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.)

FANS!!!

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!

Support Your Locals!

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!

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!

Launch Day!

It’s finally here: Lift officially releases! This day has been a long time coming; I’ve wanted to be an author for a long time now.

If you’re in the vicinity of Montague, Michigan this afternoon, I will be at the Book Nook & Java Shop from 4:30-6 pm, talking a little about Coney Island carousels and the inspiration behind Lift. I will also be selling and signing copies of the novel, which is the first in the Flying Ponies trilogy.

This picture was taken at the Grand Rapids Museum this past March. The horse is an armored charger from their 1928 Spillman carousel. They are one of my favorite types of carousel horses. This particular one will serve as inspiration for one of the Flying Ponies in the second book in the trilogy, Tilt.

Have a blessed day and hope to see you this afternoon!

Launch Day Approaches…

We are now T minus four days from launching Lift, first in the Flying Ponies trilogy. It is a great feeling to be here, this close, but I have to admit to you – a little frightening, too.

As an indie (independent) author, my book isn’t debuting with all the fanfare a Big 5 book would get. There are no ads in glossy magazines, no write-ups in the New York Times, and no appearances on Good Morning America. It is, however, getting a launch party at the very cool book store, the Book Nook & Java Shop, on Saturday. It has three very nice reviews on Goodreads, and it has a KILLER cover. I mean, have you seen it?? So what is so frightening?

The fact that it might not sell well.

You see, indie authors, unlike Big 5 ones, pay for different book services. I have an outstanding editor and publisher, but I also pay them for their help. Now, when my book sells, I don’t owe them anything, whereas a Big 5 author owes money out of their sales to both their publisher and their agent. It is a big decision whether to go indie or Big 5; I have been nothing but happy and content with my decision to be an indie.

However, this also means that Lift needs to make back enough to publish the next book in the series. And so on and so forth. To be completely honest, I’m not really that worried, though. Or at least, I try not to be. I have felt blessed by God from day one of this journey, from the first inklings of the story up to right now as I write this. Still, it’s good to remember that I want writing stories to be a business.

So, overall, I’m super excited about Saturday. I’m excited to share Lift with others. I’m excited that God has blessed me with some writing talent.

And I hope to make some money. Oh and by the way, the gorgeous carousel horse below? He is a Charles Looff original, circa 1900. He was once part of Marianne Stevens’ carousel collection, and is now for sale since she passed away. You could own him, if you have $49,500 lying around.

He is also the model for Penumbra, the lead horse of the Flying Ponies Grand Carousel, featured in Lift. The photo is not mine, unfortunately. It is borrowed from a carousel website.

Hope to see you on Saturday!