Why Hire a Copy Editor?

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You have an amazing story to tell. Aunt Mary says, “Why don’t you write a book about it, dear?” So you do, and you rush to self-publish your first book just the way thousands of authors are doing these days.

But, wait!

You may feel you’ve just written the next bestselling novel, but the truth is, most first novels are full of errors.

When you rewrite the first draft (and the second and third, and so on) except for small improvements your work will still have weak sections. You can’t fix something if you don’t know what is wrong. At some point you will need outside help. Even experienced authors benefit from an impartial eye, so that help should not come from your loving Aunt Mary. Support, yes, but writing advice, no. Not unless she’s a successful author herself.

Have you taken the time to go to a writing conference or join a writers’ group? If you have ever had your writing analyzed by an expert, you were most likely shocked by their comments. You had no idea there was still so much to learn about writing. Taking a course in creative writing, joining a local writers’ group, going to writing conferences, and reading some of the many books on writing can teach you techniques for making your novel a success. You will pick up writing tips and learn how to structure a novel.

After you’ve rewritten your novel employing all your newfound knowledge, you may think you are ready to publish. Not so. This is the most dangerous stage, where many writers become impatient and “just want to get it published.”

Take a step back. You have a wonderful plot and you’ve told the story in a way that makes the reader want to turn the pages, but you can ruin it all by publishing before it is ready. Some people say poor editing doesn’t make them stop reading. Does that mean they don’t care about the fine craft of writing? If they will read anything, regardless of quality, perhaps they will write without quality too. Not something worthy of much respect.

Imagine you are going to a job interview. Would you present yourself before the interviewer  with your hair scraggly and unwashed, wearing a beautiful brand new outfit and dirty old sneakers? Would you think it doesn’t matter because you know you’re a great person inside?  I can guarantee you won’t make a good impression. The interviewer will have nothing good to say about you. He is judging you by what he sees.

And so it will be with your book. If you want the readers to love it and recommend it to others, don’t publish it if it hasn’t been cleaned up. And I don’t mean a quick read through by Aunt Mary who declared it the best thing she’d ever read. Even that friend with a college degree who pointed out some grammatical things and a spelling mistake is not going to catch everything. Get your book professionally copy-edited and publish quality work confidently.

If you have not worked at shaping your novel with the help of books, courses, critiquing groups, and workshops, you may need a substantive editor for putting the scenes and events in the best order. Chances are that you are past this stage and feel the book is ready. Don’t hire a proofreader. That won’t do you much good unless you only want spelling, punctuation, and typos fixed, but a good copy editor will check all these things. You pay once and get the benefit of having any mistake or problem pointed out to you.

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Here are some of the things a copy editor will draw your attention to.

  • poorly phrased sentences
  • lack of balance in the sentence (perhaps where the verb at the beginning does not match with the clause or phrase you have added onto the main sentence frame)
  • overused words
  • repeated words within two or three sentences
  • incorrect grammar usage
  • incorrect capitalization
  • misuse of possessives and plurals
  • wrong word meaning
  • punctuation mistakes, especially in the use of dialogue
  • typos, missing words, and repeated words (the the)
  • incorrect information (fact checking)
  • consistency throughout the work (does Jane become Jayne later in the work?)
  • misspelled words (breath or breathe, loath or loathe)
  • misuse of homonyms (peek, peak, or pique)
  • incorrect verb tense (lie, lay, laid, lain, etc.)
  • boring repetition of the same sentence pattern
  • incorrect use of pronouns after a preposition (between him and I? or him and me?)
  • use of clichés that are not part of the dialogue

These mistakes and many more will be drawn to your attention. It’s well worth spending the time and money to have the errors corrected. A good copy editor will help make your writing shine.

 

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To an author, changing your ‘look’ is like buying a new dress …

… so many options and no guarantees you’ll get it right first time! I’m talking about author branding – of course!

Guest author, Linn B. Halton talks about updating your media image:

Authors don’t simply write books, most maintain their own blogs and websites. I have two publishers, as well as self-published novels and somehow I have to bring all those very diverse styles together.

With two new releases (one self-pubbed and one traditionally published) coming up in less than a month, it’s a reminder that even when the ebook/paperback is ready to go, there’s still a lot of work to be done! The website begins a tranformation:

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The addition of two new covers, even when you already have a line-up of eight books out there, is very significant for two reasons. First of all, as a writer you grow and your most recent writing will reflect the things you have learnt (including, hopefully, getting the cover right); secondly it makes you stop and think about where you are heading – what you want to tell your readers. I write about the search for the perfect other: sometimes with a psychic twist, but the romance is always at the heart of the story. I write about real relationships and enjoy writing it from multiple points of view. You get to read what she thinks and feels, then you get to see his side of the story. It’s a reminder that often two people will see and hear the exact same thing, but go away with their recollection of what happened coloured by their own life experiences. You end up with two, often very different, impressions. That’s human nature.

