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Continuity Counts – Updating a Short Story to Match a Novel by Kitty Bucholtz

October 9, 2013 by in category Archives tagged as , , , , , ,

When I worked in the film industry, I once had the happy job of assisting the script supervisor for a few days. As a writer, I found it fun and interesting to see what went into making sure we ended up with hundreds of little pieces of film that could be edited into a continuous story that made sense. Especially fascinating when you consider that you shoot scenes completely out of order.

With that in mind, I tried to make sure that my novel Unexpected Superhero (published in May) didn’t contradict anything I wrote in the short story “Hero in Disguise” (published last September in our Romancing the Pages anthology). Even with all of my notes and highlights, it seemed to me that there were still a few things that wouldn’t make quite as much sense as I intended (grin!) if you read the two stories back to back.

I’m publishing the short story myself next Tuesday (Oct 15) as an ebook. When I read it over again, I knew I wanted to make some changes. For one thing, I’d decided that all of the titles for the stories in the Adventures of Lewis and Clarke series would have the word “superhero” in them. So the new title is “Superhero in Disguise.”

But more than that, I wanted the tone to match better. We put together Romancing the Pages as a romance anthology, and my short story matched that tone when I wrote it. But the overarching series story in my head is definitely more humorous urban fantasy. So I went through the short and made changes with that in mind.

As I did so, I was pretty sure I was finding some inconsistencies in how Tori, the main character, perceived her unusual abilities. The short is going to be permanently free as a promotion for the series, so I was hypersensitive to the fact that someone could conceivably read the short and immediately buy and read the novel.

It took a few days and a lot of sticky notes, but I think I managed to smooth it all out. (I hope so! LOL!)  I’m trying out a new cover style to see how readers react. It may take some time to find the best way to present this series in terms of book covers, but I’m finally beginning to relax about that.

One of the things I’m beginning to appreciate about self-publishing is not only how I can learn to be flexible and make changes when things don’t seem to be working as well as I’d expect, but also how that mindset is influencing the rest of my life. While I’m in an incredibly stressful situation in life right now, I’m noticing that I’m calmer and looking for alternative solutions every time something doesn’t work out.

It’s nice when you can find that growing in one area of your life can provoke growth in other areas, too!

Kitty Bucholtz decided to combine her undergraduate degree in business, her years of experience in accounting and finance, and her graduate degree in creative writing to become a writer-turned-independent-publisher. Her first novel, Little Miss Lovesick, came out in 2011. Her new novel, Unexpected Superhero, book one in The Adventures of Lewis & Clarke humorous urban fantasy series, is now available in print and ebook format. Love at the Fluff and Fold, book one in The Strays of Loon Lake romantic comedy series, will be released later this year. Her short stories can be found in the anthologies Romancing the Pages and Moonlit Encounters, available in both print and ebook formats.

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The Bride Wore Gray and Mr. Lincoln by Jina Bacarr

February 11, 2013 by in category Archives tagged as , , , , , , , , , ,

I’ll never forget the time I had the chance to see the cabin where Lincoln was born. I was nine years old.

It had a dirt floor. Cool, I thought, his mom can’t yell at him for tracking dirt into the house.

It wasn’t the “real” cabin,of course, but a symbolic reconstruction in Central Kentucky to honor our sixteenth President.

I grew up in different parts of the US…but my favorite time was in Lexington, Kentucky.

We lived in what I called the “Civil War” house. It was a big ole home out in the boonies with a barn and plenty of Kentucky bluegrass. According to the locals, the antebellum house was built before the Civil War.

Over the years, the house had different owners, but it never lost its splendor in my eyes. Sure, it was run-down and the plumbing more often than not didn’t work. God knows, it was cold in the winter, but my dad–a historical buff–rented it for as long as my poor mom could take it. It wasn’t easy for her with no dishwasher or washer and an old, wood burning stove with a husband and two kids to take care of. No neighbors for what seemed like miles.

I loved it.

I’d race around the house with fireplaces taller than I was for hours, pretending I was hosting tea with fancy ladies or meeting that special gentleman in what I called my “secret” room. Wearing my mother’s long dresses, I dreamed of being a true Southern belle (years later I got my own authentic hoop skirt from the costume department when I was doing theater).

So it’s no wonder I followed my heart and wrote my own Civil War novel — “The Bride Wore Gray.” It’s a time travel romance where my modern day heroine, Liberty Jordan, meets up with her ancestor–who looks exactly like her! The only problem is, Pauletta Sue, is a Southern spy…

I’m working on formatting my story, making a cover, etc. so I can self-pub it. Which brings up a question: with the popularity of Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln,” will the Civil War make a come-back in romance novels?
What do you think? 
—-
Here’s a sample from the Prologue from “The Bride Wore Gray:”
On a lonely road in the Tennessee woods
1862
Even before she saw the swath of blue moving through the trees, Pauletta Sue could smell them.
Yankees.
The raw male odor of Federal soldiers made her nauseous, but she pushed her horse harder.
They won’t catch me.

“Faster, Savannah Lady, faster!”

Crack! came the sound of her whip hitting the mare’s flanks. Her scarlet-gloved hand trembled as she repeated her command, louder now. The animal sensed her urgency, snorted, then raced ahead down the dark, country road, its hooves making dull, thudding sounds on the hard dirt as horse and rider went deeper into the woods.

