September 28, 2021

AFGR Review for #TirgearrTuesday

The full InD'tale Magazine review (awarded the crowned heart of excellence, five stars, four kettles) is featured in the September issue.

Read the full review here.

September 24, 2021

Editing 101

I let Book 5 of The Magicals Series sit for two weeks. I cleaned my house, baked molasses raison bread, and read. A lot. Funny enough, four of the books I read were the first four books in The Magicals Series.

I published A Vampire's Tale (Book 1) in 2017 so it had been a while since I read it. Honestly, during the editing process you read your book so many times you often feel like you never want to read it again. And probably a lot of authors—being busy writing the next book—don't re-read their backlist. I recently adapted the first chapter of AVT into a comic book sequence which I turned into a video to post on my YouTube channel. I am not active on YouTube, but that's a discussion for another blog post. It was a ton of work, but super fun. Am I adapting the rest of my first chapters? That would be a resounding "No." :)

I am almost ready to submit Book 5... My working title is A Magical's Gift (just so I can stop calling it Book 5... although I'm pretty proud of an almost 5-book series. I've come a long way from the girl who couldn't finish a novel.), and I'm 80% through my first self-edit. This is my break. Writing about editing. Oh, the irony.

In all seriousness, editing is such a crucial part of the writing process. A few years ago, I completed an Editing certificate from Simon Fraser University to up my writing game. It was a lot of fun! And, as hoped, it has improved my writing. An editor is still essential... two or more pairs of eyes are absolutely required to catch writing errors. 

So, I read a scene. Then I envision it unfolding in my mind. I put myself in my character's shoes. How would I feel? What would I do? And I make adjustments based on those observations. I'm more than a little biased, but this book feels right. It's difficult to explain the feeling... It's like the affirmation you feel when you've made a sound decision. It's a gut feeling. When it's right, you know.

So, back to the ol' grindstone. With five chapters to go before...


September 17, 2021

First Drafts and Other Feats

Writing is both the easiest and hardest thing I've ever done. I've mentioned my box of unfinished stories before... it sits on the floor of my office, gathering dust, while I wonder what to do with it. (Don't tell my husband.) I've come a long way, or at least I think I have, since then. Although, the "Writing" folder on my laptop also contains a few unfinished manuscripts.

Completing the first draft is a feat. The process feels a bit like climbing a mountain... and rolling back down a few times before you reach the top, if you reach the top. Lots of obstacles come between you and your goal. Self-doubt is a major one. Every story I write, I have to get over the "what was I thinking" hurdle before I can finish.

The First Draft is a Rough Draft

It's challenging to not edit while writing. I'm a bit of a perfectionist and constantly have to remind myself that the first draft is a rough draft, telling me the story. I use a few tools to keep me on track - a Save the Cat beat sheet, a plot worksheet (of a roller coaster ride), an editorial style sheet, a novel outline in Excel where I also track word counts (by chapter, act, and novel), and the Evernote app.

Plus scribblings in the physical notebook I use when I need a break from my computer. All in all, I'm still learning as I go. What works, what doesn't. Like everything else, practice makes perfect or, at least, better. I see improvement in my writing. Exhibit A: I can finish writing a book. Exhibit B: I've published five books. Exhibit C: my work gets positive reviews (now).


My first published book was novella length. And, quite honestly, it gave me practical experience in processing negative reviews. Readers have invaluable insight to offer. Reviews—all reviews—can help an author improve their writing. So, I analyze all of them.

The End

"The End" of a story really marks the beginning for the author. My first draft rarely matches my published book. What I submit for publication also differs as it gets polished during the editing process.

I let my first draft sit for a few days to a week before I begin my self-edit which provides a more objective perspective. Otherwise, every word you want to change feels too personal. And, I hope, with every step of the process, my story (and my writing) evolves and improves.

September 10, 2021

Google Search Tips

Research is a necessary evil which makes Google a writer's best friend. I recently came across some tips for improving the efficiency of my internet searches. So, instead of falling into the black hole of the amazing invention called the internet, I can find what I'm looking for and get back to writing.

1. Use "quotation marks" to search for an exact word or group of words.

2. Exclude a word by putting a hyphen in front of it quotation -marks to exclude the word marks from your search.

3. Use asterisks to leave a placeholder that the search engine will fill in later quotation *marks*.

4. Use a colon to search a particular site quotation

5. Use a vertical bar | instead of typing OR quotation | marks.

6. Use two periods between numbers to indicate a range 1980..2000.

7. Use location to narrow your search quotation location:Canada.

8. Filter by filetype by using quotation filetype:pdf.

There are many other useful tips out there. Which have you used? What tips can you add to the list?

September 7, 2021

AFGR Review for #TirgearrTuesday

A Fairy Godmother's Redemption, The Magicals Series Book 4 released on July 27. I love this story. It was a bit different from the other books in the series, but it came together so well and felt so right. The reviewers agree. I already have six five-star reviews! #TirgearrTuesday in September will feature some of these amazing reviews. Starting with this one...

Have you read A Fairy Godmother's Redemption yet? It's available now. Click here for purchase links.

September 6, 2021

Quote of the Week

After a brief break for summer, Quote of the Week is back. This month, as a nod to back-to-school, I'm focusing on the theme of education and learning.

Stay tuned for the next Quote of the Week.