Friday, April 11, 2014

The DH, the Evil Chainsaw, and Bears

This is the Dear Husband

He is always busy and has all the things to do. (Here he revamped our old swingset for my nieces and nephew.) He was busy with a tree trimming project when the worst thing imaginable happened.

With his mighty chainsaw he was standing in a huge pile of small branches. His right foot was in the brush and his left was on the log. He'd cut almost all the way through and pushed with his left foot to move the log and finish the cut.

Unfortunately there was a stubborn spot there. The chainsaw bounced back and into the calf of his left leg. The brush he was standing on collapsed, he fell, and the chainsaw did what they do--it cut through his calf.

He yelled to youngest son who almost carried him to the truck, and then the DH drove himself to the emergency room because he worried about bleeding out before an ambulance could get there. Meanwhile, while holding his dad's leg together, youngest son calls me and in the calmest voice imaginable says, "Mom, I don't want you to be upset but Dad had an accident and we're on the way to the emergency room."

I told youngest son to run in when they got there and yell for help. Then I did what I do, jumped into the car, and drove like a bat out of Hell. (Youngest son informed me that when he opened the door to get the DH from the truck, blood poured out. I believe it because I had to scrub it.)

When I got to the emergency room, the DH was on the table and it looked like someone had put a giant piece of raw liver on his leg. The entire calf was open. The nurse was so amazed at our joking around the she said, "You guys are sure calm about this." To which the DH responded, "We have six kids." (Evidently this fact is enough for anyone to believe that we're as nutty as fruitcakes.)

He'd cut all the way through the large calf muscle and half-way through the smaller one.

Anyway, after three very long surgeries, six days in the hospital, and two weeks on bedrest we went to the doctor's office yesterday. He removed the stitches on the skin side, put his leg in a full cast, and sent us home for four more weeks of bedrest. After that he will have a walking cast for at least another six weeks.

The DH is very unhappy with this order, but I get it because the scar is huge and C-shaped, and luckily, his name starts with a C so we won't have to change that. (Also he says don't tell people that he almost cut his leg off with a chainsaw (which also starts with a C) because this is an embarrassing fact. So if you see him, it was a bear.)

We do have end-of-the-world insurance so we won't lose the house. (We pay $10K before it kicks in and then they pay 80% up to $100K)

Luckily for us, writers, editors, and agents are amazing and kind people and I want to thank each person who donated such awesome things to the Indiegogo campaign, and also to thank everyone who bought these wonderful items. So many people offered to help that they're adding new stuff everyday.

You have no idea how much it means to us as a family, and to me personally. I don't feel alone in this. Sure it will be hard, and a very long recovery, but not facing it by myself is such an wonderful feeling that I can't explain it without a million adjectives. (I know how you feel about those.) So I won't try except to say that you warm my heart and I won't ever forget. Not ever.

They'll run the fundraiser until the end of April so if you want to check it out, the Reader Edition is here and the Writer Edition is here.

I honestly believe that all of the prayers and good thoughts from you got us through the surgery without needing a skin graft. Thank you. Any extra during his recovery are very much appreciated.

I love you guys.


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Why Your Young Adult Manuscript Flushes Down the Toilet of Fail: A Rant


Let me explain something about teenagers. They are not cranky and crabby all of the time. They are not self-absorbed and callous. In fact, they have more joy inside than do adults. When their interest is caught, they follow learning with a fierceness and determination that adults no longer have.

I can state these things as fact because I have three teens in the house. (At one time I had five which is certain to have been illegal in several states.) The reason your YA manuscript isn’t going over is because you are writing teens as the enemy.  So let’s lay this out.

Children are short adults with no money.

Teenagers are young adults with more spendable income than their parents.

You’re writing young adults like they are some foreign tribe on a hidden continent. They’re not the Lost Boys in Never land. They don’t dance around the fire shaking spears and planning to stab-dead every adult they see.

Sure there are psycho teens out there killing people and running away and doing drugs—whatever. Those kids would like your dark and angry characters. Pretty much those teens won’t be reading your book, because of them being all busy with their psychotic murders.

I don’t remember when my thinking jumped from child to teen to adult. Mostly, my brain has been the same. My favorite birthday cake is still the same one my mom made when I was six.  I still like a lot of the things that brought me joy when I was little—a fire in the fireplace, a hug, the wonder of the leaves changing in the fall.

The point is that when I was a teen, I had joy. So totally quit writing these teenagers that are like the cranky neighbor who yells for kids to get off his lawn. Teenagers are like you only they don’t pay rent or utility bills. (There see—they automatically have better lives.)

They’re people. You’re people. Same/Same.

If you don't actually like teenagers, you shouldn't write YA.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Yes You Do Need an Editor



When I finally got to the place in my writing where my future agent of awesome had asked for revisions, I was ambushed by fear. My beta group at that time was at the same writing level as I was. None of us had an agent and none of us were published.

So I hired an editor.

She saw all the bits that I thought were good enough but that were still at a lower level of professionalism. She pointed out where she went all WTF IS THIS??!!  A new pair of eyes saw all of the flaws that my crazy writer brain missed. There were a lot—like hundreds or maybe thousands.  I fixed them all well enough to sign with my dream agent.

