Thursday, May 30, 2013

Editing Athanasia

Before providing a progress update on Cooking Athanasia, I should probably explain my editing process to provide some context. As most of you know, I wrote the final sentence in the book on April 5th of this year. I shelved the book for three weeks before beginning any editing to give myself a little distance, which I’m hoping provides more objectivity. After the three weeks elapsed, I began editing with chapter 7 because the first six chapters had already received a precursory pass before being published in this blog.
While writing, I print each chapter when I finish it so I have a hard copy for backup, and to make editing notes as I think of them. I take the binder with my hard copy novel with me everywhere so I can do mark ups whenever I find some idle time. As such, my editing process has two steps. The first is the markup for changes on the hardcopy and any significant additions are handwritten on a sticky note and stuck on the appropriate page. The second step is making the changes on the electronic copy where I also rewrite items not identified during the markup phase.
Marked up page complete with sticky note.
Although I had been doing some of the rewriting when I was at home (it has to be done on my desktop (this is another plea for Scrivener to release the IOS app, please!)), and doing the markups when I found spare time away from home, I finished the markups this past Sunday. This means only rewrites left for this editing iteration and I am on chapter 12 now, which was a monster chapter that I divided into three chapters during the rewrite. Another ancillary benefit to finishing the markups is that I am able to pick up work again on the sequel, Echoes of Enchantment, when I am away from home. I really don’t want to forecast when I might finish the rewriting phase on this pass of editing, but I think it will be close enough to done a the end of July so I can pitch it at the Northwest Writers Association Conference, which I hope to attend.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Versatile Blogger Award

I was nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award by Julie at Rogue MissionI was thrilled since I have never been nominated for anything in the past. Thank you very much for the award Julie! 

The Rules for the Award are as Follows:
  1. Add the Versatile Blogger Award badge to a post.
  2. Thank the person who presented you with the award and link back to him or her in you post.
  3. Share seven things about yourself.
  4. Pass the award to 15 other bloggers. Contact the chosen bloggers to let them know about the award.


I knew my wife was special from the moment we met. We spent every day together after our first date and I asked her to marry me about a month and a half after we met. Of course nay sayers cautioned against the union, “do you really know her?” they said, or “you know it won’t last.” We were married about eight months after our first date and twenty-six years later, she’s still the love of my life and best friend, and I believe we have passed the test of time.

We found out my wife was pregnant four months before I left for a year-long tour in South Korea. My only son was born in October that year and I met him three months later when I came home on my mid-tour leave. He was a beautiful baby then, and is a handsome and caring man now. He amazes me every day and I have a great time just hanging out with him.

At the tail end of the summer in 1989, Iraq invaded Kuwait. I was stationed at Fort Bliss, Texas, at the time as a member of the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment. I was a gunner on a Bradley Fighting Vehicle and I was very proficient at my job. I knew that if the United States became involved in this conflict, my unit would definitely deploy, as it did. I think the defining moment for me during the conflict was preparing to cross the Iraqi border from Saudi Arabia because of the paralyzing fear of the unknown clashing with the desire to do my job because it was what I had trained for four years at the time. I haven’t experienced another internal paradox like this one in my life since.

Strong student was not a term used to describe me during my high school years. A better description might have been absent. However, shortly after the turn of the millennium, I realized that military retirement was inching closer and I needed some type of higher education to be competitive in the civilian workplace. I started my bachelor’s degree in 2002 and found that I actually enjoyed school. I drank in the knowledge and loved it so much that I started my master’s degree 37 days after finishing the coursework for my undergraduate degree. I graduated with my MBA in 2007 and am now happy to be done with school.

I lived the Army life for 23 years, starting as a Private and working my way through the enlisted ranks until I reached First Sergeant, which was my goal. During that time, I gave my life to the Army spending countless hours away from home in support of national defense. I enjoyed the camaraderie as I shared laughter and tears with my fellow Soldiers but in 2008, it was time to hang up the pistol belt. At times, I miss that cohesiveness that is unique to the military. But I am older now and the military is more suited to the young not to mention that I get to go home at the end of each work day.

After retiring from the military, I took a job as a recruiter for the university I attended for my bachelor’s and master’s degrees. I worked for that institution for a couple of years until I was approached by another university to do a similar job at a significantly higher salary. At the end of 2011, the group I was working for at the new university was determined to be cost prohibitive and I was laid off. For the first time since I was a teenager, I had to do some soul-searching to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. During my Army years, that was the career I wanted and I established and achieved the goals set within that organization. I had not thought much past the Army and college recruiting was just something I was able to do, but it was not necessarily an aspiration. I had always known I enjoyed writing and I thought it was something I wanted to do someday. After the layoff, I decided someday had arrived and it was time to get serious about writing. Had I not been laid off, I may have never discovered my true passion.

I wrote a couple of short stories to see if writing was really what I wanted to do. I enjoyed crafting those stories and received positive feedback so I thought it was time to start a novel. On December 8th, 2011, I began writing the outline for Cooking Athanasia. Throughout the entire process, I never tired of the story and looked forward to developing my characters who eventually seemed to take on a life of their own. I wrote the last sentence of the book on April 5th, 2013. At present, I am editing the story and have started work on Echoes of Enchantment, the second book in the Athanasia trilogy. Now I can’t imagine a life where I don’t write. 

My Nominees:
  1. Art in the Life – Darcy Kline
  2. Stormcalling – Christopher Storm
  3. Thinking Aloud – Jaspreet Taunque
  4. Butterfly on a Broomstick – LinzĂ© Brandon
  5. Gemini Rising Series – Gemini
  6. T-Rytes – Tineeka De Silva
  7. Neurotic Novelists of the World Unite! - Robert Evert
  8. Janie Fox Oil Portraits – Janie Fox
  9. Suteko's Blog – Lisa Williamson
  10. Still working on list

Thanks for reading!


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Successful Failure

Many magazine articles are geared toward managing a large project. Additionally, a myriad of software programs are available to help writers keep their thoughts in order and aid in managing long-term projects. Although the articles contain very useful information and the available software makes lengthy projects less daunting, managing my novel was not a concern when I began writing Cooking Athanasia a little over a year ago.
I owe the ability to manage my novel over the long haul to my failed attempt at earning a doctoral degree, from which I withdrew last summer. I spent five years in the program and wrote a proposal for my research project during that time, but had to quit because it became cost prohibitive. However, I have no regrets because the information gleaned during that time is still mine, and the system I developed to manage my dissertation was easily adaptable to my true love of writing fiction.
I still take a pragmatic approach regarding my system and implement improvements as I see fit. In fact, I purchased Scrivener earlier this year because I can see the power of the program. I have not used it as of yet because I have no way to easily synch between my desktop and iPad as of yet, and I do a lion’s share of my writing away from my desk (hint, hint Scrivener). The bottom line is that some might view dropping out of my doctoral program as failure, but I see it from the positive vantage point: Everything I have done in my life thus far has a purpose to bring me where I am right now. It’s up to me to decide how to use it.
Thanks for reading!