Nothing Everything Nothing Rough Draft 2 Beta Report

Phew, that was a long title. Sometimes I wish I had chosen a shorter title for this novel because typing it out everywhere is a pain. BUT it’s perfect for the book and it’s officially too late to change it now.

Let’s go back a few steps. I FINISHED DRAFT 2!! And ahead of schedule. I actually got it back from the beta a day before I was scheduled to give it to him. That made me feel pretty good because for a while there I thought I’d be a week behind schedule.

The edits included add 2 scenes to the very beginning of the novel to add a better baseline as to who this character was before everything happens to her. A further dozen scenes had to be rewritten, tweaked, rearranged, or extended. Then came the hardest part – 18 consecutive scenes that had to be written from scratch, including adding a first, unsuccessful attempt. After that an entire series of scenes had to be deleted and rewritten – only a few paragraphs per scene, if that, were salvageable given the new events that were added and the new feel of the characters. And then suddenly I was on the last ten pages and all that was left were a few little scenes to add and some new details thrown into the epilogue and BAM she was done.

Strange how the ending sneaks up on you.

Then I went into wait mode and tried not to message the beta reader every few hours. “Have you read it?” “How about now?” “How far are you?” … I hate waiting. But he got back to me fairly quick, considering that it is a YA novel and he’s an adult it would be an easy read for him, except for the subject matter.

Here’s some of what he said:

Well I have read Casia Schreyer’s – “Nothing Everything Nothing” now four times over. This rather wrenching story about social media, teenage depression and suicide manages to capture the true malaise of depression. Struggling with depression for most of my life from when I was a teen, I have read many novels concerning this topic. Usually finding myself annoyed at how little writers seem to know, what depressed people really say and think. Not so in this case, in this case I was annoyed at the fact that it was captured in enough detail and realism ( no hype for hypes sake ) that it scratched those feeling of despair and hopelessness very few truly understand.

Wow okay … so I have read this over a few times and I am struck at first, at the lack of typos … only one repeated line might have meant to do that so I highlighted it But spelling and grammar aside … hear is my take. 1. Do not forget me when you hit the big time. 2 It is kind of unusual that I hear depressed folks in books actual sound depressed. Molly captured that and the slow detailed build up will be familiar to anyone suffering this condition. The pace is actually a little depressing, you know its coming and you just want it over with. Exactly like how one feels as they begin to slide into the abyss. It was painful to watch her friends turn against her and the deliberateness of it all made it uncomfortable to read. Pretty soon you kind feel like those things said to her are really directed at you… in other words you made me feel not like I was reading about Molly.. you made me empathize with her, not an easy task. Sympathy is easy to draw forth from a reader. But here you either become Molly and if not Molly herself you find yourself wanting to save her.
I would like to note that it feels near the end that Molly still has a long long struggle ahead … even though it’s better there is that feeling like she will have to fight for her stability … not sure if that was intention or I’m projecting
I really wish you were a worse writer .. I usually have a list of NO’s and that’s all wrong – BTW some folks from the East just PM’d asking me where they can get a copy

Everything I tried to do with this book, my beta picked up on. I’ve never been depressed but I read a lot of blogs and articles trying to get a feel for the truth behind all the stereotypes. I wanted people who have gone through this to be able to relate. I want people who have never gone through this to understand it. But I didn’t want to push people into it by glorifying it. A hard line to walk.

I’m happy with the review so far so I’ve sent it to the proofreader for grammar and spelling. That will take longer because of the reader. Any further edits required will take only moments and then I’ll be sending it off to some agents.

Actually, my beta knows a guy in the business who might like the book, so he’s sending it along on my behalf. It may already be in an agents reading pile, I don’t know.

Sigh…. did I mention that I hate waiting?

Still, I wanted to try to do this the traditional way because I am impatient. I want to wait. I want to force myself through this long process. I’m all prepared (except for the confusing tax stuff) to publish on my own so I’m going to canvas agents first. Maybe I’ll snag a long-term working relationship, maybe I’ll still end up going the indie route. I don’t know yet.

