After I got my manuscript back from my editor, I noticed that most of his corrections were my inconsistencies of when to spell out numbers. There is no fixed rule about this, I think it is largely dependent on the standards of a publishing house. For a self-published author, it is important to establish that guideline early on and stick to it. From the corrections of my editor, he spelled out numbers twenty and below. For time of day, I have always used PM and AM, so using the number equivalent was fine like 3 PM. I’m still deciding whether I should use 9mm or nine-millimeter regarding the weapons used in the book, it looked like either form was acceptable. The impact of the former was better in my opinion.
Oh, about content editing. As a new author whose desire was to write the novel that has been percolating in my head, there were some new phrases I had to learn. Content editing was one, suspension of disbelief was another. As a beginning author, I guess I had the tendency to explain every scene or the thoughts and motivations of a character that it had left nothing to a reader’s imagination. With this in mind, content editing comes into play. A main part of content editing is to remove repetitive information from the manuscript.
I noticed in later chapters, paragraph sections were crossed out, and at first I was dismayed, but then I realized that the information had more of an impact when given in another part of the book.
There were other scenes in which I did a total rewrite or had to cut them out completely. This was to remove the dreaded wash-rinse-repeat cycle which I did not know I had been doing, but I totally got the point my editor was making.
I’m very happy with the end-result. The extra work had tightened the plot and moved the action smoothly forward.
Here is an excerpt from the editorial review of “Fire and Ice”:
In terms of the engaging, gripping nature of the book, a significant factor is the fact that you get your reader to like and invest in the characters very quickly. All of the characters are very vividly drawn, and you are able to impart a distinct personality and aura to them with a few deft strokes. One thing to bear in mind in this respect would be what I mentioned in my previous letter about showing rather than telling: it seems to be the case that an important aspect of the suspension of disbelief is a lightness of touch on the writer’s part when spinning the illusion, and any hint of coercion or forcefulness (“This is what X means / This is what you are meant to think”) tends to interrupt the reader’s absorption by drawing attention to / making them aware of the presence of the writer trying to engender exactly that.
When reading New Adult and Young Adult novels, I had to put myself in a frame of mind of how I had behaved when I was that age. That’s why I had to go back and change some ratings.
Is it any surprise that Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire is on my list. At first, I gave this book 4 stars on Goodreads before i bumped it up to 4.5 after I went back and read a couple of the scenes and pondered them through. I love that Travis Maddox is so intense about his Pidge. Travis is the ultimate bad boy—tattooed, a bare-knuckle fighter, and the resident man-whore. But he is also smart and when he falls for Abby, he falls hard. Sigh, I do have a weakness for this type of story. The reason they stay apart kind of dragged and the whole bet thing is ludicrous but other than that I enjoyed the book.
I enjoyed Slammed and Hopeless by Colleen Hoover. A LOT. I nearly did not read Slammed. I had a string of bad young adult reads that I was leery to read another one … and about poetry … no thanks. But I gave in, and I fell hard. Sigh, Will. Such a great hero. He was mature and strong for Lake and both characters had to suffer being apart because of the ethical reasons their relationship would present. Anyway, what surprised me most was that I do like Slam Poetry. 🙂
Hopeless dealt with a more mature theme that some readers might find disturbing. Both hero and heroine have troubled pasts, but how they try to cope with it is what makes this book a great read. I really like how Colleen Hoover writes her male characters. Dean Holder, though classified in the beginning as a bad boy, is actually very mature and I loved the way he was there for Sky.
Wait for You by J. Lynn. Again, I nearly did not read this because I felt I had had enough of college romances that were full of angst and stupid decisions made by heroines too stupid to exist. Fortunately, this book was not like that.
What I liked about this book was the slow development of the relationship between Avery and Cam. Normally, I hate books like this, but the author kept it interesting with great banter between the two leads. The ending kind of felt rush and I was disappointed with the identity of the stalker but Cam, oh Cam … he made up for it with his swoonworthy blue eyes, dimples, his baking … yes … he bakes cookies, he nurtures. He was a very mature hero which was refreshing in this genre. Now who wouldn’t want a man like that?
Jasinda Wilder, I hate you. I have never bawled so much after reading the first 20% of Falling into you. I tried so hard to keep the sniffles down so the hubby wouldn’t hear but to no avail. Anyway, the book synopsis had revealed what happened.
