Revisions are Murder

Revisions on your novel can get as intense as writing the book. You still need to get into the zone, live inside your character’s head, and breathe in the scene. But you also need to step back to view the pacing and structure objectively.

Revisions are Murder

I’m involved in this process now for Styled for Murder, book #17 in the Bad Hair Day Mysteries. All I want to do is sit here glued to my chair to work on my book, but life keeps intruding. It’s hard to remember what I wrote from one chapter to the next with so many disruptions.

Nonetheless, my critique partners were right when they said my sleuth repeats information. She tells various people about the murder case. It’s okay to have a periodic review of suspects with a sidekick or friend, but I’ve been repeating too much material. I’ve hit the delete key many times by now, and I’m only on Chapter Eight. There’s also the issue of suspects who reveal too much information. They should either question Marla’s interest or clam up on her. She has to work more to get answers.

It took me a whole week to get past Chapter Seven. Why was this? Marla, my hairstylist sleuth, can get brusque when interviewing potential suspects. My critique partners pointed this out to me. So in my first revision, I am smoothing out these scenes to make her more sympathetic. She must coax or cajole or flatter people into talking, not fire questions at them like the cops. This means nearly rewriting entire scenes. That’s okay. I expect my first draft to be rough. I’m writing down my stream of consciousness and telling the story as it comes.

I’m also cutting out the unnecessary repetitions. Instead of telling each person she knows all about the case, I’ll insert a line like this: Marla updated her friend on recent events.

Another problem is that I’ve forgotten certain aspects of Marla’s personal life. When she’s at home, she cares for her baby and has discussions with her husband. Oops. What happened to her teenage stepdaughter who lives with them and their two dogs? Each scene at home, I have to go back and make sure I’ve included these elements.

It’s a juggling act inside my head. By the time I get to the last chapter, I’ll forget again what I wrote. That’s when the revision process will start in for the second round. This goes on until I am satisfied that I caught everything and polished every sentence. The work will never be perfect, but it’s time for me to step away at this point and hand it off to someone else with a critical eye.

Editorial and beta reader comments lead to a new round of revisions. Each change can lead to other changes. And so on, until I’m nearly cross-eyed from looking at the pages. Then I call a halt and get set for publication. Thereafter, the book stands up to your scrutiny.

Without a doubt, there’s always something a fan will find that needs fixing. I am grateful for these tips, especially when the mistake is significant. Things do get past my multiple readings, the editor, and the beta readers. We’re only human.

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Here is a sample from the first page of Chapter Eight (Spoiler Alert):

Old Chapter Eight

“We’re thinking of renovating our bathroom, and that’s how we met Lenny,” Marla explained, thinking she’d offer the same excuse to the granite guy that she’d given to the tile man. “We had considered Amaze Design Center, but I don’t want to deal with them if jobs are being delayed due to the foreman’s death.”

“That’s a wise decision.”

“What kind of problems did you have with him, if you don’t mind my asking? I’d like to know what to watch out for in the future. I heard customers got annoyed when he scheduled appointments and nobody showed up.”

George lifted a hand to shade his face from the sun, making Marla wonder why he didn’t wear a hat if he was outdoors so often.

“My problems stem from the fact that the louse hadn’t paid me for the last two loads. I refused to extend them any further credit. Jack was upset and chewed me out in front of another contractor. He hollered that a customer blamed him for the delay in obtaining the granite to complete his job. This client wrote a nasty note to Brad.”

He snorted. “A lot of good that did. Brad would never fire Jack. They knew too much about each other.”

Oh yeah? Like what?

“You couldn’t have been happy about Jack taking out his frustration on you,” Marla said in a sympathetic tone.

“I could have punched him in the face. It wasn’t my fault that his company was behind in their payments.” George curled his fist for emphasis as his lips thinned and his eyes squinted.

New Chapter Eight

“I understand Jack riled lots of people,” Marla told the granite guy. “I’m not sure I want to do business with his company.”

George glowered at her. “What does it matter now that Jack is dead?”

“His death has shut things down, meaning projects will be delayed more than usual. If you don’t mind my asking, did your problems with Jack relate to his job?”

George lifted a hand to shade his face from the sun. “Their firm hadn’t paid me for the last two orders. I refused to extend them anymore credit. Jack burst in here one day and chewed me out in public. Apparently, a customer had blamed him for the delay in installing their granite countertops. This client wrote a nasty note to the company president.”

