Alpha~Beta…some crazy code? #writerlywednesday #awriterslife

 

There is so much more to writing than sitting down with pen and paper or computer. On Wednesday I will try to share some of the things I have learned by trial and error. We all have our own methods, some may like one thing while dislike another.  There is no one way of writing that is the right one. Since I just finished my current WIP which means work in progress, I will share my next step that is on to a Beta read, In my case, I send it o only one reader so I guess you would say she is my Alpha reader. What’s the difference?

An alpha reader or beta reader (also spelled alphareader / betareader, or shortened to alpha / beta), also pre-reader or critiquer, is a non-professional reader who reads a written work, generally fiction, with the intent of looking over the material to find and improve elements such as grammar and spelling, as well as …

Beta reader – Wikipedia 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beta_reader

An Alpha reader is a person who gets your work as soon as you finish your rounds. In my case I write a rough draft, go over it running it through my ProWritingAid.   

I found a friend through my chatty chick writing group. She is my Alpha extraordinaire.  even though she makes tough calls, she and I understand each other. she never changes my voice no matter how deep the call. We pass the manuscript back and forth until we both are happy with the product.

Yes, sometimes I get teary at some of the cuts. Once we finish, the story is crisp, more polished and Ready for an editor.

What does an Alpha look for?

 Alpha versus Beta 

another great article between Alpha Beta and Arc readers Here 

of course, any glaring mistakes such as typos and stuff that stands out but the job is deeper. Their main job is loopholes things that don’t make sense, tense change and pacing. That’s just a tip of the iceberg. Having all this done ahead of time makes an editors job easier and makes for a more polished book.

It is important you have an Alpha you bond with because calls can be rough and you need to trust it’s not personal and for your best interest.  They have to be tough too and not let the author bully them too.  my Alpha Misty and I fit like lock and key. she knows when she will hae to hand me a tissue or calm me down.  She knows not to be offended if I like something so well I don’t want to make the change we discuss it and if I keep it she understands.  We have worked together for years now but this past year more seriously. We have one manuscript almost ready for me to either sub or hire an editor and this new project with a deadline of  Jan 31 just about ready to submit.

I don’t know what I would do without my Alpha. LOL Sounds like a wolf pack or something LOL

Courtesy of pixabay.com

Do you use an Alpha, or do Alpha reads?

Munchie Monday~~ Beans #southernfood #comfortfood #writerslife

I’ve decided to try to get back to blogging this year. I’m going to start out with three days. Monday Munchies, Writerly Wednesday and the MFRW52week blog challenge on Friday. Soon I may incorporate a teaser day as well. Until then you can get updates on my writing progress, teasers, games, character inspirations and even help me name characters and settings in my Facebook group–Cat’s Romance Aholics.

Since it’s been so cold and what is better on a cold day than soup or stew this month I am going to share some soup or stew recipes. Also being a southern girl, beans are on that list. Having a ham bone left from Christmas I thought a nice pot of beans is due.

A cute random bone song that popped into my brain while writing this…

Yesterday I made beans. I always save my ham bone from Christmas and Easter for a batch. (it freezes well) My mom and Grandmother always did and it’s something I followed over the years.  One Easter my husband’s girls were all here and the oldest was helping clean the kitchen. She asked where did he want to toss the bone outside or in the trash. He told her we don’t throw that away. SHe was shocked and curious about why so he sent her to me.  I explained cooking it in beans or soup.  I asked how her mom made beans and she said with water.( wrinkles nose) Even if I don’t have a bone I don’t use just water. Today I will share both my recipes of beans since I don’t always use meat either.

Beans with a ham bone or ham hocks

I don’t have exact measurements as this is more a method than a recipe.

1 pound of beans ( you can use more if you have a large family) ( rinse pic out the trash and bad beans)

2-4 ham hocks or ham bone a smoked turkey leg or thigh is great too.

garlic, chopped onion, salt, pepper, water and my new favorite ingredient…better than Bullion I used one tablespoon of vegetable in this pot of beans. (You can use onion powder or minced onion if you have non-onion eaters in the family) and garlic powder.

