Tuesday, October 31, 2017

The big question

It's time to answer the big question. Not "will you celebrate Halloween?" I'll leave that question for another time. (How about "Never?" Will that work?) If you have children, their question is usually, "Is my costume ready?", or maybe "Is it time to go trick-or-treating yet?" But the question around our house is what kind of candy to have available.

There are plenty of children in our neighborhood who'll come to our door (and even some older children--and that, too, is a subject for another time). We try to have candy for them, but my wife always asks me, "What kind shall I buy?" I've finally settled on an answer--"The kind we'll eat if there's some left over." And there's always some left over. Sometimes we have lots of kids come by, sometimes not many at all, but we have to be prepared for the larger number. So this year, as we've done in the past, we'll lay in a supply of candy that we can enjoy if there's some left over.

How about at your house? Are you preparing for costumed children to come to your door? Or do you turn off the lights and hunker down, hoping they'll go away when no one answers the doorbell?

Friday, October 27, 2017

Writing: Audio Versions

When I was writing for traditional publishers, I really had little or no say-so in whether they arranged to put out an audio version of my novels. That decision was up to the publishing company. One novel--Stress Test--was made available in audio format by a publisher. Others were available only as ebooks or in print.

One advantage of indie-publishing is that I can arrange for an audio version of my novels anytime I want to. But the process isn't an easy one. First I have to arrange for a narrator. This means putting the material out on the appropriate website and listening to every audition. I thought I wasn't going to get the narrator I wanted until Bill Nevitt did an audition. He was just what I was looking for, and was willing to take the "deal" that I wanted.

Of course, then it meant listening to the entire book, chapter by chapter, as Bill read it. As you can imagine, this accounted for several hours of time. In the meantime, although my designer had done a great job in coming up with a cover for Doctor's Dilemma, she had to re-do it to put it in the appropriate format for an audio book. She came through like a champ.

Finally I received notification that the audio book is available on Amazon, Audible, and soon will be on iTunes. Here's a sample, courtesy of Bill:

If you haven't read Doctor's Dilemma already, and are set up to listen to audio books, I hope you'll give this one a try.

(And for those of you who got my newsletter--see, I told you there were benefits to signing up for it--all the introductory codes are already gone. Sorry.)

Tweet with a single click. "Is it much trouble to publish an audio version of a book?" #writing.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

The tooth, the whole tooth, nothing but...

I wasn't certain what I was going to write about this afternoon, but I soon discovered it didn't matter. While my wife was away from the house for a bit, I felt a little peckish so I decided to try the caramel-coated popcorn we bought from one of our granddaughters who was selling things for their Girl Scout troop. I bit down and felt something hard. Thinking there was an unpopped kernel, I shoved it forward with my tongue and examined it. Unfortunately, it wasn't popcorn. It was the major portion of an upper tooth.

To be fair, it was the first tooth of mine that had ever undergone a root canal (there've been two more, and they're fine), and at my last check-up the dentist told me it might go at any time. But, to be honest, I sort of figured it would last as long as I did. Obviously I was wrong.

Anyway, I'll be seeing my dentist this AM for whatever he thinks is necessary to get things back in order. Meanwhile, I'll reflect on my good fortune to have (relatively) good health, and that help is available if that something goes awry. See you on my regular blog day this coming Friday.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Winner of Amazon Gift Card

I've sent a note to the winner (chosen from over 165 people who left their name and email addresses). Thanks to all of you for entering. Hope you enjoyed the Christian Fiction Scavenger Hunt.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Christian Fiction Scavenger Hunt: Stop #13

Welcome to the Christian Fiction Scavenger Hunt! If you’ve just discovered the hunt, be sure to start at Stop #1 and collect the clues through all the stops, in order, so you can enter to win one of our top 3 grand prizes!
      The hunt BEGINS at noon MST on October 19 with Stop #1 Hunt through our loop using Chrome or Firefox as your browser (not Explorer). There is NO RUSH to complete the hunt—you have all weekend (until Sunday, 10/22 at midnight MST)! So take your time, reading the unique posts along the way; our hope is that you discover new authors/new books. (If you've found this earlier, please be patient with us--we're still setting up).

Submit your entry for the grand prizes by collecting the clue on each author’s scavenger hunt post and submitting your answer in the Rafflecopter form at Stop #25. Many authors are offering additional prizes along the way.

At this stop, I'm pleased to host two authors of Christian fiction who've combined their talents to write an excellent book. Welcome, Lisa Harris and Lynne Gentry. Here's a bit about their novel, Ghost Heart.

A brilliant transplant surgeon. A rogue organ broker. A ghost child.
And the legend that could destroy them all.

A brutal murder convinces surgeon Mia Kendall there’s more than she imagined to the mysterious spike in heart transplant rejections. Determined to find answers before she loses another patient, Mia gets sucked into a dangerous international medical web. With time running out for her youngest transplant recipient, Mia is forced to partner with a disillusioned ex-military pilot who flies brokered organs across East Africa. But searching for the truth will prove costly for the unlikely duo racing to stop a madman before he annihilates a rare and cursed bloodline.