Nell lost her first love Kyle in a tragic accident. The author had built up such a sweet relationship between the two so that when Kyle dies, the reader feels the loss along with Nell. The story is how Nell tries to move on with Kyle’s older brother Colton. How the two justify their relationship—would it be betraying Kyle’s memory—and how they move on from their demons are what will propel the book to its emotional ending. I think this book needs a giant epilogue. Paging Miss Jasinda Wilder.
Flat Out Love was one of the first young adult novels I have read and loved. It did touch on the interactions of a dysfunctional family and the reader is very aware that something had happened to have caused this. Very early on in the book I had an idea but then the author was very good in keeping the mystery interesting. Julie, Matt and Celeste were excellent characters and you get very invested in them very quickly. The Facebook status updates were hilarious.
This was a poignant book. So much emotion and feeling of loss. Where She Went by Gayle Foreman is the sequel to If I Stay. The first book was written in Mia’s point of book where she was in a coma and the lone survivor of an accident that wiped out her family (parents and younger brother). During her coma, Adam begged her to stay … and she did … but not with him.
Now, three years later, the story continues from Adam’s point of view. Adam’s career has been on a wonderful trajectory. His album, borne from the anguish and pain of their breakup, has made him a bona fide star. And Mia herself has become a top-rate cellist, playing in some of the finest venues in the world. When their respective paths put them both in New York City at the same time, the result is a single night in which the two reunite – with wholly satisfying results.
Adam’s Promise: If you stay, I’ll do whatever you want. I’ll quit the band; go with you to New York. But if you need me to go away, I’ll do that too. .. And that would suck, but I’ll do it. I can lose you like that, if I don’t lose you today. I’ll let you go. If you stay.
Easy by Tammara Weber deals with a delicate subject matter and tells the story of how one girl rises and stands up for herself and others. The hero is mature, smart and protective without being annoying but we find out later that he has a very dark past.
I’m a big fan of Lisa Kleypas Historicals, but I loved her contemporary romance, Smooth Talking Stranger. Also she had shifted to the 1st POV in this one. I loved the banter between Jack and Ella. With lines like:
“No more Dane,” he eventually said with unnerving finality. I tried to be funny. “I can’t decide if that means you don’t want me to see him again or if you’re planning to kill him.” “It means if the first thing happens, the second thing is likely to follow.”
I wasn’t really sure who was the smooth-talking stranger here, Ella or Jack. Oh, one thing I could almost hear was Jack Travis’s sexy Texan drawl.
I was taking a break from paranormal and urban fantasy reads and I wanted to look for more books with Controlling/Alpha Males. Kristen Ashley’s books kept coming up on the list. I was fresh from reading the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy and would have rated those books 5 stars if it was maybe shaved into two books.
Anyway, I digress. I liked Christian Grey and I wanted to find similar books. Enter Kristen Ashley. I almost did not read her books because of some negative reviews that complained of tedious descriptions of places, what a character was wearing or just mundane activities. I like prose to be snappy. But I was glad I took a leap of faith and read my first Kristen Ashley book, The Gamble. I was hooked. I absolutely loved her Alpha males. Sure, the book could have used some good editing, but she could write one heck of a story with a lot of heart and did I mention her male heroes are absolutely swoonworthy? I devoured all her books in a couple of weeks. And I can say my favorite was Sweet Dreams, followed by Motorcycle Man. I also liked her Rock Chick series book #1 with Indie and Lee Nightingale, but my favorite was Rock Chick Revenge (#5) with Luke and Ava. However, I have a feeling when Rock Chick #8 (Ren and Ally) comes out, this might change. I liked her Burg series too, especially Games of the Heart (Mike and Dusty) — this book didn’t have any big mystery or serial killer but the development of the relationship between the two protagonists was just so well-written and real. There was a bit of angst in the beginning but there was no stupid misunderstandings that kept them apart. Her paranormal books are also good, Penmort Castle, Somersgate house, Lacybourne Manor and Fairy Tale Come Alive. I’m looking forward to her Chaos Series which is a spin-off of Motorcycle Man.
Wait for Me ~ Elisabeth Naughton ~ I bought this book when it was on sale for 99 cents and it was romantic suspense at its best. I was sucked in from the first pages and the emotional turmoil that the characters go through are so heart-wrenching. I liked the plot, the twist and turns are interesting without being absurd, and one of the best books about second chances. Do not wait to read this book!
WallBanger ~ Alice Clayton ~ this was so funny. I enjoyed the relationship development. Had me in tears laughing towards the end, I had to put the book down to wipe my eyes.
