June 14, 2014

Another round of editing

Waiting to fly
Once I took a class on hospitailty. The leader said something that rang true with me - basically, that your guest will probably not notice if your house is perfectly tidy and clean, but if your house is a mess they will notice.

In the grand scheme of things it doesn't matter what your house looks like. But in reality details do matter and bad details distract.

So the same goes for editing my novel.

I want to the put the best book out there that I can. In order for Gala to be an easy read, and ensure grammar does not distract from the flow of the story, I have decided to do one more round of editing. As I have limited grammar skills, I have farmed that out to someone. That someone is Nicole Watson. She is going carefully through my story finding things I didn't even know were problems!

I am ready to release Gala, to free my table so that I can write my next book. It's a lesson in patience. I am okay with that, just a little more work to make Gala into what it is meant to be. Fully formed and beautiful.

June 07, 2014

Finished book jacket!

"It is the year 2053, 19 year old Gala has lost almost everything - her parents, her husband, her belief in the dictatorship of New West. Living in a fractured America she is faced with a chance to escape and start over in another part of the country. Venturing into unknown territory will Gala find what she desperately desires - acceptance, security and true love? Or is it an unattainable a dream?"

"Gala is a journey of loss, hope and love and is inspired, in part, by the biblical book of Ruth."

"Shona C. Cole is author of the book The Artistic Mother, published by North Light Books. She was born in London, England, raised in Dublin, Ireland. She moved to the US when she married an American student she met while they attended college at Trinity College Dublin. She lives currently in Texas with him and their six children. Shona is a mixed media artist and storyteller."

Thank you to my designer Stefanie Fontecha. Working with her was so easy!

June 06, 2014

Books I have read

I went to school in the 70s and 80s in Ireland and I think there was some kind of progressive experiment going on because we didn't study phonics or grammar! I was not a natural reader, but equally I was not encouraged to read at all growing up or in school. How I can read and write is a mystery to me! 

Even so, I did read a little growing up - Go Ask Alice, The Flowers in the Attic series, many anthologies of Irish ghost stories, and hmmm… well, nothing that was not 'dark', books I would never let my kids read! It wasn't until I was 23 that I really took up reading! I am a sporadic, but passionate reader - I won't pick up a book for months, but then I will get into a story and you won't see me for 2 days! A good book can truly drown out the rest of the world! I love that feeling. 

As an adult I have read many books, but only a few stand out in my mind. In general, I enjoy two kinds of books 1) modern literary fiction and 2) fast-paced, easy to read stories.

Here is a (partial) list of type 1 books that I have read and enjoyed (you may notice a book to movie theme here):
The book Thief
The Kite Runner
Lovely Bones
Water for Elephants
Wuthering Heights
Endless Love
Gone Girl
One Hundred Years of Solitude
Love in a Time of Cholera
Solider of the Great War
Many Jean Plaidy books
Sleeping In Eden
Burial Rites

type 2 books:
The Notebook
Dear John
(I have read so many more light weight books that I picked up at the grocery store for summer reading, but they are not worth mentioning!)

While I would love to write something that would make the literary world swoon, with perfectly crafted lines, realistically my novel is more along the lines of type 2. And that's ok! There is room in this world for all kinds of stories. 

Gala is an easy read. It is a clean (read, no bedroom scenes), emotional, love story, with a fair bit of action thrown in. I like my book. I really do. I like the story because it is based loosely on a beautiful love story in the Bible - Ruth. I used the bones of that story to guide me in crafting this one. I have in mind two more books based on some awesome Old Testament stories. But I get ahead of myself! 

If you have a favorite book type or actual book that you would like to recommend, I would love to hear. I need a book to read during my international flight in a few weeks. It will need to be an easy read as I will have my toddler in tow! 

June 03, 2014

My voice

This is a lovely photo of my 10 year old, not related to anything!
There are a lot of people like me in America today. So what am I? - Christian, conservative, artistic sahm

If you looked only at the TV, movies, adverts, magazines, 'romance books' etc, you would believe that there are hardly any Christians or conservatives or happy sahms in the world, and the handful that exist are all mean, judgmental people who live boring lives!

