Monday, August 31, 2015

Back to the Grind - Espresso Martini



How to make an espresso martini


Ingredients
  • 50ml Grey Goose vodka
  • 35ml coffee liqueur
  • 1 shot (25ml) of CRU Light Roast (or other) espresso
  • Ice
Method
Pour the vodka, coffee liqueur and espresso into a cocktail shaker.  Fill the martini glass with ice to chill and then fill the cocktail shaker with ice as well. (via: http://www.jamieoliver.com)

Since we are going with a dark coffee drink, let's keep the theme going in book recommendations:

Description:
When alpha shifter Mikael Volokov is called to witness a challenge, he learns the evil and power-hungry Anton Gregor will stop at nothing to attain victory. Knowing he will need alliances to keep his pack together, Mikael requests a congress with the nearby Evergreen pack and meets Denton Arguson, Evergreen alpha, to ask for his help. Fate has a strange twist for both of them, though, and Mikael and Denton soon realize they’re destined mates.

Denton resists the pull between them—he has his own pack and his own responsibilities. But Mikael isn't willing to give up. The Mother has promised Mikael his mate, told him he must fight for him, and that only together can they defeat the coming darkness. When Anton casts his sights on Denton's pack, attacks and sabotage follow, pulling Denton and Mikael together to defeat a common enemy. But Anton’s threats sow seeds of destruction enough to break any bond, and the mates’ determination to challenge the darkness may be their only saving grace.  CHECK IT OUT HERE

Friday, August 28, 2015

$0.99 cent weekend reads!!







Description:
Officer Thomas Webber made a vow of marriage to his wife, a vow to his God to resist temptation, and a vow to uphold the law. But when Tom is forced to shelter a dark-haired stranger from the tornado raging over the county, long suppressed desires are brought to the surface and he is powerless to resist.

Ben Parker has hidden his true nature his whole life. The laws in 1952 are very clear, and to expose himself would mean rotting in jail, shunned or worse, a possible death sentence. Unable to find a job, he turned to crime. Seven years later, he’s still angry and tired of hiding who he really is from the world. After meeting Thomas, Ben can envision himself settling down for the first time. The only problem is, he’s already forced Thomas to break the law and become his alibi. And then there’s the little obstacle of Tom’s wife, family, and commitment to the town of Ramer.

Ben knows what he wants, but in order to get it, Tom will have to turn his back on society and the vows he’s made if they are to find the happiness they deserve. GET IT HERE
Description:
Guards of Folsom: Book One

Micah “Pup” Slayde knows he wants Tackett Austin the moment he lays eyes on him in the Guards of Folsom. Micah wants to have purpose, to be taken care of, and to take care of his Dom—wants to trust him completely, live for him, belong to him. To become his everything. Micah is sure Tackett is the one. The problem is, in order to be the perfect sub, he needs to stay focused, and that’s not easy for Micah, who suffers from what he refers to as a “broken brain.” Focus and adult attention deficit disorder rarely coexist.

Ever since Ty Callahan and Blake Henderson’s collaring ceremony, Tackett’s been thinking too much about his own loneliness. Even though Ty introduces Micah and urges Tackett to give him a try, Tackett isn’t so easily convinced. He’s spent his life pursuing a successful business career, and the subs he dominates almost never enjoy the kiss of his leather twice. Twenty years Micah’s senior, Tackett has no interest in taking on and taming such a young and naughty sub—but it’s difficult to resist such an adorable pup when he begs. GET IT HERE
Description:
Whispering Pines Ranch: Book One

Despite the loving support of his family, Lorcan James wants to try life on his own, so at twenty-one, he finds himself walking halfway across the country in search of adventure. What he finds is desperation, desperation that leads him straight to Whispering Pines Ranch and right into the path of its strong, arrogant, gorgeous owner, who awakens something in Lorcan he didn’t even know existed.

