Thursday, February 25, 2016

The Spoken Word

 Our writing community in Cuenca is so special. There are approximately sixty writers in town. Som write non-fiction, memoirs, poetry, blogs, travel and fiction (all genres) and we have a super network of support.

There are two writers groups in Cuenca, but once a month we come together for The Spoken Word. Eight to ten of us will do a fifteen or so minute reading. The food is good, the company is good, the readings are always entertaining and it's such a fun evening. Tonight I wasn't reading so I did something I never ever do. I took selfies. With some of my writer friends. Aren't we a cast of characters?

Barbara Snow is a novelist and poet.
J.Michael Herron writes romance and romantic suspense.
Susan Herron does my book covers.
Sandra and Wayne Miteri are co-writing a Sci-Fi trilogy.
George Forgues is famous as Ecuador George, with the best darn blog about Cuenca.
Sara Coppler says she's not a writer, but she produces Zero Latitude Living magazine and is our best supporter and cheerleader.
Georgina Nunez is working on a three volume autobiography.

Frances Augusta Hogg (Lochow) is a writer and editor.

That's how we literary types spend a Thursday night in Cuenca. Have a great weekend!

Scarlett in Cuenca Living the good life!

Sunday, February 21, 2016

The Birth of a Novel

 Writing a novel is hard. We all know that, or at least, suspect it to be true. Here's what no one knows until you do it. Pull up a chair and sit a spell, I'll tell you all about it.

So you wrote a novel, did you? Good job, now it's time to go to work. I am very fortunate to have an awesome support group. It is vast and varied. And sometimes all the advice points in the same direction sometimes different. But the very first advice I got regarding my completed first novel that was unequivocally confirmed from every direction was...don't publish that book yet.  You need at least two books before you publish, really three is better.

What? I wrote an 80,000-word novel and it's not enough? Okay, all these people can't be wrong, let's write another book. And we did.

Then it's time to publish. There is the editing, the formatting, an ebook, a print book, and a cover. Don't forget the cover.

The title of my first book is Harvesting the Hummingbird. Literally two days after I decided on the title of my book, which begins in the U.S. and ends in my city of Cuenca, Ecuador, my dear friend Stu McNicol posted a picture on Facebook he took looking out his window over the city of Cuenca. He was trying to capture a double rainbow over the mountain top in the distance, with the city below, and a hummingbird literally photo bombed the picture.  Oh that must be a sign, right?

After a little eyelash batting and a pretty please, Stu said, of course, I could use his photo for my book.  Hmm, now how to make a book cover? Enlist daughter -in-law who has photo editing software, give her a few pointers from the Createspace website and turn my attention to other matters. Well, long story short, Sarah did a wonderful job creating my cover, but the picture wasn't really big enough, and the font's for both books should be the same. The second cover was done by good friend Susan Herron because Sarah is really too busy to be making book covers. She's a brain scientist after all.

I get some editing done. I learn about formatting, and uploading, and distribution channels, and marketing plans. And I begin writing the third book for the series. Along the way, I make more friends through friends of friends in the indie publishing and writing business and I have a support network worthy of this tightrope walk of self-publishing. And I share photos of some possibilities for the third book cover. And then...there is that one new acquaintance.  You know. the one you just met, who is wildly successful and doesn't know you at all, who says, really? I'm sorry, your covers are crap. No, he didn't really say it exactly like that, but you get the idea. And then the gates were open and other comments follow. The nice thing about the criticism is it was accompanied with solutions to make the covers better. Like, your cover doesn't have to be a scene from within the text, it should indicate what genre, etc. So we started over, and the ever patient Susan began again, and we tweeked and tested, til we thought we had it and we asked again and a few more tweeks and NOW we have covers.


The title of this post is the birth of a novel, well because, a novel's not just words and ideas, and plots and characters. It's like giving birth from conception, and now I know why authors feel the way about their books that they do their children. It's a process!

Have a great day, and thanks for stopping by.

Scarlett in Cuenca Living the good life!