Matters of the Heart

A couple of days from now would be my Mom’s 90th birthday. It’s been long enough that I don’t get particularly upset at her loss. She died in 2002, so I’ve had a couple of decades to process. Still, I’ve had some recent reminders of her, so I’ll definitely be thinking of her for the next few days.

She died of complications related to her heart. It was shortly after her doctor took her off of blood pressure medicine, which I believe she’d been on most of my life. Bold move by her doctor, I would say. Did it contribute to her death? Who can say?

She didn’t live a particularly healthy lifestyle. She smoked, ate lots of greasy food, didn’t exercise, and her hobbies included reading and watching television. Towards the end, she was in and out of hospitals quite a bit.

Last week, I was prescribed medicine for dealing with hypertension. Several weeks ago, I wasn’t able to give blood because my blood pressure too high. The diastolic was over 100. I went several weeks with symptoms similar to a heart attack, and finally saw my doctor about it and started to address it.

I don’t smoke, but I don’t live a particularly healthy lifestyle. I’ve been known to eat some greasy food, I rarely exercise, and my hobbies include spending long hours in front of a computer screen. There’s nothing seriously wrong with me right now, so I can still course correct and try to live a healthier lifestyle, but it’s going to take some effort.

Last week, while we were picking up the hypertension medicine, we bought a blood pressure machine. I’ve been checking once or twice a day, and my blood pressure is actually looking great now. When I first started recording it, the diastolic was still over 100, once close to 110, which is when the danger of a stroke becomes really high. Today, my blood pressure was 127 over 87. The medicine is working, as is the diet.

I’ve switched to low sodium, which has been interesting. I’m an absolute fiend for potato chips, and those are completely off limits. I can’t really have bread like I want. Lots and lots of convenient food is loaded with salt, and I can’t have any of it.

Fortunately, I’ve discovered that a bit of vinegar on a plain salad satisfies my itch for potato chips. I’ve also found a recipe for potatoes in the air fryer that is 0mg of sodium, and while it’s not amazing, it is pretty good. The start of last week on the low sodium diet, I was suffering. The last couple of days, I’ve been eating well.

I’m changing my diet and my blood pressure is looking better after a short while, and yet I’m feeling excessively tired and unfocused. I basically lost Saturday, just feeling yucky all day. Sunday was pretty good, but today wasn’t great. Maybe it’s a reaction to the hypertension medicine, or maybe my body is reacting to the change in diet. I’m not sure. I hope I start feeling better soon. I need to somehow work exercise into my routine, and that’s not going to happen if I continue to have such low energy.

All of this is distracting me from another matter of my heart, which is The Repossessed Ghost coming out in a little over a month. Now is the time that I need to breathe it in and enjoy the ride. It’s hard, though, because with everything going on, figuratively and literally, I’m having a hard time catching my breath at all.

By the way, I have a pre-order link for The Repossessed Ghost which I can share. It goes straight to the publisher, and everyone that uses that link will get a signed copy of the book shipped to them just after the 4th of July. I’m not posting the link yet. I’ll post in later in June, once I do the cover reveal and start ramping up promotion of the book. But if you’re interested in purchasing the book early, let me know and I will hook you up.


Publishing Milestone: Proofing The Repossessed Ghost

At the moment, I’m sitting at a table in a very large B&B in Utah. I’m participating in the Writing Excuses Bear Lake retreat, also called Riding Excuses because there are horses. In fact, I rode a horse today for the first time in my memory.

Before I could come out here, I had to prepare the way. I needed to get my work stuff finished enough that my teams would be fine while I was off for a week. They were going to be fine with or without me, but there was a bunch of work that really needed finishing in order for them to be comfortable and for me to be able to let go work and relax for a bit.

I wound up working a ton of hours, right on through the end of Saturday before getting on the plane Sunday.

While my Day Job was ramping up, I received the digital proofs of The Repossessed Ghost. I received a PDF which includes the fact sheet, copies of what the hard cover sleeve will look like, and an image for the cover of the trade paperback. They’re absolutely beautiful! They’re so beautiful, in fact, that I’m going to make a whole separate post with cover reveals later on, when we get a little bit closer to the publication date.

