Friday, March 30, 2012

Friday Field Trip - Farmers Market, LA California

The day after Nicole ran the LA Marathon, we went to a favorite childhood haunt of mine, the Farmers Market. A lot has changed (when I was a kid, it was truly a "farmers market",) but it still evokes great memories. Here are some snapshots from our stroll.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Sex and the Badge

Reminder: Last chance to sign up for my newsletter. I'm mailing it as soon as I get back from Left Coast Crime.

Since I'm on the road and more or less off the grid until Tuesday, I thought I'd repeat a popular post from the annals of Homicide Hussey. Once again, I'm part of the "sex" panel at Left Coast Crime. This post appeared last year while I was at Left Coast Crime, so it seemed fitting to repeat it here.

I grew up in a relatively conservative community in West Orange County, Florida, outside of Orlando. It was an area that prior to 1971, when the Walt Disney Company invaded the area, was a quiet, southern, almost backwards place. When I was in high school, sex consisted of maybe some light petting, through the clothing, and a lot of fantasizing. So when I went out into the world and became a cop, I was again shocked when I encountered some of the ways people amuse and abuse themselves -- get off, as it were.

I promised the guys when I started this book that I wouldn't go into too much detail about the sexual exploits of the boys in blue. Suffice it to say that there were always girls around, literally hanging around the police station, drooling at a chance to hook up with a Lakeland cop. Also suffice to say that the "ladies" were never disappointed, no matter what they looked like. There was always someone willing, if not when sober, then after a couple of beers, to satisfy a cop groupie.

Most of those situations, however, were "relatively" normal. Cops are known to be kinky but not perverted.

The difference, an old cop once told me is this: "Kinky" involves the use of a feather during a sexual encounter. A "pervert" uses the whole chicken. I met a lot of chicken users over the years.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

What's Cooking Wednesday - Double Chocolate Cream Cheese Brownies

Ashely Eagan, the heroine of SAVING SCOTT is trying to open her new bakery. One of the major plot threads is a brownie bakeoff. Since Ashley spends a lot of time cooking in the book, I included a number of recipes of things she baked. And I recruited a lot of help with these recipes. The recipe for the grand prize winner of Ashley's bakeoff was provided by fellow author, blogger, and chocolate diva, Janet Rudolph, who gave me permission to share it here.

Double Chocolate Cream Cheese Brownies

1/2 cup sweet butter, room temperature
4 ounces high quality dark chocolate (60-75% cacao, fair-trade), coarsely chopped
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon Madagascar vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1/2 cup all purpose flour
Pinch of Salt
1/2 cup dark high quality dark chocolate (65-75% cacao, fair-trade), chopped into smallish chunks (or chocolate chips)

Cream Cheese Layer
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon Madagascar vanilla extract
1 large egg

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Finding Ireland

Today I welcome Susannah Sharp to Terry's Place. Susannah is trying hard to get motivated to finish the revisions on her first novel, “I Am of Ireland: Saving Loarlis,” a contemporary romance set in Ireland and the first of a series that will alternate between contemporary and historical novels in the same setting. She is a medical transcriptionist by profession and lives in Utah with her husband and the youngest of their three children.

How do you take a city, or even worse, a country and distill all of its history, its culture, its beauty, down to just a few powerful images and then try to share it in words with other people?

This is a question I have been struggling with ever since I started working on my series of novels, and believe me when I say that has been a long time and is still an ongoing effort.

I am getting close to publishing the first novel in an entire series set in County Cavan in Ireland. I absolutely adore Ireland and have been blessed in my life to be able to get there three times (so far!) from my home in Utah. But I’m not Irish and my combined total of a few weeks staying there hardly qualifies me as an expert. Still, though, I want to give as authentic feeling as possible when I write my books. I want people who read my books to believe they’re there. I want them to be transported. I want them to breathe deeply and smell the countryside, even if they’re sitting in an apartment in Ohio.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Conference Tips

What I'm reading: Trophy Hunt, by C.J. Box; Wanna Get Lucky? by Deborah Coonts; Victims, by Jonathan Kellerman.

