Second Chances

A Second Chance: The Cover

Good morning, everyone!

It’s a beautiful day here in southern Maine. The sun is shining. The birds are chirping. And I’m outside writing. I couldn’t ask for a more perfect day. (Well, the day will officially be perfect this evening when I’m devouring grilled ribs and chicken wings. YUM!)

Anyway, I wanted to share something special with all of you.A Second Chance cover

Over the past couple of days, I’ve been in an internal debate with myself over whether or not to share the cover for A Second Chance with all of you before the story is published. Half of me wanted to surprise everyone with it; the other half was so pleased and excited that it didn’t want to wait. I was able to hold off the little kid in me for a few days, but unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on how you look at it, my inner child has won out. So here it, the cover for A Second Chance.

The original cover featured the name Second Chances, but with the name change and new scene additions, the story evolved into something new and beautiful. And as a result, I needed to have a new cover designed. I’m very pleased with how it came out since I feel it truly captures a very special moment in A Second Chance.

Before I close, I must give a special thanks to Jenny for creating the cover art for me.

Jenny, thank you SO much for taking the time to do this. You’ve been an amazing friend throughout this journey, and I’m truly grateful for all the help you’ve provided. I wouldn’t have reached the point I’m at now without your help and support, so thank you.

Finally, if all goes well this week, I will be posting an excerpt from A Second Chance, so please keep an eye out for it.

 

What’s Next?

Good morning, faithful readers. It’s been a little over two weeks since my last update on A Second Chance. In my previous post, I mentioned that I wanted to get my word count for A Second Chance up to 11,000. Well, guess what? I did it! In fact, I surpassed that amount…by a lot. My final word count ended up being 14,577 words. Honestly, I’m not sure how I made it to that point. I didn’t think I’d be able to, but I did it. And I’m THRILLED! (And proud.)

Since Tuesdays of last week, I’ve sent A Second Chance out to three readers and my editor. My first reader sent me an email yesterday, telling me this:

Nikki,

I just finished and what can I say? I LOOOVE what you did with the story! I love all of the detail you have added. It made me feel as if I were right there and feeling her pain. I also love the twist of her going to heaven to talk things out. That was great! I love that you could FEEL the connection and the love! You must be so proud of yourself! That was a pleasure and an honor to read!! Thank you for allowing me to read it!

(I’m truly glad that my reader was able to feel a connection with the story. That was my goal.)

As for my editor, I can’t wait to see what she thinks about the changes I’ve made. I followed all of the advice she gave me, and I added in some new ideas of my own. Hopefully they meshed well together. If not, she’ll tell me, and I’ll do what I have to make sure the story works. I won’t publish it until it does.

So what comes next, you ask? Well, once my editor is done doing her thing, I’ll make any needed changes. From there, her hubby will help me with the formatting needed for publication. But that’s not all. I also need to have a cover made for it. After that, it should be ready to publish. *crosses fingers*

Until next time, happy reading.

Guest Blogging Opportunities:

If you’re interested in guest blogging here  at The Evolution of Nikki, please feel free to contact me at nicole@nicoleireland.com. I’m open to any suggestions you may have.

Nikki,

I just finished and what can I say?  I LOOOVE what you did with the story!  I love all of the detail you have added.  It made me feel as if I were right there and feeling her pain.  I also love the twist of her going to heaven to talk things out.  That was great!  I love that you could FEEL the connection and the love!  You must  be so proud of yourself!  That was a pleasure and an honor to read!!  Thank you for allowing me to read it!

Writing Update – March 14

It’s been five days since my last writing update, and there’s definitely been quite a bit of progress.

You may recall that I mentioned in my last post that my editor thought I should try and get my word count for Second Chances up to 11,000, which is about 4,500 more than what I started out with. I actually broke 11,000 just minutes ago. Yippee!

I still have several pages of edits to go through, as well as one more readthrough and edit before sending it back to my editor for another editing session on her end. So, I’m hoping I’ll hit about 12,000 words by the end.

