Tag Archives: editors

roughseasinthemed becalmed …

It’s been more than a week now since I heard the very sad news that a blogger I had come to know over the past few years and whom I highly respected had died. I’m still gobsmacked by this loss … (although I’m not entirely sure that the editor in her would have approved of my use of the word “gobsmacked” here)

roughseasinthemed had been a huge support of authors and their books through her intelligent, informed and, at times, wickedly funny blog. Being a professional editor, journalist, and book reviewer, she did know a thing or three about good writing and, in meting out her criticism and praise, she was not shy to say when an author did not measure up to her exacting standards. But … if she did like your writing – and she only ever gave out 4 stars of a possible 5 – then you knew your work was top-notch! She gave my books, and a few others I recommended she read, 4 stars!

roughseas (as I always referred to her) became a great champion of my first novel early on when she mentioned on another blogger’s blog that she thought she might like to read it. (And she laughed when I mistakenly referred to her as roughseasintheMUD!) She really was attracted by, and liked, the cover design. I began reading and commenting on her blog after that and realized what a huge following of readers she had gathered there. (Her blog site is still available to be viewed, for now.) One of those followers, Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge, also became a reader and reviewer of my books, and a friend as well, and for that I am truly grateful.

Here are a couple of blog posts roughseas wrote about me and my books …
Views and reviews
Bequia? Where on earth is Bequia?
And her review on Goodreads …
One Woman’s Island

I’m so disappointed to not be able to share with roughseas the progress I’m making, albeit slowly, on the third novel in this series. And to have no further blog posts written by her to read and comment upon. She was interested in the series on reading I’ve been researching and preparing to post on my blog. I will be dedicating the series to roughseas, since she was such an exacting reader herself!

Kate, you are already sorely missed …

A new story by Michael Fay!

island shorts II

IslandShorts has just finished preparing another ePublication of a long-form short story written by J. Michael Fay!

Human Powered Design is formatting the eBooks and will list them for sale online.

As with Michael’s other publications, once again the original cover art was provided by Karen Sloan of Wallflower Studio Art in Minden, ON.

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The incomparable Rachel Small, Faultless Finish Editing, provided the final editing and proofing services.

Here’s the synopsis, Michael’s bio, and an advance-reader blurb:

Dan James graduates from college in 1967, a time of major conflicts in the US, when friends are being drafted to fight in the war in Vietnam. Dan, however, chooses to become involved in a different fight, one for human rights. He eventually heads north to Canada, a place where he can pursue a life working for the betterment of all. But also a place where the conflicts turn out to be much more personal.

Draft Dodger? is the next in Michael Fay’s series of long-form short stories, following Passion, The Whirlabout and The Healer. Along with Tenderness, all have been published by IslandShorts.

Michael Fay studied creative writing with W. O. Mitchell, Alice Munro, and Richard Ford and was also the founder of the Alexandra Writers’ Centre Society in Calgary. Michael lives in Minden, Ontario, with his wife, Dr. Fay Martin.

Sparkling dialogue and detailed scenes evoke the 1960s in this tale of tested loyalties – loyalties to friends, to country, and to ideals. The Vietnam War overshadows two young men’s dreams, from the white columns of the graduation prom to the red blood of cracked heads at a demonstration, as boyhood rivals Dan and Graham trade quips, barbs and lovers. ~ Penney Kome, author and journalist

From the perspective of today, we look back on the sixties with nostalgia … free love, demos in the streets, back to the land communes and so much more. But often, the vision, as seen through the six decades that separate us from those days, play tricks with our memory. Writer Michael Fay brings it all back into sharp focus showing us the disappointments, the illusions and tempered idealism that was in fact the reality in the season of Peace Love and Rock n Roll.
~ Jack Brezina, retired editor and publisher

We’re just waiting for a few more bits of information to come in before pressing the “Publish” button. If you’re interested in this new eBook by Michael Fay, please stay tuned and check back to this blog where we’ll be announcing the exact publishing date and availability online, once we have all the links and information.

Please check out the previous publications from IslandShorts by clicking here for the list of eBooks and where to purchase. As we like to say …

For a Great Read, Slip Into Our Shorts!

(If you would like to read to review any of our publications please contact me directly: susanmtoy (at) gmail.com)

Finally!! The wait is over … nearly

It’s been one-month-and-a-day since I wrote this Guest Post on Seumas Gallacher’s blog, in which I listed the 10 ways I was dealing with having to wait for my editor, Rachel Small, to finish her edit of my recently completed novel, One Woman’s Island (the second in the Bequia Perspectives series).

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I’m happy to tell you now that Rachel did get that manuscript back to me in plenty of time so I could revise and fix it up to meet the deadline for a contest I linked to in this earlier blog post. And I did make it, too – with an entire day-and-a-half to spare!