“I’ve met Brad. How did he respond?”

The granite dealer snorted. “Jack didn’t say, but I knew Brad wouldn’t care. He could never fire Jack. They knew too much about each other.”

“Is that right? Like what?”

“Things from the past,” George said, hunching his shoulders.

His stance indicated an unwillingness to elaborate, so Marla tried a more sympathetic approach. “It must have been upsetting when Jack came here and railed into you. He shouldn’t have blamed you for his aggravation. It’s understandable that you wouldn’t fill another order until the company’s debts were paid.”

“You said it. I could have punched him in the face for yelling at me in front of customers.” George curled his fists for emphasis.

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Revisions are a never-ending process. But eventually the book is done, and it’s time to begin another work of creation. Personally, I’d rather fix what’s written than face the blank page. How about you? If you’re a reader, do you notify writers about typos or mistakes you discover?

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Warrior Prince Release Party

To celebrate today’s release of Warrior Prince: The Drift Lords Series, I’m throwing a party on Facebook and on my Blog between 8 am and 8 pm. I hope you’ll join the fun.    Warrior Prince

Warrior Prince: The Drift Lords Series by Nancy J. Cohen

When mythologist and Florida resident Nira Larsen accepts a job as tour guide for a mysterious stranger, she’s drawn into a nightmare reality where ancient myths come alive and legendary evils seek to destroy her. To survive, she must awaken her dormant powers, but the only person who can help is the man whose touch inflames her passion.

After a dimensional rift in the Bermuda Triangle cracks open and an ancient enemy invades Earth, Zohar—leader of the galactic warriors known as the Drift Lords—summons his troops. He doesn’t count on a redheaded spitfire getting in his way and capturing his heart. Nira has the power to defeat the enemy and to enslave Zohar’s soul. Can he trust her enough to accomplish his mission, or will she lure him to his doom?

Watch the Trailer: http://youtu.be/aVm2FIumw0o

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Share or Tweet my posts or leave a comment on my Blog or Facebook Page this weekend and get entered into a prize drawing for a Warrior Prince T-shirt and magnet and a signed copy of Wicked” Women Whodunit.

To be eligible for a spot prize, leave a comment on any of today’s Blog posts or status updates on my Facebook Author Page.

The grand prize drawing for the weekend will close at midnight on Sunday and the winner will be announced on Monday morning. U.S. residents only are eligible for any mailable prizes. Non-residents will receive ebook copies or gift cards.

What’s on the roster here today:
*Radio Interview with heroine Nira Larsen
*Troll Trivia
*Research Notes
*What to do if you meet a Trollek
*Movies featuring Trolls
*Video Trailer

So welcome everyone, and let’s get started. I may repeat this notice periodically throughout the day.

To get the ball rolling, how about sharing your weirdest “woo woo” experience?

Warrior Prince Excerpt Conclusion

Warrior Prince Excerpt: Part 14 Conclusion
Copyright 2012 by Nancy J. Cohen

Her cheeks flushed as she latched onto his other remark. “Trolleks? Who are they? And what did you mean when you mentioned credits outside?”

He raised an imperious eyebrow. “I wish to offer you a position as our local guide.”

She gazed at him askance. Whoever these guys were, there wasn’t any doubt in her mind that they needed help. Should she accept?

With her track record, it was likely to be the only decent job offer in her future. Her temples throbbed while she debated her response.

Right now, when she could finally search for her birth parents, she didn’t want any roadblocks getting in the way. Was it worth tagging along with Zohar and his gang to earn the cash she needed for her research?

Maybe they were tourists from a backwater country, but that didn’t explain their raid on the log hut or their assault gear. Something more important was at stake here. Hooking up with them, even as their hired guide, could only spell trouble.

“Sorry.” She stood tall, giving Zohar a level glance. “Tempting as your offer is, I have to decline.”

“Wrong answer.” Zohar’s jaw tightened as he reached for her.

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This marks the end of my series of excerpts. I hope you’ve enjoyed these selections and will read more in the story. A prize drawing from all commenters will be held tomorrow and announced on this site. Go to my Contest page for more opportunities.

My Blog Tour starts today! Please visit me at Paranormal Wednesday http://shondabrock.com/#/blog/4559736266

All commenters during my blog tour will be entered into a grand prize drawing for a
Warrior Prince T-shirt and magnet and a pdf copy of Warrior Prince. Go to https://nancyjcohen.com/appearances for a complete schedule.

