“Adventures of Zarah” Book Update

I decided I best update you all about the book publishing process before I head off for vacation… as the hubs is taking me to Sweden next week! We’ll be gone three weeks overall… and I have no intention of bringing my computer.

Fortunately, my editor is *this close* to finishing the first edit… Last check in said she only had 10 pages left to go… Unfortunately, pretty much that same day she had a family medical emergency and has since been tied up for over a week with a hospital stay due to said emergency. I really doubt my manuscript is first and foremost on her mind at the moment, hey?

I had been planning on getting the manuscript back a couple of weeks prior to my vacation so I could work through it quickly and get it back to her before I left. Clearly that won’t be happening now as I leave Monday and have to work tonight and Friday-Sunday. So even if I got it today, I would likely not have time. Maybe… But… Probably not.

Oh Well.

So, I’m thinking at this point the publication release date with probably not be August/September time frame as originally predicted by the publishing house. I’m just hoping for end-of-year at this point. We’ll see.

I’ve been told the artist is still working on mock-ups as well. I have yet to see the results. The editor said she was going to follow up with him to get the ETA of the images, but then again… She has had some major personal things going on at the moment. So, I wait.

That’s pretty much the update… I’m still waiting.

In this respect it’s hard for me working with an editor/publishing house instead of, say, self-publishing… Because when I have a new idea or want to work on the manuscript, I really can’t without confusing things if the editor is in process with an original draft. …And I’m impatient with my creative process. I like to get things done quickly – get the ideas out of my head as soon and as fully formed as possible all at once.

Good news is, though, at the last check in I had with my editor she did say she is really enjoying the story… so Yay!

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Heavenly Confidants (A Short Story)

Grace, Kensey, and Lilly had snuck out, shortly after midnight, to gather in the garden and do their oh-so-secret girl things. They had agreed the group must be their own secret society of sorts, the only thing they couldn’t agree on was an official secret society name. Grace liked “The Divine Goddesses,” Kensey wouldn’t budge from her vote for “Heavenly Confidants,” and Lilly much preferred “Radiant Sisterhood.”

They were at an impasse, and their discussion had started to get heated, so they decided to put the naming aside for now. Regardless, they rose late on this moonlit night to gossip about other, more important matters.

The waif-like teens sat upon the stones that had been claimed as their own some years prior, they were all about the same height and perfect for sitting on.

Kensey sat with her back straight, clearing her throat before speaking. “I hereby call this meeting of the HCs to order!” She said in as official and professional a tone as she could muster.

Grace glared and her and Lilly rolled her eyes.

“Seriously, Kenz! We are NOT the Heavenly Confidants! Stop trying to make that happen!” Grace said.

Kensey crossed her arms and grunted in a decidedly not-professional manner. “FINE,” she barked in Grace’s direction.

“Come on, you guys, chill out already. We said we weren’t gonna decide on that yet. Let’s get back on track,” Lilly said.

Kensey shrugged her shoulders and turned her head to stare off into the woods. She wanted to make sure Grace knew she was being ignored, at least for the time being.

Grace ignored her right back and turned to pose a question to Lilly. “So, Lilly… Anything new on the Nick front?”

Lilly shrugged, looked down, and sighed. “I don’t see him as much anymore. He still comes around sometimes, but I mean… I used to see him almost everyday… Then it was weekly… Now… Well, now I only see him every month or two it seems. He still just looks so sad when he looks at me. He rarely talks to me anymore either… He just looks at me with sad, puppy dog eyes, and then walks away.”

“Yeah, I can’t remember the last time I saw him smile,” Grace said.

“Ever since the car accident,” Kensey said, her head still turned away. “He just hasn’t been the same since then. I think he blames himself.”

Lilly sighed again. “I think you’re right, Kenz.”

“At least he still checks in on you occasionally, Lilly. I mean… I haven’t seen Brandon in, like, two years. I wish I had the chance to see him again. He gave up on me pretty quickly. Like, I thought we’d be in love forever. He left me after just a few months,” Kensey said; a silent tear rolling down her cheek.

All three girls slumped their shoulders in unison, as if pushed down by the heaviness of the mood that now overtook them all.

Grace glanced over to the Lutheran church across the street from where their garden was. “Well, girls, I think perhaps we should go to bed. I want to get up for church tomorrow I think.”

“Why? Church has always bored me,” Kensey said. “besides, none of us have been there in years.”

“Because my parents still go to that one,” she pointed across the street. “Lilly’s do too. Will you come with me, Lilly? I haven’t seen my folks in a few weeks,” said Grace.

