Round Two Down!

I just finished the second edits, the color edits, on Tilt. Next up is taking all the changes and incorporating them into the manuscript. I’m hoping to get Tilt to my editor by the middle of December.

This book has been a lot easier to work with than Lift. The story knows where it’s headed, and believe me, BIG things go down in book two! Almost all of the Flying Ponies get introduced, and you get to know Dreadful more.

I hope to release Tilt in mid-winter (Valentine’s Day would be fun, wouldn’t it?). Check back on my social media as I will be updating where I am with the publishing process.

Editing With Color

I am now on the second round of edits on Tilt, book two in The Flying Ponies trilogy. This second stage is what I refer to as my “highlighter” round. Each pertinent character and sometimes story line gets assigned a different color highlighter. As I go through the manuscript, I use those colors to mark characters. I do this so I can see how many times a character is in a scene or on a page, and to make sure they continue all the way through the book. If a certain color stops, I can make sure there’s a reason why that character or story line disappears.

This strategy works well for me, and I like flipping through all the pages of the manuscript and seeing the different colors. As a writer, it’s interesting to see which characters run the show. In Tilt, the Flying Ponies themselves are quite involved in the narrative. You will meet almost all of them in the second book; and hopefully, you will like at least some of them. Each of the 32 Flying Ponies are based on actual carousel horses – some of them are on working carousels around the United States, and others are to be found in museums. The model horse for Dreadful, for instance, is at the Frontier Museum at Cedar Point Amusement Park, in Ohio. In the middle of this month I will be visiting Cedar Point, and am excited about “meeting” the bay cavalry horse Dreadful is modeled after.

Using the different colors also appeals to me as a creative person. I love to color, and highlighting my characters is almost like coloring my novel. Who knows – maybe someday there will be a Flying Ponies coloring book! The one major story line that I assigned a color is the relationship between Black and Charlotte. I’ll admit – I think they are an adorable young couple, and I’m having fun watching their feelings for one another develop, especially since a certain older brother doesn’t like that.

I’m not quite halfway through the book with the colors; once that round of edits is done, I’ll let Tilt sit for a week or so and then go through it again, this time looking for anything that feels out-of-place. I’ve signed my book contract for it, and the book will probably go to my editor in the early winter, and then finally to my publisher. I expect Tilt to release around March-April of 2019.

If you’re a writer, the highlighter round might work for you, too – and it sure makes your manuscript pretty!

 

But What If It’s Bad?!

Yeah. I’m going to be blunt. I’m afraid to start editing Tilt, book two in The Flying Ponies trilogy because, GASP! what if it’s bad? Having gone through the editing process last year starting around this time with Lift, book one in the trilogy, I know it’s not fun. It’s not supposed to be, I don’t think. Oh maybe, if you can kill enough of the darlings and know where to embellish and how to do so, but what if the story itself isn’t good?

Sure, you can rewrite. You can do as many drafts as you pretty please. Still, the story itself, the inner thread that holds all those scenes and characters together – what if that’s so far past gone that you can’t find it? Or it unravels as fast as you grab at it? Then, might I ask, what?!

So this, then, is my dilemma. I am set to print off Tilt and start the editing process around August 30, give or take a day or so. I was eager to begin the process with its predecessor. I didn’t know any better. Some writers love editing and rewriting. For them, that’s where they find their story. For me, it’s not. I already know my story. I know where it’s going and what it should look like at the end of the book. It’s all those lines in the middle, the ones that twist and shape the story. What if those aren’t as elegant as I thought? What if my clever writing isn’t?

I’m not looking for assurances or reassurances. Maybe insurance – wait, that’s what my day job is for, so I’ve got something to fall back on should this writing endeavor fail. This is just me wringing my hands inside my head and wondering why on earth I thought I wanted to write for anyone other than myself. You know, though, I think every author, every writer, goes through this. At some point in time in your career, anyway. I’m just dragging my feet. That’s all there is to it.

So…onward into the unknown. We’ll see if the story is really there, if the characters are doing what needs to be done and in a timely manner.

We’ll see if these Flying Ponies are continuing in their nefarious ways!

Bittersweet

I finished the first draft of book two in The Flying Ponies trilogy, Tilt, last Saturday night. As I sat there, staring at my computer screen, a little disturbed by what I had just written, I thought, Wow. I only have one more book with this crew. Then it will be on to something else. And that realization hit me quite hard.

You see, writers get attached to their characters. We live with them in our minds and hearts, day after day. Someone can read your story and think, yeah, I enjoyed that. And then they move on to something else. But writers don’t get to do that. At least, I don’t. Those people, those wooden horses that fly, are now part of me. They always will be.

And I will miss them when their story is complete, when I’m not thinking of and working with them daily. They’ll still be with me, but they will no longer be in the limelight. They’ll have to move over and make room for the next story’s characters.

That’s how it should, of course. No writer can rest on his or her last story. There’s always going to be another to tell, another to share with the world. But you still miss the last one you told.

I know I shouldn’t be waxing poetic about The Flying Ponies yet. I still have to edit and polish Tilt. It probably won’t release until spring 2019, and then I have the third and final one to write, Spin. After that, yeah. It will be time to get sentimental.

But the next story is always calling, even now, even with Tilt just starting to cool off, stored on my flash drive and laptop. Still, it’s hard not to feel some bittersweetness.

I kind of want that carousel ride to last forever.

