What a wild ride. OH, that’s right. Wait.

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Got the edits done.

Sent back to agent.

Two days later … email from agent.

HEY, that cannot be good! I didn’t want to open it. I mean. Have you ever watched courtroom shows? Bad news comes quick.

Right?

I checked all my other email, first. I chewed a nail. Maybe five. Clicked on the email, then shut my eyes. Opened one. Then the other. Took a deep breath.

OH. He got the manuscript. In about a month + I will hear back.

WHEW and … oh, piffle. Another wait. It is what it is, and at least it wasn’t: “We hate this! Go away!”

 

 

 

A Word About Brad Carl’s Work! And it’s good.

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August 19, 2017

Claire O’Sullivan

I finished Grey Areas the Saga this evening. I have to say, some spectacular writing you won’t want to miss if you like thrillers, romance, comedy, drama. I had all four books (novellas) at once, so I wouldn’t have to stop. I was thrilled to read this work. Superglued to my chair.

If I wasn’t such an old lady, I think I would have finished all four in 2 days. As it was, it took me 3.

Four plots (mixed together) in one book, the characters really well fleshed out — if you are yelling at the characters, you know they are real. Their lives collide in a fast pace, with ‘holy crap’ moments every other page. While it’s complex, with a number of characters, because of their originality, it is not difficult to remember who is whom. Dialogue as natural and unique as havving coffee with your friends .

Funny, how things go from bad to worse to reaaaaallly bad when the main character runs from the law. From cartels to a deranged wrestler, and a please throw that 80 yr old off the bus …  

A very engaging book. If you look at one, just purchase all 4 (right now they are $4.99 on Amazon kindle) because it’s well worth it. 4 novellas work out page-wise to 2 novels.

http://bradcarl.com/Click for more cool stuff about Brad and his work.

Click here for the Amazon page: https://www.amazon.com/Grey-Areas-Saga-Books-1-4-ebook/dp/B019YTAC5U/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1503193554&sr=8-2&keywords=brad+carl

And don’t forget – if you want a reviewer, ARC reader, and/or private consultation, I charge for those of us who are starving artists, $10 for the whole shebang. Especially helpful for those who self-publish, Indie and on a shoestring budget. c.mahoney.fnp@gmail.com  

While I Edit !

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As I agonize of my re-edit of How to Steal a Romance, I came across not just tired words, overused words, and unnecessary words, but a treasure trove of repeated phrases, actions that were like Biblical plagues of flies and frogs. Since it’s my first fiction, it could be the death of my firstborn.
With gratitude that rivals (almost) the recounting of the Exodus story, I give thanks the agent is also an editor and loves new authors.
With that in mind, I have another chapter to Edit Zombie. Ain’t that grand? Only hope it won’t be a repeat of the Chicago Manual of Style in content and heft…
Trying hard to decide. What to do, write Edit Zombie next, or Glass Slipper? Should I pick Forget Me Not up before?
The conundrums we face. Thankfully (??????) I am still editing HTSR. I suppose now, I ought to tackle said manuscript instead of lingering around social media.
Well then. Off I go, but muuuaaah be aware that Your Inner Edit Zombie lurks … patiently …

The Big Edit

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Last night, I finished the BIG EDIT on How to Steal a Romance. I was too tired to get onto FB, WordPress, etc. to sing that hallelujah until today.

The intense past two weeks did me in. Whew. I took a day/evening off and hope to gather my wits about me, and in another day or so, will go back…and…listen…again. Via an eReader. It speaks each word



so if you have have an extra word here or there awkward sentence here… or accidentally insert a horizontal line that you thought was a strikeout line that sometimes our eyes don’t see–it picks up on it, and boom, you can hit pause and fix the MS. Even better, ’cause it’s free.

I spent about 20 minutes writing my most used phrases and words this morning (yes, again). Actions and emotions. Dialogue-y type stuff. Things that should individually belong to individual character. While the agent didn’t call specifically for these things, as a reader (and my Inner Edit Zombie), my eyes cast a shadow over them, scarier than Dark Shadows (that … might age me … if you know what that is without having to look it up, you’re in the same group!).

