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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Report from National--Day 2

Last night's Literacy Signing raised more than fifty-three thousand dollars! Congrats and much thanks to the authors, the volunteers, and the readers who helped us contribute to the various charities involved with teaching everyone to read.

Today, I thought I'd share some of the snippets of conversation, I've overheard so far. As I've done with this feature in the past, some of these I know the circumstances involved; others, I don't.

1. "What exactly are bad socks?" 
2. (In the hallway, early this morning), "Security. Could you let me in, please?"
3. (said to me in the elevator) "You're the body language girl. Please say you're doing that workshop here! It's one of my favorites." (Sadly, no, I'm not. RWA passed.)
4. "'Scuze me while I whip this out."
5. "She's got wine, chocolate, and dirty books. How much is the devil paying her?"


For tips on writing and fun articles, visit Gina's Articles For Writers page: http://www.ginaardito.com/ArticlesforWriters.html
Need editing services for your manuscript? Gina is proud to announce the launch of Excellence in Editing: http://excellenceediting.com/

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Report From National--Day 1

Photo courtesy of RWA 
Well, I made it.

One of the things I love about RWA National is that, when you arrive, it's almost as if the last year hasn't happened. Oh, sure, there've been new books sold, new works published, people who are missing, people who have come for the first time. But above all that, there are the faces I look for every year. And when we find each other--across the crowded lobby, on the escalator, in line for coffee, coming out of the ladies room, at check-in or registration--the squeals of delight cannot be contained. We hug, we kiss, and we catch up. We swap stories of our goals, our achievements, what we're currently working on, what we're planning for the coming year.

With the formalities out of the way, we buckle down to work. New workshops, new promotional opportunities, new networking opportunities, new locations to tour for research, and of course, new bars to sit in and sip a new cocktail or two. 

Tonight, five hundred authors will be in the 3rd floor ballroom at the Marriott Rivercenter in San Antonio for the annual Literacy Signing, open to the public. I'll be one of them. The buzz will be incredible, the noise level ear-splitting. Hugs and squeals of delight will abound as readers meet their favorite authors and authors meet their idols. 

This is love. The love of books, the love of reading, the love of romance. Come share the love with us.

For tips on writing and fun articles, visit Gina's Articles For Writers page: http://www.ginaardito.com/ArticlesforWriters.html Need editing services for your manuscript? Gina is proud to announce the launch of Excellence in Editing: http://excellenceediting.com/

Monday, July 14, 2014

Things That Make Me Go "Hmmm..." (the Writing Edition)

Completing my series, here are ten questions that run through my mind while I'm writing:

1. Why does that brilliant idea from last night not transfer so well into my story now? 

2. Was I drunk when I wrote this drivel?

3. What inspired me to write such amazing stuff?

4. Is it any wonder all the "great" writers drank or did drugs? 

5. If I quit this insanity tomorrow, how soon would I miss it? (The answer is, "within seconds.")

6. Have I used this name for a character before? It sounds familiar...

7. Should I keep this chapter? Or does it suck the way I think it does?

8. Who told my characters they could do that?

9. How the he** have I strayed so far from where I thought this was headed?
10. What happens next?

For tips on writing and fun articles, visit Gina's Articles For Writers page: http://www.ginaardito.com/ArticlesforWriters.html
Need editing services for your manuscript? Gina is proud to announce the launch of Excellence in Editing: http://excellenceediting.com/

Friday, July 11, 2014

Things That Make Me Go "Hmmm..." (the Editing Job Edition)

Continuing the series, here are ten questions that go through my mind while working as an editor:

1. What makes you think I'm going to do all the work and hand over a pristine manuscript, ready for immediate uploading to various publishing sites? Any published author will tell you that once you receive your manuscript from an editor, the real work begins with you rewriting, revising, correcting, and accepting changes. 

2. Why do you schedule cover art, formatting, and promo dates in advance, but expect me to be sitting around waiting for you to email so I can immediately start editing your manuscript? Seriously, I'm booked months in advance, kids. Don't contact me if you're looking for a five-day turnaround. It ain't gonna happen.

