Less than two months between blog posts? Boy, I am on a roll. 😛
I’ve been busy.
The last blog post was written while I was waiting for edits to come back for “A Dance in Moonlight,” my entry in Midnight Scandals. Then they came back and my story needed lots of work. Of course. At this point, if I turn in a first draft and the response is, This is awesome and we can go directly to line edits, I will probably demand smelling salts.
So I revised. Then I revised again. Then, after we’d already locked the manuscript, I begged Courtney Milan to please let me have a go at the last three chapters yet again because, well, I’m like that. Thankfully Courtney is like that too and she let me.
After having at last revised the story to my satisfaction, I experienced twenty-four hours of sublime happiness. Then God decided to make me even happier. How? Have you ever heard of that old Turkish/Arabic saying, How does God make a poor man happy? He makes him lose his donkey and finds it again.
So after my twenty-four hours of sublime happiness, I learned that because we’d done pre-order links for Amazon and Apple, we might not be able to swap out the files until the links become live, i.e., until after the folks who’d pre-ordered receive the older version of the book, with those pre-final-revision last three chapters. I sank into a deep funk. What was I going to do? I’d probably have to take out ads everywhere and tell every person who pre-ordered to send me an email so I can send them the correct files. But what about those readers who’d have finished my story before I can give them the correct files? I’d have wasted their time with something that’s less than my best. I’d have let them down. I’d have…
The self-torment went on and on.
And then, as it turned out, Lori, the digital liaison at the Nelson Agency, was able to get her contact at Amazon to swap out the files. And then she repeated the miracle and got it changed at Apple, also before the link went live. Everybody got the right files. And I held on hard to my dear old donkey, lost but now found, and all but floated away in grateful joy.
After that, it was immediately onto The Bride of Larkspear, which I found easy to write. But that didn’t translate into a good first draft either. My editor, Tiffany Yates Martin, rightfully pointed it out that it was concentrated too much on the physical side of things. Where were the emotions? Where was the character building? Where was the background so that a reader who hasn’t read Tempting the Bride, or indeed any book of the Fitzhugh Trilogy, could still understand the dynamic?
Ack! What? You mean it has to be like a real story? I’ve probably said this before, though I’m not sure anyone believes me since my books tend to be so angst-ridden: I actually find emotions the most difficult thing to write, almost impossible on some days. I have to feel it before I can write it and sometimes I just can’t get my head in the right place, so I end up playing time management games like mad instead.
Luckily for me, Tiffany provided a detailed road map on how to get there. I clung to her directions like a mountain climber to her main line. As I revised, I could feel my enthusiasm for the story skyrocket. Not that I didn’t like it before, but now I really relished it. That is always, always a good sign.
But coming up with a draft I’m happy with isn’t the end of my work, as it had been on Midnight Scandals. On the anthology Courtney had done all the post-production work, formatting, converting, whatnot. Had I budgeted my time better, or simply informed Lori, Nelson Agency’s digital liaison, of my plans earlier, Lori would have taken care of all this for me.
As it was, I was facing a huge time crunch, so I decided to do the formatting myself.
When I say myself, I mean, with at my disposal a ton of tools Courtney had developed . She had pointed me to a terrific tutorial, handed me a bunch of scripts she’d written that would do a lot of the heavy-lifting in converting Word to html, and given her permission for me to lift wholesale the css and html she’d used for Midnight Scandals. (Not to mention her template for CreateSpace POD books.)
Seriously, all I did was climbing onto her shoulders. Yet I am absurdly proud of myself. I made a pretty ebook! Squee!
See, absurdly proud.
(I’d taught myself some rudimentary css & html years ago, when I coded my first website. It didn’t take me long to decide such things ought to be left to the professionals. But boy, am I glad I still remember bits and pieces of what I’d learned.)
You might wonder why the heck was I in such a hurry to do everything. Well, various reasons. But the main reason was that I believed I was leaving historical romance for the foreseeable future, and wanted everything wrapped up nice and neat before I dive into the second and third book of the YA fantasy trilogy.
Now, however, I’m not quite as sure. I would like to write at least one more historical romance, a story that feels kind of like Private Arrangements, not in the sense of reunited lovers, but in the sense of an alpha-alpha pairing. I’ve never been able to quite write another one like it and I want to. I’d like her to always have a rifle in her hand, and maybe put them somewhere remote and dangerous.
We will see. In the meanwhile, I hope you enjoy both Tempting the Bride and The Bride of Larkspear.