Monday, August 5, 2013



Win an autographed copy of the second in the series of The Form Benders books, The Bear Essentials, by sending your email address to: 

You must have purchased a copy of the first book, either in E book, or paperback to enter

In the subject line please put the date of your entry. The drawing will be held on February 10th, 2014 at which time, you will be notified of your winning entry by email. Your physical address will be requested so that we may send you your book.

Please note: Allow 3-4 weeks for your prize to arrive within the U.S. and 6-8 weeks to arrive outside of the U.S.

Your name will be posted as the winner of the contest on my blogs and! Best of luck to you, and thank you for entering.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Cutting Away the Dross!

As a writer, probably the most difficult thing I had to do was to re-read my manuscript and toss out what wasn't good. Editing your own manuscript can be painful--mostly because you want to believe that every word you put in your book is necessary! Trust me, it's not. I have removed entire paragraphs, and sometimes even two or three pages to make the book read more clearly, or change the direction of the story. Good editing on your part is extremely important.

When I first started writing, I kept a file of the parts of the story that I would remove from the original manuscript. It helped me to "let go" of what I had written to begin with. Now, I rarely keep the sentences. I keep them if I like the way that they are phrased, and they go into a file folder on my desktop for future stories and reference. Sometimes, that one sentence holds a wealth of meaning and it is phrased so well, that I just can't toss it out! So, if you want to keep some of your work, but remove it from your current project, by all means, save it! Each sentence needs to add to your storyline. Every word should be well thought out and considered in the larger picture of the story.

There is no set limit to the amount of times you will be required to re-read your manuscript for the purpose of publication. There are several ways to do this that will help you to polish your story. Read your book aloud to someone who is willing to listen to it. Many times I've found errors in my writing by reading my manuscript aloud because I can hear the mistakes as I read it to someone.

Also, re-read it several times for content and chronology. You would be surprised at how many times authors put something into their manuscript that the reader has no prior knowledge of. For example, I was editing a book for my publisher, which...well into the second chapter, the author has one of the characters refer to a plane. This character and her mother are driving. This is a continuity error and pulled me out of the story because I was frantically wondering where the plane came from. Did I miss it? I spent a good hour pouring back over the story to see if I had unwittingly skipped over that part of the story and not realized it.

It was a rather simple fix. The author wrote in that they were in a rental car, which was rented at the airport when they arrived. It was a simple case of the author knowing where the characters were coming from, but since it wasn't written into the manuscript, the reader didn't know. The reader has to be told everything, so don't leave out details in your story. If you sit down to lunch, you'd better eat something! How your character does things allows the reader a glimpse into their psyche--so show your reader who your character is by the way he or she acts, or reacts, while eating that sandwich!

Your book should read smoothly, with no abrupt stops or starts. Poor grammar, (unless it is within the parameters of character dialogue and part of their persona), is not acceptable and will get you a rejection very quickly. Have someone that you trust, and that is very familiar with English grammar, go over your manuscript to keep you from having to suffer rejects due to this problem. Chronological order is important; don't have your character go to the store after he eats the groceries. (I realize that's a rather simplistic comparison, but understandable at any rate). If you're character is going fishing, make certain, that you find out what the parts of a fishing rod are called, (if you don't know how to fish). Check your facts and the terminology that goes with the act of fishing so that you sound knowledgeable. When you write a story, the facts that people are familiar with can pull them out of a story when the facts that you are stating don't coincide with their knowledge. Fantasy stories are easier to write, but the minute that you use a familiar "thing" in the story, it needs to be correct in how it's used and the names of the parts. This is why in every writing class that I ever took, the teacher told me, "Stick with what you know." Feel free to utilize the internet for material if you don't know something...there's nothing wrong with that! In any case, you don't make mistakes when you know the material--so, if you don't know it, learn it.

The best way to get better as a writer is to open yourself up to suggestions. Stay open and listen to your publisher. They've been in the business for many years and they know what sells and what will help to put you on the map. Be certain, if you want something you've written to stay in your manuscript...and your publisher suggests removing it, that you discuss it with your publisher and explain why you feel it's important to the storyline. Nothing is written in stone and your publisher will work with you as long as you aren't impossible to work with. Remember, being easy to work with, (not a pushover), means you give weight to your publisher's expertise and they give credence to your talent as a writer.

There are lots of things to look for in your story that will help you to make your manuscript clean and inviting to a publisher. Follow these suggestions and it will improve your manuscript greatly.

