When your manuscript is complete and you are reading over it looking for errors, remember to read aloud. I mentioned this in my last “Self-Editing Tips” post, but now I’d like to add that you may have to read aloud through your manuscript more than once in order to catch all of the things I am sharing in these posts. But remember, the more errors you can find and fix on your own, the less you will have to pay an editor to find, and the less will end up in the final published copy.
So, what are you looking for this time?
I want to mention a couple more grammar items here. One I mentioned in the last “Self-Editing Tips” post, (click on editing in Categories to find all my posts about editing and self-editing), is a very common error in the use of the words lie and lay. I am going to ask you to read a post on another blog that explains this very well, along with one or two other common grammatical errors, so click here. This post was written by a writer friend of mine on a blog that a group of six writers, including me, post on.
In addition to the grammar you just read on that post, I would like to address who and whom. I continually see writers using who but never using whom when they should.
Who is used as the subject of a verb or as a complement of a linking verb. For example: It was Sara who baked the peach pies. When writing a sentence, first determine what the verbs are — was and baked. Next, find the subject for each verb: Sara and who. Because who is a subject, it is correct. Who won the fifty yard dash?
Whom is used as the object of the verb or as the object of a preposition. It’s an objective pronoun. For example: Jason took whom to the prom? In this sentence, the subject and verb are “Jason took”. The pronoun that follows the verb is the object of the verb. Therefore whom is correct. Example: She’s playing tennis with whom? This pronoun is the object of the preposition with, so whom is the proper choice.
However, you need to be careful. Sometimes the prepositional pronoun in question can also be a subject — if it is, you need to use who. For example: Princess Liana cheered for who exhibited the best character. Even though the pronoun follows the preposition “for”, it is also the subject of the second verb “exhibited”. When used as a subject, always use who.
As a writer and an avid reader, I find that just as two of the writing tools above have changed a lot over the years, so have the books that get published. Due to the option of self-publishing and the ability to publish not only hardcover or paperback books, but also ebooks. The market is over saturated with writers and their works.
In some ways this is a good thing. In other ways, not so much. I do not mean to step on anyone’s toes in this article nor am I looking for an argument. I simply want to write what I have seen, learned, and experienced for myself with the hope that it may present food for thought for both readers and writers alike.
I have loved to read ever since I learned how to do so. I have also dreamed of being a published writer for many years…
Frogtown Pandemic Part 1 is the first short novel written by Lief Olson. I purchased this book as it sounded intriguing to me, so the author did not request a review from me, but I have decided to share my honest review of the book on my own.
Mr. Olson wrote this book during the 2020 world pandemic and published it on June 4, 2021. This book is a quick easy read, and Mr. Olson includes historical events, as well as quotes from the founding documents of the United States. He not only includes issues in today’s world, but also issues from our history, dating back to the American Revolution.
His historical facts are accurate and the story is interesting. There is an ongoing battle between the Toads and the Frogs, with the Frogs representing the patriots who battled against “taxation against representation” and more.
Though it only took me four days to read it, I can’t say that I was really drawn into the story or that I really enjoyed it, as it was clear that Mr. Olson wrote the story quickly, and my assumption as to why would be that because it includes a viral pandemic, he wanted to publish it because of its current and timely material. However, because he wrote it quickly, it also appears that he didn’t employ the help of an editor before publishing. It includes many grammatical errors and breaks the long-standing rule, in the writing world, of “show, don’t tell”. The majority of the story is told.
However, despite the lack of edits, Frogtown Pandemic is worth the read if you enjoy history and engaging your brain in thoughts regarding conservative political theory and past and current events.
On September 2, 2021, I posted my review of The Red Button by Keith Eldred. If you missed it, you can read it here.
I also had the pleasure of interviewing Keith Eldred recently, and this post is the result of that interview.
Q: Are you a Charles Dickens fan or just a fan of A Christmas Carol?
A: I’m certainly a fan and admirer of Dickens. I’ve read a biography of him. Complicated guy! I’ve never been the kind of reader who seeks out every last work of an author, but besides “A Christmas Carol,” I have the highest of affection for “Great Expectations,” “Our Mutual Friend,” and “Bleak House.”
