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!
The carousel horses in my trilogy, The Flying Ponies, are all based off real-life carousel horses. They are either aboard machines still in operation or in museums, where people can admire them. Some of them are on the carousel at the Grand Rapids Public Museum; their literary equivalents debut in Tilt, book two of the trilogy.
Two of my fans (and nieces) visited the museum with their family earlier this month and took a spin on the 1928 Spillman carousel. They also took selfies with a couple of the horses; Contessa is a palomino mare and Oriflamme is a palomino armored horse (the names belong to their counterparts in my books). I was given permission to share the pictures.
I love the beauty and majesty of antique carousels, and I love the fact that these two girls were able to ride this one and enjoy it. Carousels have charm and a certain grace, and if you are able to stand quietly next to their painted ponies, you might just hear them whispering.
Magic might not exist in a literal sense, but it can be found in life. One only has to believe and be willing to seek it out in the ordinary.
Yeah. I’m going to be blunt. I’m afraid to start editing Tilt, book two in The Flying Ponies trilogy because, GASP! what if it’s bad? Having gone through the editing process last year starting around this time with Lift, book one in the trilogy, I know it’s not fun. It’s not supposed to be, I don’t think. Oh maybe, if you can kill enough of the darlings and know where to embellish and how to do so, but what if the story itself isn’t good?
Sure, you can rewrite. You can do as many drafts as you pretty please. Still, the story itself, the inner thread that holds all those scenes and characters together – what if that’s so far past gone that you can’t find it? Or it unravels as fast as you grab at it? Then, might I ask, what?!
So this, then, is my dilemma. I am set to print off Tilt and start the editing process around August 30, give or take a day or so. I was eager to begin the process with its predecessor. I didn’t know any better. Some writers love editing and rewriting. For them, that’s where they find their story. For me, it’s not. I already know my story. I know where it’s going and what it should look like at the end of the book. It’s all those lines in the middle, the ones that twist and shape the story. What if those aren’t as elegant as I thought? What if my clever writing isn’t?
I’m not looking for assurances or reassurances. Maybe insurance – wait, that’s what my day job is for, so I’ve got something to fall back on should this writing endeavor fail. This is just me wringing my hands inside my head and wondering why on earth I thought I wanted to write for anyone other than myself. You know, though, I think every author, every writer, goes through this. At some point in time in your career, anyway. I’m just dragging my feet. That’s all there is to it.
So…onward into the unknown. We’ll see if the story is really there, if the characters are doing what needs to be done and in a timely manner.
We’ll see if these Flying Ponies are continuing in their nefarious ways!
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.
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.
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.)
It’s true – Lift has fans! I am so excited! I had the opportunity to talk to a reader last week at the library who asked about book two and told me how much she loved Lift. And this past Saturday I received my first piece of fan art from another reader who loves my story. I am so geeked!
As a writer, I knew Lift would not be for everyone. There are millions of readers in not only our nation but the world, and no one book could make each of them happy. Still, to interact with readers who connected with the story and enjoyed it has been such a wonderful part of being an author.
I am halfway through Tilt, book two in The Flying Ponies trilogy, and I expect to publish it around April of 2019. This second book will answer questions left over from Lift and introduce more of the 32 Flying Ponies of the carousel. I am looking forward to sharing this second book with the fans!
Isn’t this fan art cool?! I’m so glad readers are enjoying the story – I’m enjoying the experience of being an author!
I have been frequenting Gales IGA grocery store from the time I was little. Whichever one of us girls went grocery shopping with Mom there got a snack and a pop for the ride home. It’s a friendly place, and easy to find what you need.
Gales has been getting a make over recently, and it looks amazing! Their new cafe spot with comfy chairs, couches and tables is a terrific place to sit and relax for a bit. Another new feature is that they carry home decorations and items made by local people. One of those local items is a new book entitled Lift!
I was super excited to be asked if they could carry my first novel. Of course I said yes! How awesome to have something of mine displayed and for sale in a store that I admire and love?
This writing adventure, which started back in high school, is leading to some marvelous things. I now have Lift available at the Book Nook & Java Shop in Montague, and Gales IGA in Hart. It’s so nifty.
Oh, and I got to meet a fan today at the library where I work. So cool. So blessed. I love this writing life!
Here’s a picture of Lift on display at Gales. Have a wonderful evening!
PS! I’m going to be at Gales on Saturday, May 26th, from 4-5 pm, speaking about writing and signing copies of Lift!
So back on January 4th, someone pulled out in front of me and we had a fender bender. We elected to put my XJ, Bernadette (named after a character on The Big Bang Theory), back together ourselves. It took nearly two months to get the insurance money, so we had to wait to buy the parts, and then wait for the time to do it.
Today was the day! My hubby and I took off the busted fender and front end, and put her back together again. He did most of the work; I’m pretty good with a screwdriver, lol, and holding parts in place. Now the old girl needs paint, and her 3″ lift. After that she’ll be ready to hit the sand dunes and the trails.
Here are a few pictures during the process, and what she looks like now. Hope everyone is having a great weekend!
One of the best parts about the weather turning warm in May is getting our 1995 Jeep Wrangler (a YJ in Jeep terms) Shifty, back on the road. Last Sunday we as a family took his soft top off and headed a few miles north of our town to the next, where we got ice cream. Well, I got sherbet, which I was informed is “not ice cream.” I’m okay with that. It tasted amazing!
If you follow me across my social media, you know that my 1999 Jeep Cherokee (an XJ) was smashed up in an accident on January 4th. Bernadette is in my author photo with me at the back of my YA novel, Lift. I love my Jeep. We are fixing her front end ourselves; this Saturday we intend to replace the bad parts with her new ones. Once that is done, in June we are taking her to my hubby’s younger brother’s place where she is getting a 3″ lift kit installed. This will make it easier for her to navigate trails and the Silver Lake Sand Dunes.
And, you know, it will make her tough(er) 😏😎
So let the summer start, because this Jeepin’ family is ready!!