Monday, March 25, 2019

Daisies and Devotion -- Josi S. Kilpack

Proper Romance, a Mayfield Family Regency – Book 2
Shadow Mountain Publishing
ISBN: 978-1629725529
May 2019
Historical Romance

London, 1822

Timothy Mayfield needs to marry a wealthy wife. His uncle Elliot Mayfield, the fifth Viscount Howardsford, currently provides Timothy an allowance. Timothy’s father married a maid from his household and then died leaving his wife and children near destitute. Timothy is a very polite and honest man, full of energy, very talkative, fun and often silly, but responsible. He finds Miss Maryann Werrington a woman he is interested in marrying. He tells her so and also tells her he would never marry a woman just for her money. He wants to have an emotional connection with anyone he marries. His intent changes when his Uncle Elliot tells him if he marries a woman he approves, he will give Timothy a London house and property that will provide enough profit to sustain the household. Suddenly Timothy feels free. He explains this to Maryann, who has become a good friend, and shows her the list he compiled of characteristics for the perfect wife for him. Maryann just doesn’t fit it.

Maryann is twenty-two, rather old for a debutante, but she has spent the last few years taking care of her mother until she died. Now she is just out of mourning and her older, married sister is acting as her chaperone in London. She thinks herself rather plain and knows most potential suitors are only interested in her inheritance, not in her; except Timothy. She enjoyed his company. He entertained her and his honesty impressed her. Now, just when she realizes she is in love with him, his circumstances have changed. He wants to remain good friends and shows her his list of characteristics for his perfect wife. She thinks it a silly effort. Timothy is deluding himself, for no woman can fulfill all the items on his list. He is also blind to Maryann’s desire. She agrees reluctantly to introduce him to some likely debutants. He will introduce some suitors to her. Soon they are both considering other suitable mates, but just when they both think they’ve found someone, things go askew.

Both Timothy and Maryann suffer from self-doubt, and both face difficulties discovering the person who will fulfill their deepest desires for a mate. The story has an interesting start, and the puzzle of Timothy and Maryann’s relationship builds to become more intricate, emotional, and anxious as the story continues. The situations are appropriate for the era, but also show that people, no matter the time, are people: very complex individuals who have their own aspirations and problems. Characters from the first volume, PROMISES AND PRIMROSES, appear in this story, and other new characters play important roles. Information related in the first volume does not impinge on a reader’s understanding of this entertaining story.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

The Mind, the Writing, and Reality

Once any writing is completed, it remains a rough draft, which means it is full of mistakes. It needs editing and revision. Editing is important on both a personal and professional basis for good communication. Mistakes happen. It’s good to have a sound foundation in how grammar and writing mechanics work, but some new digital programs (MS Word for sure) can help with this during the rough draft process for a manuscript... yet I’ve found they make mistakes with their advice, too.

I think there is a mind-finger-eye connection when writing. My vision knows what my mind was thinking and what my fingers were typing, so my brain knows everything is right. Until that connection is broken, I won't see the obvious mistakes I made. For me, twenty-four hours usually works. What I think I’ve written, and what is contained within a document are two different realities.
The first novel I sent out was rejected, and once I started rereading it, I was embarrassed by my mistakes. Now I reread and edit every completed manuscript up to four times. The longest was twelve times, but it still had mistakes. Why? With the mind-finger-eye connection mentioned above, a time delay is necessary between the writing and the editing to break that connection. Plus, I'm a terrible speller. If I edit immediately after completing a writing my mind knows what I thought when writing and my vision refuses to notice my mistakes. After at least a day’s time, that eye-mind connection breaks and reality returns. Now I can see the misspelling, punctuation mistakes, and incorrect wording. Another problem is in the editing process. With digital documents cut and paste happens a lot. It can cause many mistakes. Again, my vision misses them because my mind is telling me I did it correctly.
Spell check is great, especially for a confirmed misspeller like me, but it can make mistakes, too, especially if the misspelled word spells another word correctly. And all those homonyms -- which to use! Now grammar check often catches those mistakes, but not always. I also keep a list of words I tend to overuse in writing and go through the list at different times in the process; words like before, just, like, remained, seem, then, there, and the to be verbs.
These numerous re-readings also help me find a plot, the setting, and character mistakes, which helps polish the manuscript before I send it anywhere.
Once a manuscript is accepted, it usually goes through two more edits. I still find mistakes in my published manuscripts. How did I miss those mistakes? They always make me feel unprofessional and I wonder if the reader thinks the same thing. I had a new book accepted in January for August publication. I received the content editor's copy. I went through that twice before returning it and the mistakes I found surprised me. I look at wording because concise wording and stronger verbs move the story forward in a better way. I also look for repetitious wording.  Then I received the line edit copy. I thought my first time through caught everything but decided I had time to go through it again. I found more mistakes, mostly clarity issues and wrong character names... I hope I have found everything needing correcting.
These grammar mechanics skills are not only necessary for fiction writers, but for anyone who writes for school, business, or just personal communications.