Quinn Taylor is up to his neck in grief and frustration dealing with a neighboring rancher who wants nothing more than to see him go belly-up. He doesn’t need more complications, but from the moment he lays eyes on Lorcan, his world turns upside down. Despite finding in Quinn what his heart craves, Lorcan refuses to be Quinn’s dirty little secret—and Quinn isn’t the only one vying for Lorcan’s attention. Ranch hand Jess will happily declare his love for Lorcan to the world, something Quinn won’t offer—something Lorcan needs above all else. GET IT HERE
~Happy Reading~

Happy Release Day - Ruin Porn

 

Description:
There is underlying beauty in destruction….

Miah Thade, Finn Reese, and Ritchie Meyer are Resonator, an indie rock band with an edge—best friends turned rock stars, known as the Detroit 3. When Evin Rene appears in their life, none of them can deny he belongs with Rez.

They may have named their first album Ruin Porn because people get off on seeing how Detroit went from deeply loved to thoroughly forsaken, but they’re determined to prove that blight isn’t the entire story and blight isn’t always ugly.

Ritchie, Miah, Finn, and Evin take Resonator to a level no one anticipates. But no prosperity comes without sacrifice, and no secret stays hidden without a trail of lies. As Rez’s fame grows, so does the intensity between two of its members… as well as their potential for destruction.

Evin and Finn are about to discover the underlying beauty in their ruin porn.

Available from:

















Thursday, August 27, 2015

Inspiration to Reality - Ruin Porn

A couple of years ago, Sam and I discovered a mutual love for the band Bastille. We started looking into getting concert tickets. 
Detroit - Sold Out- BOOOOO
Toronto - Sold Out - BOOOO
So what were we to do?  ROAD TRIP!!!!!!!!

We couldn't have known how that decision to drive all they way to Philadelphia (let me tell you that was a lonnnngggggg drive)  would impact our lives.During the concert Will Farquarson did something as innocent as move to stand next to Kyle Simmons while he was playing keyboard (Sam snapped the exact moment)
Sam and I looked at each other wide eyed and I swear there was smoke coming out of our ears as the inspiration machine went into overdrive.

However, as many of you know, reality often cares little about inspiration. There was always something else going on, work, family, other commitments and so this brilliant idea was set on the back burner. It was Sam who finally pulled it back out, dusted it off and wrote the prologue (which you can read at the end of this post) that got the ball rolling again and we never looked back. 
Tonight at midnight the journey we began two years ago with a road trip to see a favorite band comes full circle. Ruin Porn is the the reward for a spark of inspiration.
 
We hope you enjoy it as much has we enjoyed writing it
 

Sam
&
Jo
 
 
There is underlying beauty in destruction….

Miah Thade, Finn Reese, and Ritchie Meyer are Resonator, an indie rock band with an edge—best friends turned rock stars, known as the Detroit 3. When Evin Rene appears in their life, none of them can deny he belongs with Rez.

They may have named their first album Ruin Porn because people get off on seeing how Detroit went from deeply loved to thoroughly forsaken, but they’re determined to prove that blight isn’t the entire story and blight isn’t always ugly.

Ritchie, Miah, Finn, and Evin take Resonator to a level no one anticipates. But no prosperity comes without sacrifice, and no secret stays hidden without a trail of lies. As Rez’s fame grows, so does the intensity between two of its members… as well as their potential for destruction.

Evin and Finn are about to discover the underlying beauty in their ruin porn.

GET YOUR COPY HERE

 
PROLOGUE

Los Angeles



EVIN LAID his forehead against the grimy front door, closed his eyes, and tried to remember how to breathe.

Maybe this was irony—two doorstep vigils in this shitty LA apartment in one year—but Evin had no idea. He might have been one of the primary songwriters for Resonator, but putting poetic weight behind his words wasn’t the same as making sure they were neatly confined by proper grammar.

Whether or not his current pathetic situation was ironic by the strict definition was something Miah—as much as he wanted to act the dumb, egotistical lead singer—would have known. Evin smiled at the thought, then grimaced just as rapidly. The realization of just how far removed he was from the three men who had meant the most in his life for such a short but memorable time was like a physical punch to the throat and gut at the same time.

