Round Two Down!

I just finished the second edits, the color edits, on Tilt. Next up is taking all the changes and incorporating them into the manuscript. I’m hoping to get Tilt to my editor by the middle of December.

This book has been a lot easier to work with than Lift. The story knows where it’s headed, and believe me, BIG things go down in book two! Almost all of the Flying Ponies get introduced, and you get to know Dreadful more.

I hope to release Tilt in mid-winter (Valentine’s Day would be fun, wouldn’t it?). Check back on my social media as I will be updating where I am with the publishing process.

Editing With Color

I am now on the second round of edits on Tilt, book two in The Flying Ponies trilogy. This second stage is what I refer to as my “highlighter” round. Each pertinent character and sometimes story line gets assigned a different color highlighter. As I go through the manuscript, I use those colors to mark characters. I do this so I can see how many times a character is in a scene or on a page, and to make sure they continue all the way through the book. If a certain color stops, I can make sure there’s a reason why that character or story line disappears.

This strategy works well for me, and I like flipping through all the pages of the manuscript and seeing the different colors. As a writer, it’s interesting to see which characters run the show. In Tilt, the Flying Ponies themselves are quite involved in the narrative. You will meet almost all of them in the second book; and hopefully, you will like at least some of them. Each of the 32 Flying Ponies are based on actual carousel horses – some of them are on working carousels around the United States, and others are to be found in museums. The model horse for Dreadful, for instance, is at the Frontier Museum at Cedar Point Amusement Park, in Ohio. In the middle of this month I will be visiting Cedar Point, and am excited about “meeting” the bay cavalry horse Dreadful is modeled after.

Using the different colors also appeals to me as a creative person. I love to color, and highlighting my characters is almost like coloring my novel. Who knows – maybe someday there will be a Flying Ponies coloring book! The one major story line that I assigned a color is the relationship between Black and Charlotte. I’ll admit – I think they are an adorable young couple, and I’m having fun watching their feelings for one another develop, especially since a certain older brother doesn’t like that.

I’m not quite halfway through the book with the colors; once that round of edits is done, I’ll let Tilt sit for a week or so and then go through it again, this time looking for anything that feels out-of-place. I’ve signed my book contract for it, and the book will probably go to my editor in the early winter, and then finally to my publisher. I expect Tilt to release around March-April of 2019.

If you’re a writer, the highlighter round might work for you, too – and it sure makes your manuscript pretty!

 

Bittersweet

I finished the first draft of book two in The Flying Ponies trilogy, Tilt, last Saturday night. As I sat there, staring at my computer screen, a little disturbed by what I had just written, I thought, Wow. I only have one more book with this crew. Then it will be on to something else. And that realization hit me quite hard.

You see, writers get attached to their characters. We live with them in our minds and hearts, day after day. Someone can read your story and think, yeah, I enjoyed that. And then they move on to something else. But writers don’t get to do that. At least, I don’t. Those people, those wooden horses that fly, are now part of me. They always will be.

And I will miss them when their story is complete, when I’m not thinking of and working with them daily. They’ll still be with me, but they will no longer be in the limelight. They’ll have to move over and make room for the next story’s characters.

That’s how it should, of course. No writer can rest on his or her last story. There’s always going to be another to tell, another to share with the world. But you still miss the last one you told.

I know I shouldn’t be waxing poetic about The Flying Ponies yet. I still have to edit and polish Tilt. It probably won’t release until spring 2019, and then I have the third and final one to write, Spin. After that, yeah. It will be time to get sentimental.

But the next story is always calling, even now, even with Tilt just starting to cool off, stored on my flash drive and laptop. Still, it’s hard not to feel some bittersweetness.

I kind of want that carousel ride to last forever.

The Middle Blues

So this is what’s going on: I’m a little better then halfway through Tilt, the second book in The Flying Ponies trilogy, and I’m tapped out. I’m just done. The muse is sitting in her garden, sipping tea, and I just don’t feel like writing.

This happens. It happened with Lift, too. It usually happens to me right around the middle of the book; I’m tired of working on it, the story isn’t flowing, and when I open the story document, I sit staring at the screen wondering if there are any cool pins on Pinterest to look at.

It’s also known as the dreaded writer’s block. It happens to every writer, at different stages of their work. Mine tends to hit in the middle of the novel. How do writers deal with it? They each have different strategies. There are even writing books devoted to writer’s block. I’ve learned that giving myself and the muse a couple days off really helps. I also listen to songs that remind me of the story and the characters.

