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Final Edits are Rolling In!

When it rains, it pours. I say this as if I know. I live in sunny, southern California — and we all know it rarely, if ever, rains here.

At any rate, I have that rainy day feeling. The high, thin, gray clouds are rolling in ahead of the so-called storm that’s been forecast for our area. AND, if that isn’t enough of a hint, this week saw both of my current manuscripts (MS#1 – All or Nothing, and MS#2 – By Another Name) were returned to me for my final touches. Raining. Pouring. Both due by early December. And Thanksgiving and Christmas are just around the corner!

GULP. This means, hands off! only make a change if it’s ABSOLUTELY necessary. The pages are basically laid out. All or Nothing looks like a book. It FEELS like a book. By Another Name reads beautifully, if I do say so myself. I’m like a proud mama, seeing my babies come of age. They’re almost ready to meet society. And that’s going to leave me without a full length project.

Uh-Oh.

I’ve started and stopped Castles by the Sea about 89 times. I bailed out of NaNoWriMo this year. I just didn’t have the energy, even though I did have the time. Now, I need to find a new focus. A new place to throw my energy, my spirit, and my heart. I prayed for inspiration, and now I have it falling out of my ears. In a conversation with my editor. In a song. In a child’s tale. In a verse from the Bible – Romans 12:12. And, of course, in seeing the Twilight revolution, and knowing that there must be something better to offer teenage girls than that. Not that it isn’t great that kids are reading. But… AND I can’t really say, as I haven’t read the stories yet myself. But does it leave them edified? better kids for having read such a story? maybe. After all, it’s a love story, and what’s better than that?

Again, there is much to be plotted and planned. But, again, I have time. Hopefully, about the time All or Nothing goes to print, my next novel will be starting its journey to publication. I’m blessed to have an opportunity to write, a publisher who believes in me, and the heart to pour out onto paper.

Someone once told me that if I published a book, he’d buy me a ranch of my own. Soul ties are powerful things. We went down different paths, and if the ranch is in my future, the good Lord will keep whispering great stories in my ears. I just thank you all for reading, for believing in me, and the best — I pray — is still yet to come.

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Edits complete – Double Phew!

All or Nothing edits are DONE! DONE DONE DONE.

I’m so exhausted.

One more read straight through and then Elizabeth can have it back. Fingers crossed that this time it’ll go to galleys!

I should be…

I should be doing the final edits on All or Nothing.
I should be writing a chapter on His Darling.
I should be reading something to improve myself in some manner.
I should pen an article for Constant Content that I’ve been mulling over.
I should be getting things ready for our Labor Day trek to Laguna.
I should be… sitting right here, listening to the birds sing, enjoying a gorgeous Tuesday morning.

It is a beautiful morning, too. The sky is just brightening to that pre-dawn, orangey-blue. And since when was it pre-dawn at 6:48 a.m.? The huingbirds are battling for position at their feeder. I really need another one. There are as many as eight out there, darting around like fighter jets. The birds are enjoying their feeders. The fountains are just getting started, with our latest edition – either “Shiney” or “Peek-a-boo” – whoever it was that decided to stay in our pond – is floating with his head up, like he loves to do. We have one red eared slider turtle now – the other decided to abandon ship or was absconded with, we’re not sure which. We’ve thus far managed to convince the girls that we still have two. LOL.

Anyway, my goal is to finish the edits on A or N by the time I get out of here on Friday, so I can do a final run through on vacation. Ha! what a vacation. Rereading a story I’ve read a million times over. Maybe I’ll read it backwards. I heard people do that sometimes. Pick each page apart individually, of its own accord.

What can you do to keep your story fresh? Any ideas? Back to edits. *SIGH*

Did I mention?! Ellie slept ALL NIGHT LONG in her OWN BED. And she’s still asleep at 6:53 a.m. Lord, am I ever pushing it. I’d better go or I won’t get even a page done.

Have a great day, everyone!

