Yet here I am.
Sitting at the laptop, I had intended to write a post about Chris Enss' terrific success with her book, Hearts West (+ bonus: I once asked her for a favor and she was delightful about it) but then Glynn happened so that idea went out the window.
I'd also toyed with the idea of doing a post on beta readers and how to find them (because I've met some very nice people now and this needs some further comment) but that was before the Glynn hit the fan, so to speak. Glynn thinks "the Glynn hit the fan" line is funny, by the way, but he's trying to curry favor at the moment so I wouldn't put too much stock in his opinion.
Oh, and the picture above? That's our pint-sized Chihuahua that knows she's a Chihuahua and is quite content to sit on my lap as I pull this blog together.
I've drifted off-point but here's the set-up: I was in bed, not wanting to do anything, realized I needed to write a post, and I saw the little envelope symbol that indicates I've received some email. The subject line told me that our second (of two) beta readers was reporting in with her thoughts on our new book. I should have been happy but I felt mildly panicked because...what if she hated it?
I mean, yes, the Good Witch liked the new novel but she's a friend and doesn't count. Besides, she wasn't beta-reading, she was just reading. Our first beta reader, Dani B., liked it and shared her opinion openly and strongly, but she's more of a contemporary romance reader and our story is set in the past. Would the novel appeal as much to someone who's used to reading stories that take place in the old West?
Happily, the new beta reader, Lee, sent a very supportive email and had very few changes she wanted to see. In fact, there were only three areas of change and all three involved word usage. So I (#1) removed one word, (#2) changed a second word, and then (#3) I went to Glynn for some help. I told him, "Lee wants to know what the word 'doft' means."
"Doft?" he said.
"You know, from the book. The line you put in, the one that talks about the 'little doft's eyelashes'."
"Oh." He gave me the goofy half-smile that means he's not sure if he's screwed up but maybe he needs to apologize for something. He said, "I'm having trouble finding it again."
"It was in one of those books I checked out. I think."
"There were a lot of books."
"Or it was on the web."
"You can't reference it?" I didn't know what to say.
When we're writing a historical romance, we both do our research to stay true to the time frame. Not massive research but we make a strong effort. Even if some bits are fictional (i.e., in the late 1800's, there was no Braxton brand of rifle), we try to pattern those bits after the real thing (in this case, there was a real-life Henry rifle). We keep record of what we found and where we found it in case we need to go back to the original source.
This time, Glynn had lost his 'doft'. I reminded him, "If it doesn't exist, I don't want our hero to say it."
"I can find it again," Glynn protested.
"Even though you couldn't locate it the last time you looked?"
"It's on the internet somewhere."
A few hours later, the word has disappeared from our manuscript. I've written beta reader Lee, with apologies, and I know I have to reformat several pages for the print version of the story. Today will not be my lazy day, after all.
On the plus side, Glynn is making dinner tonight.