The Middle Blues

So this is what’s going on: I’m a little better then halfway through Tilt, the second book in The Flying Ponies trilogy, and I’m tapped out. I’m just done. The muse is sitting in her garden, sipping tea, and I just don’t feel like writing.

This happens. It happened with Lift, too. It usually happens to me right around the middle of the book; I’m tired of working on it, the story isn’t flowing, and when I open the story document, I sit staring at the screen wondering if there are any cool pins on Pinterest to look at.

It’s also known as the dreaded writer’s block. It happens to every writer, at different stages of their work. Mine tends to hit in the middle of the novel. How do writers deal with it? They each have different strategies. There are even writing books devoted to writer’s block. I’ve learned that giving myself and the muse a couple days off really helps. I also listen to songs that remind me of the story and the characters.

I really should be writing Tilt. I should be staring at that computer screen. I definitely shouldn’t be watching The Big Bang Theory, which is exactly what I’m doing while typing this. Ah, well. I know where Tilt is headed. I have a solid idea of the ending, which will lead into Spin, the third and final book in The Flying Ponies trilogy. And later on today, I’ll head into my office, boot up the laptop, tell the muse to hop to it, and stare at that screen.

And maybe, just maybe, the words will flow, and I’ll be closer to that ending that I can see glimpses of.

This image and quote are from (where else?) Pinterest.

Write Your Story

I did an author meet and greet yesterday at Gales IGA in Hart, and I had a ball! I sold some books, but what was more fun was just talking about Lift with the people who came. They were genuinely interested in learning about the process and the inspiration, and I thoroughly enjoy talking about it.

It’s been said that if you can’t find the kind of book you want to read, then you need to write it yourself. There’s a danger in doing that, of course – what if no one else likes your story? Well, to be honest, should a writer care about that? Yes, at least a little. Most working writers hope to make some money, though most of us know we will never make enough to quit our day/night jobs. That’s a reality that needs to be faced.

It doesn’t mean, however, that you shouldn’t write that story that you want to read. Somewhere out there are other people who need your story, too. They might not even realize it until they see it sitting on a local book store’s shelf or on Amazon. Not every person will click with your story, and that’s okay. How many books have you read that didn’t do it for you? That’s no reason to hold back.

I love my story. I love my characters. I can’t wait to share book two of The Flying Ponies trilogy with all of you. It’s a story I would’ve loved to read, but no one had written it, so God gave it to me to write. For better or worse, the Flying Ponies are mine now.

What story do you want to read that hasn’t been written yet? Perhaps it hasn’t been written because it’s waiting for you to do it.

Have a blessed Memorial Day, everyone. Remember our fallen soldiers and what they did to protect the freedom we as Americans enjoy.

(I found this quote on Pinterest.)

Lift Launch!

So Saturday, April 21st, was my launch party at the Book Nook & Java Shop. I had my nervous breakdown the Tuesday before (Would anyone come? Would I sell any books?) Well, I had no reason to be nervous.

I spoke for roughly twenty minutes on Coney Island, carousels, and writing Lift. My hubby recorded me; it’s on YouTube (L. M. Ransom Lift). I took some questions, and then sat down to sign books.

And ran out of copies before the end of the line. Never expected that! I wasn’t expecting the amount of people who came, either. Friends, family, a coworker, my hubby’s coworkers, and people who I didn’t know. It was a terrific turnout! Everyone was encouraging and excited, and I had an awesome time. It was more than I could’ve hoped for, which isn’t surprising. God has blessed everything about Lift.

My next event is Saturday, May 26th, from 4-5 pm, at Gales IGA in Hart, Michigan. I’m looking forward to it; I doubt I will have any anxiety, now that I have the launch party behind me.

Here are some pictures!

Launch Day!

It’s finally here: Lift officially releases! This day has been a long time coming; I’ve wanted to be an author for a long time now.

If you’re in the vicinity of Montague, Michigan this afternoon, I will be at the Book Nook & Java Shop from 4:30-6 pm, talking a little about Coney Island carousels and the inspiration behind Lift. I will also be selling and signing copies of the novel, which is the first in the Flying Ponies trilogy.

This picture was taken at the Grand Rapids Museum this past March. The horse is an armored charger from their 1928 Spillman carousel. They are one of my favorite types of carousel horses. This particular one will serve as inspiration for one of the Flying Ponies in the second book in the trilogy, Tilt.

Have a blessed day and hope to see you this afternoon!

What’s Happening Next

So as most of you know, Lift is now available as a Kindle pre-order, and the soft cover ARCs are in my hands. Three have been sent out to others. One will go to someone who will review it for our local paper, and one is staying right here with me. So what comes next?

The release party is being held April 21, from 4-6:30 pm, at the Book Nook & Java Shop, in Montague, Michigan. The book will be available from Amazon on that day as both an e-book and a trade paperback. I am also going to have the book available from other distributors; most notably from Ingram, from whom most libraries order their books.

The second book in The Flying Ponies trilogy, Tilt, is complete. I won’t look at it for 6-8 weeks or longer. When I do begin going through it, I will be looking at how it flows and what changes need to come about. When it’s as far as I can take it, it will be sent to my editor, Kat Szmit, and together we’ll mold it until it’s ready.

In the meantime, give or take a month or two, I will begin writing Spin, the final book in the trilogy. Once The Flying Ponies is finished, I’ll begin work on the next story, which I’ve already started notes for.

The writing life is busy, but I wouldn’t want it any other way.