The Oculars Rewrites – Done!

Blog Pic 18 DEC

So, it’s been a while since our last blog post, and for that, we apologize. But, to make up for it, we have good news! We’re done with rewrites on our latest paranormal thriller, The Oculars. After we received our feedback from our beta reader in August, we knew we had quite a bit of work to do. (This, of course, is our royal “we” as we all knew it would be our mom, Nancy, doing the heavy lifting.)

Our mom is the main writer on this manuscript. She took the time to go over each one of our beta reader’s comments, line by line, making corrections and changes as she went. After she finished with the detailed notes, it was time to fill in a few plot holes and so she has added a ton of new material to the back half of the story. It’s all to the good and should make our story stronger.

Next up, Anne will do another round of edits for both the changes and the new material. She made an aborted attempt at NaNoWriMo this year but only made it two days before succumbing to life and procrastination. After The Oculars edits, she plans on working on Servants of Gaia, the third and final book in our New Mother Earth science fiction series.

Eric is currently juggling his job and full-time schooling. He’s here to help us but on a limited basis for the next few months. If all goes well, and there’s no reason it shouldn’t, he should be working a more regular schedule by next summer, and that should give him more time to write with us. Nancy will be jumping into our crime thriller, Enoch, again (at least, that’s the plan).

So, that’s it for the Litzos. We will be trying to attend The Portland Book Festival (formerly known as Wordstock) at the Portland Art Museum together this Saturday. It’s been a while since we’ve met up to do something bookish and fun outside of family gatherings.

Thank you all for sticking with us. We appreciate the support. We’ll keep you posted on our progress. It shouldn’t be long now before we are ready to release our latest book.

Kind regards,

Anne, Nancy, and Eric

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The Oculars Back from Beta Read

Blog Pic 18 DEC

We got our latest work-in-progress, The Oculars, back from our beta reader last week. It wasn’t the news were hoping to hear but it was the news we were expecting. It was rough and we have a bit of work to do on The Oculars, mainly fixing a major disconnect between the first and second half of the book. What started as a monster-centric tale of horror morphs into a paranormal tech-thriller in the second half. Put plainly, our monster disappears. We touched on this problem during our final edits but it didn’t really sink in until our dear beta reader let us know how much it affected the story.

We know what happened. We started this book several years ago and then it languished, half-finished, for months. By the time we picked it back up again, our concept had grown hazy and our chapter map was only partial. We should have taken the time to really flesh out our chapter map but we never did. Let me tell you, when you have a project that’s been in the works for a year or more, there comes a time when you just want to get it done and off of your to-do list. And that’s what happened to us. We rushed the finish and it shows.

So what’s next? Nancy and Eric are reworking the manuscript. We know what we need to do and we know how we need to do it. Nancy is away in her mobile writer’s retreat for  a few weeks. She’ll be going through our beta reader’s comments one at a time to clean up the nitnoid stuff. Then the real work will begin. Thankfully, we can keep the bones of the second half, but the ending needs some heavy revision. We know where it needs to go, which is a bit of a relief as we don’t need to completely throw out our previous work. This will take some time.

We hope you are heading into Fall with a clear path and renewed enthusiasm. I know we are. As always, thanks for sticking with us!

Kind regards,

Anne, Nancy, and Eric

 

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Summer 2018 Wrap-up

Blog Pic 18 DEC

Another summer is in the books (no pun intended). It wasn’t our most productive summer as far as writing goes but it was still good, nonetheless. We ran a giveaway or Kindle countdown deal every weekend with some downloads and sales but no reviews. We finished up final edits on The Oculars and sent it off to our beta reader. We queried an agent to no response. And we reaffirmed our pledge to give of our time and creativity to this writing venture of ours.

Fall is coming, and with it, school. Anne has a new space for writing and crafting. Nancy also has a new space in her backyard, a place to think and create. Eric is pursuing a new career. His program classes have started and he is feeling optimistic. This should bring a new level of predictability to his schedule, something he desperately needs.

We’ll be diving into our other projects while we wait for The Oculars to come back from our dear reader. These projects include Servants of Gaia, the third book in our New Mother Earth science fiction series, and Enoch, our serial killer thriller.

We hope you all had a great summer. Get ready for the pumpkin spice lattes! As always, thanks for sticking with us.

Kind regards,

Anne, Nancy, and Eric

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Final edits are done on The Oculars!

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Oh, happy day! We’ve finally finished our last round of edits on The Oculars, our paranormal thriller, and we’ve sent it off to our awesome beta reader. Whew, this has been another labor of love. There’s still a bit of work to do, as a tricky problem was spotted with our ending but it should be a quick fix…once we agree on the fix.

As for the rest of it, we’ve all ready knocked out a few of the pre-publishing details. It’s been formatted for Kindle print and e-book versions. The back blurb is done as well. Last major requirement is a kick-ass cover, which we’re working on. And then, a quick polish after we get our feedback from our beta reader. We hope he likes it, fingers crossed.

We also sent off an agent query letter at the end of July. Not surprisingly, we’ve gotten no response, and when the 30 days is up, we’ll have to decide if we want to continue the query process or just self-publish as usual.

Here’s a peek at the back cover blurb. We appreciate feedback!

