Quaking Soul Update #5.5

I have repeatedly been thankful for other authors who post about their mishaps or tips in regards to self-publishing.

So here’s a quick mishap/tip from me:

I’m honestly not sure what I was thinking when I picked The Adventure as my title for my first book. Perhaps I wanted to keep it as simple as possible?

It’s simple all right. It’s also so generic that if you put The Adventure into Amazon to find the book, you can scan through 100 pages and not find it. (Trust me, I’ve done this just to see).

I’d heard about picking a title that pops and that’s easy to find, but again, I have no idea what went through my head with The Adventure.

So, for Quaking Soul I put in a little more effort. If you type this into Amazon, you get seven books, none of which are YA Urban Fantasy. Perfect.

AspenNext came some reader polls. In other words, I asked people what they thought about the title. Some loved it, especially if they’re familiar with high alpine aspens, which are known as quaking aspens. (Yes, this has a part in the book. It’s about dryads ;)).

Others said it made them think of an earthquake or a Quaker romance. Erg! Not so good. I was looking for something that said fantasy like “The Sorcerer’s Stone” is clearly fantasy whereas “Waterfalls” says romance. After much deliberation, I kept the Quaking Soul part because it truly does have a lot to do with the main character. However, I’ve added a small line.

So, the book is now:

Hidden Mythics Quaking Soul

Kind of like “Ranger’s Apprentice The Ruins of Gorlan”

This makes more sense once it’s on the cover.

So there’s my two bits about title. If you’re self-publishing, be particular about your title. It makes a difference.

Blessings,

Jennifer

Quaking Soul Update #5

Quaking Soul Update

Wow, it was not my intention to go this long without blogging. Sorry I’ve been away for so long!

I’m going to steer clear of commentary about our world today. You can guess the pandemic and everything else has touched my life just like it’s touched others without me saying much about it.

The Adventure Candy Since I started this blog back in 2012, the Adventure stories have turned into my bit of fun for the world, like fun-sized candy bars. I intend these stories to continue to offer a bit of escape and enjoyment amidst the crazy. Rest assured, they will return. Just not quite yet.

Likewise, Quaking Soul (Q.S.) is intended to bring some fun to readers—once I get it out into the world. Originally, I intended to publish Q.S. by this spring. Urg. Seeing as how spring ends tomorrow, that’s definitely not going to happen.

Last time I checked in, I’d just found an editor. Felicia and I have done two full editing rounds with Q.S.. It’s been intense, to say the least, but we’ve wrangled the monster into some form of submission (we’ve cut about 10k words from the manuscript). Felicia’s gone above and beyond to help make the book shine.

I’m just finishing the last bit of editing according to her comments.

Fun tip for anyone who’s looking at self-publishing:

Do not pull a cover template from the printer until after you’re positive on your page count. Cutting 10k words will change the spine width and alter your cover spacing. (Thankfully, I knew this before I started.)

What that means, however, is that Justin has just started on the cover design. His rough drafts look amazing, so hopefully I’ll have a cover reveal soon! (For those familiar with my book The Adventure, Justin did the artwork for The Temple of Night and Wind.)

And one last, small thing, I’ve also been working with an artist on images for inside the book. These are small chapter headings that I’m super excited about. One thing I didn’t think about going into the professional editing stage was that some of my chapters might change. So, I started Esther on drawing the chapter headings…and then had to have her go back and redo a bunch of them. Still learning. Always =)

Up next, formatting and ordering a proof copy. Shipment times from the printer are long right now, which means this may take a bit longer than expected.

New tentative publication: Fall 2020

Thanks for stopping by. I’ll update you again soon—erg—hopefully a lot sooner than I did the last time.

Blessings,

Jennifer

Quaking Soul Update # 4

Monster

Quaking Soul is still a monster. Period. But the monster’s not quite so surly anymore. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still bad mannered, but not as full of teeth and bite.

The story’s also been through a second round of beta reading and I’m currently finishing up edits after beta feedback number two. The honing knife is getting a lot of use! It’s parred off about 7,000 words worth of flab.

So, what that means is Quaking Soul is headed to the professional editor soon. There was a slight hiccup in that the last editor I worked with was not available for this project, but through referrals, I found Felicia Chernesky. After talking with Felicia, I believe she’ll bring the quality of editing to Quaking Soul that’s required to make it shine…and behave itself.

With this coming up, I’ll be taking another break from the blog to focus on editing. This year will probably be full of starts and stops in the adventures, but I promise it’s still in the back of my mind, churning up new adventure ideas.

I will return soon with more adventure and Quaking Soul updates!