3. Have you done your research? Trust me, I'll know. And so will your readers.

4. If this book is part of a series, can it stand on its own?

5. Do you have a working grasp of grammar, punctuation, and proper storytelling? Editors "polish" your manuscript. Don't expect us to turn your tossed word salad into the next NY Times best seller. There isn't enough money in the world to satisfy us both with a project like that.

6. How tough is your skin? I'm not your mommy or your BFF. As an editor, I'm looking to correct what's wrong, not stroke your ego because you did something right. If you can't handle constructive criticism, I'm not the editor for you.

7. Do you read? 'Cuz, seriously. Pick up any book and compare it to the mess you sent. You'll immediately see a lot of your mistakes. Those should be corrected before you send me your manuscript. The more work I have to do, the higher the cost to you.

8. Are you Nora Roberts? James Patterson? E.L. James? Then don't tell me what they get away with in their writing. When you're selling what they're selling, break any rules you want. Until then, if you prefer ellipses to periods or refuse to use commas anywhere because that's your "style choice," go for it. But don't expect me to participate in your lunacy.

9. Did you read my contract before signing it and sending it back? I spell a lot of things out there, including what reference guide I'll be using to edit your work (Chicago Manual of Style), how the work will be edited on the document (using Track Changes), and how many follow-ups you're entitled to for your initial payment (one). If you disagree with any of this, after the work is done and returned to you is not the time to complain to me. And yes, that rant about how I suck because I (correctly) amended "Columbia" to "Colombia" even though your former editor (incorrectly) insisted the South American country is really "Columbia" counts toward your follow-up consultation. 

10. Where on my website or bio did you see information for rates on formatting, beta reading, or proofreading? You didn't. Know why? 'Cuz I don't do those tasks. And I certainly don't do them for free. Every edit I perform takes me away from my own stories, my own marketing, etc. My rates are extremely reasonable and I work with my authors to give them a price that won't bankrupt them while providing a quality product. But don't take advantage of my generosity or expect me to take on a job as a "favor." I do have a limit.

In two words, "be professional." You do that, and we'll get along great.
    
For tips on writing and fun articles, visit Gina's Articles For Writers page: http://www.ginaardito.com/ArticlesforWriters.html
Need editing services for your manuscript? Gina is proud to announce the launch of Excellence in Editing: http://excellenceediting.com/

Monday, July 7, 2014

Things That Make Me Go, "Hmmm..." (the day job edition)

Commentary regarding questions I have every day at Le Day Job.

1. Who the **** designed the taps in the ladies room? They're rigidly timed for about five seconds of water, you can't use hot and cold at the same time (only one or the other), and depending on the sink you choose, the spray is deluge or trickle. It's sink roulette, but the game is fixed so you never win.

2. When is the construction on that one particular road I must travel every day going to be finished? The town has been paving the same one-block strip for eighteen months!

3. Why is it always so warm on my side of the office while workers on the other side are bundled up in parkas and gloves? 

4. Why does my office have two kitchens, but only one water filtration system and one ladies room?

5. Who told some of my coworkers that skin-tight leather skirts (that show every dimple) and six-inch stiletto heels were "proper business attire"?

6. Would someone please tell the lady with all the inspirational posters around her desk that every one of them has at least one misspelled word?

7. What do the guys think when they hear music blaring every time the ladies room door opens? Do they wonder if we're having disco parties inside?

8. Why can't we have pajama day? Preferably at home?

9. Ten years? How could I have stayed here ten years?

10. And why does it sometimes feel like a hundred years?


For tips on writing and fun articles, visit Gina's Articles For Writers page: http://www.ginaardito.com/ArticlesforWriters.html
Need editing services for your manuscript? Gina is proud to announce the launch of Excellence in Editing: http://excellenceediting.com/

Friday, July 4, 2014

Blueberry Buckle Cake ('Cuz...'Murica!)

Happy Fourth of July to all my U.S. friends!