Other Changes

One of the ideas I’ve been playing with for about a week is changing the name of my story. I wasn’t sure that was the right move to make, at first, but I finally decided that it was necessary to change the title a tiny bit. I’m changing it from Second Chances to A Second Chance. I think the name change is a more accurate reflection of what the story is about.

I’m also having my editor create me a new piece of cover art. Some of you may remember the original cover art. If not, it’s right here ————->

The reason I’m having Jenny design me a new one is because of the additional scenes I’ve added to the story. There’s one scene in particular that I feel would make a great cover. I have a very detailed image in my head of what I want it to look like, and I’d really like to see Jenny make that happen.

I’m a huge, HUGE fan of Jenny’s coverart for her novel The Goblin Market. There’s something about it that speaks to me. And I know Jenny will create a new one for me that is just as great as that one. I have faith in her abilities.

One other area that I’m going to be working very hard on is promoting. I’ve seen what Jenny has done with guest bloggers on her site, as well guest blogging on other fellow indie author’s sites. I admire all the hardwork she’s put in, and I’d like follow in her footsteps. I’m actually hoping to have some fellow authors stop by here, including Jenny and maybe even her sidekick James. Who knows!

Other News

There are a few other pieces of news that I’d like to share before closing.

As I mentioned in the second half of my interview with Amanda Rosenblatt, I had the chance to talk to Josh Gates on Thursday night. If you’d like to listen to the show, you can find it here.

On Sunday, I made an appearance on a special voicemail edition of Podcaturday. It was a twofer this week. It was my first time stopping by, so I didn’t contribute much. However, I did laugh a lot, which is not hard since Jenny, Acadia and James are HILARIOUS! (If you’d like to listen in on Sunday’s edition, please visit one of their sites.)

I also had the chance to discuss my conversation with Josh, which is great. I’ll jump at any chance to talk about one of my favorite TV personalities.

And last but not, a new Destination Truth post will be up at The Superficial Gallery within the next day or so, so make sure to stop by and check it out.

Look, a Writing Update

After last night’s VERY successful writing session, I decided that I needed to take a few minutes this morning and write a quick update on the status of Second Chances.

As I mentioned in a previous post, things have been crazy busy around here. I haven’t had a lot of time to work on my personal writing. When I’ve had a few minutes here and there, I’ve tried to get in some editing, but it hasn’t been working out so well. I just wasn’t feeling what I was writing because I was so distracted and couldn’t focus enough time on Second Chances to really find my groove.

But last night was different, which is surprising since it started out kind of crappy. I had worked on Second Chances for a little while the night before and had actually managed to write 500 words, which doesn’t sound like much in the grand scheme of things, but considering my lack of free time lately, that was like writing a novel. So imagine how upset I was when I pulled up SC last night and noticed that all I had written the night before was gone. That discovery led to me cussing out my computer for a few minutes before I told myself to shut up and stop whining and to get writing. (Sometimes I just need to give myself a pep talk. LOL!)

For some reason something clicked last night, and I was able to whip out a scene that’s been bothering me. I was really worried about how it would come across to others. I didn’t want to sound preachy or like I was directing the scene at one particular group of people. I wanted it to resonate with everyone. So it was hard for me to find the right words. But last night when I started writing, I fell into that little groove that I love so much. The words just poured out of me, and I was able to finish that scene. Granted, it’s not perfect. I’ve got to go back through it today, hopefully, and add some bits and pieces, but I think on the whole, it’s what I was hoping for.

I still have a couple others scenes I want to add to SC. By the time I’m done, I’m hoping the final word count will be between 11,000-13,000 words, which is a lot more than the initial word count. From there I’ll do another edit on my own before sending it off to Jenny for her final runthrough. I want it to be the best that it can, and if that means it takes another month or two to get it there, that’s fine. The end result will definitely be worth it.

I have to admit, though, that I’m still nervous as hell about releasing SC on its own. The thought of anyone criticizing it upsets me because I truly do have some much of myself invested in it. But at the same time I know it’s just like letting your children grow up and experience the world. Even though it’s scary, you’ve got to do it.

So there’s my long-awaited update. I will update again soon.

