Featured New Book Spotlight: Chain Reaction by Wendy Goult

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Welcome Wendy Goult to West of Mars! She popped in via Twitter, so even if you’re not currently promoting a new book, keep helping spread the word. I do like to give presents to friends and clients who refer a lot of new people my way, either for this or for editing services.

Her book is called Chain Reaction, and she didn’t say a lot about why she picked her song. In fact, she didn’t say anything. She simply said, “Jealousy, by Billy Fury” and left it at that.

Check. This. Song. Out.

I love it. Total old school. And you know what? It doesn’t need an explanation. Wendy, you are the woman!

Here’s what Chain Reaction is about:

Do you believe or even think there might be life after death? We all have our opinions on this conundrum. Chain Reaction takes up the challenge in admirable style and gives an acceptable insight into what it could be like to be ‘on the other side’. We follow the chain of events that occur after Kate Maple arrives in her after life with no recollection of how or why it happened and who killed her. The story weaves through the lives of friends, family, witnesses and suspects exposing vulnerabilities and associated threats. Even the police are not immune. Their frustrations, reactions, emotions and attractions show they are human too. This is no sugary, endless fields of flowers, birds and butterflies tale but draws the reader into a story of illicit love and secrecy, a love betrayed and a rage that takes away all reason but which ultimately leads the reader into a sense of wellbeing.

Need a copy? It’s paperback only, and the listing takes you to the UK Amazon site, but there’s a note that says it can be delivered to select locations. If you’re in one, pick this one up, give it a read, and be sure to let us know what you thought — reviews are always helpful and appreciated not only by authors but future readers, as well.

Jealousy… oh, that’s a catchy tune…

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#SaystheEditor Unintended Verbal Warfare

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This one showed up, of course, on Facebook. It was from someone who claimed to be genuinely curious about what peoples’ “excuses” were for missing the anti-hate rallies scheduled around town.

I put excuses in quotes for a very deliberate reason. (Those of you who’ve worked with me will recognize how badly I HATE words in quotes, so you know it’s a major thing I am calling your attention to.)

Here’s how Webster’s defines excuse:

1a: to make apology for
b: to try to remove blame from

2: to forgive entirely or disregard as of trivial import : regard as excusable graciously excused his tardiness

3a : to grant exemption or release to was excused from jury duty
b : to allow to leave excused the class

4: to serve as excuse for : justify nothing can excuse such neglect

Look at all those weighted words! to make apology for or trivial interest or justify nothing can excuse such neglect.

Those aren’t words that help define a genuine interest. Those definitions show that the woman’s word choice was verbal warfare. By using excuse instead of reason, she set her position out there: Nothing you say will be good enough.

She also set herself up as the arbiter of what might maybe be good enough. Judge, jury, and executioner? One look at the comments and yes, she was.

In your fiction, look out for words like these, words that are loaded with more meaning than you maybe intend them to have. Be aware of how words and phrases show your — yes, you, the author! — perspective, politics, and worldview. Stay alert for how these words can undermine your entire meaning, your character’s authenticity, or even the reader’s experience.

Because no reader likes to be bullied. But when you’re asked for an excuse instead of a reason, no matter how well-intentioned the rest of the request is, you’re only setting yourself up if you answer.

Stay alert. In real life and in your fiction. Be on the lookout for the language that divides us and stirs up the art of verbal warfare.

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#SaysTheEditor Writing Your Climax

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I can just HEAR you guys about my post title here. I totally can. So go and flood my inbox and we’ll do a Beavis and Butt-head chuckle together.

Heh heh.

Anyway, I’m just going to take this verbatim from my notes. I don’t remember what sparked it, only that it wasn’t about a manuscript I was working on. If anything, it was an explanation of why I liked the climax in that particular manuscript so much. So here it is:

Action climaxes shouldn’t be like a fireworks finale, where the air is full of smoke and the techs set off firework on top of firework until you can’t see anything but big flashes of light and a smear of color through the smoke.

Even the climax should advance the story and illustrate characterization. It can’t be mass violence for the sake of mass violence.

I’ll let you think about that. Discuss in the comments, if you’re so inclined.

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Featured New Book Spotlight: Where’d You Go?

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Oh, no! After two weeks, the Featured New Book Spotlight is back to dark.

I don’t like it dark.

I like it when I can feature YOU. And your book, of course. Okay, mostly your book.

