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It’s Almost 2017

Can you believe there are only a few more days left of this year? It has been a year that most are wishing would end already. With the number of celebrities that have left this world and many of the worldwide events that have occurred, it is no wonder everyone is anxiously awaiting the new year. A new year means HOPE. It means NEW BEGINNINGS. It means POTENTIAL.

I am looking forward to 2017. I have many projects on the horizon that I cannot wait to share with you.

As some of you know, the long-awaited 4th installment of The Diamond Mini-Series titled Fusion was recently released. It is just as fast-paced and action-packed as Books 1-3, and just as the others, it starts where the last one left off. I am currently working on the 5th and final installment of this series. It will tie up all of the loose ends and reveal many unexpected secrets.

On another note, Nerves of Steel is only days away from its release. YES! You heard right. Nerves of Steel is almost here! It is in the final stages of editing and, as you may know, it has had a cover for a while now. I am aiming for a 2016 release, so cross your fingers and wish me luck!!!

I have set a goal for 2017. I would like to try to release one book every other month for a minimum of 6 books, but that number may increase. As I said before I have many WIPs. I have been working on some of them here and there, so it is only a matter of time before their completion. Book 2 in The Praestes Series and Book 2 in the Woodport Series are two of those books. I also have my NaNoWriMo 2016 novel, Just a Kiss, which is currently being edited and revised.

2017 looks promising.

I truly hope the New Year brings lots of love, happiness, peace, and prosperity to all of you. Leave behind the old. Leave behind 2016. Leave behind any negativity. Look forward to the new. Look forward to 2017. And most of all look forward with positivity.

Happy New Year! Happy 2017!

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Book Signing

RBTS 3

Come join me, along with my fellow authors, in Long Beach, CA. There will be raffles, panels, and books available for purchase. 

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My Lovely Blog ~ Blog Tour

welcome-to-my-blog-tour

Want to find out more about me as an author? Check out the My Lovely Blog ~ Blog Tour at: http://authorjmzuniga.blogspot.com/2015/05/my-lovely-blog-blog-tour.html

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Coming Soon!

As you have probably noticed, I haven’t posted in about a month. The reason has been because I have been busy writing/editing/revising my latest novel. It is Mainstream YA. This novel originally began during the NaNoWriMo challenge, but that was also the month my youngest was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. Needless to say, I backed off of my writing to give 100% of my time and focus to learning how to take care of my daughter’s health and how to plan her meals.

Now, I am happy to say, this latest novel is almost ready for release. I have already sent it off to beta readers. It will still need some last minute tweaks, as well as a cover before I can release it. If you’d like to get an exclusive excerpt of Autumn, sign up for my newsletter on the contact page of my website http://jmzuniga.com and write subscribe in the subject line.
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Book Trailer for Gwyneth

Look at what my best friend Mayra had done for me as a Birthday Gift!
It’s the book trailer for Gwyneth.
A special thank you to Videos by O. for producing such an awesome trailer!
CHECK IT OUT!!!

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Signs It’s Time to Take a Break

Have you ever been sitting there, hammering away at the keyboard, without realizing how much time has passed? I know I have. My ideas begin pouring out of me and I am so focused I don’t even know the sun has set. This can be a good thing and a bad thing. Let me explain.

GOOD: 

-Your word count is off the chart.

-You have advanced on your project more than you have in two months.

-No one has interrupted you.

-Your ideas are flowing.

-Your novel will be done in record time.

BAD:

-You cannot feel your bum or your legs anymore.It’s important to take breaks. Stand up and stretch out your legs. Long periods of sitting without stretching can cause blood clots in the legs which can later travel to your lungs causing a pulmonary embolism. Set a timer to ensure you are getting up and stretching a few times an hour.

-Your eyes are pouring out tears, not from what you are writing, but rather from the strain of looking at the screen for so long. Continual strain can cause headaches, migraines, and many other things. Make sure you look away every now and again to give your eyes a much needed break.

-Your fingers look like little hooks because you can’t straighten them out. Do finger exercises to get the kinks out. My favorite is to move my fingers like my six year old does when she’s counting. Don’t forget the wrists.

-You haven’t gotten up to use the restroom and you have a funny pain in your back that’s not from being hunched over. (Hint: kidneys) Restroom breaks are a MUST! You don’t want to get a urine infection or cause problems with your kidneys. Don’t forget to drink plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated.

-You feel sort of dizzy and think “hmm, the last meal I had was over twelve hours ago”. Two things you can do here. You can keep snacks handy for those times when it’s not break time. Set a timer to get up and stretch and to go make yourself something nutritious to eat. You are depriving your body of sustenance when you don’t eat. You don’t want to pass out!

Although it’s nice to watch that word count rise, it’s also nice to be healthy in order to watch it rise. Take good care of yourself. If you don’t, no one else will.