Lisa and Lynne tell me they've been asked on several occasions how their collaboration went on this novel, and have made a video that explains it. So, without further ado, here they are to tell you how Ghost Heart came about.

LISA HARRIS is a best-selling author, a Christy award winner, and two time winner of the Best Inspirational Suspense novel from Romantic Times. She and her family live in Mozambique, Africa as missionaries. Find out more about her books at www.lisaharriswrites.com, on FB at AuthorLisaHarris or @heartofAfrica. 

LYNNE GENTRY is an actor/director turned fiction author who loves using her crazy imagination to entertain audiences with her books. When Lynne is not creating enchanting new worlds, she’s laughing with her family or working with her medical therapy dog. Find out more from her at https://www.lynnegentry.com, Author-Lynne-Gentry on FB, or @Lynne_Gentry on Twitter.

Here’s the Stop # 13 Skinny:
You can order this book on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or at your local bookstore! 

Clue to Write Down: you're

Before you go, if you're not a subscriber to my newsletter, I hope you'll take this opportunity to click the link to the right that will send it to you. Subscribers get first information about my newest releases, special "deals," and other helpful stuff. And enter both your name and email address in the comments for a chance to win an Amazon gift card. I'll contact the winner on Monday, October 23.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Heads-Up Re Several Things

As I've already posted, on Thursday, October 19, I'll join a number of other authors of Christian fiction in a "Scavenger Hunt." I had no idea what that represented until I participated in my first one. Instead of knocking on doors, you go from site to site, read the post there (which serves as an introduction to a bunch of authors), save the word that's appended at the end of the post, and go on to the next site. Further instructions are forthcoming.

Those who receive my newsletter have already been notified that from October 16-20 my novella, Rx Murder, will be available in Kindle format for the reduced price of 99 cents. After that, it goes back to its usual price. If you've already read it but have a friend who hasn't, I'd be pleased to have you recommend it.

By the middle of next month (perhaps earlier), I hope to have an audio version of my novella, Doctor's Dilemma, available for purchase. If you're into listening, rather than reading, or if you have a friend who is, consider this one.

In case you missed it, I did a guest blog yesterday on Suite T, the online vehicle of the Southern Writers Magazine. Here's the link. The title says it all, but I hope you read the whole post.

End of commercials, and of this blog post. No political rants. Nothing about baseball or football. Not even a comment on the weather. Just a heads-up for several things. You may now return to your regular activities. See you again soon.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Writing: Edits

A reader recently asked me to comment on the types of editing my novels go through. Happy to oblige.

SUBSTANTIVE EDIT (SOMETIMES CALLED MACRO EDIT): This is the “20,000 foot view” that looks at plot, hook, story arc…call it what you will. This is a second pair of eyes looking at your idea and making suggestions. In my novels, the macro edit has sometimes (not often) involved some simple changes. Other times it has suggested that I change some scenes or characters. I have had to change the sex, racial background, or other characteristics of the people involved—but the suggestions were good. A few times, I have written ten thousand words, only to be told that I really should go in another direction. I did…and it helped. Be choosy about seeking advice, but when it comes,  listen to it. 

COPY EDITING: This one corrects grammar, word selection, punctuation, and the hundred-and-one things that have slipped by the author. It’s sometimes called LINE EDITING, although technically there’s a difference—but don’t ask me to explain it here.  A good copy editor will also look for frequent use of some words, employment of “weak” words, and other things that the thought of correcting will cause a writer to tear his/her hair out and say things they didn’t learn in Sunday School. A good copy editor is worth his/her weight in gold. But caution—a bad copy editor may try to rewrite your story in their voice. That’s when an agent can speak to your editor about the assignment of that editor. Of course, if you're indie, you're on your own. Again, choose wisely and well.

PROOFREADING: This is typically done after galley proofs have been set. When I have had my work published by a conventional publisher, typically I get the galleys while at the same time a proofreader is reading through their set. A good proofreader may also pick up errors the copy editor didn’t find. And--getting tired of this?--if you're an indie author, this is up to you as well.

There are other types of edits, depending on how you classify them, but these three are essential. Do you have other questions about publishing? Let me know, and I’ll try to address them.

Tweet with a single click: “A brief view of the types of editing every novel should go through.”

Note: On October 19, I will join 23 other authors in a Christian Fiction Scavenger Hunt. This will be one of the sites. Go to each site, read the brief post by an author that site hosts, then gather the “secret word.” There are prizes at the end of the hunt for fortunate entrants. You’ll get full directions when the hunt starts. It runs through October 22.

In the meantime, watch for a post from me about a time limited reduction in the price of one of my novellas from October 16-20. Just a heads-up.