Grace's Mosaic Moments


Saturday, August 29, 2015

Copyediting Challenges

Below, a peek at the deer making themselves right at home in the backyard of my daughter's new house.


In the "bear encounter" video below the photographer/narrator is my daughter; the other voice, her husband's cousin. The scene, her front yard. 
[Alas, after many tries, I was forced to settle for a link to Susie's Facebook page. If you would like to see her first encounter with a bear since moving to Longwood, just scroll down. It's the video directly after the deer photo above.] And yes, Longwood definitely has wildlife. It is only about three miles from here that an alligator bit off the UCF professor's arm earlier this month.

For video of bear eating the Reale family garbage, click here.


What Grace is Reading . . .

Over the last few weeks I've been thoroughly enjoying revisiting two series by Anne McCaffrey - the Dragonriders of Pern books (though not all the spin-offs) and the Freedom series. As someone in the last stages of readying a SyFy/Fantasy series for publication, I am, as always, awed by McCaffrey's ability to build worlds so detailed a reader can not only see, but positively wallow in, them. Though I couldn't help but note on this time through (my third?) that the characters are so much more fleshed out in the four Freedom books, one of her last series, than in the Pern classics.

Note: I recall being thoroughly startled when I read a reference to the Dragonrider series as Fantasy when I had always thought it Science Fiction. Must be the dragons, because, believe me, I'd put Anne McCaffrey's use of scientic facts up against anyone's. Alas, I freely acknowledge my scientific knowledge in no way compares to hers, which is why I call my Blue Moon Rising series, "Futuristic/Paranormal"! 


Copyediting Challenges

At one time or another, I've mentioned most of the problems that will be listed in this new series on copy editing, but they keep cropping up when I am editing other people's work, so there seems no doubt they need repeating.

First of all: What is copyediting?
An editor deals with the content of a book: Does the plot need tweaking? Are the characters fleshed out? Did the author fail to make a vital point clear? And so on.

A copy editor, a much lower mortal on the publishing ladder, checks grammar, punctuation, continuity, facts. Most publishers have a style sheet which he/she must follow (there is a surprising amount of flexibility in English usage). And, unfortunately, there is no handy-dandy book like The Chicago Manual of Style for facts (except perhaps Wikipedia!). And yes, The Oxford English Dictionary is a treasure for what words were in use in a particular time period, but many authors find it out of their price range.

Pity the poor copy editor. (As well as being one, I've fought with my share of them in my time.) The howls of anguish and outrage from authors range from complaints about copy editors who have zero knowledge of English titles or laws of inheritance to a contemporary romance in which a copy editor added a decimal point before 9mm, transforming a Glock 9 into a gun with a barrel about the size of the head of a pin!

Basically, a copy editor can save you from having egg on your face, can nudge your punctuation and grammar into prose that meets the highest professional standards. Or your copy editor can be a real pain in the neck, making more mistakes than you did. Somehow you have to fight your way through the comments, wincing but grateful when the copy editor catches those things you inevitably missed. But never hesitate to stand up for what you know is right when the copy editor goes totally off track. 

I have to admit that when I am copyediting, my style sheet is in my head, the result of an outstanding English teacher in high school (not so much in college) and decades of reading professionally edited books and struggling through edits on my own books. But always, always, I refer back to The Chicago Manual of Style, the "publishers' bible." And more and more, I groan over what I see in the barely edited books I sometimes stumble onto via my Kindle. Yet the hardest thing of all for me is to walk the thin line between what I believe is correct and what other authors were taught in school. Not mistakes, but consistent deviations that I realize must have been learned in English class. So what now? 

Example: The Chicago Manual of Style puts a comma before the last "and" in a series. So do I. But I have editing clients who do not. And in so-called "modern" usage, that too is correct. So I wince and let it go. Which brings up another problem. If you're sticking "however" into the middle of phrase, it must have commas around it. And yet when I use "too," I do not put commas around it, whether it's in the middle of a sentence or at the end. This is a subjective choice on my part as commas around such a short word - technically correct for an "insertion" - seem to interrupt the flow. 

