‘I will shoot you if you’re transgender.’


This is a SPECTACULAR Craigslist ad in all ways, shapes and forms! If you have the time, I encourage you to read all the way through, but I direct your attention to Paragraph 3 in particular.

Proofread before hitting OK, folks…PROOF BEFORE HITTING OK…



Feelin’ Like A Struck Match


Me staring at the screen with my good eye.
Me staring at the screen with my good eye. The other one burned out.

The back of my eyeballs hurt.

This is the un-fun part of authorship. The point right before publication, raking through each chapter one mo’ gen, making sure there’s no escaping extra spaces, or errant commas, or misspelled names. Yes, I’ve managed to misspell my own characters’ names in several places.

These are the tasks put upon me by my editing team. This dynamic duo (and thankfully, came as a two-fer) are cleaning through I Blew Up Juarez with katana-like precision. But like respectful editors, they let me have last glance and last say.

So yesterday I spent the better part of twelve hours adding literary putty to fill in cracks in the plot, confirmed changes by chapter, and committed to the spelling of Maclaggan as Maclaggan, not McLaggan, not MaClaggan, no, these fuckers are called Maclaggan!! And to prepare you for your reading engagement, it’s pronounced mack-lag-gun. You British Empire folk can throw in your customary lilt where it’s right for you, I ain’t stoppin’ ya.

I’ve hit Send on the processed file, and now it’s in the hands of The Dynamic Duo. I need to rest my eyeballs, so I’m spending the rest of the day putting together the world’s best stew for tomorrow’s get-together at the demigoddess’s house. I’ll be reading a chapter from the book, not any that are already posted. If you’re attending, awesome, if not, indulge in some escapism, courtesy of yo gurl.

Happy Thursday! It’s Thursday, right??

Von’s Party Mix! or, Idiosyncratic Writing Tactics

The ol’ working-out-a-scene-while-doing-cardio helped piece together the revamped opener to Act Two. This gem of a song popped up on the playlist and encouraged the creepiness forward:

Listening to this conjured up an intuitive conversation between the protagonist and one of the super beings:

I have this song playing off a balcony as the protagonist pursues a love interest:

This one’s on that random. I would love to sing this sometime this holiday season:

Think I’ll catch a nap now.

Up All Night

This is what I get for procrastinating.

November snuck up on me waaay too quickly. I have contracts to administer by November 13. Which means, gotta pay people. Which means, this manuscript I’ve been pushing off needs speed revisioning. Barely raking through the rest of Act One. Of a three act book. Go me!

And then, of course, I’m participating in NaNoWriMo as I blogged about in “My 2013 NaNoWriMo Influences” (please check that out and LIKE it!)

So I’m pulling an all-nighter. Yup. Actually, not a bad idea, as I’m launching this blog with the desire for an international reach. So while the east coast of Merica is sleeping, I can hang out with my friends in the Eastern Hemisphere. Namaste! Hola! Hallo! Bonjour! G’day! That’s all I got for now.

Let’s use this 15 minute break to extrapolate. Contracts, why bring that up? This book is my first fiction publication, and I worry about integrity and solid delivery. So I’ve invested in a NEW editor who can work faster and ideally turn around a manuscript by the end of January. She’s very experienced in the literary world and very familiar with my writing style, which is a plus when you’re shopping for an editor. What happened to the original editor, you may ask. She’s still around, just wearing the Publisher hat. A separate editor makes for a smoother delivery schedule, trust.

Since we’re only a few months away, I have to consider artwork, the book cover and chapter inserts in particular. I’m paying respect to science fiction authors and comic book enthusiasts by going with a Manga-esque design. The artist commissioned to do this work is a female comic book artist. I’ve reviewed her portfolio and I’m pleased at how she captures women warriors without them looking so stereotypically disproportionate. Don’t get discouraged though. Johnny has huge boobs!

Why are you still working on the manuscript when you’re about to get edited? Fair question. I have produced so many drafts of Book Two my nose bleeds (not really) for every Save As… I administer. The storyline took a dynamic hop over the summer, and well, I haven’t done all the proper adjustments. So this all-nighter is a bit of compensation. Get the revisions in and done, structure the plot so it’s intelligible to the editor, but don’t add more than necessary. She’s gonna shave through the muck anyways. But the temptation is there to expand on Johnny’s journey. I have to remember, though, this book is Star Wars. The next one is Empire Strikes Back, it is worth holding back on some stories until Book 3.

How are you writing this and a novel for the contest? The good news is, I was smart enough to outline ahead of time with my writing partner exactly what I was going to develop for NaNoWriMo. I Blew Up Juarez is already fully written; I don’t necessarily have to think up a whole scenario or plot with that. Momma’s Boy is going well. I’m substituting my morning pages writing time for NaNo writing time, and am averaging 2000 words. That makes completion by the 30th very feasible.

I’ve constructively used my 15 minute break to post to my blog. Now to drink more coffee and get back to work! If you haven’t clicked on Follow by now, you’re just letting the terrorists win. Go click!

Everyone Stinks And That’s Okay

Original Post Date March 13, 2013 at 12:12 AM

The path to a concise published work is angled in many places. Collaboration and cooperation with a professional works the kinks out. We explore the advantages of editing.

2013-03-11 19.40.28Yesterday was my first meeting with Trace Taylor Publishing since I turned in my manuscript for editing. I had the expected nerves.  After all, this was my first attempt at non-academic, non-technical writing and I really had minimal certainty that I did a proper job of it.

I pulled out my notebook and pen and prepared to take notes. I was ready to receive her input and learn from her critique.  She seemed thrown by my enthusiasm.

Trace mentioned her experiences working with authors who were defensive or straight up distraught after having their works edited. Tissues had to sop up tears on occasions.  I couldn’t understand why.  Like I told Trace, what am I paying you for?  Gold stars?  Smiley faces? We had a good laugh about it.

Eventually we deviated towards a general conversation about expectations from both ends.  I thought I’d note the top takeaways from our talk here:

Axiom 1:  Everyone needs editing

Borrowing from a popular children’s book describing the natural processes of the human body, everybody poops. It has a distinct smell.  There are people we know that will insist their poop doesn’t smell.  But we all know the truth.

It is the editor’s job to present a work for publication that resonates with the intended audience.  An author may use graduate level vocabulary in a book intended for preschoolers. Another author may spend a hundred pages describing how the light hits a coffee mug in the middle of a table in a book intended for fans of fast paced action fiction. We authors can’t tell when we stink. A good editor does that gracefully.  A good editor reminds you, yes, even your poop smells.

Axiom 2:  Critiques are not criticisms

Before you click on the comment balloon, I’m talking contextually here.  A critique is an evaluation of a literary work. It is meant to be objective with the intent of adding value to the development of the work.

Criticism, which I use here contextually to describe abject judgment and faultfinding, is subjective in nature and is intended to degrade or insult the merits of the literary artist.

A good editor is going to support your dreams by ensuring your work can stand alongside other literary works in Amazon and Barnes & Nobles.  They are not out to get you.  They get you; they’re just offering insight that will enhance the readers’ experience.  Which brings me to Axiom 3.

Axiom 3:  Your publisher knows your audience.  Better than you do.

We have an idea of who’s going to read this work as we’re clickclickclacking away, creating the most sublime work known to man.  A good publisher is well informed as to what readers look forward to experiencing.  While you have a clue, your publisher has several clues. So if they suggest something, don’t take it as an affront to your epic opus.  They’re on to something.  Get over yourself, and cooperate.  It’s only going to benefit you.