Raeann Blake (Author)

Ramblings from Raeann

Posts Tagged ‘Progress’

How it is…

Posted by Raeann Blake (Author) on July 2, 2013

sick2So…I’m pretty sure you probably all thought I died or something. I apologize for not being around. I am still breathing…most of the time. I’m not sure I’ve ever specifically spelled it out before, but I have severe COPD with very little lung function left. This whole process of learning to cope with the disease, the side effects of the medication, the treatments, tests, depression, and an overwhelming anxiety has been just more than I could bear and truly interact with all of you. I cannot promise you that it is going to get any better although the doctors seem to at least for now have a handle on the anxiety to the point that it’s not just completely debilitating anymore. But I face many struggles coming soon and as I reach each one, I can’t tell you what will happen then. There are many tests yet to be done and we have already taken the first step of many towards the recommended lung transplant. And if that happens, that’s a whole different road to go down once the surgery is done.

I am not a fan of sharing too much personal information either on the web or even in person. Some things just seem to be better kept private. The state of my health has always been one of those things, but I think my readers should know what is happening. I’m hoping that posting a few updates here will not only update you but could be therapeutic for me. I can’t promise you that I’ll update it every day. In fact I can almost guarantee you that I won’t. And I can’t promise you that I’ll update it every time something happens. Each setback tends to push me farther inside myself and it is usually days or even weeks before I can discuss it with anyone. I still want to respond to each of you individually when you post here or on FB, but it just might not be possible or may be a while coming.

I’m not doing this for everyone to try to cheer me up or send me ‘be strong’ quotes for the day or anything like that. I’m doing this for me. Although there is no cure for COPD, I want to get better. And if writing things out helps me mentally or emotionally then that is a positive step. And if it keeps you updated on the progress of the books then that’s another benefit.

I’ve tried so hard to get back into my writing. I only have a little bit left to do on the final pass-through of Davis before it will be ready to go, but I have had so little interest in anything at all that it is very difficult to get myself to sit down and get started. I’ve been trying to write this post for over a month now and finally managed it. Maybe that’s a good sign that I’m ready to start back.

If I can just get a little healthier I just know that all the things that used to interest me will start to come back. I have to get my weight back up again. I weighed 97 pounds when they first put me in the hospital and I had gained up to 107 at one point. But I’m back to 97 now. It’s so difficult to force food down your throat that just tastes burned. Some of the medications have killed my taste buds and there are only a few things that I can taste at all. So I have no appetite but have to eat and drink nutritional supplements to try to get my weight back up. And then my physical ability has waned again since I’ve missed so much of my pulmonary rehab while we were struggling to control the anxiety. Bottom line is that I don’t weigh enough and I’m not strong enough for a lung transplant now, so that is the number one priority at this point.

On the up side, I am breathing better right now than I have in months as long as I’m not engaging in any physical activity. (Update…I was until another exacerbation sent me back to the ER on Saturday…doing fair now.) I know that sounds sort of stupid, but when you can’t even breathe freely while sitting in a chair for several months and now you can, it’s a big deal even if a weather front comes through or some other trigger crops up and messes it up again tomorrow. I’m lying down to sleep again and I’m turning the TV and lights off at night again. That was mostly a side effect of the anxiety.  I still haven’t been back on the bike but once since the last setback, but to ride again anytime, anywhere is one of my goals.

If you are inclined to follow these sparse update posts, I can promise you a lot of bitching, whining, and just generally feeling sorry for myself. Hopefully those days will be balanced with ones where I can express that I really do know how lucky I am to still be here and remember to see the good things along with the bad.

While you are so patiently waiting on the rest of The Seven Brothers of Elko, remember there are so many gifted authors out there. Some are established and some are brand new. Yes, there are some that are not so great, but keep searching. There are diamonds in the rough. Happy Reading!.

Posted in Books, Just Stuff, The Seven Brothers of Elko | Tagged: , , , , | 9 Comments »

Progress Is A Slow Process

Posted by Raeann Blake (Author) on November 19, 2012

First just a little update. A while back I posted that I had the first half of Davis ready to send to the editor. Well… I ran into a bit of a snag. As I was doing one last pass through it, I kept finding sections I decided needed to be rewritten. So that was a bit delayed. However, I am happy to report that the first half is now in the hands of the editor and I’m on to working on the second part.