And so I wait … again. But this time only for another week until the shortlist is announced. Once I know my novel’s fate, I’ll be able to determine when I can go ahead and ePublish.

In the meantime, I’ll be sorting through ways to promote this new book and figure out how I’m going to afford the cost of printing copies, for those who prefer print .. and for The Bequia Bookshop to sell, come tourist season.

I’ve also been helping both Tim Phillips and Michael Fay publish new eBooks through IslandCatEditions and Island Shorts.

And I’m making changes in my head to the third Bequia Perspectives novel, Tropical Paradox. But there’s a great deal of work yet to be done on the manuscript, so don’t expect to hear an announcement about that any time soon!

A PDF of One Woman’s Island is circulating among a few trusted friends/readers (especially those who know Bequia) and I’m hoping for an honest opinion of the book in advance of publishing. I’ll also ask to use any favourable comments in future promotion once the eBook is released. Already I’ve been sent over-the-top comments from one Bequia friend who read a pre-edited version, so I’m hoping other advance readers will be similarly pleased with this new novel. I’m all goose-pimply now, waiting for their comments …

But at least this time I haven’t had to mow the lawn to pass the time, since Dennis has been visiting the trailer. We did decide yesterday to subscribe to the park’s internet service though and, as predicted, I’ve been online pretty much the entire time since we first logged in. So pathetic. One thing is that being online (mostly playing on Facebook) does pass the time. While I wait.

And they do say that good things come to those who wait. Here’s hoping THEY are correct!

So, what did you do yesterday?

Me? Funny you should ask … I finished gathering together the necessary materials, checked one last time to see that everything was as correct as it could be, assigned two ISBNs for ePub and mobi editions, and sent off all the files via email to Human Powered Design in Calgary for formatting. I received an immediate reply from Gina telling me that, not only had she received our submission, but the job was already in the queue and will likely be seen to within this next week. Which means we will have a finished eBook all ready and listed for sale well before the projected date of March 1st I had originally suggested would be the case. Hooray!!

island shorts II

So here’s our first announcement for this new publication, folks!

A new longform short story, written by J. Michael Fay, and titled Passion, will be published by IslandShorts, and we are very excited about this!!

As with Michael’s other publications, once again the original cover art was provided by Karen Sloan of Wallflower Studio Art in Minden, ON.

Michael - Art for Passion -ks A

The indomitable Rachel Small, Faultless Finish Editing, provided the final editing and proofing services.

And here’s a little peek at what all the excitement is about … the synopsis and a few blurbs from advance readers of Passion!

1963 is a pivotal year for Dan James. Believing his destiny was set at the age of eleven when he stood next to his father’s coffin, he enters the seminary at seventeen to become a priest. A well-read fellow seminarian and the world-shaking event later that year cause Dan to question his true passion in life.

Passion is the next in Michael Fay’s series of long-form short stories, following The Whirlabout and The Healer. Along with Tenderness, all have been published by IslandShorts.

Michael Fay studied creative writing with W. O. Mitchell, Alice Munro, and Richard Ford and was also the founder of the Alexandra Writers’ Centre Society in Calgary. Michael lives in Minden, Ontario, with his wife, Dr. Fay Martin.

This is a thoroughly engaging story about a young man’s coming of age and discovering while enrolled in a seminary that his calling is not for the priesthood but for literature and writing. One can smell the incense in the chapel and hear footsteps echoing in the stone hallways while young Dan James wrestles with his decision before walking out into a world with much to relish, treasure and describe.
~ Dennis Gruending, journalist and author of Pulpit and Politics

What a vivid evocation. Detail, precision, clarity, and echoes of Joyce: the butterfly emerges from its chrysalis. Youth discovers vocation. Nice!
— Ken McGoogan, author of Celtic Lightning: How the Scots and the Irish Created a Canadian Nation

In the story of Dan James and his time in the seminary, Michael Fay explores the moment a young man steps into adulthood, and captures with grace and insight the realization that a vocation needn’t be holy to be true.
— Kim Pittaway, award-winning journalist and editor

So, there you have it! It’s not just every day that we at IslandShorts get to press “send” on a new publication! If you’re interested in this new eBook by Michael Fay, please stay tuned and check back to this blog where we’ll be announcing the exact publishing date and availability online, once we have all the links and information.

And if anyone is interested in previous publications from IslandShorts just click here for the list of eBooks and where to purchase. As we like to say …

For a Great Read, Slip Into Our Shorts!

(Anyone interested in reading to review any of our publications please contact me directly: susanmtoy (at) gmail.com)

Why I ♥ My Editor!

Rachel Small is the best editor a writer – THIS writer! – could ask for! During an email correspondence yesterday she said something that I thought was quote-worthy, so I asked Chris Graham (aka The Story Reading Ape) to create one of those handy-dandy quote boxes so I could share this with the world! (I also asked Rachel’s permission to make what she said into a quotable-quote.)

