Sorry…no kooky cats

I got lost in the wilds of YouTube the other day. It’s a crazy place out there. Lots of strangeness, craziness, and things that should be none-of-your-bizness but people put it out there for the world at large to see, anyway.

When I finally wandered back to my own little corner of the world, hours (nearly a whole day) had passed. And yet nothing had been accomplished (although, I did admire several hilarious cat videos). It’s amazing how such small bits of no-purpose videos can suck you in.

At first, I was glad to simply escape with my life and my sanity. But after a little thought (very little, actually), I decided that maybe I should throw some of my own hey-look-I’m-on-YouTube-too videos out there. Unfortunately, without any crazy cats or other cute animals (well…except for my husband, who is adorable and fluffy) I didn’t know what I could share.

Then my BFF reminded me that I have books. Books that I’m actually trying to encourage people to buy. “…but what has that got to do with crazy old lady or kooky cat videos?” I asked her. Oddly enough, it seems that you can create videos even if all you have is words. Isn’t that something? Who would have thought it?

So, here it is…my own attempt at a YouTube video (I promise, next time I’ll find a crazy old lady or a kooky cat ; )

 

 

Every Author Needs an Editor…not just independents

Starstone_Front_Cover_Only - 1I see so many posts admonishing independent authors to make sure they get their manuscripts edited. And while, I agree that editing is very important (probably as important as the story writing itself), I take offense at the implication that it is only independent authors who are lax about this step.

I just read the first two books in a 22-book series by a well-known author who is published by a well-known house (Harper Collins), and I have encountered approximately one misspelling or misused word per every ten to twelve pages. Now, I didn’t go into these books expecting errors, nor did I start reading them with the intention of keeping track of every little mistake I came across. But, I have to admit that after the first mistake interrupted the story rhythm, it sort of primed my instincts to be wary of others. (For instance, the character was fighting the urge to vomit, which was described as “…keeping her gore from rising…” when the term is gorge.)

As I continued with the story (which is really quite excellent and I do thank my friend for recommending the series), I found myself stumbling over other such instances of misplaced, misused, or misspelled words. With every stumble, I couldn’t help but wonder what the editors at this publishing house were thinking. These errors were obvious and easy to spot, so why didn’t they? While I can’t answer the question as to why the professionals didn’t catch the errors in this particular series , I can commiserate with them.

My bread-and-butter job is as a technical writer/editor and, trust me, when deadlines loom, and you’re working 50 or 60 hours, dead tired, and going at top speed, things can get overlooked…even obvious things (like gore for gorge). Is it right? No. Is it easy to fix…sometimes. Is it inevitable? Maybe…unless you’re Super Editor:  Able to scan 1000 pages a minute, edit 20,000 pages with a single blue pencil, and juggle ten manuscripts in a single night. However, since I don’t know any super heroes called Super Editor, I’m going with the assumption that most authors, writers, and editors are human beings, and human beings (unfortunately) make mistakes.

So, while I have no intention of publishing any of my books with mistakes, and I (and my editors) go over them several times for spelling, grammar, context, and content, I would still be surprised if someone reading through them didn’t find some flaw; some misspelled, misused, or just plain missing word. I’m human. My editors are human. And my readers are human (or at least most of them are).

Therefore, whether you’re an independent author or an author from a well-known publishing house, you need to understand that flaws happen. The key to getting and keeping readers despite the flaws is to ensure that 1) flaws don’t happen very often, and 2) the story is so good that your readers are willing to forgive the rare flaw.

(Coming soon:  “The Globe of Souls”  Book 2 of the Darkwind of Danaria series.)GOS Front Cover - 6x9 - 150 PPI

 

 

 

Escorting the Dead…a reboot

escortingcoverI updated some of the material.

I added some bonus material.

I reformatted the interior.

And I redesigned the cover in anticipation of the companion book, “More from the Masters,” which is due to come out this fall.

So, the rebooted version is available in ebook! (I’m still waiting for CreateSpace to
approve the paperback version.)

Escorting the Dead from Amazon.com

Oooooh, More Kudos

Ooooh, more positive reviews. I just love hearing from the folks who have read my books. And it doesn’t matter if it’s a positive or negative review—though I prefer the positive responses—it’s just nice to get feedback. After all, how can I improve my writing if people don’t tell me what does or doesn’t work for them? So, thank you all for your comments, and please, keep ‘em coming.

On dreams and dream symbolsOnDreamsCover_Smashwords_withtext

From Mr. W:

I’ve tried a lot of different ways to interpret the dreams I have, and this book seems the best. A lot of other sources don’t have the symbols or objects that were in my dreams, but this book does. It’s been really helpful.

From Ms. T:

This is one of the more interesting and (I think) accurate dream dictionaries in a long time. I found the introductory section about the different stages of dreams very fascinating. I’ve been using it now for a while to help interpret my dreams and it’s been spot on. I highly recommend this for anyone who wants to know what their dreams are about.

