Monday, November 25, 2013

Book Review: Affairs of the Heart

Happy Monday to you all! It’s been awhile since you’ve heard from me, and I’ve been away because I’ve been working on an editing book! I can’t tell you too much about it yet, but I will have more information on it in the future.

Today I want to introduce Affairs of the Heart, by Janice Willett. Before I begin, a word on the subject matter of this book. Religion in general and prophesying in particular are often taboo subjects. Most people already have passionate and immutable beliefs on these topics, which makes discussing them difficult. So, I ask that all of you readers—both those who believe and those who are critical—keep an open mind.

Affairs of the Heart is an extraordinary account of messages Janice received from God. The book takes the reader on a journey through Janice’s experiences, from when she received her first messages—and scrambled to understand what certain words (such as torii) meant, to figuring out just what God wanted from her and from us all. 

And, to all those skeptics out there: I actually had to cross reference the research to make sure historical and linguistic references were accurate, and I ended up discovering additional, supporting evidence (which the author was unaware of beforehand and had not previously included in the manuscript) that supported the messages she received. 

Praise for Affairs of the Heart

“Janice Willett is a compassionate and deeply spiritual person. In this book she has written about some of her amazing experiences, showing yet again that there may be more sorts of things in the world than are dreamt of in our philosophies!”
—George Hunsinger, Princeton Theological Seminary.
“After thirty years of being a devoute spiritual seeker, I must tell you that your words deeply resonated within me as only the truth can. Other than reading the Aramaic translations of Christ's words, the Bible, or the Course in Miracles, I have otherwise never felt Jesus' Spirit radiate so undeniably from the written word.”
—John J. Grande, CFP 

About the Author
I am a faith based author who sees myself as just an ordinary person. As I can’t even quote scripture, I question why God chose me for this endeavor … and the answer I get is because I listen and follow directions. I feel that not remembering scripture has actually been a blessing, because what I hear is pure and not confused by any of my thoughts (which is obvious because I had to constantly look up the meaning to words in the dictation, and also that anyone who knows me knows I cannot and do no speak in such a manner as these inspirations read).

As Father Williams labeled me, I am an intercessor in any way that God deems necessary at the time. I intercess for people here and those who have passed and are lost. I intercess from God to individuals also, relaying His divine words to them. I have interceded with those troubled in life, for those dying, diagnosing the ill (many times before they even know they are sick). I bring peace and closure between those who have passed and the living.
Many events are not on demand, they are just presented in God’s time.

My greatest wish is to be alive when Jesus returns in the hopes that I can wash His feet with my hair … it would be such an honor (and so I chose the Confirmation Name Mary Magdalene).

In addition to writing, I enjoy designing landscapes, playing the piano, biking, golfing and various other sports.

Find Janice and Affairs of the Heart here:

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Book Announcement: Icarus Incident

I have another book to announce today! Author Nathan Hart released his first novella, Icarus Incident. For those of you who like science fiction novels, this is fantastic read. Here’s a little more about it:

Book Desription
After seven years of hard labor on a desolate moon, Nick Fleming is coming home. Unless his employers murder him first.

Weeks away from completing his contract with Pinehurst’s Mining Industries, he's set to collect the lucrative contract completion bonus and fly back to his family on the home planet. But rumor has it Pinehurst is swimming in debt. And a lot of miners about to finish their contracts have succumbed to mysterious accidents. Fleming remains under the radar until another accident nearly crushes him. Looks like he’s the next target.

However, as Fleming is glancing in all directions before taking a step down the hall, he’s told an industrial spy has landed on the mining colony with the latest batch of mining recruits. Fleming’s new partner, Lyons, has been asking a lot of questions and sneaking around restricted areas, but is he really a mole? If he is, Pinehurst could be exposed, and every miner including Fleming will lose everything he has worked for.

Maybe if he surrenders Lyons to Pinehurst, Fleming has a prayer of surviving his last few weeks on the moon. But if he harbors Lyons secret, the mole will destroy Fleming’s future and give Pinehurst yet another reason to kill him. Either way, it’s unlikely he’ll ever leave the moon alive.

Author Bio: Nathan Hart
A down-to-earth space author who loves super heroes and Vulcans. He's loved stories about spaceships and super heroes for years. Now he's the one who is writing about them.

