Tag Archives: Publishing and Printing

Assembling New Worlds

I am often asked why I became a writer. In response, many factors come into play. As a career easily fallen into as an option, in my case, it was something I earnestly worked to accomplish. On many websites that include my bio, you see written a story of a man’s diagnosis with Multiple Sclerosis, his loss of employment two months prior, and his ultimate break into the publishing industry with his first novel, Rising TideSince that first b00k, I’ve written three more, all following the same genre of science fiction, fantasy and action adventure through a Christian perspective.

In addition to novels, I also enjoy writing blogs and short stories. My ideas are often driven by daily events, things I see in nature or I may go down any path my imagination decides to lead me. I love to write and enjoy the challenges of bringing a novel from conception, working with my publisher through the editing process, doing rewrites and reading the book many times before taking it to print.

For the future, I have just completed a standalone science fiction novel, tentatively named, Dalon Con, The Essence of Time. It is in the process of being edited and undergoing rewrites and revisions.  It will be the first time I have delved into the world of temporal travel. Once editing is complete, it will move on to the publishing stage.

The fourth novel in the Rising Tide series is a third complete. As of yet named, it continues to push through an immoral world of lawlessness lead by an evil that possesses intelligence. Jump into the fray with Ben and Eve and follow these warriors as they attempt to beat back the evil that has enveloped their world and attempts to overtake the good that remains.

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It Ain’t Over Till the Fat Manuscript Screams, “Its Over!”

'Can you redo this manuscript, John, and make it less stupid?'

‘Can you redo this manuscript, Lynn, and make it less stupid?’

If you read my blog last week and the week before, you’ll know I’ve been hashing out a novel back and forth with my editor trying to get it to the printer.

As I have mentioned, I thought we were done and the last copy I sent the publisher would be it. Now, one more thing I said, tongue in cheek, was having to read the manuscript another time.

Another thought that comes to mind (one also brought forth in my last blog) is I’ve read the book probably thirty times, including last week, the week before and probably the week before that.

Well, wonder of wonders, I received an email from my publisher saying the manuscript has been sent to the printer and now we have a proof.

Guess what? I get to read the proof (just another name for a finished manuscript), one more time.

Once I have completed this task (as long as nothing goes awry), we will actually go to print.

I cautiously say, “Hallelujah! I’m done and ready for the next!”

I hope I haven’t bored you to tears with this never-ending story but I felt it was something I needed to scrap off my chest…you know, cathartic.

Of course, this is determined by what the proof says.

Guess I’ll just have to wait and see.

Until next week, happy trails and whip them cantankerous manuscripts into shape.

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How Does One Measure Success? By Their First Novel Sold or Their Last Novel Turned Blockbuster at the Box office…Either Works for Me

I have to wonder what some of the classic writers thought of their chances to become mega stars, especially twentieth century authors.jaws

Hemmingway was able to see his work on the big screen. On the other hand, J.R. R. Tolkien lived well into the twentieth century, but never saw one of his masterpieces on the silver screen. This was due in part to the technology required to produce such a film. It didn’t exist until just before the millennium and was necessary to do the stories justice. Peter Benchley, although not one of the great classic writers, brought us Jaws. I can’t think of any other movie that changed an entire generation’s perception of swimming that still exists today. J.K. Rowling, again, although not a classic author, became a billionaire off the series of Harry Potter books. Stephen King has had more novels turned into motion pictures and television series than I care to count.

I know I’m not the only author who would like to enjoy this amount of success. I would be happy enjoying any amount of success. As you and I have found, writing and publishing can be a daunting task. We have also found that enticing someone to read your book makes the writing and publishing aspect seem like lying in a hammock sucking on a mint julep.

As I lean back in my chair and close my eyes, the wavy lines of a dream sequence send me to a mahogany covered library. This is where I pen my best sellers and decide whether or not to accept this year’s Nobel Prize for literature.

“Mr. French,” I say, to my gentleman’s gentleman, “how many times must I turn down these measly prize offers?”

“I cannot say, sir; you know your immense popularity eclipses the sun.”

I sigh heavily, “The burden I have placed upon myself is indeed hard to bear, but for my adoring public I shall go on.”

“And by the by, sir,” Mr. French says, “your latest movie series has just topped 34 bazillion dollars.”

“See to it that pittance goes to as many countries as possible to end world hunger, and don’t forget the hundreds of wells we’re drilling around the world.”

“Right away, sir.”

“And French, see what’s holding up that—”

My tiny office chair slips, depositing me on the floor, breaking me from my reverie.  I’ve gotta get that chair fixed. Picking myself off the ground along with the chair, I sit back down and decide whether to work on my latest novel or delve into the pit of marketing.

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A Normal Week at the Beach

Disclaimer:  Due to content I am unable to include any reference to writing.

Last summer we vacationed for a week along the coast of North Carolina. tornado at beachAmong the list of attendees included myself and lovely wife, my father-in-law and lovely mother-in-law, my son and his new bride, my stepdaughter and son-in-law, and one VIP, my grandson, “Lil’ Ed,” hereby known as the mostest cutest little boy in the entire universe.

This would be a very special vacation:

1.) The first time my in-laws came with us.

2.) The first time the mostest cutest little boy in the entire universe saw the ocean and played in the waves.

3.) The first time my son and his wife (having been boyfriend/girlfriend on every other vacation trip) could bed down together.