Warrior Prince Excerpt Part 13

Warrior Prince Excerpt: Part 13
Copyright 2012 by Nancy J. Cohen

“So what did you want to tell me?” she asked.

His gaze darkened. “We have much to discuss, but not a lot of time. It is unwise to linger.”

His somber expression didn’t sway her. “Feel free to go and take your friends along with you. Your problems aren’t mine, although I do want to thank you for rescuing me from those nutcases in that employment office.” Her forehead scrunched. “Just how did that place vanish, anyway? It was some sort of optical illusion, right?”

“In a way. Look, you fail to understand the danger. We cannot leave you alone.”

“I’m home, and that’s all that matters.”

He shook his head. “Not so. The Trolleks will come after you. They will follow your scent.”

“What scent?” She sniffed the air. “Are you telling me I stink? I may have been running around in the heat, but—”

A grin transformed his face. “You misinterpret, little one. Your skin is fragrant, like purpura blossoms. It is a most pleasant scent and highly alluring.”

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Who are the Trolleks? Should Nira be worried about them?

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This is a 14-day series of excerpts from my upcoming release, WARRIOR PRINCE: Book One in the Drift Lords Series. All commenters will be entered into a drawing for one of my backlist romance ebooks. Two lucky winners will be announced on Day 15. Go to my Contest page for more opportunities.

Warrior Prince Excerpt Part 12

Warrior Prince Excerpt: Part 12
Copyright 2012 by Nancy J. Cohen

Their leader accompanied her forward, his boots pounding on the hot pavement. The others crowded behind as she resignedly led the way.

Inside the foyer, Nira tossed her purse on a side table. As soon as Grace was out of earshot in the kitchen, she lowered her voice. “Okay, who are you and what do you want? And where are you from? You talk like foreigners.”

“Our home is called Karrell.” Zohar’s eyes smoldered as he regarded her, his height and powerful shoulders making her feel small and feminine.

“Never heard of it. Must be a tiny country.” She swept her gaze over their belted tunics, side arms, and tailored trousers. “You could pass for invaders from outer space. Are you sure you’re not here for a convention? Because who else would dress like that, unless you’re with a SWAT team?”

“We are here to save your world, not invade it. What is this phrase, swat team?”

“I will research it, rageesh.” The man with a stubbled jaw, unkempt hair, and killer dimples could have been a double for Josh Holloway on Lost. Nira stared at him, wondering if this were some sort of reality show with hidden cameras.

“I told you not to call me that, Paz.”

“My apologies.” Paz bowed his head, making Nira wonder about his relationship to Zohar.

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Are these men just clueless foreigners?

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This is a 14-day series of excerpts from my upcoming release, WARRIOR PRINCE: Book One in the Drift Lords Series. All commenters will be entered into a drawing for one of my backlist romance ebooks. Two lucky winners will be announced on Day 15. Go to my Contest page for more opportunities.

Warrior Prince Excerpt Part 11

Warrior Prince Excerpt: Part 11
Copyright 2012 by Nancy J. Cohen

“This is Zohar,” Nira supplied when he appeared at a loss for words. “Guys, meet Grace. She’s a dear family friend.”

“Where will you be staying? I know some budget hotels if you need a place.” Grace’s face lit up as it always did when she offered advice.

A hunk with golden blond hair and a youthful face had been speaking softly into his cell phone, or at least a device that looked like one. Switching it off, he regarded his leader. “Rayne has secured accommodations for us at a local hostelry.”

“Oh, that’s good. I suppose you’ll want to visit all the popular theme parks while you’re here,” Grace rambled on as the sun broiled Nira’s scalp.

“What is a theme park?” Zohar cocked his head. “Our objective is Drift World.”

Grace wagged a finger. “Personally, sonny, I don’t see the attraction in adults role-playing their fantasy jobs. Get a real one, that’s my opinion.”

“Grace, it’s too warm out here. I’m going in the house.” Snatching her keys from the carjacker, Nira used the remote to lock her vehicle. Then she wheeled toward the front door, advancing only a few steps before she hesitated. These men seemed friendly, but was it wise to invite them inside?

She turned to Zohar. “Thanks for the escort home. However, please don’t feel you have to hang around on my account,” she told him with a hopeful lilt.

