As The Old Saying Goes…

file0001772520894A man may toil from sun to sun, but a writer’s job is never done.

Oh, wait… it’s supposed to be a woman’s job, not a writer’s. But what if that woman is a writer?

[Side note: I looked online for free images for working, laboring, toiling, tired woman, and so on, but couldn’t find what I was looking for. So these guys with the jackhammers will have to do.]

Using a jackhammer is work — a lot more physically toilsome than writing. So much so, in fact, that it isn’t fair to compare the tasks.

(Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)
(Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

BUT… at least when you’re done breaking up concrete, it’s done. I doubt any of the guys in the picture above went back to the job site later and said, “Hey, I want to revise that.”

Which is what this “elderly woman with laptop” (the caption given to this image by FreeDigitalPhotos) has a bad habit of doing. (In case that statement wasn’t clear, I’m talking about me, not the model in the photo.)

Okay, so I guess I’m not elderly yet. But I’m a gray-haired woman with a laptop, and that can be dangerous.

Old cover
Old cover
New cover
New cover

As you may be aware, Risen Books recently released me from my contract so I can self- publish the first two titles in the Gateway to Gannah series, with new cover art. And, although they offered me the manuscript files, I elected to use what I already had on my computer from the first time around, as I intended to revise them anyway. I didn’t plan to change either of the story details, just tweak a word here and there.

I embarked on that project about the time I contacted the designer to talk about doing new covers. So when he completed the first one last week, I had the first book revised and formatted and ready to go. I uploaded it to CreateSpace and checked the digital proof.

Screen Shot 2015-03-10 at 7.18.47 PMHmmm… there were a few glitches. For instance, I omitted a drop cap here and there, or indented the first paragraph of a scene when I shouldn’t have. So I fixed the issues in my document and uploaded the corrected version.

Oops. Somehow one of the chapters was in a different size font. Redo. Upload again.

But then…. I’d put a fleuron at the beginning of each chapter (that little star-like thing you Screen Shot 2015-03-10 at 7.24.36 PMsee in the example on the right) as well between scene changes. But it looked too cluttered that way, so I took out all the flourishes between scenes but left them at the beginning of each chapter.

Upload again.

Eventually, I was ready to order a print proof, which required a wait of several days until it arrived. During that time, I sparred with the cover designer over what to do for the next book. (I say “sparred” because I always feel like I’m a pain in the neck in these discussions. But he’s very nice through the whole process, and if he grumbles about it, I never hear him.) We discussed numerous options and he did a few preliminary sketches, and we finally came to an agreement as to what scene to depict and what it should look like.

to flourish...
to flourish…
Screen Shot 2015-03-10 at 7.33.17 PM
…or not to flourish…

Meanwhile, the print proof arrived, and, highlighter at the ready, and with a pack of little sticky flags at hand for marking pages, I went over it verrry carefully.

 

And made a change to almost every page! I didn’t find many actual errors, but I found LOTS of places where I wanted to reword something. And, hey, if I’m going to make any changes, I might as well make a lot of them, right?

Correct this, correct that, for 330 pages. Upload again. Review the digital proof once more!

WAK! Here’s another paragraph that’s indented, though it’s not supposed to be. And there’s one where the drop cap is missing. ARGH!

Correct. Upload. Review. Oh, and did I mention, each time I thought I was satisfied, I had to wait for CreateSpace to look it over before I could do the final proof? The whole process took several days.

But then, finally! After an uncounted number of repetitions of this exercise, I approved the proof. Publish the puppy!

And then there’s the Kindle version. When I first uploaded it and checked out the result, I remembered–belatedly–that I didn’t want those fleurons at the beginning of the chapters in the ebook version; I only wanted to use them to delineate scene breaks. (Just the opposite of how I did it on the print version.)

Revise. Upload.

Oh, you know what? The drop caps don’t translate well into that format. I should get rid of them in the ebook version.

Revise. Upload.

Well. All that to say… the new-and-improved The Story in the Stars is now available on  Kindle, and it should be available very soon in print. (If not, I’ll have to find out why, because it should be; but at present, the only print version I can find is the original edition. Which I thought was supposed to have been taken off Amazon as of February 15, but it obviously hasn’t been.)

Next, I get to do the same thing with Words in the Wind, once Ken Raney finishes up the beautiful cover he’s creating for it.

James Michener in 1991 (Wikipedia)
James Michener in 1991 (Wikipedia)

After that, maybe I can concentrate on some of these other projects I have on the back burner.

Oh, yes — another thing about writing that makes it never-ending: you can continue doing it long after you’re too old to use a jackhammer.

James Michener published his last novel at the age of 87, and shortly before his death at the age of 90, he published a collection of poetry. Maybe by the time I’m that age, I’ll have hammered out the ins and outs of this business…

 

 

 

 

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Interesting Development for the Gluten-Intolerant

wheat

A writer today does a lot more than just write books.

As you may know, in addition to putting up sporadic posts here on Y’s Words, I also work with a group of ladies on a writers’ blog, The Borrowed Book. My role there is to line up weekly guest bloggers.

In the course of those duties, I met a fellow-writer named Marian Merritt and arranged for her visit to The Borrowed Book last week. She provided two posts well worth reading, one on the topic of acceptance and the other about obedience. Both are from the point of view of an author but are applicable to people in any walk of life.

It was our initial conversation prior to the posting of the articles, however, that impacted me the most, and here’s why: Marian recently visited her son, daughter-in-law and grandchildren in Italy. The occasion was to welcome Grandchild #3 into the world. But she earned another bonus as well. She discovered that, although she’s gluten-intolerant just like my husband, she could eat breads, pastas, and pastries in Italy without ill effect.

It seems the flour in Italy (and probably elsewhere in Europe) is made from a different sort DCF 1.0of wheat, a variety (or varieties) without genetic modification. It’s unlikely that a person with celiac disease could eat it, but Marian indulged with glee, and shipped a supply of flour home so she could make pastas and breads here as well.

I’d never heard of such a thing, but Craig and I were both intrigued. My interest rose even further after I did some poking around online and discovered quite a few people who made the same claim. So then I poked some more and found what kind of flour to buy, and my daughter who lives in the Washington, DC area was sweet enough to go buy some for us try.

So, with a combination of anticipation and trepidation, a couple days ago I made a small batch of biscuits for Craig to try. Very small — it made three small biscuits, and we each ate one and a half.

He didn’t get sick.

I made some more biscuits this morning for breakfast, and he ate some more. And guess what? He didn’t get sick!

Amazing!

breadNow, this isn’t a dream come true. The imported flour is expensive. It’s not the same grind and consistency as what we’re used to; if you want light and fluffy, this isn’t the flour to use. So we’ll have to be choosy about what we use it for.

I’ve learned to make a lot of things gluten-free, and Craig’s been eating pretty well despite his dietary restrictions. But it will be fun to see what delightful doors this new discovery might open for him.

Real bread and rolls have some real possibilities…

 

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