Back from the Editor

I’m excited. I’m smiling and I can’t stop. I just got my manuscript back from my editor and I am thrilled to say that I received pretty good feedback. There are minor edits throughout the manuscript, like deleting a few commas, italicizing certain words, etcetera. But the overall feedback was positive. Whew. I can breathe now.

I’m glad I edited my manuscript as much as I did and that I used beta readers to help me tighten and polish my story. After getting feedback from my editor, I feel ready to finally release HIGH.

Now I’m off to the next phase—editing and figuring out when my launch date will be.

Happy writing!

Novel Update: December

I just spoke to my publishing consultant and apparently I won’t be getting my manuscript back from my editor until November 27. Looks like I will be launching my novel in December. I guess it’s time to focus my time on marketing my novel and also working on my children’s books.

What are you writing nowadays? How’s it going? Are you ready for the holidays? I’m not.

 

Novel Update and More

Oh dear. It’s November.

I think it’s about time I paused and updated you on what’s going on with my novel and why I haven’t been blogging recently.

My manuscript has been with my editor the last two weeks. In the meantime I’ve kept myself busy—maybe a little too busy.

Ever since I became a mother a little over 3 years ago, I’ve thought about creating (writing and designing) my own children’s books and self-publishing them. Mostly because I wasn’t satisfied with some of the books I was reading to my daughter. But I put my ideas aside for a while because I was busy taking care of her and was focused on writing. But now that my daughter goes to school in the morning and I’ve sent my manuscript out to my editor, I have a little time to spare. So I thought it would be a good time to start creating my own children’s books. So far, it’s going well. Since my daughter loves Goodnight books, I decided to create a Goodnight book I hope she will love and hopefully other kids will love too. I am also working on a book on First Words, plus a few other ones.

I have one more week before I get my manuscript back. My goal is to get the Goodnight book to print by the end of November. I know it sounds a little crazy, but that’s the funny thing about inspiration, when it hits you—it’s hard to stop. Just like when you get an idea for a story in the middle of the night and you must write it down.

It’s a lot of work, but it’ll all be worth it in the end. It will be a nice gift for my little Samantha.

I will have a separate website for my children’s books, which I will share here soon.

Do you have kids or nieces and nephews under the age of 5? What are their favorite books?

Novel Endings: What You Should and Shouldn’t Do

After going through my beta readers’ critiques, I noticed that each one felt differently about my novel ending. Two liked it as is and two had very different comments. I read their notes over and over, making sure I wasn’t missing something valuable that I needed to see. I read my novel ending a few more times and went back to my beta readers’ notes again and again. Then I read articles online about novel endings and about what to avoid and that’s when it hit me—my novel ending wasn’t strong enough. I thought that if I carefully combine the last two chapters of my book, I could come up with a stronger ending. So I did just that, along with rewriting and simplifying a few things. Now I feel more confident about my new ending for HIGH.

Here are a few helpful articles I found online about novel endings.
The Do’s and Don’ts of Novel Endings
Spoiler alert! What makes a great ending?
Endings

I think a great novel ending should sum up everything in the story. It should answer all the questions, connect all the dots and and most of all, it should leave the reader satisfied. I think the simpler the ending—the more powerful it is.

What about you? What do you think makes a great novel ending?

 

Novel Update: Beta Readers and Their Feedback

After I sent my manuscript to my beta readers, I didn’t look at my story for about a month. It felt good to take a break from editing. It gave me time to work on other things that are still related to my book, like my book cover and editing my synopsis. I gave my beta readers 3 weeks to read and critique my work and within the 3 weeks, I slowly started getting feedback. Each critique was formatted differently and each one varied in length. The longer one took to get back to me, the longer their feedback seemed to be. I’m sure it was a coincidence.

The most gratifying feedback I got was they all liked my plot and characters. To me, this is the most important thing.

After going through all the comments/feedback from each beta reader, I noticed that there were only a few comments that were similar—about 4 to be exact. The rest were different from each other. My challenge now is studying each comment and figuring out which edits to make. Whatever change I end up doing has to work with my story and has to help strengthen my novel.

So far, I’ve looked at each critique and highlighted the changes I feel will help my story. I am currently applying the changes by going through each critique one at a time. For instance, today I’ll do beta reader A’s changes and tomorrow I’ll do beta reader B’s and so on. After applying all the necessary edits, I will be reading my manuscript a few more times until I feel it’s ready for my editor.