And a song that makes you think of your book.

That’s it. It’s that simple.

Well, okay, some buy links, too. And links to social media, so people can connect with you and you can make long-lasting fans.

IT’S ALL ABOUT YOU HERE IN THE SPOTLIGHT!!!

So tell your friends. It’s free, unless you want a specific date (and it’s always free for my editing clients).

It’s supposed to be quick and easy. One question. In. Out. Done. And it’s one that should be fresh, one that doesn’t get asked by every single other interviewer out there.

Here’s the details. Really. Spread the word. Hog the spotlight, if only for a week.

You deserve it.

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Call for Submissions!

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So I like bringing you guys opportunities to further your writing and/or your careers — because the world deserves the best writing we (yes, me included in that) can offer.

Except that by telling you about them, unless it’s my own site, I can’t really endorse them. I mean, most of what I bring to you is stuff I come across, not opportunities for promotion or calls for submissions that I have personal experience with. Which means you should always, always vet an opportunity carefully, even though I’ve already looked things over and decided that hey, they look pretty solid.

Today’s entry fits that category: I looked ’em over but have no personal experience with them.

Crystal Lake Publishing will be opening their submissions on October 1 of this year. I know! That’s a month and a half away, so why am I telling you about it now?

So you can write something, silly. Pull out something you’d set aside and polish it up. Whatever it is you have to do.

They ARE looking for haunting stories. Not necessarily ghosts, but something that’ll stick with the reader. And yes, they want it dark-themed (but no, although the anthology will be called Tales from the Lake, they aren’t looking for stories with lakes).

So that’s the bare bones, no pun intended. I’ll let you go over to Crystal Lake Publishing and read their call for submissions. You’re big people and you’re professional writers. You can do some of the leg work yourself.

Have fun. Let me know if you need a set of eyeballs on your piece before you submit it, and definitely let me know if you’re accepted.

Now, go rule the world with your literary stylings. That’s an order.

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Susan’s Decoder Ring: “On Many Sides”

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For better or for worse, there’s something about me that’s Edward Cullen glitter to narcissists. They love the challenge I pose, and they always approach me knowing I can see straight through them. That gives me a lot of power over them.

But now with a Commander in Narcissism at the helm and influencing more than just real estate, it’s time to teach you guys how to use the Magic Decoder Ring that all of us who’ve survived narcissistic abuse learn to create.

Let’s start with the speech the other day. The one that was carefully scripted — until the end. And if you watch carefully, you can see when the decision to add “on many sides” is made. You can see the smug face that no narcissist can hide after they’ve lobbed one they know will be successful.

But here’s the thing about those three words: The fact that they pissed off half of America, if not all of it and if not a good cross-section of the world, was a bonus. A calculated and deliberate bonus, sure, and here’s why:

It was very clear that our NPD’s handlers had been very clear about the importance that he read the statement, only the statement, and nothing but the statement. What makes it clear? The fact that it happened.

But right there at the end, just as everyone relaxed — hey, he did it! He listened! He behaved! — he slipped those three words in. Frustrated hands flew in the air. Disgust crossed faces. Handlers and advisors turned on each other, screaming, pointing fingers and flinging blame that you couldn’t control him and Eff you, I did everything I could! No one can control that bastard!

I’ve witnessed these scenes. They’re not pretty.

And the narcissist loves them. Feeds on them, even.

Because the narcissist has no conscience. There’s no distinction between positive attention and negative attention. So all the NPD processes is, “Look at that reaction! I really riled them up and I’d only do that if they loved me.”

And don’t forget the bonus: “While they’re going on about how great my speech was, no one will pay attention while I do this over here. It’s okay that it’s illegal. They love me! They won’t mind. Besides, look at them. They don’t care what I do.”

That’s the easy part. The part any psychologist can tell you.

Now, listen up to the deeper part. This is the part the survivor can tell you.

That’s the message that was sent to the speechwriter: MY contribution was the best. The part I added? Got the biggest reaction. And because mine was better, yours sucked. It was inadequate. You are nothing next to me.

Logic says if the NPD isn’t happy with the speech that was written, the speechwriter would be fired.

But… this is narcissism. And one of the best things a narcissist does is play with the victim’s emotions. Which means not only will that speechwriter stay around, but his/her inability to write a speech as good as the NPD’s is something that will be held over his/her head… forever.

Why put up with it?

Because at the same time is the challenge: top me. C’mon. I know you can. I hired you because of how good you are. You are the exact person I need. (But really. I’m the best. Not you. Me.)

It’s a sick cycle that victim and NPD engage in. It’s blood to the vampiric NPD, so they’re not going to end it. The victim has to stand up and leave the relationship.

I know. You think all this is a stretch.

But stay with me. I’ll keep outlining the message of narcissistic abuse as they happen or are revealed. You’ll learn to see the pattern. You’ll learn to see how the gaslighting works, how the abuse happens. Narcissistic abuse is the most insidious of all forms of abuse, but it’s time to step out of the shadows and show you how it works. How to defuse it, and how to identify it so you can save yourself from being its victim.

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Featured New Book Spotlight: Vikings: The Truth About Lagertha And Ragnar: A historically accurate retelling of the ninth book of the Gesta Danorum by Rachel Tsoumbakos

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I LOVE having books to feature around here, and I’m glad to see submissions rolling in. Keep ’em coming, so keep spreading the word.

Today we have one of my friends from Triberr, and although this book has a super long title, I’m fascinated just by the concept of it. It seems (to me, anyway) that lately, we’ve been learning that Vikings are more than just all rape-pillage-boats-conquer-wear hats with horns. And this book definitely helps us learn more than the old-time stereotype.

The book is called Vikings: The Truth About Lagertha and Ragnar: A historically accurate retelling of the ninth book of the Gesta Danorum. (Did anyone else not know what a Gesta Danorum is, or am I deficient?)

So. Author Rachel Tsoumbakos, what song makes you think of this incredibly ambitious-sounding book?

If I Had A Heart by Fever Ray

Not only is this song included in the opening credits to History Channel’s Vikings, but the theme of the song feels like it is on a very similar trajectory to that of Lagertha and Ragnar’s love story in my novel. Vikings: The Truth about Lagertha and Ragnar delves into their story and tries to shed some light onto the real version rather than the one shown on TV. Even though both characters are faced with many obstacles in their relationship, like the line “crushed and filled with all I found,” they still care for each other. They still feel the need their love “will never end” because they want more. However, it is never quite clear until the very end of their Viking saga whether their story will have a happy ending or not.

But… it’s a romance between Lagertha and Ragnar, right? But… it’s also real life, so…

Ugh. Now I NEED to read this!

Here’s the back cover copy:

Lagertha was known to be one of the wives of the famous Viking, Ragnar Lodbrok. But did you know they first met each other at a brothel? And just how long did their marriage last? Was Lagertha really the revered shield maiden we see her as today? ‘Vikings: The Truth About Lagertha And Ragnar’ aims to unravel all these secrets.

‘Vikings: The Truth About Lagertha And Ragnar’ is so much more than a history book though.

In Part One their story is brought to life with a historically accurate retelling. Part Two then explores the historical facts surrounding this story.

‘Vikings: The Truth About Lagertha And Ragnar’ aims to discover just how much of what we know of the shield maiden, Lagertha, and the famous Ragnar Lodbrok in popular culture today is actually true.

‘The Truth About’ series explores the historical fact from present day fiction in regards to the Vikings and other key historical figures that existed in the Viking era.

Pick up your copy. It’s Amazon-only, so know that going in.

And if you do read it, be sure to leave a review! If not at the place of purchase, then consider GoodReads or the other social book networks, or if you ask nicely, I’ll loan you my blog for a day. Reviews help books find new friends!

Connect with Rachel, too. (She writes amazing reviews of popular TV shows, and I recommend them!)
Website
Facebook
Twitter

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Susan’s Promo Tales: Two Opportunities for Authors!

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The cover to my friend Sharon Cathcart’s fun novelette. Pick it up! (That’s an affiliate link)

Not only are there openings for the Featured New Book Spotlight and Lines of Distinction that I’d LOVE to fill (hint!), but once again, my buddy and name-sharing author friend Susan Leigh Noble is looking to feature authors, herself. She’s looking for excerpts, guest blog posts, and interviews. She likes to post these on Fridays, whereas the Featured New Book Spotlight runs on Mondays and Lines of Distinction runs any day I have an opening — but Susan will hold certain Tuesdays for blog tours, cover reveals, and publication announcements.

So there you have it. Two Susans, both offering our author buddies (existing and brand new) promo opportunities.

How can you go wrong?

Go here to learn more about what Susan’s got for you.
And once more for the Featured New Book Spotlight and Lines of Distinction.

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Susan Speaks: The July-August Crush

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The cover for the anthology in which Pink Snowbunnies in Hell appears because August is the month it was chosen for inclusion.

No one’s been able to explain it, but historically, July, August, and September are my busiest months of the year. My theory has to do with vacations, wanting to get the book done so you can not worry about it while you’re gone, but September?

At any rate, I’m so swamped right now that authors are clamoring for me, the $75 rush fee that I charge when you want to skip to the head of the line has kicked in, and more than one client is paying it. That has me working crazy hours and too many days a week.

And I love every second of it. My clients are sending me truly strong, well-written manuscripts that make the hours fly and consistently have me looking up and wondering where the day has gone. So much for that bike ride I’d promised myself! That’s got to happen after dinner — which the kids make because I’m in here, working.

Of course, all of this is a great way to say that right now, I’m being crushed with work. And that I love it. And to keep it coming. I can maybe kinda sorta see the end of the queue, and to be honest, I do like it when I can see a longer stack of manuscripts waiting for me. Job security. You know how it is.

I have a million things to talk about, and I’m keeping careful notes and drafts that I’m not fully satisfied with. Just for now, keep sending your manuscripts. Keep telling your friends about me.

And, of course, submit more for The Featured New Book Spotlight and Lines of Distinction. In amid my crush is the simple pleasure of taking a few minutes to schedule a post highlighting some of the great books being written and published of late.

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Featured New Book Spotlight: Bolt Action Remedy by JJ Hensley

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Let’s welcome my dear friend JJ Hensley to the Featured New Book Spotlight today!

JJ’s cool. If you don’t follow him on Facebook or Twitter, you should. He’s got a very dry, acerbic sense of humor that slays me, time after time.

And… he’s got a new book out. It’s called Bolt Action Remedy, and let’s sit back and see what JJ’s got to say about it. I bet it’s funny.

First off, what song makes you think of Bolt Action Remedy, JJ?

My first novel, RESOLVE, was set against that backdrop of a marathon. Ever since writing that book, I’d been looking for a way to integrate another endurance sport into a story but with more intensity. I incorporated biathlon (skiing and shooting) into the setting because if you are going to write a murder mystery then why not give EVERYONE a gun. As I researched biathlon, I came to truly appreciate the intensity and speed of the sport. So whenever I hear the song Joyride (Omen) by Chevelle, I feel the intensity I tried to capture on the pages.

The song itself captures some of the internal struggles of the protagonist, Trevor Galloway. Joyride is about the difficulty of letting go of the past (or, in Galloway’s case, the past refusing to let him go) and the fast tempo gives the song the feel of a race.

The music I listen to is so important to my writing process. I visualize my stories as movies and each of them has a soundtrack. The songs I hear in my mind (shut up, I’m not crazy) really assist me in developing the tone I’m looking for in particular scenes. Sometimes I’ll be listening to a song and think, That’s the mood I want the readers to feel when they read chapter two! It’s not surprising that most of the music I listen to is fast-paced rock, since I do everything I can to keep my stories moving along at a good clip. Fortunately, I’ve been able to construct my books in a way that readers don’t have to particularly care about marathons or biathlon, or like rock music, and they can still get caught up in the mystery. I THINK Bolt Action Remedy and my next book, Record Scratch (Spring 2018) are my best work thus far. If not, I guess I better shake up my playlist!

JJ and I often have similiar tastes in music, but I’m just not there with the Chevelle. Are you? Not familiar with them? Check it out and see if JJ’s right, that it works with his book!

Here’s the official description:

Former Pittsburgh narcotics detective Trevor Galloway has been hired to look into the year-old homicide of a prominent businessman who was gunned down on his estate in Central Pennsylvania. When Galloway arrives, he determines the murder could have only been committed by someone extremely skilled in two areas: Skiing and shooting. He believes the assailant should not be too difficult to identify given the great amount of skill and athleticism needed to pull off the attack. When he discovers the victim’s property is next door to a biathlon training camp, the situation becomes significantly more complicated.

Galloway makes plenty of enemies as he sifts through stories about lucrative land deals, possible drug connections, and uncovers evidence suggesting the homicide may have been elaborate suicide. As he attempts to navigate through an unfamiliar rural landscape, he does his best not to succumb to an old drug addiction, or become confused by one of his occasional hallucinations. Oh, and a Pittsburgh drug gang enforcer known as The Lithuanian—if he’s even real—is tracking Galloway and wants to take his eyes. Galloway would rather keep those.

In Bolt Action Remedy, the typically quiet streets of Washaway Township, Pennsylvania become the epicenter of a mystery involving elite athletes and old grudges. For Galloway, the problems keep piling up and somebody out there believes problems should be dealt with by employing the most permanent of remedies.

Mmmmm. I love people who write about Western Pennsylvania. And, like I said, JJ is great people.

Join me in the love. While the book won’t be released until October, you can (and should!) preorder it now. Here are the links:
Smashwords *Affiliate link
Amazon
Barnes and Noble

Connect with JJ and enjoy the wit! (Seriously. You’ll be glad you did.)
Website
Blog- Steel City Intrigue
Facebook
Twitter

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#SaystheEditor Don’t Tell Me What She Sees

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Strangely, I’ve been seeing this one a lot lately, mostly from some of my younger writers.

She saw him enter the room.

Umm… Okay…

I get it. You’re worried about point of view, because I am a stickler for POV. (Okay, I point it out and it’s up to my clients to change it. I’m an editor, not a drill sergeant and not a dictator.) So you want to make sure it all comes through the screen of your POV character.

BUT.

You’re telling me what she saw. You’re not showing it.

He entered the room with a flourish, jazz hands flapping until they froze into place. One leg extended, toe inside the bulky hiking boot as pointed as it could get and ever-so-gently touching the tile floor.

It’s still the narrator’s sensibility. You haven’t broken POV at all. In fact, you’re sharing a deeper POV with us, by letting us see him in action. The details the narrator and/or POV character choose to show wind up revealing things to the reader. Maybe a different POV character or narrator would tell us about the guy’s hair. Or clothes. Or his sparkling eyes. Or. Or. Or.

So take a minute and go back through your Work in Progress. Are you telling me what the character says? What he knows?

He knew the sun would be hot in the morning. versus The sun would be hot in the morning; it always was at the end of July.

Try and get away from those telling statements. Show. Take a few minutes and play with your descriptions. Show me the colors, the sights, the sounds, the smells, the feel. Maybe (read: definitely!) not all at once, but reach for those sharp, pointed, telling details that paint a picture.

Your reader will thank you.

So will I.

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#SaystheEditor Please Edit

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I opened my inbox the other day to find mail from a client. We’ll call him, of course, Steve. And Steve lurks around here, so don’t be surprised if he outs himself, or hopefully is laughing too hard to do that ’cause I’m about to poke fun at him while making a serious point.

The subject line on Steve’s e-mail said, “Please edit”

Now, from anyone else, this would have been a turn-off. But Steve and I have been working together for years now (He’s one of my favorite clients) and he had originally been hoping to have this book done a year ago. A year!

But what I read into his subject line was something that had been echoed earlier that same week by Stevie, who it turns out is a new client (and thank you to the existing client who referred her, as Stevie is a doll and fast becoming a favorite client). And that’s this: you guys get to a point where you can’t stand to look at your manuscript anymore, and so you’re all too eager to get it off your desk and onto mine.

That’s fine. In Stevie’s case, it came with a set of nerves. This is her first time through the editing process and it’s new, it’s scary.

But for Steve… well, I read a lot of frustration into his comment. I read the whole, “I’ve been staring at the words on the screen and staring and I know I can take it further, but I’m damned if I can see how or where right now, so let’s call in the help and…” and I imagine him throwing his hands up and making unintelligible growling noises.

Or maybe that’s just my kid who does that when he runs low on words and high on frustration.

Yet the point remains: How do I know when it’s time? What happens if I push myself to that point of being too frustrated to speak, and by the time my awesome editor is done with it, I’m STILL not ready to look at it again, but I’m trying to build a readership here, and I’ve already taken more time than I wanted to with this book and… and… and…

Breathe.

Trust yourself. Trust your story, your manuscript, your method. And then breathe some more.

It all works out, and whether your trepidation is from newbie nerves or experienced enlightenment, the only person who can say you’re ready for editing is YOU. And usually, you say you’re ready when you get to that point where you just can’t look at it anymore, you need a break, you need some fresh input.

Beta readers can be good at this stage. Or not. It’s all up to you.

