Sing Song Girls

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The self-publishing journal for my third children's mystery novel

Thu, 04 Dec 2003


The books arrived on December 1st, right on schedule. We've been so busy with all the orders, I forgot to put in this last update. So, this is it for Book #3's journal. Stay tuned for the saga of book #4 "Sisters of Shanghai"...


posted by Steve at: 20:04

Wed, 26 Nov 2003

Ten yard line...

Danielle talked to Hignell this morning. The books were being bound and cut! The two sample copies should arrive tomorrow or Friday. A quick check over and then we can call to approve the delivery of the whole lot.

The udpate to the site is almost ready to go live as well. Just have to get postal rates for the new three book set. I figure by this weekend I can make the new pages go live and crank up the marketing machinery...

posted by Steve at: 18:47

Fri, 07 Nov 2003

Proofs are here - Part 2

Stayed up late last night and read through the entire book. While thoroughly enjoyable :) I did find four things that needed changing:

  1. pg 73: exclaimed Vanessa -> cried our Vanessa (used exclaimed in two adjacent sentences)
  2. pg 77: told him he (missed out the he)
  3. pg 110: teh -> the
  4. pg 118: about to leave (missed out the to)
Minor mistakes, but I'm glad I caught them.

Trevor has already added the bleeds to the cover so I've signed everything and it will be sent back to Hignell this morning

Next stop: two actual copies of the book as the final proof before delivery!!!

posted by Steve at: 09:24

Thu, 06 Nov 2003

Proofs are here...

The blue line of the manuscript and the proof of the cover arrived this morning! Trevor has to add some bleeding to the front cover and top of the spine; so far the manuscript looks good. Now that the girls are in bed I'm going to give it a thorough going over.

We're just humming along now...

posted by Steve at: 20:07

Sun, 26 Oct 2003


Last night, Trevor finished the cover and I read through the manuscript for one final check (found two small errors and re-worded a couple of sentences). Everything is being sent off to the printers tomorrow. It's done, complete, finis. Let there be dancing in the streets...

Back to reality... I started on book #4 Sisters of Shanghai today. I have an outline and the first couple of paragraphs. No rest for the weary... :)

posted by Steve at: 20:01

Wed, 22 Oct 2003

Version 0.6

The manuscript is done! I've updated the web site with the final version of the first chapter and Trevor has the text for the back cover. Speaking of which, all I need now is the cover and it's off to the printers - probably early next week now :(

Hey, I guess it's almost time to get cracking on book #4 Sisters of Shanghai...

posted by Steve at: 21:47

Fri, 17 Oct 2003

Version 0.5

Version 0.5 is now with Tracey. We're this || close to the final deal. It really came together fast this time -- having hard and fast deadlines is a pretty good incentive...

Trevor sent me the rough sketch of the front cover. It's going to be awesome! I'm hoping he's madly painting away as I write this. I'll post an image as soon as it's done.

The first 'outsider' has a copy of the manuscript. I had promised a neighbour, William, dibs on the cover quote. I went to visit last night (during a torrential downpour no less) and he was so enthused he immediately started to read the book. This is where I find out if the quality is maintained or I was just a two book wonder...

The end of next week is my goal for everything being ready to be sent off to Hignell. Cross your fingers for us!

posted by Steve at: 12:28

Fri, 03 Oct 2003

Version 0.4

I just left version 0.4 with Tracey. It incorporates all of her edits, plus it's the first version laid out in Quark so that it looks like the final book. It's pretty exciting when I get to this stage!

I'm going to have Danielle, Tracey and myself do a parallel edit this time around to try and speed up the process. I'm still hoping to meet a middle of the month deadline for getting the book to Hignell.

Speaking of which... got to get a quote from Hignell for doing the print run...

posted by Steve at: 14:37

Mon, 29 Sep 2003

I spoke too soon...

Tracey just dropped of the Sing Song Girls manuscript. There are entire sections without anything marked up -- yippee, convergence is happening! Several rough spots to re-work and a bunch of minor changes, but it shouldn't take me too long to turn it around for edit #4.

I'm also working on a map of Mayne Island to go inside the book... and almost forgot, but I've written out the outline for the first twelve chapters of book #4 Sisters of Shanghai. I need to get going on it before the year is over with (I'd originally hoped to publish one book a year, but so far it's every 14 months).

posted by Steve at: 09:10

Word on the Street (WOTS)

Trevor and I shared a table at WOTS yesterday. I sold more books than I did last year and met a lot of great people. It was one of the nicest end-of-September days that I can recall and there was a steady stream of people right up until the end of the day. We will definitely be doing it again next year!

Re: Sing Song Girls: I'm in wait mode now -- waiting for Trevor to complete the cover; waiting for Tracey to finish the second round of editing. I would have liked to be about two weeks closer than I am, but it should still be do-able for Christmas...

