Which means that it’s once again time for me to point discreetly at the Editorial and Critique Services link in my blog header (and right here in this post, as well) and observe that finishing your first draft is only the start of the novel-writing process, and that if you’re looking for some professional assistance of the line-edit and critique variety, I’m here to help.
Debra Jess’s new Thunder City romance novel, Blood Hunter, is out today. I feel sort of grandparental towards it, because I was the editor.
Links for Blood Hunter and the other Thunder City novels and stories can be found at her web page; they’re available in all of the usual formats.
Or, to be more specific, a new porch. Because the hardships and foul weather of this past winter caused the porch and steps of our house to transition from merely dilapidated to actively collapsing, and Steps (see what I did there?) Had To Be Taken.
So carpenters came and carpenters went, removing the old porch and the old concrete and granite steps
and putting in new wooden steps with handrails, which the old steps sadly lacked, and mending the gaps in the clapboard which the collapsing porch had left in its wake.
Carpenters, like writers and freelance editors, are self-employed and need to be paid, and so they were. Which means it’s time for me to discreetly point to the Editorial and Critique Services link up above, which gives the good word about what I do and what I charge for it. You can also find an informal FAQ page here: It’s Dr. Doyle’s Question and Answer Time.
Also, I’m now a dues-paying member of the Editorial Freelancers Association, for that extra bit of professional gloss.
And of course, everything is blooming, and the landscape is full of road repair personnel.
This particular winter, which showed up early around here and then overstayed its welcome, and which included a three-week subzero deep freeze, was particularly hard on the local infrastructure. Which is to say, the north country is full of potholed roads and busted-up plumbing; also, porch roofs that were previously merely dilapidated emerged from the snow-time as disaster areas requiring demolition and replacement.
Fortunately, my new desktop computer system is now up and running (16G of RAM! Zoom-swoosh!), and my editor-hat has acquired a spiffy new plume: I’m now a paid-up member of the Editorial Freelancers Association.
Just a quick reminder that my seasonal winter sale ends at midnight on the 5th.
In other news, it’s cold up here. And if you’re living in the continental United States, or in Canada, it’s probably cold where you are, too. (It’s probably also cold in northern Europe and Asia, but I don’t know if it’s unseasonably so. If it is, here’s some profound fellow-feeling coming at you from the northern end of New Hampshire.) In any case, here are a trio of blog posts about surviving, and driving, in extreme winter weather conditions: Cold Blows the Wind Today, Fimbul Winter, and Dashing Through the Snow.
This is the kind of weather that inspired the cautionary tale of Young Charlotte, who thought that a silk-lined cloak would be proof against hypothermia on a fifteen-mile sleigh ride on New Year’s Eve. She was, alas, fatally wrong.
And so is my Thanksgiving/Winter Heating Season quickie sale, which ends at midnight on Sunday the 26th of November.
As always, you can make the purchase for yourself or as a gift for a friend, and can collect on it either right away or at a future date.
Meanwhile, I have to trundle out and purchase this year’s turkey and all the rest of the traditional Thanksgiving oddments.
And in honor of the season, a reprise of my 2012 posting of The World’s Easiest Cranberry Sauce recipe:
1 bag fresh cranberries
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
Put cranberries into a small-to-medium-sized saucepan. Take a moment to make certain there isn’t a twig or a pebble in there by mistake. (I’ve never encountered one, but everybody says to check, so somebody must have, at least once.)
Add the water and the sugar. Stir to combine. It’s probably a good idea to use a wooden spoon, because you’re going to want to stir the mixture some while it’s cooking, and it’s going to get hot.
Put the saucepan on the stove and turn the burner up to high. Bring the cranberries-water-and-sugar mixture to a furious boil, stirring every now and again. Keep on boiling it until the cranberries have all popped.
Remove from heat and pour the sauce into a bowl or tureen or what-have-you, so long as what you have isn’t going to melt from the heat. Put the saucepan in the sink and run some water into it, so that you don’t end up having to remove the cold solidified remnants with a chisel later. Remember to turn off the stove.
Serve the sauce with turkey, or with pancakes, or with whatever seems good to you. It’s good warm or cold, either way, and will keep for a day or so in the refrigerator.