Lilly nodded. “Sure, I’d like to see my parents too. Maybe I’ll get to see Nick as well…” she trailed off.

The girls said their “good nights” to each other and the three friends then laid down on the ground, beneath the stones that bore their names, and slowly faded into the earth.

**Yaay! Rae finally wrote a new short story! LOL Hope you all enjoyed this… It was based off of a “prompt” given to me by my daughter in which she said I should write a story about “a girl with her friends, but at the end they are really ghost friends.”**

Summer Editing

Well, I was planning on trying to write a story for this site today – since it’s been a fair while since I did…. But it’s summer time so my kids are home, and today they each have a friend over for the whole day… and OMG is it loud. I can’t get them all to hush for more than a few minutes at a time  I can’t seem to concentrate on much, especially anything creative at the moment. I’ll be trying to get something out maybe later today or within the next few days though.

So instead, I will give you an update on the publishing process. Not that there is much new to report yet. I got an email from my editor yesterday and she intends that the first edit should be back to me by this next week. She is also going to be contacting the artist to get an ETA for the first mock ups of the cover/character art he’s been working on. Hopefully I’ll get to see some soon! We’re hoping he’ll have some done before I leave the country for vacation in July. Also, I will have to focus for a couple of weeks prior to then on my edits after I receive my manuscript back… Because after I get back I’ll have just a few weeks before Nursing school starts and I’d be losing extra writing time.

The next step is to get a proper Author’s photo done, she needs it by August 1, and I’ve been putting it off since I need to re-dye my roots first, LOL. Better get moving on it soon, though! I want my hair to have fresh color before I go to Sweden in 4 week’s time anyway… So I’ll get it done soonish.

That’s about it so far. It’s just been a whole lot of waiting. Basically, I’m just a little anxious because I was hoping to get my set of edits/review of edits done well before school starts at the end of August. Primarily because I will be in school myself and it will be pretty full on. I was hoping to have been at least on edit number two by now… But it sounds like there has been some hold ups and set backs on other projects at the company that have in turn slowed the process for me. I’m not bothered if the actual publish date ends up getting pushed out further (though I haven’t yet been told if that will actually happen). I’d rather it have the time spent on it that it needs to be a quality product coming out than push for it to definitely come out in August/September time frame as first discussed. I suppose it’ll mainly depend on how many times edits need to be done before we have a better idea of actual release date.

I just have a feeling it will end up being later… Given that she said the usual process has a work edited 4-5 times before it’s finalized and we are currently still only on the first edit 6 months after submission. Hopefully the next drafts will go through more quickly as long as any major issues/plot holes/whatever are dealt with now and then the rest will hopefully just be minor grammatical or spelling errors that need to be caught. And maybe, just maybe, mine won’t need quite that many edits. We’ll see I suppose.

Of course, I’ll keep you all updated when I know for sure when it will be released.

 

 

New Site, check it out!

Good Morning Lovelies,

I’d just like to point your attention to the fact that I have started a separate site for chronicling my journey through nursing school. I will be adding some more content later today so please, check it out. Follow if it interests you, and/or share if you think it will interest your friends! Please, come join me on this journey 🙂

https://heartofastudentnurse.wordpress.com/

 

Much Love, Rae

Snow Dragons (A Zarah Short Story)

Iggy raised his snout to the sky, sticking his tongue out trying to catch snowflakes; imitating Zarah and Leona. As he did so, a branch above his head gave way to the weight of the snow. The branch curved down, allowing the white powder to slide off onto Iggy’s lifted snout, then flipped back up as if in relief of the loss of it’s burden.

Iggy shook his head and started sneezing, blowing a fresh snowfall on top of the girls. The sound of surprised shrieking was followed quickly by laughing as Zarah pointed and howled at Leona; who had caught the brunt of it and was looking very irritated indeed.

Iggy shrugged his shoulders in response to Leona’s glare, then grunted an apology before sneezing again and rubbing at his nostrils. A layer of frost was sticking to his nose, he couldn’t get it off while his claws were also covered with wet slush.

He then had an ingenious idea. He blew the smallest stream of warm smoke out of each nostril, allowing it to waft over his snout. He snorted out one big cloud to dry his face off before turning his attention back to the girls.

Zarah was wiping her tears of laughter away from her eyes with her mittened fists; trying to stifle her giggles, but having no such luck. Leona had flopped onto the ground next to the large half-finished snowman they had been working on; giving up on her plan to not get too wet in the weather. The damage was done.

Iggy plopped down on the ground as well, then laid back into a hefty snowdrift. He started swinging his tail back and forth underneath himself and flapped his wings against the ground.