Visit these other sites for the author's insights on this topic:

Skye Taylor
Diane Bator
Beverley Bateman
Connie Vines 
Anne Stenhouse  
A.J. Maguire 
Dr. Bob Rich
Victoria Chatham
Helena Fairfax
Judith Copek

Monday, March 11, 2019

Widow-In-Law -- Michele W. Miller

Perfect 10
Blackstone Publishing
ISBN 10: 1-5385-5691-X
ISBN 13: 978-1-5385-5691-7
March 2019

New York and Miami – The Present

Lauren is the ex-wife of New York lawyer Brian Silverman. He is making millions of dollars with his law firm partner Steve Cohen. Lauren is also a lawyer, but she practices in the New York family court system. She doesn’t make the money Brian does, so depends on his alimony checks to support herself and their daughter Emily in the expensive city. It killed her to do so, but when she could no longer control Emily and the crowd she was hanging with in high school, she let Brian take over custody of Emily. She didn’t want Emily to end up like herself. In her teens poor choices led her into some unfortunate and dangerous situations. Her parents had both been drug addicts which led Lauren into making some very bad decisions. She overcame her past and desperately wants to protect Emily. Brian owns an expensive house in a better part of the city with his second wife Jessica. It places Emily in a better school system, and Brian can control the rebellious teenager better. Brian had cheated on her with Jessica before the divorce, and it left Lauren feeling inadequate and with low self-esteem. She calls Jessica her ‘wife-in-law,’ a term she learned in family court. Then Brian’s secretary Peggy calls Lauren. Lauren learns Brian was found burned in his bed while on a trip to Miami. She flies to Miami with both Jessica and Emily, but they are too late, Brian died.

While initially, Steve told the two widows-in-law everything would be all right, he soon stops taking their calls. Then he claims Brian wasn’t really a partner and they will be getting nothing from his law practice. Lauren thinks this is a fabricated story. Brian was the better lawyer and had told her his share of the firm’s contingency fees was worth millions of dollars. She and Jessica work to discover the truth, and from there everything goes downhill. Jessica witnesses the murder of Brian’s friend Jordon Connors, threats are made against Lauren, demands and threats come from criminal enterprises, and Jessica and Emily are arrested. All this leads to some very dangerous situations. Why was Steve being so deceptive, and just what was Brian up to? Carl Cintron, an FBI agent, takes great interest in Brian’s case despite being told to move on since Brian is dead. He already knows he has an even greater interest in Brian’s first wife.

The viewpoint shifts from Lauren to Jessica, to Emily, to Carl, and even to Brian before his death. Everything for everyone is tied up in convoluted circumstances. The story isn’t sorted by chapters but by dates and character viewpoints. It is a gripping read about changing relationships and hidden desires and motives, criminal conduct, and overcoming almost insurmountable odds. A great read with emotional, smart and thoughtful characters caught in unfathomable positions, which makes this a Perfect 10.

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Too Much Media?

When I thought about this topic, I thought it would be easy, and I could rant about how everything has changed because of our continually evolving electronic media. But then, I looked up the definition of media at Merriam Webster. Surprise! What a morass I discovered. Media in the meaning I meant it as is plural for medium or ‘a channel or system of communications, information or entertainment’ (Merriam-Webster Dictionary, 2004). Right now we have so many channels of media people are getting lost in them.

That was one of a number of meanings. Medium also refers to the size of something; medium lies between small and large, or in being in a middle position. Medium is also a way to effect or convey something such as money allows in trade. It can also be a surrounding or enveloping substance such as water or oil containing pigments to create paint; or a mode of artistic expression (paint, pencil, pastel, ink, photography, etc.). A medium is someone who has a channel between here and the world of spirits, which I suppose in another communication method if you believe such. And the medium in environment is where something flourishes, such as roots thrive in soil. 

The meanings for media also offer some interesting takes on the word. AND this is only one singular-plural combination of one word with multiple meanings in the English language! No wonder using words can lead to so much misunderstanding, and yet words are the basis of communication.

Communications media deals with the visual, audio, gestural, and written aspects of presenting messages. From ancient times we have oratory which is often linked to gestural inclusion including hand and face movements and vocal inflection in speeches, sermons, prayers, and plays (let alone just talking to someone); visual communication is whatever we see and so includes the design of architecture, painting, sculpture, written, carved, and sewn, and all are open to interpretation. Since the 19th century, we’ve added photography, radio, TV, movies, and videos. Within the last forty or so years we’ve added the computer media, the Internet, and other digital devices.
Is fashion a medium? I think so as it is a form of self-expression which is important in many media. I’ve probably missed some, too, plus many of these media have genres added into the media. 

Communication is important in employment. Many forms of media affect business. Media companies need employees and purveyors who want to spread their particular medium's usage. Most businesses use the medium of advertisement to spread their product's usage while increasingly using digital communication between management and workers.

With 7.5 billion people on Earth that gives a very wide array of interpretations for any communication. No wonder we have so many miscommunications. 

Can media become addictive for the general public? Yes, but maybe a necessary addiction. We know of a growing problem with many addicted to digital devices, but sometimes in more of the drug type of addiction. This is not new. People have been addicted to different types of media before, such as TV. Was Socrates addicted to oratory? He did a lot of it; most artists, musicians, and actors strive to succeed in their medium, too. Are they addicted or just driven to succeed?
Communication is necessary for everyone's mental and physical health. We all need to be connected to our world, and media helps us achieve this even to creating a global community.  

The most essential medium, though, is the vocal and gestural communication between family and friends in the present, real world. Yet when a person ignores what is happening in real time-space for what happens in the digital world, it can cause problems such as isolation which leads to depression. To ignore what it happening in real-time for the digital world makes the medium dangerous.