’ve been working on this since November, was rather unhappy with it for awhile, but I’ve finally come to the point where I’m able to let it go. Of course this is not the end for it; I’m sure I’ll have to make some more changes, but I’m happy that I’ve taken one step closer to finishing it. Although finishing it means I’m done with the Silver Moon Saga, and I’m not quite ready for that…

I’ve also been trying to read more. Because I’ve been writing and editing so much, I haven’t had much time for books this year, but in July I was able to read a whole bunch! I hope to keep this up for the rest of the year; I still have piles of ARCs to get through!

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Another month over.

So June is over. When did that happen? I was holed up in my writing cave and didn’t even notice the days flying by.

But I’m happy to say I finished writing the second Silver Moon Saga novella! Have I talked about the novella here? Maybe not. Let’s pretend I haven’t. The second novella was not something I planned on doing. I thought about it, yes, but I didn’t think I had enough material to fill a second novella. One story was written (I actually wrote it before I wrote The Soul Healer, and it’s about two characters who show up for the first time in that book! And the story takes place after The Soul Healer! Because that’s not weird and confusing at all.), and at the beginning of this year I had an idea for another story. But I was busy writing the final book, The Shadow Stealer, so I couldn’t work on that shiny new idea. Around that time I was convinced that yes, we needed a second novella, so I kept that idea in mind all these months. The more I thought about it, the more I realized it was going to be a heck of a lot longer than I originally anticipated. I decided to put it on hold once more and work on the third story for the novella, which is a short but sweet Gabi and Rafe story. With that finished, it was finally time to work on what I now refer to as Evan’s Not So Short Story.

 
Evan’s Not So Short Story (it does have a title, which is also going to be the title of the novella itself, but I’m keeping that a secret for the time being) is a prequel story, but it should be read after you read The Soul Healer. That sounds weird, but trust me, it works better that way. Originally I thought it would be maybe twenty pages long, but as the days went by, and the word count kept growing, I realized that wouldn’t be the case. It’s about the length of a novel now (add the other two stories, and yes, it’s definitely novel-length), and I regret nothing. I read it over this weekend and I love it immensely. I really can’t wait to share it with the world (January 27th!).

So that’s the novella. Three stories, two short, one humongous. It’s all written, and now I’m just working on edits. After that, it’s back to The Shadow Stealer! I haven’t read it since I heavily revised it, and I’m curious to see if my changes work or not. I’m actually going to make more changes based on things that came up in Evan’s Not So Short Story. It seems daunting right now, but I hope it’ll go smoothly. Final books are hard, you guys, but I’m going to work hard to give you the best possible ending!

June was all about writing, and July will be all about editing.

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What I wrote in 2013

In my last post, I discussed what I read in 2013. In this post, I’m going to talk about my writing!

My biggest accomplishment, of course, was publishing my first novel, The Sight Seer, in June. That was both exciting and scary, and it was an experience I’ll never forget. I have always, always wanted to be a published writer, and to finally hold a book of my own in my hands? It’s amazing.

I thought that was going to be it for me this year, in terms of books being published, but then the fates aligned and An Autumn Dream came out in November! I don’t know how it works for others, but when I write something, I hope it’ll be published, but I’m realistic and know that it’s never guaranteed. I felt that way with The Sight Seer, and I felt it even more with the novella. It was just a few little stories that I wrote for myself because it was hard for me to let the characters. So to have this one out there as well? It’s even more meaningful.

In terms of writing, I wrote the sequel to The Sight Seer over the summer, from June 8th to August 12th. The first draft was 78,442 words, and the current draft is 79,416 words. After I finished the sequel, I wrote the third short story for the novella. And then, starting November 11th and still going strong, I began writing the third book in the Silver Moon Saga. It’s currently 58,374 words, and I have a ways to go. I had been hoping to finish it before the year ended, but I quickly learned that writing during the holidays is a very bad idea. At least now I know for next year!

In 2014 I hope to completely finish that series before venturing into something new. I’ve had an idea for a fairy tale since May that I’m itching to write, along with an idea for a contemporary. There’s always something, but never enough time to write it all. I’m excited to see what I come up with in the new year!

Have a wonderful 2014!

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How I Edit

Well, hello there. I think it’s time I gave you guys a proper post, don’t you agree? I’m sorry for the silence, but silence means I’m working on things. Lots and lots of things that I think you will enjoy. Mainly, I wrote the sequel to The Sight Seer! Yep, from June 8th to August 12th, I was hard at work on the first draft. It took me longer to write than Seer did, and I had my moments of, “THIS IS SO BAD WHAT AM I DOING?!” but that always happens. To every writer. You just can’t let it get to you. In the end, I kept plugging along, and I’m pleased with the results.