One of my tasks, though, was to go through the PDF for my book, and make sure everything is good. One last pass to catch any errors that might have slipped through the editing process.

I worked on it some last week, but the reality was that I just didn’t have enough hours in the day. The Day Job takes priority, as does my family and my sanity. I proofed about a third of it before the week was over. Then I proofed a bunch more while we were enroute to the retreat.

Since getting to the retreat, I’ve spent all of my free writing time finishing the proofing, and it is good. I caught some things, so the book will be that much better once it is out, in just a little over a month.

This is a milestone. This is another step in the process that I’ve never done before. My excitement is growing as the reality of this book being out in the world gets closer.

To process of proofing basically involved me reading the book again, which has me appreciating it again.

This book will be new to people, but I started it over 10 years ago, so you might be able to imagine that some of my excitement has dwindled over the years. Until this recent reread, I thought it was okay, with good characterization and humor, but I didn’t think it was all that special.

Now I appreciate it again. It is actually good. The plot unfolds in the best way that it can, and it makes sense. It holds together. The character growth is there. The stakes are there. I feel like I can be proud to have my name on this one.

I should probably stop gushing about my own story, lest I run the risk of sounding immodest. I’ll just say that, knowing that I have grown as a writer since I originally started writing The Repossessed Ghost, I’m happy to see that the product of my imagination and effort is something valuable, and worth putting out in the world.


Covid — A Sequel No One Asked For

In September of 2022, I discovered I could no longer dodge the Covid bullet. I was not Neo.

I might be Neo now, but I doubt it. I tested negative today, but that’s not the whole story.

A couple of days ago, Chris started coughing. I’ve been coughing a little bit, and so has Melissa. We thought this was just seasonal allergies. Things are blooming all around us. We all get a bit congested in the Spring.

I haven’t really seen much of Chris the last couple of days. He’s been cooped up in his room, not feeling too well. He’s been congested and he’s had a bit of a cough, but his voice has been clear. Melissa and Chris talked about it earlier today, and she told him to take some allergy medicine. I didn’t know they’d had that conversation so when I asked him how he was feeling, he got a little bit exasperated and said he had a cough.

I asked, “Have you taken a Covid test?”

“I haven’t been around anyone,” Chris said. “There’s no way that I have Covid.”

“We have tests. You should still take one and make sure.”

He argued some more, but eventually acquiesced. He slunk into his room, and within 10 minutes, he was even more upset with me because his test came back positive. Apparently, he had been making plans to go out with his friends this weekend, and now his plans were ruined. He was very snippy with me about “being right.”

I didn’t want to be right. I just wanted to make sure he was safe, and that he wasn’t spreading a deadly virus.

I contacted my work. I tested negative, but I was still in the office on Wednesday, right around the time Chris started showing symptoms. Melissa contacted her coworkers that she visited with yesterday. We’ll all be isolating. Again.

It’ll be fine. I think between natural immunity from actually having it, plus the relatively recent vaccination, we’ll be fine. Maybe the virus has been swimming around in my system for a few days, but there’s not enough of it for me to show symptoms or test positive. Maybe the worst is yet to come. We’ll know more soon enough.

We should be completely over this before it’s time to travel to Utah for the Writing Excuses retreat in Bear Lake, Utah. Which means I have a short story to finish this weekend.


Not a Musk Fan, But…

Today, a SpaceX rocket blew up shortly after launch.

I found out about it today on Twitter, which from a certain point of view, is another super heavy platform that exploded unexpectedly.

If I google it, I’ll probably find some news about a Tesla blowing up or something. Maybe something like this.

I’m going to be honest. None of this makes me happy.

I’m not a fan of Elon Musk, but I like electric cars, space exploration, and yes, even social media. I still think social media was a mistake but I have friends there, and I don’t like losing touch with them. I have also said that my next car will be electric, and I believe that for humanity to survive, we must become a multi-planet race. We should fix our home, absolutely, but that is not mutually exclusive from going to Mars and beyond. In fact, we may have to learn some valuable lessons fixing Earth before we can a Mars colony viable.