I really should be writing Tilt. I should be staring at that computer screen. I definitely shouldn’t be watching The Big Bang Theory, which is exactly what I’m doing while typing this. Ah, well. I know where Tilt is headed. I have a solid idea of the ending, which will lead into Spin, the third and final book in The Flying Ponies trilogy. And later on today, I’ll head into my office, boot up the laptop, tell the muse to hop to it, and stare at that screen.

And maybe, just maybe, the words will flow, and I’ll be closer to that ending that I can see glimpses of.

This image and quote are from (where else?) Pinterest.

Write Your Story

I did an author meet and greet yesterday at Gales IGA in Hart, and I had a ball! I sold some books, but what was more fun was just talking about Lift with the people who came. They were genuinely interested in learning about the process and the inspiration, and I thoroughly enjoy talking about it.

It’s been said that if you can’t find the kind of book you want to read, then you need to write it yourself. There’s a danger in doing that, of course – what if no one else likes your story? Well, to be honest, should a writer care about that? Yes, at least a little. Most working writers hope to make some money, though most of us know we will never make enough to quit our day/night jobs. That’s a reality that needs to be faced.

It doesn’t mean, however, that you shouldn’t write that story that you want to read. Somewhere out there are other people who need your story, too. They might not even realize it until they see it sitting on a local book store’s shelf or on Amazon. Not every person will click with your story, and that’s okay. How many books have you read that didn’t do it for you? That’s no reason to hold back.

I love my story. I love my characters. I can’t wait to share book two of The Flying Ponies trilogy with all of you. It’s a story I would’ve loved to read, but no one had written it, so God gave it to me to write. For better or worse, the Flying Ponies are mine now.

What story do you want to read that hasn’t been written yet? Perhaps it hasn’t been written because it’s waiting for you to do it.

Have a blessed Memorial Day, everyone. Remember our fallen soldiers and what they did to protect the freedom we as Americans enjoy.

(I found this quote on Pinterest.)

Lift Launch!

So Saturday, April 21st, was my launch party at the Book Nook & Java Shop. I had my nervous breakdown the Tuesday before (Would anyone come? Would I sell any books?) Well, I had no reason to be nervous.

I spoke for roughly twenty minutes on Coney Island, carousels, and writing Lift. My hubby recorded me; it’s on YouTube (L. M. Ransom Lift). I took some questions, and then sat down to sign books.

And ran out of copies before the end of the line. Never expected that! I wasn’t expecting the amount of people who came, either. Friends, family, a coworker, my hubby’s coworkers, and people who I didn’t know. It was a terrific turnout! Everyone was encouraging and excited, and I had an awesome time. It was more than I could’ve hoped for, which isn’t surprising. God has blessed everything about Lift.

My next event is Saturday, May 26th, from 4-5 pm, at Gales IGA in Hart, Michigan. I’m looking forward to it; I doubt I will have any anxiety, now that I have the launch party behind me.

Here are some pictures!

Daybreaker Hits Home!

Daybreaker is the final book in the Undertow series. The author, K. R. Conway, is also my publisher. We met on Goodreads, after I fangirled over Undertow, the first book in the series. Daybreaker releases tomorrow!

This is the press release for Daybreaker and the Undertow series:

Daybreaker, the final book in K.R. Conway’s Urban Fantasy series known as Undertow, is finally out! If you have yet to read about Eila Walker (you know, the hilarious teen girl who inherits a house with a murderous past along with a snarky crew of supernatural rejects and a killer boy who’s determined to keep her alive), have no fear: the link to the first book is here: https://books2read.com/u/m2okW7


The link to all Conway’s books are here: https://www.amazon.com/K.R.-Conway/e/B00FUZUXRU/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1520549081&sr=8-1

BIO:

K.R. Conway is a sarcastic bugger who likes to torment Cape Cod’s summertime tourists, taunting them about sneaky sharks and traffic-free backroads. She’s been a professional journalist since 1999 when several newspaper editors lost their minds and hired her as a feature writer. She is best known, however, for her Urban Fantasy series, Undertow, which reads like a mash-up of Jaws and The Goonies.

Awards, nominations, and features include Barnes and Noble’s Seven Terrifying Summer Reads for Teens (2015), Teen Ink Magazine’s Best Picks, Girl’s Life Magazine Cool Winter Reads, newspapers, magazines, and radio. Nominations include Indie Recon Live (Best New YA, Best Opening Line, Best Book Boyfriend), YALSA, Cybil, Goodreads, IRDA, and others.