Guys, there is no way under heaven that you can write your own book, and edit out the flaws without another opinion. (Family doesn’t count. Of course your momma loves your book.) The problem is that we seldom have friends who are at a higher writing level than we are. Published authors tend to hang together. (Mostly because they don’t want to be harassed for an introduction to their agent or editor.)  Uber- ginormous published authors have beta readers that they can trust and they have tons of deadlines so you can’t bother them. Seriously, don’t do it because RUDE.

But what you can do is to either BEG someone better than you to read or, you can hire an editor.

After you have worn out your Beta group, you need a content editor first. A content editor points out the best ways to make your characters shine. They tell you where you’re wandering off into the swamp of the muddy middle. They also tell you where you make their brain go into a seizure trying to figure out WTF is going on. They fall into the plot-holes so your readers don’t.

If you’re serious about writing, hire a content editor. You’ll learn stuff. If you absolutely can’t afford it then find every contest, drawing, and auction you can and get a professional edit.

There are a lot of agented writers who do editing work. I do and you can see all of the prices and things here. http://jrbutcher.blogspot.com/2013/04/i-can-tell-you-why-your-manuscript.html or you can email me at juliebutcheredits@yahoo.com

 The lovely Authoress Anonymous does and you can find her rates here. http://misssnarksfirstvictim.blogspot.com/2007/01/authoress-edits.html  She is awesome and has been my critique partner for a while. You’ll love her.

After you’ve fixed all of the things that your content editor pointed out, you need a line editor.
Don’t argue with me because YES YOU DO. Unless you are a professional editor, you absolutely will not find all of the problems. Even if you are an editor your own brain still sees your story as it wants it to be, not as someone else sees it. Habits sneak up on the best of us, bad habits, evil habits. The comma fairy will come when you are asleep and poop all over your manuscript and you won’t even notice.

I use Richard Shealy  as a line editor and you can find him at http://sffcopyediting.com/index.php/who/  Even if you’re not writing scifi or fantasy, give him an email.

So let’s review the order of how we edit our finished manuscript.
1.       Have a beta group of readers
2.       Hire a content editor
3.       Fix all of the things
4.       Hire a line editor
5.       Submit your work to agents and editors.
6.       Get an agent or a publisher
Start all over again

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Reason I Unfollow You on Social Media



It's not you, it's me.

Seriously, I don't consider myself either a liberal or a conservative. I do, however have certain likes and dislikes. I also have a houseful of teenagers to whom I feel a responsibility as role model. These are the major reasons I make social media friends go away.


1.    I’m a mom. I enjoy parenthood and adore my six children. I have no problem with people who have decided that they don’t want children. They’re free to do as they wish.  I do have a problem with people who insult families and belittle what I consider to be my greatest accomplishment. I don’t call people stupid or say that they are trash because of their decision to not have children or traditional families. I absolutely will not have the aggravation of seeing these posts.

You guys have the right to live your lives and speak your beliefs. I have the right to not see them and feel insulted.

2.    Everyone knows that Erotica is popular now. If people want to write it, I hope they do it well and make a gerjillion dollars. Really I do.  Good on them! I especially think it is the awesomesauce that Sylvia Day has gotten so popular because she is a sweetie-pie and she deserves lovely things.

That said, for some odd reason that I do not comprehend, some erotica fans/writers seem to think it is cool to post and tweet extremely graphic scenes and quotes—before I have my morning coffee. I am subjected to naked pictures and descriptive terms that I personally never use. It grosses me out. I mean seriously, EWWWWWWWWWWW! If I wanted naked I would have stayed in the bed. I didn’t get six children by not knowing what a penis is, mkay?

3.    Everyone has a bad day, or week, or sometimes a whole terrible month. Some people have a terrible and angry life. I’m sorry that this is how they see the world. I personally cannot see their negativity day after day and be a positive person. So I choose to surround myself online with people who can see the sunrise. Since many of my real life friends I have met online, I like to keep the optimists close. They and I might hit it off someday.

4.    Profanity is a choice. I cuss as much as the next guy—in real life and when I’m not around children and old people. I choose not to in writing and on the internet where kids might see it. I have children.  I don’t want them to use profanity as the major part of their vocabulary. I don’t want teachers to email me that inappropriate terms are used in papers or at school. I don’t want to teach other people’s children to curse. Of course I expect everyone to slip once in a while. Just not in every freaking post.

5.    When my children were small, whining was a problem. I used to pretend that I was deaf and unable to hear a whining tone of voice. Unfortunately, the internet is an easy place to whine and poor-mouth and it gets on my last nerve. Everyone has a bad day but some people make it a lifestyle and I choose not to attend pity-parties.

6.   I understand that people are proud of what they write. I also understand that you have friends and that you need to support their books. But, if you post nothing but ads and links and even worse, with eighty-eleven hashtags on each post, I’m out of there.


Life is what you make it people and I apologize if my de-friending or un-following hurts your feelings . You have the right to post as you wish and I have the right not to see it.