Posted in Books, From The Editor's Desk, Update

FINAL EDITS complete on Trusted Talents by Edward J. Branley (Survivor of the Red Pen)

Very Happy to announce that the FINAL EDITS on Trusted Talents (Book 2 in the Bayou Talents Series) have been returned to author Edward Branley. Can’t wait for you to read / see what Ren, Mike, and the gang have been up to in New Orleans and the world.

I can’t wait for you to meet all the new characters as well. Please let me know what you think of Kate Farrington, Evelyn Barton, and especially Brooks Stirling Sumner. I don’t want to give too much away, but check out this little snippet…

“Right. I need you to evacuate the courtyard and the shop. I need to burn this place down,” Meg said to Bubba and Ren.
“Huh?” Bubba asked.
“Spider on the counter in the shop,” Ren said.
“That’s not a spider, that’s a radiation-enhanced spider from a bad sixties movie!” Meg exclaimed.
“This is a Spanish-Colonial house that dates back to the 1790s. You can’t burn it down,” Ren said, calmly.
“Watch. Me.” Meg replied.
“How about we go check this thing out?” Bubba asked.
“OK, but only because you have a gun and can shoot it,” Meg agreed.
They went into the carriage house, the part of the house facing Chartres Street. Bubba led the way, followed by Ren. Meg stayed in the courtyard, peeking in the doorway.
A huge spider sat on the glass display case where the cash register was located.
“That’s a big bug,” Bubba observed.
“Shoot it!” Meg urged.
“The wife said she saw a rat the other day and she made a ‘fear-induced butt diamond.’ It didn’t make sense at the time. Now I get what she meant,” Bubba said.
Ren started to chuckle. Meg punched his shoulder.
Kate Farrington walked up on the third punch.
“Why are you beating on the poor guy?” She asked.
“Because he’s laughing at me!” Meg said.
“No, I’m laughing because you want Bubba to shoot the spider—ow!” Ren said, as Meg punched his arm again.
Kate stepped into the shop and stood next to Bubba.
“She’s scared,” Kate observed.
Bubba squeezed her hand and stepped back.
“Hi, there. They’re scared, too. Yes, of you. Do you think you can get down and go in the courtyard?” Kate asked the spider.
Time froze for a moment. The spider circled the counter, then crawled down the side. Ren moved further into the shop, with Meg following him. The spider now had a clear path out of the shop. It crawled through the doorway, headed to the back wall of the courtyard.
“Where did you come from?” Meg asked Kate.
“Soccer practice,” Kate said.
“No, I meant what planet, but—wait, soccer practice? Don’t y’all practice in City Park?” Meg continued.
“Yeah. I ran down here,” Kate replied.
“That’s a nice run,” Ren added.
“Y’all are crazy, all that running,” Meg said, laughing.

Be sure to check out the cover art by the quite Talented (see what I did there?) Elizabeth Person.

If you want to catch up in the story before you get to Book 2, you can find Hidden Talents on Amazon.

Coming soon to your bookshelf! I’ll keep you posted on when it hits.
BONUS note: 

Elizabeth also created the cover art for Edward’s YA novel, Dragon’s Discovery (Book 2 of the Blood Bound series).

 

All material copyright 2018 Edward Branley
Artwork by Elizabeth Person
Posted in Books, From The Editor's Desk, Writing

What is a Beta Reader’s Role?

Beta readers are 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.

The Book Designer has five tips for working with Beta Readers. I believe in all of them, so I’m sharing what they said:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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… 

What is a Beta Reader, and why do I need one?

http://www.smallbluedog.com/what-is-a-beta-reader-and-why-do-i-need-one.html

What makes a good beta reader?

http://www.smallbluedog.com/what-makes-a-good-beta-reader.html

The few, the proud, the beta readers

http://fiona-skye.com/the-few-the-proud-the-beta-readers/

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.

Note: beta reader featured image from Fiona Skye

 

Posted in From The Editor's Desk

Roadmapping 2017

What’s on the calendar? Here’s a sneak peek

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.

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Ren Thumbnail © Wendy Warrelmann

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.

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Eleni the dragon © Elizabeth Person

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.

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If you have been in Barnes and Noble lately, you may have seen Tricia Cohen and Lisa Graves‘ medieval cookbook,  A Thyme and Place: Medieval Feasts and Recipes for the Modern Table on the shelves. It was the Featured New Release in June 2016, and Top Cookbook Pick in October 2016.

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I’m so excited to be working with them on their second cookbook, focusing on early America: A Thyme to Discover.

Lisa and Tricia’s Thyme Machine Cuisine website is a great resource to follow, filled with cooking stories, illustrations, and fun facts.  Here’s a sneak peek at their latest blog post, Medieval Chickpeas, a.k.a. Virile Chickpeas.

Who knew history could taste so good? 

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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.

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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?

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Science Fact-checking

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.

proofreader-dictionary-entryProofreading

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…

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Warmly,

Dara