Q: Where did your inspiration to write a story about Ebenezer Scrooge’s life before A Christmas Carol come from?
A: Since my teens I’ve had great interest in how a person changes through life, and over the years I’ve seen the truth of the notion of “The child is father to the man,” because early decisions and experiences have such influence on what comes later. My attention spikes when a story rolls back to a character’s past, and of course that happens repeatedly in “A Christmas Carol.” I’m always moved when Scrooge sees himself as a boy and then as a young man. The scene of his broken engagement is heartrending. Belle is so kind, clear-minded and quietly strong that I trust her perception, so I have to believe that she found much to love in the young Ebenezer. It’s devastating to hear that she saw that he was becoming impossible to marry and live with. The more I thought about it, the more I wanted to spend time with the two of them. I simply loved them as a couple, and I wanted to think about what they shared on their way to parting and what went wrong.
Q: Though The Red Button is a tale about Ebenezer Scrooge prior to Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, at the end of The Red Button, Ebenezer still isn’t quite as harsh as he is in the beginning of Dickens’ tale. Why did you choose to allow him a glimmer of softness?
A: I imagine Scrooge’s becoming harder and harsher in subtle degrees as he ages, almost imperceptibly (particularly to himself), and that this happens because it is to his advantage as a businessman and also to protect his feelings by distancing himself from others after his heartbreak. But at the end of “The Red Button,” just after his broken engagement, young Scrooge has only begun to harden. He is still the person whom Belle was certain she would marry only weeks, or even days, earlier. He is still thoughtful and considerate. Sadly, Belle saw the earliest signs that her beloved’s worst impulses would overtake him. I tried to think of Scrooge as an actual person, and at this time of his life, it seemed to me that he would still barely resemble the flinty old man whom he would become.
Q: Do you hope readers will definitely connect your Ebenezer Scrooge with the Scrooge in Dicken’s novel and do you hope that fans, who read A Christmas Carol every Christmas season, will include The Red Button in their annual Christmas reading?
A: What a wonderful question! I’ve never imagined superfans of “A Christmas Carol” annually reading “The Red Button” along with any other re-imaginings of the story that they enjoy, but I must say that I’m taken with the idea. I do believe that “The Red Button” can reshape how you think about Scrooge when you reread “A Christmas Carol,” if only because you will have spent much more time with young Scrooge and young Belle, the latter of whom only appears for a few passages in the original story. I do want readers to entertain my version of Scrooge and think about his taking the kind of path that I describe, but I certainly do not believe that this is the only way his life could have gone. It’s just the scenario that I find most interesting.
Q: What do you really want readers to take away from The Red Button?
A: In a few words, the core idea is: Look deeper. The book is built around the simple visual that every day Ebenezer Scrooge secretly carries a red button that reminds him of his lost love. The person whom you find the most difficult might be completely different in ways that you never see.
Q: The Red Button is part of a project you and your wife embarked on in 2020. Would you please share what that project was?
A: With pleasure! Our project was motivated by Janet’s diagnosis of early-stage dementia and other neurological problems: seizures and syncope (blackouts). Her major problem is impaired memory, but Janet and I gradually came to realize that, with accommodation from coworkers, she could still perform her job as a public library director. As I write this, four years have passed since we originally thought that she would have to resign for medical reasons. However, not knowing what lay ahead, we decided to shift into bucket list mode. After much discussion, we formed a plan to blend our highest individual aims (after aiding and enjoying our children and grandchildren): Supporting Janet’s library and building an audience for my writing. I left my corporate job of 29 years to launch a project that we call THIS IS RED. Our moonshot goal is to raise $1 million for the Hollidaysburg Area Public Library, where Janet still works, by a combination of donations and proceeds from my writing. So far, we have raised about $20,000, including $10,000 from the American Library Association after Janet won its annual Lemony Snicket Prize for Noble Librarians Facing Adversity and asked that the generous cash prize go directly to her library.
We launched THIS IS RED in 2019, but my special aim in 2020 (which happened to be the year when Janet and I celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary) was to self-publish twenty books, an effort that I called “20 for ’20.” I believed I could accomplish this because I had a large amount of unpublished writing, and I added concepts for three new books. “The Red Button” was one of those new books.
