Thursday, June 30, 2011

Wahoo! Get a Free E-Book!

Yes, it is true what you are hearing through the grapevine.

I got some great news from my publisher, Abingdon Press. Who doesn't like free stuff? They are offering, beginning today through July 6, free downloads of my historical 'Surrender the Wind'. The e-book is available for free on Amazon for Kindle and Christian Books for other devices like ipads, android, and your pc.

If you get a copy, you have my thanks and I hope you enjoy a little respite back in time to post-Revolutionary War England.



Please pass it on.

Rita Gerlach

Thursday, June 23, 2011

When 'The Email' Arrives ~ Macro Edits

There are several phases your publisher will put your novel through. But you aren't dwelling on it too much since you sent in your manuscript and you are distracted by writing another book. . .right?

Then 'the' day arrives when you open your email box and see you've received an email from your editor telling you the first round of edits is ready and waiting, and you have a two week deadline. Then your eyes move down to see there are several files attached.

Three of the files were 'Comments and Suggestions', 'Overused words' and another 'Timeline'. Both were extremely helpful. My palms sweated before clicking 'open' on the macro file. Ah, pretty pink and blue track changes, and not too many of them. Trust your editor!

Here are a few tips on making it through the 'macro edit' phase.

1. Breath deeply.
2. Calm down, and save the files.
3. Open files that are not the manuscript first.
4. Print these out.
5. Find a quiet place in your house and a comfy chair.
6. Sit down and read these over before you open your manuscript. Highlight important sections.

Note: At first you might feel a bit freaked out. But read these files over a couple times and let the leading of your editor sink in.

When you finally roll up your sleeves to work on your edits, remember this one important thing. Your publisher's goal is to polish your book to a high sheen. You will not be required to accept every change, but consider them carefully before you reject them.

The editing phase can be a fantastic experience. You will learn so much from the editorial team, and it will make you a better author.

For those of you who have gone through the process, how was it?
For those of you who have not yet gone through an editing phase, post your questions.

Happy Writing!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Wednesday's Wanderings ---- Locations

A lot of writers dread researching details for the settings of their novels. There is so much reading to do; so much time spent searching the Internet for information. Some of it can dampen inspiration. But there is a way to make research one of the most enjoyable aspects of your writing life and kindle that flame of inspiration, and here’s how.

You can find inspiration in your own backyard whether your setting is local or distant. To keep this post brief, I will outline for you steps you can take to find inspiration in your research that is local.

  1. Begin online by searching your county’s historical sites. A good source is your local historical society website. Make a list of sites according to places that are from the time period your novel is written in. For example, your heroine lives in a Revolutionary War period manor house. You can visit one nearby to feel the ambiance of such a place, soak in the architecture and lifestyle.
  2. Pack a lunch, your camera, and a notebook! Gas up the car and set out through country roads to these locations. But watch for interesting little known places along the way.
  3. Explore plantations, fortresses, battlefields, old houses, and small towns. I’m fortunate to live in a historically rich area in Maryland. I’m currently writing a series entitled ‘Daughters of the Potomac’. Not far from me are the Potomac River, Harpers Ferry, Rose Hill Manor, and Schifferstadt House, all places where my books will be set or places that are representative of places in the stories. In visiting them, taking photos and notes, my heart swells with inspiration, and history comes alive in my mind, much more so than reading a document online.
  4. Now, while you drive throughout the countryside, keep an eye out for interesting places you may not find listed, such as old houses, memorials, old cemeteries, and churches. They will be out there, and they are worth a pause.

So here are a few links to the places I have visited that have inspired my writing.

I hope you enjoy your time researching your story!
Rita Gerlach

Monday, June 6, 2011

Character Attitude

"Never let your characters relax or feel comfortable in a scene. Remember that people are not always entirely rational, especially in stress situations. If you're character's "craziness" seems in character, consider allowing him to blow up or make some stupid mistake. Your story people -- even in the toughest scenes -- are not wholly logical robots. Show clearly that the viewpoint character considers the oncoming scene as vitally important. Have him say so, or think so, or both.

Never allow a lead character to enter a scene with a lackadaisical attitude."

Jack M. Bickham

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Wednesday's Wanderings ---- Locations from 'Daughters of the Potomac' Series

A Walking Path in the Hope Valley, Derbyshire, England.
Winnet's Pass, near Castleton in the Hope Valley
 The old church and this stone house are the inspiration for the Church of St. Andrew's
and the vicarage in books 1 and 2.


'Daughters of the Potomac Series' starting in April 2012.
Book 1 - Before the Scarlet Dawn
Book 2 - Beside Two Rivers
Book 3 - Beyond the Valley