Talent, Research, and Betas! Oh, My!

Happy Friday all!  As my title might suggest, many exciting things are happening with regard to Author Roz.  I would like to share some of them with you today.

Before I get into today’s blog, I want to let everyone know that I finally finished reformatting the e-book.  For everyone who had a previous version, you should receive an update.  Now back to our regularly scheduled program.

Talent

First of all, I am looking for the right male voice talent for The Wages or the Gift.  Yes, that’s right, my next step for the novel is to make it into an audio book.  I am super excited to get started, but first I need to find the right guy for the job.  I have invited numerous voice actors to audition, but the auditions are trickling in slowly.  At this point, I have no clear trajectory as to when audio book enthusiasts can expect to listen to The Wages or the Gift, but as soon as the voice has been chosen, I will update.

Research

I have started working on the next book in my Life Choices series: God or Mammon.  I am super excited because this book is going to be a medical thriller.  This is a fun genre that will require a lot of research.  I am studying everything from medical terminology to hospital administration.  Fun stuff!

Betas

Right now my second novel (completely unrelated to The Wages or the Gift) is with a wonderful group of people called Beta Readers!  My Beta readers include my publicist (Jen Thomas), my editor (Martha Lowe) and a group of around 7 or 8 random lovers/readers of Christian Fiction.  Most of them are still in the process of reading the book, but I have gotten a few of the results.  So far, the general consensus is that I am on the right track (ie. they already really like/love the book), which is good.  After I hear back from everyone, I will start working on draft two.

Oh, My!

I am super excited to draw your attention to  The Voice of Literature Ezine at www.voxlit.co.uk. It’s a great publication out of the United Kingdom that features book reviews, excerpts from novels, author articles, and a section called Writer’s Notes. I am excited to share that an article I wrote on the technique of zooming is featured in this month’s Writer’s Notes section! It’s the first one you’ll see.  Check it out!  If you are a writer, or a person who loves literature, this is a great e-zine to follow.

 

 

 

What’s in a Name?

pexels-photo-634045.jpegPeople often ask me where I get names for my characters.  I’m sure every author’s process for this is different. For me there are character names, especially first names, that just come to me as I start writing. For instance, Center Perkins and Stephen (pn. Steff-en) Campbell, two of the characters in The Wages or the Gift flowed easily from my pen and onto the page, in their first sentences.

Stephen “Steph” Campbell sat on the edge of his waiting room chair,  leaning forward with his hands propping up his head. His eyes moved faithfully around the room as he watched his best friend, Center Perkins, traipse.

I don’t know why, but I assume I had already thought about their names in the dream I had that inspired this very scene.  Ebony Reynold (pn. Ray Nold) came with a little bit more forethought, as I had the idea a week or so before I started writing that it would be interesting if there was a character that was a white girl named Ebony.  Now those of you who have read the book know that Ebony is not a white girl, but when I started writing this novel, that name had been recently on my mind.  I thought it would be a great name for the super model in this story.

There are a lot of names in The Wages or the Gift, and while most of them kind of happened organically, not all of them did.  The name Mathan Cigainero came from two places.  I got Mathan from reading through Jesus’s lineage from Mathew Chapter 1.  You know: the “begats”.  There was a man named Matthan in verse 15, and for some reason when I saw it, I thought to myself, “Hey what if I took out a t?  Then I would have Mathan, which rhymes with Nathan, which is different but not too far fetched.”   And I liked the thought. Mathan’s last name came from looking up names in the phone book.  I wanted to find a four-syllabled name, and when I saw Cigainero, it was a perfect fit.

Sometimes, I enjoy unorthodox names.  For instance, in Wrong Number, one of my upcoming novels, the main character’s name is Cardigan Dupree.  I think it may just be one of my favorite character names so far.  Why I chose to name the lady after a comfy sweater, I don’t know, but I love it. 🙂

I will end this with the full quote referenced in the title.  “What’s in a name?  That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet.”  Gotta love Shakespeare!  He came up with some wonderful names come to think of it. 🙂

Discussion points:  If you read this article,` I would love to hear from you! If you feel so inclined leave a comment about the article or any of these discussion points.

  • What is your favorite character’s name of all time, and why is it your favorite?
  • In The Wages or the Gift, what character name/character did you like best/least and why?
  • Tell about a non-traditional name you think would make a good character name.

