May 13

May 13.

May 13

This year is really flying by. I can’t believe we’re in the middle of May already.   I’ve done so much to get ready for the release of my first novel, The Broken Road. I’m currently working on the jacket copy for the print version of the book, which will be sold on Amazon.com.  I had some great headshots taken with a fabulous photographer, Talia D. from www.taliadphotography.com.  I got a great cover artist by the name of Sara from www.cusp-studio.com who is very patiently working with me on the cover and promotional postcards that will to be distributed at the Book Expo of America in NYC next month.  I received some general edits from my editor, Jessica from  www.swiftink.net and I’ve been working with that in hopes of  July 15th release.  Its been one thing after another, plus also trying very hard to NOT go crazy at home. But thanks to my husband  and his gracious support, I’ve been pretty sane. (However, yesterday was the MAJOR exception. I refuse to acknowledge any sort of bitchiness that took place on my part.

And today is Mother’s Day.  I had a wonderful day thanks to my family. I’ll spend tonight giving thanks to my Mother-in-Law (Seriously, ya’ll. I lucked out BIG TIME with her!) and dreaming of my mom in heaven, who I know is watching over me.   I hope all you moms (and dad’s who are doing the job of two!) have a wonderful day.

 

xoxo – melissa

Me and computers aren’t the best of friends.

See, I have this issue with computers.Well, with most electronics.  I call it my electric personality.   He says its a detriment. Whatever. Computers just normally freeze up, shut down, or basically go to the pot when I’m around. I just have to be around it, for it dies. The IT support guy in my office knows that he’ll be coming by at least once a week. I bribe him with cookies so he doesn’t laugh.

My wonderful and loving husband gave this laptop to me. He told me that it was in support of my writing, but really it was to keep me off his computer.  So.. this new laptop totally died about a month ago, thanks to a carppy harddrive. Luckily, I have the worlds best inlaws.  A mom who is like a second mom to me, and a dad that fixes everything and is always there for us when we need him. So thanks to him, I’m finally up and running again.  So I’ll be around – writing the sequel to The Broken Road and blogging about my adventures. Thanks for checking me out!!!

Thank goodness for spell check… and editors.

You would think, that as a writer, I would have an extensive vocabulary. Thankfully, I do because I’m constantly reading.  However it doesn’t mean that the words are spelled correctly. What did we do before spell check?

I remember in Mrs. Thompson’s third grade class, she told me that I need to look in the dictionary if I couldn’t figure out the spelling to a word. Really? If I didn’t know how to spell it before, why would a dictionary help???   But I eventually figured out the spelling, thanks to my BFF at the time. (Thanks Jenny!)

My friends are flabbergasted at my horrible spelling. You’re a writer, they say. How do you keep misspelling the simplest words? Because my friends, I’m normally not paying attention and I have really chubby fingers. And I am totally reliant on  a nifty thing called spell check that I use on a regular basis. And I stupidly believe that everything has spellcheck (Alas, they do not) or I’m typing too fast without paying attention.  My grammar sucks too, if you can’t tell. I use Word exclusively so I’m always relying on the little squiggly underlines to tell me when I screw up.

When my children asks how to spell a word for their book reports, I have to write it down to make  sure it looks right. Then sound it out and have them sound it out as well. Phonetically is the best way people learn how to read and spell, I tell them. And then pray that I spelled it right. Ever since the invention of texting, misspelled words are even more prevelant than they were before, and even more acceptable. That’s when I’m happy to use the autocorrect feature. It makes me feel and look smarter to my friends.

However, I hate misspellings in books. If you go to the trouble of writing a great story, also go through the trouble of properly editing it. That is when you wonder if the author was just excited to get it out there for the world to see (I was so guilty of this) or if they just didn’t have spell check… or a dictionary. That’s also why having an editor is such a great investment. You can look at a word a million times and have it still be wrong. The editor will come behind you and gently admonish you while fixing your mess. Such a great thing.  After a dozen or so rewrites, I had overlooked the simplest of errors. *facepalm*   So now  I really make sure that I use the trusty spellcheck.. and when I have one handy, a dictionary. (Thank you Mrs. Thompson!)

