Welcome to The Curmudgeon!

With the new year I have decided to do a quick mission statement post to introduce (or reintroduce) people to this blog.

Who am I?

My name is Beth Wagner, I am a comic creator turned editor and publisher. My father, J.P. Wagner, was a writer. He was a published journalist and his first novel was officially published a few months after he died. But his last words to me were to protect his books. Which I took to mean, publish them.

What is this blog?

Basically, this blog is me rambling. But more specifically, it’s me rambling about writing, editing and things that I think my dad thought were cool. I try to write things in a way that I think he would want things to be written on this blog.

I will also write about my thoughts and feelings as I edit his manuscripts. For example, I would write about what I remember going on in our lives at the time he was writing a specific manuscript. Or, if I find something interesting that I think my dad would have liked.

What this blog is not.

This blog is not an indelible shrine to my dad. It is not a solemn, gloomy place and if it ever gets like that, then it’s time for a holiday.

What are my plans for this blog?

My plans for this blog is to entertain you with interesting stories and my unusual process in editing and publishing my dad’s books as well as to inform you when his books are being published.

Happy New Year!

Looking forward to another year of entertaining you;

Beth Wagner

A Process Post

Most editors follow a similar process. Reading through slush piles, reading the manuscript, marking up the manuscript and then waiting for the author to respond.

My process is much different.

I have the slush pile that are my dad’s manuscripts. Some of the manuscripts are submission-ready and just need some fine tune editing while some manuscripts are nothing more than a few notes scribbled down on a scrap piece of paper.

Before I can even begin to edit the manuscript, I have to convert it into a format that I can edit it with. My father used numerous different word processing methods from writing to typewriter to electric typewriter to computer. With the computer he used numerous different programs including WordPerfect and AppleWorks. I’ve had to hack into these files because they don’t directly load into modern software. They first get loaded into a text editor before they get copied and pasted into my final editing program (in this case, I’m using Scrivener).

Then I need to fix all of the formatting errors that crept in due to incompatible fonts and things that the text editor couldn’t read.

Then I mark up the manuscript and then I need to let it rest for a couple of weeks before I do the revisions. I try to think, not about what I would put into the story, but what would my dad write. What did my dad want to say. I’m not going to lie, I have had some one-sided screaming matches while editing the stories. It’s a process.

My final stage is to get crits and beta readers to go over the manuscript for a final review.

The process is a little more like being an archaeologist than an editor but it’s not your average editing process, that’s for sure.

That Occasional Introduction that You Need to Make

So, in the off chance that you are just meeting/landing on this site, let me explain a little bit about myself and what’s going on here.

So, my name is Beth Wagner, I am an editor, writer, comic creator and artist. This website is dedicated to my father and his writing, as well as talking about my journey as I publish the novels that he wasn’t able to in his lifetime.

I not only talk about his writing and announce my progress, I also talk about some of his interests as I remember that also interest me.

I am not him but I want to build the kind of community that he would have been able to build had he lived long enough to do so.

He currently has two novels which have been released to the ebook market. Railroad Rising is his first book and his newest release which is The Search for the Unicorns.

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A Personal Update

As I am editing the final proof for the Amazon print copy of The Search for the Unicorns I’m having a moment to reflect on the author, my dad.

Unlike many publishers, I have an emotional attachment to the author and his work because he was my dad, but not only that. As I read over the manuscripts I remember at what stage in his life he was and where I was.

In 1987, I would have been in grade 6 going into grade 7. I also can’t help but think that the main character Carla, had bits of me in there, no matter how small. It is very much a coming of age story and discovering who you are as a person. This is something that I was beginning to explore at that age. So interesting point there.

Which makes me think about his target audience. Was I his target audience? It wouldn’t be that hard to imagine for me as I grew up hearing him tell me stories, sometimes made up sometimes they were from books. Sometimes the lines blurred. I didn’t realise for the longest time that parents simply didn’t just make up stories to tell their kids so that they would fall asleep.

Which brings me to why I’m self-publishing his books. I’m self-publishing all of his novels that I can, mostly for myself and also for his memory. Is it at all about sales? No, it’s about putting out stories that should be out there on shelves and in homes of people. But even if no one buys a single copy of any of these books, as long as I’ve marketed them and have made them as accessible as possible, I’ll have done what I perceive as my job.

Having said that, there are things that I can do that a traditional publisher wouldn’t and couldn’t do. Like a series of pictures based on scenes from the book and like hand leather-bound limited editions of the book. These are the next projects that I will be working on, along with the next manuscript of course.

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The Search For The Unicorns – The search for the books

So a little update on what’s going on. I am currently uploading things and formatting everything.

Technically, the book is available for Kindle, HOWEVER, it has serious formatting issues and I have to fix them, so I will be doing this in the next few days. So if you happen to see anything, please do not buy anything yet. I am learning the ins and outs of uploading files to Amazon, (which is not at all like uploading comics, let me tell you).

For good the news, I just sent away for proofs for the paperback edition of the book, that’s going to take 2 to 3 weeks (barring any issues in customs) to get to me, then I will be reviewing it, likely crying and then making any last minute adjustments.

On a bright note? I am learning what order I have to do this process in and how long everything takes, which is why this book was my practise book. Not to worry, in a year or so I will go back and fix the silly little mistakes I made here as I will have learned more about editing and publishing .

Thanks for listening! I will keep everyone updated as I work on getting everything set to go.

Trying to Find My Way

Most people would take that title to mean that I am a lost soul. Perhaps I am.

But more immediately, I am trying to get an idea of the world that The Search for the Unicorns is set in. I wanted to be able to describe a bit more of the world in the book to help the readers.

The first thing I have to do is to see if he created a map of this world or if I need to create my own. I know that he kept everything in the story fairly vague which is nice because it allows the reader to imagine themselves in the story more. However, I want to add a little description. Just a little. I also want to know where the characters are going. Are they in a forest? Are they in the mountains? Where are they?!

A quick search tells me that he didn’t create a map for this world. What does that mean for me? It means that I am going to take tonight to create a vague map of the world. I am not a cartographer and my sense of direct is terrible. Here goes nothing

More Inspiration!

This book just came in the mail! For those not familiar with this book it’s essentially the human side of archæology. The stories behind the finds. The Indiana Joneses before he was a thing. I highly recommend it! The best thing is that you can pick it up on Amazon for under a dollar (plus shipping and handling)!

My Late April Update

Drumheller 2016
Random picture taken by blogger and added to post to make the post seem more interesting than it actually is.

 

Yes, I realise that it is almost the last day of May. But this is where I am at. There have been computer problems and comic conventions but now I am getting back to editing. I will try to update more regularly, at the very least there will be a June update and it will be waaaaay more interesting than this!

Late and Great Update

In January I was trying to get back into my work schedule after taking almost a month off in December. I was over-rested. I’ve got my production schedule set up for the year but I need to include this blog as part of all that.

I would love to say that I am almost ready to publish Who Would Destroy the Gods, but I’m hip deep in edits and I am going to do some drastic rewrites. Due to the fact that I don’t have a large audience at the moment (which makes sense as my dad only has the one book published at the moment). I’m going to have to rely on an editor instead of beta readers like I’d hoped.

I will be keeping you all up to date on everything, in addition to that I’m going to tweak this website so stay tuned for some neat surprises coming up this year.