First -- I'm overwhelmed at the success of SAVING SCOTT at the Nook Store. I never dreamed of making the top 100 bestsellers, much less hitting #15. Hard to believe Scott was only a few books behind the Hunger Games and 50 Shades of Grey series. I'm humbled. The Nook First program and Barnes & Noble has been excellent, and I'll be reporting on my experiences.

Next: my Spring Newsletter is about ready to go. Make sure you're signed up at my website so you don't miss a chance for special offers.

I'm also busy ... last week was the trip to LA, and on Thursday, I'm leaving for Sacramento and the Left Coast Crime Conference. I'm rerunning the post I did last year about going to conferences. I think it's still timely.

Conferences are great ways to refuel. Writing is a solitary occupation, and sometimes we need to get out and among people who understand what it's like to have voices in your head. It's also a great opportunity to see how other people handle all the aspects of the craft. No two people do things the same way, and what works for one doesn't work for all. However, there's always a tidbit to be gleaned, and usually a way to adapt it for one's own writing process. Kind of like 3 days of blog-crawling, but with live people.

On that note, I'll share a few things I've learned from attending conferences, in no particular order of importance.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

And the Winner is...

Donnell Bell has selected a winner of a copy of THE PAST CAME HUNTING.

Congratulations to Janet Kerr

Email Donnell at bellson (at)comcast (dot) net to claim your prize.

Happy Reading.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Friday Field Trip - LA Marathon

Most of you should know that my daughter and I went to Los Angeles last weekend, and Nicole ran the LA Marathon. I thought I'd share a few pictures of the event. Nicole had a ride to the start (Dodger Stadium), so I didn't have to get up in the pre-dawn hours. My mom and I left the house early enough to make sure we could find a place to park along the route, and get there before Nicole estimated she'd pass that point. We were delighted that the rain had stopped the night before, giving both runners and spectators good weather.

Although the marathon organizers had all sorts of entertainment along the route, we figured we'd be better off at a spot where nothing was going on, and we were surprised to find plenty of street parking within a block or two of the route, so we were early. We ended up, according to the police officer at that point, at mile 16.75. Based on Nicole's estimated running pace, we figured we had over an hour to wait for her. When we arrived, the runners were passing in small groups.

While waiting, it's important to ring cowbells to encourage the runners.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Stop Dancing and Write the Next Book

What I'm reading: Spying in High Heels, by Gemma Halliday

Don't forget, you can still enter the drawing for Donnell Bell's book. Scroll down to Tuesday's post and leave a comment.

First, some odds and ends. I'm going to be sending out my newsletter in the very near future. In addition to updates and other writing news, I hold contests that can only be accessed through the newsletter. If you're not already a subscriber, why don't you take a moment to sign up at my website.

Speaking of my website, it's moving forward … slowly, because I've got a lot of travel this month. But it's getting there.

Sometimes, everything seems to hit at once. And even when it's good, it can be overwhelming. Where do you focus? How do you prioritize? If you add coming back from being virtually off the grid for five days, it can make your head spin.

What I came back to:

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

What's Cooking Wednesday - San Francisco Seafood Quiche

Don't forget to leave a comment on Tuesday's post for a chance to win Donnell Bell's best-selling book, THE PAST CAME HUNTING.

The past week has been a busy one, and I haven't been cooking. I dug through my files for a recipe I haven't made in ages, but has always been a crowd-pleaser. It's a nice "California" recipe, even though I was in Los Angeles, not San Francisco.

San Francisco Seafood Quiche

1 pkg of 2 frozen 9" pie crusts (or use the refrigerated kind, or make your own, but I've never been good at it, so I've used the frozen ones.)
6 oz crab meat (or surimi if you're on a budget)
1 1/2/c c. cooked chopped shrimp
8 oz Swiss cheese, chopped
1/2 c finely chopped celery
1/2 c finely chopped scallions
1 c mayonnaise
2 T flour
1 c dry white wine
4 eggs, beaten

Separate pie shells. Combine crab meat, shrimp, cheese, celery,
scallions. Divide evenly in pie shells.

Combine mayo, flour, wine & eggs. Divide, pour over seafood.

Bake 35-40 minutes at 350.