The SpaceX vehicle exploded, and if you look at Twitter, you can see so many people celebrating this as another Musk failure. It isn’t, for a number of reasons, but it’s easy to get caught up in the Musk drama and use this event as a bad example of how Musk is bad for businesses and progress.

The reality is that there are a lot of engineers involved at SpaceX. Their stated goal was to lift off the platform, and the explosion is going to give them a lot of data so that the next launch attempt, they can set their goals higher.

It feels weird to me to celebrate today as a Musk failure. It also doesn’t seem right to laud it as a Musk triumph. It’s just rocket science, and I don’t believe Musk himself personally had much to do with it.

I hope SpaceX learns a ton from what happened today, and I hope their next attempt goes better.


Ideas Are Cheap

Sometimes when I tell people I’m a writer, they react by telling me what I should write. I had one person go so far as to say they would give me their idea, and after I wrote it, we could split the profit 50/50. He wasn’t joking. I did not take him up on this “generous” offer.

Some people seem to think that the idea is gold, but it isn’t. Ideas are easy. They can come from anywhere, at any time. For me, they bubble to the surface of my brain when I least expect them, usually when I’m at rest.

Like dreams, ideas are nothing until you start to work on them. Work towards a dream and it becomes a goal. Develop on idea and it becomes a story.

I have spoken with some writers that seem to think the idea has greater value than it does. They hoard their ideas like currency, waiting to spend them at right time. Usually these are people that haven’t actually finished a story yet.

I won’t go so far as to say that ideas have no value whatsoever. I collect them just like everyone else. One idea: a repo man from New Orleans that finds a ghost in the back of a car. That idea had enough value to it that I turned it into an actual novel (with a release that’s super close). Another idea: a possession story written in 2nd person. I developed that into a really creep novelette and, though it hasn’t found a home yet, it’s one I’m really proud of. Another idea: a necromancer that specializes in bringing plants back from the dead, living as a beloved and weird old woman at the edge of a village. It’s an interesting idea, and while I’ve done some outlining, I haven’t finished developing it into an actual story.

I’m not afraid of sharing my ideas with other people because I know that’s not where the magic happens. A truly good story comes from the writer. It’s in their implementation and the way they develop the idea.

If you lock ten writers in separate rooms, giving them the same writing prompt and not letting them out until they’ve finished their story, you’ll wind up with ten completely different stories. That’s assuming you actually provide care and sustenance to the writers. Otherwise, you’ll end up with some partial stories and ten corpses. Please don’t lock us up and starve us.

The true value of a story is not the idea, but the voice, experience, and work of the writer. Give a good idea to a bad writer and you’ll still wind up with a weak, uninteresting story. Give a half-baked, second-hand idea to a good writer and you’ll get something fresh, exciting, and unexpected.

All that being said, if I were to give advice it is this: enjoy your ideas and write them down. Keep track of them. Though ideas are cheap, the value they bring to the writer is the measure of how much they excite you. Just don’t let the ideas sit there. Pick them up and do something with them.


How Do You Promote a Book?

It’s Thursday night, and I’m taking a pause from tearing up my bedroom floor. I took tomorrow off so I can finish, and tonight is the prep work stage, where the carpet and wood tacking literally goes out the window. It’s hot, sweaty work, and I’m out of shape and need to take breaks.

Something else that takes a lot of work is taking a book from a finished draft to a complete, physical thing that people can buy.

I’ve performed the labor of finishing the draft. I’ve done it many times now, and it’s exhilarating. Aside from holding my children in my arms for the first time, I’m not sure there is a greater feeling than finishing the first draft of a novel. If they could take that feeling and put it in a pill, it would be the hottest drug on the street.

But… now what?

So far, I’ve had an edit pass. I’ve written a few different summaries, some author bio stuff, and I’ve given feedback on potential covers. Tasks were assigned to me by my publisher and I’ve ticked through them as best I could. There’s a couple I couldn’t do. I don’t have a presence on Goodreads, and I’m unable to create an author’s page in Amazon since this is my first published book. Everything else, though, I’ve been able to work through.

