Tuesday, October 17, 2017

6 Editing-My-Novel Steps by J.Q. Rose, 25% Off Sale

Hello and welcome to the Focused on Story Blog by J.Q. Rose!

Mark Twain Quote
I am slogging through the manuscript for Terror on Sunshine Boulevard. Yes, editing. Finding the right words, like Mark Twain said, makes a difference in your story. It is grueling work. When I read a word and it stops me in my editing zone, then it's the wrong word. I have find the right word, but how? 

The steps I go through to find the "right" word.
  • I roll around a lot of words in my head, 
  • I hit shift/f7 to bring up a "dictionary" of sorts in my Word program, 
  • then I go to thesaurus.com for help 
  • if nothing else works, I BOLD and italicize it to return to it when the right word pops into my brain.
6 Editing-My-Novel Steps by J.Q. Rose

Here are the steps I go through when editing (and I must admit I don't have a set number of edits.) Some writers write the first draft, edit for content, edit it for grammar and spellings, final edit for formatting = 4 read-throughs.

1. First draft--I do not edit as I write, or try not to. If you edit as you write, you will never reach the end of the story. Just get down the bones. I admit I do have to correct misspelled words. I am OCD about spelling. I write chronologically. I don't do the big scenes then try and string them together. Tried that once. Never again.
2. I write each chapter and save it in a separate file. I edit each chapter (more than once) before I add it to the manuscript file. Here I add flesh to the bones and clean up awkward sentences and try to slash unnecessary words or redundant information. I have a list of words I overuse, and in the ms I use the Find program in Word to find and replace them.
3. I write the scenes on sticky notes and place them in order according to the ms like a story board. Here's where I can delete or move scenes if I think it improves the flow of the story.
4. I read through the entire ms to check the timeline, sequence, and the characters' actions and descriptions.
5. I put it away and don't touch it for a couple of weeks. Then I send the ms to my kindle and convert it to an ebook. I read it on my kindle and highlight typos, nonsensical sentences, blue eyes to brown eyes, and all the stuff that really sticks out when reading the ms in this format. Sometimes I use the text to speech to "listen" to the story too. Then I find the highlighted notes in the ms and correct them.
6. Finally, I check formatting and make sure Chapter 3 follows Chapter 2, etc. and delete extra pages that sometimes end up in the ms after all the editing.
I'm sure if you have a novel-writing program like Scrivener, some of this work is done for you. But I don't have Scrivener. Do you? Do you use it?

I have a wonderful writers group who reads my chapters and helps me brainstorm and also look for "problems" in the story whether in content or proof-reading. Fresh eyes really, really help. 

By the final read-through, I am comfortable to send it out to beta readers for feedback. And when I get that back, it's back to editing, adding, taking away, etc. You know what I mean.

I'd appreciate hearing from you on your steps for editing. Always eager to learn new methods. Leave a comment below.
Kindle for editing
Photo courtesy of Pixabay
Click here or my blog post on using the kindle for editing
I am experimenting with Grammarly.com, an online program to correct errors in documents. I have it on my FB and email, so when I use these pages errors are highlighted right away. I like that.I haven't tried putting a whole ms into the program...yet. 

I only have the free version. The premium version offers more information such as finding passive sentences, but so far I haven't been curious enough to pay for the service.


My publisher, BWL Publishing is offering 25% off my mysteries when using the coupon for Smashwords. The sales price with the coupon is $2.24...Grab them for yourself or your friends! All formats are available. If you have a kindle, order the mobi file.

Click on the titles below to go to the Smashwords Sales Page. 

   Dangerous Sanctuary                              Deadly Undertaking

         Coupon Code KW65J                                                        Coupon code--AS94U

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Indie Publishing with Draft2Digital, Girls Succeed 99 cent Promotion

Hello and welcome to the Focused on Story Blog!
Girls Succeed! by J.Q. Rose
To inspire girls

Today I am sharing my story on distributing my ebook, Girls Succeed! Stories Behind the Careers of Successful Women, to readers.

I decided to offer my non-fiction book for Middle Grade girls to a wider audience, so I took it out of the exclusive amazon program KDP Select. I kept the book available at amazon, but uploaded it to a new-to-me distributor, Draft to Digital, also known as D2D. 

Now Girls Succeed! is available in many other online retailers including Apple, Nook, Kobo, Scribd, Indigo, and more. I also like having a Universal Link that allows a reader to click on it and see ALL the places where my ebook is available and not just as a Kindle format. Click here to see what I mean about the universal link.

