The Importance of a Good Editor

The Importance of a Good Editor

by Carl Schmidt, author of the mystery novel, Dead Down East

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Every seasoned novelist will tell you that there is absolutely no substitute for a good editor.

An editor doesn’t just alert you to mistakes in spelling, grammar, sentence structure, and punctuation; editing goes way beyond that. Your story needs to be consistent, factually correct, clear, and succinct. This might sound obvious, but when you are dealing with a 90,000-word novel, there are plenty of ways to muck it up on every single page.

So. You’ve written your first novel, or maybe you’ve just completed a letter to the editor of your local newspaper. Chances are you’ve read it several times, and it looks good to you. You’re excited about it. You’ve created a likable story or perhaps you’ve made some kind of definitive statement. Now you want to have it published.

Hold your horses, Kemosabe.

This last sentence is a perfect example of why you need an editor. I know what “Kemosabe” means, but do you? I was raised on The Lone Ranger and Tonto, but if you are considerably younger than I, you might not have a clue. And if you don’t, I may have just lost you as a reader. A good editor will bring this to your attention and make sure you use references that will be familiar to your target audience.

Every chapter in your novel needs to have a fresh beginning and a logical conclusion. The fresh beginning will keep your reader awake and will revitalize his/her interest in your story. The logical conclusion will wrap up that particular scene and give the reader a breather. It may have taken you a week to write the chapter, and in that time you have been so wrapped up in the content of the storyline that you may have lost sight of what your reader knows at this point and the pace of his reading experience. If your editor suggests that the chapter rambles, then clean it up and shorten it. If your editor says that something is missing or unclear, then you probably have left too much to the reader’s imagination.

Another important purpose of editing is to broaden your vocabulary so that highly descriptive words or phrases are not overused. A Thesaurus can help with this, but every author has a tendency to repeat himself in some way, either with specific words or sentence patterns. Repetition will blemish your story, and a good editor can spot it.

JanMarie Moullen edited my first three novels. She has an uncanny ability for recalling my use of unique adjectives and adverbs and letting me know when they appear too often throughout the book. There were instances where she went back 50 pages or more in the text to find that I had used an unusually graphic word, and when it appeared for just a second time, much later in the book, it stood out to her as tiresome. And…she was right.

Overall, I took her advice about 95 percent of the time. I learned to trust her judgment, and it paid dividends. Several reviewers have commented on how crisp the editing is in my first novel. She deserves most of that credit.


About the Author

Carl Schmidt graduated from Denver University with a degree in mathematics and physics. As a Woodrow Wilson Fellow, he studied mathematics at Brown University.

Carl lived and traveled widely throughout Asia for seven years, including two years as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Philippines and five years in Japan, where he taught English.

Carl has spent dozens of summers in Maine, on lakes, and in the woods. He chose it as the setting for this novel because he loves its rugged natural beauty and the charming idiosyncrasies of Mainers. He has also written and recorded three musical albums. This, along with his formal education, proved invaluable when molding the persona and voice of Jesse Thorpe, the narrator of Dead Down East, and endowing him with both a creative eye for detail and a sense of humor.

Dead Down East is the first novel in the Jesse Thorpe Mystery Series, which includes A Priestly Affair and Redbone.  In 2001, New Falcon Press published his non-fictional book, A Recipe for Bliss: Kriya Yoga for a New Millennium.

Currently, he is a freelance writer living in Sedona, Arizona with his lovely wife, Holly, and their faithful German shorthaired pointer, Alize.

The Lavender in Bloom Playlist

The Lavender in Bloom Playlist

by Lily Velez

I absolutely love music and its power to stir the heart and so deeply move us. Creating a playlist for my books is one of my go-to strategies in my writer’s toolbox because listening to that playlist is the easiest way for me to get into the mood of a scene or the headspace of a particular character. Below, check out the tracks that made it onto the playlist for Lavender in Bloom, along with commentary on why each song’s so perfect for the storyYou can listen to the entire playlist for Lavender in Bloom here.

Frail Love by Cloves — This song was an absolute Godsend and I’m so glad I found it, as it ended up becoming the ‘theme song’ for Lavender in Bloom. Every last lyric was just perfect for Noah and Jeremie’s story. Especially these particular lines: I can’t live it like I’m living, I can’t live a lie, I’m giving up more than I should, forgive me for my frail love.

All I Want by Kodaline — For the longest time, this track was the theme song for Lavender in Bloom. I honestly couldn’t listen to it without getting teary-eyed, as it so perfectly captures the tragedy of Noah and Jeremie’s story. Favorite lines: When you said your last goodbye, I died a little bit inside and If you loved me, then why’d you leave me? 

The Beautiful Ones by The Battle of Land and Sea — I love this song because, for one, it’s a break from the sad songs, but also because I feel it sets the mood for Noah’s life in the countryside. It has a very rural feel to it that makes me think of simple and tranquil living.

Say Something by A Great Big World ft. Christina Aguilera — Another perfect song for Noah and Jeremie’s story. In fact, there’s a point in Lavender in Bloom where Jeremie outright tells Noah to just say the word, and he’ll be his. There’s also a point where they’re sort of at odds, waiting for the other to make the first move (or speak the first word, as it were), and this song really captures that. Favorite lines: Anywhere I would’ve followed you and I will swallow my pride: you’re the one that I love and I’m saying goodbye.  

The Power of Love by Gabrielle Aplin — I included this song because it really captured the mood for a fable that’s featured in Lavender in Bloom. In fact, it’s a fable that describes how lavender first came into bloom in France. It’s based on an ‘alternate universe’ story featuring Noah and Jeremie, and it would be the perfect song for a montage of their love. Favorite line: The power of love, a force from above, cleaning my soul.

Make it Holy by The Staves — This is such a pretty song, and it’s perfect from Jeremie’s perspective. Favorite lines: I could make you want me, make you need me, make you mine. I could make it holy, make it special, make it right.

Forgetting by David Gray — Another sad song. From the very first chords, this song just sets the mood for a scene of heartbreak. It kind of has a nostalgic feel to it. Despite the title of the song, it’s the type of song that makes you remember times long past.

Ashes by Madi Diaz — This is another song I see as being from Jeremie’s perspective, especially toward the end of the book, when he asks Noah to make a certain decision. Favorite lines: Don’t you let me down and No, I won’t stand to keep watching you stay.

I Will Love You by Gin Wigmore — One of the few happy love song on the Lavender in Bloom playlist, and the only one with a more upbeat melody. As such, it’s very much treasured. This is a cute one, too. I love every single lyric, but my favorite lines are: If you die before I do, I know that heartache will kill me, too, so if I ever lived again, it would be to find you. It’s especially perfect because I can definitely see Noah and Jeremie as living many lives and finding each other in each one.

Tell Me How to Feel by Maggie Eckford — This song captures one of the main character’s thoughts in the wake of the book’s concluding actions, in which they just feel so blindsided, lost, and heartbroken.

Benediction by Luke Sital-Singh — This song has a sad vibe from the start, and it’s also one I picked because it instantly makes me think of the lavender fable and Noah and Jeremie’s ‘alternate universe’ story. Favorite lines: There’s a knock in the silence, I see death at the door, But I know we’ll be alright, ‘Cause your hands are still warm and I’m sorry we don’t have forever, but come die with me.

Hengilas by Jonsi — This song’s in another language (Icelandic!), but it has such an atmospheric quality to it that just draws you in. Favorite lines: We look into foreign eyes, yet we have always known each other. Perfect, because Jeremie has a line in Lavender in Bloom about Noah’s eyes feeling like home even from the moment he first looked into them.

Lavender in Bloom Book Cover
Lavender in Bloom Young Adult, Romance, Historical Fiction Goodreads | Amazon

A heartbreaking tale about love and loss…

It’s the year 1802 in Avignon, France.

Noah Capet has spent most of his young life living simple and unvaried days in the hushed countryside of southern France. Quiet, reserved, and diffident, his preference for existing is to do so in solitude, keeping to himself both in town and on his family’s farm—a predilection that’s altogether disrupted when a newcomer to town by the name of Jeremie Perreault begins an unremitting quest to befriend him.

Jeremie is everything Noah is not. Charismatic and gregarious, he leaves a trail of charmed admirers in his wake wherever he goes. Expressive and idealistic, he talks without end about his deep love for old books and his spirited dream to one day travel the world on a literary pilgrimage.

Over the course of a single summer, the two form an unlikely friendship, but just as quickly as it develops, it soon entirely dissolves as they’re forced to face the truth of what has unexpectedly emerged between them.

Lavender in Bloom is a tender and tragic coming-of-age story about first love and self-discovery, and a poignant reminder that time is fleeting and always takes with it the choices we’re too afraid to make.

About the Author

Lily Velez has been writing stories since she was six years old. Not much has changed since then. She still prefers the written word and her overactive imagination over the ‘real world’ (though to be fair, her stories no longer feature talking dinosaurs). A graduate of Rollins College and a Florida native, when she’s not reading or writing, she spends most of her days wrangling up her pit bulls Noah and Luna, planning exciting travel adventures, and nursing her addiction to cheese. All this when she isn’t participating in the extreme sport known as napping. You can learn more about Lily and her books at www.lilyvelezbooks.com.

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Belinda Mulrooney: Queen of the Klondike

Belinda Mulrooney: Queen of the Klondike

by Andrew Joyce

While doing research for my latest novel, Resolution: Huck Finn’s Greatest Adventure, I came across an astounding woman—one who bested some of the toughest men in the world at their own game. Her name was Belinda Mulrooney.

The setting for RESOLUTION is the Yukon Territory in the year 1896. The biggest discovery of gold had just been made and the outside world was flocking in by the tens of thousands. The women who made the arduous climb over the Chilkoot Pass and flowed down the Yukon River to Dawson City—the hub of the goldfields—all traveled with their menfolk. All, that is, except the twenty-five year old Belinda. She came to Dawson City in 1897 . . . alone.

She arrived without a dime to her name, but she had had the foresight to bring along something that she knew would be in great demand in that hostile environment. She brought one bolt of silk and another of cotton along with fine and delicate ladies’ undergarments. She had trudged over the pass carrying dresses, petticoats, and things that the women who had been in the vicinity before the gold strike—and those that were pouring in—would pay a hefty price for.

Belinda constructed a crude cabin from scrap lumber to live in; its roof—a piece of canvas. The cabin also doubled as a makeshift store. She set up a wood plank to act as a counter and went into business.

After months and sometimes years of wearing coarse, men’s clothing, the women were more than ready to feel a little softness against their skin. They had their men pulling out their pokes of gold dust and lining up with them to purchase the frilly treasures before they were all gone.

Once the last camisole had been sold and Belinda had a substantial poke of her own, she cast an eye about to see how she would next separate the miners from their dust.

She noticed that the few eating establishments in town offered a very dull bill of fare, so she hired herself a man to do the cooking and converted her store into a restaurant. The food she served was so far superior to her competitors’ that the miners were soon lining up outside her cabin, waiting for a seat at one of the few tables inside.

Her poke grew even heavier.

When Belinda saw that the influx of people to the area was not abating, but growing, she went into the property development business. She bought empty lots in town, hired men to build cabins on them, and sold the cabins for an astronomical profit.

Her poke grew heavier still.

At the time, all the mining took place up Bonanza and Eldorado Creeks. When the men needed supplies or just a respite from their back-breaking labors, they would have to hike into Dawson. But first they would have to trek down-creek anywhere from five to ten miles to where the creeks converged. Then it was an additional sixteen miles into Dawson.