“We still need to talk.” A determined look on his face, Zohar gestured toward the house.

Her stomach sank. She wasn’t going to get rid of him so easily. Maybe she could figure out a way to ditch these guys after cooling off inside.

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Would you trust Zohar at this point?

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This is a 14-day series of excerpts from my upcoming release, WARRIOR PRINCE: Book One in the Drift Lords Series. All commenters will be entered into a drawing for one of my backlist romance ebooks. Two lucky winners will be announced on Day 15. Go to my Contest page for more opportunities.

Warrior Prince Excerpt Part 10

Warrior Prince Excerpt: Part 10
Copyright 2012 by Nancy J. Cohen

Twenty minutes later, they pulled up to the curb in front of Grace’s house. As the driver of Nira’s car joined them outside, the elder lady meandered into the yard. She wore a silk blouse and slacks with not a hair out of place on her teased gray head.

Nira’s heart swelled with affection. Grace was a kindly neighbor who’d offered support when her mother died six years ago. After raising her two younger sisters, Nira had moved into Grace’s house to save money. While the arrangement suited them both, Nira yearned for freedom, not to mention a measure of privacy. This was another reason why she wanted a job, to afford her own apartment. It would mean leaving Grace alone, though, and the eighty-two year old woman became frailer each year.

“Nira, what happened? I didn’t expect you back so early.” Grace peered at Nira’s companions. For her advanced age, her eyesight was still fairly sharp. “Who are your friends?”

The one with rangy black hair and a beard spoke up. “We are…cousins.”

“Really?” Grace propped her hands on her slim hips. “I didn’t know you had any relatives besides your sisters, dear.”

“No, I, uh—”

Zohar strode to Nira’s side and spoke in an undertone. “If you need credits, I am prepared to offer you a job.”

“Say again?” Leaning forward, Grace cupped her ear.

Nira shot Zohar an inquiring glance. She’d ask him what his remark meant later. In the meantime, she raised her voice so Grace could hear.

“These are cousins on my father’s side. Since he walked out on us when I was eight years old, I never knew much about his family. I was quite surprised when they showed up.” Glaring at Zohar, she waited for him to contradict her. He grinned back, a gleam of approval in his eyes.

“My word, you must be thrilled. Come inside and have some lemonade and cake.” Grace surveyed their attire. “No doubt you’ll want to lose those costumes. Your awesome guns add a nice touch, but they might frighten someone. Great choice of props, boys. I hadn’t realized a sci fi convention was in town.”

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How will Nira explain their presence?

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This is a 14-day series of excerpts from my upcoming release, WARRIOR PRINCE: Book One in the Drift Lords Series. All commenters will be entered into a drawing for one of my backlist romance ebooks. Two lucky winners will be announced on Day 15. Go to my Contest page for more opportunities.

Warrior Prince Excerpt Part 9

Warrior Prince Excerpt: Part 9
Copyright 2012 by Nancy J. Cohen

She gave him her address while the rest of his men tore off their disguises. Crammed inside the second row of the van between two hulks, Nira clutched her precious handbag.

When her friend and mentor, Grace Miller, saw Nira trooping in with a gang of men, she’d probably call the cops herself.

Nira hoped so. Now that she was free to pursue her research, she didn’t want anything to interfere.

Her glance dropped to her wristwatch. She’d received the timepiece from her mother as a gift while her mother rested on her deathbed, along with a confession that Nira had been adopted. This keepsake, left by her biological parents, remained the only clue to her true identity. It ran with no visible mechanism and no battery.

Once Nira discovered the inscription on its face was runic lettering, she became fascinated with Norse legends. She studied comparative mythology in grad school, hoping to teach after she’d earned her doctorate degree. In the meantime, she’d meant to trace her origins but lacked the funding to carry out her plans. So far, she wasn’t having much luck finding a summer job.    runes

She couldn’t worry about that now. First she had to get away from these men.

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What would you do to ditch them?

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This is a 14-day series of excerpts from my upcoming release, WARRIOR PRINCE: Book One in the Drift Lords Series. All commenters will be entered into a drawing for one of my backlist romance ebooks. Two lucky winners will be announced on Day 15. Go to my Contest page for more opportunities.

Warrior Prince Excerpt Part 8

Warrior Prince Excerpt: Part 8
Copyright 2012 by Nancy J. Cohen

“Okay, that wasn’t real. I must be hallucinating.” Nira accepted her bag from the man who’d retrieved it.

