Independent Publishing

23 Aug 2017: My guilty pleasure …..

It’s a guilty pleasure, one I know is somehow wrong.  I shouldn’t take perverse pleasure is seeing something incorrect, but I do.  Just to know that the big publishing houses are as fallible as I am … well, sometimes it’s what gets me through.

Now mind you, I cut indi authors some slack here. I’m never going to point these kind of errors out in a fellow indi’s book, but Nora Roberts?  Love ya, gal, but with all the professional eyes on your book? Seriously, maybe you should hire me or at least take me on as a beta reader.

Here is my latest discovery.  Two, count em’, two typos in Face the Fire, by Nora Roberts

Chapter 4, page 65

Her rude little gargoyle who stuck his tongue out of a grinning mouth at passerby.

– I’m pretty sure that’s supposed to be passerbys (with an s at the end.)

Chapter 18, Page 313

She studied the dining room, with its flowers and candles already in place. The window were open wide to summer.

– I believe they forgot the s at the end of windows making it plural.  Either that or were should have been a was.

So, what typos have you spotted in novels by big name authors? Let’s keep the dream alive for those of us who aren’t fortunate enough to have an army of editors behind us.

-Jennifer

Jennifer Geoghan, author of:

I’d love to hear from you!  Click on “Leave A Comment” below and let me know what’s on your mind. You have no idea how much you’ll brighten my day by leaving me a comment!

20 July 2017: Great Summer Read and it’s FREE!

Hello friends and fans.

Just an alert that Falling for Death is free on Amazon until Sunday.  If you haven’t already, now it the time to get your copy of a great summer read and the first novel in the Falling Series. It’s a full length, stand alone novel as well as the first in the series.  Check it out!

-Jennifer

11 July 2017: Ain’t nobody perfect … not even Debbie Macomber

It’s an unfortunate fact of life. No, I’m not talking about the birds or the bees or even Tootie and Natalie. This unfortunate fact of life is that no matter how much your pour your heart and soul into your novel, no matter how many pairs of eyes edit and correct the living daylights out of it, the first comments you will always get about this literary baby you gave birth to will always be about some mistake it contains.

It’s just plain depressing really.

“I loved it!  It’s fabulous!  By the way, did you know there’s a typo on page 195?”

It is true I’m always thankful for those who point things like this out to me.  I immediately fix the offending error and it’s gone for good.  (Unless it’s the word towards …. see my last post.  🙂

Me? I’m what you would call small time.  I’m fortunate enough that I’m a pretty good editor as well as writer and after seven novels know myself well. But I’m still human and make mistakes.  I think that’s why I’m so gleeful when I find mistakes in books put out by big publishing houses.  I know, it’s quite horrid of me to admit this, but there it is. I may be small time, but I’m right up there with the big boys and girls too when it comes to making mistakes.

So it was with a little surprise and a lot of glee that I turned the page and discovered an error in a Debbie Macomber book this week.  The offending novel was Midnight Sons Volume 3.  Here’s the sentence. Can you spot the error?

“The next morning the newlyweds would leave for California to board a ship for a two-week Caribbean cruise.”

Hummm …. do I have you stumped?  This is where my years in the cruise industry come in handy. I double checked to see if anything had changed and it hadn’t.  Still trying to figure it out?  Okay, there are no Caribbean cruises that leave from California.  From California, you go on cruises to Mexico or Hawaii, maybe Costa Rica. From California, it would almost take a week to get to the Caribbean.  You’d have to go through the Panama Canal first! To go on a two-week Caribbean cruise, they should have flown down to Florida, Texas or even Louisiana.

Sorry, Debbie.  This one slipped past you and your editors.

Yes, I have a pretty good eye for details like this.  I spot them in movies all the time.  I think my favorite move faux pas is in Independence Day.  In the beginning of the movie you see the President coming down a hallway in the White House.  The gal is sitting in a chair and the camera has a shot on the back of the USA Today she’s reading as he walks towards her.  Look at the paper and remember it’s supposed to be July.  The USA Today weather map should be all red, orange and yellow because of the summer heat.  Strangely it’s all blue, green and yellow.  They obviously filmed in the winter months and didn’t bother to get a summer USA Today weather map!  Don’t believe me?  Here it is.

Some cold front we’re getting, Mr. President.

It’s always good to remember …. Ain’t none of us perfect!  So when someone points out a type to me, I’ll just think of Debbie Macomber and Independence Day and know I’m in good company.