“Good idea, Iggy!” Zarah said, having recovered for the most part from her giggle-fit. “Come on, Leona – Let’s make some snow angels too!”

Iggy snorted at Zarah and huffed at Leona.

“Okay, okay… Snow Dragons,” Zarah said.

**Author’s note: Oh my gosh you guys…. It is April 14th and we are in the middle of a snow storm! Already a ridiculous amount of snow at my house… and will be adding 8-15 inches (up to 30 inches) through tonight and tomorrow. I sure could use a pet dragon to melt out my driveway about now!

Adventures of Zarah – April Update

Good Afternoon, Lovelies,

There is not a whole lot on my end to update regarding my Work in Progress – it’s still processing through my editor’s office. We’ve had some talks about dragon colors (should my main dragon, “Ferdinand,” be a different color to better fit into established Dragon Mythological standards?) Is one of the creatures I utilize in the story too difficult to pronounce for the age group I’m writing for, does the creature need to change or no? (still discussing – that’s my concern and at the point of our last meeting she had not yet gotten to that point) etc. I’m lucky to find out that my Editor’s spouse is interested and educated in dragon folklore, so there is some professional advice available for me to consider to make sure my details are able to be legitimate as they can be.

I have yet to get back the first round of edits to actually do further work on my end. I am also waiting to see the artist’s initial work for the cover and what not. I expect that will be another few weeks at least, possibly up to end of May.

The main thing my editor and I decided for sure is that Ferdinand’s name needs to change – I believe I mentioned that here awhile ago. Unfortunately, even though I named my dragon Ferdinand before the Ferdinand movie even started getting advertised, the fact remains that by the time the novel comes out it would at best appear that I am trying to ride on the coat tails of that much more famous book/movie… so clearly changes need to be made in that regard.

Recently I shortlisted some names that might fit my lovable, goofy, pet dragon. I am leaning towards “Ignatius” or Iggy for short. Seems like a posh-like name that Zarah might name her pet, as well as it has a meaning having to do with fire… seems fitting for a dragon.

Other names I am still considering are Reginald (Reggie), Sebastian, Chester, and… Fernando.

Is Fernando too close to Ferdinand? Or just close enough? The thing I like about that name is that it means “adventurer” which also seems fitting for an adventurous Princess’ pet dragon.

There are a handful of minor characters I will be changing the names of as well – I’ve learned from my editor that it makes for easier reading and flow when characters are not alliterative – don’t have matching first letters of their names. There aren’t many that have matching first letters, but enough to warrant a change here and there. This is a lot easier to do, most of the more minor characters don’t have special meanings behind their names. A few do – but there is enough variety to make it a not-so-difficult task.

Be *gasp* SOCIAL! – Social Media Tips For Bloggers/Writers

As I noted on my blogging tips post last week, I am now presenting you with Rae’s Social Media Tips Extravaganza! Ok, ok, maybe not so fancy as that… But… Anyway. I’ll be focusing these tips for bloggers/writers like myself, but they can certainly be used or adapted by others social media users.

NUMBER 1 – Be *gasp* Social!

The tip is in the name, people! If you are not social on social media, blogs included, then nobody will want to be social with you. What does this mean, exactly?

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Respond to Comments. If someone takes their time to comment on your blog, your Insta pics, your Facebook Meme… Then it’s simple, take your time to respond back. It’s just plain courtesy.

Seek Out Others. You will also draw more attention if you actively engage on someone else’s social media. They are more likely to come over to your Social Media accounts to engage further with you, especially if you don’t act like a troll.  While it’s true that effective tags, categories, and hashtags will bring your posts up on random lists that others may see, you cannot guarantee exposure that way, nor guarantee that others will be drawn in to look at your blog. Just like Momma always said – you have to get out and play if you expect to make friends.

Support Your Friends. This ties in a bit with the last point – yes, we want our own attention. Yes, the main point of having social media for most people is to get noticed by others. But… Imma make you gasp again… It’s NOT all about YOU. I am a big believer in supporting my friend’s businesses and creative endeavors. It takes no time at all to retweet or share a page or promotion a friend is trying to get out on their own social media. It takes no time at all to share a blog link and hit “follow” for my friends and family that decided to start blogs. But then again, that unfortunately is not something you can expect – because so many people have a narrow vision and think everything is all about them… and if they personally don’t care about your blog or business then they don’t care to share it with their other friends (who might actually like your stuff!) And I’ve discovered that just because you share or follow their blog for them doesn’t mean they’ll reciprocate. It’s a shame when that happens… and eventually people like that lose my follow, to be honest. Don’t let that dishearten you from being the awesome friend that supports everyone else – because the best of them will reciprocate for you 😊

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NUMBER 2 – It’s All About Balance, Baby

I was told once that you should aim for the 1/3 rule. Which is essentially, for those that don’t know, that your social media accounts should have posts that are 1/3 promotion of your business (converting readers and generating profit), 1/3 promoting or sharing like-minded ideas/businesses or stories from leaders in your industry, and 1/3 should be personal day-to-day posts (building your personal “brand.”)