Re: The French translation of Bullets on the Bund. We've got the manuscript with Danielle's aunt. She found two of the more blatant errors in the first edition of the English version.

posted by Steve at: 07:47

Mon, 15 Sep 2003

Layout... and other progress

Version 0.3 is now with Tracey for the next round of editing. I've begun to layout this latest version in Quarkxpress -- in fact, from here on in, the working copy will remain in Quark.

Danielle's almost done with her revisions to the French translation of Bullets on the Bund. Two copies will be sent out to our "team" of reviewers. I'm thinking that a realistic target is early Spring 2004 for printing the translated copies.

I'm meeting with Trevor this week to finalize the cover design.

posted by Steve at: 15:40

Thu, 28 Aug 2003

Getting There...

Tracey just handed me her first set of revisions plus a bunch of interesting ideas to mull over. I really want to give Danielle version 0.3 before she leaves to visit her dad next week. Lot's of work to do this long weekend...

Also noteworthy... Danielle finished the first draft of the French translation of Bullets in the Bund today! She's going to review it and then take a copy with her to St. Boniface. We're hoping that either her uncle or one of his sons (who are professional translators) will be able to read it through and verify the translation.

How many self-publishers have their books in more than one language? I bet it's not many!

Almost forgot the best news: Jane Brown, MSW and a highly respected adoption professional has kindly provided a forward for Sing Song Girls. It's very touching!

posted by Steve at: 12:30

Fri, 15 Aug 2003

Version 0.2 in the bag

I finished Danielle's recommended changes yesterday. The new improved Version 0.2 will be going to Tracy and Danielle today.

Note to any writers: MS Word is absolutely terrible when it comes to grammer checking a document. This machine (Sony Viao) came with Word Perfect and it has an amazing grammar checker. It picked up all sorts of little mistakes that MS Word had missed (I discovered this while looking for errors in "Bullets on the Bund" for its second printing).

While my editors are red-penciling away I'm going to begin the layout of Sing Song Girls in QuarkXpress...

posted by Steve at: 06:40

Wed, 06 Aug 2003

I'm done!

Wow, 29,149 words and just over 13 months later and the first complete version of the manuscript is done. What a relief. Right on schedule too for December publication.

Now I can fully relax and enjoy the NACAC conference this weekend.

posted by Steve at: 13:20

Mon, 04 Aug 2003

12 down, 10 to go...

I've just finished going through the first twelve chapters of Sing-Song Girl (note new title). This is the first edit pass -- I fill in the missing bits, make corrections and smooth out the flow. The goal of this first pass is to give Danielle (my wife) a decent enough draft of the manuscript that she can pull out the red pen and go to town. The result of that edit will then go to Tracey and we're on our way...

I should be done by Wednesday. I'm attending the North American Council on Adoptable Children (NACAC) conference and won't have time if I'm not finished.

posted by Steve at: 21:09

Thu, 31 Jul 2003

Sample Chapter On-line

I've just added chapter one as a link off of the home page. Note: This is still a draft of the chapter and the content may change. I like to get the teaser chapter up early to begin generating interest in the new book!

posted by Steve at: 08:07

Tue, 29 Jul 2003

2nd printing has arrived

The second printing of Bullets on the Bund (BOTB) arrived yesterday! I've updated the site to reflect the new pricing.

Danielle is working hard on the French translation of BOTB. I did a machine translation using IBM's software and now she's cleaning up some of the hilariously funny translations.

Also filled out a form on the site yesterday. Sent them a show idea featuring, who else: me, the books and the girls.

The first draft of Sing Song Girls is this | | close. Couple more days and we switch into editing mode (my books are roughly 1/3rd research, 1/3rd writing, and 1/3rd editing)

posted by Steve at: 07:26

Fri, 25 Jul 2003

Almost done with the first draft of the manuscript...

The first draft of "Sing Song Girls" is on track for the end of this month. My schedule to have the book published in time for Christmas looks like this:

  1. June, 2003 -- Complete outline
  2. July, 2003 -- Complete first draft; meet with Trevor Lai to kick off the illustration of the cover
  3. Aug/Sept, 2003 -- Editing process first with Danielle and then also with Tracey; draft of cover
  4. Oct/Nov, 2003 -- Cover artwork and manuscript to Hignell
  5. December, 2003 -- books ready four sale!

I started on June 20th, 2002. It's been a bit slower this time. Mostly due to a lack of time; the girls growing up and an pending major reno to our house.

We should receive the second edition of "Bullets on the Bund" next Monday. Amazing to think we're into our second print run already. "The Emperor's Pendant" is also selling well and we should be reprinting it by next summer!

posted by Steve at: 09:38

ISBN Number

It's hard to believe, but the ISBN number for Sing Song Girls (0-9688198-2-6) arrived this morning. Now that's service!

posted by Steve at: 08:12

Thu, 24 Jul 2003

Sent for my ISBN number
Filled in the form at to get an ISBN number for Sing Song Girls. It was pretty quick last time.

posted by Steve at: 15:07