The above paragraph serves to illustrate why publishing houses have style sheets. Copy editing is not black and white, the rules not etched in stone. There are so many subjective decisions, the mind boggles. Here is a partial list of the mistakes that bother me the most:

1.  Compound sentence.  
From The Chicago Manual of Style:
"When independent clauses are joined by and, but, or, so, yet, or any other conjunction, a comma usually precedes the conjunction. If the clauses are very short, and closely connected, the comma may be omitted."  

Basically, that means that if you have two clauses with a subject and verb in each one, put a comma between the clauses. An allowed exception - the very short: Betty hit the ball over the net but John didn't.

2. Compound predicate.
From The Chicago Manual of Style:
"A comma is not normally used between the parts of a compound predicate—that is, two or more verbs having the same subject, as distinct from two independent clauses—though it may occasionally be needed to avoid misreading or to indicate a pause." 

Example from CMS:
General rule:
Kelleher tried to see the mayor but was told he was out of town. [one subject, two verbs]

Exception to the rule:
She recognized the man who entered the room, and gasped. [one subject, two verbs but a comma added to indicate a pause, or emphasis.]


3.  Dangling participles.
Dangling participles not only make many readers gnash their teeth, they tend to make the person who wrote them an object of fun. NOT how you want readers to react to your deathless prose.

Any time you begin a sentence with a gerund (a word ending in "ing"), be on the lookout for the dreaded Dangling Participle. There is no option here. It must be fixed. One example in The Chicago Manual of Style is: "Dodging the traffic, his cell phone got dropped in the street." Since the gerund phrase must match the subject of the sentence, this sentence actually states that his cell phone was dodging traffic. CMS's re-phrasing of the sentence - an easy fix: Dodging the traffic, he dropped his cell phone in the street.


4. Commas in a series.
 Although, as stated above, I do not change my clients' preference for omitting the comma before the last and, I strongly advise using it. Like the comma in compound sentences, it adds clarity and readability.

Example from The Chicago Manual of Style:  
She took a photograph of her parents, the president, and the vice president.


~ * ~
 More examples next week.

Thanks for stopping by.

Grace

For Grace's website, listing all books as Blair Bancroft, click here.
For a brochure for Grace's editing service, Best Foot Forward, click here.




Saturday, August 22, 2015

On Being a Writer

Found of Facebook
In all fairness, so-called Native Americans were also immigrants way back when, coming across the land bridge from Asia over the Bering Strait, or so the experts tell us.

This week's news bulletin:
Since I have many readers who do not live in areas where Disney's latest plans are front-page news, here's the latest expansion plan from Mouseville:

Disney's Hollywood Studio has never been able to compete with its other attractions - at least not in my opinion - nor with Universal Studio's movie-themed attractions. But at long last HS is getting an upgrade, with two new attractions based on the movie blockbusters, Star Wars and Toy Story. No time-frame given, but from the elaborate Star Wars drawing seen on TV news, I would guess at least two years. Something to look forward to!

Another tidbit from the land of sharks & gators:
While wading in shallow water, a 10-year-old girl was bitten by a shark near Jacksonville Beach on Wednesday of this week. As she started for shore, she noticed a 6-year-old still in the water and went back to pull her out before going for help for herself. She required 90 stitches. (And no, that's not a typo. She was fortunate it was only a 3-foot shark.) Needless to say, she's not only a victim but a heroine, shown on TV smiling from her hospital bed.


ON BEING A WRITER

If you're a regular reader of Mosaic Moments, you're already familiar with my favorite comment: Each morning I get up and can hardly wait to find out what is going to happen in my book today.

