Starting A New Work = Painful

I'm struggling to begin Chapter 1 of the second story in my Elvira Grey series. I've thought through a possible new story, thanks to hours wasted down the rabbit hole called (LOL). I do love reading the Woodland Daily Democrat, circa 1892-1893. It's painful for my eyes and I feel like I need cheater glasses for my bifocals, but one gets the sense of the language, the happenings in the community, and the topics that seem important. And the advertisements are extremely helpful!

In fact, I think I've come up with a great idea, and it's based on an actual situation. This book will  focus more on women of that era: Elvira and Ada, of course, but also other women of different classes and ethnicities. And prostitution. And religion. And flawed people.

Now if I could just type a few words into Scrivener.

Editing Never Ends

I'm polishing my completed manuscript of A Certain Deceit so I can send it to editors and agents. I was incredibly fortunate at HNS-2017: I pitched to two editors and they both want to see it (one partial read and one full read).

I've gone through a hard copy, looking for nits, correcting grammar, and identifying any holes/issues to correct. I've had two other people read parts as well. It has taken me almost a month--I wanted to be careful and precise, not gloss over things. I bled a lot of red ink all over my text, then went into Scrivener and made my revisions. I copied my updated text from Scrivener to MS Word, chapter by chapter, and scrolled through each document, so I could see Word's editing function. This feature is handy and points out things I might have missed. I thought I'd done everything carefully.

Then, as I'm preparing to send out the partial request, I saw an error! A big one, in the scheme of things, because it was on the third page ("a…

Golf Extravaganza

Dad came for his annual visit last week (he left today). The man is 83 years old and he's a golf-a-holic. Which means that John and I get to follow him around our course, spritely at the beginning and dragging by the last round. This year was no different, despite his health issues. We played one 9 hole round and three 18 hole rounds in five days. That's a lot of golf...I feel like I'm overdoing it if I play 2-3 times a week.

He's a perfect example of someone with a passion and a goal. Each morning, he set goals for his overall score, the holes he'd improve upon, mistakes he'd avoid.  It was admirable, since my goals usually involve survival, or not dropping out after nine holes.

I played fairly well, better than last year, so I was happy. I know it makes him happy to see me playing well. John played even better, which, after twenty years of being tortured on the course by my father and brother, was the most satisfying of all.

"Just Say You're a Writer"

One of the Saturday sessions at HNS-2017 resonated strongly with me. Susanna Kearsley spoke about "Twin-Stranded Storylines", a subject I needed to hear about, since I tend to enjoy books that employ this technique. And I thoroughly enjoy her novels.

However, before I get to the guidance she offered, one thing she said made the entire room laugh, then go quiet, as each person processed her simple piece of wisdom. Susanna said that when you're researching a project, just tell people you're a writer. Don't hedge around why you're asking nosy questions, or trying to find weird details (my words) from someone. In her experience, that admission--I'm a writer--breaks the ice, and then people bend over backwards to help. She acknowledged those words are difficult to say (and I would add, even more difficult to process if you've never allowed yourself to believe it).

Her presentation was professional, well-organized, and thoughtful. The advice she offered tha…


I volunteered at HNS-2017, and wow was that a smart decision (LOL). I hesitated before clicking the button during the registration process. What if the time commitment took away from my experience? Conflicted with sessions I wanted to attend? Or was just a hassle?

But I took the plunge and now, in retrospect, I'm so glad I did. None of those initial worries occurred. In fact, I think it added immensely to my overall experience, especially since it was my first time at HNS. I met people right away...really! Even if my interactions were brief, I enjoyed making contacts with writers. learning about their work, or commiserating with them. After the first afternoon, I spied friendly faces, sat with acquaintances at sessions, and learned from them, many of whom were more experienced than I am.  And, I enjoyed helping attendees register or find their way, which was gratifying.

So, next time, I'll click that button again!

How NOT to Promote Your Book

I attended a session at the HNS-2017 conference yesterday morning that taught me a valuable lesson. If you want to sell your book, there are a couple of things you absolutely should not do.

The session was actually a Preconference Academy offering, a two-hour block devoted to Dynamic Pacing. It's a skill that's incredibly easy to recognize when you're reading, but often seems impossible to construct and maintain throughout any type of written document, from proposals, to marketing materials, to, yes, novels. The speakers were Irene Goodman, a "super agent" with decades of experience, and Selden Edwards, a novelist who got his book (The Little Book) published after thirty years. He's now working on his third book. I was actually quite interested in his personal story, how he managed to persevere for thirty years. And I was ready to buy his book.

Until he opened his mouth, and wouldn't shut it.

He seemed to believe that the session was all about him and all…

Historical Novel Society Conference

I'm excited and intimidated to attend the HNS-2017 Conference in Portland. I've been working in my little office for so long on my novel, which I lovingly refer to as Elvira, even though it's titled A Certain Deceit, that I'm in my own little world. I know I need to climb out and be brave and begin to share my work with someone other than John (and Ellie). But a large gathering like this is waaaayyy outside my comfort zone.

My initial impressions are that people are so friendly! (Not exactly like all those work conferences I attended, where colleagues pasted on their smiles and wanted to rip your throat out.) And while there are a lot of published authors, there are many, many more in my boat. We've been pecking away and it's become time to either put up or stay in our little dens forever.

I'm looking forward to learning more about the publishing business. But even more, I want to figure out what more I need to do with my own work.

I have scheduled a few &q…