And remember...keep writing!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

The Form Benders, The Sheep In Wolf's Clothing, is in Print!

My book is about to come out in print! I received a phone call from my publisher today and I can't describe the many feelings that washed over me, but I'll try. Euphoria is one!

I have spent my entire life looking for something that I do well and enjoy...and trust me, that's no mean accomplishment! Some of the kids I went to High School with knew what they wanted to do, even back then. Me? I knew I wanted to be an actress or a singer, something in a field where I could be creative. (I'm an artist, poet, writer and singer). When I started writing seriously, after my children were out of high school, I realized that I could use most of my talents in the professional writing arena. So, that's where I chose to focus my time. It took me a year to write The Form Benders, The Sheep in Wolf's Clothing, and another year to get it into print. This has been a long project.

I think most first time authors may think that this is a quick process and that you'll become rich overnight. On the contrary, becoming rich overnight is the exception, not the rule. It takes time...and lots of it! To give you an idea of the time frame I'm talking about, let me explain. I have spent hours pouring over my manuscript. I have read and re-read the book countless times. I read the final draft of the manuscript at least 20 times. Each time I read it, it took at least 2 days to complete it and that's with reading, editing and changing the copy that needed to be rewritten.

When I started writing, I had no idea how time consuming it would be to write a good novel. But even more, I had no idea the amount of time it would take for me to send it back and forth to the publisher, making changes each time it changed hands. I can't imagine having to send the manuscript snail mail! It is a miracle that any books were ever written or published before the creation of the internet! This is the reason that I suggest having someone read and edit your book before you ever send it to a publisher. Because of the time involved in editing and re-writes, it is best if you take the time before sending it to your publisher. I mean, let's face it, we want to cut the time spent in editing as much as possible and get our books out on those shelves! You can't make money if there's nothing to sell.

Suggestions? Do your best! Have a couple of people that you trust read your manuscript, and then listen to their suggestions. If they're good, apply the ones that work for you, and make sure before you send it, that your manuscript is the cleanest it can be. Then, if you want to, and think your story could be better but you're not sure how, send it to a reputable editing firm for their input.

Best of Luck!
And, as always...keep on writing!

The Next Book in The Form Benders Series -- Keeping the Saga going.

Continuing the saga of The Form Benders, The Sheep in Wolf's Clothing, our hero Ripley finds himself in a new form with new trials to face as he navigates the magical world of the Form Benders in the sequel: The Form Benders, The Bear Essentials. The life-stealing poison from the bite of the Aldrich threatens to take the life of their beloved Whitemane. Ripley, Malador, Oren, Skerrin, Papa Johns and Revelan join ranks and set out to find the mysterious Kirradar--a legendary tribe living in the high country above Haven's Rest. Trapped in his new form, Ripley must traverse the Sierra Nevada Mountain range with his companions in an effort to find the elusive Kirradar. It is rumored that they know of an antidote that can save Whitemane from certain death. Meet new characters and explore Ripley's magical world.

Keeping the legend alive and writing a good sequel means that it has to be a "stand alone" book. In other words, if I pick up this book never having read the first book, it will not rely on the first book for the storyline. I've done my best to make the second book as stand alone as the first in the series.

As a writer, we need to make each book as exciting and interesting as the last. Keep the action moving and don't let any moss grow on those proverbial sentences as you let your story unfold. And as always, best of luck...and keep writing!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

What to do once your Manuscript is Accepted

The process of publishing can take several weeks to several months, depending upon how well edited and clean your manuscript is. Expect that your manuscript may not be available to the public for up to a year once it is accepted. There are three typical types of publishing that are offered throughout the business.

First, there is traditional publishing, which is what most authors are familiar with. Traditional publishing is where the Publisher offers a certain amount of money (an advance) plus royalties against the projected sales of a book. The amount of advance is flexible according to its "saleability", content, genre and length of the manuscript to be published. Traditional publishing is a bit more difficult to get into for first time authors. As with all businesses, there are greater risks to publishing a manuscript for first time authors than there are for "tried and true" authors that already have successful books out there. It requires a great deal of doggedness to find a publisher willing to take a chance on a first time author.

