Tag Archives: editing

#HookforNaNo: Do You Need an Editing Coach for November’s Madness? #NaNoWriMo is Here!

Currently taking editing clients now! I usually have a two month wait but projects are complete and I’m open for November and December! If you are doing #NaNoWriMo18, hire me to be your month long coach. Daily check-ins, cheerleading, social media updates about you, plus weekly plot assistance, character development help, and more because two brains are better than one! All will culminate with me editing your piece thoroughly and talking with you about your publishing plans. Read about my editing here, then e-mail me for discussion soon and join the #HookforNaNo team: hookofabook@hotmail.com.

I look forward to hearing from you!

P.S. Even if you don’t want an editing coach for the month, I’d be happy to put you on my schedule now for when your manuscript is complete!

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The Clever Mill Horse an Entertaining Debut Historical Novel with Determined Female Lead

01_The Clever Mill Horse Cover

Review~

I first wanted to read The Clever Mill Horse because I love history of the 1800s and have some strange obsession with mills and grist mills (might be in my blood, my great x6 grandfather owned a mill). As well, I like weaving and textiles and all those old sorts of professions and inventions. I enjoyed Jodi’s foreword quite a bit about the flax vs. cotton mill and the history and I thought it was going to be a wonderful read about inventing the flax-mill and how it worked and changed society.

Though I don’t think that initial wish came true, there was still  much in the book to be enjoyed. I did hope that it would have an independent and incorrigible female protagonist that was determined and defied the odds. Check! It did. That was clear right from the start with Ella and carried on throughout the book, as she gave us a well-rounded, intelligent, and feisty female that the rest of us can all admire. That was her best formed character, followed by Aunt Lucille, the Native American from the Oneida tribe named Pete, and Jenny, Ella’s sister. I also enjoyed the antagonist, Emerston, as he was conniving, manipulative, and wholly dimensional. I felt those characters were the best done and those are the ones I’d remember as the stars of the book. At first I wasn’t sure that any of her characters would be memorable like Ella, and almost found them flat or surface in the beginning, but by halfway in, she proved me wrong as the other characters began to show themselves. I was glad to see so many strong female characters in this book.

I have to admit when I started the book I wondered where it was going and if it was reading like a middle reader more than a novel. It was slow to start and I wondered if I’d want to read it. However, eventually it picked up so if you read it and think this, don’t give up on it. I saw at least by chapter four that there was suspense, a mystery, clues, and much more just beyond the innovation of a flax-mill, which really took a back seat to the family and town drama as the story becomes more a journey of the soul of Ella as she discovers her worth and purpose.

Though I was unsure of the jilted English language she presented Pete to have as a Native American, I did admire her treatment of the Native Americans in the story, the historical background and tribe background, and how she presented him as loving, gentle, kind, and giving and had him incorporate into their lives. She was sympathetic to the Native American plight and their assimilation with white settlers who took their homes and land. I enjoyed the forbidden romance he was involved in and her gentle message to us that we shouldn’t discriminate, especially in love.

As an advocate for domestic violence, I hated that Ella’s mother did not leave Ella’s father, her abuser, and it was hard to read some of the sections for me, but I understood her character’s claim as in that time period life was hard for anyone, let alone a single woman. Those sections in the plot was very sad and emotional. Her characterization of the abuser and the abused was remarkable. She dealt with many other raw and human issues in her book too, but I don’t want to give all the surprises away.

Those are all underlying things though, as really Jodi spent a great deal of time on her plot and all the twists and turns she threw into the mix. The book was pretty long for its theme/genre, as though it was based on historical research and time period, she may have been trying to fit too much in all at once. It just felt a little unfocused, with too many things happening, and I bet it was due to the fact that she had so much she wanted to do she just couldn’t bear to cut any of it. As a content/copy editor, my eye naturally looks for this, and it isn’t to shame her as a writer, but to help her improve. I see places that could have been left out and the book would have propelled further forward all the same for the reader.

Also, with my editor cap on, in the prelude, an entire section toward the end of it in the e-book version was pasted twice. I don’t know if it was just pasted twice and I didn’t miss anything, or if it replaced something else? I would definitely check that out. Also, several times “than” used when meaning “then” and other small things like that which added up. Some of the vocabulary seemed forced and in other places, not strong enough.

