Friday, September 13, 2019

You Talking To Me? You Talking to Me?

I have to confess, I've actually never seen Taxi Driver. I mean, it came out when I was a kid.  And my parents weren't (and still aren't) movie fans. There was a family rule that no one (maybe it was just me and not my older brothers) could see a movie before my parents saw it and approved of it. This was before the days of PG-13. So it was either a G movie (which I would most likely be able to see) or PG (which was more up in the air...what exactly would be showing up on the screen could be all over the place).

So you can imagine my movie-going was severely limited. And certainly did not include Taxi Driver.

But I couldn't help but think of this iconic scene when I was thinking about repetition in manuscripts:

He repeats several lines here, most famously: "You talking to me? You talking to me?"

There are times when repetition works in a scene. If DeNiro didn't repeat himself here (in a scene that apparently was more off the cuff than on a script page), it wouldn't have such a lasting impact in the film world and be so recognizable.

So writers are well within their rights to have repetition in a scene. Even in a few sentences close together. After all, that's sometimes how people talk.

But other times, it seems as if the writer had forgotten the character had already said that. That's especially true when it's information (Bob's my uncle; have you met Bob, my uncle?) as opposed to a reaction (Oh my God. I can't believe he left. Oh my God. He's gone?).

And there's times I catch exact wording a few paragraphs apart. Those instances make me wonder whether there was some self-editing going on and the repetition didn't get caught.

So if you've gotten a manuscript back from me (or any other editor) asking about repetition, we do recognize it can be an effective storytelling tool. But hey, it's our job to make sure you're telling your story, not getting stuck in Groundhog Day!

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Call Me

When you call someone in 2019, it's more likely than not that at least one of you will not be using a  landline, if not both of you.

Or, alternatively, you could be on what some people consider to be the most evil thing ever invented: a conference call!

But what to call those non-landline devices that we seemed to be glued to? It can take a picture, record a video, take you to the internet, has game apps that will keep your toddler (or bored teenager) out of your hair for five minutes, and, in some instances, has actually been used to place a phone call to someone!

In wonderful English language tradition (can you hear the sarcasm there?), it's either a smartphone (one word) or a cell phone (two words). Merriam-Webster has the same basic device with two different approaches: a one-word and a two-word form.{Yes, I know...some will call it a mobile phone.}

Does it make a huge difference if you used cellphone and smart phone instead? Probably not...the reader would still know what you mean. But it should at least be consistent in your manuscript. (And if I am lucky enough to read through your manuscript, it'll be cell phone or smartphone, just like Merriam-Webster likes it!).

Friday, February 15, 2019

Ouch, That Hurts

Hmmm....I've been thinking about this blog for some time now. Mostly about how I haven't posted to it in what felt like forever. And when I look at the date of the last post (Aug., 2018), I feel a little better that it's hasn't exactly been forever. But...ouch, that hurts.

I guess that means I've been fairly busy since August. And that's true enough. For the third quarter of 2018, over 1.5 million words crossed my desk, The fourth quarter of 2018, it was significantly less (at only 912,000 words) - but in all fairness, I was sick for three weeks in December.  Like, in bed, couldn't work, could barely walk the dog sick. Or, if I wasn't sick, I was taking care of the Hubby, who I so lovingly gave my sickness to (I'm sweet that way - what can I say?).

And 2019 looks to be just as busy as 2018 was. Instead of going to RWA this year (even though it's close to me in NYC this time around), I'm going to an editing conference. The EFA will have its conference in August - in lovely Chicago. So if you are going to RWA and want to make a side trip to CT, I'd love to meet you somewhere for a dinner or some shenanigans. Or, if you're in Chicago in August, maybe we can find time then.

And I've got my traditional May vacation to Colorado booked. Yes, actually booked - plane tickets, hotels...the whole deal. I think we were both so tired of winter that the prospect of soaking in the natural springs at Pagosa Springs had us taking care of those details. And this year, we're taking a different route to Pagosa - by way of Santa Fe to check out Meow Wolf. Both my son and his girlfriend, and my mother-in-law and sister-in-law have been and said it's amazing.

But, more importantly than vacations and conferences, I'm looking forward to a year full of great manuscripts, where the characters drag me in and tell me their stories! So contact me to get your next book on the schedule!

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Sucker for Romance

It's a pretty well-known fact, I think, that I am a sucker for romance.  Always have been. At least, if you know me, you'd know that. And if you didn't know it, now you do.

