Monday, March 22, 2010

Juggling Act

What I'm reading: Original Sin, by Allison Brennan

Yesterday, I sent the last of my submissions off to the editor who requested it. Working on three projects, even though they're all completed means being able to switch mental gears. I confess, it's not a skill I'm particularly proficient at (although the hubster would claim that my brain can't follow a straight thought for more than ten seconds before it veers off down a side road). I have to deal with one at a time, or I start mixing my manuscripts.

The projects:

1) Where Danger Hides. This is the "sequel" to When Danger Calls, and is in the early stages of the editing and production process for its June, 2011 release from Five Star. A long time in the future, to be sure, but the manuscript was finished two years ago, and I've written 3 other books since then, so my memory of the details and characters is dim. Once I get the actual manuscript with editorial comments, I'll tackle it, but in the meanwhile, I have what the publisher calls "Ancillary Materials" which include coming up with things like jacket blurbs, synopses, and some beating the bushes for authors willing to do cover blurbs. That's an entirely different topic, to be sure, with pros and cons on both sides, and something to be discussed another time.

Keep Reading...

2) Rooted in Deception. This is a romantic suspense, one I finished at least a year ago. It's another book featuring Blackthorne, Inc., but it's written as an independent stand alone. I had put it on the back burner while I dealt with Where Danger Hides, but decided it made more sense to try to find it a home rather than wait for the publisher of the other two books, as their schedule is more like an 18 month to 2 year gap between releases. While I was at Written in the Stars, I realized that because this book was a romantic suspense, I ought to be pitching it.

I made a quick search through the files I had with me (remember, we were in transit at that time) and found some draft synopses, and what I hoped was a relatively recent version of the entire manuscript to familiarize myself with the characters and plot. And the folks I pitched it to requested either 3 chapters or 50 pages. I updated the draft synopsis, re-read and tweaked the partials and sent them to 2 of the 3 people who'd requested them. The third wanted hard copy. This had to wait until we found our rental, hooked up the PC and the printer. Before I mailed it, I wanted to take one more look. And when I did, the inevitable typos and other glitches appeared. I can only hope they're minor enough to be overlooked by the first two. Doing a full-manuscript edit in case I get a request for the full is definitely something I should be doing.

3) Deadly Secrets. This is my newest work, my first venture into straight mystery. It's the book I'm most familiar with, and the one I prepped myself to pitch at SleuthFest. Most requests were for partials, but I had one for the complete manuscript, and after what happened with the other manuscript, I didn't want to send it off without reading it again. My technique, which I've discussed here before, is to do edits on hard copy, and to make it look as different as possible from the on-screen version. I print in a different font, and format it in columns, which gives it an entirely new look and 'fools' my brain so I can catch repeats and possible plot issues. Reading it quickly, like a real book helps keep the plot points on track. I didn't find too many things that needed tweaking, thank goodness, and sent it off. I wonder what gremlins will attack it as it zips through cyberspace.

Now it's waiting. And wondering what to do next. Both new projects are part of a larger whole. At least I'd love to have that be the case. Because if I can focus on an established character set, it's like working with old friends. But if neither gets picked up, there's not much point in writing the next book in the series, which is frustrating, because I'd love to throw another case at Gordon, or write Grinch's story.

Do I start a brand new project, totally unrelated to anything I've done before? And in which genre?

I suppose the smart thing to do first will be to put anything new aside and wait for the edits, and tackle the Ancillary Materials. And it'll be a lot more fun than doing taxes, which is the other project I'm juggling.

And speaking of submissions, you'll want to come back tomorrow when my guest, Galen Kindley shares his preferences for the query process.


Kristi Faith said...

Wow! You have a lot going on :0) That's a good thing, though. What's the saying about idle hands?? :)

Terry Odell said...

Kristi - I agree (although I like it when those idle hands can pick up a book)

Anonymous said...

Love your graphics, especially that juggler. All 3 projects look intriguing. And I so agree about the taxes.

Kathleen Coddington
(I always have to post as anonymous 'cause it won't let me post otherwise- one of those little technical mysteries)

Terry Odell said...

Kathleen, you should get a checkbox for "Name/URL" when you leave a comment. But I'm glad you're stopping by, no matter what identity you're using. :-)

Debra St. John said...

Love the pictures of the Gremlins!

Wow, you do have a lot of projects going. I hope to get a lot done, project-wise this week, I'm on Spring Break!

Terry Odell said...

Good luck, Debra - retirement is one big spring break.

Carol Kilgore said...

Sounds as if you're juggling just fine. I was in that same situation last week, just juggling different things. If you have an idea or characters or a setting lurking in your mind, bring them out and play with them for a bit. See what path they lead you down. And what genre would work best. Then you'll know your next project.

Helen Ginger said...

Okay, I'm too tired to leave a comment. You wore me out just reading what all you're doing! How in the world do you stay sane?

Straight From Hel

Terry Odell said...

Carol - good ideas. Should the need arise, I can go back to my 'old friends'. Maybe I'll try another short story.

Helen - whoever said I was sane?

Mary Ricksen said...

My God Terry take a vacation! You poor thing. I hope you feel rewarded for all your efforts!!

Terry Stonecrop said...

So many manuscripts, so little time!

I don't know how you do it. I need to edit on hard copy too and even then I miss mistakes. Good luck with it all.

Terry Odell said...

Mary - This move feels like vacation. Until we find a house.

Terry - I swear those mistakes show up after the fact.

Journaling Woman said...

I am very excited for you. First because you have so many projects completed. Second, that you are still sane. Third, that after all that you will write again.

May I live through you -for just a moment?

Terry Odell said...

JW - sure - although I fear you may find my sanity lacking.

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Good to keep busy! But...I think you need a vacation on a quiet island somewhere. :)

Mystery Writing is Murder

Terry Odell said...

Elizabeth - I think our vacation will be on a remote mountaintop; lived in the tropics long enough.

Maryann Miller said...

All the projects sound great, Terry. I'm sure that when all the dust settles on your edits, etc, you will know what to tackle next.