Yeah! The Beta Reads Are All In For Book One In The Naked Eye Series

Belinda Pollard has some great articles on beta readers, what they are, how and when to use them.

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

I can’t say enough good things about my betas. I was so very glad that I went all out and had a dozen team members take a look. I had readers who focused on the “Big Picture” and readers who focused on the “Little Details”. Getting both of those perspectives contributed immensely to the creation of a better product. A couple weren’t able to read. That my ten readers loved the story and its characters thrills me.

This is not a high-level English literature read, and it’s not supposed to be. It’s an entertaining, fun read with zany, quirky characters, a bit of a romp. So many improvements have been made. There is still work to do. I plan to have the edits completed by November. I’m working through some attribution tag improvements and cutting some fluffy stuff from Chapters Three, Eleven and Twenty-Five to tighten up the read.

It has been a joy to work with so many brilliant minds and their varied talents. I had a wonderful audience well-suited to provide the feedback we needed to move this project forward. I say “we” because this seems a great team effort.

My plan is to park this first book come November, and spend the next year writing books two and three. Then they will go to an editor. I am hoping to have three completed and ready to publish by November of 2016. It may take a bit longer than that, but I am thinking getting into the flow with the series has been accomplished. If it takes another year that will work just as well. I want to publish them at three month intervals.

I’m still thinking a pseudonym of sorts will be best for this change in genre and style. I don’t want readers of one genre confused by the other simply because of author name.

A Great Big Thank You To All Who Were Willing To Help Out!

Your time and effort much appreciated.

You all get free airline and Disney tickets and can stay at my place (I wish).

We’ll have a big party!

Seriously! I am deeply indebted. Let me know if I can ever return the favor somehow.

Have you ever been a beta reader?

Have you used beta readers?

If not, you are missing out on a valuable experience.

S.K. Nicholls

sknicholls:

Featured on Reading Recommendations by Susan Toy today. Drop by and take a look :)

Originally posted on Reading Recommendations:

s-k-nichollsS.K. Nicholls

What is your latest release and what genre is it?Red Clay and Roses is a roman a clef in the vein of historical fiction

Quick description:Red Clay and Roses is a fictionalized true story of life in the Deep South during the time of Jim Crow Law, and before Roe vs. Wade. Women were supposed to keep quiet and serve, abortion was illegal, adoption difficult, and racism rampant. The discovery of an old ledger opens a window into the dynamics of the 1950s-60s, when the world was beginning to change. Steeped in history, this novel deeply penetrates the surface of a complex era as the cast of characters grapples with inequality in the Jim Crow South.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000031_00016]

Brief biography:
Susan Koone Nicholls is a retired R.N. living in Orlando, Florida, with her husband, Greg, a rocket scientist. She was born, raised and educated in Georgia, where she…

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Reedy Creek: The Launching Point of Book Two

My next book focuses on a crime that occurs south of the Reedy Creek Improvement District (RCID). This is an area of old world Florida that was raped to create Disney World. I say raped, although Disney’s RCID works hard to maintain the district now, because it has seen some dramatic changes over the past forty years that have totally disrupted the natural ecosystem.

Disney called on his friends to lead the way in turning the marshes, swamps and wetlands of Central Florida into what would become the Walt Disney World Resort.

The headwaters of Reedy Creek are not natural. An effort to demolish a stand of low rent housing unearthed the waters. The low-lying swamps were essentially drained into what became Reedy Creek. It is now in what is one of the busiest parts of the world. But there is some effort to maintain the beauty and cleanliness of it.

Walt Disney World sits on of 25,000 acres in Central Florida governed and managed by an essentially “private” government—the Reedy Creek Improvement District (RCID). RCID levies taxes on its residents, devises and enforces building codes, handles waste management and fire protection, issues bonds to finance infrastructure projects, and performs many other functions ordinarily performed by local governments.

With its headwaters in what is now Walt Disney World, Reedy Creek flows sluggishly southward through cypress swamps into pristine Lake Russell, and is one of the northernmost sources of water for the Everglades.

