Happy New Year

Happy new year to all. For me, this is the official start of the year. I give myself the first day of the year to reflect, transition, and then open the door into the new year.

Last year was rough. Not long into the year, my mom went into hospice care. She steadily declined, becoming weaker in mind and body due to breaking her leg/hip, dementia, and the stroke she had six years previous. It’s not easy seeing someone you love become so lifeless. She died at the end of October and passed peacefully. I still quietly mourn her.

Yesterday was spent at home. Mike and I enjoyed waking up with our grandson’s bright smile and playing dinosaurs and Legos with him. We did small things around the house, spent time together, and watched a movie. No big fanfare, which was nice. We had time to think and simply enjoy the day.

Today is about starting the year with recharged energy. I’m looking forward to what each day brings. My challenges this year will be balancing life and work. I’m ready to take both on, spending quality time with family, friends, and co-workers/writers. I’ve also been editing the second book in The Calling trilogy, which I’m geared to publish this spring.

Let’s make this a great year.

Beth M James

The Calling

Gitana – Life Plan

Spring

Rainy and cold days at this time of year can be good and bad. The bad part about it is that I want nice, warm weather. Isn’t this SPRING after all with sunny skies and flowers blooming? After the cold of winter, I long to soak up the sun and walk barefoot outside. I want to sit on the porch and enjoy a morning cup of coffee with my hubby. I want to listen to the birds sing and the neighborhood kids play ball in the park.

Spring fever takes its toll on me. I always think that April/May should have warmer weather than what it gives us. We get blasted with wind, rain, and sometimes snow. I have to be a little more patient before the winter chill leaves us and I can open the door to summer.

The good part about this time of year is that we get the rain to help turn everything green. It also keeps me indoors a while longer so I can focus on my writing. I don’t mind sitting up in my office at my desk. I don’t feel guilty because I can’t enjoy the beautiful warm day outside. Now is the time to focus and get The Calling – Book Two completed. I’m halfway there.

Manuscript Editing

I’m in the home stretch of completing my edits for my novel “The Calling” before I send it to the editor. Editing is time consuming and tedious, but rewarding as well. I love how the story transforms into polished work. The main errors that I look for in each chapter are adverbs, sentences over 30, and repeat words. There’s other edits as well that I will look for (consistency, typos, etc.), but the three noted above are the ones that I don’t “see” when I read my own work. I am too close to the story to notice the errors. I use a software program to point them out to me.

For those edits, the majority of adverbs used in a story are unnecessary. I mainly look for “ly” words. I’ll remove 90% of them. If the “ly” word is used in dialogue, I won’t remove it. In both books I liked to use the word “just.” Funny how a simple word can be used way too many times.

Sentences with over 30 words are easy fixes. I will break the one long sentence into two or three sentences. The hardest errors for me to find are the repeat words. Even when repeats are right in front, screaming at me, I still can’t see them, until they are highlighted in bold. In two paragraphs I had “dangerous” written four times. Four times! To correct, I determine if there’s another word I can use to replace the repeat, or if I have to restructure or delete the sentence. At times, I will keep the repeat if needed. Fixing repeat words takes the majority of the time. I’m not a pro, but I am getting better.

With that said, I need to edit another chapter….

Blog Topics

Someone asked me how I pick the topics that I write. I don’t. They pick me. I may think that I’m going to write about the sun and then when I actually sit down to write, the moon is the subject. I like to write about life lessons and what I can provide to readers through my experiences and observations.

I think of it as a spark. A conversation can trigger a message or a thought when I’m walking at lunchtime, driving in the car, or during the night. Or, I think of my book Gitana and the different lessons or chapters in her life.

Next step to add to my blogs is interviews with my characters. I’ve been asked when the next book to Gitana – Life Plan is coming out. Readers want to know more about the characters and what happens next. I never planned for that book to be a trilogy, but I may rethink it later on. First I want to write about The Calling, my next book. Gitana will continue through my blog.

Back to subject. I’ll also like to add guest blogs. If you would like to be interviewed or if you have a topic you’d like me to write, please let me know. Just reply to this blog.