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Monday, December 28, 2015

3 Ways to Improve Your Book Edits

Book Editing and Proofreading

My editor and I had spent two months and untold hours editing my upcoming Young Adult adventure fantasy novel, The Beltane Escape, Book One: The Two Realms Trilogy. When we finished, I sent the manuscript to two trusted readers. One flagged a few errors. The other raised a few questions about the plot. I corrected the line edits and tweaked a plot point, then kicked the manuscript back to my editor.

We finally agreed the manuscript was ready.

We were wrong.

As the holidays bore down on me, I emailed the final version of The Beltane Escape to the formatters. Over the Winter Solstice I proofed the galleys for the ebook version and noted a couple of errors. When the corrected galleys came back, foolishly, I only checked to make sure the mistakes I had flagged had been fixed. They had been fixed. Galleys approved.

I thought I was golden.

I was wrong.

The e-files arrived in my inbox. Awesome. I went Christmas shopping while I waited for the galleys for the print version. By the time the new galleys arrived, I was desperate for a mental health break. A friend dragged me to Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Imagine my surprise when I saw the final setting. I used he same location for a pivotal scene in the upcoming third book of the Two Realms Trilogy! Shocked and re-energized, I went home and tackled the next round of proofreading.

I didn't expect to find any errors.

I was wrong.

Here are the lessons I learned:

3 Ways to Improve Your Book Edits

1. Hire Fresh Eyes. Even excellent editors and seasoned authors reach a point where they can no longer spot errors. If your publisher doesn't provide a proof editor, or if you are self-publishing, hire a proofreader. I called the editor for my The Teen Wytche Saga to proof the galleys for The Beltane Escape.

 2. Allow Enough Time. When setting a release date, factor in plenty of time for editing,  especially over the holidays and major life events.

3. Take Breaks. Give your eyes and mind a break by taking frequent breaks. Take a walk. Go to the movies. Do something physically or mentally stimulating before returning to the manuscript.

May the Editing Force be with you.

Available February 2016

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

New Contemporary Romance from Kathy Bosman

It’s Called Feng Shui

Sweet Contemporary Romance

Kathy Bosman


Renni has burned out from being on tour as the drummer of ‘Eat Your Words.’ When she visits Nolan’s spa at Block Island for a day, she impulsively applies for a position as the assistant massage therapist as a means to drop out of tour.

Nolan is taken aback by the woman in his office with pitch black hair and body piercings. He can’t imagine her working in his spa, but her persistence fascinates him so he gives her the job — on one condition — she gets rids of the excess piercings.

The attraction between Nolan and Renni is immediate despite being opposite personalities. Renni’s fresh energy and charm draws Nolan as does his intensity attract her. Finding they have a lot more in common than expected, they fall in love, but Nolan has a secret and Renni carries baggage from past hurt. Will they focus on their differences or the things that draw them close?