Bring beans to a boil, boil ten minutes turn off cover let sit 2-4 hours or overnight. pick any beans off the top. Drain off the water, this helps give you less gas.

Return beans to pot or put in crock pot. Add all the above seasonings and ham bone, or whichever meat you choose. You can use chopped ham if you don’t want to mess with the bones.  cover with water I make sure my bones are covered or almost.  This is where you taste the water and check the seasoning it should taste close to what you expect your beans to taste but a bit stronger.   In an hour check again and add more seasoning if desired. In crock pot cook for two hours on high then check if nearly done turn to low or you can cook all day on low. I’m not that patient.  If stove top bring back to a boil simmer for a couple of hours checking to make sure all the liquid doesn’t absorb or cookout.  I like my beans bit firm but if you like your soft cook to desired consistency About an hour before time to serve, take out meat let cool, pull off bone add some back if desired. cook about thirty more minutes then turn off and let sit for 20 minutes or so covered.  Now make a pot of cornbread and enjoy!

https://pixabay.com/en/beans-black-background-food-799944/

If you want a vegetarian Bean version this is how I make my beans on a more regular basis and it’s almost as tasty as the meat version. My dad had doubts but I won him over.

1 pound of beans

2 cans of vegetable broth or a large box.

2 stalks of Celery, half an onion rough chopped,  minced onion or onion powder, garlic or garlic powder better than bullion 2 TBS

This is also very budget friendly.

Rinse and pick over your beans. cover with water, bring to a boil -boil 10 to 20 minutes. turn off cover and let sit 2-4 hours or overnight. Once softened drain water. return to pot or crockpot, cover and add broth. if it doesn’t cover with a couple of inches to spare add a can of water you need plenty to begin cooking.  add the 2 TBS of better than bullion and other seasonings.  and veggies. ( i wrap the veggies in cheesecloth and tie for easy removal (unless you like a veggie in your, in that case, chop them finely and add) You can add salt and pepper too. Stir well taste the water. if it has a strong veggie taste and just slightly salty your good to go. Bring to boil, then reduce heat and simmer about 2 hours checking occasionally so the water doesn’t boil out or over absorb. ( burned beans are nasty).  I like my beans firmer, if you like yours softer cook longer still watching that your liquid doesn’t boil out. this is a good time to check your seasoning.  I like to let mine sit covered about 20 minutes or so before serving. This is a good time to make a pot of cornbread!

Every Sunday we went to my grandmas when I was you our Sunday dinner was Beans, cornbread a green fried or mashed potatoes, Fried chicken or pork chops. and chocolate cake. WHere the meat and potato may vary we knew the beans were always there!  Now I’m hungry!

Do you like beans and cornbread? How do you make yours? Do you save those ham bones or smoked turkey wings or legs?

And Always~~if you can dream it you can do it!

~Held Hostage by the Muse

Hi Y’all! I have a special friend visiting tomorrow so I thought I would do my Writerly Wednesday a day early. I had a post set to write-up, but I had a muse attack me the other night. Next week we may be Drafted. This week  I am talking about ideas and how they can come. The post may be short since I am having some respiratory issues and feel like crap.

This week  I am talking about ideas and how they can come from left field. I was watching TV with my husband and the Farmers Only .com commercial came on.  One of my muses whispered in my ear a secret title. I think this new idea could be a lot of fun. After talking to my friend Misty, I came up with a couple of names for a contemporary story. There will be cowboys!  While brainstorming my MM muse whispered in my other ear, wanting the story for himself. After a little more brainstorming I took my title and turned it into a world and may do two books.  There will be cowboys in both two entirely different stories.

I need my muses to help me with these rewrites and edits instead of bringing me new ideas so often. I can’t wait to write a fresh story. It has been a while. I still plan to finish Baseball Bats and Cowboy Hats and Simon Plus Two first.  After that, I think I will begin one of these.  I wrote the ideas down and can work on it on the weekends after my blog work is all done.