Second, I am extremely happy to welcome Amy Jirsa-Smith to the team as our fabulous new proofreader. We are so happy to have her on board. Adding that additional pair of eyes will lengthen the time it will take us to get a release ready, but the end result will be worth it.

Since it is almost Thanksgiving now, I think we can honestly rule out a December release for Davis. I really wanted to have this out before Christmas, but it is just not going to happen. I will get the blurb and a sample up on the website around the first of December and we will hope for January but shoot for February on the release.

Have you ever wondered what my process is for getting these books ready or why it takes so long between each release when all of the books are already written?

It is true that they were all written years ago. So the first thing I have to do is a complete read-through to get back into the story again and correct any items that may not be relevant today that were just fine 5 years ago. At this point I will create the eBook cover and add the “Coming Soon” banner.

Next, I will go through the first half of the book at least two more times, making updates and corrections along the way. I may (which translates to ‘usually’) rewrite pieces in this step.

Once I am satisfied, I now go back through it yet again with a text-to-speech program, listening and reading at the same time. The brain may automatically fill in words that are missing when you are reading something and you never notice. But hearing it read aloud will often point out those errors.

As soon as I am satisfied with the first 2 or 3 chapters, I stop and write a blurb for the book. Then I’ll send that and the first chapters to use as a sample on the website over to my wonderful editor, Sharon Gunn-Jones, who allows me the leeway to keep my voice, my story but makes it better. Then I continue with the remainder of the first half.

When this step is complete, I send that section to Sharon and I start the process over again with the second part. Hopefully, by the time I am through with this piece, she will be finished with the part she has and we will swap. (Usually she is waiting on me here.)

Now I will make changes based on her recommendations and send that to Amy for proofreading. So at this point, Amy has the first half, Sharon has the second, and I have moved on to begin the same process with the next book.

Somewhere in the middle of all of this, I will have received the edited blurb and sample back from Sharon and I will create the sample file and update the website.

When Sharon finishes editing the second part, she’ll send it back to me for corrections and off it will go to Amy while I keep going on the next book. After Amy has finished, it comes back to me and I make any additional corrections needed. At this point I will also make any needed changes to the sample on the website that Amy may have found. Then the fun begins.

The eBook and print versions need to be formatted differently. So I will build those files with the appropriate formatting for each, update the eBook cover to remove the “Coming Soon” banner and the Kindle version is ready to upload… sort of.

Are you with me so far?

Next, I will email the Kindle version to my Kindle through Amazon where they will convert it to the Kindle format. I then go through the book AGAIN to make sure I don’t see something on my Kindle version that we all missed everywhere else or any issues with the formatting. (Am I beyond sick of this book by this point…you betcha!) Once I am satisfied, the Kindle version can now be uploaded and released.

Now, since I do my own covers, I need to create the cover for the print version (front, back and spine) and convert that into a high-resolution graphic that can be used for printing that glossy paperback. Once this is complete I can begin the process of sending everything to CreateSpace to publish this version. This usually consists of more than one attempt to get the cover exactly right and an error-free submission. Then just like magic…..VOILA! I can now order a proof copy of the print version and wait a week for it to come in. I receive the proof, allow myself a few minutes for a happy dance and, assuming it is okay, I can finally push the button to release it and the exhausting process of promoting it now begins.

Simple, right?

Wait…what am I forgetting? Oh yeah…both Sharon and Amy are patiently waiting on the first half of the next one. Get back to work!

There you have it. That is my process that gets squeezed in around my day-job and attempts to have at least a little cuddle time with my own Prince Charming (who is forever picking up the slack on all those things I can’t seem to squeeze into a 24-hour day) and the occasional ride on the Harley to decompress.

Disclaimer: Did this post go through Sharon and Amy? NO! So any errors you see are all mine. Happy Reading and Happy Thanksgiving!  🙂

Posted in Books, The Seven Brothers of Elko | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »