Special Agent Katie Freeman and her partner, Michael Powell, step in to assist the local authorities after the discovery of thirteen bodies buried in a small park. The chilling pose of each body and the gruesome manner in which they died indicate a particularly sadistic killer. As Katie and Michael begin investigating the case, they encounter more questions than answers – are these hate crimes or crimes of passion? How did so many men go missing without someone noticing? How are all these victims connected? With more bodies than they can handle and time running out, can they catch the killer before another victim disappears, or will they lose one of their own in the process?
In all the research I did for self-publishing, one thing was repeated several times: look for an editor in time to get on their schedule. The recommended timeframe for this was two months. I started looking four months before I needed an editor. What I discovered is that most editors have a six-month waiting period. Oops! What is a new author to do? I knew that my book couldn’t be published without a professional editor getting their hands on it. The last thing I wanted was to put something out there that would cause the reader to cringe. I have read those book – the ones that have so many mistakes that it distracts from the story. I just finished a book where one of the two characters in the scene kept switching names. In that same book there was a scene where one minor character was given two different names. It happens! And it is easier than you might think for these things to get through the rereading and beta reader process.
So, I contacted the first editor. I was told that she had no availability until March…MARCH!! Well, since I want my book published in December, March is simply not going to work. I thanked her for her time and moved on.
Then I contacted three more with the same results.
The third of these had availability! Imagine my excitement! We emailed back and forth, clarified her process, talked pricing and payment options; it was great! Then the moment of truth: she asked for a sample from me so she could edit it and we could see if her process worked for me. I had editing samples ready that had been sent to all the other people. I thought this was the easy part. Oh, how wrong I was. I mistakenly thought that those who edit did so because it was their job. In my naivety, I attached that little sample to an email and sent it right off. To my surprise, I received an email a scant two hours later with an, “I’m sorry, but I cannot do this.” My heart sank. Was my book really that bad?
It turns out that the editor wouldn’t work with the subject matter contained in my book. Admittedly murder can be a touchy subject, but that wasn’t the issue here. We exchanged a few emails back and forth; I thanked her for her time; we wished each other luck…and I was back to square one with only three months left until my publishing goal…
Then my life was saved! I was referred to Mike Spring. Mike is a published author (both print and audio), a voice coach, and runs his own company. This man can do it all! And did I mention that he was available?!? Mike literally saved my dream. He was professional, courteous, quick, and responsive. He responded to all my concerns and questions. He never made me feel discouraged, and even better, he said he liked my book! I think that was the moment my nerves calmed down some about actually putting my work out there for the public.
I am still nervous about people reading what I have written. These are thoughts in my head, it’s almost like walking into a room naked. Everyone is going to see everything – yikes! But I am slowly coming terms with this. But working with an editor that has confidence in my work has done a lot to boost my courage.
The lesson in all this: surround yourself with the right people. That doesn’t mean these people should be like-minded. They need to be strong in their opinions and they need to be able to express them in a way that demonstrates how your work can be better, but without making you feel demoralized. I have a great team around me and I would not be where I am on this journey without them.
I started January of this year evaluating the goals in my life. I am not a big fan of resolutions. That is really a recipe for disaster for me. I can count on one hand the number of resolutions I have made and kept in my life. About three years ago, I decided: NO MORE RESOLUTIONS. Instead, I set goals. They can be life goals, career goals, personal development goals, or just basically anything to improve where I am or where I want to go in my life. They cannot be things like: lose weight, join a gym, start a diet, etc. So, in the evaluation of my life for 2014, I decided that my career needed some evaluation. I have been doing the same thing for 15 years now. FIFTEEN YEARS! That seems like forever when I look back, but in reality, the years have flown by. I decided that it was time to let lose some of the ideas that have been circling in my head for so long. My goal: write one book and have it ready to publish by year end.
Well, I now have two and a half books under my belt and I feel I’m no more of an expert than the day I started. The first thing I learned: writing is HARD! I mean, seriously, it’s A LOT of work. All these characters are running around in my head screaming to get their voice on the page. My poor fingers can’t keep up with the speed at which my brain is thinking.
The second thing I have learned is to train my brain to only think about the book I am writing and not go off on tangents that will be developed in a subsequent book. This was especially difficult as I started writing The Academy: Book One (yet to be titled). There are several secondary characters in book one that will eventually get their own story before the series is over. As I started developing those characters, their stories started coming to life in my head. I even started dreaming of them! But…dreaming of future stories does nothing to help complete the one you are currently writing… FOCUS!!
Anyway, back on topic. J Book three is going to be finished by the end of November and I am very excited. AND…book one, Free to Kill, is going to be published December 9. I am very happy to say that my life goal is well on its way to being realized. I look forward to evaluating for 2015