“No hallucination. You were nearly ensnared.” Zohar prodded her toward a parked white van. “This is why you need our protection. Secure her.” He handed her off to another masked man before heading toward the driver’s seat.

“I have my own car. I can meet you wherever we’re going.” Nira thought it worth a try.

Zohar whipped around. “Give your keys to Kaj. He will follow us.”

“I don’t think so. Hey, what are you doing?”

One of the men flashed a pair of stormy gray eyes as he snatched her purse. He fished inside until he found her key ring. Tossing the bag back, he strode toward her vehicle as though it emitted a beacon. Along the way, he ripped off his mask. She got a glimpse of unruly wheat hair, even features, and a taut jaw before he turned his back on them.

“All right, how did he know that’s my car?” She held her ground, refusing to budge.

“Your signals are strong, little one. You left your essence on your automobile. Even we are not immune.”

Zohar tore off his hood, making her inhale sharply. If kidnappers competed for looks, he could win a spot in GQ.   Zohar

Deep set turquoise eyes sat under emphatic brows and above a straight, aquiline nose. A firm mouth spoke of a man who set himself high standards, his upper lip a bit narrower than its fuller bottom. He wore his dark brown hair swept back over a regal forehead like Captain Kirk on the original Star Trek show, although his was a bit tussled from the mask.

He grinned, transforming his stern expression into one of devilish amusement. An answering coil of warmth rolled through her.

Okay, get a grip. You’re trapped with four hunky guys who could easily overpower you, and you have no notion of their true intentions. She had to give them credit for rescuing her, though. Maybe they were undercover agents working with some federal agency on a drug bust case.

“Can we take off our masks, rageesh?” another man asked in a respectful tone.

Zohar shrugged. “Why not? The lady is one of us now. Tell me where you wish to go.” His deep voice flowed over her like warm honey.

The police station, big guy. Unfortunately, she didn’t know where one was located on International Drive.

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Do you think it’s wise for Nira to go with these men?

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Pre-Order Now

This is a 14-day series of excerpts from my upcoming release, WARRIOR PRINCE: Book One in the Drift Lords Series. All commenters will be entered into a drawing for one of my backlist romance ebooks. Two lucky winners will be announced on Day 15. Go to my Contest page for more opportunities.

Warrior Prince Excerpt Part 7

Warrior Prince Excerpt: Part 7
Copyright 2012 by Nancy J. Cohen

“How about if we make a deal? My men and I will take you home, but then you must listen to my proposal. We could use your help.”

She nodded, having every intention of bolting for the door when on her feet. As he untied the strap around her wrist, tingling warmth raced along her nerves. Before she could jerk away, his strong hands grasped her by the waist and lifted her off the table.

Standing, she rubbed her arms, grateful for her mobility. Her glance skittered toward the exit. Unfortunately, the stranger obstructed her route. His tall physique overpowered the room.

“What’s your name?” Maybe she could gain his sympathy.

“I am Zohar Thorald. Let us leave this place before the displacement field reactivates.” While the man spoke in a soft tone, his authority brooked no arguments.

Whatever that means. He must be a foreigner, judging from his stiff manner of speech.

He stalked into the hallway, calling for his comrades to follow. Nira trailed after him, frustrated when she still couldn’t reach the main entrance. As if reinforcing her plight, Zohar snagged her elbow while he addressed his men.

“Find anything?”

“It’s too late,” one guy answered. “They must have taken anything of value before we arrived. It’s almost as though they expected us.”

The wall shimmered, and Nira blinked.

“Everyone outside.” Zohar yanked on her arm, dragging her into the anteroom and out the front door. Daylight pierced her vision.

“My sunglasses. I left my purse in there. Let me go.”

She twisted sideways but couldn’t break his grip. No way would she leave her Coach bag behind. It had been the first designer item she could afford, even if she’d bought it at the outlet store.

Zohar nodded to one of his men, who detached from the group and raced inside. He reappeared in the doorway and leapt onto the pavement just as the entire structure faded before her eyes.

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What just happened? Did that building vanish from sight?

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Pre-Order Now

This is a series of excerpts from my upcoming release, WARRIOR PRINCE: Book One in the Drift Lords Series. All commenters will be entered into a drawing for one of my backlist romance ebooks. Two lucky winners will be announced at the conclusion of this series. Go to my Contest page for more opportunities.