Eating humble pie… and learning from my mistakes.

I finished the manuscript for  “The Broken Road” on June 24, 2011. I was so freaking proud of myself. I had four great friends gush over it. So – I wanted to publish it. I first sent it to a online version of a famous romance publishing house – with no response. Well, seeing as how only 2% of unsolicited manuscripts get published,  I figured mine was in the slush pile.  I also realized, through a couple other authors, that self-publishing is a great way to have control of your own product, to get your voice heard in a sea of millions and to get more royalties. I needed to go about this on my own. I figured that since I’m a working mom of 3, what’s one more thing on my plate? I can kick ass doing this  too.

So I started editing, then quickly realized I am NOT an English major. I enlisted the gracious and wonderful support of a very dear relative who took the manuscript and edited it for me. However, my fabulous and loving relative was not a line or a copy editor, and I naively thought that a technical editor would be the same thing.  When she was finished, I thought I was the biggest thing to books since J.K. Rowling. I thought I was going to be rolling in the compliments, that everyone was going to love it.

I first published “The Broken Road” on July 25, 2011. Immediately, a very close friend that has been my sounding board for the last three years, called me and said,  “Dude – your manuscript is full of errors.”   AAAAAAAAAH! First attempt at success and already failing in the first 2 minutes. WTF.   My editor did a fine job with all the grammar and sentence structure – however, I failed to implement half of her suggestions (You know when you read something a million times, it glazes over). I f’d up.  I quickly changed it – and resent it out. I pimped that book out all over Facebook. And I have such amazing friends. Within two months, I had twenty people buy it. They all said that it was great.

So…thinking I am on my way to super stardom, I moseyed my way onto a writing forum, where the majority opinion of self-publishers were that the books were crap. One particular comment was that the writer failed at the traditional way of getting it published, so the manuscript must be riddled with errors or just plain sucks. That got my biscuits burning, so I argued back. I finally said, Here! Read mine.  That my friends, was my very first taste of humble pie.

I.got. RIPPED.  One comment was that I was priced too high for a new book, my character was whiny, the sentence structure was horrible, I was too descriptive and basically that the manuscript should have NEVER been originally published in the first place. They told me to take it down and get a real editor to look at it.

My heart broke and to be honest – I felt so. freaking. stupid.  No matter how much your friends like you – or love you – they will never be as impartial as the rest of the world. I felt like a failure. And to be honest – I almost gave up.  Two days later, thanks to KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing), I get an email about the Self Publishing Expo to be held in October, in NYC. At first – I was hesitant. I was worried if it was worth it, if I could afford it, etc.  I need to make the decision about this. Do I want to do this for a living? Yes, this has been my dream since I was little. Then I need to make the investment in my future. Because if I don’t, then I’m wasting my time.

Thanks to the support of my amazing and fabulous husband; along with some hotel points that I found (4 star hotel for $25!! OH YEAH!),  I made my trek to NYC by train. I had a great night with my girlfriend and her husband from the area. I had a great night sleep. I was pumped and ready to go the next morning for the Expo.

The Self Publishing Expo was SO. FREAKING. WORTH IT.  It was so informative. I met so many contacts and gained such a new perspective. I learned so much. As part of my fee, I got to meet with a literary agent, who thought my story would make a great Lifetime movie. She really enjoyed my synopsis.  I then met with an editor who was extremely excited for my story and would have loved to work with me.  And by happenstance, I met my now mentor and editor, Jessica on an elevator. The knowledge that I received and the contacts I made would have NEVER happened had I not gotten my head out of my behind and started investing in my product… and in myself as an author.

