Thursday, October 25, 2012

A Moment of Silence

I’m a little bummed.  I found out today that “Bethenny Ever After” is not scheduled to return to Bravo for a fourth season (well, technically a third season, since “Bethenny Getting Married” preceded it).  Apparently, Bethenny is tired of the whole scene and has declared she is done with reality TV.  It seems she is throwing her energies behind her up-and-coming talk show instead.

I’m not a big talk show person.  I’m sure I’ll tune in on occasion if she has an interesting topic or provocative guest (will Jill Zarin make an appearance?  Ha!  Hell will probably freeze over first).  I’m happy for her – Bethenny’s said for a while now having a talk show was a longtime dream.  And for that I say, “mazel.”

“Bethenny Ever After” was a such a fun, light show, a total departure from the antics of the “Real Housewives” (pick a city, any city) and it was cool to see her continue her journey from the broke “underdog” to savvy entrepreneur and mogul who got the man and the baby along the way.  I’ve made no secret she is my girl crush.  I’ve memorized passages from her book, “Place of Yes” and am applying much of her gospel to my own life (some folks have Tony Robbins, I have Bethenny).  Huh.  I see a future blog post on this topic…   

Love her or hate her, you have to admire anyone who can leverage reality TV and then transcend it.  She used reality TV to build and strengthen her Skinnygirl brand, and then left it behind, deciding she wanted to walk out of the party instead of getting kicked out. 

And that’s always the better way.


Monday, October 22, 2012

Another Brick in the Wall

I’m starting to think this whole “author” thing might actually happen.

I’ve taken two more huge steps on my journey to “indie authordom”: editing and cover art.

A major complaint about indie books is the lack of editing, which translates to poor quality.  From what I’ve been able to glean, many indie authors skimp on this step because 1) they think they can’t afford it and 2) they think they don’t need it.

Trying to edit your own book yourself is a little like that old saying about the lawyer who represents himself – something about having a fool for a client.  In my past life, I served as a de facto proofreader and editor for the PR and advertising agencies I worked for, so I’ve got a pretty good eye for typos and such.  However, I decided I would be a fool not to find the money to pay a professional copyeditor to comb through my manuscript.  I was further proven right when I gave my manuscript one last pass before sending it out—I found a typo.  And this was after poring over this thing, no kidding, at least 50 times in the last three months.  This is too important to me not to do everything I can do make sure the book I put out looks as professional as possible.

Another non-negotiable was hiring a designer to craft a professional looking cover.  I’ve read about different indie authors who designed their own covers and I’m here to tell you, I won’t be one of them.    While I’m a lot more confident about my proofing/editing abilities, I am not a graphic artist.  AT ALL.  When I was forced to take Art 101 in college, by the end of the semester, I pulled out what little hair I had left.  My bowls of fruit always looked more like a game of Pick Up Sticks.   I read lots of advice about how I could download various graphics programs and manipulate stock images, but it’s just not in my wheelhouse.  While I definitely have a vision for what I want for my cover, I need a professional to help me bring it to life.

After scouring the Internet, I found an editor and a graphic artist who both offered reasonable prices.  I’m thrilled with their enthusiasm for my book and I can’t wait to share my cover and blurb very soon. 

I have a few more steps I need to take before I release my book, but overall, I am thrilled with where I am in the process. 

As always, though, back to writing.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Revise, Rewrite – Recycle?

Many, many, MANY moons ago, like high school moons ago, I had an idea for a book.  I don’t remember how the first line came to me, but I wrote it down and over the course of a few years, I played around with fleshing out the idea.  I wrote a chapter here and a chapter there, but never got very far with it.

I never forgot about that idea and about ten years ago, I decided to write the book in earnest.  I came home every night after work and wrote for at least three hours.  I wrote on the weekends.  I gave up sleep and girls night’s out.  I don’t remember how long it took me to complete that first draft, but eventually, I got it done.  Of course, I went through endless revisions and drafts and tweaks and suffered through all the self-doubt that accompanies anything you put your blood, sweat and tears into.