Next, we have subsidy publishing which offers a more rounded and less one-sided opportunity to publishing your manuscript. Generally, a fee is attached to the publishing of a manuscript which is considerably less than the entire cost. The publisher will carry a large percentage of the cost, while the author invests several hundred to several thousand dollars in the publishing of their book. Keep in mind, publishing costs a great deal of money to get a manuscript from the editing phase, through the artwork for the cover as well as advertising and printing costs. This is NOT self publishing. This is the route which I chose to go as a first time author. It allows for more freedom of marketing your manuscript and more "wiggle room" to get out there and sell your book. As an author, I also retain the rights to my book or to any film offers that might come from it's publication--which in Traditional Publishing, the Publisher retains for the length of your contract with them. If the Publisher doesn't like an offer a movie studio may make, they can decline it and you have no "say so" as to whether it is made into a film or not.

Lastly, there is the "self-published" author. In the past, self-publishing was frowned on by the industry. However, in more recent times, some self-published books have done quite well. We are unaware of what the long-term ramifications of self publishing may include, however, some of the more famous self-published books have been: "Eragon" by Christopher Paolini, "The Bridges of Madison County", by Robert J. Waller, "The Christmas Box", by Richard Paul Evans, and "The Celestine Prophecy" by James Redfield, just to name a few. With self-publishing, the author does all of the sales, marketing, writing and printing of the manuscript. The hidden costs can be huge, even for a small printing of the manuscript. This would mean that the author has to front the cost of: editing, press releases, advertising, travel to and from speaking engagements and book signings, sales and distribution, cover art, printing costs of all materials, as well as the manuscript itself--not to mention the legal fees and copyright issues. So, you can see for yourself that self-publishing can get quite costly, very quickly.

For Further Information on these publishing options see:

Take into consideration the ways in which you, as an author, would like to be involved in the sale of your book. Choose from a Traditional, Subsidy Publishing or Self Publishing format and go from there. And, as always, keep writing!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Editing your Manuscript

Hiring a professional to review your manuscript can be costly, yet very helpful in producing a manuscript that a publisher will take note of. Don't cut corners with an unknown editing service, as they can cause more work for the publisher in the long run than if you never had it edited at all. In other words, make sure that your editing service is reputable and will do a good job for you. Don't be afraid to take an editing course to fine tune your writing skills. Educating yourself in the editing process can help tremendously with your writing! In my second book of the series, there were fewer mistakes made and it made the publisher's job, as well as the editor's job, so much simpler.

After writing my book, and the manuscript was accepted, I started editing other people's work. It was amazing how much I learned. Do your best to read, re-read, and then re-read your work again to make certain that it is your best work. I can't stress how important it is to send as clean a manuscript as possible to a publisher for editing. I probably read my manuscript over one hundred times to refine the storyline. Most mistakes I was able to catch before it ever went to the publisher. Even so, there were those I didn't catch. There is no replacement for good editing and I believe that it's a necessity to getting published. Best of luck and keep writing!

Writer's Market Guide

I'm a firm believer in checking the "Writer's Market" guide to find possible publishers for your manuscript. I spent several days pouring over the pages in the book, until I finally purchased a new copy of "Writer's Market" and it came with an online information packet. It was a godsend. The online version is much simpler to use, (and takes up less space), than the printed copy and can be renewed every year. The referencing guide, as well as the index which allows you to quickly find publishers and agents who are looking for new talent, is indispensable!

There are also several good tips about writing your query letter, how to choose a market for your book, and what to include in your query. Make sure that you read the referenced material so that you can put yourself forth in the best light possible. Good luck and keep writing!

Friday, May 13, 2011

"First Rights" in Publishing

According to my publisher, Kathie McGuire from Brighton Publishing, LLC, there is something called "First Rights" for publishers. These rights are violated when a manuscript is published in part or in its entirety on websites or in the public domain. At this point, the publisher no longer enjoys exclusive rights to the manuscript and most, if not all publishers, will not touch it.

Also, keep in mind, if you have someone that is writing with you, they must also be included in the credits for authorship of the book. To not include them in the contracts could eventually cause legal ramifications for both you and your publisher!

Good luck and keep on writing!

For New Authors

I am a recently published author of the young adult/teen novel -- The Form Benders, The Sheep in Wolf's Clothing. My book was published by Brighton Publishing, LLC located in Chandler, Arizona -- see my blog link at the top left of this page. I've created this blog for new authors and those who'd like to be, to blog back and forth so that each of us can gain some new insights into the publishing, writing and selling aspects of our manuscripts. So feel free to ask questions and I'll do my best to find the answers for you. If I am unable to find out, hopefully another reader of the blog is able to answer the question. I will share the in's and out's of how I got published, and I hope others will do the same. I will also share any tidbits that my publisher has shared with me about sales, marketing and editing manuscripts! Welcome aboard!