Friday, November 30, 2007

It's a lot more work than it looks like . . .

Getting a book published, that is. Yikes! I've gone through my novel close to thirty times now (I lost track a LONG time ago - it may be a lot more than that!), editing, polishing, proofreading, editing and polishing again, proofreading again, sending it to my group of readers and my copy editor for their input, editing/polishing/proofreading after input from each of them, etc. Then there's the proofreading after sending it to the typesetter. Thank goodness he's a patient man, because it's absolutely amazing how different the manuscript looks when it's typeset! I found errors that should've been caught in all the other proofreading and copy editing, which are being fixed, thanks to a kind-hearted typesetter. And today I sent him my final read-through. Once he fixes the few glitches I found (missing quote marks here and there - tiny things like that), it'll be done!

The BIGGEST headache to me has been coming up with a synopsis for the novel. I write long-form (novels) - short stuff is HARD for me! But with the help of a lot of writing friends, I finally managed to come up with one that's 150 words (which was my goal) and seems to be pretty eye-catching. Hopefully it will intrigue people enough that they'll want to buy my book! Telling the story is the easy part (124,000 words later, I'm a happy camper with a told story!). SELLING the story is HARD (synopsis, queries, whatever else - argh) - for me, at least.

Today I had the very great pleasure of looking at my second novel's manuscript for the first time in a very long time. I wrote the bulk of it (57,000 words) during Nanowrimo last year. It's now about 90,000 words and finished in first draft form. Now I can polish and refine it. I can't wait!

I'm supposed to be working on a short story for an anthology too. I need to get my first novel out of my head a bit so I can work with completely different characters, plot, setting, etc., and in short form, which isn't as easy for me as novels. (My second novel is a continuation of the series I started with the first one.) Various things about the short story intrigue me a lot - I just have to get immersed in it to get it going. With "Star Sons" out of my hair for a little while, anyway, hopefully I can immerse myself in the story of Robin and Cricket (Robin being a young woman, Cricket a cat with a tale to tell).

Watch for "Star Sons: Dawn of the Two" to appear on in a few weeks!! YIPPEE!!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Of Nano and GREAT readers!

You can see from the count thingie that I'm not doing Nano this year (and have been too busy to remove the count thingie from my blog). I'm busy proofreading my novel, "Star Sons: Dawn of the Two" which should be published in January, with a possible "soft publication" in December, yay!! So between that and all the traveling I've been doing with my art, I haven't had time to think about new novels. I am working on a new short story for an anthology, but it's only 2700 words so far and nowhere near the end.

As for "great readers" -- the folks on my Yahoo site (you know who you are!) are the BEST in the WORLD! They've spotted a second instance (in a few months!) of someone copying my Harry Potter novel, "The Refiner's Fire" nearly word for word and posting it as their own work on various sites! And then when I couldn't get the reporting system on those sites to work for non-techie me, they did it for me! Bless their hearts!! They take EXCELLENT care of me!! And I'll be repaying them the way they like best by beginning the upload of my latest HP story, "Now and Forever" in December. Thanks again, guys!! You rock!!

Friday, November 02, 2007

The Friesian Extravaganza!

The Friesian Extravaganza is now over (whew!) and I'm about to leave for Equine Affaire in W. Springfield Mass. (if you get up there, I'll be in the Better Living Center, booth 517-518 - come say "Howdy!"). The Friesian show was my best show EVER! The first night, before it was unveiled (!), my Artist's Proof of the "Friesian Elegance" bronze was sold! And the same lady bought two more bronzes! I had a few other sales that weekend too, and several folks interested in commissioning portraits of their horses, or in talking their spouses into buying one or more of my existing bronzes. YAY! I could use more shows like THAT one!! It was great fun, too!!

The photo to the left shows me carrying the Concours d'Elegance trophy (which features my bronze "Friesian Elegance") away after the awards ceremony in which it was presented for the first time. It will reside at the FHANA headquarters at the Kentucky Horse Park, Lexington KY, with this year's winner's name inscribed on the first of the fifty name plates around the trophy base (the small plates you can see in this picture). I wound up carrying it all the way around the arena to get to the vendor area, where I had to wrap it up for its trip to its new home in Kentucky. On the way around the ring, I stopped and let people look at it as much as they wanted. That was great fun for me!

