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After dragging her feet for the longest time, summer arrived in a rush. Last week the temperatures around here were in the 60’s, but today the prediction is for up around 90.

I’m not sure I was quite ready for such a jump, though the tomatoes and herbs will be basking in the heat.

With the first draft of Whiskey Jug Genie tucked away for a bit, I’ve pulled out the next book in the Esperance Series. It is completely written, but needs editing. And it has sat there in its folder long enough to give me the distance I need to view it more objectively.

Where does Talents fit into the story?

Right after Viviane, First Lady finished. While Morgan is Book 3, it is more of an inset into the timeline, a vignette of one particular character and her life. Talents continues the original story of Viviane and Jareth, and pickes up the trials and tribulations of Connell, the new heir of Clan Belfort.

As a little boy of almost eleven, he is overwhelmed by the changes in his life. Moving to live with his grandfather and grandmother–First Lord and Lady of the clan, he leaves behind his lifelong home, his friends, and even his family for now.

He’s not overly fond of working on his Talents either, but finds a friend in his Aunt Viviane, even if her husband scares him silly.

Not sure when this will be ready to be published, but I’ll keep you posted.

Talents–Gaining Control. Esperance Book 4.

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Not mine, particularly, but our daughter’s. The last of the grandsons has gone to Ft. Benning today to join his brother in the army. So now all of her kids are out of the house.

She’s not completely alone. Her husband’s two kids are still at home, but it’s not quite the same.

Working on my promotions today and thought I’d give you a heads up. I decided to give Author Uproar a shot. A couple of my friends recommended it, so I thought I’d give it a go.

So if you online and want to give me a boost, go over to my author page, give it a like, and maybe share some of my books to your social media.

Here’s the link:

https://authoruproar.com/author-Mellie-Miller/

All are available through Amazon and Smashwords.

Hope your week turns out fabulously!

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Yes, NaNoWriMo is almost over. Tomorrow is the last day. Those who have reached the 50,000 word goal will be declared winners. And there will be quite a few who will not have attained the required word count, who will be disappointed, frustrated, and wondering if they’re really cut out to be writers.

But no matter your word count, the fact that you started a book and worked on it for a month says you’ve won something. Maybe you didn’t finish as much as you’d hoped to.

But you wrote. For a month.

This could be the beginning of a habit that will see your first book published.

Everyone has different ways of staying motivated, or of making time to sit and write. I go for a walk in the afternoon, come back and stretch out, and with a glass of water in hand, I set the timer for 30 minutes.

During those thirty minutes, I write on my WIP. It may not be award winning prose, but I will have taken my project a little further down the road. If it’s a first draft, I can polish it up later. Or delete the passages I don’t like and rewrite.

But I will have made progress.

And you can, too.

If you want to give it a try, just get a cheap little timer from Amazon or Walmart–or any place you shop–put it next to where you are going to write, and choose your time.

Once that time is near, get your mind focused on your project, turn on that laptop, set your timer, and start writing. You may want to read over the last page or two of what you wrote the day before to get into the flow. But write for that half hour.

If you started NaNoWriMo with us, you are a winner. You may not get the certificate or the T-shirt, but you’ve earned my respect for having signed up and given it a go.

Besides, there’s always Camp NaNoWriMo coming up in April…

But for now, it’s time to get back to Whiskey Jug Genie!

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Winter is definitely in the air today. It was down around 30 degrees this morning when I got up. Miss Kitty decided she simply had to go out on the deck, however, and nearly froze her pitter-paws off. Now she’s miffed.

I’ve gotten into the swing with NaNoWriMo, with 3617 words written yesterday. And Bubba is turning out to be quite the character. I do hope Martin finds a way to free him from the jug…

Anyway, I’ll be sitting down to write for today once I have a bite to eat. I’ll keep you posted on my progress as the month continues. With any luck at all I’ll reach my 50,000 words by November 30.

Wish me luck!

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Well, sort of.

I got a late start on the NaNoWriMo due to an out of town wedding. But you have to go to your grandson’s wedding.

Right?

The rehearsal was Friday afternoon, and then the rehearsal dinner. After that, his mother and I were up until the wee hours getting the food ready–lasagne, potato salad, and corn dip.

I appreciate that our daughter is a fantastic cook. And I understand why her son wanted her to cater the main dishes for the wedding. But it was a bit rushed and stressful on the day before the wedding.

The wedding was beautiful on Saturday, but due to all the wedding prep, I hadn’t had a chance to write on November 1.

Grabbing the laptop out of my bag, I went to open my project and discovered I’d neglected to put it on my laptop. Thinking perhaps I’d emailed it to our daughter, I managed to get my phone to connect to my email, but no luck.