Why did I tell you this?? Because, my friends, I want you to get your big boy/girl undies on and kick some butt with some awesome manuscripts. If this is what you want to do.. then you need to invest in yourself. Don’t have $$ for an editor? Find a writing group. Freelance editors are less expensive then the vanity presses. There a million options out there.. just do the research. And don’t forget that behind every good writer – there is a great support system. Don’t give up. =)

OMG! You’re writing a book!

That’s what the reaction I get when I tell people I’m writing. Not in a Um.. you? Writing a book? HA!  way. More like “Wow, I can’t believe it! That’s great!”  Then they ask what the book is about – and that’s where I’m stumped. I mean, I know what my book is about. I thought of the idea, the characters, the sequence of events. But I’m always momentarily stumped and then hem and haw over my 3 minute elevator pitch.  I eventually describe the book – but it’s not concise, not clear, and I’m clearly stumbling over my words. My worst weakness is trying to describe something out loud that makes total sense in my head.  So when you’re writing.. make sure you have your elevator pitch polished. Make sure it sounds natural, like you’re explaining how to brush your teeth. BTW – Be prepared – you never know who you’ll meet in an elevator. =)

(But.. in case you’re wondering… My novel is titled “The Broken Road”, a women’s fiction novel with romance and suspense, with elements of crime, drama, and sarcastic humor. It tells the story of a twenty-six year old woman named Megan, who just broke up with her fiancée Tommy and is still in love with her first boyfriend Shane. Shane has no idea of Megan’s feelings towards him. When a situation occurs, Shane asks to stay at Megan’s house, under purely platonic pretenses.  Against her better judgment, Megan allows Shane into her home, and eventually back into her heart. But Shane isn’t the same guy fell in love with all those years ago. Shane has a past; a past that he’s making amends for and at the same time, putting Megan at risk. Secrets lead to tragedy and deceit, and Shane makes a choice that could change both of their lives forever. At the end, Megan will need to follow her broken road, and to the person whom it leads to.  You know I had to throw that in there! )

Hopefully I don’t break this damn thing….

I made it to the 21st century. I finally have my own blog! I have to admit – I’m the most untechnical person out there. My husband claims that I break computers and phones  just by looking at them. So this is a HUGE accomplishment for me. Excuse me while I do a little victory dance.

Okay. I’m done.  Now that I’ve joined the millions upon millions of people in the blogging world, what is so different about me? How can I stand out?  Well, lemme tell you about myself.

I’m a thirty something working mom and wife who is addicted to reading. Yes. I said it. I have an addiction to reading. If I don’t have something to read, I get a little antsy.  Because I have such a love of reading, my imagination goes crazy with ideas. Hence… the writing.  I’m currently in the pre-publication phase of my first in a series, titled “The Broken Road”. You’ll see a lot of  mentions of the book here. I’m also big on helping out the indie author community. I share the love via Twitter (@Melissahuie) and Facebook ( https://www.facebook.com/melissadhuie ).  I’ll  post some reviews of books here on my blog.

I love to write. It’s my way to escape the chaos that is my life. Mind you – I have a very blessed life. I have three awesome kids that are 3,5,and 9. I’m going to call them by their initials, M, J, and S. Simply because when I’m old and in Depends, I want them to put me in a good nursing home, not some dump because I totally embarrassed them on my blog.  I live in the Washington, D.C. area and have been in the region my whole life.  So there is a ton to talk about on here. The commute, the traffic, the prices, the snobby entitled people who think that because they are in a Range Rover they can cut you off … .Oh. Sorry – I digress. Anyways.

I have to say – I’m so excited to finally have a place to vent, bitch, moan, and share my love of books and writing with everyone without limiting it to 140 characters. I plan to talk about writing, self-publishing, books, motherhood, sex, whatever comes to mind. Just not politics. Too much drama.  I can’t wait to hear your comments too. I love feedback. So enjoy … and bring your sense of humor. You’re going to need it.

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