He and the founding members of Resonator had worked their asses off and fucking killed the music industry giants that told them alternative rock with a hard edge would never be massively popular again. It didn’t matter how many minds they’d changed, though, Rez was over. Disbanded. Defunct and fucked-up. It had all fallen apart so fast. Ironically (maybe), for reasons much more controversial and tabloid-worthy than everyone believed.

So much had changed in the last year that he couldn’t decide whether it was easier to start over with a new band or try to fix what had been damaged. Standing in front of this damn door yet again, he was terrified because he didn’t know what came next. The knock he was waiting for now could either bring Rez back together or put a definitive end date on all their careers. Only adding to his stratospheric stress level was the realization that he couldn’t be sure which outcome he was hoping for.

All he could be sure of was that there was change coming, and there was nothing he could do to stop it now.

He banged his forehead on the door a couple more times for good measure and muttered under his breath as he walked away, “Get it fucking together, Kevin—”

Wait.

Kevin… Evin… Fuck!

He didn’t know what to call himself anymore now that he wasn’t the bassist and songwriter for Rez.

The fans camped outside his building kept up an almost constant chant of Rezors love you and Bring back Rez. There were other more demanding and linguistically colorful phrases thrown in every now and then, but every one of them called out for Evin without fail, not Kevin.

He’d only been Evin for a year, but it wasn’t as if there was a chance for him to go back and change it—any of it—now. He might as well embrace the twenty-two-year-old man he’d become, even if he wasn’t particularly proud of who that was.

There was a tap against the door, a forlorn knock he’d been both waiting for and dreading. Then Shonda’s voice, low and soothing, reverberated through the plywood. “Security let me up. Thanks for allowing them to….”

They have no choice but to listen to everything I say. He was the one paying the four guards who verified the identities of everyone coming into this ramshackle building so that no one could sneak up and harass him. It was probably the safest the down-on-life residents of this slum had ever been.

There was the sound of crinkling plastic and the corner of a magazine appeared in the gap between the door and the tarnished, dented carpet strip. Shonda continued, “I’m just going to leave this copy here, Ev. It goes public everywhere today. I hope to hear from you. I hope it’s what you expected…. I hope maybe it changes things for Rez.” She was quiet for a moment, but Evin knew she was still there. He leaned his shoulder against the doorjamb but didn’t answer her. She sighed. “Call me.”

She knocked softly two more times, a gesture of familiarity and support, and then he could hear her shuffling away, back to the stairs, as if she was making noise so he knew she was gone and he was alone.

He waited until the silence in the hallway had dragged on for minutes before unlocking the series of deadbolts and opening his door. The magazine lying at his feet was an inanimate object. It was neither sentient nor harmful in and of itself. But Evin stared at it as if it were an exposed live wire submerged in a tank of water.

“Oh for fuck’s sake,” he grumbled, swiped the magazine up, and slammed the door shut. He made sure to click the locks home before he settled himself onto the worn futon to see what Shonda had written.

He’d made the front cover, which Shonda hadn’t prepared him for. It was ludicrous and surreal to see his ordinary bearded face—his conservatively styled sweat-soaked brown hair whipped back from his forehead by fingertips—staring back at him in the blinding black and white of a live concert shot. He immediately knew why Shonda had chosen this pic to set up her exposé. The Evin in the photograph was looking across that stage at an unseen entity, his expression equal parts rock god, lovesick fool, and insecure madman.

Evin swallowed the bile building in his throat, cracked his neck, attempting to break some of the tension, and flipped through the pages until he saw the headline—The Rezor’s Edge: Resonator’s Bassist Tells All and Yet Nothing. He skimmed the pages, getting a feel for Shonda’s writing style. She’d taken their meeting and reported it in a first-person narrative, interspersed with photos she took on her phone that day, all to give the illusion the reader was sitting at the table with her and Evin. It had been painful enough to withstand the first time around, he wasn’t sure if reliving that day in such vivid detail was a good idea. But if there was anything he had down to a science lately, it was making epically bad choices.

