Meet Luna Dukes- Star of Finding Esta: PLUS ROW80 4/1 Update


Hope you like the design and feel comfortable being here. Your feedback is crucial and valued as always.

2012 Resolutions and Meeting Luna.

I am sad to see 2011 go. It bought with it like an embossed gift, my very first NaNoWriMo, which I completed. I am a winner – Hurrah. Oh, the sense of joy. This alone taught me several lessons, which I hope will resonate with you, if not help you….


* Make some kind of plan before beginning to write. This can be followed meticulously, or more often serves as a structure upon which to hang plots and character information. It was incredibly valuable to do this for myself, though I realise some authors prefer to run naked into the flame, so to speak. I did this with my first book, and got burned. Ouch! So from now on, its caution and plans life for me. :)

* Do not revise your writing as you go. I did so with my first novel, which remains incomplete as a result. The never-ending cycle of revision broke down my creativity and ended the enjoyment and flow of the writing process. This was my reason for participating in NaNoWriMo, which broke that dastardly habit and tossed it to the curb. Again, some of you work better revising throughout the writing process. Good for you.   Knowing how our minds work is, I think, part of the learning curve of newbie writers. We don’t know how we write till we try and fail at least once. I failed, I learned, I moved on.
* Read all about other authors journey’s and learn from their mistakes. I learn a lot from following author blogs and from hosting authors on a regular basis. Assuming you can go it alone, learn it all in an isolated existence is not only inaccurate, it’s bordering on arrogant. Only a fool thinks he knows everything, whereas I am wise and know very little :)

2012 Writing Resolutions: ROW80


I’m also beginning the year with a little hesitancy, but also excitement. I have set myself a set of deadlines regarding my writing.


* I will have my completed manuscript of Finding Esta to the first round of beta-readers by Feb/March
* I will have the the revised edition to the editors March/April.
* I will have the revised, revised edition to the second round of beta-readers by May/June (allowing for editors turnaround time)
* I will publish my first book: Finding Esta – the first in The Supes Series, by the end of June/July.

For ROW80 (added later)

  1. By 26th Jan: Finish applying fabulous story plan to disordered manuscript, adding word-count and various scenes previously outlined.
  2. According to how many already added, may require 3000k per day for a week to take it up to min 75’000 Think NaNo!!
  3. By 2nd Feb have a complete first draft, begin line-by-line edit.
  4. Email all beta readers to check if still available and assign each a round. Round one is to begin 1st March. Book them for this day.
  5. Save as PDF, format – user friendly.
  6. 1st March: Send off first draft to 1st round beta readers along with instructions. Pray they love it and give lots of great feedback. :)
  7. Hopefully, by 22nd March I will have received those back and can begin on the revisions. If not, chase them up. This is also the end of the first round of ROW80. Sign up to the second round.


I’ve never set myself writing deadlines before, outside of fun writing challenges for forums/writing sites. Nano was the first really big deadline and it worked well for me. In the not too distant past I’d have  felt too pressured and caved in, or set myself up to fail. Now, I’m much more driven to get to the completion stage in an organised fashion.I’m not saying I’ve suddenly grown a pair (blush) but that the indie revolution in the publishing industry has made me think, “I can do that.” It’s a great feeling to know I will be entirely in charge of my writing career. It will work or not because of me. Not an agent or publisher. Me. Oh, and my beta-readers and a bloody good editor too, of course. 😛  Another thing I’ve decided is that I will take pride in my work, respect the reader, and provide a decent product. This past year I’ve read too many books which had potential, but failed to thrive because of cutting corners. I really can’t let myself down like that. It simply isn’t worth it.

The Book Cover

I’m undecided regarding the front cover. I’ve played about with designing my own and have had some reasonable results. I’d prefer a pro of course, but money doesn’t grow from the print of my finger-tips! An editor will cost all I have reserved as is, so I will have to do all the publishing/marketing myself too. Many others have had to do the same and done it well. It’s daunting, but it will be worth it.

Meet My Main Character

This is Luna (this picture was updated July 2012)

(check out The Supes Series page under My Writing for the latest updates)

Luna is a friend of mine after our long-enduring relationship together, on the page and in my mind. Here’s a bit about the book: Finding Esta – The Supes Series I. Luna has had a pretty hard time growing up and her greatest yearning is for her parents love. She has a few ‘problems’ or oddities which have meant she has lived in the shade with her Shadow friends for all of her twenty-three years. Isolated from physical intimacy, she dreams of being kissed, of being thought of as special for good reasons, not only bad. A recently qualified journalist, working at her local rag in Yorkshire, she hopes that one day she might make her parents proud by writing an award-winning story. How she longs for their approval. Then, the lead to an unsolved and tragic story oddly drops into her lap. She knows she just has to track down the truth of Esta, a kidnapped child taken over twenty years prior from her parents and brother, before they were burned alive in their home. Stranger still: None of their bodies were ever found.

