Publication Mania

I wrote a post about this about six years ago, but felt it was time for a re-posting, as I see an ever-increasing number of poorly edited books on the market.

One of the saddest things I see among beginning writers is their burning need to publish before their work is ready. For many writers in the early days of their career, publication at this stage often comes at the expense of their reputation as a good author.

Writers’ groups, for all their many good deeds, are sometimes gathering places for pompous snobs. I want to be clear that I am not down on writing groups. Far from it. The writing group I belonged to for several years involved a wonderful collection of writers who brought a variety of skills and experience, and who wrote in many different genres. The majority of the members were down-to-earth and extremely helpful to new writers.  However, my writing group also happened to have several authors whose agenda included basking in the prestige of “being published” rather than first concentrating on producing their best work or helping their colleagues.

Many new writers are particularly desperate to get their work out there for the public. They hear published authors going on and on about sales and book signings and reviews they’ve received, flaunting their “published” status as if they were royalty. Speaking of which, their “royalties” are often a mere pittance. Beginning writers can’t always see the truth beyond the veneer of big talk, and they become infected with the desire to publish at all costs — all costs except one; that of hiring a good copy-editor.

copy-editing

Why Should I Care?

Besides being a writer myself, I do a lot of freelance copy-editing and so, as I read, I often see work that is prematurely published. I believe that if you publish your writing (that is, put it out there for the world to see and read), it should be as good as you can make it with as few errors as possible.

One writer told me, “I don’t care if it has a few mistakes. I just want to get it published.” I cringed. She wanted the free copy-editing I offered her just to help her out, but she didn’t feel that she needed to make any changes or corrections. She was convinced that her writing was excellent. In fact, it was quite poor and needed a fair bit of work. This woman was an extreme case, displaying slovenly writing habits and a poor attitude. Most writers care a lot more about the quality of their work.

I understand that the cost of having work copy-edited can be onerous for some, especially when they have not yet made their millions on that bestselling novel, but an investment in a good copy-editing job will be worthwhile in the long run (and I do try to keep my prices low). The copy-editor spends many, many hours reading, correcting, and making suggestions for improvements to the author’s work. Unlike reading for pleasure, copy-editing involves careful scrutiny to find grammar, punctuation, and word usage problems. The job comes with a lot of responsibility.

In order to be  good copy-editors, we have to be a bit pedantic. I try not to overlook even the smallest of errors. For me, it is precisely because I care about writing so much, that I can do a good job of copy-editing.

What Does the Reader Look for?

When I am choosing a novel to read for pleasure, like most readers, I go to the first few pages of the paperback or the e-book sample to look for certain indicators of the writing quality.

  1. I want to be “hooked” on the first page. I do not want to read about scenery as the character drives by in a car. Nor do I want him to wake up to an alarm clock, or look out a window at the view with the description following. I don’t want to read about the character’s dream either.
  2. I look for the first instances of dialogue to give me an idea of the author’s skill in writing it. If a large variety of dialogue tags are used (responded, replied, answered, retorted, inquired) rather than “said” and “asked,” I lose interest, as this indicates either a very dated writing style or an inexperienced writer.
  3. If I see a pattern developing where, after each bit of dialogue, the speaker is doing something (for example, “Wait for me,” John said, turning around to grab his suitcase), especially if it uses an “ing” word, for me that is often the book’s death knell.
  4. Incorrect usage of words makes me shudder. I cringe when I see “lay” and “lie” misused. I’m sure many readers feel the same when they see the wrong word used.

Just because your Aunt Mary has read your manuscript and told you it is perfect, doesn’t mean that it really is. It just means that she loves you. So DON’T publish that book yet! A good copy-editor can save you from yourself. Get it copy-edited properly and then you don’t have to worry about mistakes in your book, and tarnish your reputation as an author forever.

Anneli[7]

If you are in the market for a good copy-editor, please contact me. I will do three pages of copy-editing for you for free and you can decide whether this is what you need for your novel, or article, or whatever form your writing takes.

P.S. I am older (and wiser) now, than I was when this picture was taken. Just wanted to be honest.

 To find out more about me, please visit my website at:   http://anneli-purchase.com

What Turns Readers Off

A couple of weeks ago I read a review of a book on someone’s blog and I was intrigued by the plot of the featured book. Thankfully I have forgotten the name of that book so I don’t need to worry about accidentally giving away the name or shaming the author, which I would never purposely do.

But as I read the synopsis of the book, I was seriously going to download the book and went to the link on amazon to do just that. I did what I usually do before downloading an e-book and clicked on the book cover’s “Look Inside” feature.

I read two pages and knew that I would not be able to stomach reading this book, no matter how good the plot was or how wonderful the story might be.

What turned me off in those first two pages?

It was the “ing” words. I can’t give specific examples from the book, and to be honest, I don’t really want to do that, but you’ll get the picture if I give you some generic examples. (To be fair, the dialogue was more interesting than what I will give here, but my examples are merely to make the point about the tiresome overuse of “ing” words.)

“What do you think?” she asked, twirling a lock of her hair in between her fingers.

“Oh, I don’t know,” he said, grinning at her. “Why don’t you tell me what you think first?” he asked, looking at her slyly.

Getting up and walking around the room, she pondered her response. “It was good, don’t you think?” she asked, giving him a hopeful smile.

Jumping up to hug her, he said, “You’ve guessed right.”

*****

I just couldn’t handle a whole book of that, so I didn’t download that novel that was probably a great story, but written with a major weakness in writing style.

A good copy-editor could have saved the author from him/herself.

www.anneli-purchase.com

A Lousy Story

A very long time ago, Eleanor, a friend who worked in the Hudson’s Bay store in Vancouver, was going to get her hair done in the Bay (they used to have a hair salon right in the store), but she didn’t have an appointment.

“If you come back in about 45 minutes I can do your hair,” the salon receptionist said.

“No problem,” said Eleanor, “I’ll just browse around the store while I’m waiting.”

Eleanor wandered around the hat department and tried on different hats. She looked in the mirror and laughed as the hats seemed to change her personality with each different hat style.

At last the time was up and, still smiling, she entered the salon to get her hair done.

The salon girl lifted some of the tresses of Eleanor’s hair. “So what are we doing today? A shampoo and cut?Suddenly she dropped her hands and said, “I can’t do your hair.”

“Why not?”

“You have lice.”

“WHAT?” Eleanor’s jaw dropped. She shook her head. “You’re kidding. I don’t have lice. I’ve never had lice.”

“Yes, I’m sorry, but you do have lice and I can’t do your hair,” the hairdresser repeated.

“Well!” Eleanor harrumphed. “If I have lice, I got them in this store.”

“Where did you go in the store?”

“I wandered around looking at some dresses and then I went to the hat section and tried on some hats….” Eleanor’s eyes grew bigger. “You don’t think….”

“Let’s go see,” the hairdresser said.

They went from one hat to the other, all the ones that Eleanor had tried on. The hairdresser picked up a tam that Eleanor said she’d tried on, and said, “Oh … my … here is the culprit.”

The inside of the hat was crawling with the tiny critters.

“I’ll do the treatment on your hair for free,” the hairdresser told her.

*****

I haven’t tried on a hat in a shop ever since I heard this story.

Emotion in Writing

When I read a book, I often base my opinion of whether it’s a good story or not, by the emotion it brought out in me. If a book made me laugh or cry it was usually a good one. Of course there are many other emotions besides happiness or sadness. Fear, paranoia, depression, sympathy, worry; they are all part of our emotions. It is the writer’s job to draw the reader into the story by making him care about the characters. As a reader, if I feel that I am emotionally drawn in, that usually means I’m enjoying the book.

I would like to share with you an excerpt from my novel, Julia’s Violinist. I hope you’ll feel some kind of emotion as you read it.

Excerpt from Julia’s Violinist

Three days later the POWs gathered their few possessions and lined up at the Stalag gates to have their passbooks stamped on their way to freedom. The last distribution of mail was done as the soldiers passed through the gates. Only a handful of POWs had mail. Karl thought he must have heard wrong when his name was called. The Russian guard tossed a tatty bundle of letters to him and read the next name. Karl was stunned. Not a single letter for over a year and now, on the last day, a bundle of … thirty-one, he counted. All from Julia.

He was frantic with wanting to open them, but nothing, not even these special letters, could make him lag behind in the POW camp. Out! Out! Just get out first, and then I can look at them.

As soon as he was out of sight of the prison camp, he sank down on the ground beside the road. His hands trembled as he opened the first letter. Through tears he saw her lovely handwriting, so perfect and neat; words that spoke of loneliness and longing. Each letter contained a small anecdote of Julia’s home life and ended with the hope that they would see each other again. Around the edges of the pages his name was written over and over in a border design, “KarlKarlKarlKarl. I miss you, Karl.”

He wasn’t sure how long he sat there. Other recently released POWs walked by. No one stopped. They had seen it all and there was nothing unusual about a man sitting in the dirt crying his eyes out as he read his mail.

Front Cover  jpg (1)(2)

Julia’s Violinist is available at all amazon sites in paperback or Kindle and at smashwords.com in paperback and all e-reader formats. You can find out more about my books on my webpage:  http://www.anneli-purchase.com

Warning Signs: A Story about Obsession

Horror and gruesome killing upset me and I don’t like to read about these details. But author, Carol Balawyder, handles the murder scenes in her novel about a serial killer so deftly that I just wanted to keep turning pages – never having the urge to hide my eyes – only wanting to know more.

Once I was hooked (on the first page), she introduced the characters gradually, allowing me to get to know them as they each struggled with various dilemmas. Ms. Balawyder expertly slipped in details that would be needed later to make the culmination of the plot flow easily. Nothing happens that seems contrived, because the groundwork was laid earlier in the book.

Each of the characters had major flaws but they also had redeeming traits. Even Eugene, the serial killer, was not all bad. Imagine empathizing with a serial killer!

The tension regarding the murderer escalates, and we expect this, but when he befriends Angie, their internal conflicts come into play as well. We already understand why Angie would fall for someone like Eugene, because, by now, we know her personality. But will Eugene hurt Angie? What will Angie do once she suspects that Eugene may be the killer?

What about Darren, the policeman who finds Angie attractive? Will his feelings toward her interfere with his murder investigation?

I was impressed by the way this novel’s plot flowed so smoothly, pulling me in as the characters I came to know so well became entangled in it.

After being drawn into the story on page one, I didn’t want to put the book down until I read, “THE END,” and even then I was thinking about it after I closed the book.

Carol Balawyder

Visit Carol Balawyder’s page on amazon to see all of her novels.

The Crossroads Trilogy

Three Great Books

We all love to read a book that is so good we can’t put it down. Imagine finding three of them! You’ll get that in the Crossroads Series written by Jacqui Murray. Her books caught me by surprise. I read “Survival of the Fittest” not realizing at the time that it was the first of three in The Crossroads Series.

Well, I LOVED the book.

It was a story that could have been true, but of course it was fiction. The setting is  Africa, 850,000 years ago. Yes, you read that right. It was a long, long time ago when mankind was in the early stages of development. People, like animals, had to live by their wits and be very strong, smart, and lucky, or die.  Only the fittest survived the ordeals these people went through in their everyday life: hunting and gathering food, traveling in rough terrain, being attacked by “Others,” and surviving natural disasters.

Though the life rules were different, human nature, even then, was something we can relate to today. The emotions that ran through these people of long ago were much the same as what we feel now.

Xhosa, a strong female character leads her group on a long migration in search of a place where they can be safe and have enough food and shelter to survive. Some other smaller tribes join up with hers for safety, and each brings a new dynamic to the group. Ms. Murray is skilled at making you care about her characters, and before you know it, you will be hooked.

Without saying too much more about the plot, I just want to tell you that I was sorry the book ended, but overjoyed to find that there was a Book Two, called “The Quest for Home.”

I devoured that book as well and still wanted more!

Now, at last, Ms. Murray has Book Three ready for publication. I was lucky enough to have a sneak preview and I can tell you you’re in for a treat if you read these books. “Against All Odds” completes the three-book series.

In this final book, Xhosa’s extraordinary prehistoric saga concludes, filled with hardship, courage, survival, and family.

 

 

Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers, and the Man vs. Nature saga. She is also adjunct professor of technology in education, blog webmaster, an Amazon Vine Voice,  a columnist for  NEA Today, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. Look for her next prehistoric fiction, Laws of Nature, Book 2 in the Dawn of Humanity trilogy, Winter 2021.

 Available digitally (print soon) at: Kindle US   Kindle UK   Kindle CA   Kindle AU

You can find out more about Jacqui Murray by clicking the links below:

Amazon Author Page:        https://www.amazon.com/Jacqui-Murray/e/B002E78CQQ/

Blog:                                       https://worddreams.wordpress.com

Instagram:                             https://www.instagram.com/jacquimurraywriter/

LinkedIn:                                http://linkedin.com/in/jacquimurray

Pinterest:                                http://pinterest.com/askatechteacher

Twitter:                                   http://twitter.com/worddreams

Website:                                 https://jacquimurray.net

For your entertainment, here is the book trailer for Book Three, “Against All Odds.”

No Fancy Man

She pulled over to the side of the gas station after she gassed up, and made the call. At the pumps Brent was leaning his shoulder into the side of his truck, staring off into space as he held the nozzle in the gas tank. The profile of his face was perfect—manly, but fine. His blue checkered work shirt had a tear in the elbow. Jeans were dirty and smeared with dried blood—from the deer, she presumed. She sure hoped that was what the blood was from. How was she to know? She’d only just met him. His canvas vest had lots of pockets, more practical than fashionable. Seemed like islanders tended to be that way. Kodiak boots half unlaced told her he must have walked a lot today and maybe his feet were sore. Fancy, he was not.

Marlie, a young teacher newly arrived in the Queen Charlotte Islands has a lot to learn. The rough island life tests her survival skills both physically and socially. She finds that with the beauty of the islands come hidden and unexpected dangers.

If you like page-turner stories of love, adventure, and danger, why not download “Marlie”? It is available on all amazon outlets for Kindle and paperback, and on smashwords.com and nook.com (Barnes and Noble) for all formats of e-readers.

 

To find out more, visit my website at http://www.anneli-purchase.com

A Matter of Thyme

Enjoy a Mystery and Support a Good Cause

My guest today is Douglas Logan, author of “A Matter of Thyme.”

Doug is a management consultant, facilitator, public speaker, Rotarian – and long-time author of reports and plans.

One day, having just finished writing a lengthy document on innovation, he went for a walk to clear his head. As he did, it occurred to him that not all the words he put to paper had to be so dry.

“Maybe I need to broaden my horizons,” he thought. “What if there was a mystery to be solved?” So, he sat at his keyboard to see just what kind of mystery might need solving. A Matter of Thyme was the result.

A cold, foggy night. The dead body of a well-respected principal is discovered lying frozen on the highway. He drowned and it’s obvious something untoward has happened. But after several months the police know nothing more than this, and still can’t explain how his corpse came to rest on the cold hard pavement.

Frustrated and impatient with the lack of progress, the victim’s sister asks Justin Thyme for help. Once a highly talented investigator, Thyme has been forced out of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police by the sudden onset of PTSD. Unemployed and living alone he’s learning to control his illness and carve out a new life for himself.

Thyme is at first reluctant to get involved. But encouraged by close friends, he accepts the offer and begins to untangle the mystery and learn more about his new self.

Available at:

Amazon – https://www.amazon.ca/Matter-Thyme-Douglas-Logan/dp/1999018605/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=a+matter+of+thyme&qid=1564678756&s=gateway&sr=8-1

Kobo – https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/a-matter-of-thyme

And iBooks on your Apple device.

AN OPPORTUNITY TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE

The Rotary Club of Halifax Harbourside On-Line will invest proceeds from sales of A MATTER OF THYME in women striving to build better lives for themselves, their families and communities.

According to the World Bank, the best investment we can make in developing countries is to support women’s labour force and business participation.

EARTH SHATTERING CONTEST ANNOUNCEMENT!

Once a month for the next six months the author is giving away a free signed copy of A Matter of Thyme! 

To win your copy, all you need to do is to answer a skill testing question! People who answer correctly will have their name entered in a draw held at the end of each month.

This month’s draw will take place Saturday, August 31.

But wait! There’s more!

At the end of the sixth month, there will be a second draw from all entries received over the six months. That winner of that draw will have the right to have their name used for one of the key characters in the next Justin Thyme mystery, tentatively titled No Thyme for Crying!

What could possibly be more exciting?!

So, let’s get started!

Since the Rotarians are using proceeds from sales to invest in women in developing countries, their first skill testing question is Rotary related:

What is the name of the person responsible for starting Rotary International?

Send your answers to Thyme@bell.net

Good luck!

And don’t forget to share this with your friends! In fact, share like crazy!

Power: A Passion Patrol Novel

Emma Calin doesn’t just take it easy on the beach. She is busy writing steamy suspense romance stories.

Power’ is the 9th title in the ‘Passion Patrol Series’.

Each story in the series introduces one of Emma Calin’s sassy female cops.  These tough police officers are as passionate about solving crime and locking up the bad guys, as they are about the men they love.

Every book features a different crime episode, with villains to be caught. Threaded through the mystery, our heroine meets and falls for the love of her life, but not without obstacles and dilemmas along the way. Cops from earlier stories make appearances in later books,  as they progress up the career ladder. Knowledge of their stories is not necessary and the books can be read in any order.  

And here’s a treat for you!
The first book in the series is FREE (‘Guilt‘). This story highlights the adventures in crime and love of a dog-handler, Helen Marx and her trusty K9 partner, Lanza.  (LINK: https://emma-calin-author.lpages.co/download-from-from-giveaway/).


The newest title, ‘Power‘ tells of a young rookie cop, Olivia. She encounters visiting American congressman, Jackson T. Paine during a violent incident on the streets of London. Their attraction is strong but he’s a high profile guy, earmarked as a future president and their relationship is unlikely to succeed.  Controversy is rife as rivals try to smear this presidential contender.  Scandals that also smear Olivia and compromise her position, result in a change of role within the police. These crooks at the heart of power are determined and will use any means to spoil his campaign, ruin his image and remove him as a candidate – even if that means death.  But he of course has the ultimate weapon – a woman in love.  Read this book to feel the victory of the human heart. 

Here is the typical setting for one of the planned attacks on Jackson’s life. Who would expect assassins to be lurking just around the corner? As you read the story, you’ll be right there with Olivia as she does her “hero” thing to save the life of the man she has come to love and admire.

You’ll love this book!


Buy direct from author:  https://emma-calin-author.lpages.co/power-landing-page-01/
Universal link to buy from a choice of online book sellers (Amazon, B&N, Kobo, Apple etc.):  http://books2read.com/PPPower


The launch editions of ‘Power’ include a link at the back of the book to a giveaway draw – with a chance to win a Kindle Fire 7 or equivalent Amazon Gift Card. 

A Father for Bella

I’m pleased to devote this post to Jill Weatherholt and her novel which I have just read.

Jill hard at work with her writing

Jill Weatherholt’s romance novel, “A Father for Bella” is something different from the usual romance. The relationship between Joshua Carlson and the little girl, Bella, is truly touching. The love story between Bella’s mother and Joshua is almost secondary.

The book has Christian content, and although I would have preferred not to have it as a part of the package, it was little enough that it didn’t bother me to read it. Others may be glad of that aspect of the writing. To each, his own.

Bella is almost six years old and already she has a personality that is so endearing that you want everything to work out the way she wants – and all she wants is a father to love her and to be there for her. When Joshua stumbles into the lives of Bella and her mother, Faith, we want things to work out for them, for Bella’s sake. But the obstacles are great. Their goals are so different.

“A Father for Bella” is a heartwarming story that is not without its twists and turns. Emotions are at play throughout the novel and these carry the reader through to the end. The relationship between Bella and Joshua is very touching, but will it be enough to become more than casual? Read it and find out.

You can find out more about Jill and her books on her website: http://jillweatherholt.com/jills-books/