Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day

A few years ago I rode to Washington, DC on the back of a Harley for Memorial Day. It was the first time I'd ever seen the memorials, and let me tell you, it was a moving experience. 

Here I was with all these burly biker types, and not an eye stayed dry at the Viet Nam wall. Letters lay scattered against the base, from family, friends, and even a fourth grade class, thanking those soul's whose names appeared on the wall for making the ultimate sacrifice. It's just a wall, covered with names, and from what I'm told, the creators caught a lot of flack for its design. But let me tell you, there's something about that memorial that chills you to the bone. 

I strolled along, reading names, wondering what those men and women's lives had been like, who they left behind, and what would have happened if they'd made it home alive. Cigarettes, chocolate, and even packs of Koolaid held places of reverence, gifts to the individuals who lost their lives in service to their country. 

Occasionally, I'd run across someone holding a piece of paper to the wall's surface, rubbing charcoal over it to capture the name of someone they'd known. Over 58,195 names represent over 58,195 people, with hopes and dreams, triumphs and fears, and loved ones left behind. 58,195 people, all with a story to tell. "Humbled" doesn't even begin the cover what I felt in that moment.

 Today I'm off work as many are, celebrating a national holiday. But in between the barbeques and Memorial Day sales, pause and reflect on the reason for the day.

Friday, May 24, 2013

The Telling redo

Some of you may have known that I've been taking an editing course for my own edification and to become a better beta. My final project in the course is to take a look at my very first book, The Telling, from the point of view of an editor.

Once I'm finished, I'll be republishing the story in a (hopefully) better and less error-ridden format. But... there's more. A dear friend has also been taking classes, in how to format print books. You see, over the years I've had several folks ask me for print copies of The Telling, and to be honest, I wouldn't mind one myself. A reader even offered to do the necessary formatting just so they could have a personal, signed copy.

If all goes well, soon a new improved version will be available, and in print for those who prefer "hold in your hands" books. After taking the editing class, I'm sure I'll cringe when I look at the file, because I've learned a lot in the time since I wrote the story. I'm not changing the storyline, however, merely editing. And there's a new blurb! Don't worry, I'm not changing the cover--it's too perfect as is. Thanks Jared Rackler, of Jared Rackler Designs.

Time in Iraq cost Michael Ritter some of his hearing and a friend whose death he feels responsible for. He'd left home hoping to escape a dull, small-town life, only to return four years later, lugging a duffle full of personal demons.

Cookesville, Alabama isn’t the most welcoming place on earth, particularly for a gay, Hispanic student wanting nothing more than to earn his degree and get back home to Texas. An image of a somber young man that he knows only by name and the stories told by an adoring sister comes to life when Michael returns home, just as Jay is already half-way to losing his heart.

Michael’s biggest battle lies ahead, and he’ll need all the help he can get to find his way in a world where he no longer fits in. Jay’s not sure where he fits either, but it could be next to the war-torn soldier in need of his strength.


For those who aren't aware, The Telling is available as a free download from ARe, as well as a short sequel, Night Watch. 

Friday, May 17, 2013

What's in a Word? It's All About the Feel

It's been too long since I posted in my What's in a Word series. Today let's talk about feelings.

Now, I'm no editor--yet, and definitely not an expert, but I do know what I like to read and words that bring my reading to a screeching halt. While my own work is probably rife with such examples of words that I don't care for, I'm actively working to overcome them. Today's word is "feel", or any of it's derivatives.

Sometimes, as with any word, it's the best choice, but many times, it bogs the writing down or adds distance between the character and the reader.

Example: Billy felt cold.

Yeah, he's cold. Now let's move on to next sentence.

How to maximize on what Billy is experiencing: Brrr! Billy's breath fogged before his face. A shiver raced up his spine. Why had he left the house without his jacket when the weatherman predicted snow?

In the second example, I don't have to tell you Bill feels cold. Fogging breath, shivers, "Brrr" and a snow prediction does that for me.

Here's another example: Kyle felt out of place.

More interesting: Students huddled in groups of two or three, assessing gazes following Kyle's passage down the hallway. Their pleated and pressed Valkenburg Academy uniforms set them apart from Kyle, with his worn jeans and faded T-shirt, their designer backpacks a startling contrast to his frayed and oft-mended Army surplus duffle.No one spoke except to snicker and whisper behind his back. Why the hell had Mom decided to take him out of public school?

While a somewhat more wordy alternative, I don't have to tell you of Kyle's discomfort, do I?

The words feel, felt, feeling etc., may indicate a bit of telling versus showing, one of the reasons most autocritter programs flag it for excessive use.

If you're a reader, does the word "felt" make you wish the author had shown you the feelings?

Authors, is there a better word (or series of words) than felt?

How about this example: Jim got the feeling something was wrong.
Now let's try: Unease squirmed to life in Jim's belly. What was that sound? Wait! There is was again. He held his breath, listening to the night. Cold chills raced up his arms.

Do you get a better sense of connection to Jim in the first example or the second?

Food for thought, and one author's (and reader's) humble opinion.

Tune in next time when we'll be doing a little thinking.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Review for Summer Boys

I've been remiss in posting, but have been very, very busy. Tune in next time (hopefully) for details of my recent weekend at Outlantacon. Fun times had by all!

Today, however, I'd like to have a proud mama moment for my short story Summer Boys.
Ferris Stuart has two missions to accomplish while on vacation on Oahu: research for a new Hawaiian Islands themed hotel and have a little fun, something he hasn't had much of since his partner died two years ago. So far he's managed to halfheartedly accomplish the first task; however, he's failing miserably at the second. That is, until a charming islander shows him both the locale and how to start living again.

Originally writtern to raise money for the It Gets Better project, I'd been kept to an 8,000 word limit, which required a lot of trimming. The story wanted to be longer.

After the rights returned to me from the publisher, I was able to add the additional content that I longed to see, sending the word count to 13,000. Toss in a lovely Zathyn Priest at Scarlet Tie Designs cover, and Summer Boys is back again. Though I'm a bit late in posting, here's what Lucky at Mrs. Condit and Friends Read Books had to say about the story:
Eden tells a wonderful story for these two men. I was taken in by her descriptions, their passion, and coming to terms with their lives and how they fit together. Or don’t.
Find full review here:

Find Summer Boys at:
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