New Furbabies in the family…

My first author bio mentioned an ancient and grizzled cat… who then promptly died at the ripe old age of 15, leaving me with no pets to include in my bio. The actual heartache of losing a companion I’ve had with me for a huge chunk of my life aside, to be truthful the house felt pretty empty without some other sentient being sharing it with us. I mean, we keep aquariums, but that’s not really the same (not that some fish don’t have darn cute personalities… but its hard to snuggle a fish.)

A couple of months ago we started scouring the Humane Society website, and looking at other shelters and rescues in the surrounding area. We started by adopting a 5 year old mix who was utterly terrified by the pound environment- she was huddled in the corner and barely responsive. She’d been a stray in Arkansas for along time, and when she was caught, they shipped her up north (I didn’t realize how often shelters ship dogs back and forth across the U.S.?) to where I live.

After about three months, she’s finally coming out of her shell, and just started sleeping on our bed this week, and she’s finally coming to us for attention and affection. Meet Nala…

Nala has a black merle coat, which is just gorgeous, and glass spots in her eyes (spots on her irises that are white)- those are characteristics only of a few species of dogs, including Australian cattle dogs and catahoula leopard dogs (both of which are much bigger than she is- she’s only 28lbs). So whatever kind of mix she is, she’s a very pretty girl…

And just last weekend, we traveled to a rural shelter a ways away from us to adopt Nova, who is a 5 month old Beagle mix (although mixed with what.. I’m starting to think Chihuahua =) Nova is adorable, loving, and OMG does she smell good (why do puppies smell so good???). Seriously. Go smell a puppy. They are awesome.

The sweetest thing is that Nova has really helped Nala to open up. Before Nova came along, Nala pretty much wanted to run outside in the yard, or sit quietly in her bed with a giant “DO NOT DISTURB” sign hovering over her head. Since seeing the puppy interacting with us, she’s decided that maybe some affection isn’t a bad thing, and she’s starting playing with the puppy outside, and snuggling with her. It’s amazing…

Now, if only Nala and Nova could help me finish sorting out the plot for Book II.

Final Revisions

I’m in the last leg of this journey for Book 1, finally. I’m within days of finishing up major revisions to the manuscript, which will include adding a new chapter near the end. Otherwise it has mostly consisted of improving the “stitching” that holds the text together, and working on strengthening my characters and their relationships.

I’m super excited to send this off for final copy edits! I should be able to send this to the formatter by the first week of August, and may even be able to move up the release date if everything goes according to plan!

And then onto Book II.

How Many People Does it Take to Write a Book?

It turns out, a lot.

I spent countless hours writing what is, right now, a 122k word second draft of my first novel. And yet now I have six beta readers, an editor, a sensitivity reader, a cover artist, and I haven’t even considered whether or not I will ever be able to afford to have an audio-book version made, but that would presumably involve yet someone else.

I forgot that I need copy editing still (which may or may not be the same person who is working on developmental edits now? I’ll have to ask them…), and a formatter, and some people also involve a proof-reader (which I might accomplish by having a couple of “gamma” readers who are also tasked with noting the “oopsies” they find). So far it’s taking at least ten people to write a book, and it looks like we’ll hit thirteen-fifteen people before all is said and done and this thing is sailing away on Amazon.

I always wondered how authors ended up with so many people to “thank” in the acknowledgements- like, were they thanking their hairdresser for an idea they gave them while snip-sniping their bangs? Sometimes those things go on for pages and pages, and involve an absurd number of people.

I finally get it now…. it takes an absurd number of people to produce a book.

And while the book can still turn out to be “bad,” if it has any chance of being “good” at all, it will because of what all of those people did.

So, I want to be a writer…

My first book is in beta and sitting with my editor. Naturally, after pouring over it a dozen times and finding nothing wrong with it, I sent it out to my beta readers and then went over it another dozen times and found about a million- nay, a zillion- problems that need immediate attention. Except of course, everyone tells me not to revise the manuscript until I have feedback from everyone.

Photo from Cafe HaBima in Tel Aviv

Also, did I mention that I’m now stuck waiting for feedback, for, like, weeks on end?

I have anxiety, so it’s like a low-key humming in the back of my mind 24/7. Especially because, you know, a zillion issues I already know about. Dear beta readers: Don’t hate me, I know I messed up on page 5, 7, 30, 47, 58, 60, 75, 92, 127, 128, … ok, those were random numbers but you get the picture.

Don’t worry. My characters have less anxiety than I do.