So he read:



We meet at a coffee shop in some alley in downtown LA. The location is suspect at best, just on the edges of Skid Row, but I try not to worry because this is Kevin “Evin” Rene’s old stomping grounds, and his clean reputation more than precedes him. For once, he’s not surrounded by bodyguards or fans, and I know why as soon as I spot him at a back table. While the Evin of Resonator fame became a fan favorite by not disguising himself when he stepped out and was always willing to stop, talk, and take pictures with fans—the hardcore and aptly named Rezors—this post-Rez iteration of Evin is wearing a baseball cap and mirrored Ray-Ban aviators to go with his usual T-shirt, jeans, and battered Converse. He looks like every other LA celebrity trying to disguise their identity, which makes him conspicuously incognito. I hardly recognize him, especially when I realize his trademark beard is gone.

He stands when he sees me coming, removes his sunglasses, and just as much the nice guy as his rep suggests, pulls out the chair across from himself. He’d texted me this morning asking what my favorite tea is, and sure enough there’s already a cup waiting for me.

“So, Evin—” I begin.

“Please, call me Kevin. It’s my real name. Well, the name on my birth certificate. You know, the name I had before all this madness—” He clears his throat and his eyes dart around uncomfortably. “—occurred.”

“So, Kevin—”

He puts up his palm and shakes his head, interrupting me again. “I’m sorry. Evin. Call me Evin. I can’t—” He stops talking abruptly and looks away.

Now my curiosity is really piqued.

“You were the one who reached out to me after the breakup. Why did you call me?” I ask.

“I’m getting a lot of requests for interviews and without the overpaid PR reps to guide me, I had to decide when and if to speak on my own. You and I know each other, sort of, from the Made in Americana tour. I couldn’t think of anyone else I could trust. Hell, I don’t know if trust is the right word. I don’t really want to be talking to you.”

“If we’re being honest, right?”

Evin shrugs.

“Let’s talk. It’s been two months since the breakup of Resonator. You were at the top of the charts when the announcement came. Why then?”

He scratches at the smooth skin of his jawline, then stops, as if he expects to be able to pull at the hair there like he did in every other interview where things got more personal. It’s a tell I don’t think he knows he has. But he seems frustrated that his beard is no longer there to pick at, and he gives that recognizable scowl that’s more precious than menacing.

I try not to laugh. “You want something easier? Less personal?”

“I don’t suppose that’s how you want this to go?”

“It’s pointless and you know it.”

He nods, sips his coffee. “But safer.”

“I won’t argue that. Okay, we’ll start slow. Tell me about Rez. About your success.”

He visibly relaxes. “I couldn’t have done it myself. Without the Detroit 3. Wouldn’t have wanted to.”

It’s the first time he’s mentioned the other three members of the now-defunct Resonator since we started negotiating this interview weeks ago: Miah Thade, lead singer, Ritchie Myer, drummer, and Finn Reese, guitarist, known as the Detroit 3 because of their shared hometown and the lifelong friendship of their fathers.

Evin doesn’t say anything else. But his intro leads us straight to the question everyone really wants to hear the answer to, so I take the opportunity and ask it. “What happened then?”

He fidgets, grips the coffee cup in his hands tighter.

I prompt him. “It would be easy to write off the breakup of Rez on the usual suspects—stress, drugs, creative differences, burnout…. But that’s not what happened, is it?”

Evin laughs, his boy-next-door smile cranking up in response, but still far from the genuine smile Rezors remember from the stage. “It’s complicated.”

“Sounds like a relationship status on Facebook and not a contractual issue as Miah Thade stated.”

The first mention of Miah’s name out loud sends Evin’s smile into an abrupt frown. “You’ll have to talk to Miah about his statement.”

“You’re not talking to him?”

“No.”

“What about any of the other members? Ritchie? Finn?”

“No.”

“So you haven’t heard where Finn is?”

“If I’m not talking to him….” Evin’s head snaps up. “Wait. Where is he?”