Belinda looked at the spit of land where the creeks met and thought it would be a good place to build a hotel and save the miners a thirty-two mile round trip hike into Dawson. And at the same time, add a little dust to her poke. Hence, she built the Grand Forks Hotel—a two-story affair. The downstairs housed the bar and the dining room. Upstairs were bunk beds for the miners to catch forty winks before heading back to their claims. The place was always filled to capacity . . . and then some. The hotel was such a success that Belinda built another one. The Fairview Hotel was the first three-story structure in Dawson.

The gold dust continued to pour in.

With no sewers or sanitary conditions to speak of, the water around Dawson soon became polluted. So Belinda started the Yukon Hygeia Water Supply Company, which sold boiled and purified water. The endeavor paid off handsomely. She also bought stakes in numerous claims up and down the creeks. Within a year of landing in Dawson as a penniless, single woman, she had amassed a fortune of almost three million dollars.

The next year, she married a man that was more in love with her money than with her. After he had gone through a good portion of it, she caught on and divorced him.

In 1908, she settled in Washington State where she built herself a grand mansion. She lived there until the 1920’s when her money ran out forcing her to take menial jobs such as housekeeping and sewing dresses for the wealthy ladies of Seattle.

She died in 1967 at the ripe old age of 95, feisty to the end.

Belinda Mulrooney left the Yukon Territory with as much gold, if not more, than any of the miners. And she did so without panning for an ounce of it while standing stooped over in the freezing waters of a creek. She did it without turning one shovelful of frozen earth. She did it using her wits and the brains that the good Lord had given her.

Belinda Mulrooney was one hellava woman!


About the Book

It is 1896 in the Yukon Territory, Canada. The largest gold strike in the annals of human history has just been made; however, word of the discovery will not reach the outside world for another year.

By happenstance, a fifty-nine-year-old Huck Finn and his lady friend, Molly Lee, are on hand, but they are not interested in gold. They have come to that neck of the woods seeking adventure.

Someone should have warned them, “Be careful what you wish for.”

 When disaster strikes, they volunteer to save the day by making an arduous six hundred mile journey by dog sled in the depths of a Yukon winter. They race against time, nature, and man. With the temperature hovering around seventy degrees below zero, they must fight every day if they are to live to see the next.

On the frozen trail, they are put upon by murderers, hungry wolves, and hostile Indians, but those adversaries have nothing over the weather. At seventy below, your spit freezes a foot from your face. Your cheeks burn—your skin turns purple and black as it dies from the cold. You are in constant danger of losing fingers and toes to frostbite.

It is into this world that Huck and Molly race.

They cannot stop. They cannot turn back. They can only go on. Lives hang in the balance—including theirs.

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About the Author

Andrew Joyce left high school at seventeen to hitchhike throughout the US, Canada, and Mexico. He wouldn’t return from his journey until decades later when he decided to become a writer. Joyce has written four books, including a two-volume collection of one hundred and forty short stories comprised of his hitching adventures called BEDTIME STORIES FOR GROWN-UPS (as yet unpublished), and his latest novel, RESOLUTION. He now lives aboard a boat in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, with his dog, Danny, where he is busy working on his next book, YELLOW HAIR.     Website

Why I Write Horror

Why I Write Horror

by JeanNicole Rivers

Horror is life, real life in its most raw physical nature, but simultaneously abstract. It is everything boiled down into spine tingling minutes and seconds that require one to make decisions that could change everything. I write horror for many reasons but mostly because of all genres, it is the only one that sticks to me long after the book has ended and the credits have run, like spots of blood on one’s hand that refuse to wash away. It sleeps with me, nudging me in side late into the night. It disturbs me.

Horror feels more real than any other genre. I have always preferred real and true, no matter how dirty, over all of the comfortable and pretty things and that is exactly what horror delivers. The situations in horror, life or death, kill or die, save them or save myself are the closest we come to seeing who we truly are in the deepest places of our psychic and physical being and this is what produces that oh so well-known adrenaline pump that hooks people to the screen, not allowing them to look away.

Living those moments over and over has the power to give us a true glimpse into the mirror and sometimes, ironically enough, that is the most frightening thing of all.


