Happy Spring! I don’t know about you, but I can’t believe the first quarter of the year is done. It’s even more shocking for me, because my birthday is in the first couple of weeks of spring. I always ask myself the same thing, “I can’t believe it’s April…why is time moving so quickly? And how am I suppose to get things done, with time moving so quickly?” Then I finish it by saying, “Yeah, thank God for another birthday.”
I’m the person that likes to do everything myself. Let me rephrase that. Being a small business owner, I’ve learned that if funds are tight and it’s not possible to hire someone, I need to do the task myself. The other side of that coin is, I need to know how to do it, so when I can afford to farm it out, I know how to effectively shop for the best person. As well as how to do it, if time doesn’t permit for outsourcing.
When I released my last book, DESPERATE DESIRE, I wanted to do a video. I studied television production in college, but that was a while back. Technology has changed greatly…for the better. Hiring a production facility to create a promotional video for me wasn’t an option for several reason: cost and time. I got this brilliant idea, a few days before release day. So I looked at what I could do.
I went to YouTube for answers. Turns out, I had a major tool at my disposal…Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Creative Cloud. Adobe Creative Cloud gives you access to every piece of software Adobe provides for $49.99 per month. I like it because it’s a month to month subscription and I don’t have to worry about buying new software. [There are a few rules to adhere to.] I simply install the updates when available. In addition to Photoshop and InDesign [is InDesign to format my print books]. They recently added TypeKit…a sea of amazing fonts. Until recently, I used Muse to create my website [the reason I changed websites is a post for another day]. The possibilities with the Adobe Creative Cloud are endless.
As I was saying. I wanted to do a video for my book. Armed with an few hours on YouTube and help from my godbrother, I was able to do my first video. I’m still learning how to do these trailers, but I’m pretty excited about my first try. I found the music on a free YouTube download and added my cover image and one from another book for the eye candy. It’s a simple process with a little learning curve. I encourage you to try it at least once.
If you have a problem viewing it, go to my Instagram page www.instragram.com/readtracyreed and view it.
See you next month.
Oh, yeah, Happy Birthday to Me.
Happy pre-spring. It’s almost time to shed the winter gear and replace it with light weight fabrics.
A couple of months ago, after I completed my Goodreads reading goal for 2017, I got the urge to read one of my own books as a reader…a fan. It was never my intention to “edit” it. But sixty plus pages into reading the print copy, I spotted a typo. I was all set to ignore it. But then I spotted another one. When I finished, I had eight typos. Crap.
I like the story and wanted to continue reading the series. The second book was worse. It felt like the typos wouldn’t stop coming. I couldn’t believe I released a book with so many typos.
This little exercise made me aware of something…not every book is free of mistakes. As a creative, it’s difficult to wrap my head around the fact that I could have been so careless…unprofessional…and a host of other adjectives I care not to use.
So here’s my question. Have you ever read your own book for pleasure? Did you enjoy the story as much as when you wrote it?
This wasn’t the first time I’d read one of my books, but it was the first time, I experienced this many typos. I have no idea how I missed the typos.
Something amazing occurred from this exercise. I saw my growth as a writer. Of course I’m going to fix the typos. But although it’s only been a little over a year since I wrote the books, I was tempted to go back and mature them up. By that I mean, I could have gone in and changed the writing style to be reflective of my growth as a writer. But if I did that, it could effect the tone of the book and the series.
Did I enjoy the story when I read it again? Yes, I immediately wanted to read the next book in the series, which I did. I can honestly say, it’s horrible. Because the story was written when I started writing. It’s filled with so many mistakes, it’s embarrassing. Here’s the sad thing, when I wrote it, I thought it was good. Fast forward and I couldn’t even finish reading it.
It’s been a couple of weeks since I finished reading the books and I am faced with the inevetible…end the series. Or re-write the book.
What would you do?
A California native, novelist Tracy Reed pushes the boundaries of her Christian foundation with her sometimes racy and often fiery tales.
