Finally, an update!
Everyone has a COVID story, and I’m no exception. The only difference was that I found myself isolated on an island in the South Pacific for over two years in a country that chose an elimination strategy. So, we had initial periods of total lockdown, but then COVID was not in New Zealand, and we lived in this bubble for over a year and a half where we had no cases, no deaths beyond the initial 51, and no restrictions--except for one big one. We couldn’t travel anywhere, and no one could come here. Actually, that’s still kind of the case, as tourists aren’t able to arrive until later this year.
So, we all got on with our lives. I had a Zoom Christmas in 2020 with my children in the US, where we baked cookies and crumpets together and played a board game with the help of a computer. I took advantage of the lack of tourists to take a camper van around the South Island, and I was able to go on two of the ten Great Walks of New Zealand, the Milford Track and Stewart Island’s Rakiura Track. I also renovated my house, which is still a work in progress, but it will be worth it. The view above is from my deck as the moon rose over the ocean last month.
Then, Omicron struck. We could no longer contain cases at the border, and it has been rampaging through the country for the past few months. We’ve gone from 51 deaths to 582 as of today and from perhaps 20k cases to over 851k, but we’re still very lucky. The country is over 96% vaccinated and more than 70% boosted. The extra time we had due to the border closers made all the difference. Now, cases are declining again, and hopefully, the next few months will show a return to normal, including freedom to travel for everyone. But, I couldn’t wait any longer and chose to fly to the US for my eldest’s birthday just before Christmas 2021, and I stayed until late February this year. I visited my children in Denver and San Diego, my most recent hometown in Portland, Oregon and friends there, my research colleagues in Colorado, Missouri, and California, and attended an orthopaedic research conference in Tampa, Florida. It was a much-needed infusion of connection that helped me get centered and ready to tackle 2022.
I HAVE NEWS! Like every other company and publisher in the world, Inkshares had to push back their release dates for new novels, and there was quite a queue after two years, but they’re catching up. I finally made it to the top of the queue for the next round of editorial feedback, which I just received, and my manuscript is looking very good! I still have some work to do on my characters and overarching themes, but the plot is solid, and no major rewrites are needed. I will be meeting with my editor and the publisher in the next couple of weeks to go over the feedback, and then I’ll dedicate time every day to finish this book and get it out there to all of you as soon as possible. Some of you have been waiting a long, long time for your copy, and I can assure you, it will have been worth the wait. I’m excited for you to read it.
Some of you got my longer email from my newsletter. Sorry for the duplication!
I have not sent out an update via Inkshares for a long while, preferring instead to send newsletters and blog posts through my website, deborahmunroauthor.com, but some of you are not on those mailing lists, so hello! How have you been? I know we are living in challenging times, and I hope you’re getting the support and companionship you need. I am well, living in virus-free New Zealand, and finally done with lockdown. I am definitely feeling like I’m on a remote island in the South Pacific these days with the borders closed, no international travel allowed, and my daughters reaching important milestones without me present (graduation from a Master’s degree program, birthdays, new jobs, joint vacation plans, and more), but all is well, and I am safe. My daughters are safe, too, and we’ve found new ways to connect, including an online version of Pictionary which is quite fun.
My big news is that I took this period of time over lockdown to finish restructuring and editing my novel, APEX. It is now out with my beta readers for feedback and comments, and then it will be off to my amazing editor at Inkshares, Sarah Nivala. They will give the new, more exciting and action packed version of my book a read, and then hopefully bless it for me to incorporate minor edits and move onto the next phase of production! Who knew it would take over three years to get to this point? I certainly had no idea! It’s been a huge growth opportunity for me, especially in the management of frustration department. Creating a work of written art is way harder than I ever imagined.
I’d love to hear from all of you, so feel free to reply to this email or separately via email@example.com and update me on your life, your latest project, or anything else.
Be well, Debbie
I know it’s been awhile since I sent an update from Inkshares. I was trying to avoid annoying you with the double emails coming from my deborahmunroauthor.com website. So this update is just for you, not everyone on my email list.
First off, thank you all so much for your continued support. It means the world to me and gives me the strength to keep going with the editing and revising time and time again. APEX has feedback from two beta readers now, and they agree that it is shaping up into a compelling story that they had trouble putting down. In fact, one of them read the whole thing in a single sitting, which gladdens my heart :).
