Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Cover Reveal: Echoes in the Glass by Cheri Lasota

By Cheri Lasota

Releasing December 2013
Publisher: Ever-Sea Press

Young Adult Contemporary Romance
Finnian bears the scar of an unspeakable crime. McKenna hides the pain of a terrible betrayal. When all their secrets are laid bare, will the truth rip them apart or forever silence the echoes of the past? Seventeen-year-old Finnian Bell has been on the run for years, but he finally has a chance to rebuild his life while restoring an abandoned lighthouse on the Oregon Coast. McKenna Lucas, the lightkeeper’s daughter, is still reeling from the pain of an event that has shattered her innocence. Fear and bitterness have turned her heart from Finnian, but he is determined not to let her go. The lighthouse harbors dark secrets of its own… When Finnian and McKenna uncover the story of two teens hidden in the tower back in 1934, they discover a shocking connection that bridges time and death.

 photo goodreads-badge-add-38px11_zps1ae6e47f.jpg    

About the Author Cheri Lasota has written poetry and fiction for sixteen years, edited fiction for nine years and recently jumped headlong into design work for enhanced e-books. She has a great love for all things techy, so she finds herself pushing the boundaries of e-book marketing and design at every turn. Her passion for fiction and helping other novelists achieve their goals is without limits.   Her bestselling debut novel, ARTEMIS RISING, is a 2013 Cygnus Awards First Place Winner and a 2012 finalist in the Next Generation Indie Books Awards. Cheri just released her how-to e-book DESIGN AND UPLOAD YOUR EPUB and is currently finishing up her second YA novel, ECHOES IN THE GLASS, set on the Oregon Coast.

  CheriLasota.com | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook | Google+ | LinkedIn  

 photo AToMRToursC66a-A00aT03a-Z_mdm_zpsa3cc6896.jpg

And now a guest post from author Cheri Lasota on how the cover was created:

Today kicks off a season of events leading up to the release of my forthcoming Contemporary YA novel Echoes in the Glass in December 2013!
I've been dying to reveal the beautiful cover that Graphic Designer Steven Novak and Photographer Krista Weisz collaborated on for me. They brought my vision to life and then some!

How did the cover come about?

An image came to my mind fairly early on in my writing process for this novel. I pictured two figures facing each other, fingers touching. The guy is in present day and the girl is in 1934 and the same lighthouse stands between them, as a bridge to the present and an echo of the past. As you can see, Krista and Steven nailed it. =)

A lighthouse on the Oregon Coast features heavily in this story and the present day and 1934 storylines intertwine in unexpected ways, and it was important to me that the two time periods were represented on the cover. In talking over the possibilities with Krista Weisz, we decided to have her put out a call for models in her local area. The search was long, but in the end, they were worth the wait.

Krista took the models out to a gorgeous location and took a number of pictures in different settings. Many of those I was able to use for promotion pictures, such as the ones you see below. Beautiful, aren't they?!

Editing HIDDEN - Step 5: The First Major Edit

Yesterday I sat down with my manuscript and began editing. Content editing, mainly.

I love editing as much as I hate it.

It's amazing to take a rough draft and sculpt it into something publishable. At the same time, the amount of work that goes into revising a first draft is HUGE. For me, it is the longest, hardest, most painful part of the entire process from first idea to hitting the publish button.

Since I began HIDDEN more than a year ago, it's changed drastically. I need to almost completely rewrite the entire first act.

This does not make Megg happy. It makes Megg very grouchy.

For the foreseeable future, I'll be buried in those pages with a red pen and a purple highlighter. I'll be cursing and crying, and I'll likely quit a million times. Then I'll transfer to my computer with the damaged and beaten manuscript in my hands. Slowly I'll make all of those changes. I'll rewrite the ugly passages. I'll fill in the missing pieces.

And when I'm done, that's when HIDDEN will fly through the internet to my first editor.

How long will all of this take? I don't know. I worked for nine hours yesterday. I may slip in even more today and tomorrow. I could be done by Friday. It may not be until the week after. I just don't know. I'll work my butt off until it's done.

