Mindy Hardwick's Blog

Author Mindy Hardwick Muses about Writing

Winner of Clear Your Shelves Giveaway Hop

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The winner of the Spring Cleaning Giveaway Hop is Grace B! Thanks for stopping by everyone!

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Editing Your Manuscript

I’ve spent the last couple months working on three different manuscripts–a middle grade, a memoir and a contemporary romance. Two of those were edited by freelance editors and I was working off their notes. The other one I was drafting and is now with a freelance editor.

I’m a big believer in using freelance editors for my work when I’ve reached the stage where I simply cannot take the story any farther.

There was a great article posted on Ink Deep Editing about the experience of being edited, and you can read that here.

However, before I reach the stage of hiring someone else to look at my work, I do my own editing and revisions. But, editing our own work takes a little bit of practice and skills in knowing how to edit a full manuscript.

If you’re looking to learn more about the process of editing your own work–and/or critiquing someone else’s manuscript, there is a great Developmental Edit class being taught at Margie Lawson’s Academy. Rhay Christou is teaching the class and she’s one of Margie’s fabulous teachers (she also teaches the deep point of view class as well as a class on character and giving chapters a pulse)

Here is a bit of the description:

Digging Deep into Developmental Edits

Your words shine and each line glisten. But you’re still getting rejections!

Pansters and plotters, at some point you’re going to have to step back from the words, the lines, and even the paragraphs, and look at the big picture issues.

Diving deep into developmental edits is an intense fourteen lecture course for those writers who have finished at least one draft of a novel.

This course is all about seeing your work as an editor, and learning how to analyze what you have on the page, so you can make the big decisions that will take your novel from fine to powerful.

This two-month course is packed full of tips, ideas, and learning opportunities not only aimed at helping writers make their current work in progress shine, but also teaching writers how to make future novels stronger.

This is a two-month class which uses a three-pass system on your manuscript. To find out more details and how to register go here.

 

 

 

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Clear Your Shelves Blog Hop

spring-cleaning

It’s spring and time to do some spring cleaning! This week, I’m participating in the Spring Cleaning Giveaway Hop sponsored by I Am a Reader Not A Writer.

The hop is all about clearing out those books shelves of books we are not going to read or books we are giving away. So, what am I giving away? I am giving away two books to one lucky winner.

To Scotland with Love

To Scotland with Love is a Kilts and Quilts Novel by Patience Griffin.

Blurb: Cait leaves Chicago for the birthplace she hasn’t seen since she was a child. She’s hoping to heal and to reconnect with her gran.
Graham Buchanan is a movie star with many secrets. A Gandiegow native, he frequently hides out in his hometown between films. He also has a son he’ll do anything to protect. But Cait Macleod is too appealing—even if she is a journalist. Quilting with her gran and the other women of the village brings Cait a peace she hasn’t known in years. But if she turns in the story about Graham, Gandiegow will never forgive her for betraying one of its own. Should she suffer the consequences to resurrect her career? Or listen to her battered and bruised heart and give love another chance?

 

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A Bride for the Season by Jennifer Delamere

Lucinda Cardington doesn’t care that she is close to being “on the shelf.” She has more serious pursuits in mind and is perfectly content to leave dreams of romance to silly young ladies like her sister. Yet when her sister places herself in a compromising situation with London’s most scandalous bachelor, the entire family’s reputation comes perilously close to ruin. Suddenly Lucinda is in the limelight . . . and in need of a husband.

James Simpson’s rakish ways have finally caught up with him. Snared in a scandal that for once is not his doing, he is forced to do the honorable thing and offer marriage to the lady. But her father won’t agree to a dowry unless James can also find a suitable husband for the lady’s elder sister-quiet, reserved Lucinda Cardington. As James gets to know the vibrant, charming, and passionate woman behind Lucinda’s shy exterior, he comes to the distressing realization that he doesn’t want her in anyone’s arms but his own . . .

In order to be entered in the giveaway, please leave me a comment telling me one place you would like to travel. Be sure to leave your email address with your name if you’d like to be entered in the giveaway. (Sorry, U.S. addresses only). I will draw a name and announce on March 27, 2015.

You can find the other blogs participating in the Spring Cleaning Giveaway Hop here.

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Writing Craft Links

For the last month, I’ve been revising two of my manuscripts–a middle grade novel and a memoir. Both of them went out to freelance editors for critique and I’ve been working from the editor’s notes. This is the last stage for me before I send out my work for submission. I am a firm believer in having a professional eye look over my books before I start the submission process. It’s not that I don’t know how to do a manuscript critique–I do and often do them for other writers. The problem is that in my own writing, I am too close to the story to see objectively after a certain point.

Both manuscripts were at the place where I needed to dot a few “i’s” and cross a few “t’s” as well as do a lot of line edits. The manuscripts are now finished and ready to go out on submission later this spring along with the first story in a chapter book series.

My other large writing project is a multi-book contemporary romance series. I drafted the story in January–after using plot boards, a twenty-five page series bible, and other character work that I did in the fall. That manuscript is going to a freelance editor at the end of next week and then I will work on revisions for it. It also will go out on submission later this spring.