-Jennifer

Jennifer Geoghan, author of:

I’d love to hear from you!  Click on “Leave A Comment” below and let me know what’s on your mind. You have no idea how much you’ll brighten my day by leaving me a comment!

9 July 2017: Struggling between “Linguistical Correctness” and what’s right.

It’s funny how a small comment from a prospective editor set in motion such a large debate for me. When I received  a sample edit of a few pages of a manuscript of mine, there was a notation on my usage of the word “towards.”  Yes, it had never occurred to me to not put an “s” at the end.  Why?  Because I’ve always spoken it aloud ending with an s.

American accepted usage of the word “toward” is toward without an “s” on the end.  It seems “towards” with the “s” is the editorially correct British spelling of the word.

Here in lies my dilemma. I’m American and never in my life have I said the word “toward.” I’m “towards” all the way. I’ve surveyed many people over the last few weeks and most have said they use the offending “s” as well.  So …. what’s up with that?

This wouldn’t be such an issue if it wasn’t for the fact that my novels are all written in first person and are told by women who all grew up in the same small town I did in New York.  If I use the “s,” so should they.

Now that’s all well and good. I mean, I’m a rebel.  I could honestly care less what people think …. except I’m entering literary contests now and I feel using the offending (yet correct) “s” would be a mark against me.

What’s a girl to do?

I decided that in my novel series (The Falling Series) I’m leaving the “s” in and will be adding in a note that it’s a regional “s,” which I believe it is. It’s either regional to the town in NY where I grew up or regional to the town in Rhode Island where my mother grew up.  I inherited quite a few New England speech idioms from her. Since my protagonist in The Falling Series also has a mom from Rhode Island, the “s” stays.

However, going forward I’m caving in to linguistic peer pressure and dropping the “s.”  This bothers me no end, but if I want to win contests sacrifices have to be made.  You win some, you lose some …. battles that is, hopefully not contests!

I’ll end with asking to whom does one write a letter to get this “s” issued updated? Seems an out of date rule that needs a bit more flexibility with the current use  of American English.

-Jennifer

Jennifer Geoghan, author of:

I’d love to hear from you!  Click on “Leave A Comment” below and let me know what’s on your mind. You have no idea how much you’ll brighten my day by leaving me a comment!

15 Apr 2017: A Controversial Decision

There comes a time when you have to make the hard choices in life, and for me one of those choices was to scrap the titles and covers of my book series and start again.

  • Why would I do such a thing?

Because they were never living up to their potential. My other novel, If Love is a Lie, sold rings around the series and really they’re just no reason why when you take into account the stories. So, I now introduce you to the new and improved book series:

The Falling Series

  • Falling for Death (formerly know as: The Purity of Blood)
  • Falling for Stars (formerly know as: Purity Lost)
  • Falling for a Kiss (formerly know as: The Blood that Binds)
  • Falling Head over Heart (formerly know as: Purity’s Progeny)
  • Falling Ever After (formerly know as: Blood’s Solemn Vow)

The new titles convey that, yes, these are romance novels.  They downplay the vampire aspects of the novels, which in the end are not the most important parts of the books anyway.  The titles and covers are much more cohesive now as well.

Did I make a good decision?  Only time will tell ….

So what are your thoughts of rebranding a book series or any book for that matter?

-Jennifer

Jennifer Geoghan, author of:

I’d love to hear from you!  So click on “Leave A Comment” below and let me know what’s on your mind. You have no idea how much you’ll brighten my day by leaving me a comment!

29 Mar 2017: Last first kiss … second to Last First Kiss … third from Last First Kiss …Oh Heck!

This last post in my series is a little off topic.  It’s really because when I was searching for a title for my latest novel, I was dumbstruck at how silly people are when it comes to picking names for their books.

Here’s how I go about picking a name.

  • Step 1: Remember not to get married to a name too early.  Research has to be done and you may be setting yourself up for heartbreak when you have to ditch the title you had your heart set on.
  • Step 2: Brain storm till I come up with a list of a few titles I think have potential.
  • Step 3: Go on Amazon.

Yep, go on Amazon and enter in your title to see if there is currently another book with that title up for sale.  This is important.  You don’t want to throw yourself into marketing your new book only for folks to a.) have trouble finding it, b.) buy the wrong book, or even worse c.) think the other book with the same title looks better and more appealing that yours!  Horrors!