Anyway, I’ve got Steve’s manuscript here, I laughed with fondness at him when I saw that crazy subject line, and for those of you who think you’d never be THAT rude to your editor, well, spend more time with me. Because I know Steve, I don’t think it’s rude at all.

If anything, it made my fondness for the guy grow.

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Featured New Book Spotlight: Still Empty!

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Still?

Yep.

Look, it’s simple: I want to feature YOU. And your book, of course. Okay, mostly your book.

And a song that makes you think of your book.

That’s it. It’s that simple.

So tell your friends. It’s free, unless you want a specific date (and it’s always free for my editing clients).

It’s supposed to be quick and easy. One question. In. Out. Done. And it’s one that should be fresh, one that doesn’t get asked by every single other interviewer out there.

Here’s the details. Really. Spread the word. Hog the spotlight, if only for a week.

You deserve it.

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#SaystheEditor A Writing Prompt!

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Ripped from real life!

I am having some remodeling done, and I walked into my powder room and found this (okay, this is a staged version, as the actual stick of Old Spice disappeared with the workmen).

And… go. Let yourself be inspired.

As always, leave a link in the comments or email me a Word file if you’d like direct and private feedback (yes! Free editing! I figure I am telling you to write it so the least I can do is give you constructive feedback on it).

And if you get the piece you write published, by all means, drop in and share the links!

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Susan Speaks: Feed the Beasts!

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June was, editorially, a slow month. For some reason I have yet to figure out, June ALWAYS is a slow month in terms of editing work.

But it gave me plenty of time to do other stuff — although not everything on my To Do list got started, let alone finished! — and one of those other things was making the media rounds. I hope you’re having as much fun with it as I am, because now I present to you some tips on feeding teens, compliments of US News and World Report.

It’s now mid-July and the summertime slam has begun, so this is probably it for a while, in terms of press. I’ve got manuscripts stacked up in the queue, which is a very very good thing. Keep that happening, keep sending in your own hard-crafted works, and keep referring me to your friends and colleagues. I’ll even take a few enemies, too, so long as they are mentally stable.

At the end of the day, I’m an editor and I love what I do. But it’s fun to fill the gaps with a little bit of press, even if it’s not press that’s directly about books and editing. That’ll come.

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Featured New Book Spotlight: … is empty?

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I KNOW.

It’s summer. It’s July, so that means you all are sending me your manuscripts to edit, not your One-Question Interview to post. And that’s good because, hey, I’m editing and making money but it’s bad because I want to feature YOU. And your book, of course.

So tell your friends. It’s free, unless you want a specific date (and it’s always free for my editing clients). It’s ONE QUESTION, although I’m told it’s a hard question.

But it’s supposed to be quick and easy. One question. In. Out. Done. And it’s one that should be fresh, one that doesn’t get asked by every single other interviewer out there.

Here’s the details. Really. Spread the word. Hog the spotlight, if only for a week.

You deserve it.

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#SaysTheEditor You Might be Wanting the Wrong Thing

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I see this one from time to time, and after thinking about it, I think it’s a misguided desire.

Now, this obviously isn’t something that comes direct to my inbox from a potential client. Nope, those folks (you guys!) are savvier about what they want, and are usually coming to me via a referral, or because they’ve read this here blog and like me and my approach to fiction and to life.

It’s the job wire, the setup where authors send a request to a larger group of editors who belong to the e-mail blast, and the editors have to bid and win over the author. Usually, the poor author is totally overwhelmed with the number of entries and queries they get. So I think they add “Must have experience with a publishing house” as a way to weed out what they think are the hobbiest editors, the people who have sketchy credentials, who will charge large amounts of money and mess up their manuscript. I get that. I respect it.

Unfortunately, they are boxing themselves out of some of the best partnerships they could be making.

Sounds counter-intuitive, I know. After all, an editor who’s been with a publishing house — THEORETICALLY — has extensive editing experience. And they know what it takes to construct a novel for maximum effect.

Except…

I’ve been hearing for over ten years now that editors at publishing houses don’t really do much editing. They don’t have time, torn between meetings and working with their clients. As a result, they want books that are as close to publishable as possible. They aren’t using the expertise being sought by these editor-hunters.

Think about that: Editors don’t have time to edit.