All of this writing in the last two months has put my focus more on the craft of writing rather than the business side. The business side will return soon and look for a new release in STAINED GLASS SUMMER both PRINT and ebook as well as a reissue of my YA, WEAVING MAGIC in both PRINT and ebook. Both of those books have had the rights returned to me and I am taking them out under my own imprint. However, I am still targeting traditional publishing with my other mentioned stories–I am a firm believing in the hybrid author these days!

But with all this writing, I was particular excited to see some writing craft blog postings come across my email in the last couple weeks.

In particular:

The Secret to Creating a Really Good Bad Guy

At Home: Revise Your Novel in 31 Days–This is updated daily during the month of March and has great tips and ideas for revision. Even if you don’t follow the whole 31 days, there is a wealth of information here.

Organize Your Novel with Excel–This is a good way to look at a chapter or novel to see how your point of view, plot and other elements balance in a visual lay-out.

Writing Believable Children in Romance–This is a topic I proposed as a workshop for the fall Seattle RWA Conference and there are lots of good tips here.

Let us know if you’ve seen any great craft related blog postings lately in the comments below!

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Savvy Authors Pitch Fest

Savvy Authors is hosting a pitch fest this week. It’s free and open to all writers–no registration or membership in Savvy Authors required.

If you don’t know about Savvy Authors, they are a great resource for writers. I have taken many of their romance writing classes, often taught by Harlequin writers, and learned a lot!

There are lots of good agents and editors who are participating in Savvy Pitch Fest. The emphasis is mainly on romance books–all genres, but there are agents and editors looking for middle grade, lots of YA and NA, and picture books.

In order to participate, you’ll need to check out the list of participating agents on their blog here.

The pitches are taken on the blog so be sure to subscribe to the comments and replies after you pitch to know if yours is requested! Be sure to read the guidelines as to how to pitch as there are some small, specific requirements that need to be included in your pitch.

Good luck!

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Musa Publishing Closing

I received the news this morning that Musa Publishing is closing on February 28, 2015. All my rights to STAINED GLASS SUMMER will revert back to me.

I have loved being an author at Musa Publishing for the last three years. In January, STAINED GLASS SUMMER’s contract was up for renewal and we negotiated so there would be a print version to come soon.

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But the good news is, in this day and age of publishing, when a publisher closes it’s doors, it does not mean the book has to die too. Sooo……..later this spring, I will be bringing STAINED GLASS SUMMER out in print and ebook through my own imprint which is how my print version of WEAVING MAGIC has always been done.

WEAVING MAGIC ebook contract also expires in April, so that will not completely come back to me…and viola….all of the books will be under my imprint–which also means I have more control over price, sales and where and how to get the books distributed. When WEAVING MAGIC print came out, I packed up fifteen books and sent them off to treatment and recovery high schools across the country. I am looking forward to targeting a specific audience with STAINED GLASS SUMMER and going into our gorgeous San Juan Islands this summer for book events. I will also be mailing copies of the book to Camp Orkila on Orcas Island and asking if I can visit the kids at camp for an author visit.

To bring out STAINED GLASS SUMMER under my own imprint I will be enlisting the help of the former marketing director at BooksToGoNow who did a kick-ass job with my romance books, and now has her own company…Self Publishing Services, LLC.

The new print book and ebook of STAINED GLASS SUMMER will also have my short story, ELF SHOES included in it since that will also come back to me.

However, there may be a period of three to four weeks when STAINED GLASS SUMMER is not listed  for sale on any of the outlets as I adjusting things to link up, so if you haven’t had a chance to pick up a copy published by Musa Publishing, you have until February 28 to pick up your ebook copy. All the links are here at my website and will work through February 28.

The one constant in life is change and it’s never up to us when or how those changes occur but what we do have control over is what we do with those changes and those choices help create the path we call our lives. The publishing industry has been in a state of enormous flux for years and it continues to evolve and change. As an author, my role is to write the best book possible, but it’s also to understand that things do change constantly and I must ride those shifts on the top of the wave and not underneath in an undertow. And this is where my membership in RWA (Romance Writers of America) and especially the Seattle RWA has been extremely valuable in teaching me how to ride with the changes and showing me the next step.

Good-bye Musa Publishing. Thank you for fulfilling the dream of publishing my first book and giving the story a good run!

 

 

 

 

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Goals

In January, I set a goal to write three books in three months. Now, let me clarify here…..The first book, a contemporary romance was in the drafting stage. I had a fast draft of the story, I had done all my character work, a twenty-five page series bible, and plotted the story using color coded stickies and butcher paper. I had written the first seventy-five pages, but I still had another 150 pages to go.  This is the finished draft of the contemporary romance. My dog is peaking out from under the table and wants to play ball…

Contemporary Manuscript

My second book, a contemporary middle grade mystery, needed to be revised using the edits from the freelance editor I use in the final stages of writing before a book goes out on submission. This included line edits, cleaning up some subplot issues, and clarifying the mystery of the story. Here is the completed manuscript of the middle grade.

