What systems they use to edit.
Are they on a Mac or a PC? Do they prefer MS Word, Adobe Acrobat or InDesign (or hard copy)? Be sure that your systems are compatible.
If they respond quickly to enquiries.
As we said, editing is all about communication, so make sure they’ll give you the time of day rather than ignore your email for a week.
If they seem honest and respectful.
You want your editor to be upfront, but not insensitive. There’s a difference between telling someone that their writing needs improvement and telling them it’s garbage.
If they genuinely appreciate the story you have to tell.
Editors who believe in your writing will be more committed to its success, and will thus be more likely to go the extra mile on your behalf.
If they respect the boundaries between author and editor.
At the end of the day, it’s your work: will they give you the final word, or will they try to steamroll you, based on what they think is right?
If they know what they’re talking about!
Do they know what a style guide is? Can they justify their editorial decisions? Or are you the one having to explain the difference between en- and em-dashes?
Top professional rugby player Jakes du Plessis desperately wants to keep his team’s vow of celibacy in order to win the new International Rugby Club Competition, but he didn’t count on meeting ethereal artist Angie Summers. Even a promise to his friends and teammates, demons from his past, and a distance of more than 9000 miles, could not stop Jakes from falling in love with Ange. In the end, it took teamwork, perseverance and a whole lot of grovelling from Jakes’ side for them to overcome these obstacles, and find their Happily Ever After.
Born and brought up in Pretoria, South Africa, Francine had no choice but to fall in love with rugby at a young age. With three older, rugby-playing brothers and a father who was a fanatic supporter of the local team and the Springboks, Francine adopted the motto, If you can’t beat them, join them. After trying to play one game, Francine gave up the idea to play rugby. She opted to watch the boys from the side.
At the tender age of ten, she discovered the romance section in the local library and that was it. She was a fan. By fourteen, she had read all the ones in the Afrikaans section and switched to the English section. There was a time when Francine briefly abandoned her favourite genre to lose herself in crime novels, but as they say: you never forget your first love.
Rugby, romance and writing is not all that keep Francine busy. If she does not spent time with her Scottish husband and teenage daughter either at home or travelling, Francine loves to read, or dabbles in photography and painting.
She is a member of the Romance Writers Association of South Africa (ROSA).
Why does society treat you as an outcast when you’re single? Is it not bad enough that I have my two best friends pressuring me to date every chance they get. It’s probably because I still haven’t told them the reason I’ve avoided dating: The fact that I am HIV positive. It’s this dirty little secret I’ve been keeping to myself for the last two years. I’ve tried telling my friends and family numerous times, but something always gets in my way. At least that’s what I tell myself. Don’t worry, I’m ninety percent sure you can find my picture under the word cynical in the dictionary.
Since my ex-boyfriend basically called me a walking disease, I’ve lost a bit of my self confidence you could say. I mean, how am I suppose to tell my friends and family? I guess writing a letter to my parents won’t cut it.
More importantly, how is Travis, the new guy I like going to take the news? He is perfect, and I am far from it. I have to trust him, but trusting someone is easier said than done.
If dealing with HIV wasn’t enough, the bombshell my mom decided to invoke on my sister and I sure takes the cake. At least that’s what I thought, until I attended Lauren’s birthday party. Who knew that would be a night I would never forget.
Who would have thought ripping off a band aid would be the most painful route to take?
This isn’t good. She knows, damn it. I can’t even lie to her and tell her I take the medications for a different reason. She knows what the medications are for. I completely forgot I had my medications in my purse when I gave her permission to go into it to grab the tampon. I mean, I wasn’t thinking. I was half asleep. I don’t know what to say. She’s caught me off guard. I stay silent.
“The medications are anti-retroviral medications. They are used to treat HIV.”
Cori gasps, completely shocked. She looks at me, but I turn my head. I can’t look at her. “Do you have HIV?” she asks.
I stand up to clear my plate. I’ve lost my appetite. What am I supposed to say?
“Those aren’t mine.”
Brennley stands up. “Hayden, I saw your name on them.”