What is a writer’s life without the agony of editing? The rejections? The tunic rent asunder, ashes thrown into the air, with weeping and gnashing of teeth?

Okay, so that last part is 1. too Biblical and out of context … and 2. way over the top. For most of us.

Despite my ‘thank you, Lord’, for the small mercies of getting things done, I am still beat. Don’t think I could pick up a book or write a limerick today. Feel like a Borg. Plug me into the wall and let me stand there until I can fit into that waist-crushing outfit Seven of Nine had to wear (like that would ever happen).

<looks around, fanning self>

Anyone have a nice place in Nova Scotia I could stay at? It’s too hot here, so my tropical island dream right now has a latitude of Vermont or higher.

And surely there is a holiday or birthday somewhere in the world tomorrow, so Happy August Ninth *insert name of holiday* and have a great rest of the week.

 

yeeeesh … kill me now ….

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I’m a bit of a curmudgeon when it comes to editing.

<Laughs in near hysteria>

Okay, whatever, you inner thought fool.

I ditched (for the most part) editing for the past two days, since I had to fill a gap into Forget Me Not: Non Compos Mentis. It wasn’t the ‘necessary or the world will fall apart if you don’t’ rewrite’, but since it’s a romance, it ya, kinda did.

Without the rewrite, there would be no decent clash between guy and gal. The male love interest would have no reason to act less decisively, since he’s a decisive kind of guy. Main character would have no ‘who IS this person and why did he…?’ Sure, she has her own issues to battle, but no looming worries over the love interest.

The tension of attraction wouldn’t be strong, because readers liked tension. And I just wasn’t feelin’ the tension.

Hey, we may not like to fight with our spouses in real life, but let the sparks fly in fiction, and –for me, the read is more satisfying.

If you fight with your spouse in anger, I highly recommend praying for each other and seeking counsel. Now. But, not in fiction–they misunderstand each other, argue, feelings get hurt, you know–guy gets girl, guy looses girl, guy gets girl back. Or in this case, girl hires guy (for real work, git your mind outta the gutter!), guy accepts job, girl… okay, that’s enough of that.

I’m a gimme-a-message kinda gal, too. Show me the worst side of the characters, how they overcome the obstacle: a fear, misunderstanding–or a real physical obstacle, and I might just realize how to face my own personal writing-demons-from-the-abyss. Or just the regular Hades abiding creepazoids, trying to fill me with fear and self-doubt.

Please, writer, don’t make your main characters perfect. *Yawn.* What are they physically, emotionally, spiritually struggling with? Is it a struggle I can relate to or empathize with? Think *Wounded Warriors,* men and women who see the worst in death, the heroic in saving the innocent, lose limbs … and the mind-torture of things you can’t un-see.

Well. Dang it. Just thought, I need to fiddle more with my antagonist.

FINE. ‘Time for some thrilling heroics.’ (Image: Firefly)

<slouches, reaching for another cup of Joe>

Going to the manuscript. Again.

<laughter emits from inner thoughts>

Shut up. Twit.

Today …

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Sunday! Day of rest. Uh. Okay. I already know Who is my Sabbath Rest, every day.

Well … I arose too late to make it to church (this seems to be a routine problem…) but there is a plethora of reading that, every time I read through, shows me something New. Must always be discerning and test, compare with Hebrew and Greek and seek the wisdom from well-trusted pastors.

I don’t want to be an illiterate Christian in any chapter, Old and New Covenant. I mean, everyone in the NT spoke and taught only from the OT. Jesus never baptized anyone. He didn’t write a Gospel. He taught. He healed. He forgave everyone and those who would believe were sons and daughters of God. So yes, I am a bit preachy today. Did you know there is no category for Christian(s)?

To say this may seem weird, but who was the most anti-religion in Christ’s time? He was, and the reason? Religion was a perversion of works. Pretension. The elite who looked down on the lost. The arrogant. Everything the Church, collective, is today. He looks into our hearts. The lost (everyone) needs Him, but not everyone believes they do. How many rich rich rich people ‘need’ the Savior? They have everything they want. Good works won’t do it. Au contraire. It’s the recognition of falling short (all that we do against God), realizing His words in the OT, all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Then, asking for the forgiveness only He can give and turning away. Then accepting it, and realizing that God is alive, and He wants a relationship with you (me, and everyone).

