I have a website

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Holy Crap! I am now writing, I use the term loosely, on a WordPress Website. I was told I needed a website for selling my books (currently only the one) but I also learned that WordPress.org offers the best and easiest website. Trust me when I tell you they use the word “easiest” extremely loosely.

So all my wonderful followers, all two of you, okay maybe three, please come by and see me at http://www.melodyslark.com. No, really, I am over there typing my little fingers to the bone. Well, maybe not that much but it is where you will find me, if you look.

I’ve launched (again loose interpretation) my book LIGHTED WINDOWS on Amazon and I am trying to navigate the dark waters of the self-publishing world. Let me tell you, it is a strange and expensive world! So come by, when you have a moment and say Hi. I will give a wave back and it will validate my need for this website thingie.  Ciao my Lovelies!

Writing, Editing and other anxieties.

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My first novel is off to formatting and my beta reader, yes just one, but she says she is enjoying it. Of course, she could be just being nice but everyone in my group of walking folks tells me, Sue is a straight shooter and won’t say anything much at all if she didn’t like it. Actually, Sue told me if she doesn’t like a book she’s reading she stops. She doesn’t have a lot of reading time and won’t waste it on a book that bores her.

The next novel is not quite finished but I’ve been editing what was already written. I’m surprised at how far I’d gotten before I had to stop and try to launch LIGHTED WINDOWS. The next book is titled A MIND MATTER and while I hate that title, I’ve yet to come up with a better one. Right now I’m stuck in the fog, no really, the scene is in the London fog and I’ve planned two very different ways of writing this scene. The problem is picking the right one?? Both scenes have the drama and both reach the same point but the routes are quite different.

There are many great things to being a writer, there are also many head-banging things. I write what is in my head but sometimes I am of two minds. (yes, you may giggle) All writers do things their way and I’ve heard that some authors will start a work without any idea how the book ends. I’m the other way around. I know how the book opens and I have the ending clearly in my sights (I had the last sentence of LIGHTED WINDOWS in my head before I started writing.) as I begin fleshing out the work. The problem arises when a scene comes to me in a very different form then I’d planned. My file titled ‘Scenes for Later’ is growing by the day. I may save the work in two forms and read back through both before I decide.

Hope Spring is blooming in your area. We have temperatures over the eighty-degree mark, but we’ve also had rain so everything is so very green. I will share some of my flowers just in case you need some Spring right now.

A Book

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I am down to the formatting part of sending LIGHTED WINDOWS out into the world. I’m not worried. Amazon publishes (I use the term very loosely) 53 million books a day, or at least that was the last time I saw figures on ‘the Amazon’. My little work will sink amidst the swamp of other works sent onward that day and most likely never be seen again. I am not troubled, okay, maybe just a little.

Why am I not upset about the impending death of my first book? First, it is my first and therefore, not my best. I improved as the work progressed (no really, my editor said so) 🙂 and the next two books will be better. I direct you to John Grisham’s work, A TIME TO KILL. I thought it was a good book but, yes, THE CLIENT was better. Secondly, this whole thing has been a learning process and I am still learning. Currently, I’m unable to create a table of contents even if Word 2016 says it is easy. I have tried ten times and still cannot create anything close to an acceptable form that will pass through the CreateSpace portal. I’m seeking help and have found that there is another world out there that is populated by ‘formatters’ or people who correctly format your work for whichever e-book or print book version you wish. These special people are very busy and charge large amounts of dollars. I tried to learn to do it but I was merely kidding myself. I don’t read code, find meta-data confusing at the best of times and I must refer back to the Word program that tells me it is easy to create a TOC. (yes, that means table of contents).

When I left high school, the very last day, we received a form to fill out asking us to tell the school what our plans for the future were. I wrote it was none of their business. As you can imagine, that did not go over well and I was called to the counselor’s office. The female guidance counselor was a Miss Cook, a short, black horned-rimmed glasses wearing, middle-aged woman who asked again what I had planned for my future. I numbered off five goals, since she’d asked, and she called me Scarlot O’Hara and handed me some college applications. The reason I tell you this little memory is because publishing my books was number five on the list. I have completely accomplished the other four, more on those first bits some time in the future.

In conclusion, (I know you were wondering if there was one) if I can manage to launch LIGHTED WINDOWS in any way at all, I will have reached my final goal. That, in and of itself, is an accomplishment and I will feel fulfilled. Okay, not totally but, there are more books to write and I hope to be able to create a table of contents by the third or fourth book. Fingers crossed….

None of the Above

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I’m sure everyone has been watching the political debates and the news with analysis of the debates. It is impossible to escape all the reporting and debating and analysis. It is in your face every day if you watch any news agency at all. The local and national news agencies are following each candidate and showing us everything or most things they find newsworthy or of shock value. Trump never fails any reporter or rally with lots of ‘worthy’ observations and comments.

The worst part of all of this noise is that we will shortly have to vote for one of the ‘chosen’ from the two parties. Yes, I know there are more than two but control of the electoral college, a most outdated device, is solely under the two party system. Here in California, if you are listed as a Non-Partisan, you will not be allowed to vote for any candidate for president. I am not making that up. I had to re-register to be able to vote for a presidential candidate and during this re-registration, I was required to pick a party. Now I could have chosen the American Freedom Party and the other one I believe was Libertarian but I would refer you back to the electoral college for direction on party choice. As much as I was raised to be a Republican, it is most difficult this year to accept that idea.

