Ever wonder how an idea comes to fruition for an editor? Or if we actually do more than just stare at the computer screen at words all day? Let me tell you about how a typical jumping off point down the rabbit hole goes when I work with my client, Edward Branley. You know him as NOLA History Guy, and as the author of various books from New Orleans: The Canal Streetcar Line (LA), Legendary Locals of New Orleans, and New Orleans Jazz.
One morning, Edward emails me:
Maunsel White was a planter and militia officer during the War of 1812. He’s buried in Cypress Grove cemetery. He’s going to make a good podcast subject. There’s a graf from his wiki page that caught my eye: An 1850 New Orleans Daily Delta newspaper article (reprinted in several other sources at the time) noted that “Col. White has introduced the celebrated tobasco [sic] red pepper, the very strongest of all peppers, of which he has cultivated a large quantity with the view of supplying his neighbors, and diffusing it through the state.” Furthermore, observed the newspaper, “by pouring strong vinegar on it after boiling, he has made a sauce or pepper decoction of it, which possesses in a most concentrated form all the qualities of the vegetable. A single drop of this sauce will flavor a whole plate of soup or other food.”
can you get the Daily Delta out of your database?
Part of my research repertoire includes having subscriptions to various old newspaper databases. For this, I use Newspapers.com.
Newspapers.com has ~5,000 newspapers from the 1700s to the 2000s. It’s a great repository of old and new, and I love looking through the old advertisements and the variety of places you wouldn’t see news from. The captions and the verbiage make me smile.
Here’s what I mean, from The Daily Commercial Herald (Vicksburg, Mississippi) 07 March 1894 (Wednesday). An Advertisement for Tobasco (Maunsell White) 50 cents per bottle.
Here is the image of the page in The Daily Commercial Herald that I found the advertisement in:
Since being an editor means a lot of research, where would one keep their research? Keeping it on the hard drive of the laptop means it is going to run slow. What if you need to collaborate in real time over Skype or Google? How do you keep it organized? I use Pinterest. It saves me time, and I label each PinBoard with the title of the subject I am researching. Some, only have two or three “pins”, whereas others have over 1,000. Here is a peek into my Maunsel White Pinboard.
While you’re there, feel free to browse around. You never know what rabbit hole I am falling into these days. Enjoy!
OH… The final product Maunsel White Podcast [#1] from Edward Branley.
Here’s the other story on White – and his connection to the battle of 1812 and Andrew Jackson… stay tuned for the podcast relating to tobasco and the Pinterest board coming soon.
Here’s a link to Tulane University’s online exhibits – Andrew Jackson to Maunsel White. You know I posted these images on the Maunsel White pinboard. And even when the job is done, the historian, researcher in me, never stops finding interesting things to add!
Featured image : 1879 menu from steamship Ed. Richardson includes “Maunsel White” sauce.
Beta readersare people who are most likely to buy and read your book. They play an important role in your publishing journey, as they see your book raw, naked, and parts you wouldn’t even show your mother. Make sure they are on your plan, as they will look at it with fresh eyes and tell you things you don’t necessarily want to hear.
My daughter is a beta reader for a series of books by my client, edward branley, since his “dragons” series (Dragon’s Danger, Dragon’s Discovery) is exactly in her age range. [Edward will tell you one of the characters is based on her. ] She tells him if it works, if it doesn’t and why it’s right or wrong. She makes suggestions to make it better.
Don’t Give Them a Draft Your beta reader is still a reader — a reader who might tell other readers about your book. It’s important to treat your beta readers right, and that begins with what you ask them to read. Don’t give them your first draft. In fact, be sure that what you give them is the very best writing you can produce on your own. Write your draft and set it aside for at least a week. Go back to it and rewrite it if you need to. Then set it aside for another week — again. Revise, revise, revise, until it isn’t remotely possible for you to do any better.
Your Manuscript, Their Way Before you send your manuscript to your beta readers, ask them what format they’d like it in. Beta readers might want to print your manuscript or read it on a Kindle. If they prefer the latter option, send them instructions for how to get your manuscript on an e-reader. Do whatever you can to remove any obstacles that will prevent your beta reader from carving out time to read your book.
Give Them Guidance Let your beta reader know what kind of feedback you’d like from them. Develop a checklist with questions you’d like answers to. Do you want readers to comment on the strength of a character, or the organization of a concept? If you create a specific list of questions around content, beta readers won’t spend their time punctuating sentences. Adapt your revision checklist to meet the needs of each book your write.
Don’t Take it Personally Remember, it takes a great deal of time to read and respond to a book. And your beta readers will have opinions that might sting a little. Be gracious for any feedback a beta reader gives you, even if you don’t agree with it. Ask yourself, “Will addressing this comment make for a better book?” If so, take their advice and apply it to your next revision. If not, whatever you do, don’t defend yourself. Your beta reader already knows your position (you’ve done as you’ve seen fit, as evidenced by your manuscript) but they don’t agree. Thank them for their comments and move on.