Luna believes that however painful, she must use her psychic touch (psychometry) and powerful empathy to find clues unseen by previous investigators in the hopes of closing the case, triumphantly. Little does she know what she is about to find at the scene of this awful crime…

What do you think of my Luna? What about the blurb? If you would like to be a beta reader, do let me know. :)
What do you think of my Luna? What about the blurb? If you would like to be a beta reader, do let me know. :)

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  1. says

    Congratulations again on completing NaNo, Shah – it's such a sense of achievement! I completely agree with you about the need not to revise as you go along. It's all too easy to get bogged down and forget the enthusiasm you had about writing the story when you began. That's what's really liberating about NaNo, I think – it pushes you to just get the words down on the page by hook or by crook.

    Kate x

  2. says

    Hey Kate – First commentor !! Yes, thats why I had a go at nano and I'm so glad I did. I'll definitely do it again this year. I think it takes a while to know your writers identity – I started late – at least long fiction writing – and it takes a while to learn the ropes as well as ones own needs and patterns. I charged straight in with book one, but after around 40'000 words on disordered junk I realised it needed a bloody good edit and somewhere in there I got lost. As did the plot and characters. Nano rescued me and my story. I will get it published this year if it kills me – and it probably will :)

  3. says

    Glad to see another writer's blog! I look forward to reading your posts. I have done NaNo for the past two years, and it is hands down the best way to stop self-editing and focus on the creative process. Now if I could only carry that intensity through to the other eleven months of the year!

  4. says

    Thanks everyone for welcoming my humble authors blog :) Misha – I like the sound of that – let me know when and what you have in mind.

    Brandon – I'm sure you'll see the FB/Tweet/Blog postings about the publication of my book when it happens 😀 X

  5. says

    This sounds so great! I'd love to be a Beta reader for you. And I'd love to do an interview with you on BIB. Let me know when you're ready. I'll post this on my WOW this coming Wednesday!


  6. says

    Welcome to #ROW80! This is a grand way to start YOUR writing adventures as an all-year-round growth experience. Brava for you.

    I love how you say you have a "relationship" with Luna. I can so relate with that!

    Delighted to Meet You…

    Another ROW80er….JJS

  7. says

    I think it looks fabulous. Isn't it nice to have a little corner of the blogosphere that says "Author" all official like in the title?

    Will you be transferring the Storyteller over here too?

  8. says

    Hugs Heather – Thanks for your support as always :)

    Ramona – Thanks for stopping by – and I realise I'm spreading myself thin with three blogs to run ALONE, but one is a static gallery for peeps to view my pics and possibly sign up to have me work on theirs, I pop a post on now and then, but I don't require comments or followers so its far less work. WordsinSync is a problem. Its become tired and cluttered. I'm thinking of moving everything to here, but I don't want to lose all I built up there. I'll see. :)

    Julie – so pleased to see I've made a POW80 friend :) I'll pop by your blog in a bit to formerly say hi :)

    SAM: It feels a little fraudulent at worst, premature at best. But yes, having my name connected the Author' title is – FAB! :) Storyteller – you know I hadn't thought of bringing it over here but I will keep it in mind. I wasn't going to bother this blog with the thankless job of running blog hops/linkys. For some they are a great draw. I'm not so good at them it seems. :( We'll see.

    Phew – So chuffed to have you all stop by – Come again X

  9. says

    This is a very helpful and informative blog! Thank you for sharing so much of yourself and your journey to be a published author with us. I am like you and yearn to learn as much as I can from others. I can tell this will be a great resource. I love your writing resolutions! You are very inspiring!

  10. says

    Hopped over from Story Dam. Congrats on completing NaNoWriMo. I'm hoping to do that too once I have my two WIP out of the way. :) I'll try and follow your tips then. Nice meeting you!!

  11. says

    Hi there! Visiting from StoryDam. (Briefly visiting. Sick kid=sporadic computer time). It does seem like you have good organization regarding your writing. I won't wish you 'luck' as I think that would sound like I thought you would need luck to achieve the goals you've set for yourself. Rather, I think you are heading down the right path, and I'll hope you are able to stay where you need to be to keep the writing coming.

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