Kelly Barr, Professional Freelance Editor

I have found that I like editing as much as I like writing and have begun my own Professional Freelance Editing business. I also love to help people improve their writing skills. Therefore, f you have a fiction manuscript or short story you would like edited, check out my “Editing Services” page for more details–simply click on the “Editing Services” tab at the top of the page.

Also, note my button on the sidebar: I am a member of The Christian Pen: The Proofreaders and Editors Network.

Here is what one of my client’s has to say about my work:

“Kelly is a pleasure to work with. She is well-versed enough to understand the nuances of my genre (Christian Speculative) even though she doesn’t write Speculative. She knows her craft and is sensitive and gentle when giving input about things that need to be corrected or rewritten. Her notes are thoughtful and her suggestions made my book a better read and a more polished final product. ‘The Sorcerer’s Bane‘, book one of my series The Seven Words, is slated to be released soon and I will continue to seek her professional help on future manuscripts.  — C. S. Wachter

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The Moral Code

The Moral Code
by Kelly F. Barr

Manners, respect, and consideration–
These things seem to be lost
in the current generation.
Kindness seems to have a cost.

Self has risen to the top
Of every desire, every thought.
Authority and rules should drop
Unless infringement upon them is caught.

A negative word about negative behavior
And touting character and strong morals
Makes me judgmental; a hater,
While they spew judgment in plurals.

Just below the surface, anger burns–
A wrong look or wrong word and it explodes.
Oh, how my heart yearns
For a return to the moral code.

Billie the Kid by Paul Summerhayes

Billie the Kid: The Sky Fire Chronicles Book 1 by [Summerhayes, Paul]

This is the newest release by Paul Summerhayes.

I chose to read Billie the Kid by Paul Summerhayes: 1) I am an Old West fan. Therefore, the title caught my attention; 2) I like the cover; and 3) a friend told me about a weekly email she signed up for that sends titles of “clean” fantasy/speculative fiction stories, and since I’ve begun to enjoy this genre and prefer to read “clean” stories, as well as the two previous reasons, I chose to read this book.

As a writer, I like to know more about the author and the book that I choose to read. Therefore I googled “Paul Summerhayes” and found his website where I learned that he calls this book “Historical Fantasy”. I also learned that there was a prequel–a novella, The Texan and the Egyptian. I also learned about the other books and other genres that Paul Summerhayes writes. The other thing I learned was that Paul Summerhayes has been a computer gamer for a long time, and that he has had the opportunity to write professionally for the gaming industry, and I learned that Billie the Kid was self-published by Paul Summerhayes. On Mr. Summerhayes’s website, I also found his blog and read a few of his blog posts and read that he does a few of his own revisions and then sends his work to an editor. After acquiring all of this information, I eagerly read The Texan and the Egyptian as well as Billie the Kid.

My first thought as I read Billie the Kid was that it wasn’t what I would call “clean”. There is profanity scattered throughout the book. It’s not Mr. Summerhayes fault that I was disappointed by this, for he had nothing to do with the email that claimed this as a “clean” fantasy/speculative story. But I now know not to trust that email. I learned as I continued to read Billie the Kid that this email must consider anything without explicit sex scenes “clean”, for that was, thankfully, no where to be found in Billie the Kid.

Now for the story itself, I liked the character, Billie, enough to read to the end to see what would happen to Billie. However, I was not impressed by the actual writing of the book. The vocabulary was simple and there were quite a few grammatical errors throughout the book. I am used to reading fantasy/speculative that has a more developed world, as well as a more complicated plot line and well-developed characters.

I wouldn’t call this “Historical Fantasy” because, though it supposedly took place in the old west, everything was so futuristic and fantastical that there was virtually no actual history in it.

I also found that it is very loosely a series so far, as the prequel was not really tied into Billie the Kid with the exception of the mention of a character from the prequel in one scene and the very brief appearance of two characters, from the prequel, with no real interaction in another scene. I’m not sure if Mr. Summerhayes has plans to weave a stronger thread in future books, but in my opinion, to write a series, there needs to be a fairly strong connection from book to book to keep readers interested in reading the entire series.

I would also say, that, having read one other book that was actually written about computer gaming with for an intended computer gaming audience, I would say that Mr. Summerhayes’s book would most likely be most appreciated and valued by computer gamers who take the time to also enjoy a book now and then. This is based on the fact that Mr. Summerhayes includes lots of action and violence in the book with minimal description of the world and very little explanation of the plot line. So, though I found the story interesting enough to stick with it to the end, I also found it lacking.

