Creative Without A Community

As many of you know, I recently moved back to Eagle River, Alaska. Okay…so “recently” might not be the best term, as it was over six months ago. But with the holidays and my new job at the State and my freelance editing and some recent celebrations (my sister graduated with her master’s degree, y’all, pretty effing amazing!), it seems like time flew by. Like, it’s been over six months already, how the heck did that happen??

(Which reminds me of time when I was a kid and my best friend Mer and I had this brilliant idea that since time seemed to fly by when we were having fun, we decided to “not have any fun”…needless to say, it didn’t work out so well. But I digress.)

So I’ve been back in Alaska for a while and I’ve discovered something a bit…troubling. I don’t go out much. Now, it’s not like I went out much in the past, as I’ve always been kind-of a homebody, but I did do things. I volunteered for some local organizations, went to writing groups, helped organize a literary reading here in Eagle River. I did things. Now, though, I haven’t really made the time.

Why? Well, I have a day-job that spans from 6:30 a.m. when I wake up to about 5 p.m. when I get back home, and then after that I have my freelance editing job which consists of a really amazing nonfiction editing gig with Tiger Oak Media that I have to do each night for about one or two hours and (a bit more sporadically) my equally as amazing fiction editing gig with Desert Palm Press with a time commitment that really depends on the project, haha! So I’ve been lucky enough to secure two interesting jobs that I get to do each week, and I’m quite proud and happy about it.

However, I’m kinda tired when I’m done with my evening freelancing job, so I haven’t really made time to do anything after that aside from eating dinner, watching something funny on the TV, and then going to sleep. The weekend is my time to recharge, so I usually spend it writing, hanging out with family, and playing games, as well as doing chores and getting prepped for the following week.

It’s worked okay for the past six months, but I’ve come to realize that my system isn’t really the best. This system doesn’t leave much time for me to socialize or rebuild my writing/creative community. I have my online community that I’ve been slowly building in my random tiny snippets of spare time, but in-person connections are super important, too. (Says the introverted person who’d rather pet a stray cat than talk to a stranger. *nervous laughter*)

So, stemmed from that realization, I’ve decided that I need to do better. I don’t really have much time to spare during the week, but maybe once a week I can attend a literary event, like a book reading! I also put my name in the hat to volunteer at 49 Writers, so here’s hoping they get back to me. I’ll be helping the Alaska Writer’s Guild with their conference program like usual sometime later this summer, too. I was also thinking about becoming a member of one of those groups, or maybe the Alaska Romance Writers  of America, since that’ll help support the local writing community. I used to volunteer for Cirque pretty regularly, so maybe they still need some help with things? And maybe I’ll go to the Jitters Critters meeting on Monday nights like I used to? I don’t have any writing to show them right now, but I can help critique.

Hmmm…or maybe I should just try one or two of these things right now, because all of that is kind of overwhelming.

Annnnnd I should also chat with my friends more often, but that’s another story entirely, hahaha…ha…ha… *waves feebly at Alaska friends and whispers, Sorry!*

TLDR: I would like to be more active in my creative community and have lots of random thoughts on how to do that.

What kinds of things do you do to stay involved with your creative communities?

Wish me luck!
Warm regards,

Check out my author Facebook page!


Losing Hold Cover Reveal!

Hey everyone! I’ll be hosting a live Facebook Event this Friday to reveal the cover of Losing Hold! I’m pretty psyched about the artwork—spoiler alert: it’s gorgeous—and in order to celebrate I decided to do something a little different and try a live Facebook Event!

What does that mean?
Well, Friday between 7-8pm (PST) I’ll be on my Facebook Event page posting things like what Losing Hold is about and the inspiration for the story, hosting a Q&A session with giveaways (that’s right, free stuff!), and of course, revealing the cover! Basically it’ll be a chance to ask me some questions and be entered to win one of the four giveaways prizes! Speaking of…

What are the Giveaway Prizes?
I’m going to give away two signed copies of Finding Hekate and two 30-page edits from Edit Revise Perfect. I’ll be picking four participants from Q&A at random to win the prizes, so be sure to ask a question to enter!