Steven Radecki of Water Dragon Publishing has been exceptionally helpful and patient with me, too. Summaries are painful for all of us, and he was able to act as a sounding board as I worked through different ways of condensing The Repossessed Ghost into a few sentences.

Now, we have a final cover, and a batch of images related to the promotion of the book. This is some good stuff! Not quite the same level of euphoria as finishing a draft, but this would earn a pretty high street value, too.

My main problem is I don’t know what to do now. This is completely unfamiliar ground to me. I have some images and some summary material. I need to start sharing all of this and drum up interest, right?

Obviously I do, but it feels early. The official release date is July 12 of this year. Preorders will start on July 1st. People attending Baycon will be able to get signed copies earlier than the release date, and I’ll have a batch of books in June at some point that I’ll be able to “sell” to friends and family. I’m throwing that in quotes because some of you know that I’m going to buy the book myself and give it to you in person. I’m not buying it for all of you, though.

We’re in the middle of March. If I start posting cover reveals and spamming the world with promotion now, will there still be interest in a few months?

Not to get off topic, but we live in a world people are trying to sell us something every second of every minute. They fill our inboxes. They call our phones. The interrupt our programming with these special announcements. If you’re like me, your bullshit detector is sensitive, and you reach for the skip button as soon as there is even a hint of an advertisement. I do not want to set off people’s bullshit detector.

I want people to have a good time. That’s what The Repossessed Ghost is. It’s not a book that’s trying to change the world, or clear your acne, or make you sit up straight. It’s pure escapism with some fun characters in a familiar setting. How do I get that message out there?

My break is almost over. Soon, I will finish rebuilding my bedroom, making it a more comfortable place for me and Melissa to rest. Some time after that, I’m going to start redecorating this blog and the various social media platforms, so that people can see the cool artwork associated with my book, coming out soon.

If you have any suggestions on how I can promote this book, please let me know.


AI Assisted Art and Sampling

I had a very pleasant birthday yesterday! Thank you everyone that wished me well, and thank you to everyone that helped me celebrate.

For some reason, I feel a hankering to talk about AI. The good, the bad, and the digitally ugly.

We have had computers assisting us for a long time. Just trying to enter the title for this post, my computer insisted this should be called “AI Assisted Artificial Intelligence.” I had to delete “ificial Intelligence” twice, because it kept autocompleting it for me.

The system that made that suggestion is a ubiquitous language and grammar add-on, a part of the browser I’m currently using. By now I’m sure we have all had interesting experiences with autocorrect and autocompletion. It can be funny! When it works right, it can be helpful. Sometimes it can keep us from making spelling or grammatical mistakes. Occasionally, it can give terrible advice.

It’s a tool. When used properly, it can be useful. It requires a human to check its work and make sure the words are strung together to create the message the author intended. The AI’s we’re seeing spawn right now are not that much different than the autocorrect in your browser or on your phone.

A human can use AI as a starting to place to help create art, but that’s not a particularly interesting or new idea. That’s not really what this post is about. This is about how AI generated content compares to music sampling, because it feels like we’ve been here before.

One of the problems with AI assisted art is that the AI is not a human, and its form of “creativity” is more like plagiarism. Human creativity is often derivative of other people’s work, too, but our way of copying is less perfect and it’s in our mistakes where we sometimes truly create something new.

Another way of putting it: humans have style. If I try to copy the Mona Lisa, it’s going to wind up looking different. My creation will be in my style. In spite it being a derivative work, it is unlikely to upset anyone.

An AI can copy the painting perfectly. More interestingly, it can copy the style, then generate new content using that style. If I fill a museum with paintings I’ve made, all of which are attempted copies of different famous works across the world, no one will bat an eye. And then the AI will then be able to imitate my style of painting, too.

A human can take a painting, destroy it completely, and use the material to make another canvas and different paint, then create a new painting using the harvested materials. The transformation separates the new painting from the original.

An AI can break apart a piece of art, then create something new in the same style as the thing it digested. It’s transformational, but the ghost of the original work is recognizable.

