Oregon writer, Rain Trueax, and Oregon painter, Diane Widler Wenzel co-author Rainy Day Thought. Diane generally posts on Wednesdays and Rain on Saturdays. There may be extra days or changes as situations warrant. Comments are always welcome and appreciated as it turns an article into a discussion.

Saturday, August 01, 2015

a month went by already? Seriously???

August 1st, Lammas, first harvest, a time for reaping what we have sown.

And for this blog, I have no more ideas than on July 1st. That means I will take August off also and be back September 1st to evaluate where I am. First though, a little of what July was like.

My biggest question is: Where did July go? I can hardly believe a whole month passed and did it in a week. 

The vegetable garden has been so abundant that we are already looking for where we can give excess produce. For July, we moved pasture irrigation pipes off and on. I never did it often enough to get over the pain of the work. This was easier when I was younger. It is important though, not just for the animals but for concern over fire danger. This has been an exceptionally dry and hot summer in my part of the Oregon Coast Range-- worse, there is no promise of rain or cooler temperatures.

We researched our irrigation rights for this place. We knew they went way back but given the dryness of this year, the possibility is very real that irrigation will be cut off at some point. We will do it ourselves if stream flow goes too low, which is why it's been essential to irrigate as much as possible while we still can. Rivers and creeks in Oregon
are way warmer than they should be, which won't be good for fish-- small or big.

That trip or those little trips I hoped to be taking-- never materialized due to work here, reluctance to be gone when it's so hot with concern over fire danger-- and the next paragraph.

This was not a month for original writing. It was editing-- thought by thought; sentence by sentence; and word for word. With two books to be released (August 5th and September 21st), that kind of work has to be done with the hope that when the book comes out, it'll be without errors. Editing, especially the anal type, is not easy on anybody's brain-- let alone their back. Editing full length books is a six or more hour a day job (I see novellas in my future). 

While working on a book this way, I do take breaks, but it is not easy work (sometimes depressing when I can't understand how I wrote it that way or made that typo), and there is no way around the work-- short of hiring someone else to do it. Frankly, that's not easy to find-- someone who can understand my intent.

I added an element this time by using Grammarly's free online, [check out a segment of your work]. The bad part with the 'free' option is they tell you what they believe you got wrong. They do not suggest a fix. For that, you have to look back at the work (to see if you agree) or buy their service (to see if you agree). Grammarly cannot be purchased as software but is a monthly service fee. It is not the only such service out there, but it seems one of the more widely used. 

I use Word's editing options all the time but never let any auto-correct as none is not always right. It can totally lose context. No such service lets the writer or the editor off the hook. The question, where it comes to fiction, is whether the grammarian view of what is right works for the flow. I chose to try out Grammarly to at least know what English fundamentalists would find objectionable in my writing. I do know the basics of grammar but I also won't, for instance, use whom every time it should be used because sometimes it just sounds wrong!

The one aspect of Grammarly that most confused me was the times that they would say they detected plagiarism! I can't begin to figure out how they came up with that. In recent years, I've read hardly any romances. This whole year, my reading has been newspapers, research material, and my own work for editing. I'd love to be reading for pleasure (and I guarantee that when I next read a book, it will be for pleasure. I will read nothing because the NYTimes said I should or someone claimed it will enrich my mind or reveal what is wrong with the world. No thanks, I can get that from the newspaper-- boy howdy can I!

Back to the issue of plagiarism, since there is no way possible I could be copying anyone else's work, how do they come up with that? It would be the one thing that could most tempt me to pay the $$ to get their service. The problem with subscription services is you have to remember to end it or you get it renewed automatically. So for now, not going to do it. After all, Word does a pretty good job with claiming my sentence just ran on too long or I split an infinitive.

Where it comes to writing, to give myself breaks from editing, my fun for July (and any month) came in finding and using images to create covers and book trailers. This was the month where I found the perfect guy model for several earlier written books. 

Finding an image for ethnically different heroes had been all but impossible. Then along came Vikkas Bhardwaj, from India but currently living in L.A. He offers that perfect mix of handsome, dangerous, and yet with a sense of humor, the kind of guy I frequently like for my book heroes. Not only did I find him at an online royalty-free image site (at a reasonable price), but he actually has his own site-- Vikkas Zone. For anyone who needs royalty-free cover images, check out the link-- likewise for anyone who just likes to look at good looking, interesting, and I think also nice guys.

Echoes from the Past, released August 5th, needed a little older man on the cover. Vince Taggert is in his early forties and toughened by a hard life. He had to look handsome but like a man who could take care of those around him. The expression is the kind of man it'd do to ride the river with.

When I look for covers, I want the characters to fit those in the book. I got lucky when I came across this couple. She is beautiful but even more importantly, looking inward, which is the case of my heroine. He is looking outward to the dangers around them. Finding that combination to suit a story where the past is challenging the future, that made my day. I added the lightning to represent fate.