Now, as usual on these trips I do my security check before allowing anyone to enter the home. After that I dole out the weekly assignments, I take care of cooking, all cleaning, including but not limited to: dishes, clothes, clogged toilets, loose deck boards, shingles, siding, window replacement and general beach erosion containment.

From time to time I fill in as lifeguard making sure the beaches are safe, assisting in rescues, and demonstrating lifesaving techniques. I , also, use the lull to play with the mostest cutest little boy in the entire universe.

On this particular day (I believe it was midweek one sultry afternoon) I had been a bit apprehensive due to the weather, but dared not let on, not wanting to alarm anyone. Around 3 p.m., everyone but myself was sound asleep after an arduous day of frolicking in the surf.

Feeling a sudden drop in the barometric pressure, I quickly stepped onto the back deck. My senses were tingling, every muscle in my body rigid, ready to jump into action. I watched as my dread became reality.

What had begun as a small cone soon twisted its way down to the ocean as a water spout. I could tell it was beginning to strengthen as it moved on shore, becoming a solid F4 possibly F5 tornado. I sprang into action.

I began waking my family members. Those that wouldn’t awaken immediately, I carried to the safest part of the house even the mostest cutest little boy in the entire universe …the bathroom. After I had everyone comfortably positioned in the bathtub, I began to remove mattresses from each bedroom and packed them around my anxious clan. I assured them that everything would be alright and even took time to sing several soothing tunes to calm their fears.

I found a large tree limb that the twister had pushed into the house and stood in front of the bathroom batting any debris away from the room occupied by the most important people in my life.
After the deluge, the only thing that remained was the single bathroom that contained my loved ones safe and sound with not even a scratch, even the mostest cutest little boy in the entire universe.

I often think of that day and the horror it could have wrought. I honestly say this with all the humility I can muster:  Boy, it sure is a good thing I was there, for I shudder to think the outcome had I not been.

Now, I’ve talked enough about me, why don’t you talk about me?

And then we’ll talk about the mostest cutest little boy in the entire universe!

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I Give up, You figure it out.

Moon and Space Ship

(Photo credit: Je.T.)

 Consider star travel:  In order to do this, we must think in terms of light years. If light travels at the rate of 186,000 miles per second, then the distance you could achieve in the span of a year is what I would call, “a mighty fur piece.”  I bring this to your attention to highlight the difficulties and similarities for the writer between light travel and the mind numbingly, but necessary, job of obtaining a literary agent.

 What would one have to do in order to travel to the stars? Quite simply, develop a rocket motor that would hurl a spacecraft as fast as the beam from a flashlight travels. First problem solved.

 What do you do when searching for a literary agent? First you must determine the genre of your writing and then match it with the correct agent. First problem solved, maybe.

 Next obstacle on your way to the stars: Traveling from sun to sun tends to take large amounts of time. Your next hurdle, develop a cryogenic suspension system to sustain astronauts over long distances. Second problem in the bag.

 Next problem for agent search:  Learn to write query letter and synopsis. Second problem solved, maybe.

 For our next hitch on the way to Alpha Centaur a. Have enough food to maintain astronauts over extended periods of time. Develop hydroponic garden system so adequate varieties and amounts of food can be grown.

 Still searching for agent: Once you have completed query, synopsis, sample chapters (different agents have different requirements) email to selected agent and prepare to wait up to three months.

 I am now standing on an alien world getting ready to sit down to my first hydroponically grown meal.

 In my search for an agent… still waiting.

 Of course I write this with tongue firmly planted in cheek. A literary agent has an insurmountable task with thousands of manuscripts to read and authors to represent, being only a part of their responsibility.  I applaud the work you do.

 So the next time you look up in the sky, count the stars and let me know what you come up with, then I can see if your count is correct.

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Who came first, the publisher or the agent?…wait!…I know what you’re thinking. He’s asking  THE question!…    You know…THE question that’s plagued mankind since the dawn of time, rearing its ugly head when the first stone chiseling cave man, Rocky Stoningway, tried to publish the gripping granite tablet, “The Old Man and the Cave,” and the riveting sequel “For Whom the Boulder Falls.” I will admit it was easier then, as there was only one author, (the aforementioned Rocky Stoningway), one agent (Cenozoic and Sons Tablet Chiseling Agency L.L.C.)  and The Big Bang Publishing Co. Ltd. (the only publisher).

Today there are hundreds of agents and publishers to service thousands upon thousands of writers. The problem, other than the shear number of writers to publishers, is that most publishers will not accept unsolicited manuscripts. Which means…drum roll…enter the agent. Agents would rather represent published authors… Talk about a rock and a hard place. It’s more like a catch twenty-six and a half or something.

The conundrum in all of this is that all three parties have valid concerns. Writers want to be published and certainly should be if their work warrants it, as many do. Agents have to be particular about who they represent  else they lose credibility with their publishers. And publishers stand to lose a lot of money if they take a chance on a book that doesn’t sell. I’m not trying to pass myself off as some all knowing authority on the subject–I’m just relaying my personal experiences and what I’ve learned along the way.

It’s a tough business if a business is how you care to look at it. I prefer to embrace the passion I have for the written word, work tirelessly (but not if it truly becomes work) in order to publish, and go to all ends marketing the book. If your novel is the greatest book ever written that won’t be known if it’s never read. The one thing you’ll have to learn to accept is refusal of your work. Just never give up. (My therapist says in another year or so I should be able to handle rejection again.)

If you take anything away from this let it be this…work hard, develop thick skin, marketing is essential (no one’s going to sell your book for you) and above all, have fun…gotta run I’m late for my therapy session.

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