And the computer would not connect to the net. It had somehow turned off the wifi and it was late Saturday before I had a chance to get someone at our daughter’s house to look at it and figure out what was wrong.

Too late to do any writing yesterday.

So today one of our other grandson’s drove me home, we went to lunch, and I finally got sat down in front of the computer. To a three day backlog of emails.

However, I have made a start. Not a great start, but a start. This year’s project is Whiskey Jug Genie. I’ll need to catch up in the next few days, but I am confident I will make it.

Anyone out there joining in the fun? Drop me a line and let me know how you’re doing.

Or look me up at NaNoWriMo–Meleigh53.

Until next week, wish me luck!

Brown jug with a cork in it

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It has been beautiful here for the past few days. Milder temperatures, sunshine, and lovely warm breezes sweeping through the trees and the bamboo around the house.

The type of weather that is a taste of heaven on earth.

It looks like we might be heading back for rainy weather in a day or two, though, which is fine. The tomatoes will enjoy the drink and the bath.

In the meantime, I’ve been writing a few words on Lady Calloway, to be published under Sultonna Nadine, and editing on The Trouble with Talents, the next book from Esperance.

So while I’ve doing some fiddling with these two books, I’ve been trying to figure out book covers. Always a chore. It seems no matter what I’m looking for, I can find anything else. (sigh)

Anyhow, here’s hoping you’ve had a wonderful weekend so far, and will continue the trend.

How about a brief excerpt?

Lady Calloway–

A man expects a few niceties when he gets home, and a proper kiss from his wife is one of them.”

“Why are you going on so much about a kiss? You know I love you.”

“Do I?” Kerrick asked, exasperated. “And how am I supposed to know that? Your kisses are sisterly at best, unless I press the issue. And in our bed, half the time I feel I’m committing rape. You agree to sleep with me, but show no passion for me. Can you even feel passion?”

Suddenly wanting to know if she could show anything at all, he pulled her to him roughly, one arm firmly around her waist, the other twined in her hair turning her face to his. He kissed her savagely at first, his mouth hard on hers, demanding, before his kiss became more sensual. At first she tried to struggle free, and then, for a brief moment, he felt the beginnings of awakening arousal, before she stiffened into her usual stance—endurance.

“Don’t, Kerrick,” she pleaded with him as he released her. “Please, never do that again. I can’t bear it.”

Looking for more information?

https://www.facebook.com/meleighscreations

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Yes, I’ve finally reached the end of The Russian. And now begins the work. Taking that 99,000 word draft and shaping it into a story, and cutting it down to size in the process.

Many people think coming up with an idea and writing the first draft is the difficult bit. And maybe it is for some people. What most don’t realize is that the first draft is only the beginning. Yes, it gets your idea down on paper–so to speak. You now know where you’re beginning and how it all works out in the end.

Does the guy get the girl? Is it a “happily ever after” romance? Is it something much darker? Mainstream or erotica? Mystery or intrigue?

But the first draft isn’t a story yet. It hasn’t been shaped or molded. It is the raw material, the bare bones, from which your story can grow into something wonderful–with work.

Some authors have trouble getting up to a novel length word count. Some of us overwrite–sometimes a lot–and have to pare the story down to size. This is my particular problem.

But it’s okay! It’s the first draft. It’s a place to start, the clay to shape into your masterpiece. A potter doesn’t take a huge lump of clay, slap it down onto the wheel and say, “There it is! Isn’t it marvelous?”

It’s just clay at this point, nothing recognizable. But with a little work, the potter can make it into something beautiful or useful. Or both!

If you’re beginning to write, that’s fantastic! But don’t get stuck in your first draft.

And don’t stop writing because your first draft isn’t perfect. No first draft is.

But you must have a first draft before you can have a finished product. As one of my friends says, you can edit a first draft. You can’t edit a blank page.

Here’s to first drafts –the  misspelled, grammatically challenged, run-on sentence laden,  unedited  trash from which our stories grow.

Cheers!

 

Looking for something to read–that isn’t a first draft?

Check out my Esperance Series:

Or get a copy of Gambler’s Folly or Dante’s Angel from the Speranza Series.

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/738377

 

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Black and whiteGet along little…? Can you fill in the blank correctly?

Call it a pet peeve. Call it overly sensitive. Call it OCD. Call it anything you like, but twice in a week I’ve seen this quoted, or something similar, and both times the above line has been finished with “doggie.”

Incorrect!

Most people quote it as yippee ki yi yay, get along little doggie, which is doubly incorrect.

The original lyrics were:

Whoppee ti yi yo, get along little dogie.

Now, I realize spell check probably doesn’t like this word, and it is from a different era, out on the range. But dogie is cowboy slang for a motherless calf in a herd.

A doggie is a creature of the canine variety.