One other thing to consider is that two types of literature have developed: the confined boxes that traditional publishing loves, and the imagination and boundary-pushing fiction coming out of many in the self-publishing world. I work daily on manuscripts that the big houses won’t want because the manuscripts that cross my desk don’t tick the right boxes and don’t follow the current trends. This includes my client, Steve, who just quit his day job to write full-time. (Think about that.)

I get that saying “You must have worked for a publisher” seems like a weed-out technique. I sure didn’t bid on that job, even though the project itself sounded right up my alley, because I’m not going to change this author’s mind. Not in a quick e-mail.

But I also don’t regret not having a background at a publishing house. I love to play with words. I love to work with authors. I love having the freedom of living life on my own terms. I love being able to focus on the manuscript in front of me and delve into what it needs, without making it conform to a checklist so it’ll fit neatly into a marketer’s box. And I’m a better editor for having that freedom.

That author limited himself and excluded me from his future. His loss; it’s my busy season and you guys are starting to line up. Because you guys? You know what’s what. And you don’t want to conform to a checklist and fit into a box… unless it’s a box of autographed books purchased by a huge fan.

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#SaysTheEditor Time to Celebrate!

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Nope, we’re not celebrating me, although of course I’m WORTH celebrating, and you all should celebrate me (and refer your friends and yourselves to me. Have I mentioned I’m hankering for a really good erotic romance author right now? I am. Totally. Preferably someone prolific, but keep reading to see why).

I got word the other day from one of my clients. Let’s call him Steve. Steve does some really hard work on his manuscripts, and his world building is mind-blowing (and then some). He writes series that are strong, compelling reading. And he’s an absolute joy to work for and with.

Of course, he’s got his writerly ticks that I try to beat out of him. Who doesn’t? (And that’s a trick question because the answer is that if you don’t have a writerly tick, you’re not human.)

So I was very pleased to get a note from him that he’s managed to build enough of a career with his books that he’s quit his day job and become a full-time writer.

Yes, boys and girls, these success stories ARE still possible, even in the current crowded marketplace and ages of 99c box sets that are great exposure but lousy royalties.

How did Steve do it? By being prolific. By working hard on every element of his books and series. By having an innate understanding of what it takes to tell a great story, a gentle touch on the action scenes, and an ability to draw strong, likeable women who are vital to a male-dominated world. (No calls for your version of political correctness here, folks. It takes all kinds to rock the world, and no one’s saying you have to read and love these books. Plenty of others already are.)

Steve WORKS.

That’s the bottom line.

No whining (at least to me). Just work.

And it’s paid off.

So my heart swells with pride as I congratulate him again. And the editor in me drools at the thought of what’s to come, now that he’s a full-time writer. I hope his fans are drooling as hard as I am.

His present can be your future. Go get it.

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Reopening the Featured New Book Spotlight and Lines of Distinction!

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Even though the site redesign isn’t finished, I’ve been able to get into the broken control panel long enough and consistently enough now that I’m willing to go for it and reopen my promotional offerings to my author friends — old, new, and just-made.

Here’s the word about the Featured New Book Spotlight. One question! How hard can it be? (Apparently, pretty hard.)

And here’s the word about Lines of Distinction, for you guys who like to make graphic teasers and/or who’d just like to spotlight their books ’cause you’ve written a book worth spotlighting.

Remember: Read the pages. Follow the directions. They are easy.

Spread the word. A new book only needs to be new to my audience, you know what I’m saying here?

So stop in. Come by often. Tell your friends.

Let’s get more attention for you guys. In an increasingly crowded market, you guys deserve it. And did I mention it’s free?

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Smashwords Summer Sale!

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It’s that time again! The Smashwords Summer Sale!

I know I’ll be perusing the offerings and loading up my ereader with books I’ll stress about not reading in a timely fashion — why don’t you join me? We’ve got all month for this ebook goodness, so c’mon! Let’s get some deals!

If you haven’t caught up on the Trevolution, all my books are FREE this month. Go pick ’em up.

Of course, you know by now I’m a HUGE champion of the value of reviews, so be sure to say thanks for the freebie by leaving a review. At Smashwords, at GoodReads, at that big behemoth of a bookseller that sells more than just books these days and now runs the national economy. You know who I mean; the point is that it doesn’t matter — leave a review!

Yes, even a negative review helps, so be kind if you need to, and be as constructive as possible. Some of us only read 1- and 2-star reviews!

That, of course, extends to my own books. But really. You’re not going to find 1- or 2-star reads on my page. Nope.

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