I am so thankful to my beta readers for giving me such honest and helpful feedback. This process has definitely helped me learn and grow as a writer.

Would I do it again? Absolutely.

The Making of My Book Cover

As some of you may already know, aside from being a writer, I’m also a graphic designer. If you’re self-publishing your book(s) like I am, and you’re designing your book cover, or if you’re getting it designed, I hope this post will be helpful to you in some way.

The Design Process
Before getting started, I made sure to keep the following things in mind:
1. My book cover has to stand out as a thumbnail and as a large image.
2. The message has to be clear and simple.
3. The design has to fit my genre, which in my case is contemporary fiction.

I knew from the beginning that I wanted two things on my book cover:
Coffee and the color, mustard yellow. If and when you get a chance to read my book, you’ll see why.

Coffee: I thought of quite a few image ideas for coffee. I thought of using coffee rings, coffee mugs, espresso cups, coffee beans, coffee shops and the list goes on. Below are only some of the images I considered, which I took myself, except for the last one on the right.

Because my novel is a love story, I wanted that to be clear on the cover. The challenge was how to show that using a coffee image. I thought about using an image of a cup/mug with a heart shaped coffee froth/foam, but for some reason it seemed too common. Later, I came up with the idea of coffee beans shaped into a heart. I searched the web to see if they already existed and found a few online, but none of them looked right for my book. That’s when I decided to create my own coffee bean heart. In order to do this, all I needed was a camera and a bag of coffee beans that I would shape into a heart on a sheet of paper.

It took many tries. Below are only a few examples.

Mustard yellow: I always knew I wanted this to be the background of whatever image I would end up picking.

In February of 2012, I designed a few versions of my book cover. Below is what I originally picked as my final design.

In September of this year, I went back and looked at my original design and thought that the solid mustard yellow seemed too rich. I wanted it to be simpler but still punchy. That’s when I thought of adding the gradient.

Here is the final design of my book cover, front, spine and back. I’m still editing the copy on the back cover, so what you’ll see here is for placement only.

HIGHCover_Resized

Designing my book cover was such a fun break from writing and editing. I would definitely do it again.

An Excerpt for You


In honor of fall, I thought I’d share this excerpt from my upcoming novel, HIGH.

What is it about the fall that seems sentimental and romantic? There is something magical and mysterious about the way the leaves drop to the ground and how they shimmer in red, gold and brown, creating a blanket of memories. And as you watch the trees become bare, a sweet nostalgic feeling exists inside of you, as you stroll the sidewalks that glisten with traces of rain sprinkled across each path like little jewels. Your heart beats in a different rhythm as your thoughts dwell and wander about. You remember things that should be forgotten because they broke your heart once, and yet you allow them to linger for a while, for the sake of reminiscing. You parade with the hopeless romantics and the broken hearted down the streets, alone, reliving moments that once was. You hold on to these memories until the last day of fall, hoping that by winter, you will forget them all.

(Thoughts of Sonja Fines from HIGH, a novel by Corey M. P. (page 222)

An Excerpt and a Song

Here is the first excerpt from my upcoming novel, HIGH.

Chad leans back on his chair. “You know, I make good coffee. I have special beans,” he says, nodding and smiling.

“Where do you get these special beans?”

“Can’t tell you,” he says, leaning forward.

“OK.  Well, maybe I’ll get to taste it one day.

“One day, or every day,” he says, with a funny grin.

I smile and shake my head. “I think the caffeine has gotten to you.”

“Take a few more sips. You got to keep up here,” he says playfully.

We continue sipping our coffees, ordering more and chatting for hours. Our table now reminiscent of how mine looked like when we first met, only this time, they’re not all mine—they’re ours.

People filter in and out. Tables and chairs become occupied. A line continues to grow by the counter as Chad and I stay glued to our seats, our stories shared and brewed only between us. Our eyes stay locked at each other, and everything else happening around us remain unimportant and unnoticed. The coffee shop with no name becomes ours temporarily. Ours alone.

Today feels different. If yesterday there were any doubts or fears about each other or anything, today they do not exist. Chad and I are like old friends who are seeing each other for the first time again after years of being apart. We are finishing each other’s sentences and laughing at each other’s jokes. We are picking up exactly where we left off, and yet, we’ve only just met.

“Sonja, is it just me or does the coffee tastes better today?” he asks.

“No, it’s not just you. It does taste better.”

HIGH, a novel by Corey M. P. (page 93)

Flightless Bird by Iron and Wine (song playing as I wrote this post)