Zan Marie and I met a couple years ago now as the result of a blog hop or a blog carnival or a blog fiesta–the exact event eludes me, but no matter, as we've been fast blogging buddies ever since. I always love stopping in on her blog and reading about her ongoing writing process and I so appreciate her interview with me, which I very much enjoyed, and I encourage you to head on over there and read it. I talked quite a bit about the submission process and what it takes to get a novel published.
I'm directing you away from my blog today, in order to read a guest post I wrote over at An Angel's Share. This is the blog of my dear friend, Terry Price. Terry is a wonderful writer and also a writing teacher and coach. He and I met through the Writer's Loft at MTSU. We used to be co-directors of the program and now are both mentors there.
The post is a little bit of a departure from the Emma Jean-themed posts I've been doing for others in that I talk about how I got clear on what it was I really wanted to do and found my own true north. I hope you'll check it out.
Come back tomorrow for details on a cool interview that I did!
First of all, I've got a guest post over at Always Well Within today. If you don't know Sandra's blog, you should. She writes about spiritual and personal development matters in a way that always makes me feel calm and peaceful. Just going to her space centers me.
The topic of my guest post there is 10 Life Lessons From Emma Jean. Sandra suggested the title and I immediately loved it. And then I stressed a lot a bit over the writing of it, because I loved the topic so much and I wanted it to be right. It ended up being a lot of fun to write, once I got over my angst, and I'm happy with the result. I'd love it if you checked it out.
And, tomorrow is the big day. It is the official release day of Emma Jean's Bad Behavior (although the book is already available everywhere, except in the Kindle version which I can't quite figure out). I'm celebrating with a Virtual Release party, which you can still sign up for, and I'll be back tomorrow with a post about the release process.
Here it is! The cover image for the novel, due out on February 12th. I'm really happy with this cover because I think the woman in the image has the verve and energy of Emma Jean herself.
A bit of background on the process of selecting the cover. My wonderful editor sent me three trial versions and asked me what I thought. One of them looked like a car ad to me, with the model featuring a come-hither expression that looked to me like she was trying to be sexy. She was draped over a bed with a laptop in front of her. Good effort, but no.
The second one showed a close-up of a blonde woman with glasses reading a book. I was tempted by this version, mostly because of the fact she was reading, but I didn't think the model looked much like Emma Jean. She seemed a bit dowdy to me. As my editor said, "I think Emma Jean is more put together than that."
The third version was similar to what you see on the right, but it showed only the model with slightly different typestyle. I asked if we could add something literary-esque and my editor suggested the books. The first version had the stack of books a bit taller and looked like they were about ready to topple over on top of her. But then this version was presented to me–and I loved it. They even used my favorite color, purple! (In the novel, Emma Jean has a thing for purple pens.)
I feel blessed to have been so involved in the cover image. I have no idea if this is normal or not but it's great!
So I'm counting down the days until release date, mastering Facebook, lining up guest posts and reviews and feeling a bit nervous about it all to be honest. (By the way, if you're interested in a guest post or review or know anybody who might be, drop me a line.)
Any thoughts on the process? Any questions? Leave me a comment.
I'm sitting at my computer, laughing. My husband asks me what I'm chuckling about.
"Oh, I'm proofing my novel. I'm not sure if this is good or bad, but Emma Jean makes me laugh, even though I wrote her."
I've gone through edits, and copy edits, and now one round of proofing, and every time it makes me laugh. Every time, reading the novel makes me remember how much I loved writing it. How much I love my heroine, Emma Jean. How happy I am that the book is being published.
Story number two
This year for Christmas presents, I printed out copies of my MFA novel, Language of Trees, for my daughter and daughter-in-law, because they hounded me for it at their request. As the chapters came off the printer, I read bits and pieces of it. Some of it I liked, but some of it made me cringe. And now when I picture the girls reading it, I cringe anew.
So what's the difference in these two stories?
Well for one thing, Emma Jean has been rewritten, revised and edited within an inch of her life. Though I worked and worked at writing Language of Trees, I could never quite get it to hang together. (I'm hoping to change that this year, and I'm giving serious thought to going the indie publishing route with it.)
