New Year – New Project

Happy New Year!

This year I’ll be busy working on my fifth novel. I’ve signed up with other authors to work on the Common Elements Romance Project. Each author writes their own novel, novella, or short story. The story that you write must include all of the five elements:

  • A lightning storm
  • A person named Max
  • A stack of thick books
  • Lost keys
  • A haunted house

Author Cora Lee provided the concept and asked if other authors would be interested in doing the project. With my trilogy almost complete, I was up for the challenge. I signed to join the project in April, 2018, knowing that I’d have some time to write the book with an October/November 2019 timeframe for publishing.

Now with all three books of the Dream or Reality trilogy are available in eBook and print, I’ll be working on this project. I’ll keep you posted on how it goes.

I hope everyone has a great 2019!

Beth M James – Author of novels based on strong characters and elements of romance.

www.bethmjames.com

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Lessons Learned: Editing Your Manuscript Before Publishing

The last few months I’ve spent hands down on the computer getting my next book “The Calling’s Return” completed. Writing the story is the easy part. Edits are the tedious part, but the most important task to do when publishing a book.

Once the story is written, I go through two edits before I send the manuscript to my editor. When she gets the manuscript, she will review/edit three times.

At the high level, the manuscript is read to determine if the story flows, if the scene makes sense, or if there’s anything missing. Is the right POV being used? Is there enough dialogue mixed in with description? Are the characters true to life?

And then there’s the detail level. This is where sentence structure is reviewed, if the right word is used, and if the sentence makes sense. This includes making sure no space is used after the period at the end of the paragraph and that each chapter title and spacing is consistent throughout the book.

Don’t think that you can skip this part. You can’t. Someone else has to review/edit your manuscript. And once the editor is done with her/his review, you need to review it again. I’ve read published books from traditional publishers with unacceptable errors (double words, cut sentences). Minor errors do occur, it’s hard to catch everything, but they should be few and far in between.

Edits are an important part of publishing a book, especially for self-published authors. And for me, I’m almost done with “The Calling’s Return” edits. My editor is on the final review, and then I’ll review one more time.

Beth M James

Novels based on strong characters and elements of romance.

http://www.bethmjames.com

Killing Malmon

 

In the last month, I read “Killing Malmon” featuring 30 Authors…One Victim. The book is edited by Dan and Kate Malmon and benefits MS. This was my bedtime story book, and I enjoyed reading the short stories on how to kill Dan. I’m sure Kate was fascinated too –  she’s Dan’s wife!

Killing Malmon

Killing Malmon

Kate has MS and this is their way of helping the MS Society by donating the royalties earned from their book to the cause. The stories are pretty creative and it’s amazing how many different ways you can kill one person! There’s a mix of humor, drama, jealousy, and total crime. If you have a chance, check out the book. Great stories and a great cause!

Lessons Learned: Getting Refreshed

Image result for free thanksgiving clip artI hope everyone enjoyed their long Thanksgiving weekend. My husband and I hosted dinner on Thanksgiving Day, having family join us for a great afternoon and evening. I then had three full days to tackle my writing goals and knock off some items on my chore list. For the first time in ages, I did not leave my house for the entire four-day weekend. I can’t even remember the last time that happened.

I had an amazing time battling the Morlorns as I worked on the draft to my next book, the third in the “Dream or Reality” series for “The Calling.” While most of you were shopping on Black Friday or on the weekend, I decided to hibernate inside my happy little home. Not only did I write, but I also put up the Christmas decorations, paid bills, cleaned, and spent time with Mike.

Now that I’m refreshed, I’m ready to start the week feeling better about myself, my accomplishments, and happy to get through that battle near the stone dwelling. My characters never get a holiday, but this year I did. I’m ready to rejoin society and take on the outside world once again.

Beth M James

Novels based on strong characters and elements of romance.

http://www.bethmjames.com

Writing Retreats

Two weekends ago, I went on a writing retreat with five other Chippewa Falls Area WisRWA group members. Getting away for the purpose of writing, brainstorming, and/or honing our craft was a great way to renew our dedication to what we love the most – writing.

Us Chip girls try to have a weekend writing retreat once a year. In the past, we have had our retreats at hotels with adjoining rooms. This year we rented a house near New Auburn, Wisconsin. Yep, on a lake. The house gave us ample space, and I would highly recommend it if thinking about your own retreat.

So, what do we do on our retreats? Besides making sure that we have enough food, snacks, and beverages (of all kinds) that are readily available, we create a scheduled plan for the weekend to make sure we keep on task.

The first thing we do after arriving and getting settled in is to have each person list what she would like to accomplish at the retreat. This could be writing 10,000 words, editing three chapters, brainstorming, creating an outline, or creating a synopsis. We will have at least three goals (or more) per person that are written on large paper and taped to the wall to keep us accountable (and so we don’t forget).

Based on everyone’s goals, our second step is to create the agenda for the retreat. The agenda includes time each day for personal writing, group brainstorm sessions, walks, meals, and cocktail hours. For example, we may eat breakfast at 7:00 a.m., write solo (personal time) for two to three hours, gather in the living room for the group brainstorm session, eat lunch, walk, and then write solo again until cocktail hour. After dinner, we’ll talk about our work, play one or more games, and catch up on personal events.

Throughout the day, we will look at the agenda (large sheet of paper also taped to the wall) and cross off what we’ve accomplished. We’ll also discuss if we need to make changes to the agenda for the next day. After having some writing time, one of us may need to brainstorm ideas with the group. We’ll also mark off the personal goals we’ve accomplished. Yes, we’re list people who love to check off tasks when they are completed. Strikethrough, star or check mark – it doesn’t matter.

At the end of the retreat, as we’re eating lunch (all the leftovers), we’ll see how much we’ve accomplished as a group. The best feeling in the world is to see how much we’ve accomplished. When it’s time to leave, we may be tired from writing, but we also feel satisfied and eager to continue the pace once we get home. I cannot wait for next year.

Beth M James

Novels based on strong characters and elements of romance.

http://www.bethmjames.com

 

 

 

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.