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Showing posts from September, 2016

#FridayReads Fields Where They Lay by Timothy Hallinan

I was lucky enough to snag an ARC of Timothy Hallinan's most recent release, Fields Where They Lay , a new Junior Bender mystery. Tim has been nominated for the Edgar and Macavity Awards, and Herbie's Game won the Lefty in 2014 for  the best comic mystery. As a long-time fan of Tim's writing, I was thrilled to get the advance copy of this book that releases in October. I first got acquainted with his work when I was reviewing for and received a copy of Breathing Water, a Poke Rafferty Thriller . That was back in 2010, and I have read a number of other books in the Poke Rafferty series, as well as the Junior Bender series. It's hard to say which I like better, as they both are so well-written and packed with fascinating characters and interesting places. Junior Bender is not your ordinary thief. He's a cultured thief, if cultured and thief could actually be used in the same sentence, but as you get to know him, you recognize that he is wel

My Rant: Is Editing Ever Elective?

Earlier this month, Diana Hurwitz posted a great article entitled " Do You Need an Editor? " Supporting her contention that all writers do, she wrote, “Errors are speed bumps that affect the reader’s enjoyment of the ride you are taking them on.” She's absolutely right. Aren't editors expensive? They can be. See the industry standard prices posted at The Editorial Freelancers Association ? Sadly, though, big bucks don’t guarantee excellent editing. How do you find a good editor—the right one for your project? Ask fellow writers who they used. Were they satisfied with the result? Get recommendations at bookstores. Request references from any editor you are considering; the good ones shouldn’t object. Read a book or two they’ve edited. Are the characters lifelike, three-dimensional people? Does the story move smoothly forward? Whose POV is it told in? Do you always know who’s talking? Is the action realistic? Does the ending satisfy you, or does it leave you han

#FridayReads : A Black Sail by Rich Zahradnik

A Black Sail by Rich Zahradnik is book three of a mystery series featuring newsman Coleridge Taylor, set on the mean streets of Manhattan and surrounding boroughs in the ’70s. It is a new release from Camel Press and is available in print, e-book and audio. On the eve of the U.S. Bicentennial, Taylor is covering Operation Sail, and  New York Harbor is teeming with tall ships from all over the world. While enjoying the spectacle, Taylor is still a police reporter. He wants to cover real stories, not fluff, and gritty New York City still has plenty of those in July of 1976. One surfaces right in front of him when a housewife is fished out of the harbor wearing bricks of heroin, inferior stuff users have been rejecting for China White, peddled by the Chinatown gangs. Convinced he’s stumbled upon a drug war between the Italian Mafia and a Chinese tong, Taylor uses every spare minute to investigate. This story resonated with me on several levels. First off, it is a terrific mystery wi

#FridayReads : Sharpen Your Editing Skills with Noah Lukeman

Noah Lukeman started as an editor for a major publishing company before becoming a literary agent. He is often a guest speaker on topics related to writing and publishing. The Plot Thickens and The First Five Pages are my favourites of his writing craft and editing books. Working through The Plot Thickens  is most valuable after fully completing a first draft, because we learn best from our own mistakes, and those going for the second round will have many lightbulb moments ahead of the revision or rewrite.  The Plot Thickens starts by re-developing the characters in your work and how the character changes through the book. Lukeman provides hundreds of questions to consider across every facet of a character. Not every question or topic will apply to every character, but his prompts are bound to help you develop extra information about your character that you can use in your work. As you work through the questions, take each insight back to the plot of your book and co

Do You Need An Editor?

One hundred percent yes! In the olden days, when traditional publishers had a crew of talented editors aboard their ships, a writer had someone to suggest changes and to perform the final proof-reading. Nowadays, editors are being tossed overboard. If your book is traditionally published, your manuscript should get at least a cursory once-over if not three. However, being published by a big house is not a guarantee that your book will be solid or error-free anymore. Self-publishing means you must either: be a good editor, know and bribe a good editor, or hire one. Hiring an editor is tricky. Anyone with a fair grasp of English can hang out their shingle as an editor. If you decide to hire one, check their credentials. Ask for references. Do a criminal background check, just kidding, but only slightly. Search for them on the Preditors & Editors website: I highly recommend you have several people with some knowledge of craft go over your work. I'm no

Meet Toby

And the winner of the book drawing with swag bag is JuniperEve, whose son Toby will love Toby! Please look for an email from hotbuttonpress in your mailbox. Hazel Mitchell and I first met on Facebook a few years ago. I was immediately taken by her award-winning children's book illustrations. Even more fun were the engaging stories of her real-life rescue poodle, Toby. I wasn't much of a dog person at the time, but like all of Toby's many fans, my heart stopped when Hazel shared the news that Toby was lost , from a kennel caring for him while his people went on a vacation. For eight long and agonizing days, we all threw our collective virtual attention and love behind his rescue. You can read more about Toby's adventure here. Miraculously, Toby was found. But that was just the beginning of his story. This month, Candlewick Press releases the picture book inspired by him, Hazel's first published story-writing effort to go along with the charming illustra