Author name: Marcelle Dubé / The Tuxedoed Man
*Please tell us about your publications. I’ve written and published many short stories, much to my surprise. I always thought of myself as primarily a novelist, but in recent years, I’ve written more and more short stories, sometimes at the request of a publisher or to meet a thematic need, but more often because an idea got caught in my head and wouldn’t shake loose until I wrote it down.
My novels range from fantasy to mystery to modern gothic to “women’s thrillers.” I find that no matter the flavour of the novel, most of my stories end up with a mystery at their heart. For instance, Backli’s Ford features an alien species trying to fit in on earth, but really the story is a murder mystery at the heart of a greater conspiracy. Then the Mendenhall Mysteries (including The Tuxedoed Man) are straightforward mysteries
Are you a ‘pantser’ or a ‘plotter’? Definitely a pantser. I’ve tried many techniques for writing novels and learned that plotting is not for me. I’ve written beautiful plot outlines and never wrote the novels because I didn’t see the point. I’d already written the story. As a pantser, I never really know what’s going to happen next, and that keeps me on my toes. Of course, it also means a lot of backtracking to take a different path.
What are your views on authors commenting on reviews? Don’t do it. Step away from the keyboard. Don’t freak out the reviewers. They’re entitled to their opinions, whether they love your story, or hate it.
How do you deal with bad reviews? ::big sigh:: Every time I see a bad review, I have to go find my big girl panties and put them on. Then I get over it.
Sort these into order of importance:
- Great characters
Character is all. Period.
- Good plot
A close second to great characters. You need great characters, in a good story.
- Awesome world-building
Setting matters. Your reader has to be able to see, smell and hear the setting, whether it’s a house in a Canadian suburb or a generation ship heading for a new planet.
- Technically perfect:
Well, what the heck is that? I’ve never seen it and doubt I’ll ever achieve it. As long as I write a good story that resonates with my readers, I’m happy.
How much research do you do for your work? What’s the wildest subject you’ve looked at? I don’t really like to research but I am driven by insecurity. When I wrote Ghosts of Morocco, I did a *ton* of research. I’d never been there, was unfamiliar with the geography, politics, culture, languages… I have no idea why I set half the story there, but that’s where it had to be, so I researched.
The wildest subject I’ve looked at? To date, artificial bovine insemination. You wouldn’t believe how they go about it…
What’s the best piece best advice you’ve received about writing/publishing? Apply seat of pants to seat of chair. As in, don’t wait for “inspiration.” Write every day and exercise that writing muscle.
What is your writing space like? I have a ridiculously large bedroom, so I use a corner of it for my writing space. I use a long, narrow table and prop my laptop up on the Canadian Encyclopedia. On the wall in front of me are small cork boards with various cards, sayings and photos that inspire me. From the vantage of my writing chair, I can see the roofs of the houses across the way, and above them, Haeckel Hill and its windmills.
Tell us about your latest piece? I’ve just published The Forsaken Man, the fifth in my Mendenhall Mystery series featuring Chief of Police Kate Williams and her intrepid band of constables. I’m not really sure how I ended up with a series. It started with The Shoeless Kidand I found that I really liked the characters of the small police detachment in Mendenhall, Manitoba. Technically, the series is a police procedural, but it is very much character driven and feels “cozy.”
What’s your next writing adventure? Right now, I’m working on my second A’lle Chronicles mystery. The first one, Backli’s Ford, introduced the reader to Constance A’lle:
In the early 1700s, an A’lle generation ship crashed in the woods of Lower Canada. Survivors stumbled out of the wreckage to find French settlers working the land. While many of the colonists sheltered the injured A’lle, some reacted with fear and loathing. Two centuries later, nothing much has changed.
This is the world Constance, first A’lle investigator for Lower Canada, must deal with when she investigates the beating death of an A’lle boy in the small village of Backli’s Ford.
Set in 1911, Backli’s Ford follows Constance as she survives an ambush that would have killed a human, fights prejudice in the constabulary, and discovers a terrible secret that risks destroying the delicate balance that has endured for two centuries between A’lle and humans.
The second book, tentatively titled Plague, follows Constance and her sister Gemma as they work to discover who is murdering A’lle, and try to prevent a smallpox epidemic.
What is the last book you’ve read? Glass Houses, by Louise Penny—one of my favourite mystery writers. Right now, I’m halfway through Wolf Winter by Cecilia Ekbäck and while I’m getting a little freaked out, I can’t seem to put it down…
Are indie/self-published authors viewed with scepticism or wariness by readers? Why is this? I don’t think readers care if an author is indie published or traditionally published. As long as the cover is well designed and the story well written and well edited, why should they? Nobody buys their books based on who the publisher is. At least, I don’t.
Marcelle Dubé grew up near Montreal. After trying out a number of different provinces—not to mention Belgium—she settled in the Yukon, where people still outnumber carnivores, but not by much. Her novels are published by Falcon Ridge Publishing and Carina Press, and her short fiction has appeared in a number of magazines and anthologies. Learn more about her and her published work at http://www.marcellemdube.com.
The Tuxedoed Man appears in Winter Warmer Bundle
Tales of the Seasons – volume 1
Title: The Path of Water (Quests Book 1)
Author: Barbara G.Tarn
Main character description (short).
Hinrik is a warrior and a half-blood trying to find his place in the world. Interview wih Hinrik and Bellinda on author’s blog.
Hinrik survives the battle outside the walls of Moriana, battered and hurt. He drags himself to the River Ondan to put an end to his misery.
But it’s just the beginning of a new life of discoveries about himself and the world, a quest for his true calling in life. He is a half-blood and must learn what it means with the help of Bellinda the healer and Keneith the magic user.
The warrior, the healer and the magic user are all outsiders or outcasts looking for a place to call home in a hostile world, away from the aggressively expanding Varian and Blackmore Kingdoms.
A story of the northern kingdoms of Silvery Earth with magic and pain, loss and rebirth.
Brief Excerpt 250 words:
Hinrik’s eyes widened in shock. This couldn’t be. He was already dead and the underworld was underwater.
The man’s hand on his chest calmed his heartbeat. He looked sorrowful now.
“You are my son, Hinrik. And you are badly hurt. But the kingmaker is coming this way and he is with an excellent healer, she will help you.”
Hinrik closed his mouth and gulped. He still couldn’t believe all this was happening underwater. His mother had told him his father was a magical being, but he wasn’t expecting this! She’d been blamed all of her life for having a son outside of marriage and now, twenty-five years later, this… stranger walked, no swam up to him and told him he was his father!
“You are half-Waiora, Hinrik, that’s why water heals you. But what you’ve been through needs more healing power, and only the Genn can give you that. Go back to the surface, the kingmaker is making camp on the river shore with his friends, you will find him easily and they will help you.”
“I don’t want anybody’s help!” Hinrik’s scream was lost underwater. He didn’t want anybody to see him right now. He was naked, bruised and hurt. He wasn’t going to go back to the surface and meet people.
