River of Hope

River of Hope by Jackie Anton

He searches the wind trying to catch a whiff of the threat that woke him from his doze.

Small animals scurry through the underbrush in a state of panic.

He lifts his head higher as an acrid sent fills his nostrils.

The midnight sky has turned orange and red urging him to rouse his family.

Mares, yearlings, and foals follow his trumpeted orders.

Black as night, he usually fades into the darkness.

ShadowOne quick look to the west, his eyes glow like the embers lighting the treetops.

Shadow drives his small band toward the east.

He knows there is water east, but traffic is heavy.

Every living creature is running from the inferno with the same destination.

A roar of deadly intent precedes the monster’s increased speed.

Flames lick at their tails while the hot breath of the beast nips at small heels.

Shadow bellows encouragement above the roar of the fire.

“Run babies, run for the river!”

Pitfalls of Story Telling……

Your manuscript is complete. Now what?

 Sox_Diary page breakIf you’re blessed with a few good beta readers use them, but make sure to give them a brief letter of points to help you out.

The following questionnaire was sent out to my beta readers of a soon to be released book.

 

Dear Reader of my novel Cassandra: Night Shades,

What does an author expect/hope for from a beta reader? The story resides in my mind for so long that I reach a point when I need readers to tell me if I’ve said what I think I have. You are a very important part of the editing process. If you feel your suggestion can make the book better, easier to read, and more understandable, please elaborate.

You may answer under each question and post additional comments on the book. Then attach it to an email to: insert email

  1. Did the prologue and/or first chapter make you want to read more?

 

  1. At the end of each chapter, were there unanswered questions that made you want to flip the page and keep reading?

 

 

  1. (a)Did you relate to any of the characters?

(b) Did you stay interested until the end?

(c) Where did your interest lag?

 

  1. Did you find a place where you were confused? Help me find and fix that.

 

 

  1. Did the ending give closure? Do you feel it satisfied the needs of the story?

 

  1. Is this a book you could recommend to your reading friends?

 

 

As a beta reader, try to look at the big picture. If you see typos, feel free to note them, but don’t worry if you miss them at this stage of the game. Your input will help as much as the final edit.

Thank you. You are valuable and I appreciate you.

J.M.Anton

          I have learned to send this thank you letter and book questions in a word format. All the reader has to do is write their answers in the blank spaces, save it, and e-mail the form back to me.

Your questions will vary depending on subject matter. Next step set the book aside while you wait for your betas. I like to review my draft each time one of my forms comes in. Try to look at your manuscript with the beta reader’s eyes. Don’t change anything yet, unless you find errors or typos, make notes of this person’s comments. I like to color code these areas with a separate color for each reader.

All your readers forms are back, and I’ll bet you had to remind them a few times that you have a deadline. Assuming that you had four beta readers and three out of the four had a problem with the same passage. Now is the time to clear that up. Time to send the new draft to a good proofreader. They will find issues that spellcheck and online auto checkers didn’t.

Next come the edits. I try for three rounds of edits using at least two editors. Note: pay attention to typos, misused words, punctuation, and sentence structure. Now the tricky part, don’t let anyone change your voice. This is your vision.

 

How this author has dealt with a few pitfalls:

I had no idea the issues with publishing e-books at the time I named this blog. It is my habit to publish my e-book and assess it before sending the manuscript in for print publication.

Approaching a book in this manner makes it easier to send it out to reviewers and selected readers. Then I can pick an excerpt or two for the back cover. The e-book is an easier fix if you missed something in your final revision.

In the beginning I used Librarything to offer free e-books to readers. I only picked up a few reviews for my efforts. However, I have gained a couple of loyal fans. These days I have a better following and choose who I send offers to via my email newsletter.

I used to worry about negative reviews, but the folks who get up on the wrong side of the bed and out to trash someone are just the facts of life as an author. Positive reviews from readers far out weigh the bummers. Truthfully, the one or two star sprinklings only lend credibility to the four and five star reviews.

Even the four and five star reviews can throw an author a curve. “Good plot, great characters, a real page turner, but could use some editing.”

What? I went through all the previously mentioned steps. How can this be?  Off I go to check the submitted manuscript. It is correct. Recheck the e-pub it’s okay. Smashwords sends the e-pub to it’s distribution network, so it is my first check. Second the PDF, again from Smashwords. I no longer bother to check Amazon on my Kindle. I still review books for other authors who gift me an e-book through Amazon, but the books are such a mess, mine included, that I can not tell with all the added spaces and messed up paragraphs if the book actually was submitted as such.

