Quarantine: Day One

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Another cover reveal on quarantine day!

If you’re in isolation right now, you’ve probably got one of three possible mindsets:
1. Oh God no I have nothing to do.
2. Oh God yes I have time to do things.
3. Oh God no I need money.

I’m going to touch on number 3 first. I’m immensely blessed to have safety nets (yes, more than one), and I recognize that. But most people are going to be in trouble in the coming months. I want to share two helpful solutions. The first is United Way, which has a relief fund to help people who are struggling to make ends meet. You can reach them at 866-211-9966, or online.

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The Story of My Editing

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I’ve talked about getting a good book cover. Now I’m going to talk about editing.

Here’s a fact you aren’t going to want to hear: you need an editor. A good cover will make readers give your book a second glance, but you need to keep those readers once they crack open your book. It doesn’t matter how good a writer you are, how proficient your grammar is, or how many times you’ve reread your work. You’re going to miss things. You’re going to not know about some tiny grammatical issue. You’re going to have a sentence that makes perfect sense to you, but won’t to your audience. These are things I suspected before I hired an editor, but the edits I received cemented that fact. The thing is, you don’t know what’s gone wrong in your book before you have an editor comment on it.

First thing you need to determine is what type of editing you need. My stories are already highly fleshed out, finished, and complete. I’m concerned about word usage and repetition, so I looked for someone who could do copy editing on my books. Here’s an edit-rich section from my first book for an example:

edits

If you have concerns about your story itself more than the grammar, you might need a developmental editor. Once you figure out what you’re looking for in an editor, it’s time to find one!

I wanted one with experience in the horror genre, and you’ll want one experienced in your genre. I posted for recommendations in a horror writers group on Facebook, and contacted several with requests for an edit sample, usually a page or two that the editor goes over and returns to you with comments. These help you pick someone who clicks with you and really gets what you’re looking for. One editor I contacted that came highly recommended refused to do a sample. I didn’t go with them.

Now you have an editor! They’ll cost a lot of money! Be prepared! As I’ve said, you’ve chosen an expensive hobby-turned-career. You’ll have to throw money down before the dollars flow back in.

My finely edited series The Fallowing is going up for pre-order, and will be available starting March 12th. Check out the first in the set here!

Writing Goals

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Though this is another cover reveal, I’m going to talk about something different today. You don’t have to be a writer to struggle with depression, anxiety, nagging doubts, mental exhaustion, or other mental difficulties. But writers can certainly feel these issues seeping into their work. I have, in the past few weeks. I’ve had a bout of depression recently that my meds just aren’t cutting into. I didn’t even want to make any posts today.

So what do you do when this happens?

Me, I looked at my goals for the month.

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Dis-Spell

I really like this one. I would love to expand the idea if I have the time – just everyday dudes having to fight demons and the forces of evil.

This prompt (in brackets) is taken from Complete the Story by Piccadilly Inc., which I got from the Scribbler box.

[He sprinted away, not daring to look back, his footsteps echoing down the hallway like distant gunshots. He just had to get to the back stairway and up to his office on the second floor, where] the grimoire was tucked away on his bookshelf, between a textbook of symbols and copies of Religious Archaeology Monthly. The demons were hot on his heels, crude sickening creatures that were hunting down every man woman and child in the city. Maybe the dogs too, who knew. He certainly wouldn’t if he didn’t reach the grimoire.

He had obtained the book on a visit to Jordan, from an old bookseller. He had found the thing interesting, but of little practical use. Until now. He had read the Enochian script in it, and understood that it was a sort of spellbook for dispelling demons and other terrible monsters, and he had chuckled and placed it on his shelf.

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Covers: Mistakes Made and Lessons Learned

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Okay, I’ll admit it – I made a mistake on my covers. But I’m not so proud that I can’t admit it.

I thought it would be really cool to have the series listed as “The First, The Second,” and so on, rather than “Book One, Book Two,” and so on. It seemed to fit the series and it would make it stand out, right?

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The College

This prompt (in brackets) is taken from Complete the Story by Piccadilly Inc., which I got from the Scribbler box.

[The soldiers were tense, waiting for something to happen – like it was a matter of when, not if. For our part, we did our best to steer clear of them, avoiding the main square, where a group of protesters] had donned pointed witch’s hats. It seemed to be the symbol of their movement, their protest to keep the magic college open.

Sickening, I thought, curling my lip in disgust.

Lydia noticed my reaction, and said weakly, “They’re just doing what they think is best.”

“Best?” I scoffed. “Lydia, surely you’ve seen the news. You know why that horrible ‘college’ was closed down.” I spat the word. Some college.

“Not really,” said Lydia. “Tell me.”

I gaped at her. “You haven’t heard? They were conducting Satanic rituals. They kidnapped children. Sacrificed them. All in the name of Satan.”

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It’s Happening!

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Now that I’m going into full self-publishing mode, I think I’ll post a bit more about my processes here. If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you’ll be seeing my cover reveals and blurbs and such, but here I’ll talk about it all. If it can help another author, I’ll be pleased. If it can’t help another author, well, I’m new at this – give me a break!

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One More Hand

This prompt (in brackets) is taken from Complete the Story by Piccadilly Inc., which I got from the Scribbler box.

[Harry shuffled the deck of cards and pushed it across the table. “Deal,” he said. “One more hand,” I agreed. It was a way to pass the time. More importantly, it was a way to avoid talking about] the fact that I would soon have to kill Harry. We knew how I would do it – a quick shot to the temple with my Glock. But we hadn’t discussed it any further than that. Like when to do it. We were just gonna table that for later I guess.

Harry took two cards. I took one. I had a good hand, but I didn’t expect to win. Harry was the better of us at cards. It’s why we had left it up to a coin toss, and he had called heads when it was tails. Tough luck. But the guys on the radio had explained it to us blatantly, no wishful thinking: they wouldn’t reach us within four weeks.

We had enough food for one person for two weeks.

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Cara’s Love

This prompt (in brackets) is taken from Complete the Story by Piccadilly Inc., which I got from the Scribbler box.

[It began as a practical joke. But by the end of the day, nobody was laughing. It seemed innocent enough at first, because Jerry and I have a history of playing practical jokes on one another. He was the one to start the whole thing, if I’m not mistaken. He] got hold of the Ouija board. Found or bought or stolen, I don’t know. But he showed me the board and insisted we try it out at the cemetery. He insisted on doing it at midnight too, so we could barely see the damn board at all.

Jerry believed in ghosts. I never did. Or didn’t use to. So that night I moved the little pointer around, and when Jerry asked who the ghost was I spelled out C-A-R-A, the name on a tombstone we had passed on our way into the cemetery, though Jerry didn’t know that. Then I kept spelling out that he was cute, and that Cara liked him, and did he like Cara? And he totally bought the whole thing, even blushed. And when we were leaving and I pointed out the tombstone with Cara on it, he was good and freaked out. I didn’t tell him yet it had been me pranking him. I had thought I would take it a little further first, maybe leave him some ghostly love letters or something. But before I could, it was the next day, and Jerry came to school freaked out.

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