Thursday, January 28, 2016

My (not so) Secret Identity

Several people have asked why I have two names as an author. There are many reasons, but I think I can explain it best if I ask you to imagine each of my writing personae as two very different people.

Wende Dikec is my real name. As an author, she is appropriate for all audiences. The kind of person your mother would love and you would trust to babysit your kids. She doesn’t swear. She isn’t inappropriate. Her books are light and funny, but with some sad moments and a powerful message, too.

Abigail Drake is my pen name. Abigail is more of a drinking buddy, the person who is a lot of fun, but not necessarily someone you want your kids to hang out with until they get a little older. She can be a inappropriate at times. Not “Fifty Shades” inappropriate, but her books do have sexual content and they are really best for an older audience. Although Abigail’s debut novel is rated “PG 13 – spicy, sexy”, I personally would not want a 13 year old to read her books. An 18 year old would be fine, and possibly even a 17 year old (although my middle son is 17 and I can’t imagine him ever reading them).

I have teenagers. I teach writing to children. I want to be as careful as possible not to expose anyone to Abigail Drake until they are ready.  I don’t hide the fact that I’m both Wende and Abigail, but I wouldn’t want someone to pick up one of Abigail’s books and think it might be similar to Wende’s.

That's why I have two separate websites.  Abigail's website has a link to Wende's website, but not vice-versa. I have two of everything now - including Facebook pages, email addresses, and even Pinterest accounts. It can be a pain, and I feel like one of my personalities is sometimes neglected, but it works better this way.

And now I have to worry about giving each of my personalities equal love and attention. Geesh. You can see exactly how ridiculous this can be sometimes.

The easiest way to sum it up is to say my mother reads all of my Wende Dikec books, but so far I’ve kept her away from Abigail. There are some things she really doesn’t want to know, but soon I'll have no control over it. TRAVELLER will be released on February 26, 2016, and my mom has her own Amazon account. She can buy whatever she wants, so it’s out of my hands. I guess I’m doomed.

Can you still be grounded if you’re over forty? Wende is an angel, but Abigail might get a time out.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Questions for my Editor

I was lucky enough to have the wonderful Vicky Burkholder edit two of my books, TIGER LILY (which comes out on January 13, 2016) and STARR VALENTINE (which will be released in March of 2016). She’s an absolute pleasure to work with, but I couldn’t help being a bit curious. How does a writer become an editor? It seems like wearing two very different hats. Vicky was kind enough to answer several of my questions.

1.     How did you become an editor?

I've always been good with grammar, I guess. So when a writing friend asked me to look over her manuscript (a very long time ago!), I did. She was an editor with a now-gone publisher and recommended me for an opening they had and the rest, as they say, is history. Over they years, I've done novels (in every genre you can think of), policy and procedures manuals for businesses and organizations, college-level textbooks in several subjects and more.

2.    What do you like most about your job?

I like being able to help authors hone their work to its best. Plus, I get such a variety of things to work on from fiction to non-fiction and every genre and subject you can think of. It's all good. :)

3.    Does being an editor affect your own writing?

Unfortunately, yes, but in both good ways and bad. The good is that I rarely turn in a manuscript that needs a lot of work. The bad is that by the end of a day spent fine-tuning another author's work, I'm often too brain dead to work on my own. So it has slowed down my productivity.

4.    What is your pet peeve?

In editing? Authors who think they're too good to learn the basics. Yes, everyone makes mistakes. But if your editor tells you a dozen times that you need to learn the difference between there, their, and they're - you really should learn the difference.

5.    What was the best piece of writing advice you ever had?

Grow a thick skin. This is not a business for those who are weak of spirit. You get a lot of rejection and negativity and you need to be able to take it. Yes, you can wallow for a day or two, but you can't let the negatives get to you. You have to keep going. I know a lot of authors who made it... on the next book. The one after the one they got dissed on. You may never get published even if you keep writing, but if you stop, you certainly won't be published.

More about Vicky:

Vicky Burkholder resides in Pennsylvania near the area where her ancestors settled in 1741. She lives in a three-generation home and is lucky enough to have two other writers in residence. At various times in her life, she has been a journalist, writer, editor, teacher, short-order cook, computer specialist, DJ, and librarian. Her writing spans the fantasy, science fiction, paranormal and romance lines from YA to adult. No matter the age or genre, all of her books have a touch of romance in them and have to have a happily ever after ending. In addition to writing her own books, she currently edits for two publishers as well as private clients.

More about TIGER LILY:

Lily Madison thought dying because of a bad manicure was the worst thing that could happen. She was wrong.

Waking up in the hospital and realizing she’s being stalked by an entire herd of naughty little ghosts turns her entire world upside down. She begins to doubt her own sanity until she realizes she isn’t alone. A Goth girl named Zoe can see the ghosts, too.

Most of the ghosts look like fuzzy blobs, but one is not blobby at all. He’s a very hot, very annoying dead guy named Nick. Although they dislike each other on sight, Nick soon realizes Lily is his only hope. With the help of Zoe and Mr. Wan, the manicurist who almost killed her, she has only days to get Nick and the other ghosts back where they belong or the whole world will be in terrible danger.

But sending the ghosts back means saying goodbye to Nick forever, and Lily isn’t sure she’ll ever be able to let him go.

TIGER LILY comes out January 13, 2016, and is available on  Amazon and on Kobo.