The Osceola County Schools Environmental Study Center has a nineteen acre area of Reedy Creek where you can walk out through the swamp.

osceola-boardwalk-1-v

The cypress with its air-pine bromeliads growing on the trunks and the water fowl are powerfully breathtaking. I always think of the Indians who made this their homeland long before we came along. What we see as inhospitable, they made their homes and learned to work within the environment to survive.

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This nineteen-acre segment of the Reedy Creek Swamp offers elevated observation boardwalks, three hiking trails and indoor educational displays. You can see alligators sunning on turtles and turtles sunning on alligators.

The Reedy Creek Elementary school is an earth-bermed structure designed to be obscure in the natural habitat. Many Indian artifacts were unearthed when the school was built, including full-sized dugout canoes, which are on display inside the school.

Book Two of the Naked Eye Series begins as one of the private investigator’s former investment partners plans to work with the Seminole Indians to build a casino near the RCID and another one plans to build condos. One former partner ends up dead.

Read Tuesday: Now Accepting Books for 2014

sknicholls:

Call for submissions. Authors sign your books up and get the promo going!

Originally posted on ReadTuesday:

Fourth Quarter Pic

READ TUESDAY

The time has come,

A wonderful day,

For those who love books,

called Read Tuesday.

Like Black Friday,

But not for television;

Give the gift of reading

This holiday season.

ACCEPTING SUBMISSIONS

Read Tuesday is now accepting submissions for:

  • Kindle Countdown Deals that include Tuesday, December 9, 2014. (Please try it out and verify that dates are possible before you sign up.)
  • Temporary Kindle price reductions that include Tuesday, December 9, 2014. (Please try it out and verify that the lower price is possible before you sign up.)
  • It’s okay to start early and end late. This might be to your advantage.

Listing on Read Tuesday is FREE.

Sign up by clicking here. This will take you to a one-page Google Docs form to complete. If you have any trouble with the form, please use the Contact Us button on the Read Tuesday website.

More opportunities…

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Person, POV and Head-Hopping

 

headhoppingFirst, let me say that you should write your story any way that you want to. That being said, these are guidelines, not rules carved in stone. Many great authors deviate from these guidelines and create wonderful works. Some readers are okay with head-hopping and some readers detest it. I’m sort of in the middle, but the more I learn about it, the more I lean toward NOT head-hopping in most fiction.

To understand head-hopping, you have to grasp point of view and person.

Most creative fiction is written in first person (I, me, mine, myself, us, our, we) or third person (Proper nouns, like names, and they, he, she) point of view.

With first person, the narrator is often the main character. (But not always, I read a book recently where a doctor was the narrator in first person telling someone else’s story.) This voice allows the reader to identify with the main character very closely. The reader can get inside the head of this person, know what she/he is thinking, and know everything the writer has let the character know. It is limited in that the reader only gets to know his/her feelings and thoughts, not those of the other characters. The writer can describe all of the ways his first person’s character’s five senses are affected, sights, sounds, smells, feelings, tastes, but cannot let you in on what others perceive except second-hand through the first person character.

Joey followed me into the bar. He must not have seen Janet sitting in the booth beside the door. He walked past the booth and ordered a whiskey. Janet blushed at the sight of him so soon after the incident.

In the first paragraph me, the main character, assumes (thinks) that Joey doesn’t see Janet. You are still in the main first person character’s head. The main character, me, sees Janet blush.

Joey followed me into the bar. He didn’t see Janet sitting in the booth by the door. He walked past the booth and ordered a whiskey. Janet felt embarrassed at the sight of him so soon after the incident.

In the second paragraph, there is head-hopping. How does me know Joey didn’t see Janet? He can’t know what Joey thinks. The writer has jumped out of me’s head and into Joey’s head. How does me know what Janet is feeling? The writer has jumped out of me’s head and into Janet’s.

A greater head-hopping problem is when there is head-hopping in the same sentence:

We went into the bar, saw Jane at a booth and she felt embarrassed to see Joey so soon after the incident.

That’s seriously problematic for a reader. The writer is inside three different heads in one sentence.

You can also have multiple POV in first person, usually separated by chapters for ease of reading. It has the effect of slowing the story down to examine each character’s perspective before moving forward, giving the writer’s story an ebb and flow.