Let me try an example. I played around with ChatGPT recently, tinkering around with writers and their different styles.

Me: Can you give me a short example of a Cyberpunk story as if it was written by Mark Twain?

Certainly, here’s a short example of a Cyberpunk story as if it was written by Mark Twain:

There was once a man named Jack, a good-natured fella with a heart of gold and a head full of wires. He lived in a city that was all shiny chrome and neon lights, where the rich folks lived high and the poor folks slumped low.

One day, Jack got tangled up with a gang of cyber criminals, a mean bunch of cusses with chips on their shoulders and guns in their hands. They offered him a chance to make some easy money, but Jack knew there was no such thing as easy money in this town.

Still, the temptation was too great, and Jack found himself agreeing to a dangerous job that would take him deep into the belly of the city’s cybernetic underworld. He had his trusty computer by his side, but he knew that in this world, a man’s wits were his only weapon.

Jack crept through the dark alleys and deserted streets, keeping his eyes peeled for any sign of trouble. And trouble, as it always does, found him soon enough. He was ambushed by a rival gang, their laser guns blazing.

But Jack was quick with his fingers and even quicker with his brain. He hacked into their systems and turned their weapons against them, sending them running for cover. Jack emerged victorious, a hero in a world that had long ago forgotten what heroes looked like.

And so Jack continued on his way, always keeping one step ahead of danger and one step behind adventure. For in this world of wires and machines, there was no telling where the road might lead, or what kind of trouble might be waiting just around the next corner.

It’s unlikely anyone is going to get upset with this little exercise, but what if I’d chosen a living writer? The ethics start to make me uncomfortable.

And like I said earlier, we’ve been here before. In the 80’s, musicians started sampling bits of other people’s songs, primarily rhythms and bass lines, and incorporating these parts in new work. Was it transformational? Was it legal?

Mostly, it is not legal. Fair use can be argued, but only if the sample is being used for commentary, parody, criticism, or a couple of other factors which typically don’t apply when creating art. Weird Al always asked permission from the artists he parodied, but his use of other artists’ work is a clear example where Fair Use applies.

We went through the courts on this. In order to sample work, you must get permission, usually in the form of licensing, from the original artist. The original artist must be acknowledged. I remember this being a big deal in the late 80’s and early 90’s.

Does this apply to the work of AI?

Going back to what I said earlier, the AI is able of copying an artist’s style. In the eyes of the law, style cannot be copyrighted. This isn’t to say that it is ethical to use an AI to copy someone’s style so precisely, but style itself is not something that is protected.

These are interesting times. With AI assisted generation of content, will the laws be changed to protect living artists? I don’t know. It seems like one of those things that will be difficult to enforce without hurting regular, human artists that are just trying to get by.


Talking Around the Harry Potter Game

This is not a review of the newest game that everyone is talking about right now. I have not played the game, and have only seen a little bit of it. Today, I want to talk about literary/film theory, online discourse, social responsibility in consumerism, and why in the future, you all have my permission to separate me from my work.

Again, this is not a review of the game. At this time, if you are looking for a favorable review of the game, or one that tears it down and gives it the lowest score, all you have to do is look around. A couple of days ago, Steam was 10 out of 10, Wired was 0 out of 10, and other game reviews were somewhere in between. Without playing the game, I could probably write a review right now and it doesn’t matter what I write because it would align with someone else’s take.

How did we get here? What is so polarizing about this game in particular?

It really comes down to these two seemingly contradictory truths: 1. The Harry Potter stories left an indelible mark on the world, inspiring kids (and others) to read again and 2. The author of the Harry Potter series has some truly vile world views and is kind of an asshole sometimes.

I have seen people argue against both of those truths, and I have seen people state either truth with greater embellishment. Perhaps you think I’m overstating the value of the Harry Potter franchise? Perhaps you think I’m being too harsh or too light on J.K. Rowling with how I just described her? Opinions abound, while I’m doing my best to state facts.