Here’s a case in point. One of the titles on my list of potential titles for my novel was “Last First Kiss.”  Sounds good, no?  Well, it must be a good title, cause there are quite a few “Last First Kiss” books on Amazon!

What a waste it would have been to title my book that too.  My question is, did the other authors not check, or did they not care that they were going to be lumped in among the other kisses? Personally, I think it’s a mix of both.

Googleing the prospective titles is a good idea as well.

Ironically enough, the title I was convinced would be taken … wasn’t?!?!? I’m not complaining 🙂 nor am I telling you the title until I launch the book.

-Jennifer

Jennifer Geoghan, author of:

I’d love to hear from you!  So click on “Leave A Comment” below and let me know what’s on your mind. You have no idea how much you’ll brighten my day by leaving me a comment!

19 March 2017: Look Who’s Talking?!?!

Here’s the eighth installment of my series on How to Write a Good Romance (or any story really) based on what not to do:

8: Look who’s talking !?!?!

If you’re writing in first person and have multiple narrators, make this OBVIOUS! I just read a book that had two narrators.  The names of the narrators are the chapter names as well.

Chapter 1 is titled “Grace” which I had no idea was the name of the character. In the 10 pages that make up chapter one, the author never mentions her name, and let’s face it, “Grace” could have meant something was full of grace, which in this case is what I unconsciously assumed. Plus, I never pay too much attention to chapter titles.  Sorry, but I don’t.

Chapter 2 was titled “Sam.”  I’ll be honest; this 4 page chapter confused me.  I wondered why the unnamed narrator was suddenly stalking some unknown person for fun, but hey, the writing was really good and I figured it would go somewhere eventually. From the back of the book I vaguely remembered that the female protagonist was killing a series of men.  I think I was assuming the first fellow to bite it was going to be Sam.

Chapter 3 was titled “Grace” which again, I didn’t really think about.

It’s not till Chapter 4, “Sam,” that I started to realize something was truly amiss, and going back, realized there were two narrators. Talk about a light bulb moment.

The lesson here is to firmly establish your main narrator (by name) before you hand the story off to a second narrator. Remember to make that transition somewhat obvious to even a knucklehead like myself.

-Jennifer

Jennifer Geoghan, author of:

I’d love to hear from you!  So click on “Leave A Comment” below and let me know what’s on your mind. You have no idea how much you’ll brighten my day by leaving me a comment!

22 Jan 2017: There’s nothing like hitting the “Publish” button.

There’s no greater feeling than hitting the “publish” button to put a finished book up for sale online.  Having finally completed my newest project, I had the pleasure of doing so just that this week.

the-family-hist-quick-start-guid-lr-cover

The Family History Quick Start Guide is now up for sale on Amazon for the amazing price of only $4.99!!

Check it out at: https://goo.gl/eSSZwa

Its creation was a true labor of love. I’ve been somewhat obsessed with my family history since I had to do a middle school social studies project on my family tree. Thirty some on years later, I’m an expert on the subject.  It was suggested to me about a year ago that writers, even novelists, should write a how to book.  Never having written nonfiction before, I wanted to give it a go. What I produced is an easy to read, funny and extremely helpful guide for those just beginning to untangle the story of their family history.

Check it out!

-Jennifer

19 May 2016: Help! I’m drowning in excess exposition and characters!

As a continuation of my last post , here’s the issues I encountered and lessons learned from the other book I started this past weekend. Again, for the sake of the author, I’ll keep the name of the novel to myself.

It’s a not terribly long romance novel. Problem is, I’m over 50% of the way through the book and I feel like the entire first half of the book could have and should have been condensed into the first 10% of the book. The pacing is so slow it’s driving me crazy. The only reason I’m still reading it is because I’m curious to see if the author crams the plot  resolution into the last paragraph. At this rate I have no idea how she’s going to manage to get any story line into the book. So far all she’s done is introduce 16+ characters and have the heroine say she’s a school teacher who because all her friends are now married and having babies, wants to have a baby on her own without waiting for a husband to come along. There, I said it one sentence, the author took half a book to say that. Oh, and the heroine is organizing a charity event where they will auction off some bachelors. It took up to 49% of the way through the book for the couple to kiss and that was after they’d had their first real conversation. I gather that this is not the first book in the series, but one of my issues with it is that there are WAY TOO MANY characters. Even if it’s a series where all the books take place in the same town, it doesn’t mean you should include all the previous characters in every book. The main focus should be the couple that book is centered on and a few supporting cast. This book has thrown over 16+ characters at me so far and I’m only half way through!