The next step was to endlessly research the publishing industry.  Everything from manuscript format to how to find an agent was dissected, committed to memory and indoctrinated as the gospel.  I pored over my query letter, stressed over my synopsis and compiled addresses for agents – not to mention vetting them to make sure they weren’t sharks out to take my hard-earned money.

Of course, I got rejection after rejection after rejection and I decided to put it to the side and move on to writing another book.

Here I am, many moons later and about to strap into the terrifying and thrilling roller-coaster known as the indie/ebook revolution.  When I made the decision to take the leap, I decided to do what so many have done and turn my unpublished (uh, rejected) manuscripts into ebooks.  I had two books collecting virtual dust on my computer and a third with more plot holes than a cobweb.  I committed all my energies toward closing the plot holes on the third with an eye towards tweaking the other two at a later date.

I looked at the second manuscript I wrote and was pretty happy with what I had.  I made a few tweaks and did some minor rewrites, but overall, I was good with what I wrote.

And then I picked up the one I first dreamt up many moons ago. 

Needless to say, I wasn’t good with it at all. 

Instead of a scalpel, I need to take a hatchet to this manuscript.  Too much exposition, choppy narrative and a host of other problems. I was tempted to chuck the whole thing into the recycling bin, but after thinking about it, I now look at this as an opportunity.  I can make this book better now than it would have been ten years ago.  I can take a decade’s worth of experiences and learning and make it a stronger book.

So, I’m drying my tears and getting to work. 

And I can’t wait to see how it ends.  

Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Waiting Game

I’m playing the waiting game. 

When I first made the decision this past Spring to jump into the world of ebooks, I had a plan (as I always do). 

My goal was to have my first book up by November, with two more to follow over the course of a few months. 

As tempting as it was to just throw my babies out into the world without so much as a coat, cab fare and a lecture about stranger danger, I knew I had to go through the process: fix the plot holes in the first manuscript I wanted to release (and there were enough to drive ten trucks through), refine it, take what I learned in Joy Fielding’s class and apply accordingly, vet it, edit it, format it, cover it and release it.

My sister read it and gave me sound advice and then I decided to take two classmates up on their offer to read it and give me their feedback.  I’m anxious to get their thoughts so I can incorporate them then move on to the next stage.

In the meantime, I’m plowing ahead with another WIP (work-in-progress) and if all goes well, I should have a complete first draft by the end of October.  I’m also tweaking the next manuscript I plan to release and will be dusting off the third to see what kind of shape it’s in.  I haven’t looked at in ten years, so that should be interesting. 

As always, back to writing.




Wednesday, October 3, 2012

True Story

My father has had a long and varied career path, starting out in broadcasting, moving into politics and eventually becoming a lawyer, his profession for the past twenty-five or so years.

Along the way, he’s met a lot of folks.  My siblings and I joke that we can’t go anywhere without somebody somewhere knowing him.  Well, mostly Arkansas.

Anywho, few years ago, we were on one of our many long-distance car trips, and, I don’t remember how the conversation got started, but he was telling me about a speech professor he had when he was getting his Masters in speech communication at the University of Texas in Austin and all the things he learned from this professor and how this professor eventually moved to Virginia for a more prestigious position, so on and so forth.

Then, my father says something like (and I’m TOTALLY paraphrasing here), “and actually, he was murdered a few years ago and his wife was found guilty.  Apparently, she gunned him down in his driveway.  I do remember hearing rumors about her when I was in school and everyone said it was a bad marriage, so nobody was surprised she did it.”

“Wait a minute,” I said.  “Was the wife from Houston and she was pretending to be her sister or something when she killed him?”

“Yeah,” my dad said.  “That’s right.”

That’s when I realized I’d seen this on “Snapped.”

What are the odds? (believe me when I tell you, my father wouldn’t know “Snapped” from “Chopped,” so this was a total coincidence).

The case in question was the murder of Fred Jablin by his wife, Piper Rountree.


“Investigation Discovery” just featured this on “Scorned: Love Kills,” and it made me think of it.


There's gotta be a book I can get out of this...