Fiction, Horror, short story

The Goblin Saint of All Hallow’s Eve (part 4)

October 4th

(Last Year)

I slipped a jack-o’-lantern sticker into my sister’s book bag before she left for school. I made sure it was in the pouch with her pencils, so I knew she’d find it.

Boy was she fired up when she got home.

“You better quit. This isn’t funny at all. You’re dumb if you think I’m falling for your tricks,” she said.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“This!” She waved the sticker in my face.

“What is it?” I asked, doing my best to act surprised.

“Don’t act dumb. You know it’s a sticker you put in my book bag. I yelped when I found it and everyone laughed. You’re a jerk.”

“That’s funny. Now I wish I had put it there,” I said. “Maybe your teacher put it there or…”

“If you say the Goblin Saint, I’m going to punch you.”

“…the Goblin Saint of All Hallow’s Eve.” I finished, earning a punch to the arm.

(This Year)

Just as I thought, I found a jack-o’-lantern sticker in my book bag. It was winking at me. When I find out who’s doing this, I’m going to throttle them. There’s no such thing as the Goblin Saint of All Hallow’s Eve. I made it all up.

Authors, Books, publishing, Writing

Getting Published: The waiting

It’s been a little since my last post, but I’ve been busy with getting a poetry book published and in the process of getting another children’s book published. Also, getting a wedding planned and organized. Needless to say, I’ve been busy.

After all the proof reviews are done and proofs are finished, the book will be sent to the printer. I’m sure there’s more that goes on behind the scenes, but I’m not in on that part of the process. As a writer, you probably won’t be either. So it basically becomes a waiting game from here.

This wait time can seem like ages, so here’s a few tips to occupy your time while waiting for printed copies to wind up in your hands and available to readers.

1: Start a new writing project. You don’t want to be a one and done writer.

2: Generate buzz on your social media platforms. You do have a couple of those, right.

3: Get some promotional/marketing materials ready. Think book marks, a sign with information to put on your table at book signings/author fairs. You can do pens, pencils, or something else. Think small and fairly cheap so you can hand them out to people wherever you’re at. I got 500 bookmarks for around $60 from They are professional and high quality. Just be prepared for a bit of a learning curve.

4. Go out and experience life and the world. You need material to draw from and the best way I’ve found to refill the creative well is just getting out and doing stuff.

I hope these blogs have helped clarify some of the publishing process. Until next time, Stay Focused and Write On!

Authors, Books, Fiction, publishing

Getting Published: Approval Process Part 2

In my last post, I talked about the approval process for illustrations (which may only apply to the cover if you don’t have illustrations in the book). In this post, I’m going to talk about the process for layout and text approval.

This process for me was very similar to the illustrations approval. When the book was formatted and ready to be sent to the printer, the publisher sent proofs of the final version to be sent to the printer. I cannot stress this enough. Go Over The Proof Thoroughly! This is your chance to catch anything before it’s too late or costly to make changes.

With my proofs, the publisher and I changed several things before ultimately approving them. We did some formatting changes on a certain characters text, which wound up deleting or pushing two paragraphs off the page. If we hadn’t been diligent, we would have printed with missing text. And nobody wants an incomplete story.

A lot of this boils down to establishing a good working relationship with your publisher or contact for the publisher. Being courteous in your correspondence and timely with responses goes a long way in establishing this relationship. Remember, you want the publisher to want to work with you again.

Until next time, Stay Focused and Write On!

Authors, Books, Fiction, publishing

Getting Published: Approval Process

In my previous posts, I talked about the submission and the contract when getting published. It’s been a little longer then planned since my last post, but life gets busy sometimes.

As a reminder, this is my personal experience with my first book, not a definitive guide on what will happen.

I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I knew I wanted a product that looked good and I would be willing to buy. Once I had signed the contract, I checked out the different illustrators by scrolling through my publisher’s website. When I found a style I liked, I asked to use that illustrator. I did this early enough in the process that they approved. It never hurts to ask. Also, this was the only out-of-pocket cost I had.

After I got my illustrator, she came up with 2 sample illustrations that I had the chance to approve before continuing to make a total of 19 pictures plus the cover art. Keep in mind, my publisher can make the final decision if we didn’t totally agree on something.