His father hugged him and gently rocked him as he burst into sobs. His tears were lost in the water and he was too weak to free himself from the unwanted embrace.
Why should readers buy this book (50 words max)?
A personal, non-heroic quest to find one’s place in the world in the company of other “different” people.
is also in Quests Volume one http://www.unicornproductionsbooks.com/books/quests-volume-one-the-paths-of-water-and-air/
and the First Glimpse of Secondary Fantasy World bundle along with 11 other authors.
Title: Star Minds Next Generation
Author: Barbara G.Tarn
Genre: science fantasy
Main character description (short).
Shan-leo Shermac is the descendant of the last emperor, but he’s never going to sit on his grandfather’s throne. He’s not interested.
A sequel to Star Minds – the Trilogy, it’s the story of Shan-leo, Ker-ris’s son, now no longer an imperial prince.
Raised as imperial prince, Shan-leo doesn’t miss his former status. At twenty-two, he gets to define his destiny without being forced on a path traced by his family. Following his love for calligraphy, he discovers a black market of stolen manuscripts, which starts the adventure of a lifetime.
Aristocratic adventurer on a starship called “outlaw”. The next generation of Star Minds is out in the galaxy.
Brief Excerpt 250 words:
Shan-leo got out of bed, showered and dressed, grabbing his bandanna. He went downstairs and found his father and uncle in the living room, seated at the breakfast table side by side as usual.
Uncle Kol-ian saw him first and greeted him. “Good morning, birthday boy!”
“Good morning,” he answered as his father rose to give him a bear hug.
“Already twenty-two… where did time go?” he whispered in Shan-leo’s ear.
“You mean the past twelve years went even faster than the previous ten?” Shan-leo teased, giving the bandanna to uncle Kol-ian who wrapped it around his nephew’s arm with a smile. Shan-leo knew his father disapproved of his showing off the bionic arm – especially when he had on a tank top like today – but Uncle Kol-ian was very supportive, having had prosthetics himself.
“Shan-leo…” his father chided.
Shan-leo smiled at him. It wasn’t his fault if he’d been mind-controlled for all the time he’d been married to Shan-leo’s late mother and had missed most of his son’s childhood.
“I love you anyway, Father.” He sat with them to eat breakfast. “Even if you want to hide my beautiful prosthetic! Why don’t you ever suggest Uncle Kol-ian cover the scars on his back with synthetic skin?”
“Your uncle doesn’t go around bare-chested to show off his scars!” his father protested while Kol-ian guffawed.
Why should readers buy this book (50 words max)?
If you loved the Trilogy and the Snippets or if you’re new to the Star Minds universe, you will enjoy this wandering prince’s adventures in space.
I’d like to welcome back author Robert Eggleton. Hi Alex. Thanks for inviting me back to your great book blog to update you about my debut novel.
Please recap briefly about your book: Rarity from the Hollow is adult literary fiction with a science fiction backdrop. In a nutshell, it is the story of victimization to empowerment taking readers from tragedy to comedy and satire, including political allegory that predicted the rise of Donald Trump to political power long before he became a household name. Lacy Dawn is a most unlikely saviour of the universe, genetically manipulated for millennia, who builds a team of zany characters to resolve an imminent threat to economic structures, one that could destroy all life – a longstanding feud between the political ideologies of extreme capitalism and democratic socialism.
What has changed since you last visited? Tell us your news! The biggest news item is that the final edition of Rarity from the Hollow was released to Amazon on December 5, 2016. When I last visited with you, my novel was being circulated as an Advance Review Copy (ARC), gathering praise and criticism by independent book reviewers and critics. One book critic had already compared the writing style to Kurt Vonnegut. https://electricrev.net/2014/08/12/a-universe-on-the-edge/ Another, a Retired Editor of Reader’s Digest, found that it was the most enjoyable science fiction novel that he had read in several years. http://warriorpatient.com/blog/2015/05/18/58/ After you interviewed me, Rarity from the Hollow was awarded Gold Medals by Awesome Indies http://awesomeindies.net/ai-approved-review-of-rarity-from-the-holly-by-robert-eggleton/ and Readers’ Favorite https://readersfavorite.com/book-review/rarity-from-the-hollow. A Bulgaria critic named Rarity from the Hollow as one of the best five books of 2015, along with Revival by Stephen King and The Martian by Andy Weir. http://codices.info/2015/12/top-5-for-2015-ventsi/. The ARC received twenty-six five star and forty-three four star reviews by independent book blogger on Amazon. Since release of the final edition, after its political allegory became much more obvious with the election of Donald Trump, a few reviewers took a second look at the novel and have upgraded their findings and ratings.
On January 6, 2017, the first of the final edition was published, five stars. The closing lines were: “…Brilliant satires such as this are genius works of literature in the same class as Orwell’s ‘Animal Farm.’ I can picture American Lit professors sometime in the distant future placing this masterpiece on their reading list.” https://marcha2014.wordpress.com/2017/01/06/5-stars-for-rarity-from-the-hollowby-robert-eggleton/ On February17, 2017, Dan’l Danehy-Oakes, a critic whose book reviews often appear in the New York Review of Science Fiction, published his review, five stars: “…I know this all sounds pretty whack, and it is, but it’s also quite moving. Lacy Dawn and her supporting cast – even Brownie, the dog – are some of the most engaging characters I’ve run across in a novel in some time….” http://sturgeonslawyer.livejournal.com/ On March 8, 2017, the 93rd book review was published by a book blogger, five stars: https://www.amazon.com/gp/review/RCL7S5MDYE791?ref_=glimp_1rv_cl
I’m continuing to promote Rarity from the Hollow by submitting articles and guest posts, participating in interviews, just about anything that I can think of to get the word out about the novel. As you are aware, author proceeds support the prevention of child maltreatment, so especially since the Trump administration has proposed budget cuts in domestic programs, I believe that any money that I can raise is important and will help a great nonprofit agency. http://www.childhswv.org/
Since the final edition of my debut novel was finally released, I’ve also gone back to work on the next Lacy Dawn Adventure, Ivy. One of my poems won first place in an international competition last year and I’ve submitted another to an online poetry magazine. I’m putting finishing touches on a short story that I plan to submit to a magazine before the deadline on April 15, 2017. Things have been “hopping,: Thanks for the great question.
Do you self-edit? If so why is that the case? Do you believe a book suffers without being professionally edited? Maybe some writers can self-edit, but I’m terrible at it. I tend to read what I intended to write rather than what was actually written. One of my pet peeves is finding typos in emails and posts, such as on Facebook, that I’ve sent. My wife will sometimes look over stuff that I’ve written, but I’ve been so prolific that she’s often not available. For something like a novel, I would never submit it for publication without a “professional” edit. That doesn’t mean I have the money to pay for one, so I’m not sure what I’ll do if Dog Horn Publishing, my traditional small press, doesn’t survive in the marketplace. Rarity from the Hollow was first edited by a friend, an English teacher, and then professionally edited by the editor of one press, the Acquisitions Editor for the University of Michigan’s Library system, and then by two affiliates of Dog Horn Publishing. So far, nobody has commented on any editing issues or typos with the final edition of Rarity from the Hollow. I got lucky. I’ve never paid for anything to do with publication of my novel, including its free editing.
Do you think indie/self-published authors are viewed differently to traditionally published authors? Why do you think this might be? Prejudice against indie/self published authors used to be a lot worse. A book blogger recently published my take on the history of this controversy: “I Found God in Cyberspace.” https://gottawritenetwork.wordpress.com/2016/10/25/i-found-god-in-cyberspace-by-robert-eggleton/comment-page-1/#comment-755
Some well-known authors, including Stephen King, have more recently turned to self-publishing. https://www.bookworks.com/2015/06/why-stephen-king-j-k-rowling-joe-konrath-and-others-are-switching-to-indie-publishing-at-least-on-some-of-their-books/ However, for authors with little name recognition, this emergence of the traditionally published authors into self-publishing is not particularly encouraging. There have been a few self-published books that have sold well. Perhaps because he’s also a children’s psychotherapist, my personal hero is James Redfield, author of The Celestine Prophesy. He sold the first 100,000 copies of his book out of the trunk of his car before it was picked up by a traditional publisher.
I believe that there are good and bad books self and traditionally published. I can’t think of any right off the top, but it used to be common to find typos in books long before self-publishing was available. I feel that the biggest advantage that traditionally published book have over self-published books is the advertising. While not true about small presses which seem to be going down faster than seals in an oil slick, some traditional book are marketed by high salaried publicists who buy reviews printed in popular magazines.
What are your opinions about authors commenting on reviews? How important are reviews? In general, I think that it’s bad form for an author to publicly comment on a book review. As long as it’s done politely as part of a thank you note, I don’t see anything wrong with a private comment by an author about a book review. Of course, book bloggers moderate comments if submitted to their sites rather than by private email, so making an author’s comment would entirely be at the discretion of the book blogger. Competency as a book blogger or as an author, of course, varies. So does ethics. In my opinion, the skill is in the pitch for a book review, as written and as read. In my opinion, some book reviewers are so busy, perhaps overwhelmed by requests, that they may not fully read pitches and may prefer cookie-cutter type novels with which they are already familiar. Others look for those books which fall outside of mainstream releases. Online, I’ve met several wonderful people who have contributed to the promotion of Rarity from the Hollow. I’ve also met a couple who I now wish that I’d never pitched for a book review. In any case, reviews are critical to the potential success of the author and the book blogger, neither of whom are likely to make much money by their contributions to the World of Books.
When buying a book do you read the reviews? Yes, I always read every review that is available before I buy a book.
What are your reviews on authors reviewing other authors? Perhaps more traditional than full reviews, authors writing blurbs about books have been a standard. Again, this question addresses ethics. I suspect that there are some authors and editors who primarily review books as a strategy to sell their own books or services. Of course, authors trading glowing reviews with other authors would be unethical. So are friend reviews, or, in my opinion, sharing posts on social media simply because of friendships instead of the merits of the posts. While it’s a World Wide Web, our participation on it always involves ethics. But, it’s so hard to compete simply by writing a good book. Many, if not most, traditional publishers definitely have the upper hand, so I’m a little lenient in this consideration. You know the old saying: “What’s fair for the goose is fair for the gander.”
Looking back what do you wish you’d known when you started writing? Looking back, I’m glad that I didn’t know then what I’ve learned since. I was a total novice, and to some extent, that remains true today. If I would have realized that the odds of having a good book ever appear in a book store, much less than 1%, I may have been too disheartened to have written Rarity from the Hollow. I’m very proud of my accomplishment. Especially so by two book review findings that it may outlive me: “…I would even say it could be read in a college setting both for the craft itself and its unique brand of storytelling….” http://tabbyafae.com/rarity-hollow-robert-eggleton/
Do you have any unpublished novels under the bed/in a folder anywhere which you thought were awesome at the time, but now will never see the light of day? No, I don’t have any unpublished novels that fit that description, but I have several short stories that are so dated now that they seem silly. Rarity from the Hollow was my first attempt to write a novel.
How have you progressed as a writer since you started? Technically, I’m somewhat more highly skilled in word processing, and that’s very important to writing. Most of the short stories that I just mentioned were written on a manual typewriter. I’m struggling with the craft of writing and not fully sure if my motivations to change style would be a progression or a regression of my craft. Part of me wants to remain semi avant garde and hope for a niche, while part of me wants to meet more mainstream expectations. It kind of feels like back in junior high when one struggles with wanting to both be unique but to also fit in with the crowd.
What are your views on authors offering free books? It’s a modern marketing strategy that supposedly can be used to build rank on Amazon if done through that company, but I suspect that most recipients of free books never read them or remain loyal to their authors. That’s a guess. I’ve thought about trying it on Goodreads, but since my writing doesn’t fit mainstream expectations I’ve been hesitant. Plus, many of the authors there seem to be much younger – kind of a social club – and, I may not have similar youthful interests or knowledge.
What are your plans for the future? When will we see your next book? Tell us about it. The next full-length Lacy Dawn Adventure is Ivy. It’s been ready for editing for quite a while but I’ve delayed for a couple of reasons: (1) I’m still promoting Rarity from the Hollow to build improved name recognition; (2) I’m now retired on a low fixed-income, unsure about whether my traditional small press will survive to publish Ivy without me incurring expenses, but even more unsure about the actual costs of self-publishing given my poor skills in technology. Ivy is the story about a unique alien invasion of Earth and asks the question: How far will a child go to save a parent from drug addiction?
Give us a bit of information about your primary character(s). Lacy Dawn is an empowered victim predestined for millennia to save the universe. A good way to get to know her would be to check out a character interview by Lisa the Robot Girl. It’s very funny, and deadly serious: https://coldhandboyack.wordpress.com/2017/03/02/rarity-from-the-hollow-on-lisa-burton-radio/
Lacy Dawn’s father relives the Gulf War, her mother’s teeth are rotting out, and her best friend is murdered by the meanest daddy on Earth. Life in the hollow is hard. She has one advantage — an android was inserted into her life and is working with her to cure her parents. But, he wants something in exchange. It’s up to her to save the Universe. Lacy Dawn doesn’t mind saving the universe, but her family and friends come first.
Rarity from the Hollow is adult literary science fiction filled with tragedy, comedy and satire. A Children’s Story. For Adults.
“The most enjoyable science fiction novel I have read in years.”
—Temple Emmet Williams, Author, former editor for Reader’s Digest
“Quirky, profane, disturbing… In the space between a few lines we go from hardscrabble realism to pure sci-fi/fantasy. It’s quite a trip.”