 

 

 

Fun Interview Share (And other items…)

Checkout this interview that I did with www.ilikeebooks.com! It’s been a couple of weeks since the interview, but I have been trying to decide the best way to approach announcing it.  I think in addition to making an announcement on my blog of interviews, live talks, author chats, and the like, I am going to add a media section to this blog to archive all such instances.

In other news, I got a new review that truly touched my heart.  This is review is from a friend of mine who is not a Christian, and does not at all care for the message of my novel.  However, she still enjoyed the story, and she said a lot of nice things about my writing.  Hats off to Kathleen, for being able to put aside her personal preference and still appreciate the book.  I think that’s awesome, but that is not what touched my heart. Keep in mind that I did not tell Kathleen anything about my writing process, so what I am about to point out is a major compliment.

She recognized my research!

That made me so happy.  As a person who reads a lot of reviews.  (Okay, I just let you in a little secret about me.  I occasionally go onto Amazon and read book reviews.  Lots of times I read reviews from books that I really liked, or books that are currently on the bestseller’s list.  Often times I read five stars and the one stars to two star reviews. And see what naysayers are saying about otherwise renowned works of fiction.)   Even with most five star reviews, I don’t see many reviewers noticing the research that went into creating the novel.  I did so much research for The Wages or the Gift.  (Not my favorite pass time.  I do it when necessary.) It was so cool that someone noticed my hard work. 🙂 I am impressed, thankful, and humbled that someone actually noticed that aspect of my story.

 

Every Single Word…

One day, a long time ago, I was talking to my best friend about reading.  Yes, I am that nerdy.  I love reading and talking about reading and reading some more.  Anyway, I was talking to her, and I confessed that I have skipped portions of books on occasion.  Not large portions, mind you, just a paragraph or two.  She told me she never did that because she knows that the author agonized over every single word as they were writing the book. That thought had never crossed my mind.  I’m not positive, but I think I had already started writing The Wages or the Gift when we had this conversation.  I was somewhere close the beginning of the first draft.  I remember thinking that I am not sure that I “agonized” over words.  I mean there is always the desire to make sure my writing is engaging, vivid and tells the best version of the character’s story that I can possibly tell; however, I was not agonizing over every single word.

That was then.

It took me five months, writing every day to finish that first draft.  It was an incredibly fun process for me: my first novel.  Allow me to provide a bit of insight into my writing process.  I am not the kind of writer who outlines her novels. I literally get an idea, start writing and let the story flow until it’s completion.  This became a great issue in college when I was learning about the play writing process, but that is another story.  (One that I will be writing about in the near future most likely.) Anyway, the benefit of writing like that is the story unfolds before your eyes just like it would to the reader.

After I finished the first draft, I did what comes next.  I printed several copies, and gave it people to read.  My first editor, aka Jen, got a copy.  My mother got a copy.  And I think a couple more people got a copy.  But I used mostly, Jen’s and my mother’s copies for the second draft of the book.  That took me more than five months, of course, and I made corrections, additions, and subtractions based on their notes and my own reread.  However, I still did not agonize over each word.  So then I start sending the book out to publishers. My book was accepted to The Writer’s Edge, a company that Christian publishers use to find new Christian fiction manuscripts.  Which was super exciting, and I got a few noteworthy nibbles, even one from Bethany House, but I did not get any bites.

Fast forward a bit to finally getting a publisher.  When I got my manuscript back from my editor, a professional editor this time, I had to go through it again and make the changes needed.  So there I was revising the book again.  Still I did not agonize over every word.  After I finished it, it took another couple of months to get the book back again from my publishers.  This time, I noticed a few layout discrepancies.  So I went through it with a fine tooth comb, making sure any errors were discovered and corrected.  The agonizing began around that time.  Unfortunately, during this process, my publisher went out of business.  Sad day.  Honestly, at that point, I decided instead of looking for another publisher, I would just do it myself.

This is now.

Doing it myself meant I could not use the layout my publisher designed, so I had to completely redesign my book and my book cover.  As I redesigned the book and cover, that’s when I really started agonizing over every single word. I thought back to what my best friend had said to me all those years ago and laughed.  She was indeed correct; it just took me a while to get to that point.

Now that The Wages or the Gift is published, it’s time to start “agonizing” (possibly) over the second draft of my second novel.  I guess the cycle never ends.   More next time.  Thanks for stopping by my blog!