Can do ahead and refrigerate. Bake at 300 for 15 minutes to reheat.
To make ahead and freeze: Don't bake. Freeze solid, wrap.
To prepare: unwrap, bake frozen 50 minutes at 350.

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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Remodeling, First Drafts and Opportunity

Today I welcome Donnell Bell to Terry's Place. I first met Donnell on a trip to Colorado when I was out visiting my newborn grandson. I'm thrilled to have her as my guest, and to celebrate the success of her debut novel, The Past Came Hunting. She's got a giveaway, so be sure to read the post for details. Winner announced over the weekend.

Today is a two-fer. While Donnell is here, it's my day over at the Blood Red Pencil. Their theme this month is small press-indie publishing. I'm sharing my thoughts.

Good morning, all. Terry, thanks for the invitation to blog with you. Congratulations, also, on your starred review in Publisher’s Weekly for ROOTED IN DANGER. (See why I love her!)

My longtime critique partner hasn't written in a couple of years, thanks to the economy. Her husband literally had to leave town to work in Durango, and times were a little desperate for this family of five, with three kids, two of whom were/are in college. Robin pulled herself up by her bootstraps, however, and said, this is it, I’m going back to work. She did. Got into a business she’d long been interested in, which was real estate.

Turns out this has been a godsend for the Searle family and a smart move for Robin professionally because, while a lot of Realtors got out of the business because of the dismal market, Robin got into it out of necessity and is now starting to thrive.

What has this got to do with writing?

Many things. I can always use Robin & Peter’s perseverance and determination as great character traits. Also, she said something to me the other day, which gave me the idea for this blog. She said, I love what I’m doing, but I miss writing.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Saving Scott's Official Debut

As I write this, I'm getting ready to leave town for the LA Marathon. However, due to the miracles of the Internet, the race will be over and I'll be heading home when you're reading this.

Today (Monday, that is—not Thursday when I'm writing it!) marks the official debut of Saving Scott as a Nook First special. This link is to the Nook First page, and I can only hope that Scott will be there for all to see.

I put the book up for sale last week—it went live late Wednesday. As I mentioned, it's exclusive to Barnes & Noble for 30 days. After that time, I'll be offering at the other e-book stores. But for now, you can get it here. And if you don't have a Nook, you can download the Nook apps here.

And, if you'd like to read an excerpt, you can find one here.

In an earlier post, I mentioned formatting, and gave some tips. However, there's a caveat. The software that the various sites use can still create glitches. So when you read an e-book, remember that the author might not have been "lazy" or "sloppy" in the formatting. Sometimes it's out of our hands. The folks at Barnes & Noble were very helpful when I reported things that didn't look right, despite my having everything formatted per their instructions. It was a special perk of the Nook First program, since they want the book to look its best, too.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Winners All Around

Thanks for your patience, everyone. John Sharpe's winners are Karen C. and Janet Kerr. Contact John at sharpewrites (at) gmail (dot) com to make arrangements to claim your books.

And a HEARTY CONGRATULATIONS to Nicole who finished the LA Marathon with a personal record of 4:09:12

Way to go, all.

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Friday, March 16, 2012

Friday Field Trip - Around the Block

As you read this, I'm on my way to Los Angeles. I won't have much Internet access until I'm home again on Tuesday.

Last Saturday, Hubster walked around our block. I asked him (very nicely, of course) if he'd mind taking pictures, as I was busy with getting everything done for my upcoming trip and book release. Here's what he saw. (Note: Sunday morning, it snowed --Welcome to Springtime in the Rockies!, and everything looked totally different.)

Remember to leave a comment on John Sharpe's Tuesday post for a chance to win his book.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

What's in a Website?

What I'm reading: Winterkill, by C.J. Box

Don't forget: leave a comment on Tuesday's post for a chance to win a copy of NO MORE BULL.

First - the big news. SAVING SCOTT is now live at Barnes & Noble!

I'm on my way to Los Angeles for a family visit and to cheer my daughter on in the LA Marathon. I've been busy trying to migrate my website, although it's still very much a work in progress and following links will take you to my old site for some things, my new site for some others.

What's important to me in a web site?

