Have You Ever Met a Rock Star?

blog 1If you’ve ever met someone you’ve long admired, you have an idea about how thrilled I was last week to meet author Julie Christine Johnson, author of In Another Life.

All week I felt like a teenager anticipating a first date as I waited for Julie’s presentation at Annie Bloom’s Books, an indie bookstore in Portland, Oregon. Although Julie and I met online in April of 2014, and although she had trusted me (a total stranger at the time) with the words of what would become her debut novel, I didn’t know what to expect. Would she be as charming and gracious in person as she is online? Continue reading “Have You Ever Met a Rock Star?”

Closing Out a Series: Guest Post by Kristen Otte

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Today’s guest post is by Kristen Otte, the author of the Adventures of Zelda series about a tenacious pug. If you haven’t had a chance to read these books yet, you are missing a treat! Not only are they ideal earlier readers for children, but you’ll enjoy them just as much as your children or grandchildren do! As she publishes book five of the series, Kristen explains how she feels about ending the series and why she made the decision.

The release of The Adventures of Zelda: The One and Only Pug is a sad and exciting milestone for me. This release marks the fifth book in the Zelda series, but it also is the final book in the Zelda series. I know this may be a disappointment for many of the young fans (and parents of those fans) of the series, but I know it was the right decision.

The Adventures of Zelda were never “supposed” to be anything more than a few funny short stories that I wrote to practice my craft. But, after writing a few stories based loosely on the antics of my real life Zelda, I couldn’t stop writing. The stories flowed through my fingers on to the keyboard. Soon after, The Adventures of Zelda: A Pug Tale was published.

The early reader response was better than expected. I kept writing, and by book three, it was clear that young readers enjoyed reading about a stubborn, adventurous pug.

The titular pug and her book.  ©Kristen Otte
The titular pug and her book. ©Kristen Otte

The momentum for the series has continued to build over the past year, and I published the fourth book in the series in the summer of 2015. So why stop at book five? Continue reading “Closing Out a Series: Guest Post by Kristen Otte”

Con or Truth: A Halo of Mushrooms at MarsCon—guest post by Andrew Hiller

Have you ever attended a science fiction convention? Andrew Hiller, whose urban fantasy novel A Halo of Mushrooms is getting rave reviews, shares his recent experience at Marscon.

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Williamsburg, Yorktown, and neighboring Jamestown hold a place in our history. Everywhere you look, you see preserved buildings, artifacts, reenactments, period costumes, and an 18th century sense of being. You come here to churn butter, put your head in the stocks, and learn. Wide roads and narrow bridges take you there. The grass in winter leans and the trees are spare. The color is more gray than green, but that too fits with the narrative of colonial and revolutionary struggle. It’s a great setting. It’s just not the place you expect to find aliens traipsing around.

MarsCon ButtonI was invited to MarsCon to share my latest book, A Halo of Mushrooms, and host a couple of panels. It was my first time attending this Con, and to tell the truth, my first time at a Con as an author.

I found my table. It was the first one in Artist’s Alley, right next to the sign-up for the costume contest. As such, I got to witness super heroes, Jedis, wizards, and a hoard of favorites parade by. Continue reading “Con or Truth: A Halo of Mushrooms at MarsCon—guest post by Andrew Hiller”

Writing Fiction: #AmEditing Tips From @ChangeItUpEdit

Thanks to paranormal romance author Shonda Brock for sharing a Q&A about me on her website. Please join us there to learn more about editing … and about me!

Beta Readers Can Save You from Embarrassment—Guest Post by Chandi Wyant

ID-100124335As a professional freelance editor, I encourage every writer I work with to use beta readers. Most fiction writers know this is an important step, but did you know it is equally important when you write nonfiction? You’ll do yourself a huge favor by gathering your posse early in the process to learn what works and what doesn’t in your manuscript.

Author Chandi Wyant, who is working on a travel memoir about her solo forty-day pilgrimage in Italy (you can read sample chapters here), offers another important reason to seek that valuable input.

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A beta reader is a not a professional editor, but rather, a volunteer who reads your manuscript to provide feedback before you publish it, or before you submit it to agents or publishers.

I recommend seeking beta readers who are familiar with your genre and who are not close friends or family members.

 

Why a Memoirist Needs Beta Readers

Utilizing beta readers is an excellent idea for all genres. I’m going to focus here on why they’re essential for memoir.

Many authors in this genre write about traumatic things in their lives, and this is very challenging to do without sounding whiny.

This is where a beta reader can step in and save you from embarrassment. All authors are too close to their manuscripts and need an outsider’s perspective—and a memoirist is particularly entwined with her manuscript because it’s a piece of her life.

I have seen twice, with my own manuscript and with a friend’s, that beta readers saved us from the embarrassment of putting our book out into the world when it wasn’t ready.

My friend (who writes nonfiction like I do) was sure her book was ready for publication, but a beta reader told her, Continue reading “Beta Readers Can Save You from Embarrassment—Guest Post by Chandi Wyant”

When Santa arrives at your house and slides down the chimney, will he …

. . . chuckle? guffaw? snort? Or if Santa isn’t having a good day, will he grumble? complain? mutter?ID-100297775

I wonder if Santa, like writers everywhere, struggles to find just the right word to describe his adventures. I hope he remembers to check the archives here at Change It Up Editing for great writing tips!

Like Santa and his helpers, I’ve been busy this week with holiday preparations, but I want to wish all the authors I’ve had the privilege of working with and all my blog followers a very Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, Happy Kwanza, Happy Festivus, Happy Day Off Work! I am grateful for all of you, and thank you for your continued support.

