Yesterday I posted a note about picking a genre for The Path Chosen, trying to explain, in my clumsy way, why I picked the genre I did. I speak upon this matter again today because it seems I've offended someone with my choice. Although, in my understanding of the matter, it's not my choice that offends as much as why they think I chose it. So, with clarity this time -- I hope -- I would like to explain my decision and the heart behind it.
I risk shooting myself in the other foot by touching upon things in The Path Chosen that may be spoilers. I was trying to avoid doing this ever since announcing TPC's existence, but it doesn't seem I can. *Fingers crossed*
In explaining my choice, I'd like to say:
Dear Romance Author and Reader, when I state I do not think of my novel as a romance, I am not belittling the romance genre in any way. I admire anyone who can and does write for this category. I love a good romance -- in a novel, and in movies and television series. God knows I wish I could, and have tried to, write romance. However, The Path Chosen is not what I would call a good romance.
When I state The Path Chosen is not romance, I am honouring the romance genre, and giving romance readers the heads-up, as it were. I am not looking down my nose at the romance genre, or placing The Path Chosen above it -- not in any way.
I may be wrong, but when I think romance, I think one couple going through a gamut of troubles and struggles until we, along with the main couple, arrive at happily-ever-after -- which is where I want to end up at the end of a romance. Without spoiling TPC for anyone who is yet to read it -- I hope -- I share that this is not the case in TPC.
The main theme is about two women. Their hearts. Their journey. Their heartache, fears, and experiences. One reader captured it well when she wrote the following review on Amazon:
"...It's also a fantastic story of two women
Dear Friends, if you wish to class The Path Chosen as a romance, by all means do so, that does not offend me. In fact, that would thrill me because I would've nailed that category while believing I don't make the cut -- and that opens more doors to me, and gives me more hope and courage in writing a 6 - 7 part novella series that I have been plotting and would class as romance. But if you're looking for one couple who stay true to romance, even with their issues, then you may be disappointed by The Path Chosen when you realise this story is about the women, and you discover that one partner from the two couples in this story crosses what I feel is the romance line.
Also, I wouldn't class TPC as a Christian novel either, because, again, out of respect for the readers and writers of Christian novels, and Christian Romance, I have strayed way outside the lines. However, failing to class TPC as a Christian novel, even though there are Christian beliefs in it, does not mean I am anti-Christian. I am a Christian. But I coloured outside the genre lines, and I feel I owe it to the Christian reader to let them know it may not be as pure as they would expect to find in a Christian novel. I do this out of respect for reader and author, and for the genre itself, not out of haughtiness or any such thing.
If you have been offended by my choice of genre, or the motive behind it, I apologise with all that I am. Please know that I declare "it's not this" in honour of you, not dishonour. I wasn't putting anyone or anything down. I pray you'll find it in your heart to forgive my inept way of explaining myself and my intent. <3
I have attempted to write romance. Here's a couple of short stories I wrote a long time ago -- in fact, I would class these as Christian Romance - one with supernatural themes:
Love Beyond the Grave.
The Scarecrow. (If you don't like evil/ugly images, don't open this one. The scarecrow is the first thing you'll see on opening it.)
I also have a number of stories on my computer/s that are romance, which I have started but feel too inadequate to write. I have a photographer friend with whom I share these story ideas with, who joins with me in thinking about, searching for, and taking images for romance novels.
You can see the Pinterest folders for them here:
(Some were in hidden folders, but I've opened them for this blog.)
Someone Else's Child
It Should've Been Me
Sister Series Book 1
Sister Series cover ideas and inspiration.
Sister Series: Book 1, 3rd sister.
Sister Series Book 7 "Mum".
Inspiration for "The Wrong One".
So, as you can see, I'm not anti-romance. I have a lot of ideas growing in my heart, some I've written down and "pinned".
My short stories: Links on Pinterest.
In some of my poetry you will find romance. Some of my poetry on photos.
In my previous blog "This Writer's Journey -- The Editing Stage", I meant to mention a very good friend of mine, but as I was running out of time writing that blog it slipped my mind. So I'm writing this blog to introduce you to Mandy Erskine -- photographer.
Mandy is a professional photographer, located on the Central Coast of New South Wales, Australia. You will find many of her images here: "Mandy Erskine on Arcangel." Some of which have already been used for book covers, including one with my youngest son, Matt, in it. You can also find, and follow, Mandy on her Facebook photography page.
I'm sure Mandy would be open to capturing, and/or editing her images, to suit what you need for your book covers. She went out of her way to photograph an image I had hoped to use for the cover of The Path Chosen. Unfortunately, it wasn't the image the publishers went with, but Mandy went above and beyond the call of duty, as it were, to get the image I wanted. Not only did she purchase the gloves, the phone case, and the material for the dress, she made the makeshift dress just for the shoot. (I'm hoping and praying she'll be able to sell the image to someone. And I marked it because it is an image that belongs to Mandy.)
Along with being a great photographer, Mandy is one of the best friends I've ever had She read the first version of The Path Chosen for me, and if it wasn't for her encouragement, I very much doubt I would have pushed to find a publisher. Mandy is a lovely woman, and I am so grateful to have her in my life. She inspires me in many ways! So, if you're looking for a book cover, or a great photographer, do yourself a favour, and contact Mandy. <3
Ooh, by the way... speaking of Mandy taking my son's photo. This coming Sunday (February 28, 2016), Mandy will be doing a photo shoot with my youngest son, Matt, and his gorgeous girlfriend, Sophia. So be sure to follow Mandy so you can see those images!