Until then, blessings,

Jennifer

P.S. I’ve also contacted a friend about the cover for Quaking Soul. As you might imagine, I’m incredibly excited to see this come together. I’ll be sure to share Justin’s work soon!

Quaking Soul Update Number 3… I Think

Knife - Globe Hunters Story

Quaking Soul has teeth and a surly personality all its own. Compared to The Adventure, which finally weighed in at about 36,600 words, Quaking Soul is a monster at 133,400 words (current count). Wrestling with this beast requires so much more than I originally anticipated! And I relish the challenge. I have learned, however, that to conquer this beast and not have it haunt me later, I have to allow for enough time to perfect my weapons. For instance, the word-cutting dagger is obviously a bit rusty.

MonsterSo, as I sharpen my dagger and Quaking Soul glares back at me, I take courage from the 85% edit I’ve accomplished so far from my beta readers. There are a few scars (yes, this means something in the story) that I need to give Quaking Soul before the beta edit will be 100% complete. Hopefully, that wrestling match will only take till the end of the month.

Then I will call in backup from a larger artillery than my own. In other words, Quaking Soul will face the champion, a professional editor. (Cue evil laugh. Take that you surly monster!)

Ahem, pardon my envisioned future victory. Once all my weapons are nicely sharpened and Quaking Soul has been subdued, it’ll be time to package it into a lovely cage…errr, to format the book.

Hopefully, this campaign will be nicely wrapped up by Spring 2020. (Fingers crossed). Now, on to victory!

***

In other news, thank you for sticking with my fun. As the above wrestling match may take a great deal of my attention, and it’s the holiday season, I’m going to take my usual December break to spend time with the family.

I hope your own holidays are filled with friends and family, and you take away some wonderful memories.

Until January, blessings,

Jennifer

 

False Summit

False Summit

In Colorado, there’s this thing that people do. It’s called hiking 14ers. Let me explain. The Rocky Mountains run through the state and gift it, if you will, with more than fifty peaks over 14,000 feet. (There are over 500 13ers, but we won’t even go there today.)

So you see, there are these towering peaks in the backyard and it’s almost expected that you’ve hiked some of those giants, especially if you’re a native. Some people even hike all of them, but now I’m getting off topic.

I’ve hiked maybe a half dozen 14ers. If you have too, then you might be familiar with the term ‘false summit.’ If you’re not, picture this, you wake up before the sun is even a hint in the sky and start down the trail toward the mountain. As the sun rises and you leave the tree line behind, you see this domed shape up ahead. Although your lungs burn and your legs ache, you smile because you can see the top.

Over the next hour, you keep glancing at that towering dome, just picturing the view from the top. When you give one last push against the altitude to summit, a sinking feeling starts to build in your belly because, as you crest the crown of the dome, it’s not the tallest thing around. In fact, on the far side of it is a narrow ridge and at the other end of that ridge is what, in reality, is the 14,000 foot summit.

This is a false summit. It’s all you can see until you top it and so you think you’re about there, but when you actually reach that spot, you realize there’s another hours’ worth of hiking ahead to reach the destination.

Why do I tell you all this? Because I’m on that false summit with Quaking Soul. I’ve pushed to edit it and make it the best I could. After seeing the final personal edit, it felt finished. But now the beta comments are back and I see the ridge connecting my latest draft to the rest of the mountain.

There’s a lot of work ahead and it’d be super easy to get discouraged, but I’ve found in climbing mountains and in writing, that this is one of the most exciting times of the process as well. This is where you start to climb above everything else and the magnificent expanse of the world rolls out before you with the crystal clarity of thin air. This is where the story truly starts to shine with those jewels that only existed in the writer’s head when she began.

It’d be easy to crest that false summit and turn around thinking, ‘This isn’t worth it.’ But oh boy is it worth it! For me right now, it’s time to press on to edit again. Whatever it is for you, I encourage you to do the same.

On a side note, I do have an adventure for this coming month set up. So I’ll see you next week to go exploring =)

Blessings,

Jennifer

Beta comments edit setup

Set up to start editing from Beta comments. I have some amazing Beta readers!

I’m Alive!

Quaking Soul Manuscript

Hello Dear Readers!

I’m checking in to let you know I’m still alive after my hiatus for book editing.

Here’s my progress report. This last week, I finished my personal edit on Quaking Soul. It took almost 3 weeks longer than I’d planned, but as someone told me recently, most everything takes longer than you think it should. Such is life. Plus, I do believe the extra time did the book good and not harm.