Beauty from Pain ~ Georgia Cates. I really liked the female lead in this one. Even if she was hurting, she did not grovel. This ends with a cliffhanger and I can’t wait for the second book.
Escorted ~ Claire Kent ~ I didn’t think I would like this because it was like Pretty Woman in reverse. The author’s male protagonists are not real Alpha males but I would define them as quietly strong and solid. The female lead needs to get rid of her virginity and hires a male escort to do it. What happens next is what neither of them expects.
I have many books rated 4 stars, but really should be 4.5 except Goodreads will not let you rate in half points and are worth mentioning here:
On Dublin Street ~ Samantha Young ~ Well, you’ve got sexy Braden Carmichael in all-controlling, alpha-male, dirty-talking glory. The reason this didn’t get five stars is that the heroine annoyed me sometimes.
The Witness ~ Nora Roberts ~ It took too long to setup and the ending was too tidy but I still consider this a great read. Abigail Lowery is on the run, but hiding in a small town is not exactly a good place to stay low— especially if you’ve caught the eye of the Chief of police. Brooks Gleason is not your typical overbearing alpha hero, which is a nice change, but he has a lot of charm and street smart that will endear him to the reader. Abigail has a big-ass dog, a bull mastiff named Bert whom she had trained to guard her and makes for some interesting scenes in the book.
If you loved Fifty Shades of Grey …
Let’s admit here, there’s a fine line between Overbearing/Controlling and Emotionally Incompetent … but it’s a trend and it’s here to stay for a while.
Up in the Air Series by R.K. Lilly ~ three books: In Flight, Mile High, Grounded Up . The heroine has backbone despite an overbearing hero. I also like the secondary character, Stephan. Again if this was condensed shorter, say two books I would have given this five stars.
CrossFire Series ~ Sylvia Day ~ The heroine, Eva, annoys me with her neediness but what can I say, Gideon Cross makes up for most of it. The last book has not come out yet, so I haven’t made up my mind about the entire series: Bared to you, Reflected in you and Entwined with you.
This Man Trilogy ~ Jodi Allen Malpas ~ If you like angst, this book is for you. Sometimes I hated this book, sometimes I loved it. The hero is very intense, sometimes it got scary. Also, I had to skim a lot of the sex scenes because they seemed gratuitous. But it’s one of those reads where I have to know what happens. The third book is not out yet as of this writing. This Man, Beneath this Man, This Man Confessed.
I’m a sucker for Earls and Dukes, what can I say? I have a couple of favorites, more than a couple. I think I went through Lisa Kleypas historicals quickly. Though I liked her Wallflower series, I also liked a couple of her Bowstreet Runners. Another great historical romance writer is Sylvia Day. Yes, before Eva and Gideon, there was that book called:
The Stranger I Married ~ Sylvia Day ~ I loved this book. It was unusual because the woman was older and wow was it a hot and steamy novel.
Slightly Dangerous ~ Mary Balogh ~ The draw in this book is how the cold-as-ice Duke Wulfric slowly (or was it quickly) fell in love with the widow Christine Derrick. I love that the heroine was strong enough to hold up to the intimidating Duke.
It Happened One Autumn – This was the second book in the wallflower series. Marcus and Lily had been clashing in the previous books. And you know when sparks fly, there is a thin line between love and hate.
Secrets of a Summer night ~ my favorite. I absolutely love Simon Hunt and Annabelle. Simon has been attracted to Annabelle for years, but because he us a commoner he is not in a position to offer for her even if he is filthy rich. Annabelle is also determined to marry a titled gentleman, but without a dowry, her future looks bleak. Will she settle for Simon? (personally I think I’d pick the piratical-looking Simon Hunt over those pasty-faced aristocrats) There is a scene in the book where the girls are playing rounders in their knickers that had me grinning.
Then Came You ~ another favorite. I loved this couple: Lily Lawson and Alex Raiford. Lily is known as ‘Lawless Lily’ and her scandalous antics (gambling, riding horses in breeches) are well-known in the ton. When her beloved sister, Penelope gets engaged to cold and arrogant Alex Raiford, she is determined to stop the wedding. Alex is not in love with Penelope, but he is convinced she would make a great countess. Lily gets under his skin though, and that makes things complicated.
Ever since my reading binge began in May 2012, I have not seen any signs of it abating. I have amassed 186 entries on Goodreads since I discovered that website—not including some books I couldn’t finish. It has become my source for researching a new book to read and I encourage you all to check it out.