First, it needs to be a place where people go for information, not entertainment. So, no animated graphics, no bouncing text, and no music. (I'll say that again. NO Music.) People browsing the web might be doing so late at night with others asleep, or they might be listening to their own music. If, for some reason, you do want music on a website, at least have it default to off and let the reader decide to turn it on.

Readability. For me, that means a dark text on a light background, and uncluttered pages. I simply can't read those white-on-black sites, and unless it's of vital importance that I do so, I simply navigate away.

Ease of navigation. If someone is looking for something, it should be clear where they have to look.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

What's Cooking Wednesday - Tandoori Chicken

Don't forget to leave a comment on John Sharpe's post (Tuesday's) to be entered in his giveaway.

Tandoori Chicken

Serves 6

3/4 c. Greek yogurt
1/4 c. water
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 T Indian tandoori spice mix
1 T dried fenugreek leaves**
1/2 t salt
2 T lemon juice
1 T vegetable oil
6 skinless, bone-in chicken thighs

Lemons wedges and sliced onions for garnish

Combine everything but the chicken in a large bowl, and mix well. Add the chicken, cover, and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 400. Let most of the marinade drip off, and place chicken on a lightly greased roasting pan. (I used the non-stick aluminum foil). Bake for 20-30 minutes. Switch the oven to broil, and broil 5 minutes, turning and basting halfway through.

**Note: I didn't have fenugreek leaves. I didn't even have powdered fenugreek, but it smells like cumin, so I added about 1/2 tsp cumin instead.

Serve with rice, and garnish with the lemon and onions.

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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Law and Order Approach to Writing Fiction

Today I welcome John Sharpe blogging about how Law and Order helped mold his writing. John is a Colorado native whose family lineage includes lawmen, ranchers, miners and businessmen - with a couple school teachers thrown in for balance. He spent many years in the magazine business and retired as managing editor of The Texas Longhorn Trails. He writes mysteries set in the mountains and ranchlands of Colorado.

John will be giving away two copies of his book (choice of print or digital) to randomly selected commenters. As always, you have until Friday to post your comments, and winners will be announced here over the weekend. (I might be late because I'll be in LA cheering on my daughter who's running the LA Marathon that weekend.)

I consider Law and Order (I’m talking the long running TV program here) a good learning tool for writers. I wrote for magazines for years while reading from one to three works of fiction every week and secretly wishing I was writing those instead of about the worries of hoof rot, wonders of artificial insemination, how to build an electric fence or reporting on current livestock market conditions. When I retired to finally write mysteries I realized I didn’t know how. I had read hundreds of books but studied none of the techniques that allowed me to enjoy them. So before I could write I had to learn how.

I started by doing what I always did before I got a computer that I didn’t need to crank and discovered Google, I went to the library. If I found a how-to book I liked by someone that seemed to know what they were talking about and had the credentials to back it up I would buy a copy so that I could highlight and write notes in the margins. I ended up with twenty-two of them. I know; they’re sitting on a shelf behind me and I just turned around and counted. The second thing I did was join Pikes Peak Writers based in Colorado Springs, attended many of their seminars and their wonderful annual conferences.

I learned today’s reader wants you to start off with a bang. Get their attention. Keep the pace moving to retain the reader’s interest. Provide red herrings to keep them off guard. Add surprising plot twists. Don’t write down to the reader, but avoid terminology that is too specialized without some explanation. Develop believable characters and provide them with dialogue that sounds like real human beings. A sonsabitch should sound like a sonsabitch and not Aunt Tillie at a pot luck. And don’t forget - show don’t tell.

Monday, March 12, 2012

It's Still a Marathon, not a Sprint

What I'm reading: Open Season by C.J. Box

The rest of this month is going to be very busy for me. My daughter, Nicole is running in the LA Marathon. For those of you familiar with the area, the race starts at Dodger Stadium and finishes by the Santa Monica Pier. Feel free to show up anywhere along the route and cheer her on. She'll be wearing bib # 6580. I'll be flying out with her, and visiting my parents. Then, after I get back, I'll have a few days before I leave for Left Coast Crime in Sacramento.

And because I have marathons on my mind, I thought it would be a good time to revisit my e-publishing philosophy: It's a marathon, not a sprint.