The gal who does my e-book formatting is excellent and in no way responsible for the Kindle nightmares. That said, I have no way of knowing what form the other e-readers take or how they look.   Smashwords way out sells Amazon with my e-books and the bulk of the sales are with Apple and the iBook, which is e-pub.

The bottom line is, once others get their hands on your book just remember the old bumper sticker “S— happens!”

The excellent editor who helped me with my two award winning children’s chapter books told me. “I’ve recently finished the latest book by SK and was amazed at the number of typos in the finished book.” His advice rings in my ears whenever I get stressed about striving for perfection. He told me I had a wonderful story and not to obsess about being perfect. I still try for perfect, but there is a point where you have to just go with it,

Jackie (J.M.) Anton

Jackie Anton 2015author photo  2

I am hoping to get my computer overhauled and to purchase a program that will let me format my own print books.

My next blog will tackle the issue of self-publishing.

 

 

My book market: http://mkt.com/jackie-anton/

Website: http://talesbyjackie.com/

Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/jackieanton

 

Interview of Characters from the Troubles in Love-Land Series

Melinda Potter

 “Give our readers a feel for who you are Miss Potter.”

                        “You know very well who I am and so do your readers, or you wouldn’t be interviewing me. I  really get tired of these Society Page blurbs. Do you have any idea what it’s like whenever one of these articles gets published?”

 

“No. Why don’t you tell me?”

             “Suddenly, I am inundated with new, want to be, friends. An unbelievable number of investment solicitations, and marriage proposals from complete strangers flood my email.”

 

“As a member of the 2011 graduating class, what do you plan to do?”

             “Well, I am not going to Disney World, if that’s what you mean.”

 

“Melinda, you have invested nearly five years of your life earning a degree. What are you planning to do with it?”

             “For now I don’t plan to do much with it. I plan to take a long vacation and forget about it, and my interfering, over protective family.”

 

“Do you have destination in mind?”

“Sure, but I am not going to tell you. I might as well blab it to the world! The whole point is to get away, far away, where people don’t know me. Where people don’t know that I am the daughter of Benson Potter.”

 

“How soon are you planning to leave Ohio?”

                        Not soon enough! My parents have a big graduation party scheduled at their country club. Oh! Here comes Lexie, if you want an interesting story, you should interview her. She will be traveling with me when I make my escape.

 

Meet Lexie by clicking on the Romance selection at the top of this blog, and selecting “Fateful Waters” Book One of the Troubles in Love-Land Series Published by Half Appy Press.

 

Interview with Maria Rodriguez

 

“Share some of your impressions of Alexandra Parker with us, Maria.”

             “Cutter hauled her home on the back of his horse one stormy night. He dumped the half dead mud covered waif on me.”

 

“You don’t sound happy about the chore thrust upon you to aid Lexie.”

             “I didn’t have an issue with the girl at that time. I even sent for the doctor. It wasn’t until she returned from a hospital stay that problems arose.”

 

“You didn’t approve of Lexie’s handling of the books for the ranch?”

             “She turned out to be a big thorn in my butt! It was down right disrespectful the way she talked to Cutter. Also, she was always sticking her nose in where it didn’t belong. I nipped that in the bud and sent her packing,”

 

“What did Cutter Ross have to say about her departure?”

             “Cutter isn’t the talkative sort, but he hasn’t spoken to me in weeks. He took a plane to Ohio the other day. Business, he told my husband Jim. I have a sick feeling that he went to retrieve his blonde witch of a bookkeeper. He can’t seem to see past her pretty face and big blue eyes. Mark my words: if Cutter brings her back here, it will be the ruination of our peaceful existence.”

 

Will Lexie return to Texas? Don’t miss “Panhandle Mayhem” Book Two of the “Trouble in Love-Land” series.

Paperback release by Half Appy Press by September 15, 2015.

E-book will be available at Smashwords, Barnes and Noble, Apple, Kobo, and Amazon.

 Jackie Anton 2015author photo 2

Author Links:

 Website: http://talesbyjackie.com

Adult FB Fan Page: http://www.facebook.com/authorjmanton?ref=hl

Online Autographs: http://www.authorgraph.com/authors/backyardhorse

Autographed print books Square Market Place: http://mkt.com/jackie-anton/

 

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