I thought it’ll be great to highlight some the best books I have read so far, so I’ve started this series of my 5-star reads which is really based on the Goodreads scale. I frequently get asked about book recommendations, so I have divided my books into categories. I’m starting with the popular Paranormal/Urban Fantasy books. I have started this as a page on the menu bar as well and will add to it as I add more books to the list.
I came across Karen Marie Moning’s books through her Highlander series. I was very intrigued with the Paranormal aspect that she had incorporated especially starting with the books of the twins Drustan and Daegus, Kiss of the Highlander and Dark Highlander respectively. However it was her Immortal Highlander that had me falling in love with the fae prince—Adam Black. In Immortal Highlander, we get introduced more intricately into the world of the Tuatha Dé Danaan—a highly advanced race of immortal beings that settled in Ireland thousands of years before the birth of Christ and are known as Fae (not fairy, because that sounds tinkerbellish). We are also introduced to the Sidhe-seer—a person that Fae magic does not work on and is capable of seeing past the glamour or illusion cast by a Fae to see its true nature. These two beings play an important role in the Fever Series.
I was hesitant to read the Fever series at first because I was not into Urban Fantasy then. But I kept on hearing about Barrons, that he was the ultimate Alpha male. Heck, he even won an Alpha Showdown against the best of the Paranormal beings in fiction. Well, let me just say, when I did finish the Fever series, even after reading tons of books afterwards, there is no greater Alpha than one Jericho Barrons. At the beginning, the reader is left with the question “Who exactly is Jericho Barrons?” Well, sometime between Book 2 and Book 5, the question morphs into “What the feck is Jericho Barrons?” Anyway, the heroine, MacKayla Lane was very likable, but in these books, it was Barrons who kept the intrigue going. The order of the Five books in the fever series are: Darkfever, Bloodfever, Faefever, Dreamfever & Shadowfever.
The novels are about the quest for the SinSar Dubh, a book belonging to the Tuatha Dé Danaan which contains the deadliest magic within its encrypted pages. It contains the spell of unmaking which can destroy the world by well … unmaking it. Several factions are after the book: The Seelie (fairer court of fae), the Unseelie (dark court of fae), Barrons who mentors and uses Mac to look for the book(Mackayla Lane is a Sidhe-seer who has the power to sense Fae objects), The Mackeltars (from the Highlander series), and a group of Sidhe-seers. Throughout the series you are kept guessing who the good guys are. Is Barrons a good guy, are the Seelie? What is Barrons? 🙂
As a reader, I’m not much for endless details or filler chapters, but I do realize that sometimes they are needed pace the story. I do not like to read about pages and pages about a character’s clothes or a certain location. This triggers my automatic skimming.
However, I do appreciate specific details and this is one skill I want to develop, writing a setting and keeping the flow interesting.
I came across the February 2013 issue of Writer’s digest and am impressed with the wealth of information contained within. It’s a great magazine for a new writer like me to navigate ways of improving my writing. A short article that caught my eye and tickled my interest was : “Getting the Details Right” ~ Write it real by knowing your high heels. My current heroine, Maia Pierce has a shoe fetish. 🙂
Here is an excerpt. This article was written by Tiffany Luckey. There were 9 types of shoes mentioned here but the top three are the most commonly used:
Pump : A slip-on with a low-cut front. Heel length varies (typical 2-4 inches). who would wear it: the working woman who is both stylish and practical.
Stiletto: A long, pencil-thin heel named after the stiletto knife; 2-10 inches in heigh. who would wear it: the tempress; a go-getter; the fashion forward woman.
Kitten: A shorter version of the stiletto, usually 1 1/2-2 inches in height. who would wear it: usually taller and dainty women; those who look like Katherine Hepburn as a style icon.
Regarding stilettos, the designer of choice is still Manolo Blahnik and Christian Louboutin.
When I become interested in something, it almost becomes an obsession. I read/buy books, I buy the best tools—everything needs to be top-notch—I try to go to classes when I could. Fortunately, in novel writing, you just need your writing tool—this could be your computer or if you are still old-style … a typewriter. The internet is also a wealth of information, but use it wisely.