I get defensive. This is my worst case scenario. I wanted to be the one to tell them on my own accord, so Brennley finding out this way? It’s awful.
“Maybe I took them out under my name for someone else, did you ever think of that? Maybe someone who’s ashamed of having to go to the pharmacy to buy them, worried they will be judged? Did you ever think of that?” Okay, that was a horrible lie, but I’m feeling cornered.
Brennley blows out a breath, and scratches her head. “No, I didn’t. I wasn’t accusing you of anything. I was just stating what I saw.”
I’m angry, but only because they found out like this. “Well, don’t jump to conclusions.”
I look over at Cori and I can see tears forming in her blue eyes.
“Hayden, just be honest with us. Whose medications are those?”
I squeeze my eyes shut. I will not cry. “No one’s!” I shout.
I look over and see tears now forming in Brennley’s eyes. I can’t do this. There are too many emotions floating throughout this room. I’m sad, hurt, angry, devastated, frustrated, and feeling very, very guilty.
“They aren’t mine,” I sob. My shoulders begin to shake.
Cori comes over and lifts my hands away from my face and wraps me in a hug.
“Hayden, it’s okay if they are yours, just be honest with us. We don’t care if they are yours.”
You know the feeling you get when you are about to cry and someone asks you if you are alright and, it’s them saying that, that makes you ultimately cry? That’s what I’m feeling right now. I release Cori’s grip on me and gently push her away. I turn and walk to the other side of the kitchen. I turn to face them. I wipe the tears that have spilled down my cheeks. I shake out my hands. My heart is hammering in my chest. My chest feels tight, like an elephant is sitting on it. I feel a bit dizzy, like the room is moving and I’m having trouble seeing straight. I take a deep breath until both of them come back into focus.
I decide it’s time for the truth to come out. Although when I tell them I can’t look at them. I’m scared to see their reaction.
“Alright, I give up. Those pills are mine.” I cry. “Because in fact, I am HIV positive.”
Presented by the publisher, Exisle Publishing, with these three new releases for review was an instant delight. Beautifully bound, delightfully illustrated, and all with a story both entertaining and enlightening… they are ideal for a shared reading experience for non-readers.
Such fine books are they, that they were immediately snagged by an Early Childhood Education teacher trainee for use at her pre-school centre. I had to fight to retain them until this review was written! For each book, I have summarised the story outline, and included the official blurb provided by Exisle. I have also calculated the “Initial Independent Reading Age” (using NZ’s Noun Count method) so parents may allow an older child to read it to the younger child. Refer to * notes within each book’s details.
Exisle says: A warm, uplifting picture book about a family bound by love as they cope with their grandmother’s dementia.
When your grandmother can’t remember your name it should be sad, but maybe it is just an opportunity to tell her more often how much you love her. Over the years, the little girl in Grandma Forgets has built up a treasure trove of memories of time spent with Grandma: sausages for Sunday lunch, driving in her sky-blue car to the beach, climbing her apple trees while she baked a delicious apple pie, and her comforting hugs during wild storms. But now, Grandma can’t remember those memories. She makes up new rules for old games and often hides Dad’s keys. Sometimes Dad is sad because he has to hold onto the memories for both him and his mother now, but fortunately his daughter is only too happy to help him make new memories to share. This is a warm, hopeful story about a family who sometimes needs to remind their grandmother a little more often than they used to about how much they care. She might not remember any of their names but she will always know how much she is loved. Red says: So many children have grandparents going through this stage, bewildering to the children. This book is perfect for helping them understand.
Hardbound ISBN 978-1-9235336-47-7
Paperback ISBN 978-1-9253358-1-1
* Initial Independent reading age 7 ½ to 8 ½
Exisle says: A heart-warming celebration of the power of love, and how it’s our similarities, not our differences, that matter most.