So what happens after I finish a first draft? Revisions! Lots and lots of revisions! Every author is different, of course, but I thought I could share my process with all of you. The first thing I do after finishing a first draft is take a break! Writing takes its toll on me; I have trouble sleeping (I have lots of crazy, vivid dreams), and sometimes it’s difficult for me to form coherent sentences. My brain obviously needs some time off, so that’s exactly what I do. Watch some TV. Read a book or two. Relax. Don’t even think about the manuscript that’s sitting on my computer, ready to be revised. This time around, I had something else to work on, so I finished that first, and then started on my edits. For the first time ever, I loaded my first draft on my Kindle, and read it off of there. And what a difference it makes! I do not enjoy staring at a computer screen for hours on end, so when I edit, I can only do a few chapters at a time. Plus, you know, there’s tons of things to distract me (Twitter, email, Facebook etc.). My Kindle has no distractions, and the screen does not hurt my eyes at all, so I can easily edit a huge chunk at a time. And I think it’s easier for me to find typos (missing/incorrect words, especially). Because my computer is full of distractions, I end up writing any changes I want to make in a notebook. I’m probably doing double work here, because then, later, I have to open the document and find the spot I want to change, rather than change it the moment I see it, but like I said, DISTRACTIONS. This way, I’m avoiding them altogether. Searching the document for the changes isn’t that horrible, in all honestly. I’m going to continue using my notebook (I even took advantage of a great back-to-school sale and bought a new one!), because that method works the best for me.

So I do this for the entire manuscript. What’s next? Sending it off to my beta. She reads it, fixes any typos, and tells me what does and doesn’t work. After she finishes, we discuss what doesn’t work in detail, and I will rewrite whole scenes if I have to. I send her those newly written scenes, and we hammer them out until we both agree they finally work. In a perfect world, I would just send her the manuscript and she would read it and say, “Everything is great, no changes are necessary!” But of course that would never happen. Sometimes, I can’t get a scene the way I want it until I discuss it with her. I’m very thankful to her and all her helpful input!

After I receive all of her edits, I then go back to my manuscript and start making changes (I should mention that these are all saved on my computer as different files. The first draft is the raw, unedited version. The second draft is the one I make corrections to. The third draft is the one I make corrections to using her suggestions. I like looking at the different drafts; sometimes there will be something in the first draft that I deleted for the second one, but decided to put back in the third draft. You don’t want to lose this stuff forever, because you never know when you might need it again!). This doesn’t take as long, and doesn’t require my Kindle. However, once those changes are in place, I will reread it one more time (with my trusty notebook by my side)! It’s only after that do I start passing it on to other people.

It’s a long process, as you can see. I’ve been asked about the sequel, and I wish I had a date, but as of right now, I do not have one. The story needs to be edited and approved and all that fun stuff before I’m given a date. As soon as I know it, I’ll let you guys know. Until then, it’s back to work! And hopefully I’ll remember to post more often.

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Changes and ideas.

Hey guys! I’m still here. I wish I had a reason for my silence, like I was writing another book or something equally exciting but, I don’t. Sorry. I have, however, started rereading the manuscript I wrote early last year while querying (I wrote to distract myself from the stress of querying. Anyone else do that?). I decided to change a couple of minor details, and while I could have gone to the specific scenes and changed them rather easily, I decided to refresh my memory of the story and characters and start from the beginning. On Sunday, I only had time to read two chapters. Last night, I read over fifty pages as I found myself sucked into the world once more. This story, a YA fantasy, was meant to be a standalone, but all day today I was playing around with ideas for a potential sequel. I did this last year too, while writing it (and afterwards, too!), but I never jotted any of them down because… Well, I don’t know why. I’m pretty sure after I finish my reread, I’ll make some notes this time around. And we’ll see what happens!

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Back It Up!

Here’s a silly question, but for those of you who write (or draw, paint etc on your computer), do you back your documents up consistently? I ask because in this day and age, when you can get a USB drive in just about every shape/color/animal possible, I still see people bemoaning the loss of their work when their computer dies. I can’t help but wonder, why aren’t you backing your stuff up?

I’ve always made sure I’ve had copies of my stuff somewhere, either on a CD or an external hard drive, but once I started writing things that I hoped to publish someday, and my laptop got older and slower, I invested in a simple 2GB USB drive. It sits on a shelf on my desk, directly over my laptop, and when I finish with a session of writing and/or editing, I immediately back up my stuff. Every single time. Multiple times a day, if I need to. In addition to that, every few months I’ll email myself copies of all of my manuscripts (completed drafts and works in progress). This is especially necessary during natural disasters (hey, we’ve had two hurricanes in two years over here!). Even if I were to lose my laptop AND USB drive, at least I would still have the manuscripts!

Do yourself a favor and back your work up as often as possible! You never know when your computer will turn on you, wiping away a day, week, or even MONTHS of hard work.