Edity Edity Edit

This past week has been consumed by edits for the second book in my Shark Santoyo Crime Series – Shark’s Bite. There’s nothing like a keen eyed editor to make you realize how many times you use the word “shrug.” Or nod.  Or dear God, how many times will my characters smile.  So many times.  Is there another way to say “smile” without actually using the word “smile”?  I may go mad looking up “grin” in the thesaurus.

When I get a manuscript back from an editor I make multiple passes through to make the requested changes and to make any changes to answer questions or fix problems an editor may have pointed out. The first time I make it through the manuscript I think I’m so clever. Then I actually read it and I think, “uh, I wrote that?” The word repetition, the sameness of gestures! And what about scene setting? The third time through I think… “Not bad, except for that one part.  That needs work.”  Then by the fourth and fifth rounds I’m hunting for typos and hoping like hell I haven’t put any fresh ones in with my changes. Finally, when I think I’ll go blind staring at it and I can’t think of one more thing to change, then back to the editors it goes. Then it comes back and I agree to fix all the terrible typos I managed to miss in the previous five rounds of read-throughs and then, finally, finally, off to layout it goes.

And after all of that, it’s still a fairly sure bet that someone will still find a typo.  And that’s when I make this face:

Chapter by Chapter

I recently read a review on Goodreads of my book GlossedCause. 

I love this series from Bethany Maines! Such a funny and interesting read throughout and makes you want to keep reading! This series is definitely best read in order, short stories included! A few nitpicky things that I didnt like were titled Chapters that was a theme for the chapter. (I like a simple number or location & number) and I’d love another book where Carrie Mae played a bigger role.
 
The reviewer gave me a good number of stars and overall that’s a pretty dang good review.  So, thanks mystery reviewre!  But I find myself flummoxed by the comment on chapter numbers.  I just… I mean… Chapter numbers?
 
First of all she’s completely blowing my theory that no one reads my chapter titles.  The truth is—and this is a deep dark secret regarding the chapter titles in the Carrie Mae series—they’re really just for me.  I mean, I hope the rest of you who bother to
read them enjoy them too.  But really they’re a secret code while I’m writing that means I can glance at the table of contents and remember what’s going on in each chapter. Also, they’re usually song titles which means at the end of the book I have a pretty nifty playlist.  (Check out this one from Bulletproof Mascara chapter titles on the Carrie Mae YouTube channel.)
 
I’m not sure what lesson is to be learned from this, other than I should stop reading reviews, but I’m sure I’ve definitely learned it.  Maybe.  Or maybe next time I’ll do chapter titles with latitude and longitude and possibly three character names and a unicorn.  We’ll just have to wait and see.

A Typo Honesty

Recently, I was going over the edits from a beta reader on my forthcoming mystery novel – Against the Undertow (sequel to An Unseen Current). I was excited to read over the notes because the reader had been pretty enthusiastic verbally about the book and I was looking forward to easy edits (for once).  Beta readers usually give critiques on story elements, spot plot holes, and generally let an author know if something is working or not. They can do line edits and spot typos, but frequently that’s a separate gig because the mental focus for each job is quite different. Because of that, I usually tell my beta readers to treat typos like terrorists on the train in New York – if you see something, say something – but don’t go looking for them. Which is why I laughed when I got to this note:

I didn’t take note of typos except for one I thought I’d mention: on p. 76 you meant perennial and instead wrote perineal.

That is indeed a typo worth mentioning and I promptly laughed and shared it with about eight people. But it got me to thinking about some of my other slips of the fingers. Here’s a couple that I thought worth noting.

He knew he would get some carp for it. Yes, because fish are often given as a sign of disapproval.

Stalking feet. Because he has those feet that just will not stop violating restraining orders.

I’m going as troll. Many problems here. Including missing the word “for” and a misplaced space around the S. But if you want to go for a stroll as a troll, apparently I will let you. Gotta look out for those trolls.

Desserted is not, repeat not, the same as deserted. I wish it was. I wish I could be desserted ALL the time. But cake is not a healthy breakfast choice.

As I continue to write, I’m sure I will make many more typos. I hope that at least a few are as good these ones. 

 

OK, Not OK?

Happy Valentines Day! Who doesn’t like to celebrate the bloody death of man in third century Rome?  I, for one, am all about the guy that no one really knows why he died, or how, but heck, if he somehow wants to spawn a greeting card industry associated with romantic and courtly love then I’m all for it. I am so for it, in fact, that I have written a book for the occasion – When Stars Take Flight!

When Stars Take Flight, a retelling of Thumbelina, is part of the new Galactic Dreams collection from Blue Zephyr Press featuring fairy tales retold as science fiction adventures.  Each story is unique, but all the stories take place in the same universe.  Galactic Dreams Volume 1 also includes Soldier, Princess, Rebel Spy (inspired by Mulan) by Karen Harris Tully and Aurora One (Sleeping Beauty) by the Stiletto Gang’s own J. M. Phillippe.