I have been around Christian people of all kinds since birth. I grew up with a Christian mother and grandmother, attended Christian schools and summer Bible camps, went weekly to Sunday School, I was very active in the Protestant Girl's Brigade and got 100% on my Bible exams. I have attended church almost every week since the Fall of 1996 when I finally acknowledged I was in need of a savior. Most of the true friends I have had in my life are Christians. My husband is an Elder at our church. Our life revolves around our church friends. I live in Texas, where everyone goes to church, it seems! I know for a fact that we are NOT all judgmental people who live boring lives. 

Christians - these are my people. I love my people, but my people did a foolish thing in the last 20 years - they allowed the non-Christian academics and creatives to dominate education, the arts, entertainment and media. They control the voice of our world. They control the content of TV shows we watch. They write and produce the movies we love to go see at the movies. They control the content of education and literature and music and painting. We are often on the sidelines watching as they paint with a massive brush changing the hearts of our children. 

But Christians - we do exist! In droves, albeit quiet and sidelined.  

I believe Christians should have a voice in popular culture. Not necessarily always with a 'Christian' message, but at least a voice that is not offensive to Christian or conservative ideals. But no one is going to invite us to join in. We need to put ourselves in there. We need to man-up and make art, teach, speak up and take part in the world!

Years ago I used to watch the TV show 'Law and Order'. One night I watched a few episodes in a row when I noticed a troubling trend - the baddie was always a young to middle aged, educated father! Men that look like my husband or many of my friend's husbands! I quit watching that show cause it was just depressing! The picture they painted was one that is just not my reality. I know thousands of awesome men who would die rather than harm a woman or child. 

To counteract this for a long time I dreamed of writing a realistic, but positive, male character. A man who could make you swoon like Mr. Darcy, or Edward Cullen. A beautiful, strong, good man. A man my girls could search for and my boys could emulate.

So I did. There are two male characters in my book. Luke Johnson and his cousin Nash Johnson. Once my book is published then I will have taken my own small step in the direction of changing the culture, of showing the world (or the 100 people that will listen) that people like me, Christian, conservative, artistic moms have a voice!  

Edit Time

For Kindle you just have to have a book cover, but for the print book you need a back cover too. Tonight, I downloaded my book's full print cover. I just love what my designer, Stefanie Fontecha has done, the cover is beautiful - minimalist but emotional. I love the font and the colors.

I am not 100% sure on my back cover text though. I may edit that one last time. That text has to sell my book to people who don't know me or care that I am a super-cool mommy writer! They only want to know what the story is about and if it is worth their time to read it ! That is a big burden for one little paragraph.

If anyone wants to read the back cover text, let me know and I will email it to you! I would love the feedback. 

I have sent my novel's file out to one last person to read and then when I get her edits (here's hoping there are not too many) I will be ready to upload the story to Createspace along side the cover. Then I will order a writer's proof. I hope to have that in hand before I go to Ireland. Then I assume I can make any final changes or edits before I hit 'publish'.

My Mum told me tonight about a friend of my sister-in-law who wrote a book and on a whim sent it off to JK Rowling's publisher and it was accepted! She wondered if I should do the same. I thought for a second and then said "no." I feel okay with self publishing. I don't want to involve a third party. I don't want to wait and wonder what they think. I just want to get on with it, put the book out there and mark the project as done!

Once Gala is launched then I will be free to write the next book! I have done the outline of the next book which is called "Sive" (pronounced Si-ve, the 'i' says it's own name). I am ready to get writing again!

Editing my manuscript has been a little tiresome, it is not as thrilling as writing the first draft. But I am so glad each time I go back through it because I invariably find a typo I over-looked, like missing quotation marks or an extra 'o' on to, or my worst offense - mixing tenses! I can't believe how many times I wrote in the present tense when the book is written in the past tense! I wrote the initial story so quickly there are bound to be even more mistakes!

But hopefully, what I publish will be the best it can be. I wish my story all the best as it sails off into the world for love and ridicule. Be strong little tale, your momma believes in you :)


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