Setting out to visit their loved one, a child curiously asks a fellow commuter, ‘Who are you going to visit?’, and in answer to this simple question, the child learns about the love and loss in the life of a stranger. A father who lives apart from his small daughter, a husband who has lost his wife, a granddaughter who is forgotten by her grandfather, and a mother who fears for her son’s recovery. After each conversation, the child understands that the other commuter has someone in their life that they love ‘as much as I love you’, and it is this understanding that allows the child to explore the most universal of human experiences: the power of love in the many different forms that it can take. Visiting You also explores a sense of community. Under his mother’s supervision, a young child reaches out and connects with the people around them; they’re not scared of strangers, or people who might ‘look’ scary, or people who are different to them. Sometimes it can take conscious decision and determination to look past outward appearances. Visiting You encourages us to find the similarities between people instead of focusing on differences, to recognise some part of ourselves in the life of a stranger. Red says: One of a child’s social challenges is accepting differences with their social environment. This book introduces them kindly to people who are not so different from anyone else.
Hardbound ISBN 978-1-925665-66-8
* Initial Independent reading age 9 to 10 years
Exisle says: A whimsical story about friendship and nurturing our creative flair.
Sadie wants to be a painter, just like her best friend, Tom. She loves playing with colour and finding shapes in unlikely places. But whenever Sadie picks up a paintbrush she makes a big mess. So instead, she spends her time working in the garden or playing with Tom. But, one day, Sadie gets a look at things from a different perspective — and makes a big discovery about herself and her own creativity. The Art Garden is a whimsical story about friendship and finding our creative flair. It encourages children to explore different ways of expressing themselves and celebrates the importance of individuality and self-acceptance. Red says: Some children soon realise they cannot “do” what others can; this book helps them understand that it is not necessary to give up on what a child can do, for struggling to imitate what another child can do – all children have different learning styles, and different ways of expressing their creativity.
Hardbound ISBN 978-1-925335-59-0
* Initial Independent reading age 11 ½ TO 15 ½
This stellar advice can be found at this blog, by Mark Fowler at Blogspot, an attorney in New York City with 29 years of experience working for media companies – book and magazine publishers, newspapers, broadcasters, and online publishers, among others.
While Mary was exploring the old house she and her family had inherited, she discovered a crystal necklace and an old book telling the story of a sad Queen trapped in her castle.
When she and her brother and sister drew pictures on the story map, they never dreamed they would soon be transported into the fantasy world of Brigitha, where their pictures had become real, and were causing problems! They were soon enlisted by a grumpy Queen’s Guardsman who insisted that they must undo the damage they had caused, and help to free the Queen.
This is a story for children aged ten and above. Teenagers and adults who enjoy fantasy adventure will also love this book.
Arthur raised his fist to knock on the door, but just as he did so, it swung open with a crash. Inside the doorway stood a short, plump woman wearing a pair of bright green dungarees over a bold floral print shirt. Her face was round and her cheeks were rosy pink. Her eyes were as bright and green as her dungarees and seemed to shoot sparks at Arthur. On her head a small cap perched precariously on top of a mass of curls which spilled in an orange riot around her face. She stood with her feet apart and her hands on her hips.
“So,” she shot at Arthur. “You’re finally back. Where is it that you’ve been all this time?”
Arthur straightened himself up to his full height, squared his shoulders and replied with quiet dignity. “I’ve been on the queen’s business, as you well know.”
The woman remained standing rigidly in the doorway. “The queen’s business! Sixty years, Arthur. You’ve been gone sixty years! You’re lucky I’m a resourceful woman, with plenty to do with my time, otherwise I might be pretty angry with you right now.” She glared at him fiercely, her right foot tapping.
Arthur cleared his throat.
“Wynda, I know. I’m sorry. I was trapped and there was no way to let you know what had happened. Let’s go inside and I will tell you all about it.” He turned to the children. He gave a slight bow and his voice became formal, “Allow me to introduce you to my wife, Wynda.”
ISBN eBook: ISBN: 9781311312785
About Vicki Arnott
Born in Foxton, New Zealand, and raised in the Manawatu area,
Vicki now lives in a rural community near Rotorua, in the Bay of Plenty, surrounded by views of Mt Tarawera, forest, and farm paddocks.