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Publishing Is Rotten To The Core

David Gaughran

There is something seriously askew with the supposed values of the publishing business.

The most egregious behavior continually gets overlooked, ignored, and swept under the carpet, in favor of pursuing pet targets.

As always, I’m conscious of whose agenda this serves and why writers allow themselves to be used as pawns in this game.

Exhibit A: Harlequin

Amazon is regularly slated for the way it manages its tax affairs. I have written extensively about this before, but, in short, Amazon is using extremely common methods for minimizing its tax bills that are used by every major tech company (and many other multinational corporations too).

You can argue these loopholes should be closed (and I would agree), but these actions are legal. And I wouldn’t be surprised if the major publishers, and the global media conglomerates which own them, are doing the exact same thing.

Take Harlequin, for…

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Fabulous Five Blog Hop

I was tagged for this blog hop by Victoria, the editor over at Witty Bard Publishing. You can check out her blog post in this series here: http://www.wittybardpublishing.com/#!FABULOUS-FIVE-BLOG-HOP/c1q8z/92AAE453-2540-4EE1-8777-F59F5253ABA1
I got involved with Victoria and Witty Bard when I submitted a story to their science-fiction competition and won!
So here are the questions and answers and, of course, the next five people in the blog hop.
What am I working on?
My current project is a contemporary young adult novel titled Nothing Everything Nothing. Come November I’m hoping to switch gears to a sweet fantasy romance.
How does my work differ from others in the genre?
Nothing Everything Nothing is pretty dark and deals with suicide. The fantasy romance takes place in a parallel Ireland which exists out of synch with our world but connected to it.
Why do I write what I do?
I’ve drawn my inspiration from the cases of Amanda Todd and Megan Meier. Cyper bullying is debated and discussed by educators and politicians and often I feel like no one believes it’s a real thing. I wanted to confront it head on and show what a few cruel posts can do to a person.
The fantasy romance is just something I enjoy working on.
How does my writing process work?
I do a gradual outline. I start with a very loose series of events, sometimes as few as four, and then start writing. As I go more scenes along the timeline will come to me and I’ll add them to the outline. I’ll also add in scenes to tie the key scenes or inspired scenes together (these I call transitional scenes). I often work on more than one project at a time so I always have something to do even if my muse for a specific piece flits away.
Who’s next on the blog hop?
Christopher Ticehurst is  science-fiction fantasy writer from Australia whom I have know for 10 years now. – http://www.christicehurst.me/
Ashlyn Forge is a science-fiction writer who focuses on M/M themes. I beta read for her a few years ago and fell in love with her (and her work) – http://www.ashlynforge.com
Helen J Bradley is a romance writer and a recent addition to my Friends list. I’ve just downloaded her first book in her series. –
Deb Daniels Lerew is a fellow NaNoWriMo writer and a frequent visitor of the Nano Facebook page, which is where we met. http://www.letaphawk.wordpress.com
Rachel James is another NaNoWriMo writer and Facebook friend of mine. http://www.moussemoose.wordpress.com
Please check out these lovely writers on September 29th!

What to do with these teens?

Photo provided by Evan Wilman.  This is the cover for my upcoming novel.

Photo provided by Evan Wilman.
This is the cover for my upcoming novel.

A second preview of Nothing Everything Nothing, available in October. Part of the proceeds will go to Kids Help Phone to help teens in crisis.

