I needed to hear that!

I’ve spent the last month+ going over my first Gladstone Shifters novel with a fine tooth comb. The book was published over two years ago and I’ve learned a great deal since then. A number of issues needed attention, including a re-arrangement of the opening chapters, a thorough search for crutch words, and the correction of wordy sentences and unclear phrasing.

It’s been a frustrating slog, taking much longer than I ever thought it would – not surprising for a manuscript of over 110,000 words! The good news is, I’m almost done! The bad news is, I’m not finished yet! My next novel is nattering away at my writer brain to GET STARTED ALREADY.

One of the discouraging things about this process is that realistically, very few readers will notice anything different after weeks of hard work and significant improvements. So why go to all the trouble? Is it worth it? Wouldn’t my time be better spent on the next book in the series, rather than fixing book one? As I’m sure you’ve guessed, nagging doubts and questions don’t improve motivation!

In the midst of all this, I ran across a wonderful passage in scripture I hadn’t noticed before, and found it incredibly encouraging.

“For the ear tests words as the palate tastes food.” Job 34:3

Isn’t that great? When people read my stories, they test/taste the words, parsing out the various flavors and meanings. The effort to improve my book hasn’t been wasted at all! Rather, it will leave future readers with an even better sensory experience than before. After all, enjoying the dish doesn’t require knowing the recipe.

Even so, as soon as I finish the current project, I intend to get busy writing book four (rather than fixing book two in the series). Since my readers aren’t complaining, I can start that project down the road when I don’t feel so pressed for time. When it’s all said and done my stories won’t be perfect, but they’ll be the best I can make them.

Reader Roundup 5-16-18

Reader Roundup is a weekly update on what’s going on in my world. Welcome!

Here are some of the books I’ve read or re-read recently:

The Xenogenesis Trilogy by Octavia E. Butler. The trilogy is made up of Dawn, Adulthood Rites, and Imago. If you enjoy Post-Apocalyptic stories or Science Fiction (with aliens) you MUST read this trilogy! I’ve read these wonderful books so many times I’ve lost count, and I still enjoy coming back to them again and again. The author’s fertile imagination and storytelling ability are superb, and you will not be able to put them down!  Get it HERE.


The House by the River by Lena Manta. This Greek author weaves a tale of five sisters who feel stifled by their childhood home and succeed in making their way in the world. It isn’t all roses and happiness, and there are enough twists in the story to keep it interesting. The beginning of the book seems rushed to me, but the author has a lot of story to cram in, so it’s easy to overlook. Get it HERE.

 

Off the Old Head of Kinsale by Mike Enfield. Don’t allow the odd title of this gay romance put you off! It’s 1915, and Edmund finds himself on the RMS Lusitania, on his way to join the army as a Chaplain. David, the Steward assigned to his cabin, takes a fancy to the charming man under his care. When they give in to their mutual interest, the two seem destined for each other – but the war gets in the way. A very different read with an HEA I highly recommend! Get it HERE.

Reading brings so much pleasure, and I can’t imagine a world with nothing to read! Hmmm…maybe that’s a story idea I should look into.

 

The World I Like Best

I have always considered reading as a healthy way to escape for a while. One glance at the news gives ample reason to seek a temporary way to stop the real world and enter an imaginary one. Like a pressure valve, it enables me to face the sometimes harsh reality of life by being able to remove myself from it, even if only for a short time.

It was only recently I understood that writing the story serves a similar purpose for me. One of the perks of being an author is the opportunity to let my mind and imagination LIVE within the story I am creating. Even more, I get to influence each event and character to my liking. It satisfies a bone-deep desire to have mastery over something – anything – since real life gives only a fleeting illusion of any sort of control. It also compels me to keep going, since I miss the characters and the lives I’ve designed for them.

Writers, then, are doubly blessed – or cursed, depending on how you look at it. There is something deeply fulfilling about creating an imaginary world which is uniquely mine. The setting, characters, action, and outcome are all mine to fashion, and I relish in crafting a story in which I get the final say. Nothing in real life allows such complete creativity, enabling me to enjoy not only the worlds created by others, but the ones I craft myself. A double blessing indeed.