Vicki writes fantasy adventure and science fiction for early teens and young adults. Her love of writing began at primary school and she has always dreamed of becoming a writer. She got serious about her dream in 2015, when she reduced her hours of work as a school teacher to work on her first novel The Crystal Bluebird, a fantasy adventure for children and adults.
She is currently working on her second novel Children of the White Dragon, a science-fiction adventure, and her third novel, also science-fiction and as yet untitled.
Other genre that interest Vicki are romantic comedy and magical, heart-warming Christmas stories. She’d like to write screenplays in those genre, in addition to science fiction and fantasy.
Vicki’s goals include: get better at writing, continue to write and publish, write screenplays and be involved in the production of movies.
Her interests include walking, ceroc dancing and an occasional game of golf. She also likes painting and drama, and has organised many school productions in addition to her involvement in amateur theatre productions with the Rainbow Entertainers Drama club. She recently realised another dream when she planted her first rose garden. She spends her spare time watching movies, and steals early-morning hours to read because she is so undisciplined when it comes to books, that once a book is started it doesn’t get put down until it’s finished.
Interviewing Gail Olmsted, author of Second Guessing
What authors do you like to read? What book or books have had a strong influence on you or your writing?
I love to read!! I enjoy contemporary romance, popular fiction, chick lit, mysteries and thrillers. My favorite authors are Dennis Lehane, Elin Hilderbrand, Michael Connelly and Harlan Coben. I honestly don’t pattern myself after any authors in particular, but after reading Claire Cook’s The Wildwater WalkingClub several years ago, I remember thinking…I can write a book. I can finish this story that I’ve been telling myself for several years. And I did!
Tell us a little about all the books you have written so far…
My first book JEEP TOUR was self-published in 2014. It is the story of Jackie Sullivan and her search for a happy ever after. Recently divorced, she loses her job and after a chance meeting with a sexy tour guide, decides to start over among the red rocks of Sedona, AZ. The first time I travelled to Sedona on a family vacation, I remember thinking- ‘Wow, if you ever needed a do-over, this would be the place to do it.’ Jackie faces some bumps along the way but ultimately finds more than she ever dared to dream in her new life. Guessing at Normal was my second book published by Booktrope in 2015. Jill Griffin is working behind the front desk of a seedy motel when up and coming rocker James Sheridan and his band check in while on tour. There is an immediate connection between Jill and James and within a few weeks, she joins the tour. Building a ‘normal’ life together under the glare of the media is challenging and further complicated by constant touring, groupies, James’ partying and the mixed signals Jill gets from James’ twin brother Alex. When Jill’s poems and journal ramblings become the songs on James’ best-selling solo album, she has to step out of her comfort zone and figure out how to live her life in a spotlight all her own. As her professional success threatens her relationship with James, Jill questions whether she can make a living writing love songs without the love of her life.
My third book Driving on the Left was published in 2016. I had never planned to write a sequel to JEEP TOUR. Shortly after it was released, my daughter and I took a trip to Ireland to celebrate her college graduation. For part of our trip, we took a guided tour off the beaten track with a small group of other tourists. When the topic of my book came up, our tour guide jokingly suggested that I write a sequel featuring a sexy Irish tour guide. My first thought was ‘no way’ but the idea took hold and soon I was writing Driving, a standalone novel featuring JT’s Jackie Sullivan as the mother of a young woman experiencing the joys and heartbreak of first love.
What do you think of your first book JEEP TOUR now?
I still love the story and the main characters very much. I think that everyone deserves a second, or even a third chance, at a happy life. When I was writing it, I really wasn’t sure till I was 2/3 of the way through before I figured out the ending- would Jackie be with Rick-the hot tour guide or Rob- the ex-husband who she still loved or someone new? Or would she be blissfully single? As soon as I knew how it had to end, the rest of the story just poured out. The ending rocks! That being said, I could easily go through the entire manuscript and tweak and edit like crazy. I’ve learned so much since I wrote JT.
Which was the most challenging to write; then again, which was the most fun to write?
