It started with the Sweet Heart edits, which arrived on Friday the 13th, which should have told me something in and of itself. I was sure there would be far fewer edits than there were for Dear Heart because I was careful not to make the same mistakes when readying Sweet Heart for submission, but no. Although I'd nailed italics, quotation marks and dashes, I'd apparently developed some new bad habits, namely, hyphens, commas before and after conjunctions, and lead in phrases.
I was telling my friend, Pat, that I didn't get the logic of moving a phrase from the beginning of a sentence to the end, and I gave her this example:
The original line was: By the time I returned to San Francisco, I had acquired every album Sinatra had recorded. Edited, the line read: I had acquired every album Sinatra had recorded by the time I returned to San Francisco. "What's the difference?" I asked.
"Well," Pat said. "As a reader, the first thing I read in a sentence seems like the most important."
For the second time in as many months, Pat rendered me speechless with a casual observation. The first time had to do with building the Dear Heart cottage on my porch for the launch party. This time she shut me up by voicing a perspective that had never occurred to me. And, of course, she was right, and so was my editor, Tracy, because the most important information imparted in that example was the fact that Lee had acquired every album Sinatra had recorded, not the fact that he had done so before he returned to San Francisco.
I'm not too proud to admit that Pat is a genius and I'm an ignoramus, but at least I'm not stupid enough to reject a good idea when I hear one just because I didn't think of it first. Thanks, Pat! Keep 'em coming!
So, I finished the edits on Monday and then surfed on over to Vistaprint, which was having a 50% off sale. I picked up a table-runner for the stand I'm putting together for future book-signing appearances, a tote bag to carry the books I'm selling in, and a magnet for my car door (which Arthur isn't exactly thrilled about) -- all for half price.
When I get the cover art for Sweet Heart, there will be another car magnet to buy, plus table tents of the book covers and, of course, new coffee mugs and post cards. Hey, if you're going to promote a story, you can't just promote half of it. As for the Dear-Heart-only stuff, I'm sure I'll find a use for it, although at this point, God only knows what that could be.
Also on Monday, I discovered a hilarious writer named Jenna Moreci on You Tube, thanks to a fellow Solstice author. Jenna is not going to be everyone's cup of tea because she is definitely R-rated, but I love her -- not only because she's right about most of what she says about writing, but also because she isn't afraid to pepper her video blogs with vulgarisms, which I use regularly with friends and family, but am too much of a pussy to use in my public persona. Here's a link if you're interested in hearing what Jenna has to say about what not to say to writers -- but remember, she's R-rated. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f48XZeOnUaM.
On Tuesday, my Kindle Nation Daily promo, featuring Dear Heart as the Romance of the Day, went live and, thanks to a handy e-book tracker, I was able to track my Kindle sales ranking hourly. The promo started at 7 AM and ran for 24 hours. When it started, my Kindle sales ranking was 575,929. It climbed all day, reaching a high of 603,914. Then, at 7:23 PM, it went to 121,024. At midnight it hit 83,509 and it topped out at 67,660 at 3:34 AM. Remember, with sales rankings, the lower the number the better, so I'm more than thrilled with the results!
In between tracking my sales ranking, I discovered an email inviting me to enter a contest to have my website showcased behind home plate at a Yankee's game. I almost deleted the email without entering because the prize includes two free tickets to the game during which the website is featured and what do I know about baseball? But then I thought, why the hell not? Even if I don't have a clue as to what's going on on the field, I can spend the time taking a thousand photos of the electronic billboard displaying my website. Besides, I've learned not to pass up any opportunity to promote all things Dear Heart, because, who knows, Rob Reiner or Harry Connick, Jr. could be at the game. So, yes, Friends, I entered the contest. If I win, the blog about my trip to Yankee Stadium will no doubt be a hoot.
I finished up the second round of Sweet Heart edits on Wednesday, and completed the final edits Thursday morning. By Thursday afternoon, the book had been proofread by Editor In Chief, Kathi Sprayberry, and I received a PDF of the near-final version for review. Solstice doesn't horse around. They have a well-oiled machine in place and get our books to market with lightning speed. The way things are going, it looks like Sweet Heart will be released next month.
Thursday, I'd finally had enough of something that has been driving me nuts for weeks. Remember when I jury-rigged the old can lights in my study to turn them into spots to highlight my bookshelves? Well, they looked half-assed from the get-go, but I kept them up because I didn't want to hear about it from Arthur. After two weeks of suffering, I threw in the towel, converted them back to what they were always intended to be, and resigned myself to the 'I-told-you-so's' from Arthur.
Friday was more yard work, because yard work never ends, and grooming Sam, which is not so much grooming as it is thinning out his thick coat of hair and trimming everything up so it doesn't knot. And I finally got to sit down and enjoy the premier of Season 8 of Suits, which I'd recorded on Wednesday. Harvey Specter may be flawed, but, sigh, what a man!
Yesterday I started to review the PDF of Sweet Heart, taking my time to insure that I hadn't left out any words, and that every comma was properly placed. It was one of those read-out-loud sessions, so Sam got to hear the story again. I guess it's a good thing that Sam's not a critic because Lee's soulful story put him to sleep!
And on that note, I'm off to complete my review of the PDF and then I'm going to settle in to watch Rob Reiner's latest movie, Shock and Awe. Just me, Sam snoring away beside me on the couch, and the ever-present bag of chips. Heaven!