“No one knows. He dropped out of sight even more than you, Miah, or Ritchie when Rez disbanded. None of the guys know where he is. His family either.”

The corner of Evin’s lip tips up into a half smile, but there’s a tinge of anger to the gesture. “He’s fine. I’m sure.”

“How can you be so sure?”

“Because he’ll do whatever it takes to survive.”

With the classic avoidance technique of the nonanswer hanging between us, Evin goes quiet.

It doesn’t seem to matter to Evin that he’s the one who called me. Or maybe he doesn’t realize he’s not answering anything I’m asking him. At least not with a straight answer. It doesn’t make sense. It’s been months since the breakup, and Evin was the one who sought me out.

I lean in. “Why did you agree to speak to me today if you don’t want to answer my questions?”

“I think I’m still trying to figure it all out. I don’t know when we went from this passionate connection because of our mutual love of music to a marriage that stayed together for the kids, for the fans.”

“A marriage?” I ask him, curious about his use of the metaphor since this formation of Rez is only a year old. Evin gives a shy smile, that same one that disarmed twentysomething women worldwide since he changed the face of Rez by becoming their fourth member.

“Strange choice of words, I know. But being in a band isn’t much different. Legal contracts, name changes, compromises…. Maybe we were never as invested, never as honest with each other as we should have been.”

“Maybe?”

“Definitely.”

“You obviously have something in mind that you want to say to me. Maybe that you need to say through me and this interview? To the other members of Rez? To the fans?”

Evin nods and settles against the chair. “I have to say thank you to the fans for supporting us and evangelizing for Rez. Without them, we never could have made it as big in such a short time as we did. I love all of them and will never be able to repay them for the hours of their lives they put into lining up for our gigs and showing their adoration. To Miah…. He saw something in me I wasn’t sure was there. He had faith. I’m sorry I didn’t have the same faith in him. To Ritchie for teaching me to smile again. That fucker is uncluttered in a way everyone wishes they could be. And to Finn—”

His voice cracks, and he’s rushing the sunglasses back over his eyes before I can really see, but I swear he’s crying….



Evin slammed the magazine shut and threw it across the room, unable to finish the article. He had been at that table that day. These were his words and actions. He knew what happened next. Filtered through Shonda’s perception and journalistic dramatics, their conversation in that coffee shop took on a level of melodrama he’d expected but wasn’t quite prepared for. It didn’t change the fact that he’d said things to Shonda he never thought he would admit out loud. Things he never thought he would confess to anyone else, let alone in an international music magazine with his face on the cover. Now he had no choice but to wait and see what the fallout would be.

He stared at the glossy jumble of pages where they lay on the floor next to the kitchen. They hadn’t even made a satisfying thump when he’d pitched them against the wall. He stood, bent to pick up the mag, walked it to the recycling bin, and tossed it inside with a huff of frustration. This attention to being clean and tidy had been drummed into him during the tour—it wasn’t part of who he’d been before Rez—but he couldn’t seem to break free from the compulsion. Some habits died harder than others. Especially the ones he’d never wanted to give up.

He slid down the wall and planted his ass on the cold, cracked tiles of the kitchen floor, his head in his hands, his knees curling into his chest. He couldn’t stop his mind from whirling around the what-ifs. The unending screams of the fans outside just made it worse. He was taunted by the memories of his time with Rez and how badly it all had ended.

Evin clutched at his chest, felt his heart stuttering under his fingertips in a way that made him understand that the heartbreak he’d written about in more songs than he could count was pretty damn close to being a real physical thing.

And while he missed them all, that bottomless emptiness he carried with him was in direct proportion to how much his hands ached to touch one of them. How desperate he was to hear that one voice. How loudly he wanted to scream at one man for taking everything they’d worked for and destroying it with his lies.

He was haunted by the memories of Finn, more than the rest of them. He had to learn how to say that name without choking. To remember his face without sadness, sickness, or pure anger.

But not today.

Today he would put some of the millions he’d earned into actually finding a decent place to live. One where security was included in the exorbitant price and he was either far enough behind a gate or high enough that he would never have to hear the fans again.