Kelly: What a blessing that your wife is still working at her library four years after your This Is Red project and thoughts that she might not be able to.
Q: Did every book for the project have a Christmas theme? If so, why?
A: It so happened that Christmas ran through much of my unpublished writing. I’d written stories for church events and an annual holiday gathering at my longtime corporate job, as well as a novella about an elf. I also realized that I could shape hundreds of haikus that I have written into collections that I could facetiously present as the work of Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus and the eight reindeer, since, of course, the North Pole lends itself to downtime and introspection, the perfect breeding ground for poetry.
I have always found Christmas meaningful, but not because of decorations, parties, or even gifts. I find it meaningful as foundational to my faith but also because it’s a wistful time of year when many people face great pain and loneliness, while many also show great kindness and demonstrate tremendous sacrifice to create special memories for others.
Q: We already talked about The Red Button, which I read and reviewed. But you also wrote another book, Rubrum (Roo-brum, latin for Red), which was a sort of remix of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. What was the inspiration or idea behind this book?
A: As you say, ”Rubrum” is also based on “A Christmas Carol,” but it is nothing like “The Red Button.” It is a contemporary story, and “A Christmas Carol” is hidden in it to the point of being almost invisible, just as “Romeo & Juliet” is virtually hidden as the basis for “West Side Story.”
One of the closest comparisons that I have found to “Rubrum” is the coming-of-age drama and family saga “The Story of Edgar Sawtelle,” which is similarly based on a literary classic. I’m avoiding revealing more for fear of spoiling the Sawtelle story, which got a lot of attention as a selection of the Oprah Book Club.
I should say that “Sawtelle” is the closest comparison I have found in book form. “Rubrum” also has many similarities to the movie “Manchester by the Sea”: A working-class loner burdened by his past is called to a responsibility that is overwhelming but also unavoidable.
The idea that seized me was that Scrooge’s defining characteristic was not his wealth nor his greed—it was a choice to isolate himself despite a number of close and uplifting connections: his sister, her son and the lost love of his life. Something else popped into mind that was silly and yet (at least to me) revealing: Imagining Scrooge using a modern self-checkout. Perfect for a misanthrope such as he, yet it also reinforced his loneliness. I played with all of the above, creating a version of Scrooge (my character Evan Easter, who gets his name from “Ebenezer”) who is poor, amazingly generous, and loved by many, yet a particular circumstance leads him to seal himself off from nearly everyone. And man, does he feel conflicted by self-checkouts.
I drafted the story in 160 consecutive daily Facebook posts. The story led places that I could have never imagined, and it was a momentous experience. I’m very proud of it.
Q: Did you reach your goal of publishing 20 books in 2020, and were all 20 books written by you?
A: Yep, I did it! I wrote them all, and I’m fortunate that over the years on my various jobs and projects, I was able to acquire all of the skills needed for every step: writing, editing, proofreading, designing covers and page graphics, writing the marketing blurbs, and formatting the documents for printing.
Q: Is there anything still happening with ThisIs.Red today? Can people still purchase your books and will any of the proceeds still go to your library?
A: THIS IS RED will be our project for as long as Janet and I live, because $1 million is a lot to raise, and we can always find more goals if and when we meet that one. Up to that million dollars, any profits from my “20 for ’20” books will go to our beloved “Hollidaysburg Area Public Library.” To buy the books, just search my name on Amazon. I always point to “The Red Button” in particular because that has the greatest potential to become a bestseller. That’s the novel that makes me go out my way to say, “Buy that one! Buy dozens of copies for your family, your friends, your enemies and complete strangers!”
Q: Did writing 20 books in a year give you the desire to write more, and are you planning on writing any more books?
A: I have plans for lots more books, and I do some drafting every day, but right now most of my time goes toward drawing attention to “The Red Button” to turn it into a best seller.
Q: You have a website, https://thisis.red/ where people can get updates and four free books. There is a blog section on the website that I have visited, and I have to say, it is unlike any blog I have ever seen before. Can you tell us about the blog and its purpose? Would you like to share any social media links?
A: Ah, yes! I mainly use the blog for what I call The Daily Red. Each post consists of one striking photograph captioned with an acronym that spells “RED.” For instance, a recent photo shows a young woman blowing a large gum bubble, and the caption is “Reaching Explosion Danger.” Each photo is a royalty-free stock image (my favorite source is Pexels.com), and they cover countless slices of life. As I type this, I have published over 650 of these images, and all of them can be found in our THIS IS RED social media feeds as well. On Facebook, Instagram and Twitter we are @thisisdotred.
I hope to see you and lots of your followers out on the Internet, Kelly! Thanks for asking these questions and for reading and reviewing “The Red Button.”
Kelly: You are very welcome. It was my pleasure, and I look forward to reading many more, if not all of the 20 books you wrote for This is Red, as I love Christmas so the Christmas themed ones definitely grab my interest.
For all of you reading this post, I encourage you all to buy and read The Red Button and any of the other wonderful stories I have spoken with Keith about here. I also encourage you to check out all 20 of his books as well as their social media sites for This is Red.
As a Book Reviewer, I received a free ebook copy of Jiving With a Royal by Tomi Tabb and this is my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor any review of this book.
Jiving With a Royal is the second book in the Unexpected Royals series by Tomi Tabb. It is another entertaining, fun, clean romance story. Amanda Collins is Clara Little’s best friend, so when Clara’s fiance’s best friend shows up, Amanda isn’t quite sure how to act. She’s only been following his life, through the media, for years and has had a crush on him just as long. But now, he’s here in the flesh, in her apartment.
Amanda is a delightful character. She loves to cook. She loves Disney World and I Love Lucy. Eddie has never met anyone like her before. His life has been filled with troubles he’s trying to put behind him, and Amanda’s free spirit approach to life intrigues him.
Tomi Tabb is a talented author with a gift for creating delightful, relatable characters. Her stories are well written and I have enjoyed both books in her Unexpected Royals series and continue to look forward to more clean, fun romance stories by Ms. Tabb.
If you are an American who finds the British Royalty fascinating or you just enjoy lighthearted romance stories, you’re sure to love Jiving With a Royal by Tomi Tabb.
As a Book Reviewer, I received a free ebook copy of The Red Button by Keith Eldred and this is my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor any review.
The Red Button by Keith Eldred is a unique work of fiction as it is written as a prequel, of sorts, to A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. Mr. Eldred has written an account of Ebenezer Scrooge’s life that explores his relationship with Belle, prior to becoming the grumpy miser we know from A Christmas Carol.
Mr. Eldred’s story is written in a very similar style as the classic A Christmas Carol, and fans of the original Dickens classic will be delighted to follow Ebenezer Scrooge through his meeting Belle, becoming interested in courting her to their engagement, and, of course, to the ending of the relationship, all while also following an interesting idea of Mr. Scrooge’s business dealings that made him rich. In addition, readers will follow how his line of thinking changes from the beginning of the book to the end of the book, as well as how he enters into a business relationship with Jacob Marley and becomes the grumpy miser, all of which make this book flow easily into the original Dickens classic that has become so known and loved.
Mr. Eldred has included an unlikely character that plays a part in this story, and that is the Red Button. He also created an unusual relationship between Belle and her mother. These two things make the story quite unique, adding Mr. Eldred’s original touch.
I enjoyed reading The Red Button by Keith Eldred, as A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens has always been, and still remains, one of my favorite Christmas stories of all time. And I will say, I read The Red Button carefully, as I looked for the connections to the original classic that I felt were important for the book to truly be acceptable to readers, like me, who love Dickens’ original classic, and I was pleased with the connections Mr. Eldred made.
If you are also a fan of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, I encourage you to read The Red Button by Keith Eldred. Mr. Eldred’s story may not include some of the most beloved characters or some lighthearted moments as the Dickens original, but if you like to explore the possibilities of literature’s best known characters’ lives, like Ebenezer Scrooge, I think you will enjoy The Red Button.
Black Jade: A Daiyu Wu Mystery is the first book of the Daiyu Wu Mysteries series by Gloria Oliver. As a Book Reviewer, I received a free ebook copy of this book and this is my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor any review.
