HalCon Review – Author Panels

On Saturday November 5th, I attended HalCon, the biggest, geekiest sci-fi convention in Atlantic Canada. There were many wonderful demonstrations, vendors and author displays. There was also author signings, autograph sessions and endless streams of characters.

Shortly after I arrived, I sought out the room for the Editing and Formatting panel session. The speakers for the event included

The description of the session stated: To Oxford Comma, Or Not.  This and other questions about editing formatting will be answered.  If you’ve ever wondered about cutting parts, proper structure or when not using proper grammar is okay, then this may be the panel for you. Continue reading “HalCon Review – Author Panels”

A Busy Weekend of Events

There are many events going on around the province this weekend so if you live in Nova Scotia, you have plenty to keep you busy. Here are just three events I’m either involved in or wish I was involved in.

Craft Show: First up is the In Hants Craft Show at the Milford Recreation Hall, Milford Station, East Hants. The show hosts the creative works of more than sixty local crafters. You’ll find everything from quilts to cookies, from fancy hats to wooden carvings. You shop as if you’re in a gift shop, then pay for your purchase all at once at the check-out using cash, Visa or MasterCard.

This is the second year I’ve participated in the show. Last year I sold books and homemade goat milk soap. Only my books are there this year.

The hours of operation are Friday (9:00 am to 9:00 pm), Saturday (9:00 am to 5:00 pm) and Sunday (12:00 pm to 5:00 pm). I was there for more than four hours today, and a steady stream of people came and went, many carrying baskets of goodies and gifts out the door.

Continue reading “A Busy Weekend of Events”

Write Your Little Hearts Out

NOVELmberIt’s November 1st, and from my wee corner of the world, I can hear pens and pencils scratching on paper and anxious fingertips striking keyboards. It must be NaNoWriMo!

November is National Writing Month, a month set aside during the year to encourage writers to write up a storm. They might write something completely new or finish a work in progress.

The goal is to write 50,000 words in 30 days.

Continue reading “Write Your Little Hearts Out”

A New Formatting Tool for eBooks

The world is always changing, and nowhere is that more prevalent than the publishing world. What was once great last year, no longer works this year, and the tools we use are constantly upgraded and changed to accommodate this rapid evolution.

When I first began publishing eBooks, I formatted them myself in MS Word. But I could not format ePubs. I’ve tried Scrivener to format the file, but I was unhappy with the results. Then I tried Calibre for ePubs, and that worked great for a few years. Last spring during my six-month review, I found formatting issues with eBooks available at a few online retailers. There were no issues with the files I had manually formatted, but the ePubs were a mess.

So I took the leap and rented InDesign. There’s a large learning curve, but once I conquer it, I’ll be able to create eBooks and print books professionally.

Continue reading “A New Formatting Tool for eBooks”

Stalked by Cats, Dogs and Food

guinea-fowlIs it just me, or are many other bloggers these days being followed by blogs that only post pictures of either cute cats, adorable dogs or tasty food dishes?

A few times a week, I get a notice about a new follower. I always visit the new follower’s page to see what information they are sharing with the world. Because my site is about writing, publishing and similar topics, sites that follow me almost always discuss the same subjects.

Except lately. For the past three or four months, I’ve been followed by individuals who only post pictures. The blogs have cute names such as “Cute Cat Pictures” or something similar. When I visit the site, I find posts that consist of only pictures and no words. This isn’t new because I’ve seen blog posts made up of images before. But what is new is the format and picture content: one picture per post consisting of an animal or food.

Continue reading “Stalked by Cats, Dogs and Food”

A New Year Has Begun at the Writer’s Desk

Good morning, everyone.

It’s been awhile since I’ve been here. After working every day for three years, I was in desperate need of a break. I should have taken one immediately after that seven-month out of the house, working every day for 12 to 14 hours job in 2014, but I didn’t. Instead, I jumped into a self-imposed every day, dawn to dusk working schedule of writing, editing, publishing and marketing. I squeezed in the other part of my life (family, household chores, animals, etc.) where I could.

So a break was necessary to reset my timer, recharge my batteries and reflect on what I’ve done and where I want to go next.

Continue reading “A New Year Has Begun at the Writer’s Desk”

Editing a western romance novel “Dust, Unsettle” 25

Dust, UnsettledThis is a series of posts appearing each Saturday morning, sharing the story and the editing of Dust, Unsettled, a western romance written in the 1980s by the teenage version of myself. To learn more about this exercise, check out the original post.

This story takes place in the late 1980s. I’ve decided to keep it there instead of updating it to 2016.

The first section is the original writing. It’s filled with poor dialogue tags, unnecessary words and poor story telling. In the brackets [ ] I’ll point out issues with the writing. I won’t point out every issue, only three or four per Saturday.