Molly was halfway through her favourite song and chatting with Lance over Facebook when her mom called for her. She took her time pausing everything and stuck her head out her bedroom door. “What is it?” she yelled.
“Company! Why don’t you come and sit for a while?”
Molly huffed. “Fine!” She came into the living room and her frown deepened. Brandon and his mom were sitting on the couch.
“Hey, there you are. Grab a chair from the kitchen and join us. You’ve been cooped up in your room for days.”
“I have a lot of homework,” Molly muttered as she fetched the chair.
Barb smiled. “Brandon’s told me all about the project you two are working on. Maybe when it comes time to practice your presentation you’ll let us watch.”
“I’d like that,” Joanne said.
Brandon forced a smile. “We could try to arrange that, I guess.”
“Sure,” Molly said. “Why not? Doing it once in front of people is bad enough, what’s two or hell, even three more times?”
“Molly,” her mom snapped. “Language.”
“Whatever.”
Her mom frowned and an awkward silence hung in the air.
“I’m sure you two have a lot of work to do,” Joanne said. “I know Brandon didn’t bring his bag but they can work in Marlee’s room for a little while.”
“Mom, stop letting people into my room!”
“A girl’s room is her private place,” Barb said. “And she wasn’t expecting us. I’m sure there’re undies everywhere.”
“Fine,” Joanne. “At least grab your laptop and go downstairs.”
“I’ll meet you down there,” Brandon said.
“Do you see what I mean now?” Joanne said as soon as the teenagers were down the stairs. “I just don’t know what to do, Barb. It’s like she’s become a stranger these last few weeks.”
“We went through it too,” Barb replied. “I went a week without talking to my mom once. When I call her too often she likes to remind me of that little fact – followed by the suggestion that I repeat it.”
“Your mom has an evil sense of humour.”
“Yeah. Look, Molly’s going through a phase. You said there was a boy involved? She’ll get her heart broken and she’ll come crying to you and apologizing. Just remember to forgive and forget when the time comes.”
“I never know what to do with her. My parents were so strict, so conservative, that I rebelled as hard as I could and ended up out on my ass with a baby. But your parents were so laid back that you wound up pregnant too.”
Barb smiled. “They’re all different, and walking a middle ground is hard. You two will get through this. Just watch. I give it until the end of summer.”

Good advice? Maybe. You’ll have to read the novel to find out.
If you liked the preview and would like to help spread the word for a good cause please share and reblog this preview.

Of Blog Hops, Agent Tweets, and Editing Updates

What a week to catch a cold. My head feels like it’s stuffed with cotton balls (cliched, I know, but so true). It’s been busy, and not nearly as productive on the writing front as I would like. But the chores are getting done … mostly. *SIGH* Okay, I’m behind on everything. But you’re not here to listen to me rant.

Editing updates first! The first 40 pages of Nothing Everything Nothing are edited and formatted. That’s four chapters and all the front matter (title, copyright, dedication, etc). The worst is yet to come because chapters 5 and 6 start the spiral towards her suicide. If my head would clear I could get caught up.

Blog hopping next! I will be tagged in a self-promotion blog hop next week. The idea is that one author wrote up a self-promotion post and tagged 5 other writers, including their names and blog links. Supposedly their readers will click those links and the next set of links and the next and so on. So on September 22nd I’m scheduled to post my own self-promo page (there are some interview questions to answer I believe) and I will be tagging 5 other talented writers to continue the hop. I have three so far!

An interesting tweet came across my desk this morning – an agent looking for serious YA fiction (among other genres). Well, Nothing, Everything, Nothing is certainly serious. So I tweeted back “A YA novel about suicide wouldn’t fit that bill, would it? Editing to be done by the end of October.” If I get a response from her that she wants to see it I’ll be delaying the release of Nothing Everything Nothing until she decides if she wants it or not.

Finally, I would like to leave you with a parody/poem I wrote last night. I am Canadian and the weather in my country has been topsy-turvy of late. This song parody was inspired by photos of snow in Calgary and flooding on Ontario. It’s been a strange summer.

Surfing on Facebook tonight,
all these weather pics ain’t quite right.
It’s so strange to see snow in one town,
to the east the rain is pouring down.

Snow to the left of me, rain storms to the right,
here I am, in Manitoba it’s true.

Yes I’m, in Manitoba it’s true.
And I’m wondering what it is I should do.
It’s so hard to keep this smile from my face.
Seeing bad weather all over the place.