***DISCLAIMER*** THIS BLOG DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE This site is not designed to and does not provide medical advice, professional diagnosis, opinion, treatment or services to you or to any other individual. This site is for informational purposes only. You assume full responsibility of how you choose to use this information. The information provided in this site is not a substitute for medical or professional care, and you should not use the information in place of a visit, call consultation or the advice of your physician or other healthcare provider. Author J. M. Zuniga is not liable or responsible for any advice, course of treatment, diagnosis or any other information, services or product you obtain through this blog. IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY, YOU SHOULD IMMEDIATELY CALL 911 OR YOUR PHYSICIAN. If you believe you have any other health problem, or if you have any questions regarding your health or a medical condition, you should promptly consult your physician or other healthcare provider. Never disregard medical or professional advice, or delay seeking it, because of something you read on this blog. Never rely on information on this blog in place of seeking professional medical advice. Reliance on any information provided on this blog is solely at your own risk.

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5 Quick Tips for Doing Self Edits

When we are in a writing frenzy, we tend to pound away at the keyboard and not really notice some of the simple mistakes we make. Unless you are a professional typist, you know what I’m talking about. I find that sometimes I transpose letters or I use the wrong form of a word. Sometimes I even omit a word or two. My mind is racing so fast, trying to get my idea down, that I’m sure my fingers are keeping perfect timing on the keyboard, but they’re obviously not. It’s kind of like when you watch Dancing with the Stars and say “Hmm, I can dance like that”. Then you try and you find out you have two left feet. Well, don’t worry. I most certainly am not going to give you tips on dancing. However, I am going to share a few quick tips on what I do to help me find those pesky errors before sending any of my manuscripts off for beta reads.

  1. Set up Word. Do this once and it will be set up for every single time you write. What? you may ask, thinking this is obvious and a no brainer. Or you may be thinking you’re not tech savvy enough. No worries. This is easy. On Word go to the FILES tab at the top and click on it. Click OPTIONS. When the window pops open, click PROOFING. Go down to where it says “When correcting spelling and grammar in word” and click on the SETTINGS button. Now, I have “Grammar Only” checked, but if you want it to check your Style as well, you can do that by switching the setting in the drop down menu. For Grammar, I have all of the boxes checked. It can be a pain in the rear sometimes when Word underlines certain things like “Hidden Verbs”, but it gives me an opportunity to see if I can reword that particular sentence.
  2. Read out loud to someone. Don’t freak out! I know it can be hard to let other people in on your work. I get it. That being said, I know how many errors I have caught by simply reading aloud to someone. I have caught missing words, oddly worded sentences, misused words that Word missed, incomplete words, and an occasional typo.
  3. Give it a rest. Yes. Give it a rest. Set aside your manuscript or whatever you are writing and let it breathe. You have been looking at your writing for so long, your brain automatically knows what you meant to say and where. This means your brain automatically fills in the gaps even if there’s something missing or wrong. Let your work rest for a week or two or even three if you have the time. When you come back to it, you will be looking at it with fresh eyes. In the meantime, you can write something else or read or try to figure out how to conquer the world with your novel.
  4. Read each line slowly and deliberately. This is pretty much self explanatory. When you read slowly and deliberately you focus on the content and can see where things are right or wrong.
  5. Edit and Revise. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Okay, so this step seems like five in one, but it’s necessary. When you edit, you are not only editing for grammar, you are also editing for content and plot. You need to make sure everything flows. If there is an inconsistency, you can be sure a reader will find it. Are your spellings consistent? I have a character named Cyndi in one book and I had her name spelled Cyndi and Cindy. That was not good. Look at the time line on your novel. Does it work? This is an issue with a novel I put out. I felt pressured to put it out and I did so without doing all the editing and revising I could. Guess what? Readers noticed. The book has 4.3 out of 5 stars, but I will return to it one day and make it better. Are you repetitive? Did you use the same word in your paragraph more than twice? I’m not talking about words like “the” and “I”. I’m talking about adjectives, names, and verbs. Adjectives: Describing something the same way twice in a paragraph can be considered lazy. Names: Using someone’s name twice is unnecessary if you are only speaking about him/her and have not inserted another name/person in the paragraph. Verbs: Today, with so many online resources, it is way too easy to find a synonym for your verbs. Don’t overuse verbs. They can be our friends and strengthen our story, or they can be our enemy and tear it apart. If you find a good synonym for a verb, look for examples of its use before you insert it. It is a common mistake for people to pick up a synonym and use it without seeing if it truly works.

Once you have done all of this, and feel comfortable that you have done all you can do, let your beta readers have a go at it. They are your outside eyes and can spot things you will still have missed. Don’t let that be the last of it. Fix anything that needs to be fixed and do another read through for any missed mistakes.

If you decide to hire an editor, do your research. There are plenty of low cost options for Indies, but remember, you get what you paid for. Hiring an editor doesn’t mean you shouldn’t self edit. On the contrary, self edit before submitting. This may help to lower the cost significantly.

I hope this helps if you are having trouble with self editing. Feel free to comment below whether you liked my tips or not. Let me know what tips you have for self editing.

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