Driving on the Left was the most challenging for me. It is told from two points of view- Jackie, a mature mom facing a crisis back home and her 21 year old daughter Becca who is deep in the throes of her first true love. Barbara, one of my wonderful betas, read the first draft and put me on the spot. She read me a passage from the manuscript and asked- who’s speaking- Jackie or Becca? I had to guess and I was wrong! It was a real wakeup call for me. I rewrote the entire book several times until I was certain that I had created two distinct characters, each with their own voice. I’ve received a good amount of positive feedback on the dual POV. Second Guessing was the most fun to write. I was thrilled to provide songwriter Jill Griffin with another chance at a happy ever after. I just adore her love interest Ben! He’s vacating his role as lead singer of a world famous boy band in search of a solo career and he’s got a secret from his past that he would prefer stays hidden. He’s perfect for Jill, but it takes her a little while to realize it for herself!
We’re featuring Second Guessing – may you explain how it relates to Guessing at Normal?
I wrote Second Guessing as a standalone novel, however Jill Griffin, the main charater, was first introduced in Guessing at Normal back in 2015. Jill is now a successful songwriter and single mom to a teenage daughter. She has just about given up hope for a love story of her own, when she meets Ben. He’s determined to win over Jill, but she’s got trust issues and wonders if Ben is just too good to be true!
What part/s of Second Guessing were the most delightful to write?
First off, let me say that I love Jill and was delighted to see her head over heels in love with pop star Ben, who is 14 years her junior. But naturally, there are complications in their path! Jill’s been burned by the media before and wants to keep their relationship a secret until after the tribute concert featuring her late husband’s platinum selling album. News that the ‘rock widow’ is involved with the young headliner of the charity event could negatively impact ticket sales and the future of the record label. On the personal front, Jill is fairly certain that her 18 year old daughter will be less than thrilled that her mom is sleeping with the former boy band singer that she had a major fan crush on just a few years earlier. Add in a crazed stalker fan and a tabloid journalist determined to expose their romance as well as secrets from Ben’s past and you’ve got a love story that may not be able to go the distance. I think readers will enjoy the snappy dialogue, plot twists and the sizzling chemistry between Jill and Ben!!
I read tons of books. And I enjoy reading them. Even if I don’t end up liking the book all that much, reading has the potential to make me a better writer of stories. And even though I track all my books on Goodreads, I’ve stopped writing reviews for many of the books I read.…
At Saturday’s meeting on Rotorua Writers Group, we were graced by our guest author, New Zealnd’s Kathy Sutcliffe.
She delighted us with her back-story of the origins of her three novels… Write My Face and When Romeo Kissed Mercutio, both published 2012, and Moon Boy published 2017. She read an extract from the latter, which held us engrossed.
I bought a copy of all three, so you can expect a set of reviews later…
Second Guessing, a contemporary romance by
Gail Ward Olmsted, was released on January 5th to much acclaim.
Second Guessing is the love story of Jill and Ben, who are so wrong for each other that they may actually be right!
Jill Griffin & Ben Fein are meant to be together… said no one ever!
Jill has built a successful career writing romantic ballads for many of today’s top performers. Since the tragic end of her marriage a couple years back, the 40-something single mom has all but abandoned hope for a love story of her own.
Ben is a brash, young boy-band singer seeking a solo career who hires Jill to write for him. He’s got a dark secret from his past that he wants to keep hidden.
The attraction between the two is red-hot, and when Ben falls hard for Jill, he doesn’t care who knows it. Jill’s been burned before and wants to take things slow, keeping their relationship out of the glare of the media. After a gossip columnist exposes their affair, she’s forced to decide if she can risk letting go of her past in order to build a life with Ben.
When Ben’s past makes headlines, Jill begins to wonder how well she really knows him. But as Ben climbs to the top of the pop charts, he’s determined to succeed… at convincing Jill to take a second chance on love.
Published by Roane Publishing, 2017;
About the Author
“Gail is a professor of marketing. She has taught at the college level for twenty years. A hopeless romantic, she is married to the love of her life. She is a mom to two young adults and two cats and enjoy reading, music and travel.”
(Paraphrased from her website)
Her other books include Guessing at Normal, Driving on the Left, and Jeep Tour, all of which are on sale at Amazon, and via her website’s links.