Snow to the left of me, rain storms to the right,
here I am, in Manitoba it’s true.

Well it started with tornadoes and those jumped right over us.
Now the snow is coming calling and we say “Keep it Albertans,
Please! Please!”

Trying to make some sense of it all
and I can see it makes no sense at all.
Is it cruel to laugh at all those poor blokes
and make them the butt of our jokes?

Snow to the left of me, rain storms to the right,
here I am, in Manitoba it’s true.

Well it started with tornadoes and those jumped right over us.
Now the snow is coming calling and we say “Keep it Albertans, Please! Please!”

Surfing on Facebook tonight,
all these weather pics ain’t quite right.
It’s so strange to see snow in one town,
to the east the rain is pouring down.

Snow to the left of me, rain storms to the right,
here I am, in Manitoba it’s true.
Yes I’m, in Manitoba it’s true. In Manitoba it’s true.

Agency warns parents over child “sextortion”

Our kids are in school and out of our care for so much of the day. Be aware.

Global News

WATCH: Signy Arnason and Brittany Greenslade discuss child “sextortion” on the Morning News.

WINNIPEG – A Winnipeg based child protection group is issuing a warning to parents after getting an alarming number of tips about child “sextortion” across the country.

“That’s something that’s surprising to us,” said Signy Arnason, of the Canadian Centre for Child Protection.

The agency says teens are lured during social networking chats into providing explicit sexual  images of themselves, then confronted with the threat of the images being posted online if cash is not paid.

“Once you are done the activity, you think you are done, not realizing the other person is recording what you’ve done and that it is being used against you,” said Arnason.

The organization says it has received dozens of complaints about the online extortion schemes in the last two weeks.

The advocacy group says it appears the alleged perpetrators are adults based…

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NOVEL PREVIEW

Here it is, as promised, the FIRST preview of Nothing, Everything, Nothing.

Molly is sixteen and she is desperate to be popular. She was finally accepted by a small gaggle of popular girls but always felt like she was on the edge, unable to take that last step to really belonging. Now she has Lance, an older boy who has eyes only for her. Popularity is finally within her reach, but at what cost?

Molly’s bad mood only got worse over the day. Because of her skipped classes she was behind in every subject and every teacher handed her missed notes and assignments, and expected the work to be handed in before the end of the week.
At lunch she was ready to go buy food from the canteen but Kirsten started going on about the new season of clothes coming in soon and the big season change sale and how nice it would be if Molly could shop the boutique stores with them and Lance had jokingly pinched her thigh. So Molly had a bottle of water for lunch even though her stomach was starting to cramp.
She loaded her bag and stormed out to the bus only to be intercepted by Lance. He smiled, took her bag, and wrapped an arm around her shoulders.
“Come hang out with me. I got us some beer.”
“I have a ton of homework.”
“I’ll help you with it,” he said, steering her away from her bus and towards the student lot. “I already passed those classes. I might even have some of those assignments laying around in an old binder somewhere, and then you could just copy the answers. Wouldn’t that be easier?”
“Yeah, it would be,” Marlee smiled.
She slipped into the car and they took off for Lance’s house. It was a nice house in a nicer suburb than Marlee lived in. Looking at the neighbouring houses she didn’t see any duplexes or townhouses which were the only types of housing on her street. Here the houses were mostly new with attached garages and big satellite dishes.
“Your mom has a nice garden,” Molly said.
Lance shrugged. “She likes digging out in the mud; I don’t see the point in it.”
“It makes the yard pretty, and it makes the house look like a nice, welcoming place.”
He smiled and kissed her forehead. “You’re such a sweetheart Molly.”
They went in the side door. Up a step was the kitchen that was nearly twice the size of Molly’s. Lance led the way down to the basement where a couple of couches took up most of the open space. There were doors along one wall and a small window near the ceiling of the other wall.
Lance went past the couches, turning on lights as he went. At the far end of the room was a bar fridge which Lance opened. He came back with two open beers. “Well, come on. Don’t be shy. I basically have the basement to myself so we can just kick back and relax. No one will bother us.”
Molly smiled and took the beer. She’d had wine a few times at special occasions and her mom had let her try beer once but she had found it too bitter and had never asked to try it again. Now she took a little sip and tried not to wince.
“Come on,” Lance said again.
Molly joined him on the couch and looked around. It was a standard basement rec room but since her basement was mostly unfinished and used for storage she thought it was very nice, and a little intimidating.
You’re popular now. You don’t have to care if your mom has a horrible basement, she thought, trying to push the insecurities aside.
Lance wrapped an arm over her shoulder and pulled her closer. “I like spending this alone time with you,” he said. “It’s nice not having Kirsten or the others here chattering at us or watching us.”
“I like Kirsten and the girls,” Molly said.
“So do I, they’re nice to hang out with, but not all the time. Sometimes I just want to be with you.” He kissed her cheek then turned her face so he could kiss her lips.
It wasn’t their first kiss but the others had all been quick and innocent. This one was lingered and seemed to ask for more. It made Molly’s stomach twist the same way waiting for a surprise did.
She’d never kissed a boy before Lance and she wasn’t sure how she was supposed to respond but she wanted more of those kisses so when he pulled away she leaned into him and kissed him again. He gave her kiss after delightful kiss all the while holding her close or caressing her arms and shoulders.
He finally pulled away, smiling. “I’ll put a movie on and we can enjoy our beer, and each other, for a few hours.”