With third person, you can have a limited POV (closed omniscient), or unlimited (omniscient).

Third person limited omniscient still restricts feeling and thinking to one central character in a scene. If this was third person omniscient limited (closed to Sam’s POV only) you could write:

Joey followed Sam into the bar. Joey must not have seen Janet sitting at the booth by the door. He walked past the booth and ordered a whiskey. Janet blushed at the sight of him so soon after the incident.

Third person omniscient doesn’t impose those restrictions on the scene. The narrator can show whatever any or all the characters know and feel. If this was third person omniscient you could write:

Joey followed Sam into the bar. Joey did not see Janet sitting at the booth by the door. He walked past the booth and ordered a whiskey. Janet blushed with embarrassment at the sight of him so soon after the incident. She grabbed her purse, arose, and headed for the door.

To totally avoid head-hopping, it is really best, even in third person omniscient POV, to have the thoughts and feelings of different characters separated at least by paragraphs, if not by scenes:

Joey followed Sam into the bar. Joey did not see Janet sitting at the booth by the door. He walked past the booth and ordered a whiskey.

Janet blushed with embarrassment at the sight of him so soon after the incident. She grabbed her purse, arose, and headed for the door.

Many new writers prefer third person omniscient because of the freedom to tell what any character is thinking or feeling, to be able to enter the minds of more than one character.  It still has to be done with care, or it comes off terribly confusing.

Separating paragraphs or scenes by POV eases the transition from one head to another.

I want to emphasize that head-hopping is NOT a cardinal sin. There are many experienced writers that use head-hopping very well. Stephen King is one who comes to mind. It has more to do with reader preference and writer technique.  It can be done well, or make a read impossible.

Here’s a chart I ran across that breaks POV down for people who follow a visual best:

POV

Tense Issues

I try not to bitch too much on here. I would rather keep things positive, but I do want this blog to be helpful. I don’t write a lot about politics, religion or deeply controversial issues, because I don’t really care to argue with walls. I read a great deal of indie work. I only put books on my blog that I feel I can recommend. I’m fairly liberal about what I enjoy. There have been many books in this past year of having been introduced to indie writers that have impressed me greatly.

Sometimes I have been impressed with the stories, but technicalities have resulted in me feeling that I could not recommend the books to others. I can’t say that I didn’t enjoy them, but the errors were so severe that I did not feel comfortable passing it along to you as example of something that I would encourage you to read. There are issues, usually with the writing, that have caused me to hesitate or put them aside without recommendation. Remember, word-of-mouth is your greatest marketing tool.

Excessive typos, misspellings, and the obvious misuse of words; like they’re, their, and there, and your and you’re, could of, and would of drive me nuts, but I can tolerate some of that. There are other things that are more subtle, yet most annoying.

Tense issues: These seem to be the most difficult for writers to wrap their heads around. Primarily, books are written in past or present tense. If you start in past, you should stay in past. If you start in present, you should stay in present. It spins my mind around to keep switching between the two.

Examples:

A)

Dusk on the bay is a most beautiful time. Boats are bringing in the catch of a long day at sea. The village lights come on one by one. There is movement in the water, but the air is still. The soft murmur of marine motors and the call of the gulls waiting for fish scraps are the only sounds. Our sleepy little fishing village has roughly three dozen homes and one store. There is a diner and bar at one end and a church at the other.

Captain John’s dog, Frisk, leapt from the boat as the captain idled to the dock. Frisk ran up the pier to greet me. He knew I would be waiting with a bowl of fresh water and a dog treat. I waited for him every evening. The captain was getting old and his wife had died five years earlier. He walked like he was dragging the weight of the world behind him. When the captain was finished with his chores he always met me in the diner for dinner. We shared a meal and a few stories and then he walked me home.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

B)

Dusk on the bay was a most beautiful time. Boats brought in the catch of a long day at sea. The village lights came on one by one. There was movement in the water, but the air was still. The soft murmur of marine motors and the call of the gulls waiting for fish scraps were the only sounds. Our sleepy little fishing village had roughly three dozen homes and one store. There was a diner and bar at one end and a church at the other.