Return the Favour Remember, you’re not paying your beta readers to read your book. They’re offering feedback because they want to help or they’re interested in your book’s premise or topic. If your beta reader asks you to be a beta reader in future, seriously consider returning the favour. And when it comes time to publish your book, give them a mention in your acknowledgements. Everyone likes to see their name in “print.”
Still confused as to why you need one, or what they are? Read on…
Honestly, I’d tell you that you need a beta reader to help you revise your manuscript before you go looking for an editor. If you need one, I think I can point you in the right direction for that editor.
The shortest and longest inaugural addresses were given by George Washington and William Henry Harrison, respectively. Washington’s second inaugural address was only 135 words long. William Henry Harrison’s inaugural address was 8,445 words long. Harrison spoke for one hour and 45 minutes in a snowstorm without a coat.
William Henry Harrison also served the shortest presidency. He died of pneumonia a month after his inauguration in 1841.
The Oath of Office is traditionally administered by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, though not required. There is also no requirement that it occur in Washington, D.C., or that the president place his hand on the Bible. The only thing prescribed by the Constitution is that the president take the Oath of Office.
In 1937, Franklin D. Roosevelt became the first president to be inaugurated on January 20. Previous presidents (including FDR for his first term) had traditionally been inaugurated on March 4, but the 20th Amendment, passed in 1933, stipulated a January 20 inauguration.
A total of four March inauguration dates fell on a Sunday (1821, 1849, 1877, 1917); the swearing-in ceremonies in these cases were all postponed until the next day. Three January inauguration dates have fallen on a Sunday: 1957 (Dwight D. Eisenhower), 1985 (Ronald Reagan), and 2013 (Barack Obama); these three presidents were sworn in privately on the 20th and then a public ceremony was held the next day.
Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.
I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.
Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.
But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. And so we’ve come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.
In a sense we’ve come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the “unalienable Rights” of “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note, insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked “insufficient funds.”
But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. And so, we’ve come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice.
We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of Now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.
It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. And those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. And there will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.
But there is something that I must say to my people, who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice: In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.
The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. And they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom.
We cannot walk alone.
And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead.
We cannot turn back.
There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, “When will you be satisfied?” We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. *We cannot be satisfied as long as the negro’s basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their self-hood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating: “For Whites Only.”* We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until “justice rolls down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream.”¹
I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. And some of you have come from areas where your quest — quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive. Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed.
Let us not wallow in the valley of despair, I say to you today, my friends.
And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
I have a dream today!
I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of “interposition” and “nullification” — one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.
I have a dream today!
I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; “and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.”2
This is our hope, and this is the faith that I go back to the South with.
With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.
And this will be the day — this will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with new meaning:
My country ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing.
Land where my fathers died, land of the Pilgrim’s pride,
From every mountainside, let freedom ring!
And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true.
And so let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire.
Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York.
Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania.
Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado.
Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California.
But not only that:
Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia.
Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee.
Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi.
From every mountainside, let freedom ring.
And when this happens, and when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual:
You can look forward to lots of projects from Edward J. Branley— the Talents Universe is doing great stuff, with some cool ideas for branching out the world and the characters into different formats. Hint: If you liked the cover of Hidden Talents, done by Wendy Warrelmann, you should check out her page, and maybe figure out what’s coming. You will definitely see Talents book 2 – Trusted Talents out this year.
Another Dragons YA novel is in process to finish the trilogy, or it might be a tetralogy, one never knows what Eleni the dragon has in mind.
Putting on his historical New Orleans hat, Edward is also writing about the Krauss Department Store in New Orleans which opened in 1903. While he’s writing, I’m helping with the research, looking at old newspaper clippings and advertisements on Newspapers.com, and doing some genealogy on Krauss family histories on ancestry.com.
Because there’s so much research and information we are passing back and forth, I am utilizing my Pinterest account to split the information into chunks on the Krauss Pinterest board.
Edward is working on a couple of other ideas that are too early to say, but, I promise, when I know, you will too!
Editor’s Note: I have been saying for a while that I want to do a blog series of posts on how Pinterest works for an author and editor, and researcher collaborations. I think 2017 might be the year you see it publish.
If you want to see what else they do, follow Lisa’s History Witch website. Lots of history, unique stories, and wonderful illustrations! I have been honored to work with Lisa on her coloring books.
Ryan Z. Dawson‘s Graveworld series (Part One – Death Magick and Part Two – Winter’s Bones) will be out this year. You may recall it was originally titled The Death of Alan Shade. It’s still Alan’s story, never fear. At the moment, Ryan is in the midst of writing the latest in the series, Ellie Nex. I’m looking forward to continuing our collaboration, and to see how the two stories dovetail together.