Here are the specifics one more time!
Friday, February 24th
7-8pm (PST)
On this Cover Reveal Facebook Event Page (be sure to select “Going” to get the notifications!)

I hope to see you there! *waves*
Warm regards,

Writer vs. Editor

So, as some of you know, Desert Palm Press signed me up as an author. I couldn’t be happier. It’s been one of my dreams to get published, and I’m so grateful it’s happening.

One of the things I’m really looking forward to, however, is the journey*.

The journey will be…interesting.

As all of you know by now, I’m an editor. I have my own freelance company, and it’s something I’m specializing in at Portland State University’s graduate program.

But both writing and editing are two facets of my professional life. To be fair, I started writing earlier, but really, editing will probably pay the bills later on in life.

Anyway, inspired by Indigo Editing book designer and publications consultant Vinnie Kinsella’s post, I figured it might be fun to do a back and forth of what a writer would say and what an editor would say.

(And, yes, I’ve thought all of these things at some point in both my writing and editing careers.)

Writer: I’ve worked hard to pick the perfect title for this manuscript. It’s a real eye-catcher and reflects what I want the reader to understand about my story.
Editor: Does the title reflect what’s inside or give too much of something away? Is it too long? Too short? Are there any other titles out there like this one? I need to do some research.

Writer: I’ve slaved over every word of this manuscript, and it’s perfection.
Editor: It’s not perfect. There are thousands of words in this book and chances are there will be some misspellings, misplaced commas, dangling participles, and characters whose hair changes color half way through.

Writer: I’ve edited this draft a few times all ready, why do I need to look at it again? It takes such a long time finish this.
Editor: There are many stages of editing. Developmental. Copyediting. Proofreading. All of these stages help make the work perfect and all of the stages are necessary. Yes, it might take a while, but it’s worth it.

Writer: That time/place/character description isn’t important. I should just move onto the next scene.
Editor: The readers can’t see inside your head. We need those descriptions in order to ground the reader in your world.

Writer: I’m breaking the rules in order to create this really cool sentence structure/paragraph style/grammar thing. The readers will love it!
Editor: I need to make sure that rule-breaking sentence structure/paragraph style/grammar thing is consistent throughout the entire novel. The readers will need that consistency.

Writer: I need to write everything down, everything is necessary, and everything is needed. The readers will want everything, even the tangents.
Editor: I need to cut some of this for clarity, especially the tangents that don’t belong in the novel. The readers will thank me for this.

Writer: This minor character is totally relevant. It’s my baby.
Editor: This minor character has nothing to do with the plotline. We have to cut them. Or figure out a way to incorporate them more.

Writer: I can’t wait to see this in print/ebook/audiobook!
Editor: I can’t wait to send this through up through the chain of publishing and then see this in print/ebook/audiobook!

We’re both going for the same thing—a polished story—but we see it in very different ways.

And with this journey, I’m not going to be on the editing side of things, a side I’m used to being on and have been on for quite some time now, I’m going to be on the writing side of it. I’m going to be the Writer on this equation.

It’s going to be a wild ride.

Warm regards,

*Aside from holding a physical copy of a book I wrote in my hands, of course. What? I’m old school.

Editorial Triage

Editorial Triage. What does this mean? Well, usually it means that something has to go.

It happens. Every day an editor out there is performing editorial triage. In trying to meet an unreasonably short deadline, the editor has not fixed everything in a manuscript before saying “okay” and sending it up the ladder. It’s not new. It’s not pretty. But every editor has done this at least once in their career.

What does triaging mean?

Generally this means the editor has to decide what to edit and what not to edit. It’s best to talk this over with their managing editor first, to see what the top priorities are. (For example, in a business document the top priority might be to inform or persuade the reader about something, whereas in fiction, it might be something that would embarrass the publisher, like misspellings or inconsistent character facts.)

Then, the editor starts their work and does not fix everything in order to meet the deadline. The editor does not get to check off all the things on their usual list of things.

(Seriously, the list that contains ALL THE THINGS you normally check off when editing? Cut that down to five.)