Even though not every writer conjures a book "out of the mist" or "by the seat of his/her pants," I think the excitement must be the same. What a wonder it is to start from nothing but an idea, a simple spark that must be nurtured until it bursts into flame. For some that nurturing is gentle; for others, a wrench from the soul. For some it means taking that idea, thinking it through, playing with it, juggling it, outlining possibilities, agonizing over selecting just the right path—the most dramatic conflict, the most heart-pounding action, whether to play the romance hot or tone it down for those who prefer Plot over Sex. 

For others, like me, it means creating intriguing characters—from vibrant, though sometimes flawed, heroes and heroines, well-fleshed-out secondary characters who add to the story, and a vague idea of the plot. After that, I let my characters tell me all the details of what happens next. Believe me, it's exciting. Many mornings I get up with no idea of what's going to happen next. I sit down at the keyboard and my characters take over, dictating the story. Yes, certainly there are times when I thought it all out the night before - or perhaps before I get out of bed in the morning. Dialogue, action, it's all there. Except maybe eighty percent of the time, when I sit down to record my thoughts, I realize I skipped a vital scene that has to be written first. So, in spite of my best-laid plans, I still end of "winging it," grabbing the story out of thin air because it's suddenly obvious that the new scene has to come before the one I'd so carefully detailed in my head.

And then there are the times when nothing comes. For me, thank goodness, those times have been few and far between. My approach, I've discovered, is similar to Nora Roberts's. I just keep writing, no matter how meandering or perfectly awful it might seem. That's what editing is for, right? Let's face it, even when I think I'm doing well, it's amazing how many changes I make. 

Which brings me to: Why on earth do writers put themselves through all this torture?
I am constantly amazed at the dedication I see in other authors. I have it easy. I don't have a full-time job, young children, family obligations more demanding than being a grandmother. I have belonged to four writers' groups here in Florida, and I am simply stunned by those who get up a 5:00 a.m. to write before the family gets up. Or those who snatch spare moments during the day. Or somehow stay up half the night to get words down on a page. I freely admit I couldn't do that. when I first tried to write in the days before word processing, my style soon demonstrated that I was one of those who was constantly finding new and better ways to express what I had initially written. And in those days that meant laboriously re-typing every page. Multiple times. Aargh!

Needless to say, only the advent of word processing allowed me to become a serious writer. (I owned one of the very first word processing machines, an IBM's Displaywriter, which had alternate keyboards for a variety of languages and pre-dated the first PCs by at least a year. It was considered infinitely smart at 250K!)

For almost a decade after that, however, I used word processing primarily to make money in a more mundane fashion than creative writing; for example, transcribing a series of taped lectures in French for the Yale Language Department. (The Displaywriter was an expensive machine!).  But after getting the children off to college, things changed. Since 1991 I have written around 35 books, 32 currently available online. Two books of a four-book Futuristic Paranormal series, Blue Moon Rising, will be available soon (Rebel Princess by October 1). And I have a couple more on the back burner just waiting for a bit of additional polish.

 And no, I've really never suffered from burnout, perhaps because I'm constantly looking for something new to try. For me, the inner excitement never flags. I get tired, worn to the bone, but  sitting down to write rejuvenates me. Constantly using my imagination keeps me young. 

Yes, writing demands dedication and determination, but it's such a thrill to take the merest germ of an idea and spin it into gold. To grab an idea out of nowhere and somehow expand it into 400 pages that will, in turn, excite and inspire other people.  I like to think the famous words  Edward Bulwer-Lytton wrote in 1839 are right: "The pen is mightier than the sword."


In the end, writers may not be able to save the world, but by organizing all those thoughts, ideas, and words tumbling around inside our heads, we save ourselves. And hopefully provide wisdom as well as entertainment for others.

So whether you started to write at age fifteen or fifty-five, hang in there. There's joy here. And satisfaction. And, if we're lucky, a bit of money. And if you always wanted to write but haven't yet taken the plunge, it's never too late. Word processing makes it easy. Hit the Delete key and our mistakes go away. And no teacher hanging over you to point out errors! Wow, how great is that? 

