Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Worlds of the Lords is ready!

I am pleased to announce that I've ordered proof copies of Worlds of the Lords, the third novel in the Bladesmen Lords series. It's exciting to complete the trilogy with what I hope is a satisfying story for everyone who enjoyed the first two novels.

The first physical copies will be available in a book signing I'll be doing at Jan's Paperbacks in Aloha, Oregon on Saturday October 18 from 1:30pm to 4:30pm. Join us and get your copy signed while browsing an excellent selection of new and used books. I will have all three novels there available for purchase. If you're struggling to decide on a present this holiday season for someone you know who enjoys fantasy novels, the trilogy would make an excellent addition to their bookshelves!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Schedule locked in for the third Bladesman Lords book!

Manuscript editing is finished, the book cover is lined up for a delivery date, and I'm getting feedback from the people I passed the final copy out to. I will be ordering proofs of the next title by October 1 from the printer, and should have printings of the final product in my hands by October 15th. It will have been almost exactly a year and a half since City of the Lords was released - far longer than I would have preferred, but I like to think that my busy day job and a summer wedding are pretty good excuses for the delay.

I wanted to give special recognition to Sharri Jeffery, a customer at Jan's Paperbacks (a local bookstore) who has come out for every signing I've done there. Since she first read Lord of the City she has eagerly asked when each new installment in the series is coming out, and despite some health problems keeps hanging on waiting for the next book to arrive (whether it's mine or someone else's). An author could hope for no more inspiring a fan than that. To paraphrase her words, she refuses to pass on while there's still that next book in the series waiting for her! Thanks, Sharri, and may you read not only my next book but plenty of others in the years to come!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Out-loud editing

I'm pretty much finished with my second round of edits for the third Bladesman Lords manuscript and wanted to talk about how it works and why I do it this way.

Once I finish a final readthrough of a manuscript and make whatever corrections I can on the screen, I print everything out in hard copy and go through the entire thing out loud (or at least whispered/mouthed). I picked this step up based on advice I read on another blog (sadly, I have long forgotten which one) back when working on Lord of the City and it can be astonishing how much it reveals.

Here's the kinds of things I recognize during this step -

1. Some sentences just don't "sound right" when spoken. The words don't flow well, the syllables get mixed up, or a certain sound might get repeated in an unpleasant way. The muscle memory of our spoken language triggers different perspectives than simply reading words on a screen. Should my books ever get turned into audiobooks, there's a lot of potential ugliness there which can get detected at this stage.

2. Typing and editing in the trade paperback format that I use causes me to miss some repeated words or overused phrases that might not happen to be on the same page. Printing and editing in a different format helps bring these to light.

3. This is the first chance I've had to sit back with the text away from a computer screen. I have an opportunity to read it in a different frame of mind and a different physical stance than I do while writing it or during the initial rounds of editing. Subtle problems can be brought to light which weren't seen on a screen.

This process takes me about 10-15 minutes a chapter, during which I mark up the manuscript I've printed out. My next step is typing up corrections to the items I find, which may range from typos/extra spaces to entire new paragraphs to better explain an idea or rewrites of sentences or scenes based on problems. That step ends up being pretty short, all things told, just a couple of days worth of work. For reference, this third book is 47 chapters long (in three parts just like City of the Lords was), so the full out-loud manuscript readthrough has taken me between 9 and 10 hours.

What's the next step? Distributing my final draft to friends and family to read through. I'll give them a week or two to come back with suggestions after which I'll make changes (if any). The cover should be done by then. Everything is on target to have a proof coming from the printers in the first week of October, and if things work out right I'll have physical copies sitting in my hands within a month of today.