This is a choice. And it’s a pretty hard one, too. We were trained to see errors and correct them. So leaving something unedited is like going to work without a water bottle or the lunch you specifically prepared. (Yes, it happened to me. I left my mason jar salad at home. And my water bottle. And I was sad.) It makes an editor sad, or disappointed at least, to not have done everything they could have in order to make the work shine.

It’s not fun.

But sometimes it’s necessary.

So the next time the big boss says there’s an unreasonably tight deadline and there needs to be an editorial triage. Sit down, list the priorities, and go to work.

(And try not to get too sad on the way home.)

Until next time!
Warm regards,

InDesign vs. Print

So this past term I took Book Design & Production with Abbey, the head of Ooligan Press. It was a great class, I feel like I learned quite a bit and I was happy to stretch my design muscles a little bit. I liked it so much that next year I plan on taking another design class (if they offer it, of course).

For the final project we had to pick a public domain book and design the whole thing from cover to cover. It was quite the project, but we worked on it in bits and pieces during the entire term so it wasn’t as overwhelming as I thought it would be. We did the whole shebang, cover designs, interior designs, chose the typeface, leading, point size, designed the front matter, the folios, the margins. (All of this in InDesign, Illustrator, and Photoshop, by the way.)

We made ALL THE DECISIONS… and it was awesome.

For the final, we had to print out our book. For reasons out of our control, it took much longer than we had originally expected and I waited over a week and a half to get my book printed. Honestly, I didn’t really mind too much, since the project was already complete, you know? It wasn’t like I had to worry about it any longer.

But I did have to wait to actually hold the book.

And, let me tell you, the waiting was horrible!

Why was it horrible?

Well, during class, my professor had specifically mentioned that the way we see our design in InDesign screen would not necessarily reflect exactly on how we would see our design in print. Some things wouldn’t transfer over the way we, as designers, might imagine.

Which let me to think… what if my design looks horrible in print?

Well, after a week and a half of agonizing how it would look, I finally got to hold the book! My professor was right! (Which isn’t terribly shocking if you knew her, she’s right about a lot of things.) Some things really didn’t transfer the way I expected them to. And perhaps I shouldn’t be showing this to the world… perhaps it should be kept hidden in a secret folder on my desktop labeled “Never Open” and I should just forget what I had on screen and just be happy with the print version. But then I would not get the chance to look critically at things one more time. And you would never get to see this behind-the-stage look of what designers need to deal with on a daily basis. So, to that end, I decided to let everyone in on this secret and showcase what was on my InDesign screen and what it looked like in print form.

Here’s the cover on InDesign:


Here’s the cover in print:


Here’s the title page on InDesign:

title page

Here’s the title page in print:


Here’s the chapter heading on InDesign:


Here’s the chapter heading in print:


See the differences? I do. The middle leaf on the cover of the InDesign file is way lighter than actually in print. I would want to fiddle around with the InDesign file so the printed version of the leaf is lighter. The same goes for the hook and sword on the title and chapter headings. Now, while I think the darker hook and sword works fine on the title page in print, the chapter headings are a bit too dark. Because the sword and hook are much darker in print, it overshadows the chapter heading, title, and drop cap a little more than I would’ve liked.

So what did I learn from actually printing the book? Always Print Proofs.

Before you actually print in bulk, print a proof copy that get signed off by everyone. Proofs allow you to see how the book will turn out before you commit everything. They are a valuable tool. (We treated these copies like proofs, simply one more step in that direction.) So I learned that things do indeed look different in print than on screen and there are things I would tweak to make the printed version reflect the InDesign version better.

I still really like how this version turned out and am quite proud of the work I did over the term to make it happen. For being the first book I’ve ever designed cover-to-cover, I think it turned out quite well indeed.

Warm regards,

P.s. – I also redesigned my Edit. Revise. Perfect. logo. Go check it out!

Educational Foray

Last night I had the privilege of chatting with Vered Mares of VP&D House over coffee. (It was a hot day so really it was over water and an iced drink but the premise is still the same.) It was an enlightening experience where she nutshelled the publishing business for me and expanded the different paths editors can take in that world. I greatly enjoyed and appreciated the experience.

What struck me was the way she urged the continuation of education – I brought up my thoughts of being rejected from, then re-applying to, graduate school during the conversation and she wholeheartedly agreed that it was the way to go.