In the run up to a book launch an author will add the cover, blurb, excerpt etc. to their website and I, for one, get that urge to ‘seek out a new look’. I want my readers to know I’m growing and changing with each book I write, so they get a real flavour for what they will find inside the covers of that latest release.

I think, more than anything, good (and interesting) graphics PLUS the ability for readers to sample a chapter before they buy, are the best ways of ensuring readers won’t be disappointed if they choose to read one of my books. So that’s what my website offers. However, the graphics have to reflect the content of the book – Falling: Angels Among Us The Complete Series is a romance with heavy psychic overtones:

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Whereas Sweet Occasions is a heart-warming and uplifting tale of life, relationships and love. I hope I’ve achieved that with some of the graphics I’ve designed:

Sweet Occasions

I play around with a lot of apps and have become very good at taking random photos. You never know when you will need a shot of the beach, that leafy tree, or even the love heart that hangs on the wall. Graphics are easier to pull together on the iPAD, simply because the apps you can download are so flexible. You can re-touch and modify the photos, overlay them with text, or create fun collages. It’s fun and, I hope, really helps to give a flavour of the content of my novels …

So, writers have a play and readers, feedback is ALWAYS welcome!

Website
Twitter: @LinnBHalton
Facebook: Author Linn B Halton
Amazon author page

Turning Points – Emma Calin

My guest today is author Emma Calin.

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Emma Calin – novelist, philosopher, blogger, poet, would be master chef. A woman pedaling between Peckham & Pigalle, in search of passion & enduring romance.

Emma Calin writes romance novels and gritty short stories about love and survival in the 21st century. She has published a number digital and paperback books which are available from Amazon worldwide.

She blogs about her dual life in St-Savinien sur Charente, South West France and Romsey, a market town in England. She feels extremely lucky to be able to experience the world and life through these two, very different, lenses. She spends any time she can, when not writing, on her tandem exploring the countryside.

Emma also records and produces audio books and plays the trombone (although not at the same time).

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Turning Point – Excerpt from Shannon’s Law by Emma Calin

Of course they traveled at the front of the cabin on wide leather seats. She relaxed and watched him working seriously on his laptop. This was a business trip after all. The absence of chatter somehow allowed a wordless blanket to wrap around them. As they walked from the plane an Italian official greeted them. They bypassed all customs and immigration  checks as he showed the way to a waiting burnished motor launch. A couple of minutes later a bowing porter delivered their luggage and they set out across the still lagoon. The sky was white through to midnight blue and turning to rose. The sun brushed its last kiss before fleeing from the night. The scent was of the sea, summer heat, and humanity. The view ahead was a picture postcard. Slowly the Campanile grew larger as the onion-domed roof of the Cathedral of San Marco formed a silhouette against the hot pink sky.

She realized how little they’d spoken. They’d held hands, smiled, and let the presence of the other speak for itself. It was a quietness that was hard to kick-start into life. It had become a pause that had become a question. There was a depth in their simple presence together which their first new words mustn’t trivialize. Shannon knew that these coming words mustn’t fill their moment with chatter. She saw him  look at her seriously several times as they sat in the back of the speeding launch. However they moved on from here would set the agenda of her life. She was sure of that. So far they had run headlong like playing children along a corridor towards a door which would either open, or not. They paused breathless and silent looking at each other. They were about to try the handle.

The launch slowed as they neared land. He stood and drew her up beside him. Now the shapes of the buildings of Venice were overpowering against the twilight. He tilted up her chin and kissed her with a soft urgency that left her breathless.

“Such beauty, and the view’s not bad,” he said.

Her mood lifted a little as they kissed again. Other vessels and gondolas were close by. His words had awoken her but had left a void longing to be filled.

“It doesn’t seem real, this city and being here with you.”

“You’re real enough. I don’t have the talent to dream you up.”

“Spencer….” she began, not knowing how she was going to continue.

“This is Venice, Shannon. I have no obligations or rule book here….”