I suspect this will turn a lot of folks off (no, I know it will…). But there it is.

Today then, I am happy to say I have reached another edit of Forget Me Not, and my word count is up…I may have to cut and slash, but for now, am filling in the work with the timeline. Have asked my hubby to find my corkboard (which was conveniently moved into a secret place only he knows of…) so I can print my novel timeline and the crime timeline. Not my food/weight/health chart.

After I finish my social media flyby, I will put on my headphones, listen to music, and fiddle with the next chapter. Hopefully hubby will bring me that corkboard.

Ya, it’s old-fashioned. But I like it, so there.  🙂

Have a great Sunday, rest if you wish, dream about the characters (don’t forget paper and pen), stroll about, and watch human behavior.

If you are curious, visit my website (under my pen name – Claire O’Sullivan) http://cmahoneyfnp.wixsite.com/claireosullivan I tend to write on every subject that hits my fancy.

Twitter: @authorclaire1 – and I follow back.

 

 

Deep Point of View

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Not long ago, I learned about deep point of view. The three types that writers use to get into the characters heads. Love it. Creates a depth to characters whom readers can relate to and love. Too much can be … too much. It’s all about balance.

Deep POV is a great way to build an audience. I tire and forget novelists who write characters without this. Deep POV grabs you by the collar and doesn’t let go.

I rewrote an entire manuscript to take me out of the work. Put each sight/sound/emotion into characters internal thought, action, or dialogue. Some telling is important, yes. But author intrusion or shallow writing is forgettable reading.

One critiquer demanded I rewrite the end or she’d go all ‘Misery’ on me. I didn’t give her my address. She realized it was a HEA for now, and forgave me. My editor told me I had to rewrite. She cried. Three times, in the same chapter. Her last statement was, ‘I don’t know if I edited anything, I cried so much. I will be thinking of Calhoun and Cade for a long time.’ YES!

The terror, the anger, the angst, and loss. I want my writing to sing and my readers to be there … to laugh, feel anger, cry. When my critiquers argue inline with my characters, I know I’ve done my job. Grab those readers. This is what makes an author memorable because there is a takeaway message.

If you don’t know about deep point of view (aka deep POV), find it. Steve Laube Agency today wrote on this. Scribophile has a great section and group dedicated to deep point of view.

Deep point of view takes us into the thoughts, actions, and emotion of the character. He/she has to overcome a personal obstacle to address the inciting factor pulling said character into resolving the obstacle. It is always about the character. If characters have no physical, emotional flaws, then they are shallow, forgettable, and off I go to the next book, hoping to relate to the character. You find deep POV in their actions, thoughts, expressions, dialogue, environments. Don’t narrate, please.

I might add … Scribophile has resources on filtering, show/tell, different point of view, style and honest critiques.

Father’s Day

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One of the most cherished holidays of the season. When I was young, I often missed Mother’s Day, Father’s Day.

I didn’t appreciate the importance of thanking my parents for all the love they’d given me, for every decision I made. For the material/immaterial things that kids sometimes don’t get.

Now, they’re gone. Passed a long time ago, but now … I wish I could tell them how much I appreciate them.

Anyone else feel like a heel?

I don’t know how it happened, ’cause I hadn’t put any weight on these holidays, but my son, once he was old enough to understand and every year since, has given me a card, chocolate, or taken me to brunch. Today, he and his girlfriend treated my husband to brunch and I got to tag along.

If I had a time machine …

Thank you Mom and Dad for all your love. And today, Dad, I wish I could smell that really stinky cigar, just one more time.

 

 

Reaching the GOAL

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Today, I am not writing about writing. This is reading and doing.

This. Is. Personal.

I have battled ups and downs with weight control for YEARS. I have yet to reach my goal–however, I am much closer to the goal than where I was at. Am I going to tell you? Heck, no. Geez.