Escorting the Dead: My Life as
a Psychopomp
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From Mr. A:

This book was great! I’ve been working with hospice patients for several years, and the information in this book has helped me tremendously. Several of my patients even requested that I read the book to them, and I was amazed at how it seemed to ease their fears of what awaited them. Very helpful and very hopeful.

From Ms. S:

I especially loved all the examples that the author included. They helped make the information more personal and definitely added pathos to the experiences. I also appreciated the bits of humour that the author used to express his/herself.

I do wish the book had been longer; I was disappointed to have it end, and do hope that there is a second volume with more examples and more quotes from the Masters.

Toot, Toot

Horn-clipartI may be tooting my own horn, but then again, if I don’t, who will? My book has been available for 2.5 weeks and I’ve sold 5 copies (combining both paperback and ebooks). It’s available at Barnes & Noble (in paperback) or at Amazon (in both paperback and ebook). It’s pretty cool, right?

It’s more than that, though. While I’m happy about the sales, that’s not really what it’s about for me. To me it means that people are actually finding the information useful, helpful, and interesting…and that’s what’s important.

I didn’t write the book to become famous (quite the contrary…I much prefer being unknown), and I didn’t write the book to become rich (I mean if that was the plan, obviously, I’d be a starving artist;-). I wrote the book to help people be less fearful about death, and less upset at having someone close to them die.

My Life as a Psychopomp is meant to be uplifting and full of hope, and if the following review is any indication,Cover3 then I achieved my goal.

A joy to read; wished for more, December 21, 2012

I am honored to write this review and I enjoyed this book very much. I hope there are more!

This is a very enjoyable, and fast, read. I enjoyed the stories of real experiences with others, especially those with evidence. This is a very big time for humanity. People have lost their way. Death and hell and religion have either scared off, or turned off, many people who want to consider what their lives really mean.

 

The making of Escorting the dead: My life as a psychopomp

ovaldoveSo, the book is out there, and I’ll admit I have mixed emotions about it. Let me explain…my initial reaction was to write the book from the perspective of an outsider. I was going to be interviewing someone else, rather than making it so autobiographical. However, during the course of my writing this and pulling all the pieces of the book together, several people close to me died.

The best way I had of working through my feelings of loss was to write about them. This has always been my way. I express myself through words, rather than tears or hugs. (Oh, there are plenty of those, too, but when showing emotions physically, I find I have no words. If you want to know why I’m hugging you, you’d best read the note I’m probably handing you along with the hug.) So, here I was writing away my sorrows, and before I knew it, I had at least half a book going, though not quite the book I started out to write.

While I wanted to write about those of us who help others make the transition between life and death, I certainly didn’t want to be the focus of the book. But, here it was half done…and to try to rewrite it so that I wasn’t the lead would, (I felt) remove some of the honesty and authenticity. With the information already being slightly on the fantastical side, I certainly needed as much authenticity as I could get. Writing from the heart is the best way to get that honesty, and that’s what I was doing. So, I kept on writing, alternately wondering if I was being egotistical or foolish. After all, complete strangers, as well as close friends might read this, and I couldn’t even begin to imagine what they might think of me once they did.

At one point during the creation of this book, the anxiety became too much, and I found myself not sleeping and unable to eat. Then one morning, one of those who had recently died came to me. She stood in the doorway between the sun porch and the kitchen and wagged her finger at me. A moment later, I felt a warming embrace surround me, and the words, “Trust us…” slipped past my ear.

I let the anxiety go, and went back to work on the book. When I seemed at a loss for what to say, words seemed to just form themselves in my head. It seemed as if I wasn’t the only one who wanted this information shared. The more I began to trust, the easier the words flowed. What had begun out of self-interest, now seemed to have a fuller purpose.

One night as I neared the end of this project, I again began questioning whether I should publish the information. After all, I work in a rather staid, conservative industry at a very conservative firm. The last thing I wanted to do (especially in this economy) was to get myself fired because they thought I was a crazy person on the edge of lunacy. However, when I finally fell asleep I found myself surrounded by a bright white light and encircled by about 8 or 10 of my “crew”. The feelings of support and acceptance were strong, and the message was very clear. This is what I need to do.

So, the next morning, bolstered again, I went back to the computer and let the words flow.  And flow they did, until the pages were filled with information and memories.

If it helps even just one person, then I can say it was worth it, because that was the purpose: to help people understand about death, so that their lives (and deaths) can be filled with hope and love, instead of fear and anxiety.

Today is the day…

The paperback is ready and available. (Just follow the link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1481090569) The Kindle book will be available in a day or two (just waiting on Amazon to get it posted.)

So, hurra hurra hurra. Grab and copy and start reading. 😉

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