He was fencing and probing. There was no need to crowd him. She studied his strong, handsome face. He was one man with one woman. The world could make whatever it would of the rest of their story. It would never be more or less than that. They were  passing La Piazza San Marco and heading up into the wide mouth of the Grand Canal. Ahead was the fabulous church of Santa Maria Della Salute. They both  stared into the dusk. The navigation  lights of vessels were bright. A bridge spanned the canal ahead of them. She thought to ask its name but let it slide over their heads into the darkness. His arm was firm around her shoulders. She softened into him, willing him to understand his own strength through this metaphor of body against body.  She closed her eyes. His voice came deep from his chest.

“I love you,” he said.

The evening of Venice sighed and surrendered into the arms of night. The weight of all the words unsaid lifted from her heart and she was free.

“I love you,” she answered.

“Do you? Do you really? I’d been so afraid to say—in case you ran from some fool.”

“I’ve loved you since we sat by the lake.”

“Yes, that was it for me too.”

“So we’re both fools not to know that such a thing could happen,” she said. “I’ve been fighting it because I couldn’t believe anyone else was as crazy as me.”

The door had opened and they had charged headlong into a new space. She hugged his waist as his arms folded her in to him. Her mind raced ahead. What was the destination of this love?

“Before I said it, it was the most difficult thing on earth to say. Now I’ve let it out, it’s the only thing I can say,” he said.

“If I love you then it’s total, my hugga-bear. There’s no way back from love or murder. The jealous beast is out.”

“Jealous of a man like me?” he said smiling.

“Grrrrrr,” she replied.

“I wouldn’t want any other kind of love.”

“There is no other kind of love,” she said.

They were at the Rialto Bridge. They clung together in a kiss, oblivious of its magnificence. The launch had cut its engine and was coasting. There were only their words.

“My man.”

“My woman.”

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Emma Calin’s Links:

 

Amazon Universal Link: http://www.bookshow.me/shannons

Barnes and Noble Link: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/shannons-law-emma-calin/1118020965?ean=2940045552899

iTunes Link: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/book/shannons-law/id793730238?mt=11

Smashwords Link: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/395170

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18964441-shannon-s-law

Pinterest Page for Shannon’s Law:http://www.pinterest.com/emmacalin/shannons-law-launch-reveal-on-pinterest/

Facebook Page for Shannon’s Law: https://www.facebook.com/ShannonsLaw

Website for Shannon’s Law:  http://emmacalin.wix.com/shannons-law

Emma Calin’s Website

Emma Calin’s Twitter

Emma Calin’s Facebook

Emma Calin’s Blog

About.me page: http://about.me/emmacalin

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4915751.Emma_Calin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Turning Points Series – Linn B. Halton

My guest today is romance writer Linn B. Halton. If you like a good love story with a mild touch of the psychic influence, you’ll enjoy Linn’s books. Even if you aren’t a believer, you’ll find yourself caught up in the tangles of love.

Angels Among Us series

TURNING POINTS

I write about romance and relationships, but because of my beliefs and experiences in life there is usually a psychic connection. The Angels Among Us collection, published by Harper Impulse, is a trilogy of three thirty-thousand word novellas. I’d like to share a turning point from Falling (Angels Among Us #1), that defines the start of a romantic involvement between Ceri and Alex. They know each other well in a working environment, but have always kept their personal lives separate. Ceri has just admitted her big secret—she sees angels, everywhere. It’s not something she welcomes and it makes her feel different from everyone else. However, when it’s Alex’s turn, Ceri too is in for a surprise.

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Excerpt: 

“Okay, your turn. What’s your little secret?”

Alex puts his empty coffee cup on the floor and sits forward, stretching.

“You think I’m not interested in women,” he turns his head sideways to look at me before he continues. “I’m not. I’m only interested in one woman, and for some really obscure reason it’s not meant to be.”

He looks sad, no—more than that—beaten. It had never occurred to me that he was nursing a broken heart.

“I’m so sorry Alex. I never thought for one moment… and the dating agency?”

“It’s lonely at times,” he says, and it’s almost a whisper. “Rather sad for a guy in his early thirties. However, I’ve realised that I’m not prepared to settle. Maybe some men are born to be single. I enjoy my own company, so I can’t exactly complain.”

I move around to sit up next to him. If you put a few books in between us we’d be a great set of bookends. Still, like statues, each consumed by our own thoughts. Sharing a sense of sadness for the things that life has given us to deal with.

“I think I need another drink,” I say, heading off to grab what’s left of the wine and two fresh glasses. It’s going to be a long night.

***

I squint as the light filters in through the window. Closing one eye to avoid the brightness, I wonder why I forgot to close the curtains last night. My arm flops over the side of the bed and I stretch, my head beginning to clear a little. Oh, I’m never going to drink too much ever again. I haven’t said that since I was a teen and had a drunken session with a couple of girlfriends. Hearing a groan, I roll over and my stomach does a queasy flip. Alex is next to me, thankfully facing the other way. I wriggle slightly and realise I’m naked.

 

How complicated can one moment make the lives of two people? In this trilogy I take the reader on a journey to think about fate versus life choices. Do we tread a path laid out ahead of us, only able to meander slightly as we make our way along it? Or can we make our own turning points? Can we change our fate?

I know one thing for sure, writing was a major turning point for me and maybe what I’m doing now is fulfilling my fate.

Book blurb:

Ceri knows she’s different. What she doesn’t fully appreciate is that her task in life is to correct a series of incidents that alter the course of many of the people’s lives with whom she comes into contact. She’s simply putting right little errors that could ripple outwards and change the course of their destiny. However; when she finds herself getting pulled into things that happen around her, how can she prove that she really has made a difference? Is it all in her head?

She’s alone for a reason; she’s not meant to fall in love in her earthly life. Alex is supposed to cross paths with her and help Ceri during a phase where she begins to question the signs she’s being given. It’s meant to be a turning point for them both—but in opposite directions. They are destined to travel very different paths…but Ceri doesn’t know that and neither does Alex…

Read chapter one http://linnbhalton.co.uk/falling/

linnbhaltonAbout Linn B. Halton:

I live in the small village of Lydbrook, on the edge of the Forest of Dean (in the UK) with the man I fell in love with, virtually at first sight. We were at a party and our eyes ‘met’ across a crowded room! My days are spent with characters who become friends and Mr Tiggs, a feline with catitude. I always knew that one day I would write romantic novels, but I never dreamed they would have a psychic twist! I’ve experienced many ‘unexplainable’ things, but it took a long time for me to accept the reality of what that means. Love, life and beyond…but it’s ALWAYS about the romance!

Amazon: http://viewbook.at/FallingAngelsAmongUs

Website
Twitter: @LinnBHalton
Facebook: Linn B Halton and Author Linn B Halton

Pinterest
HarperImpulse author page
Romantic Novelists’ Association page
Editor of Loveahappyending Lifestyle emagazine

 

 

 

Love at the Ends of the Earth

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I asked author Pooben Narayanen to add his thoughts to our Valentine’s Day countdown with a Valentine’s-Day-related story. Here is what he came up with.

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Valentine’s Day related story, eh? Well, I have to admit that my partner and I aren’t into Valentine’s Day. We see it as being a bit too commercial. Over here it’s a big deal. I’m pretty sure that restaurants are booked and cards are flying off shelves, and although Mauritius grows roses, I wouldn’t be surprised if some aren’t being imported from Kenya or Holland.

However, I do have a Valentine story. It goes back to my secondary school days during my O level year (Mauritius follows the British system). It so happened that I was a bit of a whiz when it came to English literature. How did I know this? A few days before Valentine’s Day I noticed one of my classmates writing a letter to the love of his life. I couldn’t help myself and decided to give him a hand. Before I knew it I was helping guys from other classes. I ended up using quotes from Shakespeare. Their girlfriends loved it! Naturally nobody admitted that I was the one who wrote it. Ah, teenage love, eh?

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As for me my Valentine’s will be spent with my wife and two boys. I am an author who is trying to make a go of things. I am based in Mauritius, which for those who don’t know, is located all the way in the southern part of the Indian Ocean. You can find my first book “The Mount Hope Explorers Club & the Great White” on Kindle. I also have a website with short stories: www.mounthopeexplorersclub.com.

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Love – What’s all the Fuss About?

Valentine’s Day is only two weeks away!EmmaCalinclose700kYou remember Emma Calin, author of those racy romances involving police passion. Well, she hasn’t been arrested yet for writing such hot stuff, so she is here to share some Valentine secrets.

What Emma says about love!

Love means feeling empty without that special snore beside you.

Here’s my true Valentine adventure:

I needed a job. A job with money. No one employs novelists. I became the moral equivalent of a street-walking loan shark. Yes, I was a secret shopper. For weeks I checked out frazzled fast food flippers with a secret stopwatch tucked into my underwear. I ate microwaved cow pats of pub grub burgers. I reported back to mission control. They rejected my prose and alliteration. They blocked my wages.

Then came the assignment. A night for two at a posh hotel on Valentine’s day. I set out with Oscar on our tandem. We were the only mud-spattered guests in multicolored Lycra. We tried to blend in. Secret shoppers are told to keep gray and low. OK – I was a failure.

