Monday, July 27, 2015

Editor Beware!

This week is going to be a rant, of sorts.  Maybe I should call it a "community service announcement" to all editors.  I'll let you decide...

I was given the opportunity to do an edit for a young man who wants to be a writer.  As we had coffee and we got to know each other, I began to have my apprehensions.  He assured me his story had been gone over with a fine tooth comb and read by no less than five readers.  In other words, he was telling me this was almost perfect.

Of course I asked the question: Why do you want me to edit your book?

The response?  He was told he had to have it professionally edited and that was why we were talking. I would do a sample edit of ten pages.  If he liked what he saw, he would pay for the whole book to be edited by me.  I agreed.  How could I not?  I want to make sure any new client is happy with my work.

He wanted me to edit pages 65 through 75.

HUH?  How could I edit something in the middle?  I prefer to start at the beginning and work my way through so I can follow the plot line and analyze how things form. You don't start reading a book in the middle, how could a person edit that way?

I discovered a little secret which I'm not sure he wanted me to know.  He had five other editors review his work.  Hmm?  IF each of the prior five editors did 10 to 15 pages for free, it could quickly add up to 65 pages.  I didn't say anything but suddenly editing from page 65 made sense.  It appeared he was attempting to get his novel edited for free in small segments.

It took a little while for me to get him to understand that for me to do a proper edit, I would need to edit the first ten pages.  He attempted many rebuttals but I finally got him to accept that only if I edited the opening could I tell if he was on the right track and was properly grabbing the reader's attention.  I could tell he wasn't a happy camper.

At first I thought I'd lost him as a possible client and that one of us would graciously walk away.  He finally agreed to allow me to review and edit the first ten pages.  Whew!  We'd both traveled several miles for this face-to-face meeting, both driving over an hour each way to have coffee.

He sent me the file and I performed the edits. I received this scathing letter in return about thirty minutes after I sent him my edits and findings.

Mr. Nailor,
For your information, these 10 pages were edited by another professional who found nothing wrong and thought my story very well written. You are a nitpicker and don't want to see any competition in the writing world. Your edits are worthless and know very little about writing. You wouldn't recognize excellent writing if it bited you on the ass! Please don't bother to contact me. I'll publish my book without your "professional" editing.

First, yes, he wrote "bited." Okay.  Well, if that's how you feel, I won't contact you.  BUT, I will show the world what I did and what you offered. I'll be nice and only show the first few sentences.

It may be difficult to read, the writing was very poor and he had fallen into almost every new writer trap available.  IF this piece had been professionally edited prior to my editing, I am speechless.

Normally I don't display a client's work so callously but I think I need to - if for no other reason than to let other editors be aware that this guy is sort of scamming us, getting free editing under the guise of sampling (testing?) our talents.

I attempt to edit yet maintain the voice of the author.  I also realize I am not perfect. If any reader of this blog finds my above edits to be of poor quality, please let me know. If I overstepped my place in my edits of this gentleman, I will apologize to him.  If you think I'm wrong for displaying his work, as I stated, I don't normally do this AND you are only seeing the first few sentences.  I edited ten full pages and by the time I finished, I returned almost twenty pages with over one hundred comments. My final recommendation was for him to start his novel about eight pages in.  IF he takes my suggestions (which I am doubting) - you will never know who the author is because the work will be unrecognizable. If he publishes (published) as is, then... what can I say.  I tried.

Until next I ramble on...

Monday, July 20, 2015

Not So Good News

This past week has been one of ups and downs.  First an up --

I discovered this blooming in my daylily collection.  I'd totally forgotten about this one.  It was a pleasant surprise this morning as I backed out of the driveway on my way to church and noticed it.

It is the palest of pale lavender-white with a deep reddish-lavender center and a stunning yellow throat.  Seeing it today made me realize, I think I have one or two more multi-colored daylilies in the patch - if they didn't winter-freeze.  I'll keep an eye open.

In the meantime, the deep red daylilies from last week post have been blooming rampantly with 2, 3 and 4 blossoms each day.  They only bloom for one day which is a pity but they keep sending up new ones which makes for a stunning show.  The yellow, pink and lavender daylilies have been quite showy, too.  My wife is thrilled with the presentation and thinks I should see about getting a few more to add a little more diversity to the patch.  I want to get a white one and an orange one.  I'll check the catalogs to see what is available.

Now for a down moment...

I stepped on the scale this morning (Sunday) and it sky-rocketed to 245 pounds.  I almost fell off the scale.  I've gained eight pounds.  Very discouraged BUT also very determined.  A church member who is also a nurse smiled while I lamented about the weight.  She said that it is very common for those who lose weight like I did when ill to regain it back in the next 30 days.

Uh, not me!!  I am going to take an aggressive reaction and be working out on the treadmill and also doing some stomach muscle-tightening exercises to get the gut gone!!