My husband has always thought that I was the queen of the internet because I was quick to find the answers I needed. But there’s nothing like a good old reliable book. I’m sure most writers are familiar with it— but to those not in the United States (I know I’ve never heard of it when I was in school)—this book has been my bible:
Unfortunately, like most textbooks, retention is bad unless I find real-life applications of the rules in the book. I have the illustrated version, but I’ve bought the e-book version as well for a quick reference since I always have my e-reader with me.
So what are some commonly misused words?
which/that – Usually, I can tell which one to use by reading it out loud and figuring how the whole sentence means to me. An example from my manuscript:
Castle is about 30 clicks from the main highway, which that should give us roughly 20 minutes’ heads up.
which is none restrictive, when it is taken away, the meaning of the sentence does not change, information following it is supplementary.
that is restrictive. It is necessary for the meaning of the sentence.
A safe house that has a panic room is essential to the mission.
got/had been I have a bad habit of substituting got for had been. So now I ask myself if had been would be a better word.For example:
Numerous arrest warrants had been got issued.
didn’t/hadn’t Again, this is a matter of habit and one might not be wrong as the other, but read it out loud and see which one sounds better. When posting a FB status, update I caught myself writing this.
Didn’t plan on buying shoes…
so I corrected it to this which sounded better to my ear
Hadn’t planned on buying shoes …
before/ago I also noticed the correction of certain time references. I normally would say, 10 years ago—this was edited to 10 years before. Other changes:
last night => the night before
tomorrow=> the next day
I realized that this may depend on the point of view. If it’s in the third person point of view, it would be better to say the next day or the night before. A formality maybe? If it was in a dialogue, then a speaker was most likely to say, “I’ll see you tomorrow.” or “It was fun last night.”
The following pairs of words are for possible substitutions. One word might not be wrong to use, but in writing always choose the best word:
like (for a comparison) => such as
as in => perhaps
This man was the finest male specimen she had ever come across in a long time, perhaps as in ever.
Another book I am currently reading is : Revision and Self-Editing for Publishing by James Scott Bell. I’m finding important writing gems in understanding what makes a good character, a compelling plot and handling those tricky point of views. I wish I had this before I started my book, but then again having finished work makes it easier to work on some material for improvement.
I had dabbled in writing since maintaining a food blog for over six years. Tackling a novel is a whole new ballgame. Wait, let me backtrack a little. I’ve always been a dreamer. I remembered my early childhood when my father always scolded me for being absent-minded. Even then I would think up scenarios in my head and appear to be lost in my own world. In high school, I even started on a science fiction novel which I, unfortunately, abandoned. I grew up learning and speaking three languages. You can just imagine how confusing that can be when it came to writing. Fortunately, I only had to do composition in two of them.
I did well in my English courses in high school, but when I headed off to college and took up an Engineering degree, I got rusty in composition. When I started writing a food blog, I realized that I had a habit of shifting subject-pronoun agreement, and mixing up verb tenses. I was able to get a writing coach to help me be more mindful of this. When I switched to fiction writing, I told my friend who was a beta-reader to excuse my dangling modifiers and verb tenses. I knew I had a problem. You know what she told me?
“Don’t worry, that’s the job of the editor.”
And you know what? She was right. Especially for those of us who have a story to tell but had not had the opportunity to be a literature or English major, there’s the editor that can help without losing your own voice. I also realized that it’s a good thing to just roll with the punches. When the words and ideas are flowing out—forget about the adverb placement, forget about your verb tenses—you can always go back and fix them later.
I’ve finished proofreading my first novel and I couldn’t wait to share what I have learned during the editing process. As I prepare my novel for publication, maybe other first-time writers may also benefit from the experience.
Maia Pierce, a top agent for Artemis Guardian Services (AGS) and a widely known rule breaker, was good at her job. In her last mission, her risk-taking had finally caught up with her and she had now incurred the wrath of a Russian drug lord bent on destroying her. With assassins after her, one man had offered her his protection. But Jack McCord may be an other kind of danger, a danger to her heart.
Jack McCord had everything: a thriving defense company, sinful good looks and no shortage of beautiful women. But what he coveted the most didn’t want anything to do with him. Maia Pierce, his brother’s bodyguard, was the most exquisite creature he had ever laid eyes on and he wanted her. And when Maia got into trouble he saw an opportunity to finally seduce her and he is not taking no for an answer.
As they face-off with Russian mercenaries from the North Carolina coast to the depths of the Russian wilderness, they also finally face what may be in their hearts. But the danger that Maia finds herself in and the secrets she keeps from Jack threaten to derail their happily ever after.