Twenty-one months ago, Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas published my first novel, Casting the First Stone. I never expected to write a sequel.
But then a funny, surprising, and supremely flattering thing happened. People liked my characters. Many readers asked if there'd be a sequel. Actually, what people said was, "You are writing a sequel, aren't you?"
Suffice it to say, little arm twisting was necessary. I mean after all, I love the characters, too (except for Jim). So, I set out to write about what happened to everyone after the first story ended, and I decided that the most fun time to set the story would be Christmas.
The final draft has been finished for a little while now, and my tentative initial release date has come and gone. The combination of busyness, procrastination and sheer terror can be somewhat immobilizing, but, in addition, there are a few details I need to take care of before Chasing a Second Chance can become a reality.
- Enlist help. Beta readers are wonderful people who volunteer to read the final draft and tell you what they really think -- gently, of course. My beta readers read my book over the summer, and then I set out to add their suggestions to the list of changes I needed to make in order to turn the almost-final draft into the final draft. This, of course, took much longer than I expected it to -- for the reasons described above.
- Make the outside pretty. My vastly talented friend, Laurie Edwards, designed the cover for me. Now I have to add the words that go on the outside of the book to the art she has provided. Theoretically, this will be easier than revising the manuscript -- for me, anyway.
- Make the inside pretty. Most writers worth their salt have a decent grasp on grammar, spelling, punctuation and usage. There is, however, a big difference between a "decent" grasp and the necessary attention to detail that makes a final copy ready to go to print. I'm the global sister with the decent grasp, but fortunately I have a detail-oriented sister (who happens to include "copy editor"among her list of talents) and who's willing to help me clean up the mess that lies between "decent" and "print-ready." I may be able to tell a story, but, as it turns out, I'm pretty stinky when it comes to commas.
With a little luck and a lot of elbow grease, I'm optimistic that the resulting changes and fixes and updates and tweaks will be completed in time for a November release. Meanwhile, you can read about the journey -- and my progress -- right here, or on my Facebook page.
I figure going public is the best way to ensure that my next release date isn't tentative.