Black Water Tales: The Unwanted
by JeanNicole Rivers
Publication date: March 31st 2016
Genres: Adult, Horror
Synopsis

In the remote, eastern European town of Borslav there is St. Sebastian orphanage, a place where people discard their unwanted children. For the American, Blaire Baker, it’s the perfect place to volunteer her services. Paired with a cheerful volunteer nurse, Blaire is enthusiastic about the possibilities, but is quickly discouraged when she encounters the nefarious nature of the staff and the deplorable conditions of the facility and the children.

Upon arrival, one of the children informs Blaire, “There’s something in the basement.” It isn’t long before strange things begin happening, including Blaire’s flashbacks of the accident that killed her parents. The children soon suffer injuries that Blaire, first, fears may be the deeds of the callous workers but she soon thinks the abuse may originate from a source that is less than human, something unwanted.

The unwanted is coming but in order for Blaire to fight it, she must dig into St. Sebastian and herself in search of truth. Blaire wants nothing more than to help the children, but when discovers the tragedy that happened in the basement and learns that the same evil forces are still at work, it will be Blaire who needs help… There’s something in the basement.


About the Author

I was born in the tiny, but lovable town of Centralia, IL which has a two screen movie theatre, one high school and still celebrates May Fete, so I had no choice, but to develop a fantastic imagination. Since childhood I have been writing everything from short stories to songs, but I have always aspired to compose a novel. Black Water Tales: The Secret Keepers is my first novel and the first book in what will be a series of thriller novels.

Philosophy was my study in college and I received a Bachelor of Arts in the subject from Florida International University. Writing is one of my most favored artistic pursuits, but my love for the arts does not stop there, I am also a vocalist and actress and participate in local theater in Houston Texas.

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Brooke and Jesse, Acrostic

Brooke and Jesse, Acrostic

Please welcome Laura Lascarso, author of the Racing Hearts series, to my blog. Also, check below for your chance to win a copy of the Racing Hearts Box Set!

Brooke and Jesse, Acrostic

By Laura Lascarso

Brooke

Bold

Reckless

One-of-a-kind

Obsessed

Kindhearted

Exciting

Jesse

Just

Exacting

Steadfast

Skillful

Earnest


Title: Racing Hearts Compilation (Paperback)
Author: Laura Lascarso
Genre: Young Adult Romance
Release Date: Available Now!

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Book One:

Eighteen-year-old Jesse Copeland learns of a local car race sponsored by his father’s nemesis, Shep Bradley, and the prize money might be enough to keep his family from losing their home—if he can win. 

Brooke, Shep’s daughter, is also aiming to compete, with or without her father’s approval. She’ll do whatever it takes to persuade Jesse to make her car race ready. Both are driven, both are risk-takers, and soon it’s more than engines getting fired up. Jesse tells himself their relationship is strictly business, until it isn’t.

Can two star-crossed lovers overcome a family feud as old as Ford vs. Chevy, or will the competition become too explosive for these racing hearts?

Book Two:

See you at the finish line… 

With the big race weeks away, eighteen-year-old Jesse Copeland struggles to keep his head in the game and his hands off his smoking hot competition. But when Brooke reveals a secret that could destroy Jesse’s family, it sends him into a tailspin of self-doubt.

Jesse must pull himself together if he hopes to have a shot at the prize money, save his home, and win the heart of the girl he loves.

Can these two competitors overcome the sins of their fathers or will a shadowed history destroy their dreams forever?


About the Author

Laura Lascarso aims to inspire more questions than answers in her young adult fiction. Her debut novel COUNTING BACKWARDS, which deals with mental illness, was awarded the Florida Book Award gold medal for YA lit in 2012. Her most recent novel, RACING HEARTS, tells the story of two star-crossed lovers set in Daytona Beach, the mecca of motor-sports, and has been described as a Romeo & Juliet on wheels.

She lives in North Florida with her husband, two children and a menagerie of animals.

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