Disappointment was my takeaway from this story, especially when the story revealed the current cultural view that “everyone is inherently good; no one is really bad”, as there were no clear cut good guys or bad guys. I believe our culture needs to get back to “seeing” that there is clearly good and bad and not everything is acceptable. Therefore when the cultural view finds its way into our stories, I believe we have a very serious problem, and I hope this certainly does not become the norm.

Finally, though I found the story interesting enough to read to the end, I was more disappointed than anything with the overall story, and I will not be reading any future books in this series.

 

Disney and Literature

I’m sorry this post is a little late today, but I’m having trouble being able to make the time to write and schedule posts when I’m homeschooling a child, editing a manuscript, working on my own novel, taking care of our household, and rearranging and decluttering my office to also include a library, and now it’s November and the holidays are fast approaching.

Last Monday evening I attended a birthday party where we watched the birthday woman open gifts, then we all indulged in ice cream and watched a DVD–“Saving Mr. Banks”. I had never seen the movie before. If you are unfamiliar with it as well, I will simply say that it is a movie about how Walt Disney acquired the right to Mary Poppins, who was already a character in multiple stories written by P. L. Travers.

Since I am a writer, I found this story completely fascinating and engaging for several reasons and I was extremely interested in P. L. Travers. The movie also piqued my curiosity in many ways: 1) I now want to read the Mary Poppins books by P. L. Travers because, even though I have never seen Disney’s “Mary Poppins”, I want to experience Mary Poppins as her creator intended her to be; 2) I was curious as to why Walt Disney, a talented cartoonist, would be so interested in obtaining the creations of other writers; and 3) I wanted to know how many Disney characters were based on literary characters.

So, I spent some time doing some research on the computer, and here is what I found: 1) Walt Disney had an early cartoon character he created, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, whose rights had been stolen from Walt Disney a few years after 1923. (This again made me wonder why, then, he would be so eager to obtain the rights to characters who were created by other writers). Not long after Oswald the Lucky Rabbit was stolen from Walt Disney, he, along with his brother Roy, their wives, and Ub Iwerks produced three cartoons featuring a new character Walt had been developing–Mickey Mouse. In 1929, Walt Disney created “Silly Symphonies”, which featured Mickey’s newly created friends: Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy, and Pluto. 2) According to the research I did online, I found that Walt Disney Studios, which continues Walt’s legacy, created movies from more than 71 books that were written and created by other people, several of which were based on English Literary works and one French novel. Some of these were produced by Walt himself. Walt’s last major success that he produced himself was “Mary Poppins” in 1964. Walt died of lung cancer on December 15, 1966.

The most interesting thing I found was that P. L. Travers continued writing Mary Poppins stories even after Disney’s film, and in the late 1980s worked with a Disney screenwriter on a film sequel that never materialized.

What do I plan to do with my newfound information? Read the literary works written by others that Disney used to create movies because Disney also changed many things from the way the original creator created his or her work and I am interested in the original characters and their stories the way their creators meant them to be.

If you are interested in a list of the books many Disney movies are based on and any of the other websites I used for this post, here are the links: https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/16838.Disney_movies_based_off_books, https://d23.com/disney-films-that-started-out-as-childrens-books/, https://www.biography.com/people/walt-disney-9275533, and http://www.history.com/news/history-lists/7-things-you-might-not-know-about-walt-disney

 

A Poem of Sorts

I’m not sure I can really call this a poem, but it just came together as I was doing some research on Disney characters, which will be explained further in my upcoming Monday post. Enjoy!

Famous Characters From Books
by Kelly F. Barr

Mary Poppins, Winnie the Pooh, Ariel,
Alice, Elsa and Olaf, Peter Pan;
What do these characters all have in common?
“Disney”, you say;
Yes, but they didn’t start there.
All of these characters were based on literature–
Many were classics.

Authors like P.L. Travers, A.A. Milne,
Hans Christian Andersen, Lewis Carroll, and James M. Barrie
Penned these original characters.
So if you want to really know these characters,
Take a look between the covers of these great books:
Mary Poppins, Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree, The Little Mermaid,
Alice in Wonderland,
The Snow Queen, and the play, “Peter Pan”.