In the meantime, if you’re looking for some great writing-related posts, head on over to Jennifer Hudock‘s website. She’s had a lot of fantastic guest bloggers stop by lately who have offered up some extremely helpful advice on self-publishing and being an indie author. If you’ve been struggling with your own publishing efforts, I strongly encourage you to read the guest blogs on her site because I think they’ll help you. I know they’ve helped me…A LOT!

Until next time, I love you. And happy reading and writing.

Too Busy to Post

As you probably have noticed, I’ve been missing in action once again. It’s not because I don’t have anything to say because I ALWAYS do. The truth is, I’m really busy with work work. You know, the kind that pays you opposed to just blogging for fun and hoping one day it’ll pay off?

If I was making boat loads of money off of this site, it would be one thing, but I make next to nothing. And I can’t support a family on that amount.

Like many families I know, money is REALLY tight right now. My husband is barely getting 40 hours at work, which means I need to make up the difference in order to pay the bills, feed the kids, pay for gas, etc.

It’s frustrating to me because I’m working crazy hours just to make enough money to help us squeak by. I’m literally working seven days a week with little extra to show for it. But that’s okay as long as I help keep a roof over our heads and food in our bellies.

When I’m not working, I’m running errands, cleaning or spending time with the kids. There hasn’t really been any extra time to speak of for me to just sit and work on my two sites or on my writing. I hate it, but you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do. No one else is going to pay my bills for me.

Don’t get me wrong, if a magical little elf appeared and offered to do the housework, cooking and some of my work for me, I’d accept. It would open up my schedule some. But since I don’t see that happening anytime soon, I’ve got to continue what I’m doing.

I know it may seem like I’m making excuses for not writing, but that’s not the case at all. I have all the edits for Second Chances that I want to finish in the worst way, but I can’t jeopardize my family’s well-being. My kids depend on me. I’m responsible for all of their needs. Sometimes, that means putting things aside for a bit to focus on providing for them. After all, that’s what parents do.

I know, though, that it will ease up some in the future, and I will be able to focus on my other pursuits again. I keep reminding myself of that, and it helps.

I just wanted to let everyone know that I’m not being lazy by not posting. I’ve just got a lot on my plate that I need to work on right now. Be patient, and I’ll post when I can.

Much love,

Nikki

Second Chances Update

On the 13th of this month, I sent Second Chances off to my friend, author Jennifer Hudock, for editing. Before I hit the send button, I was scared, and I asked myself if I was prepared for whatever may come. This particular story means a lot to me, and I really want it to live up to its potential, even if that means a significant amount of work. But the thought of it being torn apart scared the daylights out of me.

There was a part of me that was also fearful that Jenny would email me back and say, “You suck! Stick to your dayjob.”

Yes, I know I was being a bit paranoid — okay, a lot paranoid, but it’s who I am. I worry all the time about my writing and whether or not people will like it.

This morning Jenny sent me back the edits for Second Chances. My initial fears were unfounded. As always, she provided me with some very valuable insight on what areas I could expand on that would take Second Chances to another level.

What’s great about Jenny is that she looks at more than just punctuation and grammar. She offers suggestions on additional scenes that can really help round out a story. She invests a lot of time into providing more than what most editors do. She’s professional. And she’s sincere. She wants to make each story that she edits that best that it can be. She understands that these stories sometimes come from places deep down inside and are often painful to write about.

I’ve said before that there is no one else I’d rather have edit my work, and that still stands true. I recommend Jenny to any of you that are looking for a quality editor who goes above and beyond normal copyediting duties. Believe me, you’ll get more than your money’s worth.

And Jenny, thank you SO much for being the person you are, who cares enough to provide the level of service that you do. I know with you on my team, I can’t go wrong. You’re more than just my editor. You’re my friend and personal cheerleader, and I’m very grateful to have you in my life. You’ve truly helped me become a better writer, and there’s not enough thanks in the world to express how much that means to me.

February 14, 2011 News Updates

I have a couple of new updates to share.

