Tuesday, February 11, 2014

#newrelease Life Flight by Shaunna Wolf

Blog: Critters at the Keyboard
One randomly chosen commenter will win a $50 Amazon/BN.com gift card.

What would I tell a new author?

As well as being an author, I am also an editor.  On top of that, I mentor several authors.  One of the questions I am often asked is, Why do I have to do that (fill in the blank) followed by (insert headline making author) doesn’t.  The question still catches me by surprise.  Then I try to think back to the first novel I finished.  I was so in love with that, now trunk novel, that I was sure it would be the next best seller, I was on my way to the bank, followed by a million adoring fans, with a fist full of royalty checks.
The difference, I think, was that I was also working as an editor.  I knew that, (insert headline making author’s name) had an editor, that they most likely had a box, or two, of rough drafts and false starts, and did I say it already? An editor.  Most the time when you crack open a book and you look at the dedication page, what do you see?  I thank my mom, my dad, grandma Joe, and so on .  Rare to find a dedication page that says and thank you to my editor.  I’ve seen a few, but not many.  Why?

Part of it is vanity.  No one wants to attribute their success to someone else.  If you win a race in a new pair of running shoes, do you thank the maker of those shoes?  Very unlikely.  So it’s the same with authors, rarely do they thank their editors.   I think this leads to those on the outside of the industry to paint a picture of their favorite well to do author, sitting in a chair, smoking jacket on, and banging out a perfect first draft.  It leads them to thinking that first draft is perfection without a single word being touched.

The reality check is often in the form of reviews, if the author self publishes and gets their book out of the hands of family and friends and into the hands of objective readers, and in rejections if they go that route.  My advice to new authors: Writing is work.  Let me clarify that, writing is creative, yes, but to produce a great book, is work.  It means editing, no it isn’t an editor’s job to fix punctuation (typos yes), or run a spell check, or to rewrite your novel while you bang out the next one.  That’s the writer’s job, to learn their craft, and, yes, this means grammar and spelling and all of that, then write the best story you can and submit the cleanest draft you can, after it has been read by a few beta readers that don’t share any of your DNA.

I learned the hard way, I handed that first draft, of the now trunk novel, over to a beta reader and every single thing they pointed out felt like a punch in the gut.  I got mad.  I cried.  Then I subscribed to a few writer’s magazines and got down to work.  If a reader finds fault in the story, mechanics or plot, move on, but if several do, it’s not that you are misunderstood, or your writing, it might be that you need to hone your craft a bit. 

Bottom line, learn the craft, and writing is a job, if you can find a degree of separation from the work, the work will be better for it. 


Malachi Blackfeather has spent twenty years in the Army. Two of those years as a Vietnam POW. Now that he's out, all he wants is some peace and quiet to figure out what to do with the rest of his life. Between the flashbacks, and an over interest in sex that is now being called sex addiction, finding his path isn't easy.

Kat is trying to escape an abusive marriage. Her soon to be ex is a master at manipulating the system, and her family thinks she should stay with him, "because no other man will want her". She's looking for escape in any form she can get it.

When they meet, sparks fly. Trapped by a blizzard, can two damaged people, who think there is no chance of love in the world for them, find each other, and survive an unforeseen circumstance that puts both of them in danger?

Mystery, romance, and danger, fill this novel, with a story that will draw you in and not let go.

We stared at each other until Johnny cleared his throat.  The back of her hand went down the side of my face.  She put the back of her hand to her face.  Frowned, and then moved back to her place on the floor.  What had that meant?

The trooper cracked a beer.  Began telling us about a nudist house party he’d broken up.  Kat laughed, stroked his ego with her voice.  But her gaze kept coming back to me, I’d look back and she’d shift her attention away, then I’d catch her again.  Did she want me out of the room?  Did her soul’s demon want this new prospect?  Did she even see it as a demon?  As something that had taken the place of real feelings and human emotions--to the point they had to be borrowed and stolen from others?

My third beer and the room felt like the outdoors.  Wind whistled over the glass.  I pulled the other blankets out of the closet.  Zipped my coat.  Johnny zipped his and pulled gloves on.  Stood up.  At least not drunk.

“Going to my car,” he told us, “Y’all welcome to come sit in the warmth.”

“Mine's got a full tank as well.  Gets too bad, we can sit in it.”  I grasped his hand, glad I’d gone back for this man. “Thanks.”

“Smoke, before we’re in for the night?”

I stepped outside with him.  The air felt as if it would shatter.  Amazingly, the lights were on over in the restaurant.  The sound of a diesel engine running echoed over the parking lot.  Johnny laughed. 

“Guess I know where I’m heading, find me a booth, and get some shut eye.”

Not a bad idea.  At least warm--and hot food.  He lit his Winston, I lit a Camel.  We stood that way, two men, each scarred in his own way by a shared experience that we hadn’t even realized was one.  And Kat scarred by something, something before her marriage. 

“That little woman,” Johnny said.  “Ain’t none my business.  But everyone said she’s a free spirit--born after her time, shoulda been her age in the 60’s.”  His blue-eyed gaze flashed to me, then away.  “Take the right kinda man to make that kinda woman into a wife, but if you got any smarts, you’ll give it a shot.  The way you look at her, and the way she looks back, yeah, the way of things brought you together for a reason.”  He dropped the butt in the snow and took sure steps across the ice covered parking lot.

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Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thanks for hosting!

Anonymous said...

Yes, I heart editors! So much goes into producing a good work! jadeonyxbooks (at) gmail (dot) com

Carla Bosch Clar said...

Hi! Is the giveaway open internationally? I loved the post and I'd love a chance to win :)Thanks

Rita said...

Love the excerpt, thank you.

elaing8 said...

Thanks for sharing the excerpt. Looking forward to reading this

martha Lancaster said...

Thanks for the next wriging advice. I am always amazed at nonwriters' comments on why I am taking so long to get my book published and why it's not already a best seller. Wish more readers understood how hard the writing process is.

S. R. Howen said...

Thanks for hosting me today!

S. R. Howen said...

It does take time for any book to make it through the process. I think many non authors think we are all like the big names they hear about, rolling in the bucks. If only they knew the process and how hard it really is.

Anonymous said...

Really interesting post with useful advice!


Elise-Maria Barton said...

Thanks for the interesting info; no wonder I'm a reader not a writer lol.Thanks for such a generous giveaway

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