The setting of Black Jade is Texas in 1930. In Black Jade, Ms. Oliver often refers to the Yellow Terror and Daiyu Wu and her family are treated as strange and looked down upon, and to be feared. If you know anything about 1930s U.S. history, it was at that time that Chinese immigrants were coming into the United States and westerners feared that the Chinese would invade their lands. They also believed the Chinese were a threat to Western values, and the media coined the term “Yellow Peril” when referring to the Chinese.
Apparently, Ms. Oliver decided to use the term “Yellow Terror” in her story and she portrayed how it affected a Chinese family who wanted nothing but to live in the United States and run their business. They had fled China because their daughter was not accepted in the Chinese culture because she was blind.
Black Jade is both a historical mystery and an amateur sleuth mystery, as young Daiyu is quite intelligent and very aware of her surroundings, and one day while working in the family’s laundry, she stumbles upon the scent of garlic. With the help of her friend, Jacques, she discovers the source of the odor is a green ballgown. This leads Daiyu to believe someone has committed murder using arsenic.
That is the beginning of the mystery that sends Daiyu, her dog, Prince Razor, and Jacques on quite an adventure to discover who was murdered and who committed the crime.
Gloria Oliver paints wonderful descriptions that take the reader deep into the places that Daiyu and Jacques go, into a society that isn’t quite sure how to react to a clever, blind Chinese girl, into a family that has problems, and into a coroner’s lab. She has created unique characters that are very interesting and engaging, and a murder mystery that will keep you guessing.
The only thing I struggled with while reading this story was being able to see Daiyu and Jacques as adults. The way they are treated by Daiyu’s parents and most of the people they came into contact with, as well as their interactions with and reactions to each other, convinced me they were youth. However, this did not, in any way, hinder my enjoyment of the story.
Daiyu’s dog, Prince Razor, and a young man who showed interest in Daiyu were wonderful additions to the cast of characters.
If you enjoy good murder mysteries on the cozy side, you will enjoy Black Jade. I will issue one warning for sensitive readers that there are a handful of curse words scattered about the story, but they can easily be overlooked.
Black Jade is well written, educational, and entertaining.
Wolves Adalore is the debut novel of Morgan Gauthier. It is also the first book in the Mark of the Hunter series. As a Book Reviewer, I received a free ebook copy and this is my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review or any review.
Crispin and Salome have been raised by Zophar after their parents died. Now they must prepare for battle with their sister, Niabi, who has been ruling Adalore from the White Throne. She is responsible for many deaths. She was ready to turn her rule over to her son until tragedy struck and brought out her cruel nature once again.
It has been about 200 years since a hunter has been seen in Adalore or its surrounding lands, so no one believes a hunter exists. However, Zophar, Crispin, and Salome are assured, by a Seer, Harbona, that it is the Year of the Hunter and there is a hunter, and it is one of them.
As the four begin their journey to Adalore, they come under attack twice. Then they separate into pairs and later reunite.
Wolves of Adalore is a very well written fantasy novel. It has also been well edited. There are many characters, but it is easy to follow the characters. Morgan Gauthier made clear connections between the characters as well. It is a novel of good vs. evil.
I enjoyed this story and I love Zophar, Crispin, Salome, and Harbona, as well as Salome’s guardian, Adonijah. Morgan Gauthier not only created lovable characters, a story that kept me turning pages, and an interesting setting, but she writes engaging dialogue between characters, especially Adonijah and Salome, which adds some light-heartedness to the story.
My only disappointment in this novel is that just as they are about to enter into the battle the story has been leading up to, Ms. Gauthier brings the story to a close. However, it was not a complete cliffhanger, and I am grateful for that. I will look forward to reading the next book in the Mark of the Hunter series by Morgan Gauthier for I want to know who wins the battle and what happens to my favorite characters.
For my sensitive readers, I will mention that there are a few profane words within the story.
If you enjoy an engaging fantasy story with very likeable characters, I encourage you to read Wolves of Adalore.
Have you written a great story but see that it needs some improvement before you publish it for the world to see?
Writing a great story is hard work. It requires time. The best writers continually study the writing craft by reading great books about writing and by attending writing conferences either in person or online. This enables a writer to keep up-to-date on any changes in the writing world as far as writing styles, suggested rules, and what agents and publishers are looking for.