The next step is to incorporate their feedback, and then it’s back to my editor. The main issue left to resolve is on characterization. I have to flesh out my characters a little more and build their relationship further, but I’m close!
In case you missed some earlier updates from my website account, I am in the process of moving to New Zealand! Yes, it’s true that I’m becoming a Kiwi. I’ll be developing a biomedical engineering program within the mechanical engineering department at a university there. And I depart in two short weeks.
As you can imagine, that means life is chaotic at the moment with work projects, clearing out, packing, selling my house, establishing a home base abroad, and on and on. So, I’ve had to put APEX on hold until I’m settled again, which means the book won’t be in your hands until next year. Sigh...I was really hoping to have it to you sooner. But I hope you’ll find it was worth the wait! :)
Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or reply through Inkshares. I love hearing from you.
Best wishes to you all, and I’ll see you on the flip side of the world!
Hello Dear Readers,
I’m in a second campaign to increase my followers, so if you like dark fantasy (or know someone who does), here’s your chance to win a great collection of Stephen King memorabilia!
Exciting things are happening for APEX! I’ve tweaked the storyboard for my novel slightly to improve the science, and I’m very pleased with this version of the plot. I’ve also rewritten over 36,000 words, and I’m on a roll to finish up the rest of the rewrite soon, hopefully this month.
My first article on how to gain readers on social media is now on my blog. Check it out at https://deborahmunroauthor.com/2017/12/gain-readers-with-social-media/.
In addition, my first interview with avid readers, many of whom are fellow authors, is also available. This one is with Mike Rich, author of Skavenger’s Hunt (available on Inkshares.com and Amazon.com). Mike is the screenwriter for several popular movies, including Finding Forrester, The Rookie, and Cars 3. To read his insights, go to https://deborahmunroauthor.com/2017/12/interviews-with-avid-readers-mike-rich/
Feel free to subscribe to my website or just my blog, and also follow me on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook if so inclined. You’ll be the first to know about new content! :)
Exciting news! My new author website is now live! Check out https://deborahmunroauthor.com to see all the great content.
For the past couple of months, I’ve been working with my web designer, Mary Ann Aschenbrenner of Waterlink Web to create a fabulous new website to promote my book, tell you more about me as a person, share my other publications, provide interesting and meaningful content on how to use social media for marketing, discuss science related to APEX (https://www.inkshares.com/books/apex), and provide a portal to connect with me on various social media platforms.
Sorry it’s been awhile since my last update! To be honest, I haven’t been able to write for the past week. Up until that point, however, I was able to rework about 22,000 words, I interviewed eleven kind volunteers about their reading habits and engagement with social media, and I got my web designer (Mary Ann Aschenbrenner of WaterlinkWeb.com) started on my author page. So, progress is being made!
I expect my website, Instagram, Twitter, blog, and Facebook pages will all launch in a couple to three weeks. I also intend to compile my research on how to build an effective social media presence into an interesting and informative article so that other authors can use it to increase exposure for their creative work. Many, many thanks to my volunteers! I gathered so many valuable insights into effective marketing from you, both what works and what doesn’t. I’m now motivated to implement my ideas and see how it goes.
This week, I’m traveling for work, but my evenings are free, so I hope to get back into writing and prepare some content for my social media presence, write my research article, and finish up APEX. Next month is NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month for those unfamiliar), and I’d like to use it for launching a new piece of writing, but if I need to use it to finish up APEX, so be it. It’s all good.
Cheers and stay tuned! Big things are underway!
Ready, set, GO! I have the green light to proceed with rewriting the manuscript. It’s taken a few storyboard drafts, wrong turns, and vision corrections, but we finally have a version of the story that both Inkshares and I are excited about. I think you’ll all love it, too. I was travelling for business the past week and a half, but now that I’m back at home, I can’t wait to get started.
Of course, there’s still much to do. I don’t have an estimate on how long it will take to rewrite the manuscript, as I intend to do much of it from scratch using all the great new story telling skills I’ve acquired, but I’ll have my older manuscript copies open for direct reference. There are about 300 pages and 80,000 words to compose, but I plan to keep at it daily and I hope to do 2000 words per day (40 days and 40 nights…hmm). Once I’m done, I will submit it back to Inkshares for the development edit, and there will be at least one round of edits at that point, maybe more. Then it goes to the copy editor. Then…actually I don’t know what the next steps are after that, but I’ll keep you posted!