- Evelyn Somers, The Missouri Review
“…a hillbilly version of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy…what I would have thought impossible; taken serious subjects like poverty, ignorance, abuse…tongue-in-cheek humor without trivializing them…profound…a funny book that most sci-fi fans will thoroughly enjoy.” — Awesome Indies (Gold Medal)
“…sneaks up you and, before you know it, you are either laughing like crazy or crying in despair, but the one thing you won’t be is unmoved…a brilliant writer.” —Readers’ Favorite (Gold Medal)
“Rarity from the Hollow is an original and interesting story of a backwoods girl who saves the Universe in her fashion. Not for the prudish.” —Piers Anthony, New York Times bestselling author
“…Good satire is hard to find and science fiction satire is even harder to find.” — The Baryon Review
Public Author Contacts:
#Bookcovers #Indiepublishing #cover design
You glance across a crowded room and lock eyes. You are inspired, beguiled. Suddenly, “love-at-first-sight,” makes sense and you feel the spark of a love affair blossoming with …
the BOOK of your dreams?…
Ok, that might be taking the metaphor a bit too far, but work with me on this. The ultimate goal of your books cover is to grab your reader’s attention and tell them in an instant, “Take me HOME, I’m just what you need! Pay no attention to all those other books, I’m the one!”
Think of it like your favourite little black dress that shows off your curves, and accentuates your …assets. 🙂
Let’s face it, there are really only two reasons to write a book. 1. To say you did, and 2. To sell it.
Unless you only wrote your book so your grandmother could read it, and your target audience is your crazy cousin Emma, Auntie Eileen and Uncle George, the cover does matter. Let me say that again, in case you missed it in all the humor — If you want to sell your book, your cover DOES matter, a LOT.
So, let’s assume you wrote your book to actually sell a few copies. The key then is that you must treat your writing as a business, your book as a product and the cover as its packaging. The cover is your most important marketing tool, and as such, must be properly packaged to be visually appealing to your target market.
A successfully designed book cover, like that little black dress, will convey the tone of your book, give hints about its content, and entice readers into actually picking up your product to read your meticulously written and diligently edited words. Metaphorically, you’ve just been asked out for a first date. Only then can your inner beauty be discovered.
Let’s have a look at some examples and see what they tell you about what’s under the covers… (Ok, I’ll stop.)
Ponder on this cover package for a moment. What does the colour story tell you about what’s inside? It’s fresh, clean, green grass, blue sky. How does it make you feel? Cheerful, hopeful?
What’s under the cover, you ask? A letter from Pope Francis about caring for our common home, Earth.
The cover I created for the Pope’s Encyclical Letter is designed to make you think about our environment, ecology, and our children’s future. The fresh greens, calming blues and flesh tones are used intentionally to evoke a feeling of newness, and concepts of youth, growth, and springtime rebirth.
What about these next two. How do they make you feel?
The colour red in both of these images tells us they might be about death, but the fonts also tell us a story too. Notice that the bold modern font on The End Of Snow tells us that the story is based in modern day. If you zoom in close, you’ll also notice the texture of the font feels like a blizzard.
With Rebel Nation, we can surmise from the font that it has something to do with history. The rebel flag also gives a historical clue… but why is there a modern day rifle site? Hmmm, intriguing.
In the case of these next two the softer font tells us this is a more feminine story. But what else can we discover about these two. Do they belong together? What clues tell you this?
With a sequel, it’s important to have consistency in the overall look and feel from one book to the next so your readers (or searchers) will know these stories belong together. This is known as “branding.” Typically, the colour story will likely match and text treatment is usually similar.
Notice the repeating elements. The spherical object at the top of the design space, the light source just below, the city-scape in the foreground, and the similar text treatment. All these elements let us know that these are part of a sequel.
Another important thing to note is that there should be a strong contrast between the text and the image behind so that your words are legible.
And, you should always keep in mind that the cover will be displayed on digital browsers at a thumbnail size, so it is important the elements are minimal. Including every detail from your story only serves to make your cover busy and confusing, and gives away too much, too soon. Remember our little black dress and keep it simple and classic.
One final little tid bit of advice I always give new authors is if you are beginning to write a book, start saving from day one so that when it’s complete, you’ll have a tidy little nest egg to invest in what it takes to make your product look professional.
Because it matters. A lot.
Are you a DIY cover designer? I am offering a cover critique on my new
blog. Show me what you have and I promise an honest, kind and
constructive insight into how you might make your cover better before
you display it to the world.
Take a peek at what other authors have shared…
Beyond Design International
Video Trailer: http://bit.ly/1k4NppT
Title: When the Morning Comes (Book One in the Land’s End Series)
Author: S.W. Frontz
Genre: mystery, romantic suspense
Main character description (short). Samantha Patrick-mid-fifties-wife, mother, grandmother. She is a survivor, having lived through her mother’s savage murder, and being kidnapped and raped as a teenager.
Synopsis: Samantha and her husband, Sheriff Andy Patrick live on the quaint island of Land’s End. They moved here thirty-seven years ago to start a new life after Samantha’s father committed a horrible crime that got Samantha’s mother murdered and Samantha kidnapped and raped. Samantha had kept a secret all these years but when her past comes back to haunt her, there’s no way to keep her secret without putting her family in danger.
Brief Excerpt: Samantha Patrick’s eyes popped open and she sat up abruptly in bed, breathing like a locomotive. She looked around the room, disoriented, not sure if she were still in the old warehouse or in her room. She sat there for a minute. She put her hand out to her right, patting the bed to see if her husband Andy was there. Touching the softness of his white hair, she sighed in relief. It was only the nightmare. Thankful that she was safe in her own bed she glanced at the clock. The red numbers glowed at her. One fifteen a.m. Sighing, she reached behind her to plump the pillows and she settled back down under the covers. No more sleep for her. She had gotten another letter this morning. It said: “I’m watching you.” She didn’t want to disturb Andy so she turned onto her left side to wait for the morning to come.
Why should readers buy this book? It has something for everyone, mystery, crime, romance, and a pretty decent ending with the promise of more to come.
Welcome to Kim Padgett-Clarke
Where are you from and where do you live now? I live in Blackpool in the UK
Please tell us a little about your writing – genre, title, etc. Made Of Glass is a contemporary romance with a dark element
Where do you find inspiration? From absolutely everything. I can be reading a newspaper, watching TV, or from real people. An idea can come from anywhere.
Are your characters based on real people? They are not based on anyone in particular but the theme running through the story is one that most people can relate to such as control freaks, being overly protective and vulnerability.
In what formats are your books available? (E-books, print, large print audio) Are you intending to expand these and if not, what is the reason? Made Of Glass is available as an E-book and paperback. I am looking into other formats.