(Am I pushing this? Yes.  http://cmahoneyfnp.wixsite.com/claireosullivan/book-inner-page )

You see, I love food. Seems to be, I love food that is not particularly healthy. Like… pizza. Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, gravy. Hamburgers, hot dogs. PIE. Sticky buns. Italian food. Name something. Except lutefisk.

( http://cmahoneyfnp.wixsite.com/claireosullivan/book-inner-page )

Over the years (and I mean many years) I have been on every single diet ever touted on the face of the earth. Name one. Been there. From vegetarian to the Zone (and weirder diets), like the grapefruit and steak diet …

Been there.

The Zone demanded tuna for lunch every day. It might have well been an entire fish for all I was concerned, I hate tuna. I managed the Zone one … day.

I would stand in the cookbook aisle of healthy foods, well. Not so healthy. I lived vicariously through pictures. It didn’t help me lose weight by the way.

After so may failed attempts I WROTE A COOKBOOK. With…good…food.

( http://cmahoneyfnp.wixsite.com/claireosullivan/book-inner-page )

Pizza. Meatloaf, mashed potatoes. Apple pie. Sticky buns. HEALTHY! Tastes great. Easy to make. From BBQ to crockpot, and everything in between. Mexican food, easy comfort foods. Pumpkin pie. Lasagna. LASAGNA!

Best of all–every recipe can be tailored to your diet needs. Gluten free? Swap the wheat noodles out for your favorite alternates. Need soy or rice milk? Go for it!

A lot of folks did great with simple changes. Other diets, lifestyles — many too austere, can cause a person to … fall away, like I did. Within days. I’ve spent scads of money on diet books, only to hate the food, eat something bland, disgusting or just plain stupid.

Once I figured a few simple changes, my weight went down. My cholesterol stunned my doctor. My joint pain eased. I had obstructive sleep apnea. It’s gone. I had acid reflux. THAT’s gone. So, hence the book. ( http://cmahoneyfnp.wixsite.com/claireosullivan/book-inner-page )

Don’t get me wrong. Every now and again, I fall into a temptation. But it’s not like falling off the wagon. It’s more of a stumble. If you hit the ground, you get up, brush off the dirt and continue on.

I hope you (diabetic, hypertensive, high cholesterol, weight control, heart disease folks) who have been told to be vegans and can barely choke it down (no knock on vegans, they do pretty well, those who like it), find refuge and health in my book. Go ahead. Shock your doctor/practitioner. Tell him/her what you have done. Good PR for me 🙂

I address food. Not so much exercise. I’ll do that here. I used to be a cross country runner. Then I took up karate. After a disastrous knee accident, it’s has never been right, so I started walking. Then more problems arose. Head to toe type. I started boxing (yes, in the comfort and safety of my own home). Best exercise ever. Until the arthritis took over my wrists and hands. I am still looking for the perfect exercise. Swimming, no. Water walking – sorry, I won’t do it. Sure, I’m gray. But I ain’t water walking.

Lifestyle changes come easy when you change one thing at a time. Don’t swap out all of your foods, you may find yourself in the welfare aisle. Changes should be reasonable. Cooking should be short and savory. Food should be like my fettuccine –to die for. Desserts must tickle your tongue. Enjoy your food! Do not go hungry or stand in the cookbook section vicariously living through pictures …

This is a lifestyle I can live with. Visit my web page and click on Fabulous Foods Enjoying Healthy Comfort Foods. It will take you directly to the Amazon page. You can find it on Kindle also.

Why am I pushing it then? Because I have met with authors who have since passed away, succumbing to a lifestyle disorder. Because I know authors who are limping along trying and falling for months. I know scads of people who want good food, including family.

It. Is. Personal.

I continue on, battling the same as you. I don’t wish to be in the ICU or cardiac care unit, thank you.

http://cmahoneyfnp.wixsite.com/claireosullivan and click on the book’s picture and hit ‘buy.’

This is not a money-maker for me, royalties are in the dirt. I used to buy boxes of books -print on demand- and had a captive audience, but lives were changed. To me, that makes it worth it.