The hotel was fabulous. We dined on salmon seduced into nets by singing virgins in mountain streams. We drank champagne made from grapes each kissed by bubbly cherubs.

At the end of the meal there was a competition to win a cute but anonymous teddy bear. The challenge was to provide the best name. Oscar the poet came up with “Rose-a-Welt”.  He won and we went to bed. The manager told us to keep the noise down since people were still eating.

I gave the hotel a seven star purple prose review. The agency blocked my wages for adding extra stars. It was my final mission. The teddy still sits on my bed and starred in my Valentine’s video. I’ve still got my poet.

Emma -Teddy Rose-a-Welt

Emma’s hot novels:

Photo D - Shannon's Law all Emma Calin's books

http://www.about.me/emmacalin

http://www.pinterest.com/emmacalin/shannons-law-launch-reveal-on-pinterest/

https://www.facebook.com/emma.calin

https://twitter.com/EmmaCalin

http://www.emmacalin.blogspot.com

http://emmacalin.wix.com/shannons-law

McReady – by Lorne Finlayson

Finn

You will remember Finn from previous posts. All grown up from his prairie town adventures, Finn’s fascination with the local characters who clashed with the “milk and cookies” lifestyle of this young farmboy, has inspired him to write about some of these rough guys. Here is a snippet from his work in progress, about the seedy sod, McReady. You must understand that once in a while the language slips up. We can’t expect a character like McReady  to use words like “Oops-a-daisy” when the F word is more on the mark. I apologize in advance on behalf of McReady, the lout!

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Excerpt:

Jesus, my head was pounding. I just had to get out of bed and get a drink of water and some aspirin or something. Maybe a shot of gin would do it. Oh, I hate Saturday mornings. I always have a hangover. Before I rolled out I looked over at the other side of the bed. No one there. Damn. Struck out again. And she was so friendly in the bar, too.

I got my feet on the floor and heaved myself upright. Major accomplishment. No clean shirt, but yesterday’s was all right, so I put it on, pulled on my pants and jacket and fumbled around for my shoes. There were socks in them. I gave them the sniff test. They weren’t too ripe so I put them back on again, stuffed my wallet into my pocket, and jammed a brown hat onto my throbbing head. “Off to the coffee shop, Pal,” I ordered myself.

The landlady was already up. I could hear her scuffling around upstairs. Then, all went quiet and I knew she was listening to see if I was home so she could come down and bug my sorry butt about the overdue rent. Christ, I’m only a couple of weeks late, not like it’s any big deal. The old bag needs to get laid, that’s what I think. I stopped and considered the possibility, but, no, not now. A man had to have some standards and porking a 200-pound granny is a bit much, even for me. So, I planned my getaway. First, I rattled my back door lock, like I’m undoing it and getting ready to leave. Then, I stood real quiet and listened. I knew she heard me, and I heard her open her back door and head down the stairs to cut me off. So, I scooted out the front door and I was on my way, quick as Bob’s your uncle. Hardy har har. We’d played this game for years and I always won.

The sky was all grey, low clouds and the sun was up there but I couldn’t quite tell where. A cold breeze was swirling down the street, picking up the chocolate bar wrappers, cigarette packages and pieces of yesterday’s local newsrag and piling them all together in heaps along the curb between the parked cars. I could feel sand and some farmer’s topsoil gritting under my shoes. Normal morning in a prairie town. Just needed a few tumbleweeds and a couple of six guns and we could shoot a western. I figured as soon as I could get a stake together I was getting the hell out of here. Take the bus to the Coast. Some of my pals told me there’s good pickings in Prince George.

The Do-Drop-Inn was a greaseball joint with a half dozen or so round tables, a counter and a surly Yugoslav to run it. The door squealed as I walked in, asshole being too cheap to oil the fucking thing. His coffee was obscene, but it did the job on a dead body like mine. So, I poured one and looked around.

Over in the corner this other rounder, Moose, was having a greasy breakfast of ham, eggs and some slimy mush that resembled hash browns. He was sitting real close to his daughter Allie, a delightful little thing that he was trying to protect from us horse players and card sharks. I walked over and sat down and he looked up, a bit of egg on his porky chin. The sweetie looked up at me shyly and smiled, but said nothing and went back to her toast and jam.

“Christ, Moose,” I said, “kid can’t make out on toast and jam. Feed her some real food.”

That got his attention and he growled, “Hey, watch your mouth.”

Allie just giggled.

*****

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Have you met any “seedy sod” characters? I’m sure they’re all around us but they seem to stand out more in the healthy prairie environment. They make wonderful resource material for writers.