Some people fancy this up with lemon peel or other seasonings, but simple is easier and works just fine.
In honor of Nanowrimo, and of the onset of the winter heating season,† I’ll be running a seasonal sale on editorial and critique services from now through the end of Thanksgiving weekend. My usual rate of $1500 for a line-edit and critique on a standard-weight novel goes down to $1000 for the duration, and rates for epic-sized doorstops will be similarly discounted.
As always, you can purchase a gift certificate – as a gift for a friend, or for yourself – to be redeemed at a later date.
†The snow that fell last Friday? Is still here.
Romance writer Debra Jess, who’s one of my editorial clients, just won a Maggie Award from the Georgia Romance Writers for her novella, A Secret Rose, which (ahem) I edited.
From one Debra to another – congratulations! (And thanks for the acknowledgement, too.)
Q. Are you really a Doctor?
I got my Ph.D. in English from the University of Pennsylvania, back in
the Dark Ages 1981. My primary field was Old English, and my cognate field was Old Icelandic, which makes me the sort of person who once stayed up until 2 in the morning reading a book on historical linguistics for fun. Old Icelandic is a great language – we get “to egg (somebody) on” from there, as well as “ransack”, plus a wonderful verb that we don’t have in English but sometimes I wish we did, ydda (“to show the point [of something] on the other side [of something]”; as, for instance, a sword and someone else’s back.)†
Q. What on earth are you doing here, then? Shouldn’t you be off in an ivory tower someplace, instead of writing fiction and editing other people’s novels for pay?
A. Hah. Don’t I wish.
I finished my degree at about the same time as Academia started devouring its own young. The need to hire lots of new-minted scholars every year to teach the glut of baby-boomers and draft-avoiders was coming to its end, and colleges were starting to use spreadsheets and do the math and figure out that they could hire adjunct faculty (aka “temps with doctorates”) and avoid the extra cost of insurance and other perks, and tenure-track positions got scarcer and scarcer. (Also, colleges realized that you could dangle the prospect of tenure in front of a new hire, and they’d run after it like a greyhound after a mechanical rabbit for five or six years of high toil and low pay, and then you could turn them down for tenure and start the whole process up again with the next victim.)
So I became one of the science fiction and fantasy field’s renegade medievalists, instead.
Q. Well, that explains the writing, I guess. What about the editing?
Money, at least in part. Writing can pay well, but it always pays irregularly, and almost all the writers I know do a lot of other different things to fill in the gaps.
As for why this, in particular: Teaching (and marking up essays) was something I learned how to do as a grad student and teaching fellow at Penn, and while at the time I thought I didn’t like doing it very much, I eventually figured out that what I actually didn’t like was working on stuff written by people who didn’t want to be writing it. (I’ve graded freshman essays, and I’ve read slush – unsolicited manuscripts, for those not conversant with the lingo of the trade – and I’m here to tell you that as bad as slush can get, at least it’s all written by people who are willingly putting words onto paper or pixels onto screen.)
Working with people who are actually interested in improving what they’re doing is, on the other hand, fun.
Q. Do you only work with established writers and self-publishers?
A. Heavens, no. I’m just as happy to work with writers who are at an earlier stage of their development. As I say on my “about” page, I can’t promise that their work will publishable when we’re finished, but I can promise that it will be better than when we started.
Back when I was laboring the the fields of freshman composition, under whatever name it was being called at the time – Introduction to Rhetoric, Expository Writing, or plain old English 101 – I often found that while working with the one or two natural A-level students in the class was easy and refreshing, at the end of the semester I got more satisfaction from having helped a high-B+ student move on up into the A range, or from helping someone who started out as a C- lift themselves up to a good solid B.
†I’ll freely admit that I picked Old Icelandic for my cognate field because I liked all the bloodshed and violence in the great sagas. But my geekhood is safe – my other big interest was subordinate clauses in Anglo-Saxon poetry.
Just a quick note to let everyone know that my springtime seasonal sale expires at midnight this coming Sunday the 23rd.
Buy a line-edit and critique for a writer friend, or for yourself; you needn’t use the gift right away, but can claim it whenever you desire.