If you want specifics, here's what I'm looking for in my manuscript in this pass:

Any/all grammatical errors
Repeated words/phrases
Correct character names/spelling
Awkward sentences/phrases
Proper timeline
Chapters in the correct order
Story flow
...pretty much anything that isn't perfect must be ripped to shreds

Wish me luck!



Want to enter contests, win swag, and be told the moment my books go live? Sign up for my newsletter HERE. Thanks!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Editing HIDDEN: Step 4 - Pacing

"There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are." - W. Somerset Maugham

After assuring myself that every chapter has a reason to be there (and if it didn't, deciding whether to scrap it or combine it with another), my next step is to check the pacing of my novel.

There are a lot of theories on pacing and more books and websites on the topic than you can ever read.

Some people swear by Save the Cat by Snyder. Others love Screenwriting Tricks for Authors by Sokoloff. Or you could go with a simple beat sheet calculator.

Me? I'm a HUGE fan of Martha Alderson. Her book, The Plot Whisperer: Secrets of Story Structure Any Writer Can Master, was one of the game changers in my writing life. I first began watching her videos on You Tube, which you should totally check out later. I bought her book on Kindle when it came out and I've referred to it a zillion times. While I love paper books as much as the next person, my Kindle app is far better because I would have destroyed a paper copy by now.

Because I have so much respect for Ms. Alderson and her methods, I'm not going to go into great detail. You should read her book or watch her videos. But, I will show you what I've done with my note cards for this pacing step...and you can find similar graphs on the web (but nothing quite as spectacular as hers) here.

By laying out my note cards in this way, I can easily segment Acts One through Three. I know where my midpoint and crisis fall. I can tell if I have too much in the middle or too much at the end. Basically, this one task tells me everything I need to know about the pacing of my book.

Next step? I'm diving into my first major line edit. Wish me luck!!!!



Want to enter contests, win swag, and be told the moment my books go live? Sign up for my newsletter HERE. Thanks!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Editing HIDDEN: Step 4 - Declaring WARS

Now that I have all of my note cards labeled, it's time to declare WARS.

W - Want
A - Action
R - Resolution
S -  Surprise

I'll be analyzing the chapter description on each note card to make sure it aligns with my WARS strategy.

Everyone in publishing says to keep your stories tight. Leave out the extraneous junk, right? The WARS strategy, coupled with the note cards, helps you do this.

W - Want: Your character should want something in each chapter. Have a goal in mind to propel them forward. That's much preferred to reading about George,
Courtesy of Microsoft Office Clipart
sitting in a blue armchair, contemplating a squirrel. Unless, of course, your plot has something to do with the zombie apocalypse and an infected squirrel, which just happens to be George's focus of study.

A - Action: Once you know what your character wants in the chapter, take some action! George slips into his super-secret infectious disease lab hidden in his basement. There, he constructs a trap, designed to capture the squirrel while minimizing risk to himself.

R - Resolution: Resolve your character's want. George sneaks outside, sets an acorn in the trap, waits...and...SUCCESS! George has trapped the infected squirrel and he can now begin studying the virus.

S - Surprise: Don't let your reader relax. Everyone loves a good page-turner. End each chapter with some kind of lead-in to the next. It doesn't have to be a complete shocker or cliffhanger each chapter, but give your reader a reason to keep reading. You know what's coming, right? Poor George, despite all of his precautions, he gets bit by the zombie squirrel.

This is a critical step in the editing process. Not just because you want to make sure your chapters have proper internal structure, but also because this will affect everything coming up next.

What happens if you declare WARS on a chapter and you can't identify all four aspects? Look at what came before, or what comes next. Sometimes you can combine chapters and sometimes you need to rethink the chapter completely.

Once you've successfully completed these steps for each chapter, you'll find you have a solid base for the next step in my editing process.



Want to enter contests, win swag, and be told the moment my books go live? Sign up for my newsletter HERE. Thanks!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Editing HIDDEN: Step 3 - Labeling the Note Card

In Step 1 I told you part of my first editing pass included writing the theme of each chapter on a note card. Despite multiple distractions, I was able to complete that over the weekend.

I started HIDDEN in the fall of 2012 and wrote in spurts around my husband's double spinal fusion (which was a very stressful time and not conducive to creativity). Much of the first quarter of the novel was a bit fuzzy in my memory. Over the past weekend, I did a lot of skimming to remind myself exactly what was happening early on. The later chapters were a breeze.