Captain John’s dog, Frisk, leaps from the boat as the captain idles to the dock. Frisk runs up the pier to greet me. He knows I will be waiting with a bowl of fresh water and a dog treat. I wait for him every evening. The captain is getting old and his wife died five years ago. He walks like he’s dragging the weight of the world behind him. When the captain finishes with his chores he always meets me in the diner for dinner. We share a meal and a few stories and then he walks me home.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

C)

Dusk on the bay is a most beautiful time. Boats are bringing in the catch of a long day at sea. The village lights come on one by one. There is movement in the water, but the air is still. The soft murmur of marine motors and the call of the gulls waiting for fish scraps are the only sounds. Our sleepy little fishing village has roughly three dozen homes and one store. There is a diner and bar at one end and a church at the other.

Captain John’s dog, Frisk, leaps from the boat as the captain idles to the dock. Frisk runs up the pier to greet me. He knows I will be waiting with a bowl of fresh water and a dog treat. I wait for him every evening. The captain is getting old and his wife died five years ago. He walks like he’s dragging the weight of the world behind him. When the captain finishes with his chores he always meets me in the diner for dinner. We share a meal and a few stories and then he walks me home.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

D)

Dusk on the bay was a most beautiful time. Boats brought in the catch of a long day at sea. The village lights came on one by one. There was movement in the water, but the air was still. The soft murmur of marine motors and the call of the gulls waiting for fish scraps were the only sounds. Our sleepy little fishing village had roughly three dozen homes and one store. There was a diner and bar at one end and a church at the other.

Captain John’s dog, Frisk, leapt from the boat as the captain idled to the dock. Frisk ran up the pier to greet me. He knew I would be waiting with a bowl of fresh water and a dog treat. I waited for him every evening. The captain was getting old and his wife had died five years earlier. He walked like he was dragging the weight of the world behind him. When the captain was finished with his chores he always met me in the diner for dinner. We shared a meal and a few stories and then he walked me home.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Past is fine. Present is fine. Mixing the two is not fine. This is why we have beta readers and editors.

This is NOT a style thing people, it is a grammar thing.

These examples are of different paragraphs, but I have seen writers mix the two tenses in the same paragraph or even the same sentence. You can be in present tense and have something happen in the past that the narrator tells about, but as a general writing rule, be careful with that. Yanking me around from past to present without a story about time travel is a sure fire way for me to put your book aside.

Most indie reads are wonderful, fresh, creative stories. But writing does have some basic rules.

Another issue I have is head-hopping from person to person, but that’s a subject for another day.

Do you understand tense differences?

Which reads more smoothly to you? A) and B), or C) and D)?

Does changing tense bother you when you read?

Krazy Couponing and Troopons

time2give_time2save

My daughter has 2.5 kids and stays home to be with the kids while her husband works a couple of jobs. It is a crazy world for young families trying to make ends meet. To help out, she has become one of those crazy couponers. Yes, those people that takes 30 minutes in the check-out line to go through their coupons. But she tries to stay organized so it is a relatively quick process.

She has neat little photo albums she sorts her food and non-food item coupons in and has them organized by dates as well, so she knows which expire first.

Today, she came by and after spending about an hour on my computer, she had seventy-five dollars off of items she usually shops for and twenty-five off on items I use. Giving up the printer ink is not such a bad deal as she prints in black and white. Some, she scans the QR code with her phone.

A hundred dollars an hour is a pretty smart wage, even if it’s just once a week.

Then she checked the buy-one-get-one items at her favorite grocery store and that was another thirty dollars saved. A hundred and five dollars saved on her bill. That’s awesome.

While she was on her computer, the grandson dumped a stack of expired coupons in the garbage and she freaked out. I wondered why she got so terribly upset as I watched her pulling them back out of the top of the trash.

Here’s the deal. If they are not more than thirty days expired, you can send them to military families to use at the PX…so even if she doesn’t chance to use the coupons before they expire they are not gone to waste. Every month, she takes her expired coupons and sends them off. They call them Troopons.

Churches and other organizations can make a project of this, as well.

Here’s a web article that will tell you how:

http://www.supportourtroops.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1615/

Not so crazy after all!

Do you coupon?

What do you do with the ones you don’t use?