The series has spawned fan fiction, fan art, jewelry, clothing, and even tattoos. Conway, who is a member of SCBWI, teaches fiction craft at writer conferences, high schools, and libraries. She lives on Cape Cod with her equally weird family and a strange assortment of critters. When not writing, Conway drives a forty-foot Loser Cruiser that smells like forgotten Pony sneakers from the 80s.
LINKS:
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/k_r_conway/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorKRConway/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/SharkProse
Website: https://capecodscribe.com

KRConwayUndertowpic

The Author Life…or Something Like That

It’s beautiful outside today. It’s 71 degrees (according to my weather app on my Android), and there’s a breeze playing through the trees outside my window. The trees are starting to change, finally. With all the rain and wind we got here in west Michigan last week, I wasn’t sure there’d be any leaves left.

Tonight is the last home football game, and last game period for the Shelby Tigers. They fought valiantly, but without much avail this year. The highlight of the home games was the Shelby Marching Tigers, the high school marching band my son plays trumpet in. I guess maybe my opinion is swayed, being a band mom. The football team really did try hard this year.

My niece and I attended the Breathe writing conference back on October 6th, and it was amazing. I got to sit in on sessions led by two very talented women, Rachel McMillan (her Canadian accent is so COOL!) and Cynthia Beach, who led a great session on writing settings. B (my niece) and I decided we definitely want to attend the whole conference next year. It’s already in my Google calendar.

So what about actual writing? Well, I’ve been editing Lift, my YA contemporary fantasy novel coming from Wicked Whale Publishing in 2018. I’m finding out that being a pantser-type writer means quite a bit of revision. I’m also writing Tilt, the second in The Flying Ponies series.

Life does get in the way, though, of that thing we writers like to do: write. We’ve had doctor’s appointments this week and upcoming doctor and dentist appointments in the next two weeks. We’re going to Cedar Point amusement park with my husband’s brothers and their families next weekend, where I’m hoping to snag some selfies with the Muller “Haunted Cavalry Horse” carousel horse that resides in the park’s Frontier Town Museum. We’ve also got the Shelby Marching Tigers’ Spectacular next Friday night, where the marching band plays in the high school auditorium. It is quite a sight!

Throw in high school and middle school conferences, youth group activities, those pesky TV shows my hubby and I can’t live without, the books we’re trying to read, a health concern for me, and a myriad of other things (have I mentioned our two horses and two Dachshunds?!), and it’s a wonder I get any writing or editing done at all. I’m very new to this author life, and while loving it to death, I do struggle with finding time for everything. Because it’s all good stuff. Great stuff, actually, when it has to do with my family and animals.

What do you do to find time? To make time? I have a pretty pink soft cover notebook that’s quite large, and that’s what I make my writing plans in every week. I try to stick to the schedule I lay out. Sometimes I do really well, and other times, well, not so much. This week, I know without checking my planner, I didn’t do so hot. But at least I have a reference for what I really need to be working on. I put stickers and shiny sticky gemstones in it to flash it up a little. Hopefully this next week I’ll manage to follow my plans a little better.

So onward to the last football game of the season. And onward with this crazy author life!

 

Continuing to Learn 

My niece and I are attending the 2017 Breathe Conference tomorrow, October 6. It will be our first time there, and our first time going to a conference together. We’re excited, a little nervous, and ready to learn. 

It will be interesting to be with so many other writers. Writing is a solitary action. Most of us are introverts. I know I prefer small groups to large ones, but sometimes getting out of my comfort zone is good. Getting to talk writing with so many other people will be an amazing experience. 

Continuing to learn about the craft of writing is important. I cut my teeth writing reams and reams of fan fiction. Writing for those fandoms helped me learn what to do and not do. I learned (hopefully) how to deal with unflattering reviews. But not everything can be gleaned from just writing.  Going to conferences and seminars teaches you new ideas, builds your confidence, and lets you mingle with others who “get” you. 

I will post this weekend after the conference and let you know how it went. Have a blessed night, and a wonderful Friday. 

Finding Inspiration at the Mall

I survived girls’ weekend! It was a great two days of watching romantic movies, shopping, and eating junk food. On Sunday, we ventured to the Traverse City Mall, which houses a beautiful carousel. I took the pictures you see here to use as inspiration for my Flying Ponies series.

I love seeing the carousel animals; they remind me of a lost time that America will never see again. I believe this carousel sports fiberglass animals rather than wood, but their beautiful colors and intricate designs also represent my own childhood memories of riding flying ponies around and around.

I think when you’re writing, it’s a good idea to find images related to the story that inspire you. I am a visual person; seeing actual carousels help me focus on writing about my fictional one. And, I enjoy learning about them, too. I hope to next year make it down to Sandusky, Ohio, to the Merry Go Round Museum, to visit their restored carousels.

What inspires you when you write? What images have you used for your stories?

Have a blessed night, and please enjoy the carousel pictures.