Word Count Comparison

Original: 515

Edited: 373

Difference: 142

Continue reading “Editing a western romance novel “Dust, Unsettle” 25”

Editing a western romance novel “Dust, Unsettle” 24

Dust, UnsettledThis is a series of posts appearing each Saturday morning, sharing the story and the editing of Dust, Unsettled, a western romance written in the 1980s by the teenage version of myself. To learn more about this exercise, check out the original post.

This story takes place in the late 1980s. I’ve decided to keep it there instead of updating it to 2016.

The first section is the original writing. It’s filled with poor dialogue tags, unnecessary words and poor story telling. In the brackets [ ] I’ll point out issues with the writing. I won’t point out every issue, only three or four per Saturday.

Word Count Comparison

Original: 508

Edited: 377

Difference: 131

Continue reading “Editing a western romance novel “Dust, Unsettle” 24”

Editing a western romance novel “Dust, Unsettle” 23

Dust, UnsettledThis is a series of posts appearing each Saturday morning, sharing the story and the editing of Dust, Unsettled, a western romance written in the 1980s by the teenage version of myself. To learn more about this exercise, check out the original post.

This story takes place in the late 1980s. I’ve decided to keep it there instead of updating it to 2016.

The first section is the original writing. It’s filled with poor dialogue tags, unnecessary words and poor story telling. In the brackets [ ] I’ll point out issues with the writing. I won’t point out every issue, only three or four per Saturday.

Word Count Comparison

Original: 430

Edited: 313

Difference: 117

Continue reading “Editing a western romance novel “Dust, Unsettle” 23”

Editing a western romance novel “Dust, Unsettle” 22

Dust, UnsettledThis is a series of posts appearing each Saturday morning, sharing the story and the editing of Dust, Unsettled, a western romance written in the 1980s by the teenage version of myself. To learn more about this exercise, check out the original post.

This story takes place in the late 1980s. I’ve decided to keep it there instead of updating it to 2016.

The first section is the original writing. It’s filled with poor dialogue tags, unnecessary words and poor story telling. In the brackets [ ] I’ll point out issues with the writing. I won’t point out every issue, only three or four per Saturday.

Word Count Comparison

Original: 435

Edited: 379

Difference: 56

Continue reading “Editing a western romance novel “Dust, Unsettle” 22”

Editing a western romance novel “Dust, Unsettle” 21

Dust, UnsettledThis is a series of posts appearing each Saturday morning, sharing the story and the editing of Dust, Unsettled, a western romance written in the 1980s by the teenage version of myself. To learn more about this exercise, check out the original post.

This story takes place in the late 1980s. I’ve decided to keep it there instead of updating it to 2016.

The first section is the original writing. It’s filled with poor dialogue tags, unnecessary words and poor story telling. In the brackets [ ] I’ll point out issues with the writing. I won’t point out every issue, only three or four per Saturday.

Word Count Comparison

Original: 451

Edited: 327

Difference: 124

Dust, Unsettled

Chapter 05 continued

Original Story

Jessica instantly tried to control her emotions, feeling all eyes were on her. She dried her eyes with her jacket sleeve and headed for the nearest exit. [I often have characters drying their eyes in their sleeve (it’s a habit of mine), but I’m working at new ways to dry wet eyes.] Down one of the service entrances, she swiftly walked, hoping to avoid any maintenance workers. She reached the outdoors and released her emotions.

Continue reading “Editing a western romance novel “Dust, Unsettle” 21”

Define Death

What is death?

I can only imagine the vast majority who walked the trails of Earth have asked this question at least once in their life. Yet there seems to be no real answer found.

Should we greet death with open arms or run from it as fast as our feet will carry us? Should we fear it or rejoice? People throughout the centuries have done all these and more.

But what is death?

Is it simply the death of the host body we call Earthling? Or does something more tragic happen? Do our souls die, cease to exist and do our screens go black?

More than a dozen years ago, my sister and I were driving on the highway. She mentioned that she feared death because there was nothing there. It all just ended in nothing. I asked her, “How do you know it ends and there is nothing there but nothing?”

Continue reading “Define Death”

Editing a western romance novel “Dust, Unsettle” 20

Dust, UnsettledThis is a series of posts appearing each Saturday morning, sharing the story and the editing of Dust, Unsettled, a western romance written in the 1980s by the teenage version of myself. To learn more about this exercise, check out the original post.

This story takes place in the late 1980s. I’ve decided to keep it there instead of updating it to 2016.

The first section is the original writing. It’s filled with poor dialogue tags, unnecessary words and poor story telling. In the brackets [ ] I’ll point out issues with the writing. I won’t point out every issue, only three or four per Saturday.

Word Count Comparison

Original: 410

Edited: 339

Difference: 71 Continue reading “Editing a western romance novel “Dust, Unsettle” 20”

Editing a western romance novel “Dust, Unsettle” 19

Dust, UnsettledThis is a series of posts appearing each Saturday morning, sharing the story and the editing of Dust, Unsettled, a western romance written in the 1980s by the teenage version of myself. To learn more about this exercise, check out the original post.