Help Launch Read Tuesday with THUNDER

sknicholls:

Help promote this book buying and readers event!

Originally posted on ReadTuesday:

Lightning from NASA 2

Image from NASA

THUNDERCLAP

Read Tuesday—a Black Friday type of event just for book lovers—now has a Thunderclap promotion underway.

The idea behind the Thunderclap is create hundreds of simultaneous posts on the morning of Read Tuesday (December 9, 2014) to help spread awareness on the morning of the event.

You can help announce Read Tuesday with thunder. It’s easy:

  • Visit http://thndr.it/1CkO2Bg.
  • Click Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr and sign in.
  • Customize the message. (Optional.)
  • Agree to the terms. All that will happen is that the Thunderclap post about Read Tuesday will go out the morning of December 9.

When I first supported a Thunderclap for an author, I had been a little nervous when it asked me to confirm. It turns out I had worried over nothing. The only thing you’re agreeing to do is to have a single message go out on your Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr on…

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Book Review: White Wolf Moon by Mike Grant

I don’t usually post book descriptions that you can see on Amazon, (and I didn’t think this one served the content well), so I am giving a bit more description of the book in the review than usual.

Book Review:

It is rare to find a contemporary book that can speak eloquently to a span of generations and build bridges. This book does. Peter Michaelson, a sixty year old photographer, has hidden Evan Morris, musician and poet, away out in the country on the Thompson River in Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada. Jennifer MacAvoy, a twenty year old university student has an assignment that involves finding and getting to know him. He doesn’t make it easy for her either.

Jennifer meets the man and his wolf, but his initial reaction to having been discovered by her is not warm. She persists and finds his home, and gets invited by his wife to stay a while. Meanwhile, a terrible tragedy occurs in Evan’s circle of old friends, which brings the girl spiritually closer to Evan, his wife, and their friends as she uncovers the secrets of their Haight-Ashbury past.

The tragedy also brings the circle of friends, which includes Jennifer’s mother, a former girlfriend of Evans, together again after forty years. The characters all have their own brand of humor which the author sprinkles throughout the pages spicing a rich and savory read.  Admittedly, some of the jokes might be lost on someone not familiar with the era or the music of the times, but there is enough general humor to keep anyone laughing.

There is a lot that Jennifer learns about the man, but just as much that she learns about herself. It is as much about understanding the present as about understanding the past. Evan Morris truly lives through Grant who gives him a genuine soul. Ginn, the wolf, not so very different. Everywhere Evan takes you on his journey through time is described by Grant with such precision that you can smell the coffee, see the sparks of the fire swirl into the night sky on that beach by the river, and hear the wolf howl at the white moon.

Although written in third person, the writing style of this novel is as if the main character himself, a man you will come to respect, wrote the words. It reads like a memoir of sorts. The rhythm of the writing is like a melodic mountain stream that fills all the nooks and crannies of its bed with sparkling fresh water. The author has a way of weaving his words into subtle messages that you will want to read again and again just for their profound beauty. It is a character driven, not plot driven, book. The character development is so very deep that you can’t help but feel like these are all people you have known for a very long time, shared some laughs with, cried some tears with, and if you haven’t, you will.

The book is exceptionally well-written with insightful, meaningful prose. There is philosophical banter, but this is a light, fun, easy read. It will remind you that after you mature to become someone else, you still are who you were, only changed. This is a book I highly recommend.

5 of 5 Stars

Mike Grant

wolf

I was born in Fort George, Scotland, in 1947. My family moved to Canada in 1955. As an army brat, I spent a decade in various locations across the country finally settling in Edmonton, Alberta, in 1964. With careers in radio broadcasting, advertising, and photography under my belt I moved to Kamloops, British Columbia, in 1994.
I’m an organized hoarder with a roomful of Alien/Predator toys/collectibles; Hot Wheels & Matchbox die cast cars and assorted old toys, CDs/DVDs, and books…lots of books. My music and movie tastes are as varied as they can be. I watch and listen to most genres, depending on my mood. Book-wise I read Richard Brautigan, Leonard Cohen, 60s bios, Michael Connelly, and a host of others…again, depending on my mood.
I’m married with three children, six grandchildren, two cats, and a rabbit.

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