I had such a good time at the show, and my customer who commissioned the bronze was kind enough to let me ride one of his horses! I'd told him I wanted to ride in a carriage behind Nanning (his stallion) or just sit on a Friesian, or be led around like a pony ride, I didn't care. This was my best-ever chance to get on a Friesian and I wanted the chance, if at all possible. Imagine my absolute JOY when his wife and trainer came to my booth and his wife said, "I understand you want to ride a Friesian? We'll be ready for you in 15 minutes." YAY! Long story short, I not only got to sit on a gorgeous Friesian mare, but I also got to do whatever I wanted with her! So I walked, trotted and cantered her and had a BLAST! The pics aren't very good because of us being in an indoor arena, but here's a pic of me having an absolutely wonderful time on this lovely mare, who had just won the Friesian World Championship in Intro Dressage! (Good thing it wasn't a higher level of dressage since I don't ride dressage - I ride hunt seat and western!)

A bunch of folks who'd watched me sculpting or talked to me in my booth, as well as some vendors I'd gotten friendly with, came out to watch me ride. They asked if I was going to buy a Friesian after riding this one, and I said no. I have a wonderful Quarter Horse (Jack) who rides just beautifully and still has things to teach me, and he's PAID for, and he doesn't have all the "high maintenance" of a Friesian's long mane and feathers. He's my "forever" horse - I expect us to grow old together. But I sure did enjoy riding this Friesian! What a blast!

On the writing front, I'm still working with the book designer to get the layout done and proofread. It's a meticulous, painstaking process I had no idea would take so long. I have people champing at the bit to get my book now, and I still can't tell them when it will be published for certain! But it will be as perfect as possible when it is published!

While at the Friesian show, I started a sculpture of a small horse to be about the size of "Maestoso" (Shown in a marbled patina - also available in black). I thought the new piece would make a nice "pair" with Maestoso. I had it posed with its head turned the opposite way, reaching as if it needed to scratch its shoulder. Well, the sculpture started to bore me, because I'd started with no real plan, just grabbed some pics in a hurry, whipped together an armature, just to have something to work on at the show. That's not a good way to start a sculpture! Then suddenly I thought, "He's not scratching his shoulder - he's got an itchy wingpit!" So the piece developed wings! Well, wires where wings will go, anyway! As soon as I started putting the wires in place (after cutting out a big chunk of a well-developed body so I could get to the main armature wires), I found myself dancing and singing "You can do magic, bump-ba-dum" while putting the wires in place! And that isn't even a favorite song! And then I laughed out loud, amused that I was singing a song about magic while creating a Pegasus!

I planned a Pegasus years ago and got permission to take photos and measurements of a magnificent Andalusian stallion, Alborozo, who lives on the in Malibu (I sure hope they came through the fires okay!). When I went out to measure him, they were having fires in the Simi Valley, just across the mountain from the farm. The pictures were made with the stallion's smoke-gray mane billowing in the gray, smoky air, with white ash falling on his white coat and all over us, too. I had a different Pegasus pose planned but this one appeals to me, and why not make more than one? :D So the new piece will be called "Feathers Itch" or "Itchy Feathers" - I'm not sure which.

A fun tie-in to my writing is the fact that in the second book of the series, my young mages are given winged horses, and the older brother's horse is named "Feather." I wasn't even thinking about "Star Sons" when I came up with this Pegasus idea, but it all ties in nicely!

The really cool thing was that when I stood back and looked at what I'd created after attaching the wires for the wings, I saw that there are heart-shaped formed by the turn of the horse's head and one wing top; by the two wing-tops considered together from the front, and again from the back; and by the swishing tail and the left wing-top! It's a very very cool thing to discover something nifty like that in a piece that just "happens"!

Anyway, as usual, my art and writing are closely tied together! I'll post some pics of Feather as he progresses. I'll be working on him at Equine Affaire next week.