Writing may be hard work, but it's also great fun. Inspiring. Joyous. Satisfying. A profession that is never obsolete, never goes out of fashion. So whether you have to outline every step ahead of time, or simply plunge into a new book with little but names to go on, writing can be one of the most satisfying occupations. I should add that although I address my blogs primarily to authors of fiction, much the same advice applies to non-fiction authors. Writing is a demanding business, an art form as unrelenting as creating a great painting, being controlled and practiced enough to belt out a high C or twist the body into a triple salchow. 

Writing is not easy. Writing requires devotion, constant practice, discipline, and intelligence. And, I suppose, like all art forms, it requires at least a soupçon of arrogance. If we don't believe in ourselves, who will?

But above all comes persistence. No one, from the anonymous 3-D sidewalk artist to the author who just hit the Best-seller list, ever did so without hanging in there, no matter what. Success rarely comes easy. For most of us, that means beomg slapped down time and time again before our first success. And in my case, it meant being slapped down by publishers shutting down the line of books I was writing four times. (Italics & underline intentional because, believe me, all four times hurt.) But . . .

You knew there was going to be a "but," right?

It's not just a case of my soldiering on and finding a new niche for myself. Recovering from adversity can also apply to creating a book. So you had a bad day? A bad chapter? The whole blasted book's a mistake!  So pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start from Word One. You can fix this. Take a deep breath. Think! Editing works. Revision works. Eliminating characters can work. Creating new ones in their place can work. New challenges for you, new challenges for your characters. You can do it, you really can. See . . . you didn't waste the last three months after all.

In summary, whether you've written twenty books, just one, or your book is nothing more than a gleam in the eye,  never forget that for all the work involved, writing is fun. It's inspiring. It's a reason to put a smile on your face as you crawl out of bed in the morning. Be grateful you have the "gift," no matter how rocky it may feel at times. And, let's admit it, no matter how rocky your life might be, you can always take refuge in the wonderful world of your mind. Even if your characters have a will of their own, they are yours. You created them. So let them soar. Your book will soar right along with them. 

And your spirits as well.

~ * ~

 
Thanks for stopping by,

Grace


For Grace's website, listing all books as Blair Bancroft, click here.
For a brochure for Grace's editing service, Best Foot Forward, click here.

 







Saturday, August 15, 2015

RANTS & RECIPES


Keeping an eye on the Rehab
My daughter took this photo in the Conway area of East Orlando. The homes there are standard middle class ranch-style, but at some time in the past someone imported peacocks, clearly a pair of peacocks as they have now proliferated until whole bands of them roam the neighborhood at will. I recall the last time Susie & Co. did a house rehab there, they ended up moving a nest that was too close to the work being done into the shade of a wall and then helped watch over the eggs 'til they hatched. Hmm - maybe the magnificent beastie above, sighted at their latest rehab, is one of those chicks (or whatever a baby peacock is called).


This is one of those weeks when I demonstrate why I named this blog "Mosaic Moments." I plan to include another news story, rant on a variety of topics, and end with a couple of old recipes that turned up when I was sorting through every last thing I owned before moving (in an attempt to get rid of enough things so I could squeeze myself into my new home). The discard toll on recipes? Maybe .5 percent. Let's face it - I'm recipe-addicted.

Breaking news story: Some may consider this story an advertisement for OnStar, but it's straight out of Friday morning's Orlando Sentinel. You may remember that I call "I-Drive" (our local term for Orlando's International Drive) "Disneyworld for Adults." It's a heavily traveled tourist corridor, full of both hotels and attractions, and also home to the Orlando Convention Center. Unfortunately it also attracts criminals, as it is not an enclosed environment, like the strictly gated Disneyworld, Universal Studios, and Seaworld. 