My last post included my trip to the RWA (Romance Writers of America) conference in Denver. One of the reasons I went was to support one of my authors who'd been nominated for a RITA award.  About four hours before the award ceremony, she tells me that the winning authors AND their editors go up and say a few words (just like every awards show you've seen on TV). Now, never in a million years did I ever think I'd be having to go up on stage and speak to hundreds of people, including some of my favorite authors! I was in a panic...did I want her to win or not? Now I wasn't so sure.

Yes, I was sure. I wanted her to win.

So I prepared.  I had a few hours and jotted down a quick note:

As an editor, you always hope the manuscripts that come across your desk will be well-written, have great characters, make you feel all the emotions, make you laugh (in the best way possible, and not in a oh-my-God-this-can't-go-out-into-the-world way) and make you cry at the right time. I am so honored that all of that and more came to me in Evelyn's book, Dare and a Deposition. Thank you to the judges for your time and commitment to the process, but most of all, thank you to Evelyn for letting me be part of your journey. 

So, that's what I wrote down. I had some more ideas in my head, because there was more I wanted to say. But having never been to this ceremony before (or watching it online, which, apparently you can do), I wasn't sure of the tone of the night. Was it serious? Crazy? Laugh-a-minute? Tug-your-heartstrings? So I kept my thoughts to myself - didn't write them down so I wouldn't say them out loud unless I read the room and felt it was appropriate.  Or maybe so if someone saw my little speech, they'd be surprised by the ending.

That someone was, of course, my hubby. He came to Denver with me and worked that week with his guys in the area.  He wanted to support me for the award ceremony and generally support my career. Unfortunately, he wasn't feeling well that week, and the day of the ceremony things came to a head. He actually was at a Urgent Care clinic that afternoon, getting some tests run. By the time he was done and back at the hotel, the award ceremony had begun. I was in the banquet room, waiting for him, and he was out of the room, trying to find me. After about ten minutes of miscommunication and missed opportunities and missed connections, we finally met up and I took him to our table.

At this point, it's past dinner time...and neither of us have eaten. I don't know about you, but I can be rather...cranky when I haven't eaten.  And I was nervous. And I was worried about the hubby - because he wasn't feeling well and he hadn't eaten either. We were both stressed, to be sure.

But you know what? He came through for me in true romance-book-hero fashion. He was there. He cared enough about me to do his best to support me, even when he felt like crap and just wanted to grab something to eat and go back to the room to sleep. And he's always been that way. He's always been supportive of my choices and encouraged me to stretch, to grow.

So, to end my little speech, I wanted to thank my husband for always being there for me, for encouraging me to pursue this path, even when he didn't think it would necessarily go anywhere or work out well. I wanted to thank him for putting up with the deadlines and accepting that all my authors were the most important authors ever, and I needed to give up cleaning the bathrooms to make sure that those commas were in the right place. (Just kidding...I never actually really clean anyway!) And I especially wanted to thank him for being my body dummy when I had a problematic scene where I couldn't quite figure out where the guy's hands were in the sex scene. 

And all I could think of was that famous (well, for people of a certain age, I guess) Emmy award speech by Kristie Alley, where she thanked her husband for "giving her the big one." I was sure I was going to channel my inner idiot and say it just like she did:

But I'm kind of okay with that. After all, if you can't admit to loving your partner in a room full of romance junkies, where can you?

Thursday, July 26, 2018

More Adventures...

Well, it's been a busy few months. I can't believe it's actually been three months since my last post! I've been on another adventure since then, have another planned, and completed a major project on my list of things to do.

So, about my adventure... I went to RWA in Denver this year. I joined as an associate member, which is what you do when you're an editor, not pursuing a career in writing.  One reason I went was to cheer on one of my authors who had been nominated for a RITA award (totally check out Dare and a Deposition for a great read!).  I also wanted to meet some more of my authors who were going to be there. I had a wonderful time, did a little fan-girling over some of my favorite authors (whether they were my clients or not!), and helped out at the trade show, representing the EFA. I sat in on some interesting seminars and picked up some cool tips to keep in mind while editing.

And it didn't hurt that because it was in Denver, I got to see my boy and my mother-in-law and sisters-in-law.

One of the elevator doors at the Sheraton

Sarra Cannon getting ready for her seminar on Getting Things Done.  She did a great job!

At the IT'SUGAR store at the 16th Street Mall

More from IT'SUGAR

Hey, everyone needed to check Facebook!

The EFA booth on Saturday

I totally grabbed Carrie Ann Ryan when she was walking by on Saturday morning!

I saw this in the restroom at a local bar

My next adventure: Well, it's a bit of a repeat of a previous adventure.  Yup, I'm headed back to the the Niantic Book Barns. This time, it's an EFA meeting at the library, a quick lunch in town, and then time at the book stores.

