books, Uncategorized, Writing

The Dreaded Red Pen – A Publishing Update

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I haven’t posted in a few months, but I wanted to update those of you who are following my publishing journey. I said back in July that I planned to self-publish Stoker’s Mill, my first novel. Since then, however, I’ve really felt God leading me to publish my second novel, Subversive. Subversive is the first book in a dystopian trilogy that I’ve been working on for a few years. I’ll be honest–this was a difficult book to write, and I’m much more nervous about publishing it than Stoker’s Mill for a variety of reasons. But I’m moving forward with it because I feel God leading me in that direction. I’m working on the sequel now (and dreaming up ideas for the third–and final–book).

I just started working with a professional editor. Yes, that’s right. I have an editor! She’s going to do a comprehensive edit of my manuscript and power it up as much as possible. A few days ago, she sent me her corrections of the first three pages (see the picture above). Look how marked up it is! It’s like AP English all over again. But I was amazed (and thrilled!) at how much stronger her changes made the opening scene. And she doesn’t just edit–she teaches her writers as she edits. My degree is in Criminal Justice, not English. I’m entirely self-taught as a writer, so I need all the help I can get. With my editor’s help, I’m learning about subjective clauses and dangling modifiers and all sorts of fun things! I really am enjoying the process and can’t wait to show you the finished product.

I plan on posting more regularly and keeping you updated throughout the entire process. Not only because I hope you’ll find it interesting, but because I’m going to need you along the way. There will be decisions to make (which cover do you prefer? which font looks the best?), and I’ll be asking for your help!

Since we’re talking about Subversive, here is the “back cover blurb.” Some version of this will end up on the back cover of the published book. I’m including it here so you can get an idea of what it’s about:

In an abandoned coal mine, a group of fugitives huddle four-hundred feet beneath the surface of the earth. To the world, and to the Federal Task Force who have been commissioned to hunt them down, they are known as subversives. Dangerous religious zealots who must be captured and imprisoned before their extremism can infect anyone else. Since the night of her parent’s arrest, Gemma Alcott has been in hiding as a subversive. She’s found a home—and someone to love—but she’s never forgotten the love she left behind. 

Taylor, a young Task Force officer, believes wholeheartedly in his mission and in the danger posed by subversives. He believes in the mission so much that he detained and imprisoned his own father. But when his first love, Gemma, is captured by a rogue Task Force unit, his loyalties are put to the test. Facing interrogation and possible death, Gemma must summon the strength—and faith—to protect her friends at all costs. And Taylor must decide if he’s fighting against evil . . . or for it. 

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Has anyone ever been to the Pioneer Tunnel Coal Mine in Ashland, Pennsylvania? We go there every summer (the boys LOVE it) and that was the inspiration for my fugitive group’s hideout in this book. I took notes each time we went (how deep it is, the average temperature, the gross orange stuff clinging to the walls) and included those details in the book.

I’m hoping to publish Subversive next spring or early summer. It all depends on how quickly I can find a cover designer. The really good designers–the ones used by the major publishing houses–are expensive. Like . . . very expensive. And they have long waiting lists. But the cover is the reader’s first impression of a book. Think about it. When you are looking at books, the cover is the first thing you notice. If it grabs your attention, you flip the book over and read the back cover. Then, if you’re still interested, you might peruse the first few pages to see if you like the writer’s style. The cover is so important. I have a dream designer in mind but I have no idea if I could afford her or if this is even a project she would agree to take on. But I’ve emailed her and I’m waiting to hear back. If you would, please pray that I find the right cover designer for these books.

If you took the time to read this far, thank you for joining me on my long journey down this yellow brick road. The hardest part of being a writer is putting your work into the world for others to read (And judge. And criticize). Especially for an introvert like me! But having my work edited by a professional in the industry is a good first step. When I’m anxious about it, I think of the writers I love and admire. I think about the characters they created in their minds and brought to life on paper. What if they had kept those stories for themselves? I know that God will give me the strength to endure anything the world throws at me. And maybe–just maybe–my stories and characters will have an impact on someone’s life. Maybe my work will be a blessing to someone else, as so many stories and characters have been a blessing to me over the years.

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. –Proverbs 3: 5-6