I've seen countless people playing with pricing, frantically scheduling books for free, doing everything they can to get their books noticed in the rankings. (And we're talking primarily Amazon here, since they're still the 500 pound gorilla for most indie publishers)

They're tweeting, begging for everyone else to tweet that their books are free, or on sale. They're posting on countless Facebook groups that have turned into nothing more than "buy my book" sites. Since telling me to buy your book doesn't entice me to buy it, I figure others feel the same way.

While I agree that it's important to keep one's name out there, I'm more of the tortoise in this race. I've played the Twitter game and seen my sales go … nowhere. Now, true, who knows how many people have added samples to their e-readers, but I've yet to see a sales spike after a Tweet-a-thon.

Friday, March 09, 2012

Friday Field Trip - English Birds

One of my critique partners thought he'd share birds he sees where he lives--which is England. The one on the feeder was taken in Ireland, which is close enough. (OK, the last one isn't really a bird, but even though Steve is a computer programmer, he does have a sense of humor.) Thanks to Steve Pemberton for sending them. I'm sure some of you out there have been places and taken pictures. Would love to see them. And remember, your own back yard is "somewhere else" to the rest of us.

(Yes, there are birds here--anyone know what kind they are? The location is a clue)

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Nook First or Amazon Select

On March 19th, SAVING SCOTT officially joins the Nook First program. Why did I decide to pursue this route, especially for those of you who read my post about why I didn't join the Amazon Select Ranks. Why the change of heart?

First, it's not really a change of heart. The two programs aren't the same. Amazon Select is open to anyone who signs up. The perks? You can list a book for free for up to 5 days in a given time period. People who belong to the "Prime" program (it's fee-based) can borrow your books, and when they do, you get paid. On the flip side, you can't sell your book anywhere but Amazon—not even through your website—for 90 days. If your books are for sale elsewhere, you have to remove them.

The Nook First program also requires exclusivity, but for 30 days, not 90. It's not open to anyone. You have to ask to be a part of the program, and participation is limited, so you're not in "competition" with countless other books. You get an assigned 30 day period. Also, it's for books that have never been published elsewhere. (Hence the name "Nook First")

Since SAVING SCOTT is a new book, I asked about Nook First. What I discovered, and the tipping point for me, was that Barnes & Noble actively promotes your book during that 30 day period. Among other things, their current agreement says they will place your book on their storefront, and include your book in email campaigns. Their website has a special "Nook First" page where your work will be on display, and not with dozens and dozens of others.

And, a well-known successful author's experiences with both Kindle Select and Nook First helped me make my decision. This is what she had to say:

I've done both the Nook First and Kindle Select programs. My take…Nook First was fabulous! BN really delivered as far as pushing my title and giving it great visibility. I more than doubled my BN income that month. I did get a few grumbles from the Kindle and iTunes folks who had to wait, but most were fairly okay with waiting 30 days. And they did have the option of downloading the free Nook app and reading the book on another device - which I know several people did. This is a program I would definitely do again in the future.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

What's Cooking Wednesday - Lemony Sugar Cookies

Thanks so much to Abigail for showing us how important it is to get out of our personal comfort zones and do what we love.

The heroine of my new Pine Hills Police book, SAVING SCOTT, is trying very hard to open her bakery, "Confections by Ashley." As part of the book, I'm including recipes for some of her creations. Here's a sneak preview of the scene where today's recipe is mentioned. (The recipe follows)

"We're not here to speak ill of the dead," Maggie said. "We should be celebrating her life."

Jennifer reached for another cookie and held it aloft. "She did make excellent lemon sugar cookies."

"That she did," Maggie said.

"Would she have killed herself over a man?" Ashley asked.

Jennifer shook her head. "Not her style. She'd find another one. Or two."

The door chimes tinkled. Jennifer devoured another cookie. "I'd better get out front."

After Jennifer left, Maggie tutted. "That girl. She's excellent in the shop, but she does have an overdeveloped penchant for the dramatic."

Ashley refrained from saying anything about Maggie's own penchant for knowing what was going on. After all, that's why Ashley was here. "I agree about focusing on the good at a time like this, but don't you think we should share what we know about Felicity with the police? It might help them figure out why she died sooner."