Do you self-edit? If so why is that the case? Do you believe a book suffers without being professionally edited? I do self-edit initially but then I send the book to a professional editor and copy-editor. It is a long time since I have been at school so my grammar and punctuation skills are not great. Sometimes you get involved with the story so deeply that you can’t see the flaws or you might go off-track so I feel an editor is very important. Unless you are top-notch at both of these skills it can result in a book that doesn’t look as professional as it could be.
Do you think indie/self-published authors are viewed differently to traditionally published authors? Why do you think this might be? Things are changing in the publishing world and I believe that indie authors are finally gaining respect. The vast majority of indie books with professional covers and content would sit beside any traditionally published book and I bet the buyer would not know which is which.
Do you read work by self-published authors? Definitely. I have come across some gems along the way which I would haven’t have read otherwise.
When buying a book do you read the reviews? I do read the reviews but if a book didn’t have any reviews I would still think about buying it if the storyline appealed to me. I wish more of the general public would leave reviews if they like a book even if it is a one-liner as getting feedback is so valuable to the author.
What are your reviews on authors reviewing other authors? It can be a good thing because they would look at the book in a different way. They would have more experience in pointing out areas that are strong and areas that are weak.
What experiences can a book provide that a movie or video game cannot? Movies and video games are developed from someone else’s imagination whereas with a book it is your own imagination that sees the scenes and what the characters look like so that’s limitless.
What three pieces of advice would you give to new writers?
Keep writing even if it is just for pleasure. Research outlets and markets if you intend to sell your book. Don’t give up even when it feels like an uphill battle.
What are your views on authors offering free books?
I have just finished a Goodreads Giveaway for Made Of Glass. Quite a lot of people entered the competition so it is great to know that all these people would have liked to read the book and it is a great way to get your book to a wider audience. It also increases the chance of getting that all important review.
Do you have a favourite movie? One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest. I have seen it so many times that I could almost quote the script.
Do you have any pets? I don’t have any pets myself but I do cat and dog sitting and walking dogs. It’s the best of both worlds because I have the wonderful experience of having an animal without the vet’s fees etc!
Can you give us a silly fact about yourself? I like collecting skulls. Not real ones of course! I think it comes from my early teens as I used to watch an awful lot of horror movies and read horror stories. I have t-shirts, handbags, money jars etc with skull images. All my friends know what to buy me for Christmas and birthdays.
Book links, website/blog and author links:
2015, Articles, Audio books, Author interviews, Character Interviews, Fantasy, fantasy books, guest posts, Heroika, Indie Publishing, Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles, Perseid Press, Reading, Rob Goll, Tales of Erana, tips and advice, Writing, Writing DIary
Welcome back to the Library of Erana and the last day of 2015. So another year has dashed past and I’m sitting at the end of 2015 and wondering where it went. I have a theory – someone is siphoning time out of the weekend and holidays and sneaking it into the working day. That’s why days at work seem to go on longer than the same day on leave.
What has 2015 brought me? A house! We bought our first house in April and it’s great. Whilst the place isn’t perfect it’s a good deal better than renting a damp flat and my overall health is better. Also we now have a delightful doggy – she’s grown from a tiny puppy to almost adult and we adore her. Every day she makes us smile and she’s such a happy and joyful creature.
Work… still there. Still stressful and busy but at least I am working and thankful for that.
Writing wise I’ve not been as productive as I planned – mostly due to the factors above but I’ve not been idle.
Stolen Tower – The Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles Book III was published in March 2015. https://libraryoferana.wordpress.com/2015/03/04/new-release-the-stolen-tower-the-light-beyond-the-storm-chronicles-iii/
The third edition of Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles Book I was published with quite a few revisions and a new cover for the paperback. http://www.amazon.com/Light-Beyond-Storm-Chronicles–ebook/dp/B0088DQO9C
Outside the Walls was revised and expanded and the audio book produced with narrator Melanie Fraser. It sounds great. There is something magical in hearing one’s book read aloud.
Warrior’s Curse was produced in audio by narrator Rob Goll – who has also done Heroika: Dragon Eaters for Perseid Press and will be narrating Light Beyond the Storm and Shining Citadel in 2016.
Heroika: Dragon Eaters was published – along with the accompanying audio book. Please check out the A Week with the Dragon Eaters posts for author and character interviews.
I’ve done 17 guest interviews elsewhere including the latest with Melanie Fox here. https://mercedesfoxbooks.com/meet-author-a-l-butcher/ and four character interviews including Mirandra, Ephany, Dii’Athella and the Thiefmaster.
Oh and a course on Roman and Greek Mythology – which was really interesting. https://libraryoferana.wordpress.com/2015/07/11/greek-and-roman-mythology-course-review/
There have been over 160 blog posts – including another Week in Hell, a Week with the Dragon Eaters, character, editor and author interviews, and several fantasy based posts and reblogs.
10 tips and lessons
1) I’m rubbish at using Twitter! Does it help marketing? Not a bloody clue. Many people say it is a vital tool; personally I’m not convinced as I have never bought a book or product from a twitter link and it looks like many people shouting to me. That said I do follow a few authors and it is useful for sharing blog posts. I follow the history, nature an astronomy posts too.
2) There is never enough time or energy to write. This is, of course, mostly my fault. I work full time and often I don’t have enough energy or brain power to do much but poke about on Facebook.
3) Networking is vital. I knew this already but it’s good to have one’s knowledge reinforced. Indie authors are, generally, a supportive lot and I’ve traded interviews, found great books to read and got to know a wide variety of people through social media and networking. It’s a good way of getting support for new releases, blogging, Thunderclap and more.
4) There are some total asshats about and many more idiots. This too has been obvious for a while. Recent events have NOT made the world a safer place. Whilst I agree that terrorism is bad, and religion pernicious bombing the crap out of an area that is already a wasteland is not going to make things better. Humans have an amazing capacity to be total asshats to one another – I can’t think of any other animal which is so unpleasant to its own kind – of course not everyone is like that and certain groups have been labelled as terrorists when it is the actions of a minority. History tends to repeat itself – and in many ways humans have a short memory – or at least a selective one. Often people are quick to judge, especially when they don’t know all the facts. Ignorance leads to fear and fear to hatred, then the killing begins anew, or the ghetto, or the pogrom, or the genocide….
Facebook especially fuels both idiocy and vitriol. There are lots of calls from freedom of speech but – of course that depends on who is doing the speaking and what they are saying. There is either freedom to say what the hell you like – and that goes for everyone or there’s not – some limitations are put in place. But then where and when does that stop. Perhaps if people thought before they spoke (or typed) such limitations wouldn’t be needed. Just because you CAN say something doesn’t mean you SHOULD.
Anyway enough of the political talk…don’t get me started I spent 7 years studying politics, sociology, ethics and philosophy and it taught me not to get involved in debates with people who won’t listen and assume they are always right…
5) Marketing is a lottery. I’ve tried some new tactics this year – including Twitter and Thunderclap – results have been mixed. Both are free – at least at the basic level so although not particularly successful no outlay was lost. I’ve found a mix of things helps. Don’t rely on one strategy – vary your approach and keep things interesting.