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When writing my current novel, I’ve been very mindful of the pacing in the first chapter. By the end of chapter one I’ve introduced the main characters and placed them in the middle of the action. I’ve given the first chapter to a few people to read to get their opinion about the pacing, hoping I wasn’t dragging it out a bit. Sometimes it’s hard to take a step back and recognize the pacing of your own book.

With this novel, I think the author got lost in her love for her characters (all 16+ of them) and forgot that she needed to move the plot along quickly enough to keep the reader engaged. Novels shouldn’t be an author’s love story with a character they created, and in this case I think it is. In my opinion, the entire book would pace so much better if the author ditched a lot of narrative that takes place during conversations between two characters. This isn’t from the book, but will give you the idea of what I’m talking about.

“Let’s go to the beach today,” Mary suggested. Really she didn’t want to go to the beach but needed to get out of the house and any destination was better than cleaning the garage. It was Friday and that garage wasn’t going to clean itself. Looking out the window she wondered if it would rain, which only reminded her that she needed to wash her car. Her car … her father had given her that car for a graduation present. She missed her father so much it hurt sometimes. The day he’d been run over by the train on his way home from the apothecary had been the worst day of her life. Well, the worst until Justin walked into town. Justin was no good and never would be. Maybe he’d look better if his hair wasn’t purple. Mary loved purple, in fact it was her favorite color, but dying her hair purple was where she drew the line.

“Sure the beach sounds like a good idea,” Diane replied as she handed Mary a cup of coffee.

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In my little example above you can see how annoying it is that there is so much exposition between the lines of dialog that quite frankly has nothing to do with the conversation itself. The author of this book has the terrible habit of making a simple conversation go on for pages and pages and pages. Honestly, I started skipping over a lot of this filler to get to the rest of the dialog in the conversation. With so much exposition I was getting lost as to who spoke last so when someone eventually spoke, I had no idea who it was.

Lessons Learned:

Too many chefs crowd up a kitchen just like too many characters confuse your readers. Keep to a small core set of characters, especially in a shorter length novel and develop your main characters before adding more character into the mix. If you think you may have too many characters, see if there is a way to combine two into one.

over-crowded-room-i6

Pacing is paramount. By the end of the first chapter you should already have established who your main characters are, set up the situation they find themselves in and why the reader should want to continue reading. This is super important if you’re going to be submitting your book to a publisher or an agent. If they only want to see the first chapter, it had better be a good one.

too-many-words

Don’t drown your dialog. Your reader wants to feel as if they’re eaves dropping on your character’s conversation. Too much exposition in between actual dialog dilutes the conversation they are having and disengages your readers.

-Jennifer

Jennifer Geoghan, author of The Purity of Blood novel series and If Love is a Lie: A Partly True Love Story.

I’d love to hear from you! So click on “Leave A Comment” below and let me know what’s on your mind.

17 May 2016: Learning good lessons from bad books

I shouldn’t really say they’re bad books, but the two books I read this past week definitely had some issues.

The first book I read (which shall remain nameless) had a heroine who was supposed to have been born and raised in/around New York City. Yet for some unknown reason she kept using words that only people in the UK would use. Here are a few examples of what I’m talking about:

  • It had a granite countertop, fitted dishwasher, ceramic hob, refrigerator … (A hob is a stove top burner)
  • Tucking into my lunch … (Tucking = eating)
  • Although we didn’t find a torch … (A Torch is a flashlight)
  • Pushing all the banknotes into his hand …(Banknotes = dollar bills)

Clearly, the author of this book needed to have a professional editor or an honest friend tell them to reword these sentences. Honestly, this is why all my heroines are from my home town of Wading River, New York. I know how my people talk and phrase things. In other words, I write what I know.

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Lesson learned:

Be mindful of the local lingo. Just because you shine a torch on the hob while in search of your missing banknotes doesn’t mean they do that in New York too.

british-and-american-english-40-728-Jennifer

Jennifer Geoghan, author of The Purity of Blood novel series and If Love is a Lie: A Partly True Love Story.

I’d love to hear from you! So click on “Leave A Comment” below and let me know what’s on your mind.