Category Archives: Writing to a Deadline

Press Release. It’s all Kind of Weird, isn’t it? Details Revealed! FINALLY!

It’s weird isn’t it?  I never expected a press release. 

The funny thing about getting published is I needed to WAIT to tell everyone.  I could only say I was excited.  Well, the press release is out, so now I can talk.  All the details are below (A little boring for my style, but I thought you’d like to see it just like it went out to the news gurus.)

It’s pretty cool.  Here ya go if you want a looksie. 

Oh!  Notice the cover release is slated for May 21st!  So excited to show your guys!!!!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Make Believe Anthology authors revealed!

Five authors to be featured with J.A. Belfield in Make Believe Anthology from J. Taylor Publishing.

Apex, NC – March, 2012 – On December 3, 2012, J. Taylor Publishing will release Make Believe, an anthology of six short stories, ranging from contemporary romance to fantasy, written based on a photo prompt with a wintery setting and a woman in red.

“A photo prompt is one way to stir the imagination. As is evidenced by the six selected entries, each author brings a unique perspective, as well as to the twists and conflicts used to push the main characters one way or another,” says J. Taylor Publishing. “These differences, the broad range of ideas and writing style of each author determined their selection for the anthology.”

The anthology will open with Terri Rochenski’s Sacrificial Oath, a story of self sacrifice. J. Keller Ford’s The Amulet of Ormisez will follow—a story of success in failure. From there, Birthright by Australian author Lynda R. Young will delve into secrets revealed. Kelly Said returns to this anthology with Petrified, taking the reader on a journey of finding one’s purpose. Last Winter Red by Jennifer M. Eaton finds us in a post-apocalyptic world where not all is as it seems. Rounding out the anthology, is our headline author, J.A. Belfield, author of Darkness & Light and the to-be-released Blue Moon, with Escort to Insanity.

“While J.A. deviates from the Holloway Pack with her short story, her characters are just as engaging and full of the paranormal, and we’re excited to have a return anthology author as well. In choosing the stories, we looked for diversity, unique and intriguing stories and solid writing. In this set of authors, we found it,” says J. Taylor Publishing, adding, “In fact, the stories are as different as the authors themselves.”

About J.A. Belfield One day, a character and scene popped into J. A. Belfield’s head, and she started controlling the little people inside her imagination as though she were the puppet master and they her toys. Questions arose: What would happen if …? How would they react if …? Who would they meet if …? Before she knew it, a singular scene had become an entire movie. The characters she controlled began to hold conversations. Their actions reflected the personalities she bestowed upon them. Within no time, they had a life, a lover, a foe, family … they had Become.
One day, she wrote down her thoughts. She’s yet to stop.
J. A. Belfield lives in Solihull, England, with her husband, two children, three cats, and a dog. She writes paranormal romance with a second love for urban fantasy.

About Jennifer M. Eaton Corporate Team Leader by day, and Ranting Writer by night. Jennifer M. Eaton calls the East Coast of the USA home, where she lives with her husband, three energetic boys, and a pepped up poodle.
Jennifer hosts an informational blog “A Reference of Writing Rants for Writers (or Learn from My Mistakes)” aimed at helping all writers be the best they can be.
Beyond writing and motivating others, she also enjoys teaching her dog to jump through hoops—literally.
Jennifer’s perfect day includes long hikes in the woods, bicycling, swimming, snorkeling, and snuggling up by the fire with a great book; but her greatest joy is using her over-active imagination constructively… creating new worlds for everyone to enjoy.

About J. Keller Ford J. Keller Ford is a quirky mother of four, grand-mother and scribbler of young adult fantasy tales. She has an insatiable appetite for magic, dragons, knights and faeries, and weaves at least one into every story she conceives. Her muse is a cranky old meadow gnome that follows her everywhere she goes and talks incessantly, feeding her ideas for stories 24/7.
When she’s not writing or blogging, the former Corporate Paralegal enjoys listening to smooth jazz, collecting seashells, swimming, bowling, riding roller coasters and reading. Jenny lives minutes from the beaches of the west coast of Florida with her husband of twenty years, her two sons and a pair of wacky cats and three silly dogs. The pets have trained her well.

About Terri Rochenski Terri started writing stories in the 8th grade, when a little gnome whispered in her brain. Gundi’s Great Adventure never hit the best seller list, but it started a long love affair with the fantasy genre.
Today she enjoys an escape to Middle Earth during the rare ‘me’ moments her two young daughters allow. When not potty training or kissing boo-boos, she can be found on her back patio in the boondocks of New Hampshire, book or pencil in hand.