“But I’m an indie author,” you may say, and many indie authors think they can do anything they want. They don’t have to follow rules or try to please anyone with their writing except themselves.
However, indie authors also want to sell books, so if they aren’t considering an audience, how will they sell their books?
Hence the need for not only studying the craft of writing, but also, the need for editing your work yourself, as well as hiring a professional editor.
“Professional editors are expensive! I don’t have that kind of money,” you may protest.
That is why I am going to write some articles to help you do a good job of writing as well as self-editing before seeking a professional editor. Granted, there are expensive editors out there–expensive because they charge so much per word or per page, thus including the properly written words and pages in your manuscript. However, I, the Thrifty Editor, charge per hour, which saves a self-edited writer money.
How? Because if you can get your manuscript in good technical shape by finding the majority of the typos, spelling and grammar problems, and usage of the wrong word in a sentence, you’ll save the professional editor a lot of time. Therefore, if that editor charges by the hour, it will cost you less money. Take me, the Thrifty Editor, for example; I charge by the hour, which saves a self-edited writer money. I only have to stop reading when I find errors I need to correct. The less errors and stopping I do, the faster I complete the job, thus saving you money.
Now you say, “Tell me more.”
Okay, I will. Here are my suggestions for self-editing upon completing your manuscript:
Set your manuscript aside for at least two weeks, a month is even better. Then when you pick it up again, you will approach it with fresh eyes.
Now, when you pick it up. Read it out loud. Most often, you will find many errors while reading out loud because you will be able to hear if a sentence includes a misused word or if the sentence sounds awkward and needs to be tweaked.
Also, try not to read too quickly. As the writer of the story, you know what you want it to say, but as you were writing, your mind was probably moving faster than your fingers were writing or typing. This is where typos and misspellings happen. Therefore, if you read slowly and carefully and look at each and every word, you can catch most of your typos and misspellings on your own. You may even have used a proper spelling but have the wrong word and so your “spell check” feature won’t catch it, (i.e. you meant to use there but mistakenly typed their).
Last, but not least, do your best to know as much proper grammar as possible. Read a book about grammar or articles about proper word usage, especially words that are most commonly misused, like lie and laid. This will help you avoid grammatical errors.
Next time, I’ll talk about bigger writing issues and how to find them.
I have made some updates here on my website. I have updated my editing services page and given it a new name. If you are a writer and want to be sure your writing is the best it can be before you publish it, having it professionally edited is the best way to do that, and I can help you without breaking your bank account. You can hire me for your editing job, but even before you do that, you can read my upcoming posts (starting tomorrow) that will give you tips to do “self-editing” to save you even more money.
I have also added a new page and service for authors. All authors are now responsible to promote and market their own books. One great way to do that is to do author interviews, and I worked as an interview writer for a magazine for a year and have done several author interviews on my blog. Now I am offering this as a service for authors. This is a great way to let readers know a little about yourself, as well as a little about your latest book or book series. If this sounds like something you’d like to do to promote and market your book, click the “Author Interviews” tab at the top of the homepage to find out more.
The last update I made is in the “My Books” tab. I added the latest devotional book that one of my devotions is published in. So, if you like to read daily devotions or know someone who does, check out this latest book.
Now, about a new blog I’d like to encourage you to check out. But, wait… first, I mentioned here before, that I left Facebook and am now on MeWe, but here’s another great announcement for writers: if you are interested in being part of a fun, active writing group, I have just the group for you–it’s called “Christian Writers Write Now” and it’s only on MeWe. We announce a word prompt everyday and encourage everyone to write something, including that word, without going over 60 words! It’s a fun and great way to practice writing tightly, using only the most necessary words to create a great short piece of writing! We also offer other occasional fun writing exercises, encouragement, help and tips of all kinds in writing and marketing on the group page and in the group chat. So, check us out!
Okay, so now the new blog. You may wonder why I got side tracked about MeWe when I mentioned the new blog in the last paragraph. Here’s why. This new blog is a “group blog”. It is a collaboration of six different writers from my “Christian Writers Write Now” writers group on MeWe. Three fantasy writers and three romance writers (from different romance genres) have joined forces to share articles that will appeal to both readers and writers. So, check out Hope, Hearts, & Heroes today!