I wanted to show you how I label my cards before telling you what I'm going to do with them.

 Blank, white, 3x5 note cards are my favorite.

Okay, so in the upper right corner, you'll see a 1 and a T.

The 1 indicates the corresponding chapter in my text. I also marked the top right of the printed chapter with this number so it'll be easy to cross-reference later.

At this point, all the note cards are in numerical order. That won't be the case forever. And, it doesn't mean note card 1 is Chapter One. It just happens to be the first chapter I cataloged (I used to be a curator in a museum - some organizational habits die hard - I catalog everything).

The T refers to the POV (point of view) character. Since this is my first novel with multiple POVs, I need that to be indicated as well.

The blue blob is my description - well, it was until I took a picture and put the blob over it. Can't give away anything about the plot yet.

The back is blank...for now.

Seems simple, right? Note cards are easy, just a little time consuming when you're going through an 80,000-word manuscript.

Okay, I'm off to start Step 4. I'll fill you in on that tomorrow. :)



Want to enter contests, win swag, and be told the moment my books go live? Sign up for my newsletter HERE. Thanks!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Editing HIDDEN: Step 2 - The Power of TK

The Power of TK

Do you struggle with getting your drafts done because you get lost in details or are you desperate to finally finish NaNoWriMo this year? Never fear - I have a tool for you!!!

Unless you're a journalist, it's possible you've never heard of tk.

Courtesy of Microsoft Office Clipart
Not everyone knows, but I spent ten years as a freelance journalist. Don't bother Googling for my articles. They are under my real name. Part of the reason I chose to use a pen name was to keep my two jobs completely separate. So far, it's worked. I mean, really, who wants to Google my books and end up with articles about baby poop?

Early on I learned the power of tk. Meaning "to come," tk is used as a placeholder in an article when you don't have all the info you need. TK is easy to see in a manuscript, whereas "to come" might look like normal text and be easily ignored.

And even though tk was around long before computers, it's awesome because there are very few English words where T and K are next to each other, so it ALWAYS shows up in spell check.

Handy, right?

Now when I write books, I'm a fast first drafter. I don't let anything stop me when I'm in the groove.

New character and I can't immediately come up with a name? tk
Don't know the number of years that have passed since a certain event? tk
Want to be more descriptive about a sword, but need to research it? tk

See where I'm going with this? You never have to stop again while drafting. Put in your tk and move on. You can always do your researching, naming, math, whatever in editing.

Now that I'm in editing mode, it's time to clean up all of those pesky tk notations in my manuscript. If I don't find them while I'm reading the text, spell check will be happy to point them out to me.

If you're still writing, you want to focus on getting the story down. The nitty gritty can come later. Besides, you will never have a book to query or self-publish if you don't finish it - trust me, tk will get you there.

More editing tips next week! Have a great weekend, everyone. :)



Want to enter contests, win swag, and be told the moment my books go live? Sign up for my newsletter HERE. Thanks!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Editing HIDDEN: Step 1

People are always asking me about my editing process - as if there's some big mystery surrounding how I take my crappy first draft and turn it into something I'm proud to query or publish.

Since I'm starting my edits on HIDDEN, my upcoming fantasy novel, I thought I'd blog about it as I go, so you can see how I edit.

Keep in mind, editing isn't the same for every person. Each writer has their own process and concerns.

My first confession: I edit on paper. I know, I know, in the digital age, I should be saving trees and editing on my computer.

Believe me, I've tried and I can't do it.

When I edit, it helps to look at the manuscript from a different perspective. I like the feel of paper in my hands. I like being able to rearrange chapters as I go. And, most importantly, I love having lots of colorful editing supplies. It's the twelve-year-old girl in me. ;)

 I'm not just going to dive in and hope for the best. The first editing pass will be very technical. I'm going to write character descriptions (what they look like, how they act, goals, traits) and along the way I will write the theme of each chapter on a note card. You'll see what I do with those note cards later.

That's it for my first pass. No line editing whatsoever. I need to make sure my structure is sound before I worry about the text.

Ready? Set... EDIT!!!!



Want to enter contests to win swag and be told the moment my books go live? Sign up for my newsletter HERE. Thanks!