Major Project Completed: I've been thinking about updating my website (it's been a couple of years!) and decided to hand off the project to someone else.  That's right, I hired someone to take that over.  And I'm so happy with the results. You'll have to check out the website, and if you are interested in any updates for your site, Ogden Studios can help you out.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Book Adventures, Part I

On the second weekend of April, I convinced the hubby to take a road trip up to Burlington, MA.  The purpose: Talkbooks Author Signing Event.

I had two of my authors there: Cali MacKay and Jen Davies. And there were several other authors there I'd either heard of or read. 

So we headed up on Saturday afternoon, with the plan to stay overnight and head back in the morning. We got there late enough in the afternoon that the early birds had cleared out. In fact, Cali was pretty much out of books by the time I showed up:

An almost empty author's table
 I found Cali right away, and funny enough, Jen was across the aisle from her!  They'd actually talked a bit before the show started and it turns out they aren't that far from each other.

I got to meet Jen (finally!). Her book The Witch's Heart is a nominee for the RONE award (Reward of Novel Excellence). If you want to support an indie author, go ahead and register to vote!

As I walked around, I purchased some books, talked to some new authors and some favorites (I got to tell Julia Kent how I stayed up until 1 a.m. reading her Shopping for a Billionaire, pretty much laughing my butt off) and made plans to have dinner with Cali (and our husbands).

Somehow, I didn't get a photo of me and Cali, but I did get a picture of my dinner at the funky place she suggested, The Friendly Toast.

Breakfast for dinner - you bet!
We sat and ate, and talked, and talked and talked.  We were there for two hours, and I think Cali & I could have spent another two hours there without running out of things to talk about!

But the hubby and I had decided to check out The Black Panther, so off we went. I have to say, it was a pretty good movie, and I suspect watching it will help fill in some blanks for the next Avengers movie.

If you ever get a chance to attend a book signing, I'd encourage you to do so. As an author, it's a great chance to meet fans or gain new ones. As a reader, it's so cool to see the people who write these stories that entertain and enthrall us.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Book Adventures Part II

Okay, okay...careful readers of the blog will realize there hasn't been a Book Adventures Part I. There will be, I promise.  But that was last weekend, and I wanted to share my book adventures from this weekend, so I'm jumping ahead.  Hey, haven't you should start your story in the middle, right?

So, this weekend the hubby and I took a bit of a road trip.  I've been wanting to check out the Niantic Book Barn. (Technically, there are four locations.) And considering he wanted to take a long-ish drive in his new car, a plan was hatched.

This was the first warmish weekend this spring, so it was a nice ride up. And the Book Barn was pretty easy to find - not far off the highway exit. So I went in while the hubby fussed around with his car.

Like any good used (and even new - hey, I won't discriminate!) book store, here are the cats.  They were comfy-cozy when I saw them, so I left them to their own devices. This particular couch was upstairs, where I wandered into the Books/Publishing/Wordsmithing section.  I've never seen them before, but here's actual copies of the Chicago Manual of Style - both the 12th and 14th Editions.

When I started editing, the 16th Edition was in use (now the 17th is out). It was kind of cool to see the changes between editions.

I found a few other gems, too:

Elmore Leonard's 10 Rules of Writing    


I, of course, purchased them.  I had to buy something, right?

But that book barn was actually not the main book barn.  About 30 seconds down the road, on our way to find lunch, we found the main location.  Food could wait, we figured.

This was even bigger and better than the first one we stopped at. I mean, they had a panda poster:

Live goats (okay, not my best photo...but I never claimed to be a great photographer!)

Interesting and unique outbuildings

A decent selection of romance (okay, I might be a bit biased when they have a nice selection of Barbara Freethy books - even ones I haven't worked on).

Water features:

Hey, there's a cutie here, too!

Gargoyles and wind chimes:

But hunger prevailed.  We found a cute place (between the book barns, so it wasn't that difficult) called East Coast Taco.  It was kind of busy, but the food was pretty good. And the place itself was pretty cool, too.

I mean, a place with license plates from Aruba, Virgin Islands, and the Cayman Islands is not what you typically find in a New England town.

All in all, it was a pretty good day. And...considering we were only twenty minutes away, somebody decided we should go have a donut at Krispy Kreme. (Hint: it was not me.)

Anybody need a paper hat?

My and the hubby at Mohegan Sun...location of Krispy Kreme (and just a few poker machines).

So if you are ever in Niantic, CT, check out the Book Barn (any of the four locations) and enjoy a great day out!