Why, America, do we not have the ability to Vote For None Of The Above?? Why can we not send the parties back to their drawing boards (and billion dollar donors) to find a candidate we will vote for? It seems to be a most fundamental democratic right, doesn’t it? Why should someone like Madeline Albright tell us we must vote with our chromosomes or go to hell. (double XX sounds better than the alternative.) We all agree this country needs better leaders and not just a president but both houses, so why can’t we say None try again?

My battle-cry for decades has been: throw them out, never re-elect anyone, ever. Maybe it is time for this to become the battle-cry of all who feel our country needs better leaders. What do you think?

 

 

 

 

 

What I’ve Learned

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The last of the edits came back from John Hudspith. I finished going through them and while I deeply admire and believe in my editor, there were some changes I’m still struggling with. He removed a rather visceral sentence I rather liked, got all up in my grill about a ‘frozen’ chicken and changed the ending just a bit. What to do?

I’m currently re-writing the first, oh ten or twelve chapters of LIGHTED WINDOWS because they are terrible. I didn’t know they were terrible until I learned what good work looks like. Now I have to weed out all my, gag, moments that don’t work and don’t move fast enough and so on. I am also working on not ending all my sentences with a preposition. It is my book for better or worse and I am the name on the cover so perhaps I will ignore some of the edits and maybe replace that wonderfully visceral ‘plop of gray matter’ just because I wrote it the way it happened.

But what I’ve learned most is no one, not even someone as wonderful and special as my editor, Dearest Johnny, can write your book. I agree with most of his corrections and up until this last bit I would have never argued. But now, I’m facing publication of this long overdue work and I sincerely want it to be my work, the way I saw it. There is, however, the matter of sales. This editor has about fifty indie authors, so his knowledge of what sells is deep and he made a wonderful change to the ending that I am using.

So, I’ve learned you never stop learning. There are hundreds of way to write any sentence and while they all may not be exactly right for any given story, it is the job of the writer to pick and choose among the many variations, the best way to say and not say what you want the reader to hear. Thank you, my Dearest John, for being an amazing person. You have made LIGHTED WINDOWS a book worth reading. I hope to continue learning with each book that follows.Lighted Windows2 (1)

LIGHTED WINDOWS

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The time has finally come. The last of the chapters are now in the editor’s hands and I am facing the precipice of publishing. I have a cover; I need a back blurb, but I am terrified. Don’t get me wrong, I love to write and this is my first complete manuscript. I have paid for professional editing, poor John, had to endure my early attempts. It takes some effort to not only write a book but do it as well as you possibly can. With practice, I believe I have improved. John says I have but he is too kind to say anything less.

What shall I do? Throw my first-born on the slush pile of Amazon? Try for an agent, at my age? Put it aside and know I did my best, feels like another alternative. But the worst of it is that I must make a decision and doing nothing is also a decision. I may stall and look for Beta readers first. They tell me it is a necessary part of polishing a book.

I have been working on an author’s platform. It is a soul-sucking enterprise. I will tweet now and again. I am just starting on Instagram and I find it hard to comprehend. My Facebook page has stalled at 1586 likes and my LinkedIn profile has expanded but  there is another platform I’m having some doubts about. Social Media is the way of the world but I feel lost in the Forbidden Forest.

What would you do?

Manage Content

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My Kindle is full, holy crap, I did not know that could happen. How the heck do you fill a reading device?? I’d done a review for an author I’d met at a panel discussion and was trying to figure out why it hadn’t appeared on Amazon. So I checked and found that the device was full and would no long communicate with my WiFi. Who knew??

Now, I will admit to being one of those evil people that scans through all the book marketing emails I get, BookBub, Book Shout, and so on ad nauseam for interesting books that are free. Authors are the new targets for the internet vultures. Real Estate agents were their first targets and I have hung up on so many marketers trying to sell me “top ten on Google, Yahoo, Bing” and some just plain websites hoping to squeeze their living out of you. But, I digress as always, sorry darlings. I have been ‘one-clicking’ on a lot of free books without realizing I was filling my e-reader with stuff I would never read. I will say that I have also found several good authors this way and left reviews to that effect. Now the toll of what I have done has come due. I must either read the books or “delete from device”.

I have learned something very important along the way. When I don’t have space on my device, I don’t waste time scanning through emails looking for free books. (yes, the saying you get what you pay for does come to mind, now!) I have time to blog, more time to write more time to plan out my writing and more time to…well just about everything. I have not yet removed enough from my device to allow it to connect with my WiFi yet and that surprises me. I’ve deleted over twenty books. Now to be fair, some of what I have deleted are books I have read, start to finish. These were good books, and I did pay for several of them, but, well, I have to “manage content” now so unless the work is of a research nature or historical content, I’ve read it and won’t be reading it again. I am one of those poor folks that can’t read a book twice (most books there are exceptions). I have a memory (currently, it could change) that once I’ve read a book or seen a movie I generally don’t want to experience it again. I know how it ends. I remember it, so sadly, I have deleted some books that if I had not been stupid and downloaded every mildly interesting sounding free book I came across, some of those good books would still be with me.

Lesson learned!