So, yes, I’m trying again. Time to attack the beasts of university applications!

Portland’s still my Number One, but there are other schools in the mix as well, all with varying deadlines (of course) and different ideas of the ‘personal statement’ (two are forms I get to fill out, two are written). It’s a long process, but I’m excited to get started on it.

Have a lovely weekend!

Warm regards,

Status Update

…like the title says…

Writing Adventures

Science Fiction Novel (2nd installment in my duology)

– 21,500 words 

– 7 chapters

– Commentary: After being stuck on this one area for the past two weeks, I was finally able to break through! I finished chapter 7 and am currently on chapter 8. Ah, the crazy world of writing….

Science Fiction Short Story (an AI piece)

– 952 words

– Commentary: I’m not very far into this one, I’ll admit, but I thought of the idea last Friday (3/8) and I’ve been working on it ever since. I’m excited to see how I can weave all my ideas into the plot-line and characters. I think my take on AIs are different than other versions, but I’ll definitely send it out to my writer friends for critique first.

Fantasy Novella Series (magic, swordplay, scribes and more!)

– 200 words

– Still on 1st chapter

– Commentary: I was so psyched about my first main character that I started writing it before realizing I should probably put this one on hold so I can fully concentrate on my 2nd novel. But I am 200 words into it!

Fanfiction Fluff Piece (Teen Titans)

– 10 words

– Commentary: I started this one today because I was tired of writing science fiction stuff (I love my sci-fi pieces but sometimes I need a break and, while I don’t want to write two of my ‘huge’ projects at once, a fluff piece is a good middle ground.) It’s going to be a romance between two of my favorite characters of TT – Raven and Starfire. Yes, it’s a lesbian piece. Yes, there will be feels. Yes, I am trying this out to hopefully get better at it before I have to write out a very specific scene in my sci-fi novel. (Bonus – I’ll probably have to watch Teen Titans in order to ‘get back into’ the characters again. Memories.)


Publishing Adventures

Submitted to: RAW – Beware, the Temptress Comes

Submitted to: Poety24 – Alaskan Adventure

Working on: Submission to Laser and Sword – the sci-fi AI short I mentioned above, unnamed as of now

Working on: Submission to F Magazine – The Damsel’s Knight


Editing Adventures

My freelance editing has taken an upswing as recently I got to edit some more of my client’s works. Currently I’m in the midst of two: 

– A collection of Alaskan Articles

– Various selections of a proposal

I’m going to put my ad up on craigslist with my website and facebook – I made a facebook page for my freelancing! – links to hopefully hook some more clients in. I’ll also be shooting a ‘How are you doing?’ email to my current clients that I haven’t heard from in awhile.

All in all, I’m pretty happy with this facet of my life and I hope you are as happy with yours as well.

Have a lovely weekend!
Warm regards,

Feathers in my Fedora

So I decided right after college I wanted to start my own freelancing editing business, a little thing, nothing too extraordinary, just an on-the-side adventure that would allow me to wet my feet in the publishing pool. And allow me to use my skill set as an English major too, over the summer I wrote (which was lovely) but as much as I enjoy my current job it doesn’t really test the boundaries of the written word. Anyway, I called my little freelancing thing Edit. Revise. Perfect. because of all the steps one must take in completing a written work, as we all know you can’t just slap something on the page and call it golden. (Okay, some of us can but that usually ends in bad writing, folks, I want nothing of it!) Well, it worked; within my first few months, I managed to lock down a full-length manuscript and several PhD level essays too. I was basking my success – which looked suspiciously like a little happy dance in my kitchen – and enjoying every minute of it. I even made a website for it: … just a simple thing that lined up well with my needs. (Isn’t it pretty?)

After a time, work really took a toll on me, I wasn’t that familiar with the whole 8-5 deal that actually meant 6:30-5:30 when it was all said and done, so I stopped promoting my business and thus, business dwindled to death. I didn’t mind though. With the combination of work and moving into the new place hovering over me, life was busy enough.