On Wednesday evening four men carjacked a man who was packing his car for his family's trip back to Texas the next morning. He was tied up, pistol-whipped, and driven around for a while. Until the man's wife became worried and called OnStar. When the robbers heard the OnStar voice and realized the operator could hear the man calling for help, they stopped the car and fled. Although the men are still at large, they're about as likely to escape as the alligator that bit off the woman's arm. For the man was a federal agent, and law enforcement really doesn't like anyone messing with their own. Plus the addition of a federal agency search to the mix. 

Update (Saturday):  Three of the four men were arrested by Thursday afternoon. The fourth was identified but not found and taken into custody until Saturday. Their ages are: 15, 16, 18 & 18. High school students! Their lives ruined by what the Sheriff called, "Playing deadly games." And, yes, the charges are kidnapping as well as carjacking and assault. The federal agent, a border patrol officer, required four staples to close the wound in his head.

RANT:

I watched the Republican Presidential debate this week with something akin to horror. There were some good men up there, well-intentioned and genuinely concerned for their country's future. And then there was Donald Trump. 

To understand why some support him takes a bit of cogitating, I admit. But Americans have always admired the attitude of "Speak up," "Go for it," Tell it like it is." And Trump certainly does that. Alas, he is also a misogynistic hot-head patently unfit for the highest office in the land. And yet . . . what a breath of fresh air for the equally misogynistic or those so ultra-right wing they applaud anything negative, anything they believe other politicians too "mealymouthed" to say. (Allegations I won't dignify by repeating here.)

Yes, Donald Trump has a right to run for office. Yes, he has a right to speak his mind. (I even might agree with him that we've carried Political Correctness too far.) But no one who blurts out absolutely anything and everything that jumps into his mind ever made a good leader. No one who completely blows his top over a reporter's question can be anything but a terrifying prospect as a world leader. Just imagine Trump at a Summit meeting, where he has to take flak from Vladimir Putin, Angela Merkel, Benjamin Netanyahu, or the leaders of other Middle Eastern countries. I can just see Trump in a rage, turning to the soldier with the nuclear codes, authorizing the unthinkable. Annihilation before dawn.

But the terrifying part is that Trump's polling numbers have not gone down since his appalling reaction to Megyn Kelly's debate question, since his adamant refusal to apologize. (And since all his other foot-in-mouth statements.) There are still people out there who believe he is a viable candidate for President. Surely they can't all be people described as "to the right of Attila the Hun." I keep telling myself this is only the Republican Party and his polling numbers are not indicative of the population as a whole. But still, it's scary. Come on, people, wake up! This man is a genuine menace. Not on purpose - I have no doubt he sees himself as a savior - but Napoleon and Hitler undoubtedly thought so too. And look what happened to their worlds before ordinary people came to their senses. And that was before we had the power to erase ourselves from the earth.

Come on, folks, it's time to tell the Donald: "You're fired!"

Update: A cartoon in the Saturday Orlando Sentinel did a great job of pinpointing Trump supporters. It featured a male voter's head with the following thoughts inscribed:

That Feminist Witch who objected to my Dirty Joke at Work!
I hate taxes, ANY taxes.
My Mexican gardener who can't even speak English!
All those whining blacks maligning the police!
Gays holding hands out in public!
Obama is still President!
Whatever Rush said on the radio - that got my blood boiling! 

~ *~


Okay, the above rant was so long I'm going to spare you my other pet peeves until another time. Recipes coming up!

Note: The two recipes below are strictly "comfort food." Delicious but nowhere near "diet food." Enjoy! (Both are from the "good old days" of cooking.)


IMPOSSIBLE LASAGNE PIE
1/2 cup creamed cottage cheese (slightly more for 8" pan)
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1 lb. ground beef, cooked & drained
1 teaspoon oregano leaves
1/2 teaspoon basil leaves*
1 can (6 oz.) tomato paste
1 cup shredded mozzarella
1 cup milk
2/3 cup Bisquick baking mix
2 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

*use fresh, if available - 5 or 6 leaves, chopped

Heat oven to 400°. Grease 10" pie plate (or 8x8 square). Layer cottage and Parmesan cheeses in plate. Mix beef, herbs, paste, and 1/2 cup mozzarella; sppon on top. Beat milk, baking mix, eggs, salt & pepper 15 seconds in blender on high or 1 minute with by hand. Pour into plate. Bake until knife inserted between center & edge comes out clean. 30-35 minutes (40-45 minutes for 8" glass pan). Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella.  6 servings. (I consider it closer to 4 servings.)