This story takes place in the late 1980s. I’ve decided to keep it there instead of updating it to 2016.

The first section is the original writing. It’s filled with poor dialogue tags, unnecessary words and poor story telling. In the brackets [ ] I’ll point out issues with the writing. I won’t point out every issue, only three or four per Saturday.

Word Count Comparison

Original: 412

Edited: 445

Difference: plus 33

Continue reading “Editing a western romance novel “Dust, Unsettle” 19”

Editing a western romance novel “Dust, Unsettle” 18

Dust, UnsettledThis is a series of posts appearing each Saturday morning, sharing the story and the editing of Dust, Unsettled, a western romance written in the 1980s by the teenage version of myself. To learn more about this exercise, check out the original post.

This story takes place in the late 1980s. I’ve decided to keep it there instead of updating it to 2016.

The first section is the original writing. It’s filled with poor dialogue tags, unnecessary words and poor story telling. In the brackets [ ] I’ll point out issues with the writing. I won’t point out every issue, only three or four per Saturday.

Word Count Comparison

Original: 392

Edited: 311

Difference: 81

Continue reading “Editing a western romance novel “Dust, Unsettle” 18”

Editing a western romance novel “Dust, Unsettle” 17

Dust, UnsettledThis is a series of posts appearing each Saturday morning, sharing the story and the editing of Dust, Unsettled, a western romance written in the 1980s by the teenage version of myself. To learn more about this exercise, check out the original post.

This story takes place in the late 1980s. I’ve decided to keep it there instead of updating it to 2016.

The first section is the original writing. It’s filled with poor dialogue tags, unnecessary words and poor story telling. In the brackets [ ] I’ll point out issues with the writing. I won’t point out every issue, only three or four per Saturday.

Word Count Comparison

Original: 392

Edited: 286

Difference: 106

Continue reading “Editing a western romance novel “Dust, Unsettle” 17”

Injecting Life into Archaic Words for My Fantasy Novel

McGyver-ScatteredStonesFRONTI love finding new words that describe what I’m trying to say perfectly, especially if they are not common words. I often find these words have fallen out of use and are labelled archaic.

Using them and introducing them to readers who have never before seen them is a treat. I love sprinkling these little gems throughout my story.

I’ve had a lot of fun finding new words for Scattered Stones. They are—of course—archaic because Ath-o’Lea is in the past, long ago before electricity and engines and words like trailer.

Continue reading “Injecting Life into Archaic Words for My Fantasy Novel”

Scattered Stones Cover Release and Proof Order

The novel I conceived in the second half of 2009 is now in the birthing canal.

Yesterday I placed an order for a proof copy of Scattered Stones. After I hit the CONFIRM button, I sat back and thought about the journey to give me a better perspective of what I had done.

In May 2010, I had written the last 60,000 words in a rush to reach the end. Then the manuscript went through multiple edits, being read and sporadically edited by beta readers. I edited and revised when I found time, often between stints of working outside the home. For six months in 2014, I barely had a chance to look at it because I worked six to seven days a week, putting in ten-hour days at a garden centre. This sort of schedule doesn’t leave much time to eat, sleep and say hello to the kids, let alone hours bellied-up to a computer to edit a novel.

Continue reading “Scattered Stones Cover Release and Proof Order”

Editing a western romance novel “Dust, Unsettle” 16

Dust, UnsettledThis is a series of posts appearing each Saturday morning, sharing the story and the editing of Dust, Unsettled, a western romance written in the 1980s by the teenage version of myself. To learn more about this exercise, check out the original post.

This story takes place in the late 1980s. I’ve decided to keep it there instead of updating it to 2016.

The first section is the original writing. It’s filled with poor dialogue tags, unnecessary words and poor story telling. In the brackets [ ] I’ll point out issues with the writing. I won’t point out every issue, only three or four per Saturday.

Word Count Comparison

Original: 433

Edited: 259

Difference: 174

Continue reading “Editing a western romance novel “Dust, Unsettle” 16”

Reclaiming my Disclaimer to reflect my personality and the story

A few months ago, I happened upon a post on The Book Designer blog regarding writing disclaimers. I have never given much thought to disclaimers; they’re as necessary for publishing as ISBNs, and just as boring.

I created the disclaimers for my novels by consulting already-published books to see the wording they used. It’s all pretty standard, and I’ve never read one that stood out. The main point was to tell everyone you didn’t write this book about a real person, so you wouldn’t be sued if someone thought they saw themselves within the story. Basically, you wanted to tell the world, “This is fiction. Nothing real to see here. Move along to the end and buy the next book in the series.”

Original Disclaimer

The disclaimer I created and used in print and eBooks came out to read as…

Continue reading “Reclaiming my Disclaimer to reflect my personality and the story”