I’m not crazy, and I know muses are not real entities. Some authors don’t believe in muses at all wanting all the credit for themselves. Some authors have real muses like artists have. These can be friends husbands pets or whatever. Others, like myself like the imaginative muse that keeps us company finds us ideas and pushes us forward. I don’t think it matters what muse we use as long as we create fun, imaginative stories I think it’s all good!

Do you like cowboy stories? Which genre do you prefer M/F or M/M or both?  Do you have a muse?  I have many.

Take a Peek Tuesday~Boy Meets Girl #amwriting #romance #sports

Hi Y’all! Would you like to take a peek at what I’m working on now?  This week I’m sharing a snippet from my current work in progress Baseball Bats and Cowboy Hats, a M/F contemporary sport/cowboy romance. I have just started rereading self-editing and making notes so I can start the next draft. That one I plan to finish by April to get to my Beta reader if not sooner. I have posted bits of this before, so I will be skipping around. Don’t forget this hasn’t been edited yet, but should be a little better than the last draft. LOL

I am doing this a bit different. I will post a paragraph or so in each view since I write in first person split views.

Baseball Bats and Cowboy Hats  copyright2016

Chapter One

Annie

Then the last one bounded from behind the vehicle with two duffles and a  bag of sports equipment.  His strong biceps are bulging under the weight, yet he trotted over to us, a bundle of energy packed into a tight pair of jeans a shirt stretch tight around his muscular frame and a cowboy hat on his head. He dropped the bags with the others; bounds back over to us shakes Rick’s hand then takes mine into both of his holding them securely.  (Work in the pink here  with the blue having Simon trailing behind him shyly?)

“It sure is kind of you to let us stay here in your lovely home. Coach didn’t tell us our hostess is such a beauty” He( who is he?) lifts my hands up to his full lips and lightly brushes them with a kiss. “Oh, I’m TJ.”

“Down Casanova. Get your butt over there with the others. You’re here to play baseball not charm all the women you meet!”  Rick rolls his eyes as he playfully punches TJ on the arm.I stood there mesmerized by the cutest boy–young man I’ve ever seen in years. Broad shoulders, big brown eyes and wild curly hair that’s a little too long. His handsome face in need of a shave. He would be my dream man–if he were 20 years older.

TJ

I helped Simon gather our stuff then jogged up to Coach and the hostess.Why did the heck Simon park so far from the house? Then I saw the others tossing the ball and figured he didn’t want to chance one through his window or a dent. The way we pitch a ball can do some damage.

Excitement overtook me as I took her small, fragile looking hand in mine.

Hot damn no ring! How on earth could a woman this gorgeous be single? I guess she could have a boyfriend, but all is fair in love and war.

“TJ join the others while we finish our business.” Coach glares at me.

He turns his head back and begins talking with Annie.  A sweet name for a lovely woman.  The coach focuses his attention back to her, lightly touching her arm as he speaks gently. I wonder if they are an item?

What do you think? Do you like the first person split view? What about Annie and TJ?

 

Writerly Wednesday~Decisions Decisions #amwriting #genres #newwip

Five years ago I decided writing would be fun. Just pick up a pen and start writing that story brewing in my head.  That is a good thought. It is also a good start. In reality, it isn’t that easy at all.

Having an idea for a story is a good beginning, but who are all the characters? What’s the plot? Subplots? Trope?  Genre? Are you going to plot it out? If so how much detail? A basic beginning middle and end or details by chapter? Or are you going to pants it? Even If you do that, you still need to know your characters to a point and the basic plot. How long is the story? Is it a short story, novella or novel? These are just basic questions for the writing of the story.  Now say you figured this all out. Sat down and got your first draft now the next barrage of decisions.