Have a happy, peaceful, and safe holiday!

Happy Writing,

Candace

Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

Candace Johnson is a professional freelance editor, proofreader, writer, ghostwriter, and writing coach who has worked with traditional publishers, self-published authors, and independent book packagers on nonfiction subjects ranging from memoirs to alternative medical treatments to self-help, and on fiction ranging from romance to paranormal. As an editorial specialist, Candace is passionate about offering her clients the opportunity to take their work to the next level. She believes in maintaining an author’s unique voice while helping him or her create and polish every sentence to make it the best it can be. Contact her at cyjohnson5580@gmail.com, and learn more here.

I'm Thankful for YOU

Dearest Clients, Fans, and Followers,

I remind myself every day of just how grateful I am to have a job I love. When I was growing up, my parents encouraged me to do something I felt passionate about. That’s exactly what I get to do every single day as a freelance editor.

Since I began my freelance career, I’ve met some of the most amazing writers and have had the privilege to work on so many fascinating books, articles, and blogs. (Check those out here and here.) The old saying “Variety is the spice of life” is true for me, and the mix of working on both fiction and nonfiction projects helps keep me interested and interesting.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

My job title is freelance editor, but I’m also a cheerleader for the authors I work with. My great joy is the feeling of “making a difference.” Whether I’m editing a short blog post for a traditionally published author or a novel for a first-time author, I’m one of those lucky people who gets to help someone realize his or her dream. It doesn’t get much better than that!

So today, Thanksgiving Day in the U.S., I just want to let you know I am thankful for YOU—each and every one of you.

Happy Writing,

Candace

 

Candace Johnson is a professional freelance editor, proofreader, writer, ghostwriter, and writing coach who has worked with traditional publishers, self-published authors, and independent book packagers on nonfiction subjects ranging from memoirs to alternative medical treatments to self-help, and on fiction ranging from romance to paranormal. As an editorial specialist, Candace is passionate about offering her clients the opportunity to take their work to the next level. She believes in maintaining an author’s unique voice while helping him or her create and polish every sentence to make it the best it can be. Learn more here.

Remember to Live in Your Moment: Guest post by Andrew Hiller

517CDUGCPXL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Today’s guest blogger, Andrew Hiller, is a reporter, radio host, editor, producer, playwright, and novelist. I had the pleasure of working with him on his urban fantasy novel, A Halo of Mushrooms, which will publish on December 1 and is now available for preorder. Read a preview here.

If you’re a writer, you know the self-doubt connected with publishing a book. (Now imagine seeing your words brought to life on the stage in front of a live audience—oh my!)

That self-doubt can keep even the best writers from sending their work out into the world, but Andrew has some advice for anyone who fears they aren’t good enough:

Long before the curtain rose, I felt the jitters begin. The stage remained dark, the chairs empty, and the carpet felt hard. I arrived four hours early. I needed to experience every moment of this first night . . . my first play on Broadway (okay, 78th and Broadway)!

Can you imagine it? First, the custodial staff came in and I worried about them . . . if my play flops, what happens to them? Then, the stage crew arrived, and I felt my hands shake. I knew each by name. We worked together. They quizzed me. They dreamed with me. I saw the director and producer arrive. They smiled. I think I manage one. Then, it was the actors’ turn, and some of them looked nervous while others exuded excitement. By the time the audience arrived, I was a mess. Continue reading “Remember to Live in Your Moment: Guest post by Andrew Hiller”

Breaking All the Rules

I am delighted to introduce you to debut author Cheryl Fassett. Our editing work together ended months ago, but since then Cheryl has been hard at work preparing her middle-grade fantasy novel, Far Away and Ever After, for publication. Now that this enchanting book is available for everyone to enjoy (and I was enchanted by it), Cheryl agreed to share some thoughts about her journey and The Rules that surround being an writer.

Here’s Cheryl:

We are given rules in every area of our lives. From the time we are toddlers, we are guided by the don’ts, the dos, the nevers. Sometimes these rules are in our best interest: don’t touch a hot stove, never run with a sharp knife, always chew your food. But sometimes rules are constricting and limiting.

Many rules in writing are as arbitrary as being told not to wear white after Labor Day. One person’s helpful suggestion is the next young writer’s block.

I feel strongly that certain writing rules were just made to be broken. Continue reading “Breaking All the Rules”

Define "It" to Strengthen Your Writing

Have you ever been engrossed in a great story and suddenly stopped short to ask yourself what the writer is referring to when “it” appears? Here’s an example:

“Sue and Mary found six dresses to try. It fit and was in her price range.”

Image courtesy of artur84 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of artur84 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

What is “it,” exactly? In the context of the sentence above, “it” is used as a pronoun, and illustrates a common (and avoidable) writer mistake:

Undefined pronouns

A quick grammar review: Pronouns are a useful part of speech that give writers greater flexibility in naming schemes. Instead of using and reusing a noun, the substitution of a pronoun allows for a type of shorthand. For example, instead of writing, “The moment John walk into the store, John realized John had forgotten John’s wallet at home” (pretty clunky, huh?), this sentence becomes, “The moment John walked into the store, he realized he had forgotten his wallet at home.”

Personal pronouns are fairly straightforward. Most of us use I, he, she, they, him, her, them, his, hers, and theirs properly . . . but “it” often present unique problems for writers.

The Problem with “It”

When I edit manuscripts, I usually see two different but related problems with the use of “it”: Continue reading “Define "It" to Strengthen Your Writing”