Writing this book was a fascinating process involving a lot of “research” aka reading of fairy tales. And the first thing I have to say is what the hell is wrong with fairy tales? What sick twisted bastard invented these things? So much limb chopping, incest, and cannibalism.  Apparently, cannibalism was a far greater problem back in the old days than I gave it credit for. The second part of the process was the “world building”. The other authors and I had to establish, build and agree upon our science-fiction setting. Monetary systems, space travel, religions—just how do all of these things function in our universe?  As we developed rules, we created some artificial stumbling blocks for ourselves to push how we were writing. One rule was that only people directly from Earth would use the word OK. Until I couldn’t use it, I had no idea how often I used OK.  But there is no word more distinctly American than OK. Would space colonists who were originally from Iceland use the word OK five hundred years or a thousand years from now?  It seems unlikely.  But even with that in mind, I ended up having to do a find and replace in my manuscript to find all the places I typed it without even thinking about it.  I believe that the result of our hard work are a fun, romantic, adventurous stories that stays true to the fairy tale tradition (I mean the ones about torture and true love, we skipped the cannibalism), but creates something entirely new and unique. I’m excited by this collection and hope that other people (aka readers) are too.


Buy now – three sci-fairy tale novels for $4.99!

 

Welcome to the universe of Galactic Dreams, where fairy tales are reimagined for a new age—the future. In each Galactic Dreams novella you’ll find an old tale reborn with a mixture of romance, technology, aliens and adventure. But beware, a perilous quest awaits behind every star and getting home again will depend on a good spaceship, true love, and maybe just a hint of magic.


Buy now – three sci-fairy tale novels for $4.99!

 

New for 2018!

2018 is set to be a very big year for me.  I have been working feverishly through 2016 and 2017 to bring out multiple projects and 2018 is the year that many of those projects are bearing fruit. Take a peek at my upcoming releases!

February 13 – Galactic Dreams (Just in time for Valentine’s Day!)

I will be part of a new series from my publishing company called Galactic Dreams featuring stories that are part science-fiction, part fairy tale, part romance and all adventure. Galactic Dreams Volume 1 will feature 3 novellas of fairy tales “reimagined for a new age—the future,” including Soldier, Princess, Rebel Spy (Mulan) from Karen Harris Tully, Aurora One (Sleeping Beauty) from the Stiletto Gang’s own J.M. Phillippe and When Stars Take Flight (Thumbelina) by me.  Pre-orders will be available next week, but if you want a chance two win 2 of the three stories for free, check out the rafflecopter below!

When Stars Take Flight – Kidnapped by the To’Andans, tortured by the Moliter, and rescued by Sparrow Pandion—a spy who hides a secret pain—Alliance Ambassador Lina Tum-Bel is up against a galaxy full of trouble as she attempts to rebuild the Interstellar Alliance. Her training says that she can’t trust her handsome rescuer, but maybe together, she and Sparrow can learn to fly.

 

April – Shark’s Bite

Book 2 of the Shark Santoyo Crime Series returns to the suburban underworld of teenage drug dealers and gang enforcer Shark Santoyo as he tries to figure out what to do with a bowling alley and an ATF Agent who is out to get him.

June – Against the Undertow

The sequel to An Unseen Current will finally be available in June.  This quirky cozy mystery series features 87 year-old, ex-CIA agent Tobias Yearly and his granddaughter Tish bickering, tackling home improvement projects, and solving mysteries in the San Juan Islands of Washington State. In Against the Undertow, handsome Sheriff’s Deputy Emmett Nash, was just accused of murdering his ex-wife’s boyfriend, and Tish and Tobias must face down hippies, cops, and psychotic event planners to solve the mystery and save their friend.

October – Shark’s Hunt

One Shark just isn’t enough.  This time, Shark is back in the city and facing some serious problems as a gang war erupts.

December – A Christmas Short?  

Maybe.  We’ll see if I make it December.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Crunch Time!

Ack!  I should be baking. Or possibly cleaning my filthy office.  Or writing any of the multiple stories I’m supposed to be completing. It’s crunch time for me.  I’ve got a sci-fi novella that is due back from the editor at any second (more info to come after the holidays!), a Christmas short story that needs completing ASAP, and mystery novel that is supposed to be way more underway than it is. And my business partner at my day job is about to go on maternity leave at any moment. I could use a holiday.  Oh, wait, one has just turned up.  Now I get to add baking to the list.  So excuse me, if I just complain for a minute and then dash off to put a pie in the oven.

But in the spirit of the holidays, how about a chance to win a print copy of Shark’s Instinct?  Reviewers are calling it an “amazing mystery with loads of action.”  Click the link below to enter! 

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Shark's Instinct by Bethany Maines

Shark’s Instinct

by Bethany Maines

Giveaway ends November 30, 2017.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

 

Enter Giveaway

Copy That

Most of my writing this month has been in the form of copywriting and, jeez, do I miss fiction. Churning out “welcome” scripting and press releases makes for a fun occasional challenge, but is no substitute for spending an afternoon putting a character in hot water (figuratively if it’s action, literally if it’s romance) and then figuring out how to get them out again (with a gun if it’s action, with a hot guy if it’s romance).

But one thing that copywriting does provide is practice in how to think about writing. When the word count is proscribed, and the client says that it should be sort of, maybe, be something about this random list of things that has been collected, suddenly it becomes very important to communicate what the over-arching message is. What is the hierarchy of information that needs to be communicated? What does the audience/reader care about? How can we determine what needs to be said and what can be left out? In copywriting, the ability to construct thoughts clearly and to analyze and think critically about a piece come to the forefront. In a novel, an author can spend a bit more time decorating the place with adjectives and allowing characters to spiel off witty bits of dialogue that may not particularly move the story forward. In copywriting, there’s usually room for only one or two adjectives and they had better be the right adjective that supports the speaker or brands character. Copywriting skills are like exercising a new set of muscles and definitely make me a stronger writer. But on the other hand, I’ll be glad to go back to fiction! For one thing, they rarely let me write about hot guys or guns in copywriting.