Now the book is out to beta readers. This is both exciting and terrifying. I’d much rather these amazing readers find the issues in the story than a reader down the road after the book’s been published, but hearing feedback can be heart wrenching. This is my book-baby. I’ve labored over it with sweat and tears! Now tear it apart and tell me what’s glaringly wrong with it! (I will now be donning my thick-skin in order to survive this ordeal.)

In the mean time, while I wait for beta reader feedback, I will be working on other book stuff such as the back blurb for the book and cover design. Although difficult in its own way, these things are not as mind intensive as editing. What that means for the blog? I’ll be posting a new adventure next week.

So thank you for your patience! I’ll see you next week for a whole new adventure story.

Blessings,

Jennifer

Sloth Slow Progress

Sloth in Tree

“Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.”

– C. Northcote Parkinson

This quote is also, apparently, known as Parkinson’s Law. That might be apt. At least in my writing life, this rings with a lot of truth. I’ve found if a task doesn’t have a deadline, particularly a large task, then it drags on, getting done in drips and dribbles.

Water DropEarlier in the year, I let you know I’m working on editing my novel, Quaking Soul. I gave myself a large amount of time for this, thinking that a couple of pages a day should be more than doable. I had a deadline, but it was far enough out to feel vague. Now, as I look back since that post, I can see the drips and dribbles of progress on that goal. These drips and dribbles were much smaller than a couple pages a day.

SlothAnyway, sloth slow progress equals stress in my brain. Some people thrive off procrastination. Not me. I’m the odd duck who used to get the school paper done in the first week it was assigned even though we were given two months to write the darn thing.

With all this in mind, I’m putting a more pressing deadline on the Quaking Soul edit. This will affect the time I have for other writing, however. I dislike not keeping a regular schedule here on the blog because it messes with my OCD. But there’s a balance between the OCD and the stress of sloth progress.

Gah. It’s a pendulum. For now, the pendulum is swinging toward getting editing done. My goal is within the next two months. After that, I promise, I’ll come back with more adventures. There’s one already outlined =)

Until then, I wish you all an amazing, adventurous spring.

Blessings,

Jennifer

The Path

Aspen Path

Have you ever been on a hike, enjoying the sun shining through the foliage overhead, the smell of pine and spruce on the wind, and then seen something off the path that you had to investigate? A lean-to someone left behind, a meadow filled with spring flowers, a mountain peak that begged for a picture. But when you looked back, things didn’t look the same and the path was no longer visible.

The day’s still beautiful, the sun still shining, but there’s that moment of sharp panic, the thought that you might be lost.

You’re still out in nature, technically where you wanted to be for the day, but the thrill, the enjoyment, is overshadowed, and only when you find the path again does the brightness of the day bring you joy again.

This is self-publishing. It’s a hike—work—but greatly enjoyable. The writing, the editing, the formatting, and even the marketing are all part of it. But once the book’s created, once I’m working on sharing it with others, that’s where I tend to leave the path. I follow a flower here, a mountain lake there and even enter a long-abandoned cabin to see where others have gone before me.

But when I look back, I’ve lost the path, my enjoyment of writing has been deeply shadowed because I’ve lost the thing that leads me forward.

AspensThat path, that clear, meandering trail, is hidden. I’m still out, technically where I want to be, exploring the world of being an author, but without the trail, I’m wandering aimlessly, especially if I go too far.

The passion to write, the clear, if meandering, trail that creates new worlds and fills a story with magic, is my path. Some people are gifted musicians, some speakers, some organizers. For me, I was created a writer. And getting back to the seed of that is where I find renewed joy.

The Adventure has been my start. It was my trailhead and I will continue to reference it as such. (Marketing is never done=)).

Now it’s time to return to the path and continue on, to turn and head up the mountain. Several novels, not adventure stories, lie dormant in my archives. One, in particular, has received great feedback from beta readers.

Let me introduce Quaking Soul, an urban fantasy story about a dryad. After all my rambling, I’ll cut to the chase. My goal is to publish Quaking Soul (QS) next. I originally thought to have it ready by the end of this year, but as I’ve revisited the writing, I’m finding my timeline was super ambitious. QS was written back in 2014. As any long time writer can tell you, the writing ability grows and matures the longer one consistently works at it, much like learning to climb. You start out by powering up the wall on puny strength alone. It’s exhausting and, to anyone watching, it lacks any finesse. Over time, the climber learns technique that allows for more difficult climbs that, to a bystander, look more like a dance than a climb. I need to take QS from a strength-alone climb to something that flows with finesse.

Right now QS is in my personal edits stage. I’ll update as things progress, but in the meantime, I’ll keep the adventure stories rolling, they might just be a little more sporadic =) Thank you for sharing in this journey with me!

Blessings,

Jennifer