Ed Quote for Susan 02 Framed

And, if you require any more convincing as to why I state wholeheartedly that Editors in general, and my Editor in particular, are the best human beings on earth, here’s a blog post I wrote on the subject and reblogged in May of this year.

If you’re interested in Rachel Small‘s editing services, check out her website here – and do tell her I sent you!

Come to think of it, I was still in my PJs when I wrote this blog post …

On Second Drafts …

Since I am currently helping a writer by editing his first draft so he may then work on the second draft … and, since I hope to be working again soon on rewriting, editing, and preparing the “second” draft (it’s actually about the 11th draft, but who’s counting?) of my own second novel, I found this blog post published today by Chuck Wendig, AKA terribleminds, to be an excellent pep-talk and encouragement in an often daunting, but necessary, part of this writing business.

This is a post that writers should bookmark and go back to reread on a regular basis – not only for the information on how to tackle working on a second draft, but also just so you know YOU ARE NOT ALONE, and that most, if not all, authors struggle at this point in the writing process. And that you should struggle.

Remember … Write Fast, Edit Slow(ly). Even if the time taken in editing does not fit into your publishing agenda then rework your agenda to allow for a good thorough edit so that, in the end, you produce a book that is THE BEST IT CAN BE!!!

After all, you owe this to your future readers.

Here’s a handy-dandy guide I found online to help you with this concept:

Practice Fast Writing & Slow Editing – From New Connections, May 2013, by Sonja K. Foss & William Waters
FstWritingSlw Rev_Handouts

Reviews of Island in the Clouds!

Wow!! There is no better way to begin a Saturday morning (or any morning!) than by opening not one but two emails in which the senders have notified you of reviews they’ve written of your book!

Many thanks to roughseainthemed for writing and posting to her blog this very thorough review:

Bequia? Where on earth is Bequia?

Thank you as well to A., a UK reader who wishes to remain anonymous. He contacted me after reading Island in the Clouds to tell me he had bought and read the book while on Bequia for a holiday this past spring. He has given me permission to post the full review from his email on my blog:

Island in the clouds is a gripping murder mystery story set on the small Caribbean island of Bequia.

The story isn’t what you expect and is all the better for it!

I loved how Toy doesn’t just portray life on the island as some blissful paradise but goes for life as it is which makes the novel feel very authentic. The characters are drawn from across the full spectrum of island life and Toy expertly develops and blends them as the plot progresses. The twist and turns throughout are managed perfectly and this is a book that you won’t want to put down.

I was on holiday with my family in Bequia whilst I was reading Island in the Clouds. This meant the places quickly resonated and we were able to track most of the locations down during our stay. The book really enhanced our visit to Bequia providing context and a backdrop to our holiday and a narrative from which to explore. Without it we would never have discovered Nando’s restaurant, known about Moonhole or the history behind Frangi’s.

I had this on Kindle and whilst in Bequia purchased a print copy from the bookshop in Port Elizabeth. Not surprisingly this has been top of my friends wish lists since we’ve been back!

In summary a great story in its own right but an absolute must for anyone visiting Bequia to really unlock everything on the island to you.

This review in particular really pleases me because, unlike the concerns voiced by some early readers that my story of murder and incompetent police would scare away potential tourists from the island, A. is telling us that he used my novel as a kind of guidebook and discovered aspects of Bequia he might not otherwise have learned about during his holiday. And he’s recommending the book to his friends!

For me, it doesn’t get any better than that!

So, thank you again to roughseainthemed and A.intheUK for reading and recommending Island in the Clouds, and for making many points in both their reviews that will now assist me while writing the next novel in the Bequia Perspectives Series. I take all comments seriously and know that reviewers help me become a better writer.

While I have your attention, allow me to post links to two interviews that bloggers conducted with me recently:
Allan Hudson on South Branch Scribbler – 4Q Interview with award-winnning author Susan Toy
Tricia Drammeh on Authors to Watch – Interview with Susan M. Toy

No more “vs.” – Okay?

Who remembers the old Spy vs. Spy comic strip in Mad Magazine? It was wordless, originally created by Cuban political satirist, Antonio Prohías, and pitted Black Spy against White Spy – very cold war-ish that, and definitely “of the time” in the 60s when the whole idea of a “spy culture” really began to take off. (Just in case you don’t have a clue as to what I’m talking about, here’s an animated version of MAD Spy vs. Spy.)

The point is that NEITHER SPY EVER WON! There was no right side or wrong side. Just two sides constantly trying to out-wit each other in a never-ending battle.

Reminds me of many aspects in the publishing business these days …

So that’s why I’m saying No more “vs.”!