About Kelly Said: Kelly enjoys life near the foothills of Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, in a city a mile closer to the sun than most. When she’s not hanging out with her Mr. S, binge reading on the weekends, or being pressed for playtime by the wet nose of her beefy bull terrier, she can be found tucked away in a quiet spot, huddled over her laptop, writing stories for young adults.

About Lynda R. Young Lynda lives in Sydney, Australia, with her sweetheart of a husband who is her rock, and a cat who believes world domination starts in the home. Lynda has an adventurous spirit and has traveled the world.
As a chaser of dreams, she found success as a digital artist and an animator, and now as a writer of speculative short stories. She currently writes novels for young adults.
In her spare time she also dabbles in photography and all things creative.

The cover for Make Believe, and short summaries for each story, will release on May 21, 2012.

About the Publisher
J. Taylor Publishing is an Independent Publisher who, thanks to the Internet, has a worldwide reach. Our debut authors are in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada. The company produces print and electronic books. For more information about J. Taylor Publishing, please visit www.jtaylorpublishing.com.

Validation. Finally.

Validation is a strange thing.  It’s something we all want, but no one knows how they will respond when they get it.

For me, it came in the form of screaming at the top of my lungs and scaring the heck out of my husband and dog.

Then the tears start.

“Mommy, are you okay?”  Wide concerned little eyes look up at me while I drench my husband’s shoulder in tears.

“Yes, boys, Mommy is great.  Sometimes adults cry when they are really happy.”

“Oh…”  they look at each other with confused expressions, and then join in the hug fest.

All I am allowed to say right now is that I’m really happy.

Are ya getting that?

Yesterday’s post showed what a great day it was for me, and I’m still tingling.

After a few little legal things are taken care of, I will be able to tell you why, but if you’re new here, check out my Monday Night posts from the last month if you’d like a clue or two.

Writing to a Deadline 15: OMIGOSH!!!!!!!!!!!!

Writing to a Deadline Part 14: Publisher response

Holy cow!

I submitted my manuscript at 11:30 PM last night, and when I got home from work, there was a response that hit may mailbox at Noon!!!

Okay.  Deep breath.  Open the email.

“The revision was great. You did a fine job incorporating our feedback and adjusting the story to a simpler, more defined and well written product.”

Woa… hold on.  This is my first submission to a publisher.  Aren’t they supposed to belittle me and tear me to bits?  Did a publisher just call my work “great”?  Did a publisher just call my story “well written”?

Last words are “We’ll be in touch soon regarding final selections.”

Okay… we are back in “wait” mode.  I can deal with that.  I am just so tickled that I might actually be actually in the running—I can’t stand it.

I find a stream of emails from my writing buddy.  She’s been having an email conversation with the publisher all day.  They wanted more revisions done to hers.  They want to know if she’d be willing to revise further, to some pretty stringent specifications.

My heart sinks.  They went back and forth with her several times.  Someone there likes her submission enough that they want it really polished.  What does that mean for mine?  Was mine a form email that everyone gets?

They told her that they have eight submissions that they are currently considering, and only 5 slots in the anthology.

Am I one of the eight?  She obviously is.

I hop over to Scribophile, and another girl in my Scrib Group got a response that they liked her changes as well, and they were waiting to make a decision… The wording she used in her post made it sound like her response was almost word for word identical to mine.

What does that mean?  Did we both get the generic “nice” response?  Is that a bad thing, or are we both in the top eight?

Your mind goes crazy.  I swear.

I know, I know, there is not a dern thing I can do but wait… and have a few quiet conversations with the Guy Upstairs.

I put a heck of a lot of work into this over the last month.

At first, it was just a challenge to myself.

Now, it’s something I want so bad I can taste it.

Deep breath… and the wait begins.  Again.

Writing to a Deadline Part 13: Rewriting and resubmitting

Wow.  They were right.

I took out one relationship element, and the rest of the story just fell in line.  I read through my final product and shivered.

Yeah, I actually wrote that…

But that sting is still there… is it as good as I think it is?  Probably not.

Three days until I have to submit.  It’s a holiday weekend.  No one is going to have time to read, right?

This is where friendships you have made come into play.  I looked up every applicable beta reader past and present, and let them know my dire situation.  I even sent it to my very first beta partner… who was nice enough to teach “idiot little me” so much when I first started out (boy did I stink back then)  I haven’t spoken to him in over a year.  You know what?  He jumped on board.

A debut author from the same publishing house I am submitting to saw my plea on Scribophile, and offered to read it.  So did one of my current betas, and my writing buddy who was also in the same boat having to make revisions to her submission for the anthology.

Suggestions come back.  Minor changes.  The last beta to come back arrives five hours before I need to submit.  No pressure.  More minor suggestions.