6) Write every day, even if it’s not working on a book or story. A blog post, a facebook post, a letter or email to someone – it all keeps the brain cells ticking. Write stories when you can and don’t force it. The world is NOT going to end if that story isn’t finished this week. That’s one of the many reasons I love indie publishing. With a few exceptions the person setting the deadlines is me and so if the book isn’t finished or life intervenes (which it does frequently) then it doesn’t matter as much.
7) Be nice to people. If you can’t be nice be quiet.
8) Vary what you write – if you’re struggling with a project then step away from it and work on something else. I’ve found that focusing on other things means my brain can be ticking away in the background sorting out the problems with the other project.
9) Some things can’t be fixed. It’s easy to spend a lot of time on a project or idea only to find it doesn’t work, or its crap. Yes I know this contradicts point 8 a bit but sometimes an idea simply won’t work – or at least not in the way you want. That’s fine. Sometimes shit happens (or doesn’t) don’t force it to be something it isn’t. Readers can spot a forced plot. If it doesn’t work then change it – look at your options. Can it be used for something else? What is causing the issue? Can it actually be fixed? Sometimes it can’t. Sometimes it becomes something else. That’s fine too.
10) Read more. Reading is great relaxation, great research and great enjoyment. The more you read the better writer you’ll become.
So what’s planned for 2016?
I have lots of plans for 2016 – most of which may never materialise but it’s still good to plan.
These are not in any order….
Hopefully a second Heroika volume will happen (for Perseid Press). Not going to mention too much of my WIP but the volume should be great, having seen a few snippets of draft stories. Hopefully my story will be up to scratch and I’m sure the book will feature on the blog when it’s published.
There will be at least one short Tales of Erana, possibly two. I’m planning to release Just One Mistake with a few revisions as a standalone. It’s already featured in Nine Heroes plus my own Tales of Erana Volume One but I have idea how it can be expanded. I think it would make a great audio short story.
Book II is currently being revised so there will be a new edition of that sometime early to mid 2016.
Book I in audio. Rob Goll is narrating that and we are hoping for spring 2016 release on that. I can’t wait to hear what he’s done.
Tales from the Golden Mask – this has been a WIP for a while. Hopefully the first part of the series will be released by the summer. It’s a co-authored erotic adventure set in an Erana of the past. We think it’s a lot of fun, with feisty women, sexy heroes and of course a goodly helping of nookie. This one doesn’t take itself or the world too seriously and is aimed at a slightly different audience.
The Kitchen Imps – a short book of fantasy tales for kids and the young at heart. I really need to work on these, as this is another project which has been around for a while.
I’m contemplating changing the blog – currently this is the free wordpress type but the upgraded version has a lot more features. I’m hoping to attach a website dedicated to just the books as well. I’ll let you know how that goes…
Also looking to participate in a blog tour – I’ve hosted people before but I’ve never done it myself. Will be an interesting experience and I’ll review it after.
Want to try and read more, and review more. I often stick to re-reads but I’m going to try and branch out for new authors. I’ll try and be better at posting reviews as well.
Looking for plenty more interviews – both giving and receiving – guest posts and articles.
Signed up for a course on medieval magic, one on Ancient Greece and also looking at ancient Egypt. Plus whatever else takes my fancy and I can manage with the other commitments.
I’ll look back in twelve months and see how many of these I’ve done.
Feel free to comment on ideas, suggestions for the blog and contacts about interviews.
Hoping 2016 is good for you, my followers, and you’ll keep viewing the blog.
Welcome to David A. Tatum
Please tell us a little about your writing – for example genre, title, etc. I like to think I will write in a lot of different styles and genre in my career. So far, however, I have only published two fantasy novels (“In Treachery Forged” and “The Kitsune Stratagem”) and a sci-fi novelette (“To the Rink of War”), and outside of some poems and experimental fiction in one anthology I have planned those two genre look like all I’ll be writing for the next few years. By the end of this year, I expect to have launched four series. “In Treachery Forged” and “The Kitsune Stratagem” start different series, Book I of a new sci-fi series should be coming in the next couple months (assuming I can finish the editing and get the cover art done in time), and “To the Rink of War” was intended to start a series of shorter fiction as well (though that idea may be put on hold due to an apparent lack of interest). Next year I will be publishing the sequels to at least two of those series, plus that anthology I mentioned and possibly another novelette\novella. It’s going to be a busy couple of years for me.
Where do you find inspiration? Inspiration can come from many sources. “In Treachery Forged” originated with a discussion about the possibility that mythical representations of chi in martial arts legends might have been the result of the mental manipulation of bioelectromagnetic fields. “To the Rink of War” began with the mental exercise of creating a new sport (in this case, Microgravity Hockey, which has yet to appear in the series but has been mentioned). “Voices,” a short story which will be in that upcoming anthology I mentioned, was inspired by a college professor insisting that it was impossible to write in first person omniscient perspective (so, of course, I had to write a story in that perspective to prove him wrong, even if he never saw it). “The Kitsune Stratagem” partly came about because of an editor going on a total rant on the overuse of elves, dwarves, and dragons, going so far as to say he would throw the next manuscript he saw with the word “elf” in it across the room, send the author an automatic rejection, and blacklist him from ever being considered for submission by his company again. I didn’t understand his complaint about elves, dwarves, and dragons — to me, that’s like complaining swords or armor are overused, since all you’re doing by using these creatures is give your readers a short-cut to understand what physical abilities and characteristics they have — but I still decided to research other creatures that could be used as fantasy races. So, instead of elves and dwarves and dragons, “The Kitsune Stratagem” is populated by kitsune and wulvers and bunyips.
Research can be important in world-building, how much do you need to do for your books? Do you enjoy this aspect of creating a novel and what are your favourite resources? Yes, research is important, but not necessarily in the areas I anticipated when I started taking my writing career seriously. As a reader, I’ve always been a bigger fan of historical fiction (especially with a nautical bent) than any other genre. I’m a history buff, but the standard for research in historical fiction, at least in the examples I was most familiar with (CS Forester, Patrick O’Brian, and Kenneth Roberts), was daunting. I’ve known readers of historical fiction to blacklist authors simply because they accidentally referred to a slightly anachronistic color pigment in a woman’s clothes. I correctly assumed that it was unlikely I would get slammed by a reader for my choice of fabric color in science fiction and fantasy.
However, that doesn’t mean there’s no research, or even that the research burden was that much less. When writing “To the Rink of War,” I had to calculate whether a ramming weapon was practical with a ship that could only accelerate at a maximum of six meters per second squared. When writing “In Treachery Forged,” I wanted to have my characters — who were wearing a mixture of different types of armor and clothing, both noble and peasant in origin — strip down to cross a river. I needed to know what type of underwear they might have underneath that clothing and armor in a pre-elastic society. Three hours and fourteen different styles of pre-elastic underwear later, I had it all figured out… and then scrapped the scene and had them cross on a boat. For “The Kitsune Stratagem,” studying Roman-era concrete mixing techniques led to me changing the wulvers from being a small fishing village of a few dozen people into a powerful civilization situated at the base of an active volcano… and then I needed to know what sorts of advantages and disadvantages a society would have when living at the base of a volcano.
