What a shock! I'm writing my post six days early, instead of my usual night before. My time is rather calm right now. You see, I wrote six books last year, and some of them aren't selling all that great. Just as well. By the time I got to the last book in each series, I could barely speak a coherent sentence, much less write one. Calvin would lead me to bed and I'd sleep for two days solid.
My muse had fainted in a dead heat and I had fired my agent, who hadn't bothered to check my manuscript turn-in dates--one publisher against the other. I had thirteen days between books two of my Highlander bear-shifters and my firemen series. Who can write a 73,000 word book, per contract, in thirteen days? Not I! And books three of each series had to be turned in on the same day. I literally had a nervous breakdown in the doctor's office and was put on two antianxiety medicines.
But this old gal survived, drugs and all.
The quality of my firemen series, not so much.
Books two and three were never edited by my editor. I sent them in and my editor forwarded them onto production because my writing is just so fabulous. NOT!! I nearly died when I found out. Reading them was worse than having a root canal through my navel.
So, for now, I'm revamping my first book ever published, Storm's Interlude, and have a mere fifty pages yet to clean up. Then I'll set it aside before I read over it again. It's going in a self-published bundle with some other authors' first books. Here's the new cover:
Yesterday, Random House, the only publisher I'm writing for right now except for a few Indie published books, sent me my copy edits for book three of my Highlander Beloved Series, "Bearing It All."
At Loveswept, the big edits happen between you and your editor. Then the manuscript goes to the copy editor who pulls his big magnifying glass from his pocket and looks for every misplaced comma, wrong word choice, and goof in my Scottish burr. Then I go through another round of edits. The final round unless he demands I change something I feel strongly against--like remove chapter eight. I have two weeks to do this.
Once this is finished I'll have a choice to make. Read over Storm's story once more or keep writing the first book of my wounded warrior series. I've got one chapter written and approved by my editor. When we'd brainstormed over the phone, I wasn't sure I was on the same page as her. Thankfully I was. She loved it. Now I want to keep going. I can see the second chapter unfolding. "Eagle Ridge Ranch" series takes place in the Texas hill country where SEALs come to their former CO's ranch to heal and acclimate to life, back in the world, near a small town.
My editor at Random House called to ask that I write this series. Going from bear-shifters in the Highlands to ex-SEALs with PTSD is quite a leap emotionally. I'm not sure I can do it. I've read books by psychologists and sociologists, watched movies, seen American Sniper three times and wondered how can I turn all this pain into a romance? It'll be a challenge. Thank goodness my editor is giving me the time to do it. I'd kinda like to bring my muse back to life.
Wow, Vonnie. I remember you writing about how crazy your deadlines were, but I don't remember a 13-day deadline to write an entire book! (Just the thought is making me twitch!) And I cannot believe your editor turned in your book untouched--not that you're NOT a fabulous writer, but that every writer, every book/story/article needs an editor. Wow. Did the publisher pull those stories and edit them? How did you find out? That's crazy!!
I meant to add - the new cover for "Storm's Interlude" is great. I like it much better!
Wow, Vonnie, is right. The important thing is you survived. The PTSD emotion? I'd say use your own experience as a guide. Not so much combat related but geeeeesh! One of my recent heroes had/has the syndrome. A psychology friend said it can manifest in many forms. In other words, no restrictions. Go for it! And, wonder of wonders, enjoy the process.
Leah, I kept waiting for my edits to arrive on book two. Three weeks before release date, I emailed my editor asking where they were and if we were still on for the scheduled release date. I didn't want to schedule a release party, if there wasn't going to be a book ready. She emailed me back a week later. "Oh Vonnie, I'm so sorry. I never read your book. I just sent it onto production. It's formatted and ready for release on your scheduled date. But not to worry, your writing is always so fabulous." With book three, once again I received no edits and when I asked, she simply never replied.
I guess you kind of have PTSD yourself, Vonnie. Being an author shouldn't be so stressful. Glad to hear life has calmed a bit!
Margo, I've learned a lot of PTSD I never imagined. I'm eager to get rolling on the new series. I'm taking the anti-anxiety meds at half doses now, so that's an improvement. There's really something to be said to having a balance in one's life. I constantly wrote or promoted.
Brenda, you are so right and I never thought of it that way until this morning. Thank goodness I have a gem of a husband. I always wanted to see if I could move up to the big publishers. At times, I was ready to chuck it all.
Vonnie, I did a ton of research on PTSD on FEAR LAND (which happens to be free today). In the process, I found a group called I've Got Your Six, that puts their stamp of approval (or not) on books about American soldier stories. They gave American Sniper a thumbs-up. I contacted them for the fun of it...no word back. Point is, it spurred me on to get my facts right in the book. Example, recent research shows the suicide rate for soldiers is about as high for those who served in combat and those who didn't. I almost got this wrong in my book. My dad was in WWII; I'm an Army brat. The topic is fascinating. You'll learn a lot in the writing of your series, for sure!
I was worried about you last year. What an insane schedule! I'm so glad you're feeling better and actually have time to think about what you'd like to do next and how to do it best.
Insane schedule is right! She seriously didn't edit your book? That is so too bad, but I'm also sure they're still good!
Hey, the nightmare is over, and you're headed upward and onward! I really like the new cover. Revamping an oldie but goody is always fun!
Rolynn, I'm currently reading a book on soldiers with PTSD from Iraq and Afghanistan, written by a psychologist. I've already read the book written by Chris in The American Sniper. I have two more to read. I don't want to overwhelm the reader, but so want to insert truthful factoids about the effects our military personnel carry with them.
Last year was a 365 day long hell-week. I didn't know if I'd make it. With Calvin's help, I muddled through.
Thanks, Liz. Parts are good. Parts where I did a Word replace one name for another did not work, so suddenly you read a name and think, who the heck is this? Dumb mistakes that if I'd had the time to read the book once I'd finished it, I'd have caught. Can we say, "Lesson learned?"
Yes, Jannine, I enjoyed revisiting my first book. I made some changes. Odd how much your writing style can change in 4 years.
Love the new cover to Storm's Interlude, Vonnie! I'm beyond excited to hear you're going to self-pub it in a boxed set of firsts! I'll have my eye out for it! I'm also glad to hear you have a chance to slow down and catch a breath for a day or so here and there. You already know how much I'm looking forward to your Eagle Ridge Ranch series! I'm such a strong supporter of our military and their families, and all they endure. The more authors that write about, and write right, the better. Some of my books touch on PTSD, but I am always trying to read up, or watch what I can on the subject. My husband's unit just had another suicide last month. We're never prepared. I have absolutely no doubt you'll knock this series out of the park!
Vonnie, you're an inspiration. Even amidst all that went on last year, you manage to inject your fab sense of humor into your post. Root canal through your navel? The image is hilarious. Hang in there. Hope the meds help.
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