Excerpt 1

The resort reception area was almost a clone of the one in the spa, yet with three indoor plants and a fountain instead of a large fish tank. Palms were potted in large urns sculpted like Greek columns. Minimalist was a good word for the décor — simple blues, silver, and white — peaceful colors and clean lines. Renni didn’t have much time to consider the connection she made with Feng Shui and Mr. Richie’s comment to her earlier, because he was the one behind the reception desk. Bracing herself for his usual glare, she walked up to him and smiled.
“Don’t you take a break?” She rested her hands on the counter. Close up, he was austere but also uncomfortably handsome. Maybe his austere manner added to the handsome, almost unapproachable feel he gave her, like a demi-god one had to pay homage to in order to gain his approval.
A laugh wanted to bubble out of her at the image. Somehow, he didn’t intimidate her as much as Peggy made out he should. She liked his cold exterior, because she knew it hid something brewing and bubbling beneath the surface. At the moment he was the perfect antithesis to the flirty Curtis. Maybe he was one of the many treasures Block Island enticed to be discovered. Also, she loved that he didn’t idolize her like other men did. He couldn’t care less if her band had won an American Music Award for Favorite Rock Band or reached the top of the charts.
“Your hair’s still black.”
“Donna did a good job, didn’t she?”
“At least it’s not as black.”
She laughed and then took a breath. The exhaustion of the last few months still wanted to take away her laughter and her oxygen. It weighed heavy on her, and she suddenly didn’t feel like fighting with her new boss.
“I’d like a room, please.”
“We only have one available. We’re fully booked.”
“I’ll take it.”
He froze for a moment, his eyes large, and then he put on a professional smile. “It’s next to the penthouse suite on the top floor.”
“Um…do you live here?”
“In the penthouse suite.”
Figures. The man doesn’t fancy being near to me. Too bad. I need to rest. For a long time.
“How much?”
He gave her a figure. Oh well, her savings would be seriously reduced. She sincerely hoped she would soon find a rental home on the island.
“But it’s in terrible disrepair. I haven’t allowed anyone in there for months it’s in such a bad state. So, I won’t charge you anything to stay there.”
“Oh, thanks.”
He grunted. “You probably won’t say thanks when you see it. I’ll fix it up for you.”
“You don’t have to.”
“I should.” He focused on a computer screen and input something with lightning-fast finger-work.
Okay, maybe Peggy was right. He did have good inside. Buried deep inside.
“You’re very kind.”
He jerked his head up and stared at her, his mouth gaping.
“How come you haven’t removed the metal yet?” The mouth transformed to a thin line immediately.
“Um…I want to do it in front of a mirror in private, if you don’t mind. The room does have a mirror?”
Was that a blush? “I’m not sure. I’ll have to check.”
“May I have the keys?”
He unlocked a panel on the wall and removed a key from a hook. When he put the key in her hand, tingles ran up her arm. Whoa! She hadn’t felt that way with anyone the last few years except for Curtis. Curtis! Did she have to think of him?

Author Bio:

Kathy loves reading and writing even more. She homeschools her three kids, so in between unsuccessfully explaining the difference between subject and predicate or how to divide fractions, she enters an imaginary world of troubled and passionate characters whose stories take over the page. Kathy lives in Kwazulu Natal, South Africa, where the summers are hot, the winters cool, and bugs thrive. Her first published novel, Wedding Gown Girl, came out in 2012 with Astraea Press (Clean Reads). She belongs to the Romance Writers of South Africa Group (ROSA) which has been her greatest support and inspiration the last few years.

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Thursday, October 29, 2015

Karen King Returns With a New Magical Book

Two days until Halloween/Samhain! 
What better way to celebrate than with Witch Angel, The Sceptre of Truth
a new book for middle grade readers by Karen King.

Karen King has had over one hundred and twenty children’s books published by mainstream publishers such as Walker, Scholastic, Harper Collins and Macmillan. She’s written for many children's magazines too including Sindy, Barbie, Winnie the Pooh and Thomas the Tank Engine. She writes for all ages and in all genres; story books, picture books, plays, joke books, non-fiction and YA.

So nice to have you back on my blog, Karen! 
How did you get started writing?
I've always written. I had my first poem published when I was 11. I started my writing career with Jackie magazine, writing articles and photo stories.

Are you a Plotter or a Pantser?
It depends whether I'm writing to a commission or not. If I'm commissioned I have to plot as I have to send a synopsis and the first couple of chapters to my editor. If I'm not writing to a commission I work out the basic outline of my story then write 'by the seat of my pants.'

Are you most productive in the morning or evening?
Morning. Often I get out of bed and start writing straight away. I'm full of ideas in the morning.

Connect with Karen King
Twitter: @karen_king

Should Aluna betray her father to save the world?

Aluna’s father is the Master Wizard of the Katalan. On her thirteenth birthday she is initiated into the coven and swears allegiance to her clan. Then she has a vision about the mother she has never known and a gold sceptre with an eagle’s head handle.

She discovers that the mysterious new girl, Raffie, who appeared out of nowhere is looking for the same sceptre. Aluna hopes the sceptre will lead her to her mother so swears an oath of friendship with Raffie, pledging to find it together only to discover that Raffie is Angleyt. They are sworn enemies.

