Monday, May 21, 2012

Sayin' Goodbye

Linda here, with the painful announcement that one of our founding members will be leaving us at the end of the month. Katie, Lynnette, and I met on roughly five years ago, though it seems we've known each other forever. By the time we got together in this collaborative blog, Katie's second full-length novel, Behold the Dawn made it's debut, Lynnette had just signed a contract with Oak Tara for Rocky Mountain Oasis, and I was putting the final touches on Give the Lady a Ride. Individually and together, we've all come a long way.

Now, three years after we started this blog, Katie has made the tough decision to leave it. I'll leave it to her to tell you what's going on in her life:

Want to share the reason for your decision to leave?

It’s been a great ride, but a lot has change in the three years since you, Lynnette, and I started up AC. For me, those changes have mostly meant seeing my own writing pursuits (my novels and my own blog Wordplay) grow to demand more and more of my time. All this busyness has also meant that the associated computer work has wreaked a maniacal-laughter kind of havoc on my wrists. I have a beautiful set of repetitive stress injuries in both wrists, which could possibly lead me down the dark road of carpal tunnel syndrome in a few years more. Not a road I want to go down! So this year I resolved to pare down my life and particularly my computer work to essentials. Since AC continues to grow and add new members, I felt it was something that would be left in good hands if I let it go.

How are your wrists now?

Earlier this year, about the same time I made the decision to step down from AC, I bought a set of bed risers and used them to lift my desk about five inches. That made a dramatic difference, since having the keyboard at a height that kept my wrists level took a lot of stress off them. After that, I had moments in which I thought I was miraculously cured. But I got yanked up short a few weeks ago when three days of inputting manuscript corrections flared them up again. I have a feeling this is an injury I’ll live with the rest of my life. But if I can just rein in my tendencies to attack everything and overdo it, I should be able to keep the problem under control so it doesn’t interfere with what really needs doing.

I understand you’re subjecting one of your manuscripts to a professional editor for the first time. What made you decide to take that step?

Yes, just a few days ago I just sent the manuscript of my fantasy Dreamlander to the marvelous CathiLyn Dyck of Scienda Editorial. I await her comments with eagerness—and a little trembling! For my past novels, I relied on the expertise of experienced critique partners, some of whom are editors in their own right (yourself chief among them!), but this time around I figured it was time to start practicing what I preach: namely, that independently published authors owe it to themselves, their readers, and the industry to be professionally edited. Even the best of authors are blind to the mistakes in their own work and need the practiced eye of someone who knows the art, craft, and industry of writing.

What were you looking for in an editor?

Someone brilliant, of course! I knew I needed someone who understood the genre, had experience under her belt, and offered her services at a reasonable rate. CathiLyn fulfilled all those qualifications easily. The fact that I “know” her from other social circles on the web and already liked her and was comfortable with her was icing on the cupcake. Having seen some of her work on others’ manuscripts and heard more than one glowing review clinched it.

Do you still take on editing/critiquing jobs?

No, I discontinued my First Chapter Story Consultation service earlier this year in the same purge that nailed AC. Although I loved working with other authors and helping them near their goals for their stories, the truth is I’m just not an editor at heart. I’m much happier in a role of unofficial “mentor,” such as what I do on my blog and social sites. The lessened stress on my wrists and the added time to devote to my own writing and website were, of course, also factors in my decision to move on.

When will your next book be out? 

The tentative release date for Dreamlander is December 1st (just in time for Santa to make a big order!). Unless CathiLyn hits me with an unexpected round of major changes for the book, that date probably won’t be tentative for much longer. Can’t wait!

What else are you working on?

Aside from various pre-publication chores for Dreamlander, I’m also about to dive into another revision of my historical WIP The Deepest Breath. After that, I get to start outlining my next book, a historical fantasy about a barnstormer who has a mysterious woman quite literally fall out of the sky and into his lap. I’m really excited about this one. Deepest was a dark story, even for me, and I’m looking forward to doing a fun and (mostly) lighthearted adventure story.

Any parting words you’d like to share?

Being a part of AC has been a wonderful experience and I’ve been honored to participate in it for these last few years. I’ll miss the group emails with the AC writers (I’ll even miss putting the schedules together), and certainly I’ll miss chatting with our readers. But I’m happy to know I leave the site in the wonderful hands of not just you, Lynnette, and Johne, but also a trio of wonderful new members who are soon to be introduced. Thanks for all the fun memories, everyone!

We'll miss Katie, but you can still keep up with her: On Facebook, Twitter, and her award-winning blog, Wordplay.

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