In our household, the Hubster always requests this cake for dessert (it's also a great breakfast snack). It's chock-full of blueberries, in season in our corner of paradise. If you want to give it a try, here's my recipe:



Blueberry Buckle Cake

Batter:

1/4 c butter, softened
3/4 c sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 c all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp coarse salt
1/2 c buttermilk (or use 1 tbsp vinegar and add milk to create 1/2 cup)
1 pint blueberries, rinsed

Topping:
1/2 c all purpose flour
1/3 brown sugar
1/4 c butter, softened

Glaze:

4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1/3 c confectioners sugar
1 tbsp hot water

For cake, in large mixing bowl, combine butter and sugar. Add vanilla and egg, stir until creamy. In separate bowl, combine next three dry ingredients. Mix dry ingredients into sugar mixture, alternating with buttermilk until just stirred. (Do not overstir!) Fold in blueberries.

For topping mix all three ingredients and use fork to create crumbs.

Pour batter into a greased 9-inch cake pan, spread evenly. Top with crumbs. Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 40-45 minutes. Allow to cool for ten minutes. While cooling, beat cream cheese, lemon juice, and confectioners sugar until creamy. Stir in water to make a thin consistency (use more water or less, if necessary). Remove cake from pan and drizzle with glaze. Serve warm.

For tips on writing and fun articles, visit Gina's Articles For Writers page: http://www.ginaardito.com/ArticlesforWriters.html
Need editing services for your manuscript? Gina is proud to announce the launch of Excellence in Editing: http://excellenceediting.com/

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Can't We All Just Get Along?

"Aren't you embarrassed to be friends with her?"


This was the question a friend asked me about another of my friends a while back. She went on to elaborate:

"She can be so inappropriate. She has no class. She says and does things that make me cringe. If I were you, I'd worry about being seen with her. She's so...unprofessional."

"I love her," I replied. "She makes me laugh. She's one of the most generous people I know. She's stood by me when it would have been convenient for her to walk away. She reminds me not to take myself seriously. She'd help me hide a body, no questions asked. I'm pretty sure she loves me almost as much as I love her. We don't always see eye to eye, but we respect each other enough to remain close friends, despite our differences. She's a true friend, in every sense of the word."

I was reminded of this conversation this week when politics tore too many friends apart on social media.

Let's face it. Life is boring when everyone around you thinks the same way you do. We need friends who love us while challenging us to think outside our bubbles, yet who allow us to be ourselves without consequences. I don't want to have to censor myself or worry that my opinion is going to hinder our ability to be close. The last thing I want in someone who shares my tears and my laughter is a 24-hour "professional." If that were a popular option, psychiatric offices would all have fully-stocked bars inside,complete with dance floors and a deejay. I get enough "professional" behavior from strangers. When I'm with friends, I want to let loose, laugh with my whole heart, share private jokes that can have us snickering and no one else understands. I want to tell you my deepest secrets, my fears, my dreams, and know you'll not only keep them safe, you won't deride me for them or blab them to the rest of the world. I want to be me and know that I'm totally accepted that way--flaws and all.

If you're my friend, I accept you as you are. I'll keep your secrets and hold your hand when you're hurting. I'll help you hide a body--no questions asked. I'll pick up the phone at three in the morning or drop what I'm doing to come to you if you need me. I love you for our differences as well as our commonalities. Oh, we're gonna argue. I'm a redhead with an Irish temper and a sensitive heart. I take things personally sometimes. But I always try to communicate my feelings with you so we can discuss it and get over it. I tend to see the good in you unless you give me a peek into your darker side. If I do see your darker side, I'll forgive you--even when you've hurt me. And I'll defend you to anyone who calls you unworthy or unprofessional. I hope you'll do the same for me. 

If we disagree about something, no matter how strongly, I hope our friendship is enough of a reminder to you that we benefit more from knowing each other than we do from "unfriending" one another.

P.S.: The friend who wondered about my friendship with someone so inappropriate? She "unfriended" me a while back. Go figya.


For tips on writing and fun articles, visit Gina's Articles For Writers page: http://www.ginaardito.com/ArticlesforWriters.html
Need editing services for your manuscript? Gina is proud to announce the launch of Excellence in Editing: http://excellenceediting.com/