Holly and Vince's story is set in 1901-- Arizona. This was the era where privileged women were beginning to get advanced educations and think of being career women. Holly has come to Arizona with two goals-- one as an archaeologist, in the fortunate position of being economically able to fund her own dig, and the other as a woman haunted by her dreams and anxious to find out if what she has dreamed all these years really exists.

As I have done for all my books (so far anyway), I created a trailer for Echoes. It is part of my re-creation that gives me breaks from the more nitty-gritty work of editing-- which I am back to now, as another book needed some revamping. Will that ever stop being the case???



Tabor said...

I do like that last book cover. It tends to be more subtle and intriguing. Hope this drought is on its way out!

robin andrea said...

I think that may have been the fastest July ever! I was so surprised to see this post here. I have been reading about Oregon and Washington's extreme heat and dry weather. I sure hope things return to normal temps soon. Glad to see you're still writing and editing. Take care there and enjoy August with the promise of fall on its way.

OldLady Of The Hills said...

I feel just like you, Rain...WHERE DID JULY GO?????? It seemed to fly by.
I know that editing can be tedious and painful----I hope you get through it all without going nuts...lol!

The lack of rain here in Los Angeles is rather frightening. The ramifications of no water-----it is truly distressing on every level. And for you there, well, I know it is crucial in every way.....

May August bring some much needed moisture to the entire West Coast!!!!

la peregrina said...

Plagiarism? Bunk! Is the software focused on writing style? Because if so, then it would conclude that all hard-boil detective story writers are plagiarizing from each other. (I wonder what Grammarly would make of that last sentence of mine.)

Rain Trueax said...

I wondered if they do it to hook the writer with a desire to find out what the heck they are basing it on. I knew I didn't cop anything but still you wonder what is your writing coming out close to... if it is.

Tara Crowley said...

I marvel that you two still do the farmwork -- just working in my yard wipes me out and reminds me daily that I am not 25 anymore.

July went so very quickly -- vegetables were a total bust. Too hot. That's the same reason we haven't left home -- crazy triple digit heat and we cannot leave the dogs to fend for themselves even for an overnight. Hunkering down is the mode here.

Ingineer66 said...

July flew by but boy was it hot. So far August feels kind of cool, but I am sure that will change.

Rain Trueax said...

It cooled off here too but we sure need rain. It's worrying tree growers as well as nurseries and of course, everybody for fire :(

And I don't do anywhere near as much of the farm stuff as I did even 10 years ago, Tara. Moving irrigation pipe is a good example-- slower and I let him take some of them when I need to catch my breath. When he can't do it either, then the cattle and sheep will be reduced way down in numbers if we keep any. The older rancher/farmer types always say the same thing-- work smarter not harder. There comes a time though where they do have to let it go but often much older just because they have kept at it.

joared said...

The dry weather concerns are of even greater concern for you with your sheep, cattle and surrounding vegetation, plus water than anything I've been experiencing. We continue to convert grass lawns to Mediterranean and/or desert landscaping, significant cutback on watering. Will be interesting to see if El Nino comes later this year and what it brings.

I wonder if the approach to analyzing your dream's meaning has to do with all the issues you've been facing -- the feelings, thoughts, positive and negative action possibilities associated with obtaining water, the whole plagiarism assessment for example?

Speaking of that, perhaps, unbeknown to you, some other book somewhere in time had a phrase, sentence, or who knows what, identical to something you wrote, but they wrote it first. How could anyone know unless they'd read every book in existence? I've never read up on the intricacies of everything that could be considered plagiarism. Think of all the words, sentences, plots, ideas, stories that have ever been written -- it's mind-boggling. You may well be correct that designation is some sort of enticement. Would be nice if you could communicate about the issue with someone who is now or has used the service -- some other writer -- maybe in your genre, especially -- or just fiction of any kind.

Enjoy your time off from blogging. I've always had topics to write about, though they may or may not be of any consequence, but when I've taken a break from blogging it's been for quite different reasons than yours. My erratic posting is counter to attracting readers I realize, but I've wanted to get away from obligatory activities, among other reasons.

Congrats on getting your books out there and enjoyed reading about some aspects of how you approach the process. Your covers models are certainly attractive for the genre and stories you're telling.

Rain Trueax said...

I probably have ideas too, joared, but they aren't positive and uplifting or they are political and that is so divisive right now. I also found it freeing to know I didn't have to write anything but then I have a LOT of places where I do have to-- just on a different schedule.

On the plagiarism, that has to be it although it's interesting that some snippets say there was none while others say they discovered it. I have no idea about their algorithm for 'finding' it. I am almost done editing a more contemporary story of mine, the first book I ever brought out on Kindle and have been both depressed and disgusted with the mistakes I found with a book I've read many many times and which I dearly love. If I had waited though until now to bring it out, would I be better at the editing or is that because I brought them out and forced myself to keep looking back at them, growing through the process? I am considering still buying time with Grammarly just to see how it worked on a book I want to look back at. Would it make my work easier or harder? If I get the answer to that, it would help me decide whether to add it to my process ;). I know I like being able to check snippets now and again with that link (which is in the blog).