How many times will you reread it? How many rewrites will you do? Do you have your beta readers picked out? How many do you need?  Should you send it to them before the editor? Do you need one editor or three? Are you going to have a proofreader?  While you contemplate this, you also need to figure out who will be designing the cover.  Who will format? Will you hire it out or attempt it yourself and that brings you to–are you using CreateSpace, Smashwords or something else?  Are you self-publishing or submitting to a house. If you choose the latter, then you need to look up their submissions. What do you need? How many pitches? Are you writing them or having them professionally written? how do you write a summary? What’s the difference between a summary and a blurb? A blurb and an excerpt? Do you need all of this?

It took me years to come up with something that worked for me as I kept redoing and redoing and now I have a stack of unfinished books in files. I felt I never could get them right enough.  Now I am writing the rough draft, rewriting it once going through Grammarly as I do and then sending to my Beta(or Alpha) I’ll correct what she finds then send it to an editor. After that, a beta and proofreader and hopefully I will be ready to get it formatted.

Now that these decisions are made, you have more. You need your social media campaign set up. You need marketing plans. How many social media sites do you need?  How much time do you need to spend on them? Do you need a newsletter?  A blog? A website? What’s the difference? Do you need all three? How do you get people to sign up for it? All of this is up to an individual, but you do need to get out there.  I use Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest , Goodreads and I blog. I will have a website to showcase my books and a newsletter once I get my first release out.

Whew! Now you’re done, right? Nope. Whether you self-publish or submit to a house, you have to market your books. Social media is just to get you out there. to get people interested. the easiest way to lose them is to only post buy my book stuff. so how do you market?  I haven’t figured out all of that since I haven’t gotten that far, but I do have marketing experience since that was my day job for 19 years. If I could sell diamonds I should be able to sell books. I hope. There are a few ways to market I haven’t mentioned. One is tours. Not as many people read blogs as they use to so be sure to make these fun, offer prizes but what? Do people want a cup with just your name on it? Most likely not.  Books are good. If they are in your party they probably read. Gift cards are also good.  Look into your book and what it’s about. are there some fun scenes in it that you could come up with a prize from?  Early in the year, things like planners and calendars are good mid-year and later unless you have next years these probably aren’t good.  Does your character cook? find easy to ship cooking relating items like aprons, cookbooks, special utensils and you can ship direct from Amazon which makes it easy. Pick items related to the season as well.   Another fun way to get readers are Facebook parties. I love these.  and do as above have a few fun prizes, some books maybe one grand prize. One thing I dislike about these parties is if you have to preorder the book for the prize. it may be ok to have one post for those that do but don’t make it the only prize or grand prize. I also don’t like the prizes on the follow me posts. The prizes should be for fun and not to force people to sign up to your pages or like you.  more than likely they will leave shortly after. You want to win people over and get them to stay so be fun.

There is one more thing. Reviewers.  Reviews are important in so many ways. not only does it help other readers choose to buy or not, but it helps you move up the ladder in Amazon, get on lists, etc.  Reviews do not have to be professional or extensive.  Just pick your stars and a few words like it was good,  it was ok, I loved it. Or even if you felt there was something missing. Reviews should be honest. These should never be bought.

So as you see there are lots of decisions in writing. It isn’t just sitting down on your computer and popping out a story. A lot of work goes into it. Don’t get me wrong it is a fun occupation, but it can get overwhelming and expensive as well. Not all books will come out of the red. It is something you have to want to do and work hard at.

I am sure I left something out, especially in the putting the book up on Amazon. I haven’t gotten there yet so I don’t know what all choices are there. I have seen several, such as Kindle unlimited or KDP select. I see new things now like Kindle Worlds and Kindle Scout I will have to research.  And there is research.

Do you attend Facebook parties or follow blog tours? What kind of prizes do you like to see offered? Do you buy books based on covers and titles or by only authors you already know?

Writers work hard to entertain you so go out and let some of your favorites know how much you appreciate them. Life would be dull without books, since most movies once began as a story.

Follow

Follow this blog

Get every new post delivered right to your inbox.

Email address