It’s under the name (real) that I work under, so don’t be terribly confused 🙂

5 to >100 pounds IT IS DOABLE.

 

 

 

 

The Edit Zombie. How to Spot it and Protect Yourself from Your Inner Zombie

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I. Hate. Editing. Worse, I hate editing too soon.

It means, ugh … slicing. Dicing. Adding and subtracting words, sections, scenes. And it means — commas, colons, semi-colons. That’s the easy part.

How long should a sentence be? Gasp! Should I use be at the end of the sentence? Should I use an ! point? The dangling modifier. An awkward sentence. Overused words.

If you are new to writing and you spend more time at conferences, reading the Chicago Manual of Style (that changes every year, by the way), and edit each sentence on your first draft–you may be an Edit Zombie.

You may have realized by now writing is not your endgame. It’s (I’m so sorry to say this) your beginning. What is your genre? Do you brand yourself (NO, not like cattle), do you have a platform?

Kristen Lamb has a terrific blog: http://authorkristenlamb.com/  She has classes. Words of wisdom. Don’t forget to follow her!

Back to editing. What a hairy ordeal, and the new writer (without an English or Journalism major) can run into some serious trouble. How do you publish? Through an agent, a traditional publishing house? Vanity (I recommend staying away from them, just ’cause)? Self-publish? Each want you to 1. edit and 2. market. Writing is hard. Editing sucks. And marketing is heinous, but not necessarily the job of your agent/publishing house, and for self-publishing–you are it. Hope and pray you have enough money for a professional editor.

Take heart and keep an eye out. I am writing a down-and-dirty book. The how-to, the lists you need. The TIPS to walk with your head held high, knowing you are no longer the zombie that sucks your soul dry (wait ’til the end of the fun process… )

 

 

 

 

In the Meantime …

Well, before I get too far into this post… I yes, am going to edit HTSR again. Taking a break. Gadzooks! Am I sick of that book or what?

BUT. Don’t kill your manuscript (at least, entirely) while those wonderful rejections come in (or nothing at all).

KEEP the research you’ve done on all things too technical to keep in said MS. Why? It may come in handy for that next novel. The one you should be working on while you wait for an answer from agent or publisher.

Besides. It gives you time off to let the manuscript cool until your eyes are fresh.

 

SHOCK!

I keep a copy of each MS I edit… Okay. I am OCD about this. What if? I mean, really. What happens if an agent/PH wants more of *insert whatever you edited out.* It also shows me how bad my writing was to how it has improved. Rejections are not failures, by the way. They are good reminders that our work needs work.

Ask me, I know all about character changes. Well, not all, but a lot more than when I began. Don’t give your MC a flaw then never deal with it, or overcome it. That’s an obstacle he/she must overcome to get the goal. A cop out to let him/her continue in her fear yet conquering the villain(s). In a series, by the end of it, he/she had better deal with this in a HEA sorta way otherwise you disappoint your readers. Leaving readers hanging at the end of book one is also a bit of a cheat. Sometimes.

What if your MC knows everything from Arabic to piloting a helicopter? Is it realistic? Well, look at some of our military. Yes. It is. Or can be. Think: JASON BOURNE. Able to speak a zillion languages, memorize every car license he sees, kill with a pencil, keep weapons secret, as well as big money. Have ten passports . Did we suspend believability?

IT DEPENDS. If said character has never done this, well then, YES. If your character is part of a SEAL team or CIA, maybe not. Even if in a fake shadowy government ‘wet work’ research arm. Jason Bourne had amnesia except how to do previously said ‘everything.’ That now, is a freaky flaw.

Does this mean Jason was perfect? NO. He is emotionally damaged, walking around wondering just who the heck he is, falling in love perhaps for the first time since becoming an assassin… since losing his memory.

(image courtesy Fandom and Wiki)

Can you tell I loved Robert Ludlam?