Overall, I really liked the suspense, the journey/adventure they ended up going on during the second half of the novel, how several of the characters showed great growth and courage, the mysteries (that’s where the horse in the title comes in too), and the pioneer intrigue. There were plenty of surprises, secrets, reveals, and drama. It was clean enough (no sex, bad words, etc.) that I would be able to let my teenager read it and I like that about it too.

The novel’s plot and theme reminded me some of the writer Elizabeth Camden (that’s high praise, she is a wonderful author who writes these types of historical suspense, features strong female leads, and has hints of clean romance). Now what Jodi needs to do with her potential is to practice her craft and hone in on her sentences, her dialogue, and her focus. She is a great plot weaver and I look forward to seeing her grow her writing skills.

For her first novel, Jodi shows promise as a real storyteller that knows how to funnel the sensitivities of human emotions, the trials of life, the power of the female, and lessons learned messages. She was able to mix that with a plot full of suspense, drama, and mystery, in order to create an entertaining historical read that showed how one young girl could overcome any odds. I look forward to reading the next novel in the series!

Watch for my upcoming interview with Jodi!

*I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. My opinions are my own. My content and editing critiques are for the author and will not be what is pasted to Amazon or GoodReads.*

The Clever Mill Horse, Synopsis~

01_The Clever Mill Horse CoverPublication Date: August 15, 2014
Caspian Press
Formats: eBook, Paperback
Pages: 424

Genre: Historical Fiction

A young woman’s gift could weave together the fabric of a nation…

1810, upstate New York. 21-year-old Ella Kenyon is happiest gliding through the thick woods around her small frontier town, knife in hand, her sharp eyes tracking game. A gift for engineering is in her blood, but she would gladly trade it for more time in the forest. If only her grandfather’s dying wish hadn’t trapped her into a fight she never wanted.

Six years ago, Ella’s grandfather made her vow to finish his life’s work: a flax-milling machine that has the potential to rescue her mother, brother, and sister from the brutality of life with her drunkard father. The copious linen it yields could save her struggling town, subjugate the growing grip of southern cotton. Or it could be Ella’s downfall. If she’s not quick enough, not clever enough to succeed, more than her own life rests in the balance…

Praise for The Clever Mill Horse

“Jodi Lew-Smith’s The Clever Mill Horse is that rarest of all contemporary novels: an authentically old-fashioned adventure story, in all the best senses. Full of drama, humor, plot surprises, and, best of all, memorable characters, The Clever Mill Horse had me hooked from page one. Best of all, there’s a sequel coming. I can’t wait.” – Howard Frank Mosher, author of Where the Rivers Flow North

“In this delightful debut novel set in the early 19th century, a young woman fights to patent her flax-milling machine. . .An assured, cleverly plotted piece of historical fiction with an irrepressible female protagonist.” – Kirkus Reviews

“. . .intricately plotted and exceedingly well paced. . . filled with danger, science, and suspense, the story rings true with historical and natural detail. . . a complete and finely polished first novel.” – Foreword Reviews

Buy the Book~

Amazon
Nook
Google Play
Kobo

Author Jodi Lew-Smith~

02_Jodi Lew-Smith AuthorJodi Lew-Smith lives on a farm in northern Vermont with her patient husband, three wonderfully impatient children, a bevy of pets and farm animals, and 250 exceedingly patient apple trees which, if they could talk, would suggest that she stop writing and start pruning. Luckily they’re pretty quiet.

With a doctorate in plant genetics, she also lives a double life as a vegetable breeder at High Mowing Seeds. She is grateful for the chance to do so many things in one lifetime, and only wishes she could do them all better. Maybe in the next life she’ll be able to make up her mind.

For more about Jodi and about the lives and world of the characters in the novel, visit her website or blog. You can also connect with her on Facebook and Goodreads.

Tour Schedule: http://hfvirtualbooktours.com/theclevermillhorseblogtour/

Hashtags: #TheCleverMillHorseBlogTour #HistoricalFiction

Twitter Tags: @hfvbt

03_The Clever Mill Horse_Blog Tour Banner_FINAL

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SLUSH, a Collection of Works by Glenn Rolfe, and Edited by Me, Releases Today!

It’s almost Halloween! But, for now it’s LAUNCH DAY for SLUSH, the collection of horror works by Glenn Rolfe  for which I had the honor of serving as EDITOR! Glenn and I had sooooo much fun working on this together. Late nights, early mornings, evenings, weekends, and we pulled it all together in just a month!!