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Do What You Love

Abigail Sharpe is an aspiring romance novelist who has a myriad of odd hobbies. She’s writing about one of those hobbies and encourages everyone to do what they love!

“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.” – Theodore Seuss Giesel

About a month or so ago, I participated in a Medieval Faire. That’s nothing new; I’ve been doing this for many years, first as a combatant on the chess board and then as a street character. This year, however, was the first year I was hired as a singing wench.

Yes, you read that right. A singing wench. My name was Tira McSue, and I was part of a group called Just Desserts, with four other lovely women with similarly-themed names.

I’ve never had a problem performing on stage in front of people. I’ve been in theater productions of The Sound of Music (as a nun), Jesus Christ Superstar (as a priest), and Singin’ in the Rain (as a radio announcer). But being cast as a character whose very title evokes images of nubile young women was different. I’m pushing 40. I’m short. My hair is thinning and I could stand to lose a good amount around the middle. Who would want to look at a squat, almost middle-aged woman singing bawdy songs?

Monday, March 05, 2012

Formatting eBooks 101

What I'm reading: Nowhere to Run, by CJ Box

It's Read an e-Book Week. For my part, I'm offering 50% off Finding Sarah, and the companion short story collection, Finding Fire, is free. It's one week only. Pass the word. It's a perfect opportunity to read the first of the Pine Hills Police series and be ready for Saving Scott's release. And, of course, there are books by countless other authors as well. Coupon Codes are on the books' pages.

Last week I was immersed in edits for SAVING SCOTT. Working with my editor is a give-and-take process, and after a week of working together, the book is "done." The first challenge is to avoid going back and tweaking. Next, comes the formatting.

Since I'm publishing this book myself, I'm responsible for the formatting. While there are those who opt to hire this step out, I prefer to save the money (having already paid the cover artist and editor) and do it myself. Since I didn't start writing until the digital age, I feel fairly comfortable with the mechanics of putting a document together.

I don't know a lot, which I think keeps me out of trouble. Also, with the widespread popularity of e-books and indie publishing, the publishers are making it easier for the novice to provide a document that will be converted.

Not long ago, an author had to provide an html file for Amazon, but no longer. Smashwords, Barnes & Noble and Amazon all accept Word .doc files. Since most of us use Word to produce our manuscripts, the learning curve isn't particularly steep. Your best friend is "Find/Replace" and a rudimentary knowledge of the "Format" menu.

(Note: I'm still using Word 2003, but I don't think it's too different in 2007)

Sunday, March 04, 2012

it's Read an eBook Week

In recognition of Read an eBook Week, I've got deals on 2 of my books at Smashwords. Finding Sarah (Pine Hills Police Book 1) is half off. Coupon Code REW50

Finding Fire (short stories) is FREE. Coupon Code RE100

Get to know my Pine Hills Police series before SAVING SCOTT, Book 3 in the series is released.

And it's called Read an eBook WEEK because next Sunday, it's all over.

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Friday, March 02, 2012

Friday Field Trip - More Non-Angry Birds

What I'm reading: Extreme Exposure by Pamela Clare

Thanks to Hubster for stepping in while I've been deep in edits. However, I still need more pictures! If several of you send in two or three, they'll add up to a Friday post.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Revisions Revisted

Time out for a commercial message: Finding Sarah is featured over at Nook Lovers today. 

We return you to your regularly scheduled Blog Post

I hope everyone enjoyed having that extra day in February yesterday. But now it's March, and we're back in normal calendar territory.

Since I've been eyeball deep in edits for SAVING SCOTT this week, I thought I'd "borrow" some bits and pieces from older posts I've done on edits and revisions.

The writing process goes through countless phases. There's the initial writing—whether you're plotting things out in advance, flying by the seat of your pants into the mist, or a combination. Eventually, you'll get to "The End."

You've edited, polished, rewritten, repolished. You've checked for all those pesky weak verbs, overused words. You've passed it by your critique groups, your first reader, and asked your dog what he thinks.

At some point, your words are going to need professional eyes. Whether it's an agent trying to get your work sold, the editor your publisher assigns, or a freelance editor you hire yourself, you need someone who's not blinded by being too close to the work.

So, you ship it off, and it comes back dripping red ink. What next?