For the record, I have a somewhat low opinion of J.K. Rowling. I support trans lives. Trans rights are human rights. J.K. Rowling has spent an incredible amount of money on charity, which is laudable, but she seems completely blind to the damage she’s doing with her very public and influential transphobic views.

That brings us back to the Harry Potter world and what it brings to our world.

Literary and film theory is about looking at a piece through different lenses and interpreting through those specific lens. For example, you can analyze film and literature for the subtext, and what the piece says about gender roles, specifically with regards to sexual orientation and gender identity. That’s queer theory. Or, you could examine the piece in how women are presented, and how much agency female characters are given in a piece of work. That is feminist theory. It’s where the term “male gaze” originated.

There are lots of different types of film theory and literary theory. Some are more controversial than others, like auteur theory. They all have value, as they give us different ways to examine a piece of fiction and really get into what it means.

Here’s the thing about all of this: if you can build an argument based on the contents of the art, then any theory you apply is valid. If you want to say The Matrix is about the problems of rampant capitalism, where the corporate machines themselves begin to run our lives, relegating us to just numbers to be churned and consumed, that’s valid if it is supported by evidence from the film. If you want to say The Matrix is about gender identity, where who we truly are may not be what the world around us sees, and the righteous path is to shed our dead names and embrace who we really are, that is also valid.

Just because a criticism is supported by evidence in the film does not mean it is the only interpretation. Also, just because a criticism is valid, that does not mean that criticism has to affect you in any way. Many things can be true at the same time. Other people can find different truths within a piece of art, and that’s one of the things that makes art so magical.

Finally, and this is especially true with regards to Harry Potter and J.K. Rowling, the author does not get to dictate which criticisms are true or not true. The reader’s or the viewer’s experience is what it is, regardless of the author’s intentions. When we read a story, we are active participants, bringing with us all of our own experience and perspective, and what we see in our mind and feel in our heart is valid, too. That’s reader response theory, baby.

That was a long way to go to say that all criticisms of a piece of fiction are valid, when the evidence is drawn from the art itself.

How does this apply to the most recent Harry Potter game that has the internet abuzz?

I think that if you want to boycott the game because you think buying it supports a transphobic author, that’s your prerogative. I don’t know how much money she’s going to get from this game. I know she gets money from other sources, which people are conveniently forgetting to boycott. I know she is one of the most philanthropic people alive today, giving so much money to charity that she stopped being a billionaire. When it comes to her transphobic views, she’s absolutely a villain, but it’s always more complicated than that.

I have seen criticisms about the game with regards to having only 2 endings, and how none of your choices matter because the last choice you make determines which ending you get. When I heard that, I immediately thought about the original Knights of the Old Republic, which was exactly the same way. But do you know what? Knights of the Old Republic was extremely fun, and the experience of playing it was greater than the experience of finishing it.

A lot of the criticisms I see levied against the game are through a single lens, much like literary and film theory. I actually think that’s kind of neat.

I’m probably not going to play the game, myself. But I can understand people wanting to, because the magical world of Harry Potter has always been a fun place to visit, and it ensorcelled the world for a reason. I do not begrudge anyone wanting to play it and feel like they’re transported to that world.

It would be a dream come true to create a story world so vibrant and alive that it inspires others to make games and artwork inspired by that art. I would love to leave that kind of mark on the world.

So, to that end, let it be known that should I successfully capture the heart and imagination of the world, you have my permission to think of that work without thinking of me. If it turns out I have some problematic view, please disregard me in the pursuit of enjoyment of my stories and art. If the entire world turns vegan and discovers that I ate meat, please know that I support your veganism and I do not wish my enjoyment of tasty burgers to impair your enjoyment of The Repossessed Ghost, Spin City, Synthetic Dreams, or any of my other stories.


Diving Deeper Into the Edit

I recently talked about the first editing pass I received on The Repossessed Ghost, and I described the changes as very light. I described it accurately! There were only two comments, and a bunch of in-line edits, which mostly had to do with capitalization and homonyms.

Today, I’m transferring those in-line edits into my Scrivener file, which is forcing me to really examine them. I’m learning that you’re not suppose to capitalize “the” nearly so much. For example, my home houses the Buhls, not “The Buhls.” And it is the Bible, not “The Bible.”