After years of living in the Big Apple, this self proclaimed New Yorker draws from the city’s imagination, intrigue, and inspiration to cultivate characters and plot lines who breathe life to the words on every page.
Tracy’s passion for beautiful fashion and beautiful men direct her vivid creative power towards not only novels, but short stories, poetry, and podcasts. With something for every attention span.
Tracy Reed’s ability to capture an audience is unmatched. Her body of work has been described as a host of stimulating adventures and invigorating expression.
Happy Valentine’s Day. And if you’re flying solo, Happy Galentine’s Day.
Let’s do a little replay. I wrote this blog post back in 2015 and thought the subject was worth revisiting. Enjoy the month.
I want to talk about the preconceived notions people have about Christian, Inspirational or Faith based books. When someone hears a story has one of the three aforementioned tones, they immediately shut down thinking the story is going to be sweeter than cotton candy dipped in chocolate and covered with gum drops.
There’s CIF [Christian, Inspirational, Faith] fiction that falls into that description and there’s nothing wrong with it. It’s written extremely well and packs a message for the reader. However, it’s the misconception that all CIF books are like that which provokes a closed mind to experiencing some really great stories. [I swear I’m not preaching.]
When I decided to start writing, I’d dabbled a little in high school and college. Even so far as to writing a couple of plays. I found them later and felt they’d be a good base for a barbecue fire. When I read them again, I realized, although they were poorly written, they had a few things in common. The characters were all Christians but in real life situations. Let me explain. In a lot of CIF books, the story centers around the church with conflict between the pastor, the board, the choir director, pastor’s family and some evil person not affiliated with the church. There’s nothing wrong with those books. I’ve read a few and like them, however, they weren’t the kinds of stories I wanted to tell.
I have always loved God, fashion and cute guys. I liked “The Devil Wears Prada,” “Bergdorf Blondes,” “Elements of Style” and “The Debutante Divorcee.” These were characters I could relate to. The books are filled with the most incredible fashion and very handsome men. The only thing they didn’t have was a faith based theme. It was reading these books that it occurred to me, why not write a book with similar content, but add a little CIF to it.
My first attempt at writing a book sounded very much like ChickLit. I was fine with it until my beta readers ripped it to shreds. After a lot of re-writes, I finally had a book I was pleased with. Problem was, it wasn’t considered acceptable. Why not? Response, Christians don’t act like that, Christians don’t care about designer clothes, Christians are happy being upper middle class at best, Christians don’t get challenged, tempted, have racy dreams or wicked thoughts, Christians only have sex for procreation and on special occasions. And there is no way a Christian would get divorced, commit adultery, fornicate, swear, drink wine or dance.
Needless to say, I was stunned at the comments because I know a lot of Christians that have experienced and or faced a few of those things. So I set out to write books for “my people.”
It ticks me off when I hear people say no one will read books about Christians [or people of other religious beliefs] in real life situations. I want to read about “my people” dating, regretting, marrying, divorcing, falling in love, wearing designer clothes, traveling and being pursued by wealthy men. I don’t want my heroine to be naive and deceived by an evil protagonist whose only objective is to steal her virginity or corrupt her. What about the sexy, fun Christian girl who works hard and falls for her boss, or divorces her cheating husband or who used to be a little slutty and is now in love with God struggling not to slip back into her old ways. These are great stories and if they’re written well, you can take the CIF elements out and they’ll still be great stories.
My next book is a take on Sex And The City. It’s five successful women all searching for love while wearing amazing clothes. I hear you saying that’s not possible because that book was all about sex. Not really, the core of that book was friendship. Sex was just one of the supporting characters, much like the clothes, men and New York.
I think it’s a little more challenging to write a CIF book because you have to determine how far is too far. Although I want my books to have a little heat, I’m very careful about crossing the line. I want my kissing scenes to be as passionate as those found in traditional romance. Although most of my characters are Christians, I don’t want their passion or desire to be watered down. I have chosen to share my characters thoughts. If my heroine finds the protagonist hot, she’s going to say so. And if he’s having a lustful thought, I want you to read it. These little nuances make the characters feel real…just like in traditional romance.