     What Ethan Owenby wants is a normal life. Years earlier, a misguided and alcohol-fueled decision to take his Uncle Jonno’s place as the driver in a car crash had terrible repercussions. Unbeknownst to Ethan, an innocent young woman lost her life in that same instant.

     Now, Ethan has served his time and come home to Riverside Oregon, but his newly discovered peace is shattered when he receives a mysterious package containing research and designs for a radical new optical technology. Amongst the nearly incomprehensible information is a rambling and confusing video from his reclusive yet brilliant, Uncle Wilson warning him – tell no one about the Oculars.

     Little does Ethan know that there are dark forces that will stop at nothing, even murder, to get their hands on the Oculars. The Oculars allow the wearer to see the denizens and landscapes of the Dark Spectrum, the abode of spirits and ghosts, but not without a price. As old secrets are uncovered and strange enemies roam the small town of Riverside, Ethan must find a way to protect his friends, old and new, from those who will stop at nothing to possess the Oculars.

We’ll keep you posted as we move along with the process of publishing, and of course, we have several other projects we continue to work on. We hope you all are having a great summer. Thanks for sticking with us!

Kind regards,

Anne, Nancy, and Eric

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The Preschool Method to Overcoming Writer’s Block

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It’s been a great week, productivity-wise, for Anne, and she can only thank her brother Eric for the method used to overcome her writer’s block (well, actually an editing-block but writer’s block too.) What is the preschool method of overcoming writer’s block, you ask? It’s putting yourself on a time-out; a time-out from everyday duties and time to focus on the craft of writing. It doesn’t have to be a long stretch of time. Anne started with twenty minutes on the clock. That small bit was enough to get her writing again.

Anne had stalled out on her final edits of The Oculars. Every sit-down at the computer turned into a huge procrastination-fest. It’s happened before; it will happen again. But this time, Eric came to the rescue. We held a Litzo meeting and the topic of procrastination came up as it always does, specifically Anne’s current problem. Eric reminded both of us that in the beginning of our writing endeavors, when we had stalled out, we would vow to produce a pitiful page a week to present to the group at our weekly Litzo meeting. Usually, that had us pooping out a page at the very last minute to show the crew but it was enough. Because, once we got started, the pages would flow.

This time, instead of a page requirement, Anne gave herself a time requirement. She vowed to work for twenty minutes but each session turned out much longer. And now, she’s done with final edits through chapter 41. With only 19 chapters left, she’s on the downhill stretch and then The Oculars manuscript is off to our beta reader.

We also took the time to draft and send out our first agent query letter. Back in 2014, we queried a few publishers and caught a few offers but the terms were draconian and we eventually passed, opting to self-publish instead. Horror tends to be a niche genre. We’d talked about agents in the past but didn’t feel comfortable enough to go that route. Not anymore. We know we’ll probably have to send out quite a few letters but we’re feeling optimistic. Wish us luck!

Thanks for sticking with us!

Anne, Nancy, and Eric

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Forward Progress, Hurrah!

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Finally, after a fairly long dry spell, we can report progress on our current work-in-progress, The Oculars. This week, we met in person for a Litzo business meeting. Topics covered included our ongoing giveaways on Amazon, final edits on The Oculars, agent queries, the way forward for our serial killer manuscript, and changes to the chapter map for the third Gaia book.

Anne’s been back at work on her final edits for The Ocular. She’s finished through chapter 26 and now that she’s broken the weld, she anticipates work will continue this week. Eric will be updating the chapter map for Servants of Gaia, the third book in our New Mother Earth science fiction series. We have multiple story arcs throughout and we realize several are severely underrepresented. Nancy is reading through Enoch and formatting as she goes. She and Eric will also be working on the chapter map for that manuscript as well. The middle bits are still a bit nebulous but the planned ending is kick-ass.

We came to a decision to finally submit a query letter to a literary agent. We’ve been back and forth about this over the years, always opting to keep complete control of our works, but seeing how well good friends of ours are doing with the help of an industry professional has been a bit eye-opening. Time to make a move. We’ve drafted the letter and once we all get our hack at it, we’ll be sending it out into the universe. Wish us luck!

Next weekend, Friday through Sunday, we’ll be running a promotion on the first New Mother Earth book, Exiles of Gaia, on Amazon.

We plan to get a lot done in the next few weeks. Wish us luck!

Kind regards,

Anne, Nancy, and Eric

 

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The Midsummer Doldrums

36305867_10216666439798429_294670430503960576_o (1)Family Camping in Central Washington

First off, we’re still running our weekly Kindle promotions. This weekend, you can score a free e-copy of our horror short story, The Mortuary Fly. Next weekend, July 20 – July 22, we’ll be giving away copies of The Rose Sprite on Amazon. You can’t beat free! (We’ve included the link below.)

As for us, summer started as always with high hopes and good intentions but by the time we hit July, Litzo work had ground to a halt. The work stoppage was due to a combination of another spectacular health scare for our Mom, Nancy (she’s fine, by the way), followed by a number of consecutive family trips…and excuses, lots of excuses.

Before we hit the doldrums, we’d managed to finish the third round of final edits on The Oculars up through chapter 20. We still have a way to go, but we promise, we’ll get back to it this week. We also reformatted Hunters of Gaia for the print version on Kindle.

We promise we’ll do better on the work front. As always, thanks for sticking with us. Your support means a lot to us.

Kind regards,

Anne, Nancy, and Eric

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