DAVID EYRE'S PANCAKE

Torn out of the New York Times decades ago, this is the perfect Sunday brunch. Unfortunately, it's too big for one, so I haven't made it in a long time, but just thinking about it makes my mouth water.

2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup milk
Pinch of nutmeg
8 tablespoons butter (one stick)
2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
Juice of half a lemon (c. 1 tablespoon)

Preheat oven to 425°. In a mixing bowl combine flour, milk, eggs and nutmeg. Beat lightly. Leave the batter a little lumpy. Melt butter in a 12" skillet with heatproof handle. When very hot, pour in batter. Bake 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Sprinkle with sugar and return briefly to oven. Sprinkle with lemon juice, then serve with jelly, jam, or marmelade.  Serves 4-6.  (My opinion - 3 at the most!)

~ * ~

 
Thanks for stopping by,

Grace


For Grace's website, listing all books as Blair Bancroft, click here.
For a brochure for Grace's editing service, Best Foot Forward, click here.


 






 




Saturday, August 8, 2015

EDITING EXAMPLES

Breaking News:  Earlier this week I invited the grandchildren to a popular nearby outdoor site on the Wekiva River. Fortunately, we hadn't actually done it yet. Tonight's TV news: this afternoon a woman lost part of her arm to a gator when she swam upriver, away from the area's small beach. So I promptly scratched swimming at Wekiva Island off our list of things to do before school starts. In addition, someone on the website for our area of Longwood reported a bear on our side of I-4, when we were all certain no bear would be stupid enough to wander out of the Wekiva Forest and cross a 6-lane divided highway. 

And no, I'm not making this up. Florida is a lot wilder than the 62 million visitors a year to our theme parks ever imagine!

Follow-up from Sunday's Orlando Sentinel: the woman, age 37, lost her arm above the elbow. She was swimming in an area where alligators were visible on the banks. A definite no-no. The alligator was fought off by people in canoes and kayaks, using their paddles. A precarious maneuver. Trappers are still looking for the gator.

Update: Tuesday, August 11: the morning paper reports that the gator was caught and killed. The woman's arm was found in its stomach. Interviews have shown that six canoe/kayakers wents to her rescue, bringing the woman back to Wekiva Island draped across two canoes, where two Deputy Sheriffs working as security guards gave first aid until EMS arrived. The woman is a Spanish professor at UCF. 


Seven-mile Bridge on the way to Key West
I traveled through 10 countries in July, only to come home to a photo that put all mine to shame - shared on Facebook by Mary Roya.  Totally incredible.

~ * ~

EDITING EXAMPLES

Providing examples of content editing is always a bit of a challenge, but I hope sharing my experiences re-editing the first two chapters of my latest Regency Gothic after 23 days of foreign travel, will 1)make sense; 2) be helpful. Again, I emphasize that every author has to work in his/her own style. But all too often I see didactic statements from authors who are basically telling newbies: "My way or the highway." Don't fall for it! And for the same reason you can question my approach to editing. I do NOT claim to be infallible. I only suggest that if you've been told, "Write, write, write. Keep going straight through until the end before you edit," that concept can go terribly wrong. Well, maybe if you're one of those people who goes back to edit and gets stuck like an old phonograph needle on a "78" record and just don't have the will power to get started again . . .

Okay, so now I'm criticizing someone else's approach. Mea culpa. I just want to be sure new, or struggling, authors understand that other approaches are acceptable. In fact, I cannot even imagine how anyone can go straight through a book without editing - thus missing layer upon layer of "might have beens," additions that never were born during the process of editing chapter by chapter.