How to tame a toddler

There were posts going around on our message board for TWRP yesterday about writing with toddlers around. Yeah. That’s a real trick, isn’t it? Rachel’s in that phase now that she can be kept busy for hours coloring, watching a favorite show, or working on her projects (see Rachel at the kitchen table with a pair of child-safe scissors and a bunch of hastily printed out family pictures. The kid is an amateur scrap-booker extraordinaire!)

Ellie is another story. The girl is a ball of energy, needing constant attention and wanting to talk all of the time. ALL of the time. These days, she still sounds vaguely like Elmer Fudd. All of her “L’s” are “Yuh” sounds. Hear: Eh-yee instead of Ellie. Yost instead of Lost. At any rate, they’ve settled down again. I have a full day of work ahead of me, and we’re going to race off with the “school kids” and meet our day care at the elementary school.

Will I have time to work on edits for All or Nothing today? I’ve reviewed the full MS –returned to me from Elizabeth on Tuesday–and I can absolutely make the changes needed in just a few short weeks if not sooner without breaking a sweat. The only question mark is with the kids! will they let me? Working on my writing before and after work, staying up late into the night, waking early in the morning, my friends ask me “When do you have time to sleep?” perhaps writing with small children in the house gives you just what you need to do that. I wasn’t sleeping anyway…I might as well write.

All or Nothing – Returned – AGAIN!

Okay, second round of edits have been returned to Elizabeth. I have until August 20th for a creative reprieve. How do I feel?

Exhausted.
Elated.
Wrung out.

I had every intention of writing something creative today, so I’d better get to it. Just wanted to share my total relief, after having to slash out paragraphs, sew up my was-clusters, seek out problem repeated words, and all of those stray punctuation marks that seem to find their way to the forefront while you’re elbow deep rewording paragraphs and pages.

Amazingly enough, the story is better than its ever been. My editor is a genius. I’ll shout it from the rooftops. I’ve learned more about writing this year than I ever have – even in college. So, on that note, here’s to the next project. Something short that I can finish quickly. And then, back to Castles by the Sea.

Edits complete – Phew!

Well, three cheers to Elizabeth, for her fantastic editorial contribution to the All or Nothing project. That’s what it has become. A project. A comprehensive effort – that will be reviewed by me ONE more time, and then forwarded on its merry way – to be designated with a cover, back cover copy, blurb, etc. and so on. Lord, I can’t wait to see the cover. It’ll be amazing. A dream. I used to stroll book stores to envision where Ashley Ludwig would reside – and now, it’s happening.

What a phenomenal effort on the part of The Wild Rose Press – whom I couldn’t be more excited to work with. I am so excited about seening the cover. About the rest of the publishing process, which is, as of yet, a mystery to this writer. I’m ready to go back to work fleshing out my next historical, inspirational story – Castles by the Sea… set in the golden era of Hollywood. I’m looking forward to it – but have so much plotting to do, I should change the concept to plodding. Why oh why can’t I be a pantser? Every story I’ve ever “pants-ed” together has gone nowhere. Oh, well. That’s a topic for another day.

Some notes on editors…

Wow. I’ve gone through over 300 pages of detailed notes from Elizabeth. Yikes.

First thoughts, after seeing my bleeding, disected manuscript… AAARGH!!!
After catching my breath, my second thoughts (no pun intended) are… wow. How lucky am I?!?

I have an editor who is brilliant. She not properly and politely chastised me for the overuse of “was” – she fact-checked all of my historical elements. Bowie or Buck knife? When in the world did “threw me for a loop” enter the public vernacular? and other things that make me blush, and slap my forehead with a good-0le Homer Simpson ” ‘DOH!”

So, notes on editors. WHERE would we be without them? I shudder, suddenly, thinking of how many editorial mistakes I have made on this blog. Apologies, dear readers, for any overuse of commas, misplaced modifiers, lonely words, and other editorial attrocities that more than likely exist in this here blog.

So, with every edit, this writer is putting herself back to school.