What about Matthew Knight in Knight and Day? HI-larious, despite less than great reviews. Poor fMC keeps passing out, usually with the help of a knock out drug or Vulcan grip. Her handling of an automatic? TOO FUNNY. Most of us would be more or less in her position. We can relate to her angst. Her flaws. We don’t really see his flaws unless he is 1. presented with real romance and 2. physically in danger. AND fMC changes to overcome scary obstacles to save the man she loves, even if her methods suspend our belief a wee bit.

When you let your manuscript cool a few weeks, look at your characters. They make the script. Then obstacles make it sing for the MC who has to overcome said obstacle(s).

Villains – total cop out if they are too stupid to outwit your MC. Really.

In the Bourne Identity, the end was a HEA. The obstacles overcome (so he thought), he joined the love of his life. The second and third novels brought a new obstacle. Revenge. Repentance. The novels are better than the movies, but since I love Matt Damon’s acting and the rush of the action in film, it’s okay that the Ludlam novels had significant changes.

Let me know if any of this has encouraged you. OR discouraged you. I figure, if your passion is writing, just keep on, no matter how many times you’re rejected.

And, if anyone wants me to read and evaluate the first 50 pages of your manuscript, it’s a ten buck deal. Link to my WordPress here…

and FB page at:

https://www.facebook.com/ClaireOSullivanChristianRomanceAuthor/

 

Characters. Bigger than Story. Bigger than Perfect Grammar

I read a book that reports story is greater than structure. Oh, how I agree with that!

YET…

Have a great story? Pitch-perfect structure?  Awesome.

Cough. Blink. Cough. 

Those rejections hurt, don’t they? Each agent is the Benihana of agents who shuts… you… down. No answer. Publishing houses write you – but not what you wanted to hear. But WHY? you cry. Angry, you stomp off to self-publish. You are a genius! They miss your point, and boy, won’t they be sorry! I’ll hold my breath! I’ll stare at the sun! Wont they be sorry! 

A lot depends in what genre you write. But, publishing houses and agents who troll the internet for good work, they look for 1. good writing 2. good characters 3. Likelihood of sales.

Think Fifty Shades of Grey (I keep harping on this book probably because the author walked off with $95 million… Am I jealous? NOOOOOO, not at all). Bad writing. But great kidnapping and BDSM (oh wait, since he’s stinking rich, it’s not kidnapping).  Author laughs all the way to the bank.

But, not even story is greater than structure.  Characters rule. Write about perfect people. Why did it get rejected? Because no one overcomes a flaw or several within chapter one. Who can relate? And on the opposite side, make that main character so whiny and pathetic  throughout, and agents will toss that novel.  Why? They aren’t trying to change. They aren’t falling into old habits and climbing out of a rut.  Hey, it’s ok to remind agents time to time of the obstacle. Agents  and publishers (not to mention readers) need reminding.

Then, fill those plot holes. Make sure you have a really good editor. Share the final draft with a group of readers. Find out if they can relate to your MC. If you get thumbs up, get ready for more rejections.

WHAT?? What is hot today is already past. The publishing world changes faster than a bullet train, and your novel is shredded under it. What can you do? GIVE THE STORY A MESSAGE. Shock ’em with twists not expected. How does your new and improved MC deal with a more horrific obstacle? OVERCOME. Don’t forget that antagonist, are they too vague? Too stupid? Make sure you hate/relate with them.

Take a serious look at your flaws. Those around you. Have you written about those? Well … that, too can hurt. What if someone criticizes you? Develop thick skin.  THEN, send that new and improved MS out. After more rejections,, keep working. If your first MS is not accepted, put it aside, work on your craft -and your second novel. Don’t quit. If it’s in you (bitten by that itchy writing bug), make sure you never stop what makes you happy. But don’t be lazy, don’t quit working on those characters. Make ’em loveable.

Don’t hire a vanity press. No one should pay to read your work. When you just HAVE to be published, then self publish. Average sales? $2000 for the work. Forever. A bunch of great writers make the coveted New York Times award. But not necessarily YOU.  

So make your characters real. Then, stick them into that cool plot. Make the agents weep. As the Firefly saying goes: ‘Sigh, baby, sigh. Make your mama cry.’

You’ll get there. In the meantime … you get to cry… Keep on writing.