The young woman riding sidesaddle winced. What had come over her? She had never struck the beautiful bay mare before, preferring to ride her with only the tight bit and an easy hand, but she had to get through the Yankee pickets. Nothing must stop her from carrying out her mission.
Nothing.

Her gray silk skirts, frayed at the hem, whipped at her ankles. Her long, hooded cloak made of fine black wool, threadbare in places, billowed behind her like heavy smoke, shielding her face from the demons in blue hidden all around her. Ready to strike her down if she dared to stop.
She couldn’t. Wouldn’t.

The danger of her mission chilled her. She dared not think about what lay ahead of her. She feared dying before she found the revenge she sought, for only then could she release the madness and torment of her broken heart.
The man she loved was dead.
Shot as a Confederate spy.
No, no!

All around her, the sounds of the forest—the squeal of a trapped pig, the hard rumble of wagon wheels somewhere in the distance, a faraway cannon firing, the loud orders of Federal officers up ahead of her—were muffled by the loud beating of her heart in her ears.
I will not allow you to die in vain, my love. I promise. 
————–
Best,
Jina 
Jina Bacarr
www.jinabacarr.com 
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5 Tips to self-publishing your mother never told you by Jina Bacarr

November 11, 2011 by in category Archives tagged as , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Psst…have you heard? Everybody’s doing it. Self-publishing.

It’s hip, it’s cool…it’s like winning the lottery.

Right?

Hmm…maybe. Maybe not. It’s the wild, wild west out in the land of Amazon, Smashwords and Nook. All you need is a dusty, old manuscript from under your bed, a sexy cover and a few .html codes and you’re dancing with the stars.

Oh, what fools we writers be.

It ain’t that easy.

Here’s the deal: You’ve written a good story and your manuscript is in the best shape possible–critique groups, professional editing, etc. Now what?

No doubt you need a good cover and nearly flawless formatting, but don’t give up if you haven’t gotten it all together. Before you push that old manuscript back under the bed with the dust bunnies, it is possible to hitch your wagon to the self-pubbed stars and join in the land rush…or should I say, digital rush.

I did it. I self-pubbed a holiday novella and a short story. There are many blogs that can help you with various aspects of the biz, from J.A. Konrath to Bob Mayer’s Write It Forward (I highly recommend both!), but here are a few tips I’ve learned along the way.

Jina’s 5 tips to self-publishing:

  1. I formatted my manuscript myself with help from Marie Force’s blog–I especially found the info about “tabs” and indenting .33 on the first line helpful.

  2. I bought my cover art from Dreamstime.com They have quality photos and high resolution. You can choose from 12 million photos available on their site.

  3. Be prepared to spend time learning how to format. It’s a high learning curve, but I’ve found both the Amazon (short video) and Smashwords guides to be helpful if you’re willing to make the effort.

  4. Be realistic about your goals. No one can predict how a book will do, but reading the Kindle forums and following other authors can give you an idea of how they’re doing. I follow OCC’s Dr. Debra Holland’s blog–she’s been open and forthright about her experience in self-publishing and her sales. Another OCC author, Jacqueline Diamond (author of 90 novels), has recently self-published books from her backlist and knows the value of promoting her books (she made the top 100 in Regency on Amazon).

  5. Write another book or story right away. Quality and quanity are both important in self-pubbing. You need product to sell. Imagine if a shoe store opened and all they had to sell was one shoe style?

Which reminds me of Cinderella and her glass slipper.

Putting your self-pubbed book out there is like Cinderella going to the ball. She had a team of cute little mice to make her dress (editing, cover and formatting) and a fairy godmother (Amazon, Nook and Smashwords) to make the magic happen.

She also had the moxie to get to the ball. That’s where you come in.

Be like Cinderella. Don’t be late to the self-publishing party.

You’ll never know if the glass slipper fits until you try it.

Best,
Jina

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Happy 30th Birthday, OCC! by Jina Bacarr

October 11, 2011 by in category Archives tagged as , , , , , , ,

By the time my post is up, OCC will have passed the 30 year mark. I can only imagine the whisperings and giggling and story plotting filling the hallways at the Embassy Suites this past weekend. How many bestsellers were born that weekend, we’ll never know.

How many lifelong friendships were born, well, that’s something we do know.

If you’re a member of OCC and/or a reader of this blog, then you’ve got friends. I’ve never known a more supportive group willing to share ideas, information and a hug when needed.

That’s OCC.

Now that the publishing business is in such a flux, it’s more important than ever to share ideas, whether it’s looking for a NY publisher to self-publishing. We will continue to encourage each other to follow our dreams because that’s what we do at OCC.

That’s what friends are for.

Whether it’s helping each other through a rejection (we all get them) or celebrating with a red or pink or white rose, we’re here for you.

Even when you can’t attend the meetings, the OCC newsletter is filled with encouragement and practical information for everyone from the pre-published to the published to the self-pubbed.

No one knows how all this change will work out, but one thing we do know: from print books to e-books to whatever the future will bring, OCC will always be there for its members.

I’m proud to be a member of OCC.

Best,
Jina

A bit of nostalgia: Here’s a photo I snapped at OCC’s 25th Birthday party showing our newsletters throughout the years:

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