Make the applicable edits…. And Done.

Funny thing.  I created a PDF, got ready to send, and got a sinking feeling in my stomach.  I checked back on something I had just added that night, and it didn’t flow. Honestly, it sounded HORRIBLE.  I took a few minutes and changed it.  Perfect…. Sometimes, you really need to listen to your gut.

  1. Create a new PDF.
  2. Write up and email thanking the publisher for their suggestions; this is how I used them… yadda yadda… thank you for your consideration.
  3. Attach PDF
  4. Send.

Now the painful waiting process… again.

The deadline has passed.  Whatever happens now, happens.  There is nothing more I can do.

I feel good about it.  I didn’t crack, and I held on to the bitter end.  No matter the outcome, I am proud of this 40 page little gem.  If anything, I proved to myself that I could do it.

Writing to a Deadline Part 12: The Slap of a Rejection

After a week of waiting… Rejected.

Wow.  That stung.  I read the email.  Well, that’s not true.  After the words “Not ready for publication at this time.” I pretty much skimmed it.

Two things stuck with me off the bat.  George was an unnecessary character, and the opening was confusing.  What??????????  George is the catalyst!  Deep breath… don’t scream.

Being a good little camper, I shut down my computer, and walked away.

I stewed over it for a while.  What were they talking about?  How could they say these things?

Then I took my own advice.  It was a nice day.  I got on my bicycle, and just rode.  I thought over those two comments, and cleared my head for an hour or so.  Once I was able to deal with it, I went back to my computer to read it again.

It’s very hard to take your own advice when something happens to you.  I have walked a few people through this very thing, but never myself.  I’ve sent out work before, but they all saved me this heartache by not answering my queries at all.  This time, I got the definitive “No”.

But was it really a no?  I read it again.  It wasn’t a yes, but it wasn’t completely a rejection either.  They gave me a full-page type-written list of areas they thought were lacking in the story.  Someone thought it through, and let me know everything they thought was a problem.

In my own advice to others: “If someone took that much time, they must have seen something in it that they liked.”

I printed out the page, went to my room, closed the door, and read it over and over.  I realized that if I took their advice about the character George, that the characterization inconsistencies that they pointed out with three other characters would just naturally fall in line.

The last line of the email stated:  If you would like to make changes and resubmit before the deadline date, please send the rewrite directly to “********”

Wait a minute… Go past the normal submission channels?  Hop over the other entries right into a special mailbox?

Not quite so much a rejection anymore, is it?  Thank God I submitted two weeks early!

Seven days for a rewrite, taking out a major plot element.

Gotta go…. Got something to do. 🙂

Writing to a Deadline Part 11: To submit, or not to submit?

This is where uncertainty creeps in.

I’m done.  I can’t make it any better than it is… at least not in the next few hours… So I just sit and stare at my screen.

I made the mistake of beta-reading my writing buddy’s submission, and her final version knocked my socks off.  It also made me sick to my stomach.

Yeah.  You guessed it.  Mine suddenly stinks.

What was I thinking?  I’m a Science Fiction Writer!  I explode things.  It’s what I do.  What the heck was I thinking with this Dystopian Romance?

But are they just being nice?  Were those just required “cheerleader” Whoots? And one of them didn’t like it at all!

But the other submission is so much better than mine.

But what if all the others are that good?

I’m afraid.

Sweat pours down my temples as my finger hovers over the submit button.

Maybe if I rewrite the climax one more time?  Maybe I should read it once more for syntax errors?

I took a deep breath…

And I pressed the stinking button.

Relief swept over me.  Tension left my muscles.

Now for the worst part…Waiting.

Writing to a Deadline Part 10: Rewrite and Beta Blast

If you’re just hopping into the insanity that is my writing life, check out my previous “Writing to a Deadline” posts or this won’t make sense.

Okay… fixed that climax.  Yeah!  I did it.  Oh no!  Now I am at 10,280 words!

That’s a whole page over!  Ugh!

Edit madness:  Extra word here, extra word there.  Unnecessary clause?  Can I tighten that dialog a little?  Does this person need to smile?  Is that dialog tag necessary?

Okay, I’m done.  Right?  Am I?   ARRRHGHHHH!

Beta Blast!  Call in the two people who the story really seemed to resonate with (Don’t bother with the person who didn’t seem to get it from the beginning)

Sorry, guys… I know it’s a lot to ask… but I need it back in two days.

Wait….  Wait….  Wait….  Tear a fingernail off.  Wait….  Water the plants… again.  Groom the dog… again (not that she’s complaining.)

Then the panic moment happens.  Through a writer’s group, I find out that someone submitted, and got a positive response.  Not an acceptance, but a request to make changes and re-submit through private channels.