Did you know I also proofread and Fact-check?
I wear many hats, and really enjoy the time I spend doing fact-checking and research. In 2017, I am continuing my collaboration with Genome Magazine as part of their science fact-checking team. Genome publishes quarterly, so even though it is only January, I just turned in the Spring 2017 fact-checks, and am waiting on the Summer 2017 articles. Funny how publishing is always so far ahead in the magazine business. Want to know more, go check out my bookshelf.
I’ve just jumped onto the Colborne Communications team, proofreading an online ESL project. Thanks Greg for letting me join in. The team so far is marvelous [Hi Holly!] and very helpful on getting up to speed quickly.
I also do legal proofreading and research, reviewing assorted legal documents for correct grammar and syntax, misspellings, punctuation, style, and formatting.
Interested in getting on the editorial calendar? Have that manuscript sitting in a drawer and want a second pair of eyes? Need a proofreader or researcher? Feel free to drop me an email at: DaraR68@gmail.com.
As you can probably tell, there is lots to do. So until next time…
Yes, I know it’s past when the ball dropped in New York’s Times Square for the beginning of 2017. I like to think of this post as the beginning of school for the kids, where if I didn’t get the best “first day of school” photo, I’d try all week until I got the one I loved. That became the memory. No one would know (except me … the kids who were tired of Mom saying “just one more” … and now YOU, my readers).
Because I’m a major fan of The Sound of Music, as is my daughter (who I’ve trained well), I watch it every time it is on television and sing as loudly as I can. This is probably the one time in forever that the Sixteen going on Seventeen song sung by Liesl and Rolf will actually be applicable. So, for all of you Sound of Music Fans … here you go. Apologies if you’re not a fan, or if you have never seen the movie … what are you waiting for? ? ?
In 2017, I want to be more organized … yes, for those of you who know me, I am a major list-maker, and try to stay on deadline. Unfortunately, things happen, and things shift, and other things fall off the radar.
This year, I’m trying to schedule things better so I don’t feel rushed to deadline at 3 a.m. the night before something is due. [Yes, I admit it… I procrastinate… sometimes. Or is that procaffeinate ?]
As Robert Burns wrote in To a Mouse(1785) “the best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men gang aft agley” [Translated as: ‘the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.’ — Editor note: The title of John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men came from the penultimate stanza of Burns’ poem].
How am I hoping to achieve my goal and keep it resolute for the new year? It’s two-fold for me. I am working on my first quarter editing calendar now. I’ve spoken to my wonderful current client list, and gotten their requirements for making their publishing deadlines. I’ve mapped out the busy months and open time slots on paper- here’s that old-fashioned me again with my trusty big calendar.
I’m also a fan of using digital to keep on track when I’m out with my laptop. Here’s what I’m trying for 2017, after having a long discussion with my husband, who is my tech guru. [Hi Honey!]
I just started using Trello this week. I really like it to keep all the various deadlines and notes in one place. It’s a place for me to make that ultimate “list of lists”! Want to learn more… take the Trello tour. Check back with me in three months to see if it works the way I want it to, and if I’m still using it, or a different version of the same type of productivity software. I am hoping to get my Trello board to look like this screenshot:
I’ve also started to use Bullet Journal to keep my todo lists from being stagnant and getting the long lists accomplished. I think it will be a good way to visualize what I need to do and keep on track.
This image from Oak.Tree.Journaling makes me wonder if I should have a mindmap. Adding this to my list to think about. Do you have a mindmap? Or a word of the year? Or words? What are they? What do you hope to accomplish this year?
Here’s the “how to” Bullet Journal video, if you want to join me!
For more information, and a great resource with PDFs and other interesting ways to Bullet Journal, check out a Tiny Ray of Sunshine!
Let me know if you have any productivity tips that you enjoy and find useful! Good luck on your New Year’s resolutions!
I found this list of questions at Captivated~by~Fantasy, and thought I would ask you to answer them! It is the Harry Potter Book Tag, but don’t feel as though you have to keep it to the Harry Potterverse to answer.
A book that you found interesting but would like to rewrite
Congratulations to Bob Dylan for his 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature, awarded today, for “having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition,” according to the Swedish Academy.
Dylan is the first American to win the Nobel Prize in Literature since Toni Morrison in 1993.
Thanks to our editing friends in Australia, The Expert Editor, for this infographic. In this interesting article from The Guardian, “Why do writers drink?” Kingsley Amis in, “– comparing writers to actors – suggests “displaced stage fright as a cause of literary alcoholism. A writer’s audience is and remains invisible to him, but if he is any […]