When the e-book first came out in 2012, I placed it at amazon and Smashwords. I had a "hen" of a time getting SW to accept it because the formatting for the Table of Contents was incorrect. I spent hours and hours of time trying to get it right. I followed Mark Coker's guide book to the tee, I thought, and still had to do the ToC over and over. Finally it was accepted with no guidance from SW.

Later I took it out of SW and did the exclusive amazon plan because of the great opportunities for promotion. When I determined I may be missing many readers by having the amazon only association, I again uploaded my updated manuscript to SW. I received the bad news it wasn't accepted. When I checked the evaluation, there was a bunch of gibberish as to what was wrong. It was way over my head and I could only think about how much time and energy I had spent trying to fix it the first time.

I turned to D2D to see if I could get the ms accepted there. Then the dreaded message came back from D2D--"Apple has rejected Girls Succeed! Stories Behind the Careers of Successful Women." I felt like throwing up my hands and saying "fuhgetaboutit." But along with the message D2D who formats your manuscript for free, added this 
"Incomplete/Inaccurate iBooks-Generated Table of Contents
- Please provide a complete, accurate listing of all chapters or sections in the iBooks-generated table of contents.
Please let us know if you have any questions.

Questions? They actually wanted me to ask questions? So I sent the listing of the chapters. Crystal from D2D answered me with this information about the ToC format.

The reason it's rejected is that when you convert your book with our conversion tool, in order to create a proper ToC within the epub file (which is required by Apple) it has to read the one in your file. I see that you have your own linked Table of Contents (ToC) in the file. However, when you linked the file you did not link the entire list. Our conversion tool will look for the phrase or word Table of Contents or Contents.  Once it sees this it will consider every link after to be part of the ToC.  Once the conversion tool sees unlinked text it sees the list as being done and assumes that the rest is not related to the ToC in the file. 
In order to fix this you simply need to link the entire line for each entry instead of only a partial line or remove the unlinked text altogether. 

After a few more messages between Crystal and me, I sent her what I wanted the ToC to look like, not just Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, but to include the woman's name and her career in the title of the chapter about her. Crystal offered to format it for me. I asked what the charge would be and she said no charge. I would've hugged her if I could have!! 
Big hugs for Crystal of Draft 2 Digital
What a relief to have her do it for me. And she did! then sent the complete ms with the new formatting for the ToC to me so I could upload the corrected ebook file. Now when the reader clicks on the Universal Link, they can order a copy from Apple too!

So I must say, D2D's customer service is top rated in my estimation. And I want to add, all these messages flying back and forth between Crystal and me were done in just a few days. Crystal promptly responded with the solution each time.

If you are an indie publisher, what distributor do you use? Are you exclusively in amazon to use their promotions? Aren't I full of questions? Now you know how Crystal must've felt. LOL. 
If you have the time or the curiosity, you're invited to pop on over to the Girls Succeed Blog. Click here to visit.
99 Cent Book promotion
With my new opportunities to offer the Girls Succeed book to a wider audience, I ran a 99 cent promotion Sept 28-October 9. Originally the ebook including a reader's guide sold for $3.99. I'll report on the success or non-success of that experience once I get all my info together.

BTW--the ebook is available now at $2.99 and you can take a look at it and even purchase it to inspire a girl in your life here. Or if you would consider leaving a review, I would be happy to send you the PDF copy of the book FREE!

Thank you for stopping by.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Insecure Writers Support Group Question: Have you ever slipped any of your personal information into your characters, either by accident or on purpose?

Hello and welcome to the J.Q. Rose blog. 
Time for the monthly meeting of the Insecure Writers Support Group(IWSG) blog hop! 

Internet Writers Support Group Blog Hop

First Wednesday of every month.
What is IWSG? Founder of the  Insecure Writer’s Support Group and author Alex J Cavanaugh explains the group's purpose is "to share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!" You're invited to become a member of this supportive group.

The group blogs the first Wednesday of every month The list of bloggers is always available so you can hop around to the author blogs filled with humor, advice, and thought-provoking topics on writing and publishing. You can find the list of participants at Alex's IWSG page. I hope you'll take some time to visit the diverse list of bloggers.

IWSG Question for the Month
Question: Have you ever slipped any of your personal information into your characters, either by accident or on purpose?

Personal information? Like my birthday or Social Security Info?  No, I've never slipped that kind of info in my characters' personalities. 
Deadly Undertaking by J.Q. Rose

A handsome detective, a shadow man, 
and a murder victim kill Lauren’s plan for a simple life.