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Personally, I don’t do the math on my posts, but I do strive to keep a balance. No one wants to follow a page that is all about self-promotion only. I mean, I follow Lularoe pages and Lipsense pages etc on Facebook… and those are specific business pages created to sell those items. I expect them to be all about the sale… But when I follow my friend who happens to sell Lularoe, Lipsense, or Jamberry, I expect to be relieved of the bombardment of sales pitches. I follow her because I like her as a person, and when I am interested in her product, I will follow her business page as well.

Keep in mind too that most people don’t just want to follow a page full of memes or unoriginal content. Memes and quotes are awesome, I use them all the time on both my author and personal Facebooks. They’re fun and can simplify a like-minded idea. Just don’t be afraid to write the mundane – or what you think is mundane.

So your kid puked on your floor you had just cleaned and your coffee went cold and your car broke down… “Ugggh! Worst Day EVER!” …Telling the world your day to day stuff makes you relatable on a human level. (Be sure not to make complaining or negative posts all the time though… How about “Found a $5 bill in front of the Starbucks… SO getting a Unicorn Frapp! Best Day EVER!” LOL)

On top of all this, don’t flood your feeds. Some days I share more than most. I admit it, I get bored and scroll social media for hours – posting and sharing and all of that. It’s not as bad with places like Facebook… You can post a few things throughout the day without flooding your followers newsfeeds… But when it comes to the blog: if you have more than one thing to write in any given day – post one, schedule one. Even if it is only a day apart. Excessive bloggers have caused me to unsubscribe in the past because they flood my Reader and push other bloggers down so I end up missing posts I really would have liked to read.

NUMBER 3 – Stay as Neutral as a block of Swiss Cheese

This is another simple one. Unless you specifically host a political or religious blog/youtube channel or are writing such a book, keep your opinions to yourself. Do not post anything political or religious on your social media pages, especially those relating to your business.

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You run the risk of alienating 50% of your potential followers otherwise. In this current political climate you could very well find that many followers that once loved your page, now unsubscribe because they are so against your political stance you decided you had to take.

However, if you don’t mind the loss of followers and would hope your followers share your opinions and don’t care that the other side of the spectrum will turn their backs on you… Then by all means, air your opinions. Just be prepared for a potential backlash.

NUMBER 4 – Don’t be a Link Dropper

Nothing is more annoying than getting a comment which is just a link to someone else’s blog. That’s lazy and appears that the blogger cares only for their own stats. They don’t want to engage with you and your content if they do that unbidden. That’s a nope from me and the link will not be pressed. It’s one thing to just add something like “Your post reminds me of a post I wrote on the topic awhile back blah blah blah please read…*Link*.” Okay, man, I’d be pleased to check yours out. But often the links are unrelated to the post they are being dropped on anyway. Don’t do that. You come off as a douche.

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On the other hand, sometimes people link drop on feeds that are specifically asking for blog links. Blog parties, blog sharing feeds on Facebook… those kinds of things. Still, don’t just link drop. This is for an entirely different reason. Your link is welcome, yes… But if a reader is going to scroll through hundreds of comments to find links they actually want to read, not only should you have the eye-catching picture and good title per my blogging tips, but also a description of what the post is about. Sometimes, even if your title sounds clever it doesn’t really let the reader know for sure what they are about to read. Best bet, give them a clue. Get in the habit of doing it when you are putting it on one of your other platform’s feeds as well.  Otherwise they may keep scrolling.

NUMBER 5 – Get Yourself Out There!

Utilize as many platforms as you are comfortable with. Sign up for Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, Stumble Upon, Youtube, WordPress, Tumblr, ummm… ummm… There’s so many out there to choose from. Don’t stick to just one platform, BUT also make sure you are not on too many that you can’t keep up with them either. 29345167_10156617617243690_1440241617_n

The more ways an individual can discover you and follow you the better. I also suggest keeping your business and personal social media pages as separate as possible. That does not mean you can’t share your blog on your personal Facebook or talk about your book where all your friends and family are… It simply means that you should have some public spaces for the public and know when to keep your more private stuff for your personal circle.

Hope these are helpful for a few of you out there 😊 Is there anything else you think should be a consideration when hosting a Social Media site?