First, I finished editing Second Chances and sent it off to Jennifer Hudock for editing. There is no one else I trust more than her to edit my baby. I know with her help, we’ll make it the best it can be.

Second, after talking with Jenny about future projects, I decided on a couple things. I’m going to finish up another short story that is VERY near completion. I’ll then offer the new story, as well as Second Chances, as a doubleshot. Until then, Second Chances will be free for download. And maybe, just maybe, the doubleshot will feature a new cover that incorporates both stories.

The other project that Jenny and I discussed was the YA novels we’re both toying with. I’ve got one that is about 1/8 of the way finished, so there’s a lot to be done. And to be honest, I wasn’t sure if it was a good storyline, but Jenny assured me it is, so we’re going to support each other through this new process — well, new to me.

The third update for today is that I officially launched my new site, Frugal Maine, early last week. I’m currently looking for resource sites to include in my blog roll on FM that would further help Maine residents, so if you think you have a site that is relevant, please let me know.

I also have to mention that my new site was mentioned on the latest edition of Podcaturday by Jenny, which was really sweet of her. Her, James Melzer and Acadia, from The Superficial Gallery, are all good friends of mine, so I’m tickled pink whenever they mention me.

Until next time, my friends, take care.

February 10, 2011 Updates

I can honestly say that I’ve had a very productive week thus far, and it’s only Thursday. There’s still a couple more to go, so who knows how much more I’ll accomplish before week’s end.

I knew my to do list for this week was long, but I took it one step at a time, and I’ve managed to make it through a good portion of it. Since I’ve had such a great week thus far, it’s enabled me to make a couple of huge decisions that I would like to share with all of you.

First, I originally said I wasn’t going to launch my other site geared towards helping my fellow Maine residents because I just didn’t have time. Well, I changed my mind again. I was making excuses for why I couldn’t do it.

I knew in my heart it would be a valuable site for many people, but part of me was afraid of the work and failing. So I pushed it to the side, telling myself maybe one day. Well, one day is here. I decided yesterday that I was going to launch it, so I’ve been working on since last night. And it’s coming along nicely, thanks to the help of my friends. I’ll be posting a link to it within a couple days for everyone to check out.

My second piece of news revolves around my short story, titled Second Chances that was included in the From the Dark Side Anthology. I know there’s not a lot of money to be made with single short stories, but I want to build up my readers before I publish my first full-length novel, so I’ve decided that within the next week or two I’m going to publish Second Chances. I plan on offering it as a free download to start and then after a certain time, switching over to a fee of $.99. It’ll eventually be available on Barnes & Noble, Amazon and Smashwords. So stay tuned!

And the Flood Gates Have Opened

I know. I know. I haven’t written in a few days, but it’s not because I haven’t been busy. I have been. I have a ton of stuff on my plate right now, and I’m trying to get it all done. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Today,  after weeks of arguing with my short story’s main character about the story was headed in, the flood gates opened, and I was hit with a diluge of ideas. They hit me one after another, and I couldn’t type fast enough. It felt like the words were pouring from my fingers like a rushing waterfall. What a great feeling it was. I felt productive and alive.

I think part of the reason I’ve felt blocked and was having such a hard time with the plot was because I wasn’t allowing myself to step out of my comfort zone and immerse myself in the world that I was creating in the story.

Part of me was afraid to open up because this story is the total opposite of Second Chances. Where SC was filled with hope and love, this story is darker, grittier and filled with images that are a bit disturbing, at times.

Now that I’ve allowed the ideas to pour forth, I feel calmer and like I can truly bring this story to life. I knew the potential was there before, but I also knew I needed some kind of breakthrough in order for the story to reach its full potential.

I think, knock on wood, that I’ll have the first draft done by my birthday on July 2nd. After that, I’ll tackle another short story that’s sitting on my desk, begging me to finish it.

But for now, my sole focus is on my current short story. I want to hold that story in my hands and feel the weight of it.  I want to see the end result. Am I scared by how it may turn out. Absolutely, but I’m also filled with anticipation because this story is unlike any other that I’ve written. So here’s to progress. Hopefully tomorrow is as productive as today was.