I have used my personal experiences in stories. In Deadly Undertaking, the setting of the story is a funeral home. Yes, my dad was an undertaker (and my brothers too) so I was familiar with the business. My character, Lauren, performed many of the jobs I did when I was a kid e.g. dusting caskets, setting up flowers for the visitation and service, and racing out with all the flowers right after the service to set the floral pieces at the gravesite before any mourners arrived. Honestly, we never had a shadow man-in-residence, but writing Henry, the ghost, who is a pain-in-the- neck for Lauren, was a lot of fun. And isn't that the reason we write all these stories?
Dangerous Sanctuary by J.Q. Rose
Pastor Christine never imagined 
she would be caring for a flock that includes 
a pig, a kangaroo, and a murderer.

Dangerous Sanctuary's main character, Christine, is based on female ministers I have interviewed and who were our church ministers. I gleaned some of the information and their experiences for the story during conversations e.g. parishioners complimenting Christine on the shoes she wore along with her robe. "Noone would do that with a male minister," one of the women told me with a smile.

In my upcoming mystery to be released this fall by BWL Publishing, Terror on Sunshine Boulevard, I had to research all the information on marijuana...no personal experience with that. (See that halo shining over my head?)

I'm looking forward to reading your answers to the question of the month. Click below to leave a comment.

Thank you for stopping by.

in the non-fiction interactive ebook for girls,the amazing women who tell their inspiring stories  certainly believed in their dreams. Find out about their journeys to successful careers-technology expert, chef, horse trainer and breeder, hockey player, medical doctor, medical researcher, and many more.
Girls Succeed is on sale for a limited time--99 cents-- and includes a Reader's Guide. 
With the push for Science, Technology, Engineering , Mathematics ( STEM) education programs,stories of  the role models in these fields are excellent resources for classroom teachers and homeroom studies.
Role models for girls!
Click here to get your ecopy for a girl in your life for 99 cents for a Limited Time. 
All formats available.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Stupid, Stupid, Stupid: Save Your Work by J.Q. Rose

Hello and welcome to the Focused on Story Blog!

Focused on Story Blog
J.Q. Rose
Hey, I think that's the first time I actually said welcome to the Focused on Story Blog. Thanks to those who visited my newly re-named, re-designed blog last Wednesday. Thank you for your kind words about the changes.

While patting myself on the back for accomplishing the change in the look of the blog, I was so caught up in my brilliance that I misstepped and fell from my very high perch above the clouds. And did I ever fall far! I did something so "stoopid" (stupid). I am embarrassed to tell you. But I will share with you in the hope you will learn the lesson along with me. My piano teacher always told me it's okay to make a mistake, (like hitting the wrong key on the piano), but it's really a mistake to do the same thing over and over again. I hope I have learned my lesson and not repeat this stupidity again.

<Taking a deep breath.> 
This summer I focused on getting my story ready for my publisher, BWL Publishing, for release this winter. Needless to say I have spent countless hours on the novel, and it is almost complete.

I worked hard on it last Wednesday and saved it to my laptop, feeling very good about how the loose ends are tying up in the ending. On Thursday morning, I opened my laptop only to find I could not sign in to the old computer. I put my computer password in three times. Shut it down. Tried again. Shut it down. Tried again. I couldn't believe the crazy thing wouldn't open. I remembered I had received several notices for an update and I had postponed them for the last couple of days, but Wednesday night, I decided to let it go ahead and do the update.

Evidently something got messed up in the opening user program. No, I didn't know that, but that's what my great computer geek guy, Luke, figured out. He told me sometimes this problem is a symptom of a hard drive crash.  I gasped for breath knowing I hadn't backed up all the files for months. I hadn't backed up a story I had worked on all summer? Well, not completely. I had a few chapters in dropbox and on a flash drive, but they had all been revised in the recent months.

I left the laptop at his shop. My mind whirled with the possibilities of losing the entire ms. Losing all the files for my published books and scribblings of other books and stories. Then the reality of losing all my photos hit me. I never back them up. Heat flashes took over my brain and it wasn't because it was 90 degrees outside. Worry. Worry that I would lose everything. I honestly thought my writing days were over. I couldn't sleep that night.

Later the next morning Gardener Ted stopped at Luke's shop to check on the computer. He came bursting in the back door and announced Luke thinks he can get the files back! I shouted hooray and did a happy dance right there in the middle of the kitchen at that news. Sure enough, the next day, when I picked up the computer, Luke told me he had all the files on it. 