So back to the original question, IS THERE A DIFFERENCE? Not really, just different levels of intensity.
Happy New Year.
I’m almost embarrassed to admit I have yet to write my goals for the new year. Okay, that may not necessarily be the truth. I have a few things I want to accomplish this year, I just haven’t committed them to paper. There’s a scripture I like and keep posted near my computer…Habakkuk 2:2-3, “And the Lord answered me: Write the vision, and make it plain on tablets, that he who reads it may run. For the vision is yet for an appointed time; but it speaks of the end, and does not lie. If it delays, wait for it; it will surely come, it will not delay.”
I cherish this scripture. Yet, last year when I made my goal list, I failed to really consult myself and God. I heard a joke that went something like this, “If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans.” I’m pretty sure I gave God a lot of things to laugh about last year.
I started out 2017 with these grandiose plans. I was going to write something like 7 books, a couple of novellas, 3 non-fiction books and 5 flash fiction pieces. Ha, Ha, Ha. I forgot I had just come off a very busy year…12 Titles in 12 Months. I foolishly thought it would be easy to complete the task I wrote out. I did good to get two titles out last year.
Midway through 2017, I realized a very important fact, I was tired. I had worked so hard the previous year, that I was mentally burned out. Funny thing, all while I was doing the challenge, I was fine. I had ideas bouncing off the sides of my brain. Seems like when I got to December and hit publish on my last title, my brain said, “Now I can rest.”
Although I published 12 Titles in 2016, I had written a little more. [I’m not going to rehash the project, you can visit past posts for details.] I wrote a book for my lingerie business, plus I had started two other books. One with 5,000+ words and the other with 3,600+ words. I really thought I was going to complete those books, but they just didn’t make it. Plus I was approximately thirty percent away from completion on the book I’m releasing this month, which was supposed to release last month. Insert God laughing here.
How did I fair out with my 2017 goals? I figuratively burned the production schedule and vowed to commit to complete one novel and my non-fiction book. We won’t even discuss the personal things on the list I wanted to accomplish. Thank God for another year and opportunity to start over.
Back to my 2018 writing goals. A couple of days ago, after meeting with my accountability group, I took a long look at my production schedule. I deleted anything that hadn’t been started or wasn’t the next book in a series and added the books that were completed but weren’t quite ready to be released last year. Boldly pressing the delete key left me with a very scary production schedule.
When I did my challenge, instead of writing books in one or two series, I wrote the first or second books, and some stand alone novellas. The titles were well received. However, I started getting emails from people asking “What happens next?”. Holy crap. I like writing cliff hangers and books setting up the next book. So when I looked at my schedule I knew what I had to do, “Write, a lot.”
My proposed 2018 Production Schedule is scary. If I can muster up the create juices and energy, I’ll finish the year with nine titles. Don’t call the crazy writer police on me just yet. I said “titles”. Here’s how things look.
Title One : Completed, and releasing at the end of the month
Title Two: Completed, needs to be set up as an ebook
Title Three: Completed, it’s a print only book, so I need to review the proof
Title Four: Completed, needs a major edit
Title Five: 30% complete
Titles Six – Nine: Need to be written
It’s not as bad as it seems. I have learned my lesson. If I see where something needs to be pushed back, I’ll do it.
Back to the scripture I mentioned earlier. I believe in writing down goals because it seems when you write things down, you give life to them. However, in order for them to grow they need to be nourished and that’s where I failed. I was too tired to nourish my goals.
I know things will be better this year, because I’ve started talking to my characters as well as eavesdropping on their conversations. Could it be, they needed a break from me last year?
Well, whatever the reason for a slightly less productive 2017, I feel like 2018 will be booming with stories to tell.
I’ll keep you posted. Here’s to an amazingly creative writing year.