But here's what I believe the major cringe-worthy factor is: sentimentality.
The best definition of sentimentality I've ever read is that it is unearned emotion.
Language of Trees still has a lot of moments of unearned emotion that have not been edited out. The kind of thing that makes you wince when you read it. Oh God, I just remembered a party scene from the novel wherein all the men in attendance fall head-over-heels in admiration of Collie, our heroine. Ouch. This is embarrassing to me in retrospect because it is a sentimental moment. Collie has done nothing to earn their ardor but appear at the party. Unearned emotion.
And, if I'm honest, when I ponder the novel I'm currently at work on, there's lots of instances of sentimentality. In my defense, it's still a first draft. The one with holes big enough to drive a truck through. (I can't remember who told me that metaphor, but whoever you are, thank you. I love it.) And some of those holes are unearned emotion.
So I have to admit that printing out Language of Trees was a good exercise for me, pointing out, for future reference, something I want to keep a closer eye out for. And it gives me a road map for rewriting it. I can start with the places that make me cringe and go from there.
How does sentimentality tend to present itself in your work? Is it an issue for you or not?
**If you're struggling with issues of sentimentality or other writing craft problems, make 2013 your year to go full out with your writing. Consider gifting yourself a writing coach. There's no better way to make fast progress with your writing!
But this, my dear writing friends, is why God created copy editors: to tell us such things.
I recently finished going through the copy edits for my forthcoming novel, Emma Jean's Bad Behavior, and my wonderful copy editor researched the word auditorally in three dictionaries before deciding that it really isn't a word. I think I may have made up a couple other words along the way; I know for certain I made up usages of a word here or there.
Going through the editing process of this book has made me hugely grateful for the art of editing. It's been a wonderful experience all the way through, and I know for certain that the editing has made it a much stronger book.
I have a publishing date!
Drum roll please…..
It's February 12th.
By my reckoning, that is the second Tuesday in February, just in time to buy as a gift for Valentine's Day.
I'm very excited.
And oh so grateful.
**Are you eager to become a published author but not quite sure how to get there from where you are? Perhaps some gentle assistance is what you need. My students and clients have published award-winning books, finished novels and book proposals and submitted stories and article galore. I love watching writers thrive like this! Check out my services page if you'd like to join their ranks.
“I have three kids under the age of 5 but I managed to finish this book in under a week because I couldn’t put it down.” Molly, 5 Star Amazon Review
“This well-written, funny, poignant, amazing book has opened up a whole new fiction genre for this lover of dystopian fiction.” Samantha, 5 Star Amazon Review
“I just spent a weekend with Emma Jean and had such fun!” Jenni, 5 Star Amazon Review
Here’s the synopsis:
At age 48 (43 according to her blog, Life, Full Tilt) best-selling novelist Emma Jean Sullivan has longed for a baby for years, but after she and her husband Peter are unable to conceive, she staunchly vows to become the standard bearer for all childless couples. And she succeeds spectacularly. Emma Jean’s novels, up until recently, have sold millions, and she enjoys a rabid baby-hating fan base. But now she confronts a dilemma larger than any her heroines have faced: she’s pregnant. And the baby’s father is not her husband.
Through no fault of her own (he was just so damned adorable), she began a passionate affair with Riley, a fetching airplane mechanic she met at a book signing in LA. The rapturous relationship reorders her priorities, and she realizes that her life isn’t quite so blissful as she formerly believed, though she struggles valiantly to maintain her marriage and her sham brand throughout her wrenching travails.
Her husband is busy embezzling Emma Jean’s money and completely uninterested in fatherhood, and her lover has his hands full with problems of his own. Not only that, her latest novel is a miserable failure, and a Vanity Fair reporter, who plans to out Emma Jean’s pregnancy to her fans, is stalking her. What’s a suddenly broke, failing, middle-aged pregnant novelist to do? Why, flee to a glamorous resort town, of course. There, Emma Jean seeks privacy to figure out her next move—and finds unexpected spiritual and emotional solace.
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