Happy writing,

Laura Carlson, Editor
American Editing Services

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

EBP’s Winter Anthology: Submissions are Opened

Elephant’s Bookshelf Press is at it again! Submissions are open for their winter anthology, which revolves around the concept of regret. For those of you who love writing short stories or just want to get your name out there, this is the perfect opportunity.

The editors involved are a wonderful group of industry professionals—many who you might know through Agent Query Connect.

Unlike the last anthology, I am not copyediting this installment due to my own busy schedule. However, I fully and completely encourage each and every one of you to give it a shot. Even if you’ve never considered writing a short story, go for it! This is a great way to meet other top notch writers, editors, and publishers, all while getting the opportunity to showcase your writing.

If you’re interested in learning more, check out the submission guidelines and other details here!

Happy writing,

Laura Carlson, Editor
American Editing Services

Monday, September 16, 2013

Amping up Your Scenes

Has anyone who’s read your writing had a luke warm response? Have agents ever just felt so-so about your manuscript? While there are many subjective reasons why someone might not like your novel, there is also the chance that the scenes in your novel are not entertaining enough, or worse, purposeless.

Believe it or not, this happens. A lot.

Don’t Skip over Important Details
It’s funny that while readers like conflict, sometimes writers shy away from delivering it. If the protagonist needs to steal a prized artifact to forward the plot, don’t skim over the scene. This does happen more than you’d think, and you might even be doing it yourself. The only time you should really skim over a section is if it consists of filler or contains only a minor detail amongst a sea of filler. (To learn more about what filler is and how you should avoid it, click here.)

Ask Yourself, Why?
When you go through your manuscript, ask yourself what the purpose of each scene is. For instance, if you have your main character go to the deli, ask yourself why it is important for the reader to know about this. And I’ll give you a hint, if you’re illustrating the setting to the reader, this scene will need to be either removed or enhanced. Otherwise, it will slow down your book’s momentum, and from there you can lose reader interest.

If you go through the entire day of your main character—from the moment he wakes up, to the shower he takes and the meal he eats—that’s a huge red flag that you need to be asking yourself why the reader should care. Almost always this is an indicator that you need to tighten up your story and thin these sections out.

Finally, Ask Yourself, How Can I Make this Better?
This is an exercise I often advise writers to try out. I challenge them, and now you, to go through each scene and see what aspects would make it even more thrilling and intense. Here is an example:

Scene where main character is picking out a prom dress.

How can you make it better?
Perhaps your main character (MC) runs into her nemesis. Now you have a confrontation.

How can you make it even better?
Maybe that nemesis is holding hands with the boyfriend of your MC’s best friend.

How can you make it even better?
Maybe your MC is meeting up with that same best friend to try on prom dresses, and now your MC faces the dilemma of keeping the news a secret or spilling the beans. That is, if the best friend doesn’t walk in on this herself.

You can keep doing this as much as you want. Just remember that there actually is such a thing as too much excitement, so be watchful of never crossing the line from exciting to unbelievable.

Happy writing,

Laura Carlson, Editor
American Editing Services

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Book Review: Hope’s Decree

Wowee, it’s been a long time since I posted on here! While I’ve been MIA promoting my own book and working with some of you, others of you have gone and gotten yourselves agents, publishing contracts, or skipped all of that and just straight up published your books. I know that because this week alone I’ve had four writers tell me their books are now or soon-to-be for sale, and another who just signed a publishing contract. Congratulations to all of you! 

Today I wanted to introduce Angela Mcpherson’s debut YA novel, Hope’s Decree, which was published through Untold Press. I’m overjoyed to announce this book not only because it’s a fantastic read, but also because Angela is one of those writers who’s become a friend. 

If you love books based on mythology, or just like damn good writing, take a look!

Hope’s Decree

When everything else is lost, there is always hope.

While most teens want an epic senior year, Trinity Whitebone hoped for a normal one. Being seventeen was hard enough. Having the emotions of everyone around you in your head made life more than a little difficult.

Until Blain Heros enrolled.

He screamed hot-god in jeans with just his walk. His intense stare warmed her skin like a thousand suns. Unfortunately, his interest in her seemed to run from blazing to freezing in the span of moments and left her nothing but confused. She could deal with things not being normal, but when life goes from strange to dangerous…

Trinity is the direct descendant of Pandora and fated to rectify the terrors released into the world by her curious ancestor. With powers she didn’t know existed and abilities she never wanted, Trinity tries to walk away from everything her life had become. She thought she could turn her back on her fate, until a band of rogue immortals discover who she is and will do whatever it takes to control her powers. Trinity is left with one decision…Embrace fate or die trying.

