February 21, 2018

Whacky Research

My critique partners and I have a running joke that the FBI has us on a watch list because of the things we lookup in the name of research.  I certainly hope that isn’t the case but I have to admit I’ve looked up some pretty strange things for research.  Here are just a few.

The history of carrier pigeons.  I did a M/F stories and needed a pigeon.  I needed to know how far back in time they were used. Just so happens? Quite awhile back  LOL

In the same book I needed to know the ancient language in Greece.  It’s called Koine, or at least it was in the time period I needed.

I’ve looked up Werewolf lore.  Which probably doesn’t surprise anyone.

Prince Alberts  The piercing not the man. <blink blink> Yup, you read that right 😜 

Molotov Cocktails.  Uh huh, see why I think the FBI has me on a list?

Flying helicopters in bad weather.  You can do it, but they advise against it.

Equine encephalitis.  Nasty virus!  Get your horses vaccinated, people. 

Regency era townhouses.  Very interesting.  Check out my Sci-Regency Pinterest board.

The Mexican drug cartel.  <whispers> "FBI watch list."

Southern sayings. I know several of them. My family is a font of information in this era, but there were a couple I’d never heard. For the life of my I just don’t understand how anything could taste so good you’d slap your granny. I mean really! And what exactly does Katie bar the door mean?  Is it like “Hey, Katie!  Bar that door!” Or is there a bar called a Katie Bar?  I don’t know, but if you want a good laugh check these out. 

Baby Names.  The FBI probably thinks I have about 25 children LOL

Mexican swear words.  I actually know a few of these too 😏  but I learned a lot more by looking them up.

Regency Era Dances. Surprisingly the waltz we know now is not the waltz they did. 

February 12, 2018

My Favorite Places on the Web

Everyone has their favorite places on the internet and I thought I’d share some of mine. 

The Weather Channel  I’m a weather junky.  I live in Texas an if you know anything about North Central Texas you probably realize we have very iffy weather in the spring.  Hail, thunderstorms, tornados and high winds. I somehow ended up being dubbed as “the weather girl” I guess because I’m always at home writing, so everyone expects me to keep an eye out on the weather.  I have a weather radio, and several apps that help forecast weather too.  I really don’t mind playing weather girl because I love storms.  I love to see them build and I love watching them. There is no finer writing weather than a stormy afternoon. Hail seems to be the biggest concern from my family.  Well all except my MIL, she doesn’t want hail but the word tornado terrifies her.  Me? Not so much. I’ve lived here my whole life and I’ve yet to be in one. 

Harlequin  I know I’ve said before I’m a Harlequin fan.  I always check out the new releases and it’s nice because I can buy epubs of Harlequins the month before they release to the public.

Pandora  I like to occasionally listen to music when I write and I can’t listen to words.  I end up singing, so Pandora is a great place to find instrumental music. 

The Quizzing Glass Blog I’m a member of The Beau Monde RWA group and AS I’ve stated before Regency romance is my absolute favorite genre.  The is a great place to find new releases. 

Nancy Mayer’s page Nancy is our resident researcher in The Beau Monde.  If you need to know something on the Regency, Nancy’s page is your first stop.

Amazon Because who doesn’t love the evil empire?

Thesaurus  I think this one speaks for itself ☺ 

Allrecipes Again, this one speaks for itself.

Desktop Nexus  I love changing the desktop pics on my laptop.  

The Pet Poison Hotline This is awesome when picking out flowers in spring.  I highly recommend it if you have a pain in the butt like Hiccup ( and Astrid) who eat things they shouldn’t. 

My Aquarium Club  For all your fish questions.

February 01, 2018

7 Things About Editing

I just finished my first round edits for the rerelease of My Fair Captain, and as some of you may know it’s been awhile. It felt great to get back to it after so long. It reminded me of all the things I like and dislike about the editing process, so I thought I'd share some of them with you.  

1) A great editor is worth their weight in gold. Sadly, as writers we don't usually have the option of choosing our editors. I’ve worked with a few and can honestly say that not all editors are created equal, but this time around I hit the jackpot. 😁 Lets face it, our manuscripts are very precious to us and we don’t like the idea of someone tearing them apart. In some cases, it can feel as though they are tearing you apart. So before you go asking for a new editor, you have to separate yourself from your work. The goal is to make it better and you want someone who shares this goal. Talking to the editor and explaining your problems is always the first step. Communication is key. 

2) If ever you need a reminder of how far you’ve come, go back and read your older works. I have really improved as a writer. Not to sound conceited—mind you, I’m not comparing myself to anyone but myself–but WOW!  It’s very rewarding to look back at work you thought was top of the line and realize you can improve it. Actually improving it is very satisfying.

3) Know your grammar. I seem to be remembering all the things I forgot about high school and college grammar. I know I'm showing my age but look up Schoolhouse Rock. Conjunctions are your friends. Another thing I noticed while going back over My Fair Captain is a lot of short choppy sentences and short choppy paragraphs. I suspect short sentences are a beginning author mistake. So to all you newbies out there, brush up on your grammar. Don't be afraid of commas and go over sentence structure. I recommend, Writer’s Digest Grammar Desk Reference. I bought this some years ago and really liked how quick and easy it was to look things up. My new editor also recommended it to me.

4) Breathing new life into an old work is exhilarating, so never let fear hold you back.  However, there is such a thing as overdoing and revising the life out of something.  So if you start getting frustrated and changing the same sentences over and over, it’s time to move on. This is where trusting a good editor comes into play.

5) Fixing plot issues is fun!  I love the challenge when an editor says this doesn’t work. Trying to figure out what’s missing is nearly as fun as the initial writing. Don’t let it frustrate you because where there is a will there is a way. Sometimes the best plan of action is to step back and let the ideas gel. You'll be surprised at how many start coming to you.

6) Don’t be afraid to cut.  I know it’s scary, but sometimes cutting stuff is truly the best thing for the story. I tend to be long winded, so cutting to me in not a huge ordeal, but I know some writers fret about it.  Remember the goal is to make the story stronger and to make it flow better. You want to keep the reader reading not make the reader slog though a page and a half of stuff that isn’t really important to the story or the character development. If they have to slog, they are likely to stop reading altogether.  

7) It’s not good to edit before writing. It takes a different skill set and is difficult to shift focus. If you have to write after you edit, you should take a break first. Let your mind get in to that creative mode.