Today he would find a way to move on from this dump of a life. He had to be standing in front of a cleaner door the next time a major shift in his life came knocking.

Of course, that’s when the pounding of a fist shook the pressboard on its cheap-ass rusted hinges.

Evin thumped his head against the wall and swore under his breath.

There was only one person who would be able to make it seem as if he was reading Evin’s thoughts, only one person who would be able to charm his way past security guards who were paid to keep him out. So if he was showing up now, then another life-changing decision had been made.

And yet, Evin was staring at the same damn chintzy door.

Now that had to be irony.
 


 
 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Overcoming Editing Blindness: Beating Your Brain at Its Own Game



I'm writing this post because I'm not perfect. I know, I know, I'm shattering illusions here, but it's true. Let me explain. Earlier this afternoon I spent time reviewing notes from proofreaders for a novel coming out soon. Luckily there were no major timeline issues, no character problems, but what there was were little niggly misses like a dropped "a" here or a "they" instead of "the" there. I even texted the author in question to vent my frustrations. All in good fun, of course, because honestly, I am not surprised by the findings. And the reason I wasn't surprised is the point of this post.

I wasn't surprised because the edit I had originally done on the manuscript in question was a developmental edit, not a copy edit. Yes, I like to pride myself on the fact that I have a very keen eye and I pick up a lot of copyedit level issues in a dev edit, but I know I am going to miss some. It's human nature. And because I know it's human nature to possibly miss an entire class of issues depending on what type of edit I am attempting, I have developed a toolkit to avoid that problem. Sometimes that toolkit is technology. Sometimes that toolkit (like in this case) is working with other people. So even though it feels like a failure to me, really it's just my brain doing exactly what it is wired to do and my failsafes working as designed. Overall, the system worked perfectly. Let me explain further.

Many of you who know me or read these things regularly know I have a background in psychology. (Wait, stay with me for a second!) Part of my psychology background and what I still teach to my university students today is how the brain processes information. So I am very familiar with exactly why it's so hard to edit your own writing. (For those of you who don't know, it is because the pattern-recognition portion of the brain reads what it expects to see, not what's on the page.) But a similar phenomenon comes into play in editing. Once an editor starts paying attention to a certain type of problem, the brain starts looking for those types of patterns. The editor will literally become blinded to other issues without effort on their part (and even then, no one's perfect). Also, the more mistakes on a page, the more likely an editor will miss some. Proximity actually reduces error finding, as the brain assumes it has solved the problem and moves on, ignoring any additional issues that might be in that location.

Don't believe me? Check out this sentence below. Can you spot the mistake?

The quick brown fox
jumped over the
the lazy dog

Did you see it? If it took you a couple of tries or you still don't see it, don't worry, you're absolutely normal. You saw what your brain expected you to see, not what was on the page. If you caught it on the first try, either you are an editor or a psychologist for a living, or you cheated (or you've seen it before).

(If you want to learn more about this, watch this YouTube clip with the host of Brain Games.)

So what does all this psychology have to do with editing and how can we overcome our brain's natural handicapping? Several suggestions.

My first suggestion? Do as much cleanup work as you can yourself before you send it anywhere else either by rereading it yourself or using one of the first couple of suggestions I list below. As I mentioned earlier, proximity of errors to one another actually reduces error finding, so the cleaner the copy you send to your editors, the more effective they will be for you. Don't just assume that your editor will fix it for you. (Unless, of course, you are Jo and you actually have worked out a deal with your editor. But she's special.)

Next, technology. I'm sure that surprises no one. There are programs out there that automate a lot of consistency checking. I use one called PerfectIt from Intelligent Editing that saves me a lot of time in correcting common copyediting mistakes. Another program, Grammarly, shows some promise, although I'm not quite sure it is ready for prime time (full review in the next couple of weeks). And there are a couple of other similar programs out there. I also have several homegrown macros to search for words that are similar such as gravely/gravelly, discrete/discreet, etc.