So here's what happened to the first two chapters of The Welshman's Bride. I somehow churned them out between unpacking from my move to Longwood and packing to go to the Med, Turkey, and London for 23 days. To say that they needed work is, of course, an understatement. I edited them once before leaving, taking hard copy with me, which I re-edited while lying on my bed in my marvelous balcony room on Norwegian Spirit! But when I got home and looked them over . . . definitely time to edit them again. (And no, I don't usually do so many edits, but circumstances seemed to warrant it.)

So keep in mind that the "original" in the examples below had already been edited twice. (And much the better for it. Let's face it, none of us can work at peak proficiency 365 days of the year.)*

*And, yes, purists, I have violated the rules by using Arabic numerals above instead of writing the numbers out. I do it because the numbers stand out better that way, and this is a blog, after all, a personal statement. In a book I would write out all the numbers: twenty-three, etc.

EXAMPLES:

All excerpts are from The Welshman's Bride by Blair Bancroft. Original text in black; additions in blue:

Chapter 1:

Page 1 - This addition is an example of expanding information about the heroine's character and about her family:

"He is dark and drear and at least half a head shorter than Lord Morecombe. And Wales is the end of the earth," I added on something closer to a wail than I had intended. For dramatizing my pique was not my way. Wheedling and winsome smiles had worked quite well with Papa, with an occasional stamp of my foot to emphasize my independence to my brothers. As for Mama, she is such a dear we are seldom at outs for more than five minutes.

My cousin's words interrupted my drifting thoughts. "You know quite well every eye followed him at the Edgemere's ball last night. He—" 

Page 2 - More on family, plus set-up for the heroine's sympathy for her husband's country.

I did, in fact, consider myself splendidly egalitarian, a modern miss who might acknowledge the French as our long-time enemies but understood what had sparked their rebellion against an unheeding king. Naturally, like everyone else, I was delighted when Bonaparte was defeated and consigned to Elba, but in my heart I still harbored an admiration for the American rebellion that had led the way, demonstrating so thoroughly that the rights of kings should not always prevail. A treasonous thought no doubt, but I was, after all, daughter of a man who was providing vial goods for his country, from cloth to leather to the latest in rifles, while a perfectly useless fat flawn sat on the throne, profligately spending every penny he could lay his hands on. At least that's what Papa said.  

Page 4 - More on the centuries-long war between Wales and England, particularly as it relates to the English heroine's possible marriage to a Welshman.

Could I do it? Accept exile in a country where I did not even speak the language? I suppose, looking back, the exotic flavor of it went to my head. I felt like a Medieval heiress, perhaps even a princess, bartered to a foreign lord for the sake of an alliance. As the daughters of Welsh princes had been bartered to English border lords for centuries in a vain hope for peace, the marital alliances seldom lasting long enough for the ink to dry on the settlement papers. As useless, my common sense added on a distinctly sour note, as were nearly all the treaties Welsh princes signed with English kings.

Note: I made a number of more minor changes to Chapter 1 but will not record them here. 

Chapter 2:

Page 13 - This addition emphasizes the heroine's horror at what she realizes was a serious error on her part. I felt the original did not have enough emphasis, for she nearly destroyed her marriage when it had barerly begun.

Correctly reading my frown, Mr. Maddox added, "You have made it quite clear that you are not comfortable with this marriage. Therefore I see no purpose in a few days of privacy that might unsettle you still further. We will return directly to Glyn Eirian, where I hope in time you may accustom yourself to the role of wife. In the meantime you may be assured I will not bother you with what you seem to believe to be my evil intentions.

Oh no! Married but hours and already I was a failure. He was rejecting me. And no wonder when . . .

I had offended him, of course I had. Foolish ninny of a female—having the vapors over something women had been since the dawn of time.