I cannot stress this enough. Go over the pictures. Don’t just assume they’re perfect. I had to make some suggestions on a couple pictures. Look at them with a sense of what might other people think about them or turn it into. What could someone get up in arms about? Look at the cover fonts to make sure you can read them. A little diligence early pays off in the long run.

In the end, the book has your name on it and you want the best product you can get. I would caution you on being completely knit-picky, because you want the illustrator to be free to create. Plus, I feel like it will make both publisher and illustrator question working with you again if they’re constantly having to make changes.

My next post will be a continuation of the approval process about the actual text. Until then, Stay Focused and Write On!

Authors, Books, Writing

Getting Published #1

Over the course of the next few weeks, I’m going to try to go through the steps of what happens on the way to publication. At least in my case. I’m not an expert by any means. This is my first book after all. And this is only one route, of many, to get published.

The Submission:

I know, sounds daunting and perilous. Like you’re releasing a child into the world to be mocked and ridiculed. But it’s really not that bad. Just go for it. The worst that can happen is you get rejected. Then you just submit elsewhere. It’s not a reflection of you personally.

In my case, I was working on a short story about a not so typical genie, when I saw a competition for a publishing deal for a picture book. I tweaked the story a little to fit the criteria and finished it up, reviewed, edited a couple times, and polished it up. And submitted. Make sure what you submit fits the criteria for the competition or you’re just wasting yours and everyone else’s time.

Keep in mind that some competitions are free and others cost money. Usually 10 to 20 dollars. This one had a fee, so I weighed the pros and cons. I decided it was worth it and submitted. I usually do a few fee based and several free competitions throughout the year. You could quickly go broke doing all the fee based ones out there. Set a monthly or yearly budget for these and stick with it.

Then comes the waiting and the questioning voice in your head. Will I win? Will they even like it? Should I have submitted? This goes on until you hear back. I like to submit closer to the deadline to reduce the amount of time for that little voice to pester me.

Then the email finally arrives. What’s it going to say? A moment of hesitation and click. “We’re sorry to inform you…”. Those dreaded words. The demise of many a writer. But make sure you read the entire response. There may be feedback or other important info. In my case, I didn’t win, but was offered a contract because they liked the story so much.

This brings us to the contract stage, which I’ll talk about in my next post.

Books, Writing

Long Time No Post

It’s been quite some time since I last posted. Life, work, and just focusing more on writing, but it seems to have paid off. I got my 1st book published about a month ago. Exiting to say the least. I’m planning on doing a series of posts about the publishing process. At least my path through the process. Maybe it will give you some insight into what happens after you send out that finished story or novel. Until then, swing by Amazon and pick up a copy of my picture book, Just One Wish, from PenItPublications and Illustrated by Savannah Horton. Write on!

Books, Creative Writing, Novels, Writing, Writing Excercises

NaNoWriMo 2015

It’s November, a.k.a., National Novel Writing Month.  I’m going to be busy with doing my own version of this. I’m not writing a novel. I’m clearing out all the little short story ideas that I haven’t worked out.  Hopefully it gets me close to the 50,000 word target.  This will probably be my longest blog for the month, but I’ll try to post some quick ones throughout the process. For anyone else trying this, here’s a few tips.  Stay Focused and Write On!

Poems, Poetry, Spoken Word, Writing

Cut Up 8

It’s been a minute since my last post. I was on vacation, so I didn’t get much time to do all the social media stuff. But I’m back at it now. I did manage to finish a rough draft of a short story and submit a few lines of poetry to Project 411, which I mentioned previously.

   Anyway, here’s another cut up for your enjoyment.  Stay Focused and Write On!

We must always view our potential as a whole problem

The question is, how to witness the overall layout from within?

The best we can hope to do,

given the circumstances,

is cash out before the situation is dispersed beyond our sight.

Creative Writing, Poems, Poetry, Spoken Word, Writing

Cut up 7

  Another week is in the books. I’m working on getting a few lines of poetry together to submit to a very cool project here in Indiana.  It’s called the Project 411 and I love the concept. Check it out here if you want to learn more.

And now, for your reading enjoyment, here’s another cut up I found on the corner of a newspaper clipping. Stay Focused and Write On!
Lack of finesse can be very bothersome at times

And many fail solely because this situation is annoying.

However, they are sure to succeed,

with meticulous manipulation of words.