Aluna’s father is looking for the sceptre too, as are the evil Bygnorim.  Will Aluna really betray her father? What dreadful secret is he hiding about her mother? Aluna and Raffie face terrible danger in their quest. Are their combined powers strong enough or will Darke Magyck win?

Something caught her eye. A sphere of brilliant light was shooting down through the sky. She stared at it, butterflies of excitement fluttering in her stomach. It must be a shooting star. She could make a wish. Jumbled thoughts of the things she could wish for raced across her mind, but only one stood out. It always did. “I wish I could find my mother,” she whispered.

The glowing star continued plunging, plummeting down towards the bushes just ahead of her. It wasn’t a shooting star. It was a falling star! Aluna ran towards the bushes, eager to get a glimpse of this wonder. What would a star look like? Would she be able to take it back and show the others?

The star disappeared behind the bushes. Panting now, Aluna raced towards it, her feet barely touching the ground beneath her. Thankfully, she had always been nimble-footed. Many a time she had crept softly behind Sariah, the housekeeper, and had made her almost jump out of her skin. Once, Sariah had been so shocked she’d dropped the pie she’d just taken out of the oven. 

Be quick but quiet, she told herself as she ran. Could you scare a star?

She was at the bush. She could still see the light glowing behind it, so bright it dazzled her. Using her hands to shield her eyes from the glow she peered around the bush.

The light was fading. Aluna moved her hands from her eyes so she could see better and pushed her hood back. Where was the star? The light flickered, then a shape started to form in it. She watched, transfixed as the shape turned into a girl about Aluna’s age, slim with long hair tumbling over her shoulders. The girl stretched up her arms as if embracing the heavens. Aluna let out a gasp of astonishment and the girl spun around, her eyes widening with shock as they rested on Aluna.
For a moment they both stared at each other. The star girl’s eyes locked with Aluna’s, and a lightness filled her mind. It was as if the girl could read her mind, her soul. In a panic, Aluna tore her eyes away, grabbed her basket and fled, muttering the protection spell under her breath.

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Sunday, October 25, 2015

Ghosts on My Mind

Ghosts are often on my mind, not just around Halloween and Samhain. So it is no wonder ghosts appear throughout the Teen Wytche Saga. One of my favorites, Bayou, a teen Louisiana ghost from the seventies, pops up in Spell For Sophia:

"Well, look who is here." The ghost bugged her eyes at Yemaya. "Gal, I thought I'd seen the last of y'all." She scanned our faces, latched onto me last, and waved.

Without thinking, I waved back.

"Oh, great," Yemaya muttered under her breath.

The ghost said to Yemaya, "Far out! One of your friends can see me." She gave me a head-to-toe appraisal. "I like your threads."

"Um, thanks."

"What's going on?" Salem demanded.

"She's not my friend," Yemaya said. "I just met her."

"You two okay?" Evie asked.

"Fine," Yemaya and I said in unison.

"Jinx!" The ghost smiled, revealing teeth in need of braces. The word hurtled me back to a sleepover with Sophia and a memorable zombie movie.

While Bayou inserts some levity into the story, other ghosts in the novel reflect the Big Easy's painful past:

1920 painting of Marie Laveau (1794–1881) by Frank Schneider, 
based on an 1835 painting (now lost?) by George Catlin.
Dawn broke, casting a soft glow. The street now teemed with ghosts. Two Creole women dressed in wide-tiered gowns swished past. A monk hurried to the church. A yellow fever victim slumped against the side of a building and vomited what looked like coffee grounds. I swallowed hard and gave him a wide berth, flying while I stared.

Too late I sensed another presence and swiveled my head. I came eye to yellow eye with a trio of yellow fever victims. Blood streamed from their eyes, noses, and mouths. Unable to stop, I passed through them. Heebie jeebies! Heebie jeebies! The hysteria I had staved off in the Void unleashed. Shrieking, I batted at my face, certain their blood, their germs, their death clung to my auric field.

New Orleans is one of the three most haunted cities in the United States. In a way, every day is Halloween in the Big Easy.
Copyright 2015 Ariella Moon

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