Of course, I am watching how much I eat, trying to keep it minimal but at the same time, not go into a diabetic shock.  Then again, I don't think a stop at Long John Silver deep-fried seafood shop was a good thing.  Being realistic, the 2 fish, 3 chicken planks, French fries and coleslaw probably weren't the best choices for a meal.  Finishing the last 2 Hershey bars (1 a night) as a mindless TV snack ... wait a minute, I read somewhere that chocolate aides in weight loss.  I'll buy into the theory but I don't think it is true.

YES, I'm going to not only watch how much I eat, but also WHAT I eat and attempt better munching.

Another down moment, sort of.

Last Thursday was an Author's Fair at the Findlay Library in Findlay, OH.  That is about a ninety minute drive for me.  I took my books and set up my table and attempted to be as professional as possible.  Here's a picture of my table.

And this is my sale (I was one of the lucky ones to make a sale!)

This is Jennifer Shortridge who bought a copy of The Complete Guide to Writing Science Fiction. And the dashing dude in the blue shirt, that's me.

When I stated it was a "down, sort of" - let me explain. It could be an up. Yes, I only sold one book but I handed out several business cards, I spoke with many of the visitors (we had over 100 attendees, not counting the 21 authors) and I handed out a multitude of book reviews I had printed.  Hopefully it will help to make my name roll off the tongue just a little easier and have some potential sales down the road.  The one thing that struck me that night was the fact so many of those I spoke to didn't realize we, the authors, would have our books for sale.  I re-read the news article promoting the event and deduced the fact, the event was being held in a library and the article stated: come speak with the authors and see their works on display.  There was one line that said: Books will be available for sale.  I've read that article 3 times and only this last time did I see the comment about being for sale.  I'm sure many of the attendees missed it, too.  I mean, it's a library - who sells books at a library? They loan books!!

If you'd like to see more pictures of the event - Click Here

Another up!  My garden is coming along.  I think we're going to pull the peas as the last harvest. The green beans (pole beans) are starting to come, the wax beans have another crop to harvest.  The corn has tasseled and much to my relief, has finally started to silk.  That means, start creating ears.  I had tassels and the pollen was falling but I didn't see any silks coming.  With all the rain we've had of late, some things in the garden are really having a freaky time growing.  The pole beans have been growing but not really blossoming, that was also true of the peas but they finally, after over 60 days of growth, started to show little pods.  I planted the peas in April and they should have been gone by the end of June.  It will be more like the end of July.  We've had 2 days of sunshine - okay, a couple of quick storms (one of them really nasty) and things are blooming.  

It takes 4 things to grow a garden:  seeds (doh!), good dirt, water and sunshine.  I had the seeds. I have great garden soil.  And we've had a lot of rain - in fact, some of the fields and gardens around here are flooded and ruined.  When the sun shines, the garden grows.  There hasn't been enough sunshine to let the tomatoes turn red.  Got lotsa and lotsa of green tomatoes.  I just hope they don't burst with too much water and now a sudden sunshine growth stimulus.

I haven't had a lot of time to write but I have been able to do some outlining so when I do get the chance to sit down and write - I can.  LOL.  If you're a writer, you know why the "lol" since you can have a great outline and still have writer's block when you look at that digital blank sheet.

Until next I ramble on...

Monday, July 13, 2015

Gardening - My Green Thumb?

My garden is starting to finally produce so we can start harvesting. We've pulled radishes from the garden and they were so tasty.  I used them to mark the rows so I knew where the corn would be coming up.  Like my garden is a dinky 4 ft wide X 15 ft long X 1 ft high.  It is crammed full of stuff to grow.  Take a look at the picture.

I know, not what one would call a real corn field by any means.  The the right of the screen above is the peas.  It is a double row with a green plastic fence for them to grow on.  As you can see, they've completely taken over. Just look at all those hanging peas.  We harvested about 2 pints of peas the other day and will go out later today to harvest another batch.  My wife said "We didn't even make a dent in the peas."  I love peas and one of my mostest favorite recipes is Tater Tot Casserole which calls for frozen peas.  Yup!  We froze those peas on a cookie sheet then slid them into a plastic bag.

That tall tower to the back - that pole beans. The instructions said the beans would grow about 6 ft high.  The instructions lied.  They've grown waaaay beyond the 6 ft poles.  Between the corn and the beans (can't see them) I planted my wax beans. Yes, those yellow beans.  We harvested about a quart of them so far.

If you look real close, maybe you can see the 7 tomato plants growing between the peas and the beans.  I have Roma (2), Beefsteak (2), Mortgage Lifter (1) and Rutgers (2) and they are getting very laden with fruit.  Can't wait for the fresh tomatoes to come in for BLTs and salads.  