There are several capitalization rules I get wrong all the time, and I’m glad to receive this lesson. It’s one more thing I can look for when doing personal edits in the future.

In addition to those changes, which are easy for me to accept and change, there are a couple that I’ve actually had to stop and think about. For example, is it “archaeology” or “archeology?” I used the latter, but I have an in-line correction to the former. Apparently, this one is a little bit complicated! Using the “ae” is more common across the world, and US legislation and departments use the “ae.” However, in the US, leaving out the “a” is more common, ever since a change in the printing process dropped the “ae” diphthong. I didn’t know any of this when I wrote the story, but now I know.

I’ll go with the editor’s version because I don’t want to be difficult and this particular change doesn’t really alter the voice or content of the story in a significant way. It was a fun learning opportunity, though. Scrivener doesn’t recognize the spelling with the “a” but Scrivener isn’t the boss of me, either.

I have mentioned previously that I struggle with homonyms. I don’t usually have a problem with the common ones. I know my “their,” “there,” and “they’re.” I’m not sure how many people get “taught” and “taut” mixed up, but it’s a mistake I managed to commit a few times. The one that really gets my goat is “dowsing” versus “dousing.” It’s like my brain is searching for new and interesting ways to use wrong words. The nicest thing I can say about my struggle with homonyms is that, though I’m wrong, I’m consistent in my wrongness, making it relatively easy to correct.

What else can I talk about with regards to this edit? During one of the drafts, I went through the entire manuscript, looking for places where I used weak verbs. I wrote the first draft while I still leaned heavily on passive voice, so I had a lot to correct. I mostly tried to eliminate the word “was” when it didn’t make the sentence clumsy. I also tried to delete the word “had” and all of the places where I hid it in a contraction. I clearly cut too deep, as the editor slipped some of these missing contractions and “had” words back into the text.

If I didn’t make it clear before I started talking about this edit: I hold no ill will towards my editor, and in fact, I think they did a fantastic job. I’m not complaining about the changes. I’m marveling at how I got these things wrong in the first place. I love that after all this time sitting on this novel, I can still learn from it and make it better.

One of my tasks with the publisher is to submit another draft. I’m about half way there, I think, and I should be able to complete the task before the end of the weekend.

I’m enjoying this process. I like having an editor, and I love all of these opportunities to learn and get better at the craft of writing. I’ve heard other writers complain, and I know some of them have had bad experiences. I consider myself lucky. This whole experience just makes me that much more excited to work on The Repossessed Ghost and get it in front of people.


Publishing Update: Received the First Edit

Things are moving quickly, now!

I posted this link to Twitter and Facebook, which is Water Dragon Publishing welcoming me and The Repossessed Ghost, releasing this summer. When they found out I was going to Baycon this year, they accelerated the plans for release, which is honestly just amazing.

The faster schedule means that a whole bunch of stuff has to happen quickly. One of those things is working with a professional editor.

I received the Word document with the changes and comments in it earlier today. Honestly, I thought I was going to have to do more work. There were only two comments which were both very easy to address, and some red marks in the text where I made mistakes (constantly and consistently) with capitalization.

There really wasn’t that much to go over. My original submission was probably the 4th draft of the novel. The number of changes we’ve made barely qualify as another draft.

I looked at all the changes, addressed the two comments, and sent it back this afternoon. After hearing other authors talk about going through months of edits and rewrites, I expected to have to do more, especially with my first novel.

Then again, I have had other people look at it over the years, including Jennifer Carson, a professional editor. After meeting with her and going over her critique, I rewrote the ending during to create the third draft. I had two critique groups look at it and provide feedback. One of the authors in one of the critique groups is now a best seller, absolutely crushing it with her recent fantasy series.

I worked very hard on this story before I submitted it, and these light edits are the payoff.

Soon, I’ll have cover art. I’ll post that all over the place and retheme this place.

Things are moving! This really is the fulfillment of a dream, and I can’t believe it’s happening.