Another suggestion is checklists. I have a set of checklists I use for common mistakes that I can use Find and Replace to look for. By using technology and checklists, I can use the computer's pattern-matching capabilities, which are much less fallible than our brains, to correct a lot of common mistakes before I even begin reading a book. By doing this, it also improves my editing ability while I am reading because I am not distracted by all of the "easy" errors I've already corrected and can instead focus on story mistakes. (I'm using technology to solve the proximity issue before I begin.)

Looking at it from another perspective, you can also pay more attention to the people you work with on a story and what you are asking of them. This takes a couple different forms. If you are working with a publishing house, look for one that uses multiple editors per manuscript. Just like authors become immune to their own writing mistakes, so do editors become immune to the stories as well. I find that the publishers that use multiple editors per manuscript during the process have better overall quality. Obviously it still depends on the skill of those editors, but if your pub has only a single editor looking at your story, you are better off self-publishing and not paying them royalties.

If you are self-publishing and you have the time and money, try to use multiple editors. I know this isn't always feasible, so at a minimum, find a crit group, beta reader, or proofreader you really, really trust and then pay for the best editor you can afford for the one edit you do pay for. (Note, I am not saying I'm that person. I can guarantee I probably am not that person for everyone. I would refer you back to my very first post back in April about talking to your editor and choosing the right editor for you.)

When you do pay for an editor, make sure you spend your money on the type of edit you need. There are roughly three to four levels of editing you could need, each taking a different amount of time, focus, and skill on the part of the editor (and within those levels, there are any number of different things the editor could focus on). I'll go into more detail about each level of editing in another post, but fundamentally, you need to ask yourself if you are paying someone to edit the story or to polish the words. Paying someone to just polish the words is cheaper, but it may mean releasing a weaker story. Paying someone to edit the story is more expensive, but when an editor's focus is on characterization, timeline, and plot, some word polishing might get missed.

For example, what this looks like when you hire me: you might ask me to take a look at your story, but you tell me it's already been through your beta readers and you really just need it "cleaned up". In this case my head is telling me line/copy edit, so I am going to really be looking at grammar and spelling. If something jumps out at me as weird, I'll leave a note, but I am not going to spend a lot of time tracking down weird timelines or other developmental issues without asking you first, since that is going to cost more than I would have quoted after the original conversation.

Or maybe you tell me you know the story needs work, and you also need it cleaned up. In this case I know I am doing both a dev edit and a line/copy edit. This is where all that technology and checklist stuff I talked about earlier comes into play. Since I am not working with a set of proofreaders like I was in the anecdote in the opening paragraph, the technology/checklist toolkit gets longer. (I have a basic level of items I always go through no matter what, but if I am the only editor on a piece, I have a more extensive set of checks I do.) This is more expensive than just polishing the words, but in the end you have a better piece. It's an exercise in determining where you get the best return on investment. Sometimes the extra money upfront pays off in the end.

In any case, we are back to the beginning of my tale. The human brain is an amazing thing, as evidenced by the incredible stories we weave on a daily basis. But it can also cause us to get in our own way. Knowing how and why it does that, though, we can work around it. In the long run, the brain is really good at the big picture. It's all the little details it needs help on. Some people are better than others at those details, but all of us need some help. Your trick is finding the right combination of people and tools to focus on getting all the details right in your storynot just the story details, but the details that make your writing look polished and professional.

Happy writing and see you next week.


Erika OrrickErika Orrick wanted to be a writer when she grew up, but detoured into computers when she realized she actually wanted to eat. Financial stability established, she eased her way back into storytelling by fixing other people’s words and discovered she had a knack. An admitted geek, she is constantly distracted from resuming her quest to be a writer by all the shiny. Luckily, since she hasn’t yet grown up, no one can say she hasn’t met her goal. She has tried (and failed) to escape Texas twice and in fact now lives on the north side of Houston, less than 100 miles from where she started.
Erika can be found on Twitter at @erikaeditsbooks or email at erikaeditsbooks@gmail.com.