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The third book, a memoir about my experience running the poetry workshop with teens in juvenile detention, also needed to be revised using edits from a free lance editor. Again, like my middle grade, the edits were similar: line edits, cleaning up some subplot type things, and adding a bit more of me and my “musings” into the story.

 

I am happy to report that I finished the contemporary romance on January 30, completed edits on the middle grade by February 16 and am now working in the third book–ahead of my three books in three month schedule which is now allowing me to send out my romance to a freelance editor and I will do revisions on that by the end of March–which means I completed three books in three months and all will go out on submission in April.

 

So, what have I learned in this process on how to reach these goals?

1. Break Writing Into Manageable Chunks–Each day, I set page and/or word goals for myself. The romance was three chapters a week, the middle grade was to edit at least fifteen pages a day, and the memoir is to edit at least 15 pages a day. The romance was the hardest because I was creating new material and I had to really work to override my analytic side of my brain which wanted to go into editing mode and stop the creation process.

2. Reward Yourself: As writers, we can’t control publication (unless self-publishing), and we don’t control too much of the process once the book leaves out hand to go out into the world, but what we can control is the writing of the book. So, it’s important to reward ourselves when those goals are met. When I finished the romance book, I had a nice manicure and a pedicure at a spa I don’t usually go to. When I finished the middle grade, I took a hike I’ve never taken before on a beautiful sunny, February afternoon. I also gave myself the gift of a lawn gal to do my fall clean-up–which meant raking leaves and cutting the tall decorative grasses. I hate that job and our spring is coming fast this year, so this was a real gift and took this chore off my hands.

3.  Eat well and exercise–In order to keep up my momentum, I ate well. I cooked a lot of soups and prepared a lot of salads I could pull out of the refrigerator for lunch and dinner.  I don’t cook for a husband or family, but cooking for one has it’s own challenges. I cut back on sugars, sweets and breads because those things give me a quick energy boost and then I crash. I, however, did not stop my coffee drinking but I did limit my trips to my favorite coffee stand. I also increased my water intake and snacked on veggies and nuts instead of stuffing whatever I had in the kitchen in my face in the afternoon. I already attend yoga twice a week, but during this time, I also picked up an extra yoga class a week–usually a gentle or restorative yoga to help focus and clear my mind. And by February, I started walking on the treadmill again–mainly because I am missing my beach walks.

Each book I checked off on my business plan gave me a feeling that yes, I am moving forward again and there will be new books coming soon for readers!

 

 

 

 

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Romance is in the Air Blog Hop Winner

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Congratulations to Sonya Sanderon for winning the Romance is in the Air Blog Hop!

 

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Titles and Scenes in Picture Books

There have been some interesting picture book resources posted in the last week or so.

The first one comes from Ripple Grove Press who posted about the importance of titles. Titles can be something which are often overlooked but can make or break a story, especially as a picture book story. To read about picture book titles, go here.

If you’d like to submit to Ripple Grove Press, here are the guidelines. 

Note: Ripple Grove Press is only taking picture book submissions and they do not want religious or holiday themed stories.

 

The second blog post comes from the Children’s Book Academy Blogateers. This looks like a great blog to follow if you write for children and includes the Newbery Honor Book Award winner, Audrey Couloumbis. Audrey posted a great article about scenes in picture book. This is not something I’ve seen written about for picture books and is extremely important in any type of story. You can read that article here.

And yes, I know Valentine’s Day is past, but this was a very fun article about love notes found in used books.

 

 

 

 

 

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Romance Is In The Air Blog Hop

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Happy Valentine’s Day! I’m participating in Romance is in the Air Blog Hop sponsored by I Am A Reader Not A Writer. On this hop, you  can win all kinds of young adult and sweet adult romances. You can find all the blogs participating here.

On this blog, I’m giving away one copy of my book, ROMANCE FOR ALL THE SEASONS. (Print to US mailing addresses and ebook to International winners).

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ROMANCE FOR ALL THE SEASONS is a collection of sweet contemporary romance stories–all taking place at the holidays including Valentine’s Day and Christmas. The stories are set in Upstate New York and take place at the old, Elmheart Hotel and a Sailing Club.

Included in the book, ROMANCE FOR ALL THE SEASONS, is my sweet, contemporary romance, VINTAGE VALENTINE!

Vintage Valentine

Vintage Valentine (Elmheart Hotel Series Novella #1)
Hailey has returned home to the Elmheart Hotel with her ten-year-old daughter. After years away, Hailey is happy to be back and celebrating her grandparent’s golden wedding anniversary. But, when Hailey finds former, high school boyfriend, Patrick, working as the hotel’s chef, she will have to find a way to tell Patrick the secret she has kept for ten years.

This story was inspired by vintage valentine’s that were passed down to me and belonged to my grandfather and his sister.

Here are a few pictures:

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In order to win a copy of ROMANCE FOR ALL THE SEASONS, please leave me a comment with one of your favorite Valentine memories. One comment per person please. I will select a winner and announce it on this blog on February 16. Please be sure to leave your email address so I can contact you. If you are an International entry, the book will be an ebook, if you are a US address, the book will be a signed print copy.

You can find all of the blogs participating here.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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