And speaking of great photographers:
* Danka Dear proof read the final version of The Path Chosen for me -- and, I'm thrilled to say (and will post in a blog under 'TPC Updates'), she cried over it. Uh, I mean to say she loved it. ;) (And I'm happy it made her cry in parts. :P ) Follow Danka on her Facebook Photography page.
* J L Dunbar actually inspired The Path Chosen. He said something like 'what about a train and time travel?' and I said, 'Leave that thought with me'... and before we knew it The Path Chosen was born. So, if it wasn't for John, we wouldn't be here today. :) Follow John on his Facebook photography page.
Thanks for being here, Friends. I hope you will check out, and follow, these guys. They're great people -- and very good friends of mine. :)
God bless. And I'll talk to you soon. :) xxx
Actually, I just posted a blog in 'TPC Updates', which probably would've fit in to this section of my blogs. You can read that in "The Final Edits..."
Here, I'll just say that it's been an interesting journey. Apart from learning a few new things in writing and using Word Document, I've discovered I can go from 'Yeah, life's all good' to 'Now is the perfect time to panic' in next to no time just by sitting down to edit! :)
During the editing process, I've learned the following... After I note them, I'll add links that you might find helpful for writing.
1. Remove 'passive voice' sentences.
2. During editing with an editor, you'll need to use 'track changes' in your Word Document. This can make your writing look messy. During these changes, and during the accepting, or denying, of these changes by your editor, commas, words, full-stops, and so on, can be either lost or left in. So after the 'messy edits' (pic in "The Final Edits" blog) make sure you read back over your writing to ensure everything is in its rightful place -- and that before it's sent off to the Copy Editor. You will be given another opportunity to check everything after Copy Editor has viewed your work.
3. During edits, you'll need to have the Show/Hide formatting button turned on in Word Documents, so you can see hidden format. This handy little item shows you a number of things you do not want to overlook when being published. For example, if there is more than one dot between words, you'll have to remove one; this is wasted space, and may very well throw your writing out of whack once published in eBook form. Also, if there is a dot between the symbol and the end of your paragraph, you need to get rid of it. If there is a dot before the first word of a paragraph, you'll have to delete that, also. This handy little button will guide you through this process.
4. Gosh! Having a 'real live' editor read through your manuscript and point out things you've missed is a major bonus. I've thought about publishing short stories and whatnot through Amazon, without bothering with an editor, but the editing process with The Path Chosen has made me see, no matter how I get my work published, I need a real editor!
5. When I purchase a book, the first thing I look for is a good cover. If the cover doesn't grab me, I tend to move on from that novel without looking to see what the story is about. But picking a cover is hard, ay, because the cover 'this person' is drawn to, may very well be the cover 'that person' hates. So, what to do...? In the end, you have to go with the cover that grabs you, the author. Like no one else, you know the intimate details of your characters and their story; you, above all others, will know what suits them. Trust that instinct. Apart from what image to go with, I find that colour, or brightness and clarity, catches my eye.
As mentioned in 'TPC Updates: The Final Edits' blog, second to writing, I like photography, and I love to edit images. I'm a visual person -- which is why I will choose a book by its cover over its blurb. So get yourself a good cover artist, and make that cover 'shine'!
Not great examples, but I've run out of time, and using images from my laptop, not from my PC or external hard drive:
6. The blurb! Oh, don't get me started on that. That was harder to write than the novel. I could've easily taken up drinking through that process, let me tell you! If it wasn't for friends coming to the rescue, with me running the '250 words' by them, I would've went nuts!! Man, I hate that part of writing. lol... (Thank you, dear friends!)
Anyway... That's all I can think of for now.
Links to helpful blogs concerning above-mentioned matters.
RECOMMENDED LINK: K.M Weiland -- helping writers authors.
The second most stressful 'moment' I've experienced since receiving a contract for my novel, was writing the Blurb. I kid you not! :) The most stressful was the tax form I had to fill out.
I spent a couple of days trying to find out whether or not I, an Aussie, needed to apply for an American tax number. During my state of frustration, I joined the Aussie site MyGov and, while on that site, I linked my profile to Medicare but I didn't pass the ID test and needed to prove to them who I am, so I rang them. While we were working everything out, I said to the helpful and polite woman on the other end of the line, "While I have you here, could you help me with the W-8 BEN form?' and she informed me that I only had to add my Australian Tax File Number. I did not need an American one.
Oh, the relief! I was sooo grateful for the site needing proof of who I am. Had it not, I would never have made that call. It was an answer to prayer, I tell ya.
So, long story short: Add your Australian Tax File Number to the form.
The following is a replica of the form I received; and how I filled it out prior to sending it back to my publisher.
Note: The form I was sent is a replica of this one, dated 2006. While writing this blog, I noticed one dated 2014... I assume the TFN would be the same deal. Also, if there ever comes a time when I need to adjust anything on this form, or any other form concerning tax, I will return to correct this and add a new blog.