I found my voice at last, the words tumbling out in a rush. "I most sincerely beg your pardon. I admit I am frightened, but that is entirely my own fault . . . .[her apology continues] 

Chapter 1 - 4th edit:

Page 9 - Extension of character development, elaboration on the heroine's reason for accepting this suitor when she has rejected so many others.

"I had not thought you a cynic, my lady. More a woman capable of rising to a challenge."

That did it, of course. As he knew it would. "Let me be as frank with you as you have been with me," I said. "It is time I was wed. My other suitors are blatant fortune-hunters or idle spendthrifts desperate enough not to mind the smell of the shop. You are a man of means in search of capital to increase your wealth and improve the lives of those dependent on you. An entire valley, as I understand.

He nodded. "I should have mentioned that I am intrigued by your intelligence, Miss Hawley, and by the fact that your father has nurtured it."

"Thank you," I murmured, and meant it, adding, "and you are right, of course. Though my life has been overly comfortable and uneventful, I am not afraid of a challenge. I would, in fact, welcome something beyond my circumscribed existence."  

~ * ~ 


Thanks for stopping by,

Grace


For Grace's website, listing all books as Blair Bancroft, click here.
For a brochure for Grace's editing service, Best Foot Forward, click here.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

JULIANA

I'm ba-a-ck!

After twenty-three days on the road, we have limped back to Longwood and are trying to get back into our old routines - which is pretty difficult when moving has discombobulated everything! Though I've managed to read through and re-edit the first two chapters of my latest Regency Gothic, The Welshman's Bride, it's going to take a bit longer to reacquaint myself with the characters.

As for our trip, except for the problems inherent in coordinating travel for an extended family of eight - and Cassidy passing along a bug she supposedly was over to both sisters and her father(!) - we had a remarkably good time. (I'm hoping the girls will retain "how to negotiate the London Underground" until they're old enough to do it on their own.) Interestingly, when I was babysitting while Mom & Dad made a swift trip to Ikea the day after we got home, the movie the girls asked for was What a Girl Wants, which is chockful of the sights they had just seen in London. So I suspect something sank in!)

Our only other snag - viewing Stonehenge in the pouring rain with a temperature of 55° - after hot weather for 21 previous days. My throat is still scratchy four days after our arrival home. Naturally I'll be posting more to Mosaic Moments about our 10-country jaunt at a later date.


THE APHRODITE ACADEMY series

I wrote about Belle, Cecilia, Holly, and Juliana, girls to whom life had not been kind, because sometimes one just gets tired of sweetness and light, young women out to snag a title or even the deserving Cinderella capturing the eye of a prince. I designed the series to be open-ended, but after the success of my Regency Gothics and the necessity of finishing the last two books in my Futuristic Paranormal Blue Moon series, I suspect Juliana will be the last of The Aphrodite Academy. (I'm hoping Book 1 of the Blue Moon series, Rebel Princess, will be available early this fall, with Sorcerer's Bride to follow shortly after.)

Although Juliana is a stand-alone book, I believe you will enjoy it much more if you read about Juliana's three former students first. They are, in order:
Belle, Cecilia, and Holly. All four books are novellas.





Juliana, an innocent bride, marries a charming, insouciant gentleman who promptly sets about teaching her all aspects of love, not just those generally practiced in Regency bedchambers. At some she draws the line, but when her husband adds Darius Wolfe, his man of business, to the mix, she finally learns the meaning of love. Yet happiness remains elusive. When Juliana's husband is killed in a duel, instead of being freed, she is haunted by memories of her role in ménage à trois and is unable to move forward into a brighter world. She sets up a school to provide second chances for young women who have gone astray, yet six celibate years go by with her relationship to Darius Wolfe unresolved. Even after her friends band together to help her, the possibility of a happy ending remains doubtful.


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Thanks for stopping by,

Grace


For Grace's website, listing all books as Blair Bancroft, click here.

For a brochure for Grace's editing service, Best Foot Forward, click here.