It’s a collection that will make you cry, cringe, and maybe freak out, but it’s so worth reading. Some of the short stories have been previously published, but updated, some are short pieces such as a poem or a micro-work, but most share a similar theme. Many either take you back in time to teenage years or deal with death and grieving, but all truly make you feel something. I was so pleased that I got to write the foreword to kick off the collection, so you’ll read all my thoughts there….

Oh, also just in time for Halloween, there is a cool new story never before published towards the back with a nod to the season, it’s creepy enough for late night ghoulish reading.

We hope you consider purchasing and let us know if you liked it by leaving an honest review! The cool cover is by graphic artist Jason Lynch.  So psyched, check it out!

Amazon Purchase Link

Slush

ANNNNDDDDDD……..

Also, get Glenn Rolfe’s The Haunted Halls, his debut novel, on sale!

Amazon Purchase Link

The Haunted Halls

Glenn Rolfe, Biography~

GlennGlenn Rolfe is an author, singer, songwriter and all around fun loving guy from the haunted woods of New England. He studied Creative Writing at Southern New Hampshire University, and continues his education in the world of horror by devouring the novels of Stephen King and Richard Laymon. He and his wife, Meghan, have three children, Ruby, Ramona, and Axl. He is grateful to be loved despite his weirdness.

His first collection, SLUSH, will be available for Halloween 2014.

His novellas, ABRAM’S BRIDGE and BOOM TOWN, will be published by Samhain Publishing in 2015.

His debut novel, THE HAUNTED HALLS, available now from James Ward Kirk Publishing.

Look for his punk rock band, The Never Nudes, on Amazon and Facebook.

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Happy New Year from Hook of a Book: Thoughts for 2014! #books

snoopy new yearReaders, Writers, Authors, Friends: Happy New Year 2014! I wish you all much love, peace, success, and plenty of reading for this new year. Always a fan of new beginnings, renewals, and starting fresh, the ushering in of January 1 always finds me reflecting on my past year and deciding what I can improve upon or work towards changing. What are you goals for this year for reading or writing? For your career or family? I’d love to hear.

In fact, one of my goals is to get you all conversing more with me here on my blog and on my Facebook pages. If you like to talk books, a great place to go other than my blog is www.facebook.com/HookofaBook or catch me on Twitter at @ErinAlMehairi.

I hope to finally get more head-way on the 4 books and 2 novellas or short stories I have in process so I can make time for the list of ideas for more novels and stories. I am obsessed with finding more time to write. So many of you have had plenty of advice on this, but when it comes down to it, with our life and family and my career and reading, I just haven’t made the time. And honestly, it takes me being a little more stress free to be able to write creatively. I envy the author friends I know who write productively, even better, while under stress. I do that in my marketing and journalism work as deadline writing is what I do, but not fiction. And honestly, for some of my books, the research does consume some of the free time.

At any rate, I’ve had the pleasure in my personal business, Addison’s Compass Public Relations, to work with many interesting people over the last four years. I’ve been working to take on more writing work to end out 2013, as well as add services for authors. My desire is for all authors to see that they are a BRAND, and therefore, must educate the public on their brand. I feel I need to go where my passions lie, so for me that is books, travel, photography, food, history, family, and health. It’s what I hope to write about and market for 2014.

With Hook of a Book, I have some great interviews coming up in the next couple months, a Facebook author party in the planning stages and to be announced, some pre-reading, editing, and marketing projects, and a whole bunch of reviews of books I’ve read but haven’t written about yet. Also, I’m super excited for some books to come out that I’ve had some sort of hand in, whether that be editing or pre-reading! You’re going to love them, I think! I LOVE to see a book come to life!

In addition, I’m looking for guest articles from authors, writers, and those in the business of books as well, so if you know anyone, spread the word! I also have some other plans that I am percolating in regards to Hook of a Book, so be sure to stay tuned.

This month of January, I’m going to try to write some Top Lists of 2013 posts. I’ve always wanted to make time to put some of those out and spread more love about the authors and books I enjoy!

My family had quite the year, with so many changes where at times it seemed nothing might go right. I am hoping that since I stayed positive most of the time, then 2014 will come out on the UP end! I am wishing the same for all of you!

It gives me great joy to read and talk about books and to be a part of many writing friendships. Drop me a line anytime at hookofabook(at)hotmail(dot)com if you have anything you’d like to discuss or just want to say hi!

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