Oh No!  There is a possibility that they will close for submissions if they fill all five slots.

It’s okay… take a deep breath.  I decided that I need to submit NOW, even though there are two weeks left until the deadline.

My two betas came back with minor changes.  Of course, while I was waiting I made changes of my own, so I pleaded for one more read.  Yeah, I can be annoying that way.

My worst writing nightmare is that all of these people call in the favor at the same time while I am up against a deadline of my own ***gack***

Okay… their responses come back.

Remove that comma, change that word…

Easy fixes.

Slow and steady.

Writing to a Deadline Part 9: “And the beta-reading verdict is?”

If you’re just hopping into the insanity that is my writing life, check out my previous “Writing to a Deadline” posts or this won’t make sense.

Note:  This post is mainly for those of you who have not yet been through the beta-process.  Just to prepare you for what it can be like.

Last week I sent out my story LAST WINTER RED to a small Beta Army.  And back the comments come…

Three fast “I just read it” responses came back in one day.  “Liked the story” on each of them.  At least that’s a step in the right direction.  Next step… they will go through and make suggestions.

Time to wait again

The professor got back to me noting “Great story” but lack of setting.  Yeah… I’m famous for that.  I only give what’s absolutely necessary.  I’ll think that over.  There was also a small element that she thought was lost in the middle.  Easy fix, but it will put me close to the word count.  She was also totally engaged and drawn in by my beginning. Yay!

Critical Beta Reader #1 comes back, and hates my beginning. She didn’t mention lack of setting at all.  (Don’t you love contradicting crits?)   She pointed out a few details that she thought were overdone.  Easy fixes.  When she finished, there was more red than black on the page, though. Ugh.

Getting nervous. Re-write of one section per Professor’s comment brings me up to 10,075 words.  Yikes! Editing per Critical Beta #1’s suggestions brings it back down to 9,975. Whew!

My long time beta partner says it just needs a little tweaking.  She likes the beginning, but not my starting point.  She’s probably right, and this might be what critical Beta #1 meant, too.  I think I can fix this now that I understand better…  Just move the starting point three minutes later of where it is now.  She also suggested inserting a little more turmoil over the conflict early on for the MC.  Hmmmm.  I can do that, my only concern is only having an extra 25 words before the 10,000 word maximum.

Romance Beta comes back and actually liked the kissy stuff????  Yea for me!  She pointed out things that the others didn’t even see.

Memoir writer also pointed out some minor things that others didn’t notice.  Easy fixes.

Two people thought my closing six words were absolutely brilliant.  They both mentioned it without me asking… but Critical Beta # 1 deleted them without comment.  Too funny.

So many suggestions fly at you so quickly… you need to decide what fits for what YOU want in the work… and at the same time, please the masses… not everyone.  It’s impossible to resonate with every reader.

Clock is ticking.

Three people made the same comment about a rock in the well during my climax.  Going for a complete re-write of that scene.

Ugh… no words to spare.

Tick tock, tick tock… no pressure.

Writing to a Deadline Part 8: “Calling in the Beta Reading Army”

If you’re just hopping into the insanity that is my writing life, check out my previous “Writing to a Deadline” posts or this won’t make sense.

I was happily surprised when I sat down to edit, that I had very few things to change.  Mostly typographical errors and little things like switching sentence structure to make it flow better.

The one scene that I purposely wrote as “tell” took a little time to work out, but it’s finally done.

So, I took a deep breath, and called in a Beta-reading army.  Crossed genres and ages.  These are all people I have a fairly high trust factor with:

Two are currently mercilessly ripping apart my novel and making great comments

One is a college professor who teaches creative writing (She has never read my work)

One is a Romance/ Middle-Grade soon to be publisher author who hasn’t read my work (she’s there for that kissy stuff I’ve never done before)

A memoir writer, who also has not read my work

A High Fantasy writer (my writing buddy for the past year or so—-who’s sick of reading my work) (ONLY KIDDING!)

My first ten pages will also be reviewed by three people in a critique group who I’ve never met before.

It’s kind of like submitting to a publisher, but you know these people will get back to you.

Funny, I was more nervous about this beta-read than I was about my novel.  Probably because I feel deep down, that the story is pretty solid.  After dissecting the Gold Mine Manuscript for seven months, I think I know what NOT TO DO.  The question is… did I write what I THINK I wrote.

I also have that deadline looming over my head.  And I don’t want to wait until the last minute… just in case the publisher decides to close for submissions early.  It’s enough to make you a nervous wreck.  Will I have time to make all the changes they might suggest? (If I agree with the suggestions, of course)