About the Author
Born and currently residing in Midland, Texas, Angela shuffles three busy childrennot including her husband) all over the place. She works in a busy pediatric doctor's office as a nurse during the day, and writes at night. She is addicted to coffee—who isn't? And firmly believes chocolate can fix all—especially chocolate ice cream. She laughs a lot, often at herself and is willing to try anything once (she thinks). When Angela isn't rushing kids around, working or writing, she's reading. Other than life experience, Angela turns to a wide variety of music to help spark her creative juices. She loves to dance and sing, though her kids often beg her not to.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Book Review: Summer’s Edge and Summer’s Double Edge

Today I want to announce the release of EBP’s summer anthologies, Summer’s Edge and Summer’s Double Edge. These anthologies are close to my heart not only because I edited them, but also because I had the opportunity to work with many of you who read my blog.


All stories play with the idea of a short-lived relationship—inspired by the summer fling. (Notice the season?) The stories contained in these two anthologies are sharp, insightful, and at times deliciously twisted. I’m not going to lie, some of the stories I had to put down and take a breather for. I’d find myself tensing up, nervous about where the story was going. That ability to physically affect the reader—especially in a short story—is a sign of a highly skilled writer. And these anthologies are full of them.

Within the two anthologies you’ll find all types of love and romance—along with adventure, murder, and the supernatural. While it’s a great summer read, don’t be surprised if these short stories stay with you long after you’ve finished them.

Happy writing,

Laura Carlson, Editor
American Editing Services

Monday, July 15, 2013

It’s Not You—Rough Drafts Suck

Hi everyone! Some of you are seasoned writers with many books under your belt. Others of you are struggling to finish that first draft of what will (hopefully) be your debut novel. And others of you fall somewhere in between these two.

As both a writer and an editor, there is one struggle that doesn’t seem to go away: writing a rough draft.

Most of my recent editing tips have focused on what to do towards the middle and end of a novel, but now I want to address those concerns coming from writers who are just beginning their first, second, or third manuscripts.

Why Rough Drafts are So Difficult to Write
Before I continue, let me clarify which writers I am addressing. If you are dismally aware of how little of your story you are managing to capture, then this post is for you. If you think you nailed your partial or complete rough draft, then you absolutely need to read some of my other posts on editing or, better yet, buy a book on the craft. (I suggest Jack Bickham’s The 38 Most Common Fiction Writing Mistakes as a great place to start.) As awful as it may feel, trepidation is a good thing when you begin a new story.

If you are having difficulty writing a rough draft, I’m here to tell you that you’re not alone. In fact, I’d argue that this is one of the most difficult aspects of the process. But why is this?

Logic Versus Imagination
From a physiological standpoint, it is difficult to engage the area of your brain that is responsible for creativity while simultaneously using the area of your brain responsible for your logic and reasoning skills.

Now, I am not a scientist, so you won’t want to take that information as the absolute truth, but I do think that this sheds some light on why writing a rough draft can be so frustrating. If you can really only use one of these two areas of your brain, then creativity will trump logic. After all, you are creating an entire story out of thin air.

But it’s not only the lack of logic that might make a rough draft difficult to finish. There’s also the issue of coming up with the entire story, which can be draining in and of itself, and remembering to insert all of those delicious nuances that excited you when you began writing the first draft. Both can be incredibly disheartening if you’re struggling with either.

How to Fix This
Keep writing. The truth is that these issues will probably not be fixed today, or tomorrow, or even next week. Writing is a process—a long one. A rough draft is your starting point. And I promise that when you reread what you’ve written in that first draft, it won’t seem nearly as awful as it does right now.

If you are particularly stressed about this, keep a journal at hand to write down all of those fixes you want to make. Some you’ll end up never making because the original story changed, and others you’ll implement in the next round of edits.

But make sure, above all, you continue to make progress writing that rough draft of yours. Rough drafts can be frustrating, but once you’ve completed it, everything that follows will be a whole lot easier in comparison.

Happy writing,

Laura Carlson, Editor
American Editing Services