Want to know what happens during those few hours? And in the next few weeks of Molly’s life?
NOTHING EVERYTHING NOTHING will be available October 2014.
Stay tuned for more previews.

Editorial Joys

promo 3

I actually enjoy editing. I know, most writers will think I’m crazy, but whether it’s my own work or someone else’s I really enjoy the editing process. The last week has been great for me, since I’ve had to edit a short story for a friend and a novel for myself.

Ghost Writer by Christ Ticehurst will be appearing in AuthorAuthor’s first fantasy anthology. It’s a unique combination of romance, horror, fantasy, and music. Yes. It’s a musical. It will be available on Amazon as part of the free e-book and at-cost paperback titled “Entwined Worlds”.

Editing someone else’s work is always a challenge. You have to stay true to their vision and voice while making sure the story is technically sound, the plot is coherent and hole free, and that the writing is smooth and easy to read. Chris is wonderful to work with because his story is clear and his narrative voice is strong. For the most part his work only requires technical edits which, while tedious, are easy to work through.

The editing of my own novel was much more difficult, even though I didn’t have to worry about changing someone else’s voice or vision. My novel needed less technical editing (because I had done a lot of that before sending it to the beta reader) but I had entire scenes that needed to be shifted to other parts of the manuscript and entire scenes that had to be rewritten to fit the altered timeline. There are also a dozen or so scenes to be added and a few dozen lines across the manuscript that need minor rewording to match the new sequence of events. I had to create a calendar to keep the new sequence of events clear and a separate document for storing unneeded scenes just in case I needed a line (or the whole scene) at a later date.

Another aspect that made the novel, Nothing, Everything, Nothing, harder to edit was the subject matter. Dealing with the subject of suicide is difficult and emotional. When I finished outlining the sequence of scenes that ended with her suicide attempt I had to walk away from the computer and go snuggle my husband for a while. I know I’ll have trouble writing those scenes but I can’t skirt away from the emotional depth of those scenes or the novel will fall flat.

Ghost Writer is finished and submitted to the editor of the anthology. Nothing, Everything, Nothing is still in the editorial phases but I’m hoping to have the edits done before the end of the month so I can have it off to the Beta reader for a last proof reading.

Nothing, Everything, Nothing will be available on Amazon in ebook and paperback before the 31st of October so I can move on to my Nano challenge.

I’ll be releasing a preview soon.