In terms of resources, it really depends on what you’re looking for. Wikipedia is hardly the most reliable of sources, but if all you need is (for example) a list of mythological creatures you could add to your fantasy novel’s legendarium, it’s a good way to get started. If you want to create a medically accurate herbalist’s apothecary kit, however, you might want a resource like the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center’s “About Herbs, Botanicals & Other Products” page (see http://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/integrative-medicine/about-herbs-botanicals-other-products ), which will give you the latest in medical research on traditionalist “home remedy” herbal treatments.
In what formats are your books available? (E-books, print, large print, audio.) Are you intending to expand these and if not, what is the reason? All of my books are available in .mobi (Kindle) and .epub (Nook, Kobo, iBook, etc.) eBook formats. Novel length works are also available in print (though often will be released after the eBook). I have approached a couple of voice professionals about producing audiobooks, but so far nothing has come of it. I (or a member of my family) may wind up doing the audiobook reading ourselves, though ACX’s recent reduction of royalty rates has reduced the priority for getting an audiobook version produced.
Do you self-edit? If so why is that the case? Do you believe a book suffers without being professionally edited? I do a round of self-editing after letting the work “age” for a while. Then I give it to beta readers and do another round of self-editing. If I anticipate the book will earn enough to make it worthwhile, I then hire a professional editor; otherwise, I find a different batch of beta readers to read through it again. I don’t necessarily think a book suffers without a professional editor, but I think you MUST have a third party who has some understanding of both the technical issues of writing and the genre you are writing in look at the book prior to publication.
Do you read work by self-published authors? I’d be pretty hypocritical if I didn’t. I still read trade publishers more than indies, but of the hundred or so novels currently on my kindle (I just cleared it out for space concerns) I’d say about thirty or forty are self-published works.
What are your opinions about authors commenting on reviews? How important are reviews? Reviews are critical to an author, both to show the author that his work is enjoyed and to help other customers decide whether to buy the book… but I don’t think authors should read, much less respond to, any reviews. Responding is unprofessional. It almost never does the writer any good to even read them; one negative review has the potential to do more harm to the writer’s mental attitude than a hundred positive reviews.
When buying a book do you read the reviews? Yes. They are a far better tool for evaluating a potential purchase than merely rating it. That said, it’s only one tool for deciding whether to buy a book. I’d almost say a good cover (or rather, not having a bad cover) is just as valuable.
What are your reviews on authors reviewing other authors? I… am uncomfortable with it, personally, but as long as no reciprocal review is asked for I don’t have a problem with other authors saying anything. That’s not to say I won’t ever write a review, myself, but only if I’m in close enough contact with them to warn them, ahead of time; I tend to pick out the negative to evaluate even on books I really like, which is great in a small group where you’re after constructive criticism but which is terrible as an endorsement in a public forum. I don’t want to accidentally hurt another author’s sales just because I want to point out a silly anachronism or mention that a portion of the book felt rushed.
Do you have a favourite movie? Actually, no. I love movies, don’t get me wrong, but to pick one single movie as my favorite? There are just too many to decide. I’d give the same answer for books, pieces of music, or even food. Even limiting it down — favorite FANTASY movie\book\etc., for example — is really too difficult. I can’t pit an old chestnut like Willow up against the Harry Potter movies up against the Lord of the Rings movies up against the Chronicles of Narnia movies up against The Adventures of Baron Munchausen and come out with an undisputed number one movie. Even if I could, I’d then have to pit the winner of that up against the winner of the battle between Star Wars, Star Trek, Serenity, Dune, and John Carter, or the winner of Master and Commander, Captain Blood, etc., etc. Well… you get the idea. Deciding on one favorite movie just isn’t possible — I love too many of them.
Book links, website/blog and author links:
In Treachery Forged: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HK1HDZC
The Kitsune Stratagem: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MAUCLI2
To the Rink of War: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00KD0XO3M
Fennec Fox Press (with alternate links to the above): http://www.fennecfoxpress.com/
Hi, welcome to the Library of Erana and thank you for talking to us today.
Thanks for having me!
Please introduce yourself.
I’m Jillian Leigh. Like Batman, I have two identities: one is as an author of historical romance, the other is as an editor. Unlike Batman, I don’t wear a tight-fitting suit to fight crime. Instead, I get to fight word crimes in my pyjamas (sorry, bad joke, I know). I work with several publishers as a content and copy editor, as well as providing freelance editing and formatting services for indie authors.
Perhaps I should point out that I don’t actually work in my pyjamas—though I could if I wanted to. That’s the beauty of this job!
How did you get into this line of work?
Going through the process of being edited myself—and seeing editors at work—served as a catalyst for getting me started. I’m also an ex-English teacher and I’ve been writing, critiquing and judging contests for a long (long!) time. I’d always been interested in editing, but once upon a time, opportunities to have a career in publishing were rather limited. Fortunately, changes in the industry over the last decade have opened up things for editors as well as writers. I’ve been lucky enough to slide in sideways, so to speak.
Are there genres you refuse, if so why is that? Do you have any you love?
I never say never. If I turned something down, it would most likely be because of graphic physical or sexual violence, or because I found the content offensively discriminatory in some way. Thankfully, that situation hasn’t arisen yet. While I’m open to all genres, I do have my favorites, of course. I particularly enjoy all sub-genres of romance as well as erotica, women’s fiction, historical fiction, New Adult and Young Adult fiction. I think my understanding of romance makes me better suited to that genre as well.
Are you also a writer? If so do you self-edit or do you use the services of another editor?
Yes, I’ve been writing for quite a while. My work goes through a publisher, but if I were to self-publish, I would definitely hire a freelance editor. Everyone needs another set of eyes on their work, because even the most careful and talented of writers still has ‘blind spots’—problem areas they don’t even know are a problem.
What are your opinions of self-edited work by authors?
Every writer has to do some editing—i.e. revising and redrafting in order to make the book stronger. It’s a pretty rare author who can whip up a first draft and call it a day. But I know you’re talking about authors who publish their books without having them professionally edited. I believe that authors who choose to do this are missing out on some major benefits:
- Professional editing can save the author from embarrassing bloopers or needless typos (and the harsh reviews that often result from either);
- It makes the book (and by extension, the author) look more professional;
- It’s a valuable learning experience for any writer, new or experienced.
I understand that sometimes authors are reluctant to seek out an editor. One reason often cited for this is the cost involved. But I would argue that in this competitive environment, editing is more affordable than ever before, and there are ways to find funding for this purpose if money is tight. Another reason some writers forgo professional editing is that they’re afraid the editor will butcher their book. This is why getting a sample edit is so important. Authors should also remember that, whilst they are paying for the editor’s advice, they aren’t obliged to take it if they feel it interferes with their voice or style. Look at the issue behind the advice, and see if there’s another way to fix it—one that you feel comfortable with.
