Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Justin Hayward -- Wind of Heaven Tour

I spent an enchanted evening on Valentine's Day, attending Justin Hayward's "Wind of Heaven Tour," at the Lexington Opera House.

Hayward, along with virtuoso guitarist Mike Dawes and multi-talented keyboardist/background singer Julie Ragins, performed 14 songs, a mix of Hayward's solo efforts and  Moody Blues' standards. 
Justin Hayward


Hayward, who turned 70 last October, delivered heartfelt and emotional ballads as well as a few uptempo tunes from his vast catalog of music. I'm not sure his voice has improved with age (he was at the top of his game during the Moodies' core seven era from 1967-72), but there is still the sincerity and honesty in his voice that has connected with music lovers for more than a half-century. 




Mike Dawes, Justin Hayward and Julie Ragins
Appropriately, Hayward opened with "Tuesday Afternoon" and closed with the timeless "Nights in White Satin," followed by an encore "I Know You're Out There Somewhere," to an appreciative audience of 800 or so fans.

Among the other songs were "The Best Is Yet to Come," "One Day, Someday," "In Your Blue Eyes," and "Forever Autumn."

Mike Dawes
The concert started with Dawes playing several awe-inspiring instrumentals before Hayward took the stage. Dawes certainly has to rank as one of the best guitarists with what he can do with the instrument. 

This marked the first time I've seen Hayward without his MB mates. I've seen the Moodies nine times, dating back to 1971 in Kansas City. I've never been disappointed.


This year is the 50th anniversary of the Moodies' groundbreaking "Days of Future Passed" album,  which the group is commemorating with a tour this summer.

Until the next time. . .

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Progress Report -- Manuscript Completed

My work in progress is a completed manuscript. It's now in the hands of my editor.

Since my last post, the manuscript went through two more reviews involving editing, spell check, minor rewrites, and proofreads. The word count is 93,300.

It also has a working title, but please forgive me for not disclosing it right now. Throughout the process, beginning with the first draft, I tried to come up with a title to reflect the story. It's funny how one can write more than 93k words and have difficulty coming up with four or five for a title.

As I've mentioned, in numerous posts, the novel is a sequel to "Old Ways and New Days." In a few weeks, I plan to start on the third book in the series. It's contemporary mainstream, under the Boomer Lit genre.

But for right now, I plan to take a short breather (taking in a Justin Hayward concert tonight), and then be ready to work with my editor and publisher on various and sundry items to turn the words into a published book.

Until the next time. . .

 

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Progress Report -- Sixth Draft Completed

I thought I would be completed with my manuscript by now.  My first self-imposed deadline was December 31. Then January 31. Now it's February 9 and I'm still not finished. But almost.

If everything goes as planned, I'll send the novel-to-be off to my editor this weekend.

Despite slashing paragraphs, sentences, and words, the manuscript has grown to 93.5K words. Perhaps I can whittle away some when I go over it one more time.

As I do with every draft, I wrote down the problem areas that need to be addressed. I even highlighted the passages in red as well as the page numbers so I won't have to spend an inordinate amount of time finding them.

I am closer to a title. Actually, I have three possibilities. I consider that progress as well as I've been stumped on coming up with those important words to reflect the story as well as entice the reader.

That's it for now.

Until the next time. . . 

 

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Progress Report -- Fifth Draft Completed

It's Groundhog Day in the United States, and I've completed the fifth draft of my boomer lit manuscript.

This is not Punxsutawney Phil
I'm not sure what the connection is, other than Punxsutawney Phil didn't see his shadow, predicting six more weeks of winter, while I see daylight for my work in progress. It's not going to take me another 42 days before I hand over my novel-to-be to my editor. It will be more like six days, if not sooner.

Despite trimming scenes, eliminating a couple subplots, fixing typos, correcting grammar, tightening dialogue, and a few other things, the manuscript increased to 92,301 words, about 360 more than after the fourth draft. 

As noted in my last post, I printed the manuscript so I could give it a more in-depth read. I gave my red pen a good workout. And, quite frankly, I'm tired of looking at it with a critical eye. It's about time to move on with it.

I'll go over the manuscript one more time, including another spell check, before I release it into the hands of my smart and savvy editor. She'll find some things, a few I simply overlooked, because I'm reading into passages what my brain tells me is there but really isn't. That's another reason you need a pair of fresh eyes—preferably on someone else's head. 

Until the next time . . .


Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Progress Report -- Fourth Draft Completed

I've finished the fourth draft of my work in progress. I believe my self-imposed deadline of Jan. 31 is an achievable goal. 

The manuscript is nearly 92,000 words; an increase of about 5k after the third draft. Will it continue to grow? Possibly, but my focus in the fifth rewrite will be to trim excess narrative and dialogue, remove pointless subplots, correct typos, fix grammatical mistakes, and rewrite anything that hinders the flow of the story.

The first thing I did, after completing the latest draft, was to print it. Coming from a background in the news business, I like marking up hard copy (preferably with a red pen) and being able to physically flip pages, rather than going back and forth with pages on a computer screen, while editing. I sometimes lose a sense of direction on the computer, especially after several rewrites.

If things go well, and I'm crossing my fingers, I'll have two more reads on the copy before sending it to my editor.  

And if not, I'll continue to work on the manuscript until I'm completely satisfied that it's ready for an  editor's eyes. 

Until the next time. . . 

 

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Exercising Constitutional Rights

I'm somewhat amazed, perhaps a bit befuddled, by those who have a problem with people protesting the election of Donald Trump as president. 

It's especially disheartening when it comes from bona  fide journalists who seem to believe that folks should simply accept the outcome of the election and move on with their lives. 
However, I'm not surprised by the outrage of "fake" news journalists who try to put a negative spin on anything that doesn't align with their extremist agenda.

U.S. citizens need to remember, or realize, that protest is one of our First Amendment rights, one that should be cherished—along with freedom of religion, speech, and the press. For those who haven't read it since high school, here's what it states:


"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Whether it's the Women's March on Washington this weekend, Martin Luther King Jr.'s Civil Rights March on Washington in 1963, Occupy Wall Street, Tea Party protests, anti-Vietnam War protests in 1960s, women's suffrage marches in the early 1920s,and others (labor, environment, human and animal rights, and more), shouldn't we accept and respect these fundamental exercises in democracy?

They are simply letting their voices be heard, rather than remaining silent and letting things run their course. It sure beats apathy, and later, regret, for not speaking out.

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." — Martin Luther King Jr.


Until the next time. . .




 


Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Progress Report -- Third Draft Completed

I've now completed three drafts of my manuscript. Please hold the applause because I'm only about halfway through the process of turning a story into a published novel.

The third rewrite added about 7,000 more words, bringing the total to about 87k. The first draft had about 70k words.  It grew because I've been filling in gaps and holes. As I've posted before (as well as countless other authors), the idea is to get your story down in the first draft, warts and all, then go back and clean and fix it up.


I'll be starting on the fourth draft a couple hours after I post this to my blog (and eat breakfast, play with the doggies, do a few chores, etc.). I can see the manuscript grow another 3k if scenes need to be expanded. I may even add more subplots and backstory along the way.

Or it could have fewer words after going through the chapters if I find passages that should be deleted or rewritten. Dialogue will also be scrutinized.


During the last rewrite, I took copious notes to help me navigate through the manuscript. I also made revisions and edits along the way. It's a time-consuming process but something that has to be done--by the writer.

My hope to is go over the manuscript one more time, followed by a deep read to make sure it flows (and makes sense), and then forward it to my editor, by the end of this month, for her edits and comments.


Until the next time. . .