The lyrics to this cowboy ballad were first published in John Lomax’s  Cowboy Songs and Other Frontier Ballads. It has been performed by many different people and groups including: Roy Rogers, Tex Ritter, Charlie Daniel, The Kingston Trio, and Sons of the Pioneers.

So, unless you’re herding dogs, the word to use here is dogie.

I smell lunch cooking, so this little dogie is gonna go eat.

Get along little dogies! Talk to you later.

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Mel and Gambler's FollyAll right, out here in the country, with chickens and gardens, you can’t be lazy. Sometimes my mind is a little hazy, mainly from lack of sleep.  But it certainly is crazy around here!

With everything summer brings, it can be a little difficult to get the writing done on that next novel. But I have a new one in queue with my editor, so stay tuned!

So many people ask why I need an editor. It’s a good question. The idea was mine; the writing is mine; it’s my story.

And therein lies the problem.

It is my baby. I gave it life, but it has a few issues I can’t see because I’m too close to it. When I read through it, I know all the back story–those bits which came before the story. I gloss over mistakes because I see what should be on the page sometimes, instead of what is.

I don’t notice that I’m using the same descriptors repeatedly, or using a particular filler word in every paragraph.

My editor does.

When I get the manuscript back, dripping red ink, there are notes like, Where the heck did this come from? It is from that information I know about the characters and their backgrounds which hasn’t been passed along to you, dear reader.

Oops…

Or if, in a phone conversation, she says, “If he chuckles one more time, I’m gonna hit something,” I’ll realize my character sounds more like a lunatic than a hero. (She says chuckling to herself…)

She’ll notice if my writing has become wooden in areas instead of lyric. Am I telling you too much instead of letting you see it for yourself?

They may sound like little things, but a good editor can take that diamond, which you’ve painstakingly cut from the surrounding stone, and shape its facets to bring out its true beauty.

She may let you do the final polish…

If you’re thinking of hiring an editor, talk to them first and find out what they charge for the different types of editing services they provide.

Will they give you an estimate if you send them a sample?

Do they give new clients a price break?

What other questions do you have about editing or the editing process?

What other services do they provide?

The lady who puts the final seal on my work is RuleBreaker Editing. She does a fantastic job. My books wouldn’t be what they are without her critical eye.

Once you’ve hired an editor, grow some thick skin. The first time you see one of your babies edited can be intimidating, even heart wrenching.

It’s all right. It isn’t personal. They want your manuscript to be the very best it can be. Think about labor pains. They are certainly not pleasant, but they are necessary if you want that baby to be born.

So if you’re writing a book, college paper, or even an important letter and want to make sure it is at its best before you send it on its way, consider hiring an editor.

You’ll love the result.

In the meantime, it’s time to gather eggs!

Jareth Cover art finalEsperance2_web

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cancer and War.Way

mem-gamblersfolly

 

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Black and whiteHow many times have you heard it? Which is better, actor A or actor B, writer C or writer D? It seems anytime there is talk of one actor, author, director, playwright–whatever–someone asks the question.

Why do we have this need to compete with each other? Or in this case, the need to force a competitive attitude between followers? There is plenty of room for everyone.

Our family did an experiment one time. There is a particular song that we had on a CD that my husband loved. Because of the title, he thought there must be a story behind it, so he asked the three ladies of the family–me, and daughters Katherine and Dawn–all writers, to write our story of the composition.

And we did.

Were the stories interesting? Fascinating? Well written?

Yes!

Were they the same story?

No!

Were they all good stories?

Quite!

My story and Dawn’s stories followed a similar theme, but were quite different in style and conclusion. Katherine’s story took a completely different path- one that I would never have imagined.

Was it a good story! I loved it, partly because I could never have conceived it. Would I read it again? Certainly!

What did we learn from this? That not everyone sees the same story from the same inspiration, but that all the stories have merit. They were equal in quality while being different in most other ways.

There are thousands of authors, playwrights, directors, actors–you name it–out there and many of them are tremendously talented. So trying to say this one is better than that one is personal opinion. No two of them are going to be best in every area, but they can both be leaders in their field.

Give two different authors an idea for a book and have them write from that idea. The two books will be completely different, even if they both write the same genre. Once those books have been edited and rewrites finished, you’ll have two different books, both of which will be fantastic, but different.

Which will be better? That’s a matter of personal opinion. It’s can’t be quantified. I like both Ellis Peters and Dorothy Sayers. Which one is better? I couldn’t say. It depends on what I want to read at the time.

Let’s stop forcing competition where there is no need. The marketplace is hazardous enough without complicating matters. Wouldn’t it be better if we were to encourage each other to do our best?

The world deserves out best effort. Let’s give each other a hand!

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