But about three weeks ago, I decided to start up again. See, I had adjusted to the schedule of work (demanding it might be) and moved into the new condo (mostly) so I decided I needed a change of pace and posted on craigslist that my services were available. Within a week or so, I got two gigs! One was for a completed poetry anthology and the other a work-in-progress chapter manuscript, both of reputable sources. Thrilling to say the least, right?

I was back doing my little happy dance, much to the chagrin of my two cats who were eating dinner at that particular moment. I got some pretty angry stares.

Then the work began. And I gotta tell ya, it was quite fun.

Currently I finished the poetry anthology and am in the process of setting up a meeting with the client sometime soon –possibly even this weekend! I just started on the chapter manuscript and I believe that will take more time, considering it’s a work-in-progress deal and I’m at the mercy of the author penning the anecdotes. I hope to get more jobs sometime soon, too.
All in all, for me, freelancing works.

It’s a built-from-the-ground-do-it-yourself sort of gig. Of course, like most things in life, there’s always help – word of mouth, support from friends and family, the teachers and professors who taught me my trade, for instance – for which I would not be here to even do the freelancing. One of the things that I really like about it is its flexibility, I can edit anytime I want, or not at all, as long as I get the work done in the time allotted.

But there are downfalls too. Right now the pay is sufficient but it’s not like I can quit my day job. It’s not at all steady since jobs trickle in when they may. Plus, there’s always a chance of not even having any jobs lined up at all, which is scary.

For right now, I don’t mind at all, the experience will last far longer. But honestly, I’m hoping I can turn it into a regular thing in the future, with clients lined up and such, a schedule and solid hours, a good paycheck.

My main concern is thus: what if people don’t want to use my services preferring instead a certified big-wig at one of the publishing companies? After all, there’s only one of me, but there’s a hundred of them… and they have a ton of credentials AND a reputable publishing company behind them. I, simply, do not have those… yet.

It’ll be hard work, I’m sure, and nothing worth doing is ever easy so I might as well just plunge right in and see where I dive to, huh? For now, I’m happy to have these experiences, as light as a feather they may be compared heavyweights at the publishing companies, and I will display them proudly for all to see.

Until next time…
Warm regards,

A (much overdue) Explanation

I would like to extend my hand in apology for withholding information from this blog, for not keeping up with my regular discussions, for not posting in awhile. But I’ve been busy.

Wait, wait, I know, everyone says that, but honestly I have! Work, as usual, takes up more than half my day. Then my sister and I just moved out of our parent’s house and into a condo – which took a month, at least. (I never noticed how much stuff – how many clothes, how many books, and how many random items – I’ve accumulated over the years until the moment when I looked at the box I had chosen specifically for the move… and found it was tiny.) My freelancing business randomly decided to rear up again. (Something I am more than happy to pursue, I’ll speak more on that later!) I’ve also decided to get a master’s degree in publishing so I’ve been researching universities and writing essays. (Did you know some schools they don’t need that GRE? This is brilliant, because I didn’t take it!) So I have been busy.

AND, I’ll have you know, I finished editing my novel. Okay, the 2nd draft of the novel, at least. (Who knows how many drafts it’ll take to get this work polished enough. The editing process is long!)

Anyway, I finished the last chapter last Saturday then put it upon myself (however foolishly) to wait an entire work week before looking at it again. Some people can go a month without looking – heck I know an author who went three months without even peeking at her manuscript – but I must give them the respect they deserve because just a few days seems hard for me. Anyway, last weekend, I closed the word document and left it, alone, for a whole five days. I might die from anticipation.

Tomorrow’s the day though, tomorrow I get to read my entire novel all the way through and see if I like it… see if it needs some more tweaking… see if the characters still ring true. If everything sits right for me, I’ll send it off to a few select readers willing to look it over to catch bigger things – plot holes they see, characterization issues, tech terms – while I move on to a different story. If not, well then, it’s back to the editing process.

I’m excited about it, either way.

But let’s hope for the former, shall we?

So while I am sorry I have neglected this blog for such a long time (over a month, at least) I am still doing a happy dance in my head.

Also – I’ll be updating this pup much more regularly, once a week at least. I have a few interesting ideas I’d like to discuss and can’t wait to share my thoughts.

Until then, though.
Warm regards,