Thursday, October 31, 2013

Editor Interview

Taking a page from our usual Author Interviews, this month I'm answering some questions.

Describe your typical day.  I'm typically up anytime between 7 and 9 (mostly depending on how late I was up or if I woke up in the middle of the night and couldn't go back to sleep).  After feeding and walking the dog, it's time for me to wake up (read emails and news online) and get ready for the day.  Mornings are typically dog walking interrupted by editing.  After lunch, the dog walking slows down and I can focus more on editing.  Dinner is either the start of my winding down or just a pit-stop before more editing.  That depends on deadlines and whether or not the hubby is home.  Some nights I've got meetings (church, town, and professional). I hit the hay around 11 and am hopefully asleep by midnight.

Favorite books growing up: our town library was so small when I was a kid, I feel like I read everything they had.  I wouldn't be surprised if the total square footage was less than 750 square feet (and it was a big deal when it moved to the basement of the new town hall - 2,000 square feet of luxurious rack after rack).  But I was super fond of the Adventures of Tintin, all of the Little House on the Prairie books, and the Bobbsey Twins.  As a teenager, I found science fiction and fantasy (thanks, big brother!) and picked up Heinlein, Robert Silverberg, and Anne McCaffrey.  And what childhood would be complete without the works of Steven King to freak you out (or reassure you that you weren't the weirdest kid in the world)?

What would you tell your younger self? You won't die if you speak out loud in public.  People might actually be interested in what you have to say.  It took me until I was about 30 or so before I became comfortable speaking in public.  Some people would say they preferred it when I wouldn't talk, because now they can't get me to shut up!  I am still shy in social situations, but I've really gotten much better at asserting myself when I need to.

Any writing ambitions?  As any regular reader of this blog knows (and thanks, by the way!), writing is not my best skill.  I am much better at editing.  I really admire my authors—you create new worlds and characters and make them come to life.  I've never really had a story or characters stuck in my head, driving me crazy until they came out on paper (or screen, as the case may be!).  I will say I can write some interesting stories about things that have happened to me, but my life isn't so interesting every day that I'd try to write a collection of stories.  The occasional blog post is about the best I can do on that front.

Is the Atwater Group really a group, or is it just you? It’s just me. It has grown and morphed over the years in purpose and “employees.”  My husband is one who continually has great ideas and wants to start all these “small businesses.”  So, at first, it was a way to corral all of his ideas and ventures.  But then he got laid off from his real job and had to start a rep agency while he was looking for work.  “The Atwater Group” sounded solid, dependable, more than just a one-guy outfit, and wasn’t specific to his name or industry.  He did find another job, but it required that I quit my job (I was working for a rep agency that is in direct competition for my husband’s new job).  So I putzed around a bit, started my own company (Atwater Chocolates) under the umbrella of The Atwater Group, but that proved to be time-consuming and not profitable.  Once I started proofing and editing, I took over the name (after all, it’s a pretty good name and we had all the tax ID stuff set up). We’ve toyed with my husband providing voice-over work and audio books, so if he ever does that it will be under services that The Atwater Group provides. So…no, there’s no farming out, no big corporate backing, no small, dedicated band of brothers/sisters who work here…just me!  (The hubby provides moral support and technical support when needed; the dog provides distraction and a reason to get away from the eyestrain of the computer screen!) 

I hope you've enjoyed getting to know me a bit better.  And next month, I promise to have the Author Interviews back on track!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Heinlein's Rules of Writing

I found a list on Galley Cat that you can download a one-sheet list of writing rules.  Well, it says it's a one-sheet list but the pdf is actually two pages, so someone needs to be reminded of the difference between one and two.

And I warn you, the print is small.  Tiny.  Minuscule.  Difficult to read.

I used to read Robert Heinlein books whenever I could get my hands on them.  Usually from my brother's stash of sci-fi books.  If my mother had known what I was really reading, she may have banned me from reading anything other than Wizard of Oz books!

But anyway, here is a list of Robert Heinlein's writing rules:

You Must Write
Finish What You Start
You Must Refrain From Rewriting, Except to Editorial Order
You Must Put Your Story on the Market
You Must Keep it on the Market until it has Sold
Start Working on Something Else

So, what do you think about his rules? 

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Favorite Goofs, Update

So, in the first six months of 2013, I kept track of what I thought were the funniest goofs and then had you vote on them.  I've been keeping track over the past few months as well, and let me tell you - the list is pretty full so far!

There's still another 10 weeks or so left, and I can't wait to see how long the list will be.  So will you be on the Naughty list or will you be spared?  Only time will tell...

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Where's My Comma Dude?

OK, I admit I've never actually seen the "classic" movie Where's My Car, Dude? But I distinctly remember watching the ads for the movie, and I get the feeling they were pretty much the highlights of that cinematic piece.

But it illustrates Chicago Manual Of Style 6.38:
A comma is used to set off names or words used in direct address and informal correspondence (in formal correspondence, a colon usually follows the name).

Ms. Jones, please come in.
James, your order is ready.
I am not here, my friends, to discuss personalities.
Hello, Ms. Philips.
Dear Judy, . . .
 That second to last example is the one I want to focus on.  It's the comma dude in action!  But sometimes the comma dude is missing, like in the examples below.
Read them out loud and notice the different meaning between the sentence with and the sentence without the comma.
I think I can squeeze through Chief.
I think I can squeeze through, Chief.
I am not so sure I want to squeeze through Chief.
I don't mind Michael.
I don't mind, Michael.
I never mind Michael. Or anyone, really.
You know Charlie.
You know, Charlie.
Maybe I know Charlie and maybe I don't.  You'll never find out.
Go on George.
Go on, George.
You want me to what on who???
Fine Lieutenant.
Fine, Lieutenant.
A fine lieutenant?  Sounds like a great start to a romance novel character.
How did you get this Dad?
How did you get this, Dad?
I got this Dad because...wait, didn't your parents explain the birds and the bees to you?
You shouldn't smoke so much Joe.
You shouldn't smoke so much, Joe.
I always drink my joe, not smoke it.  Maybe I've been doing it wrong. 

So please, dear author, remember where the heck you left the comma dude!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

An Interview with...

October, how did you get here so quickly?  I have to admit, something got off schedule when September hit and The Boy (aka my son) went back to college.  I was super busy working (thank you, writers!) on some great manuscripts (again, thanks writers!) and lost track of the actual days going by.  And I lost track of getting an author interview done for the October newsletter.  Or anything else for the October newsletter.

So, I am going to do a mini-interview with...wait for it...myself.  Yes, I am going to answer five questions.  But first, I need some questions to answer.   So, if you haven't already seen the 10 Random Facts About Me post, check them out so you don't ask any of those questions. 

So, either comment here or send me an email at and I'll compile the best five questions and answer them for the November newsletter.  If I start planning now, I'm sure I'll get back on schedule by then.  (Right?)

Monday, October 7, 2013

My vice is not a vise

Can you guess which one is my vice and which one is my vise?

This is an apple pie. This is delicious.  This is my vice.

This is a vise.  It is not delicious. This is technically my husband's vise, because I bought it as a Christmas present for him. 

This is what is left of my vice (apple pie) after two days, home alone with no one else to steal my pie. (And my family can attest that there was even less in the pie plate when they came home at the end of the week.)