Have you ever refused a manuscript?
On a couple of occasions, I’ve turned down a copy editing job because I felt the manuscript needed more structural work first.
Have you ever had an author refuse your suggestions/changes? If so how did you deal with it?
Not that I’m aware of. But, as I said above, ultimately, it’s up to the author to decide what’s best for the book. I always tell authors that I’m happy to discuss the reasoning behind my suggestions. An author is more likely to agree with my suggestions if s/he understands the rationale behind them, agrees that there is an issue to fix and figures out the best way to fix it (whether that’s the way I suggest, or something even better).
Editors often receive a bad press in the writing community, what are your thoughts on this?
Yes, I’ve noticed this. We do get accused a fair bit of being frustrated writers on a power trip! I have to say, though, sometimes this distrust of editors is merited. I think we’ve all heard horror stories about the editor from hell who rewrote the book the way she wanted it, or who apparently couldn’t find one thing she didn’t want to change.
On the other hand, sometimes that distrust is founded on ignorance or inexperience. Some authors are surprised by the extent and scope of their edits, particularly if they’ve never been through the editing process before (e.g. through traditional publishing), they haven’t been exposed to intensive critique by others, and they haven’t yet learned to separate their product from themselves. (I don’t mean that to sound patronizing; it’s hard for any of us to separate our ego from our work. However, professional writers must do it to a certain extent if they’re going to survive in a harsh industry.) Receiving a lengthy editorial letter or mark-up on every page can be an uncomfortable, humbling experience for even the most confident of us, and especially if the author isn’t accustomed to receiving impartial feedback.
And, as if that isn’t enough, the relationship is further complicated by the fact that, except in rare circumstances, pretty much all communication is conducted long-distance. Take away body language and tone of voice, and what sounds matter-of-fact to one person might sound harsh to another. There’s an art to writing comments that are neither too long-winded nor too curt. I don’t know that any of us manage that 100% of the time.
Please could you tell us about the process involved with editing for, say, a 100k word Manuscript.
If I’m doing substantive (aka content) editing, the first thing I do is read the entire book a couple of times. At this point, I don’t do anything with the manuscript. I’ll jot down notes, but basically my role is that of a reader. After I’m familiar with the story, I’ll consider where, in my opinion, the book could be made stronger. Usually I’ll write a summary for the author with specific examples, and provide suggestions or alternatives to assist in fixing the issues I’ve raised. If the author agrees with my assessment, s/he goes ahead and revises as needed. After we’re both happy that the basic structure of the book is solid, I’ll look at things line by line—the logic of cause and effect/stimulus and response, sentence construction, word choice, POV violations, showing vs. telling, and whatever else crops up. All changes are tracked so that the author can accept or reject changes and see the comments I’ve made.
When I’m copy editing, I’ll read a portion of the manuscript to get a feel for how the author writes, but then I basically start at the beginning and go through it line by line. I make sure that the basics (spelling, punctuation, grammar) are correct, but I also check for clunky, overly long or repetitive sentences, I make sure that the right word is being used in the right place, and I do some basic fact-checking as well.
What is the difference between proof-reading and editing?
Proofreading, whilst its meaning has become more generalized over time, is essentially about checking for errors. Editing goes beyond that, to look at clarity, conciseness, and matters of style and technique.
Do you have a part of the process you really enjoy? Is there a part you don’t?
I must say this is the most enjoyable work I’ve ever done. Some manuscripts are harder work than others, but even the toughest one is still a lot easier to whip into shape than a hormonal teenager who hates writing essays!
Outside of your work as an editor do you read for pleasure? What genre do you enjoy the most?
I read a lot. I can’t imagine an editor (at least a fiction editor) not enjoying reading, not loving language and books and stories that take you out of yourself and into another world. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I particularly enjoy romance (contemporary, historical, erotic, NA). On the other hand, I also love an interesting biography, and I enjoy true crime, history and historical fiction as well.
If so do you find yourself editing the work as you go or are you able to “switch off?”
It really depends on how much there is to edit J. A few typos here and there don’t worry me too much. I’m more likely to be pulled out of the story by the constant misuse of words. When an author—who is a wordsmith by trade—can’t be bothered to choose the most exact word, or even one that makes sense, I have to wonder what they think writing is about! I must admit I also find it difficult sometimes to finish a book that is obviously someone’s first effort at writing and isn’t ready to be out there yet. That’s when I really wish the author had received some helpful feedback and advice, if not from a professional, then from a writing group or critique partner.
What advice would you give to someone starting out as an editor?
Be patient and start slowly. Don’t be disheartened if the world doesn’t come knocking on your door right away. As with authors, discoverability is one of the biggest hurdles you’ll face. Try to find some opportunities to get your name out there. Do your best work.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to self-edit?
OK, I realize that may not have been the most persuasive argument, and not particularly helpful advice. So, for anyone who wants to go it alone, here are some things you can do to prepare your book for publication:
- After you’ve written the first draft, set it aside for a time and work on something else. Then come back to the manuscript, preferably after a month or more (you’ll have achieved a bit of mental and emotional distance from the book by this stage), and read it through. You’ll be amazed at how many things you see that need fixing.
- Look at the book scene by scene. Is every scene pulling its weight? Does the book begin and end strongly? Is there rising tension? Are your characters’ goals significant enough? Are the conflicts, whether internal or external, serious and complex enough to sustain the plot? Could you eliminate or consolidate sub-plots/characters/scenes? Have you used the most effective point of view in each scene? Does the pacing vary throughout the book—quicker in scenes of action or tension, and slower in love scenes or moments of introspection? Have you ‘shown’ the story rather than ‘told’ it? Is your writing vivid, with strong verbs and specific adjectives?
- Invest in one or both of these books: Getting the Words Right by Theodore Cheney and Self-Editing for Fiction Writers: How to Edit Yourself Into Print by Renni Browne and Dave King. Both are well worth buying for their in-depth advice.
- Find some beta readers who enjoy your genre. Rather than inviting them to give their general impressions, ask them to answer specific questions about your book. Then use the information they give you to make further improvements.
- Use some of the free online editing tools available. You can find some of them at http://editminion.com, https://www.autocrit.com, and http://prowritingaid.com. They’re not infallible, and they do limit how much text you can have analysed at one time, but they will help you to see where you’ve overused words or used clichés.
Tell us a silly fact about yourself.
I have no spatial awareness or map-reading skills whatsoever. I can turn the map 360° and it still doesn’t help. My husband would actually rather ask for directions than rely on my navigation!
Please add any links to your blog/website etc.
Thanks for having me! If anyone is interested in getting touch with me, please visit http://firstlookforauthors.com or email me at email@example.com.