I dreaded asking how much I owed him. He said, "$35." What? Only $35.? I could have given him a big hug and a kiss. (No, I didn't. I didn't want to embarrass him.) I practically skipped out of his shop with my darling laptop.

You can be sure we dug out our external storage drive and backed up ALL of our files on both laptops.

I think I'm doing well when I remember to hit save while working on a document. I guess I trust my laptop too much by not backing up the document to another system. 

Flash drive or thumb drive

It's so easy to pop in a flash drive (thumb drive), save it to dropbox, email it to myself. So many ways to keep a copy. So do it!!! Learn from my carelessness. Save your stuff!
* * * *

A couple of weeks ago, my fifteen year old grandson, Ethan, began writing a story and shared the beginning of it with me. He uses Google docs, so
My grandson, Ethan, and me.
he gave me a crash course on Google docs. I love Google docs because the document is automatically saved as you compose it.  I don't even have to remember to do it. Plus Google saves it to Google drive, so it's not on my laptop, but safe somewhere in cyber space. 

Ethan also showed me how to edit a doc, much like Tracker, making comments on the document. It's pretty simple to learn and I'm so glad I have a sharp grandson to guide me if I have questions. Thank you, Ethan.

Click here if you want to get started using Google Docs. 

Publishers, as of this writing anyway, like manuscripts submitted in Word documents. Here's a YouTube video to explain how to convert a Google doc to Word.

YouTube VIDEO: How to Convert a Google Doc to a Word Docx by Faculty Workshop

If you get nothing else out of this blog article, please get this
Save Your Work!
SAVE A COPY OF YOUR WORK in another location.
Have you ever had this same experience? How did it turn out? 
I hope you didn't lose all of your files. 

Let us know in the comment section below. Thank you.
* * * *
Author Chrys Fey
I want to give a shout out to my friend and author, Chrys Fey. We met through the Insecure Writers Support Group, a wonderful support group who holds a blog hop the first Wednesday of each month. Look for our blog posts next week!
Chrys has a complete video series entitled Marketing Sparks. She shares inspiring information on writing, publishing and marketing in these short videos. Some of her topics are newsletters, branding, author websites, amazon, Goodreads and more. Well I wrote her an email with kind of a crazy question for her and she answered it in a video. Very special. Thanks Chrys. Take a peek at her answer here.

VIDEO: Email Reading (And What is the Reflection in the Glass?) Chrys Fey

Chrys Fey Marketing Spark Video

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Welcome Fall, Focusing on Story, IWSG Anthology: Writing for Profit, Marsha West's New Mystery Act of Betrayal

Hello and welcome to the J.Q. Rose blog!

Fall is almost officially here. The Autumn Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere actually occurs this Friday at 4:02 pm ET. But you would never know it. The weatherman said this week in West Michigan will be more like weather we experience in mid-July, humid with temps in the mid-80's. What???
Fall mums
Photo by J.Q. Rose
With the changing season, I decided to change my blog, and I don't mean just to the fall leaves background. I changed the name to Focused on Story. That name clearly describes my writing and who I am as a writer. I believe the mission of the author is to create a fictional story filled with writing that brings out emotion in the reader,  Emotion, whether it's love, hate, happiness, sadness, and everything in between, helps readers to identify with the characters and actually care what happens to them.

In non-fiction writing, the story is very important too. When I cover events or interview real people for newspaper and magazine articles, I want readers to identify with someone or understand more about the topic and care about it. A writer can do that by focusing on the story.

So how do I achieve focusing on the story? I don't just tell it, I show it, by taking a deeper dive into the scene and using language to make it come alive in the reader's mind.

For example: 
Tell--Janie was mad at her mom. 

That's okay. But a writer can help the reader "see" the scene. I re-wrote it this way:

Show--Janie slammed her schoolbag on the kitchen table and stomped out of the room. She didn't stop when her Mother yelled her name.

I had this focusing on story "epiphany" while working with my writers group on re-writing a novella I had written 6 years ago. I wanted to go deeper with the characters. And boy, did we ever. With their help, the novella is turning into a novel.
Originally released in 2011, I am thrilled that my publisher, BWL Publishing will be publishing this mystery with a touch of paranormal this winter. The new title is Terror on Sunshine Boulevard. Looking forward to revealing the new cover to you when it's ready.