Also hidden from sight are carrots, beets and garlic.  I'm not sure about the garlic.  I planted 8 cloves last year and they disappeared.  I figured because of planting too thickly.  Well, this spring, they sprouted and I had like over 40 plants coming up.  I moved them and planted about 20 of the plants back down into a protected corner where they'd get plenty of light, etc.  Uh, they're gone.  Maybe I don't know how to grow garlic.  What I'll do is dig up that corner later in the fall and see if anything is there.

By the way, the corn is now starting to tassel and we all know what that means.  Harvest is just around the corner and I'm hoping to see about 4-5 dozen ears of corn from my little patch.

BUT, vegetables aren't the only thing I have growing.  Take a look at these beauties.
My triple (some say it is double) Orange daylily

My red daylily and look at all the blooms to come!

This is a reblooming yellow daylily (Stella de Ora)

And this is a pink daylily in the yard.

Since I took those pictures, the lavender, deep purple, striped red/yellow, white and peach daylilies have come into bloom.  Of course, it has been raining, they only bloom for ONE day.  Hopefully I'll get pics later when the sun decides to come out.

Added these just now...
A lavender daylily

This is the peach daylily blooming

I call this rusty red, it is an awkward color, not red, not purple, but pretty.

Until next I ramble on...

Monday, July 6, 2015

Did You Miss Me?

I'm back, folks.  Sorry to skip out but my last post was written before the "crud" did me in.  Yes, I was under the weather.  I brushed shoulders with a summer cold which escalated to a minor bronchial infection and then became complicated with a severe sinusitis attack.

In other words, I was out COLD.  The only difference between me and the body at the morgue?  I was breathing - barely.

I found that the best thing was for me to sleep.  And I do mean - SLEEP!!  I had the television on and would be watching Rachel Ray and wake up to Trisha Yearwood.  During one weekend, a channel had a Lord of the Rings marathon going on.  I went to sleep during "Fellowship" and awoke for a potty break during "Two Towers" and finally woke up during the final battle scene of "Return."

I couldn't eat.  I mean it.  I could barely swallow food and any food I could get down, stuck in my throat, choking me and blocking my airway.  It was a small bite, chew, swallow and grab the bottle of water and pray I didn't choke up all of it while trying to drink.  You have no idea how many times that happened - choking up.  So, with the idea of eating substance biting the dust, I turned to liquids.  Mmm.  You can't beat beef and chicken broth.  I was smart - I went low sodium.  I discovered the beef broth tasted better than the chicken.  I also moved to Ensure when I finally got the art of swallowing liquids that weren't watery under control.  Yes, thick liquids - think tomato soup - were a no-no.  Even a strawberry shake was too heavy of consistency to swallow.  I'm a diabetic so I also added Glucerna to the diet when I could.  Sure, I'd try to eat something.  My wife tried pureeing some chicken rice soup.  Nope!  That would not go down.

Now for the strange thing.  PILLS.  I had to take my meds and the doctor had me on horse tablet antibiotics.  Believe it or not - I could swallow them and they went down.  No problem!  Who knew?

Finally, after 2 weeks, I returned to the doctor who put me on a different antibiotic and I am still on them.  I am able to eat real food now but that really has only been the last 5 days.  Yes, it was touch and go at first.

So, what has been the silver lining to this escapade?  (Always look for a silver lining!)

At the present time, I am twenty-eight pounds lighter.  Yes, you read that right.  28 pounds!!  Since I couldn't eat much, my stomach tightened up over the last 4 weeks.  Now that I'm eating again, I see no reason to stretch it back out.  I kid you not.  We had to travel and my granddaughters wanted to eat at McD.  I had a McDouble, small fry and glass of water.  I couldn't eat all the fries and literally felt stuffed getting the last bite of the burger down.  Yes, this is the guy who had no problem wolfing down a BigMac, Filet-o-fish, large fries and drink.  I'm eating more salads and although it goes against my grain, I can actually leave food on my plate.  I find myself eating more often, but not as much.  For those who were wondering - my weight on January 1 of this year was 265.  I am now 237.  A goal for New Years was to lose 25 pounds.  I did it.  Now I hope to lose even more.

Drink!  I've almost totally given up pop - soda - whatever you want to call.  Carbonated drinks.  I was a big Diet Pepsi fan.  Since June 1 - I have had 3 cans of Pepsi and one 32oz Diet Pepsi when I took the granddaughters to the theater.  My wife had bought me 2 12-pk of Diet Pepsi about 3 days before I came down sick.  I figure they should last me through the summer.  I drink a lot of water.

Am I well.  Not completely.  But at least I am up and able to do things again and walk once more among the living.  I'm still under the doctor's rule - at least for another 2 weeks.  We'll see what he has to say after the next blood draw.

So, until next I ramble on...