No more Traditional Publishing vs. Self-Publishing
(or Self-Publishers vs. Self-Publishers, for that matter)

No more Publishers vs. Authors

No more Indie Bookstores vs. The Chains or Online Sales sites

No more Genre vs. Literary Fiction

No more Print vs. eBook

No more Authors vs. Editors

No more Authors vs. Reviewers (those writing legitimate reviews, that is)

No more Author vs. Author (Thanks to Tim Baker for this one!)

No more Tenured (or Established) Authors vs. Debut Authors (just found this one in a headline)

No more Amazon vs. The Rest of the Publishing and Bookselling World (And that should actually be the other way around … because everyone seems bent on trying to beat Amazon at the side of the business the company actually invented.)

No more animosity. No more antagonism. No more “I’m right and you’re wrong” about the way things work, or don’t work, in this crazy business of ours.

The only two aspects that really matter are:

That the writing is good and the book is the best the Author can make it,
and
That the Reader enjoys the book.

That’s it! That’s all that matters. The rest just causes a whole lot of angst and frustration, not to mention bad feelings, between the various “players” in this book business, and it really does no one any good at all.

Least of all the Authors who are writing great books and their Readers who are enjoying them!

We’re not living in a comic strip, after all. This is real life.

So stop it with the “vs.” already! Get out there and try to figure out ways of producing, marketing, and selling books that will benefit EVERYONE – especially those Readers!!

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Here are a few articles about some of the “vs.” situations I’m talking about:

From The New York Times: How Book Publishers Can Beat Amazon by Bob Kohn
From Digital Book World: Hachette Launches Dedicated Bookshop on Booksamillion.com
From The Passive Voice: Malcolm Gladwell ‘Surprised’ to Become an Amazon Bargaining Chip

But from what I’ve read so far, this is the best commentary yet on the situation, from David Gaughran on his blog, Let’s Get Visible: This Is The Kind Of Competition Publishers Want

So, what do you think? Have I missed any other examples of “vs.” in the book business that you’d like to see end right now? Wouldn’t you prefer that all of us become one big happy book family? Please leave your comments below.

On Writing, Part 3 – getting help

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Editing and being edited …
From Seth’s Blog: Copyediting, line editing and the other kind
From Rachelle Gardner: Trust Me, You Need a Good Editor
From Beyond Paper Editing: Editor’s Tip: Cleaning Up Your Manuscript Can Save You Money by Corina Koch MacLeod
From The Editors’ Weekly: Editing the First-Time Novelist by Susan Glickman
From Aliventures: The Three Stages of Editing (and Nine Handy Do-it-Yourself Tips)
From Positive Writer: 6 Quick Tricks to Help You Tighten Up Your Writing by C.S. Lakin

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When you’re ready to share …
From Writers Write: Five things to consider before you have your manuscript appraised
From Writer’s Digest: The 5 Differences Between Professional and Amateur Novelists by Charles Finch
From Janet Reid, Literary Agent: A Rant: On Hiring an Editor (Janet replies to a question from a writer …)

And when your work is finally out there …
From Books & Such: Worried About Your Work Being Stolen? by Rachelle Gardner

Read the first two posts in this series in which I’ve compiled useful links to articles and blogs: On Writing, Part 1 – getting started and On Writing, Part 2 – following through

On Writing, Part 2 – following through

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Support while you write …
From The Write Life: The Write Life Presents: The 100 Best Websites for Writers in 2014 by Carrie Smith

Why we write the way we do …
From terribleminds: Writing Advice From My Dream Brain and This Crazy-Making Business Called “Writing” by J.C. Hutchins
From Lisette’s Writers’ Chatau: FIVE WAYS TO STAY SANE AS A WRITER

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How to anticipate and fix problems before they become unwieldy …
From Slate: Space Invaders: Why you should never, ever use two spaces after a period. by Farhad Manjoo
From Authors Helping Writers: Most Common Writing Mistakes: Stories That Begin Too Early by K.M. Weiland
From io9: Why is it so hard to write a decent ending? by Charlie Jane Anders
From Writers Write: Is your character stressed? and Persuasive Writing – Emotional vs Intellectual Words and All About Nouns
From Vulture: The 5 Best Punctuation Marks in Literature by Kathryn Schulz
From Nathan Bransford: How did you choose your novel’s perspective?
From Books & Such: What about a Secondary Character’s Point of View? by Mary Keeley

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Finishing that shitty first draft …
From Rachel Gardner: Nobody Writes Good First Drafts
From This Itch of Writing: How do you decide when to share your draft?
From terribleminds: It Takes The Time It Takes

And some genre-specific advice …
From Writers Write: Five Fabulous Tips for First Time Crime Writers
From Nail Your Novel: 3 tips for writing watertight fantasy, science fiction and time travel stories

Be sure to read my other blog posts that compile helpful articles on this subject, On Writing, Part 1 – getting started and On Writing, Part 3 – getting help …