# # # #
IWSG Badge
I am thrilled to announce an article I penned on blogging will appear in the new anthology from the Insecure Writers Support Group, Writing for Profit. So many talented writers in this group. I'm sure there will be plenty of gems on making money with your writing. 
# # # #
And finally, last but definitely not least, a friend and contributor to the J.Q. Rose blog is releasing her fourth book in her Second Chances series, Act of Betrayal, on September 21. Today you can pre-order the book on amazon, Kobo, and B&N for $1.99. After release it will be $4.99. I've read all the books in the series and am looking forward to this one!

Image may contain: 1 person

Click below to read the Guest Posts on the J.Q. Rose Blog by Marsha R. West

Romance Readers Want to Know
Marsha R. West Shares Her Hobby

Hope you like my newly renovated blog. I enjoy playing with the design, fonts, colors. How often do you change the "look" of your blog/website?

Wishing you a lovely fall season wherever you are!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Thinking of Disaster Survivors, Donating to Disaster Relief

Dipping my toes in Lake Michigan
Hello and welcome to the J.Q. Rose blog!

My hubby, Gardener Ted, and I are escaping from the routine of life and camping along the Lake Michigan shoreline near Ludington, Michigan. Yes the east side of Lake Michigan with wide sandy beaches and marvelous dunes and a lake so large you cannot see the other side. And for my friends along the oceans, NO SALT. !!!

We used to bring our kids to the lake to swim and dive through the waves. Now those kids have their own kids (our grandkids.) We've taken several camping trips with those children too to the lake shore. Times change, kids grow up, we grow older, life is different.

Camping is different too. The campers have become condos on wheels. Even tenting is different with all the amenities and equipment to make camping easy and convenient. 

My mother always said, "Nothing is more certain than change." And though we don't want to accept change, we all have to be able to accept changes. Those who have survived dangerous fires, shattering earthquake, and deadly hurricanes are wishing their lives were "routine." They have a lot to adjust to in their lives. My heart goes out to them and their families and friends. Returning to a demolished home and community can be overwhelming. Please don't lose hope. Caring people will be there to help you accept the changes and move on. We care.

Caring people are donating money, goods, and time to help with disaster relief. If readers want to help, I want to caution you to only give to reputable charities. Unfortunately there are rotten individuals who will try and scam good-hearted people. Be wary.

I personally recommend UMCOR. One hundred percent of every dollar you give goes to help with disaster relief. Click here to visit the UMCOR site and how you can donate to them.

I am a praying woman and I am praying for all involved in these disasters. 

Do you have a trusted charity you can recommend to readers?

Thank you for stopping by this week. Next week we will return to "writerly matters."

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

IWSG Blog Hop: Memoir Writing

Hello and welcome to the J.Q. Rose blog. 
Time for the monthly meeting of the Insecure Writers Support Group(IWSG) blog hop! 

Internet Writers Support Group Blog Hop

First Wednesday of every month.
What is IWSG? Founder of the  Insecure Writer’s Support Group and author Alex J Cavanaugh explains the group's purpose is "to share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!" You're invited to become a member of this supportive group.

The group blogs the first Wednesday of every month The list of bloggers is always available so you can hop around to the author blogs filled with humor, advice, and thought-provoking topics on writing and publishing. You can find the list of participants at Alex's IWSG page. I hope you'll take some time to visit the diverse list of bloggers.

IWSG Question for the Month
Question: Have you ever surprised yourself with your writing? For example, by trying a new genre you didn't think you'd be comfortable in??

My desk

Yes, I surprised myself when I began writing my memoir. I'm a mystery writer. And my life was no mystery to me. But I felt that tingle of desire to write my story for our children and perhaps for publication, if brave enough.

My author friend's story inspired me to try and put together a memoir. She wrote a beautiful story about her experience as a 16-year-old who moved with her family to Samoa for a two year mission trip. She captured the beauty, the culture, and the people of the island as well as her teen angst of fitting-in. Everyone could understand her situation.

I thought of a memoir as kind of stuffy writing with depressing trials and tribulation. Hers was not. Instead it was a touching story filled with humor. So I have had a great time putting together the story of our first year in the floral business. The memoir is far from complete, and I'm not exactly comfortable with memoir/life story writing. But I am enjoying the experience. 

Seeing the 40-year-old story from today's perspective really added more color to my life and to its meaning. I hope that a reader will be inspired to try something new. I am the guide for her/him to know that it is possible to succeed.
Lots of writing utensils here! Do you have such a collection on your desk?

I'm anxious to read your surprises in your writing. Can you recommend a memoir you have enjoyed reading? Please leave a comment below. Thank you.