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March 2013
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May 2013

Updated version of ‘Games and Activities’ out

An updated Hikes Games coverversion of my book “Hikes with Tykes: Games and Activities” was released this past weekend in paperback and on Kindle. Both versions contain additional games and activities from the July 2012 edition while the ebook includes working website links and a table of contents hyperlinked to sections in the book. Listing more than 100 diversions, “Games and Activities” provides anyone taking kids on a day hike with loads of tried and true amusements to keep children from getting unruly or bored. The updated version of the book can be purchased online.

Need an editor? Having your book, business document or academic paper proofread or edited before submitting it can prove invaluable. In an economic climate where you face heavy competition, your writing needs a second eye to give you the edge. Whether you come from a big city like Portland, Oregon, or a small town like Papa, Hawaii, I can provide that second eye.


Editor releases first “Hittin’ the Trail” guidebook

The first HtT Interstate State Parkstitle in my new hiking ebook series, Hittin’ the Trail, went on sale this weekend. The debut guidebook is Day Hiking Trails of Wisconsin and Minnesota Interstate State Parks. Each Hittin’ the Trail title focuses on a popular park, county or metro area and lets readers via their ereader:
• Plan a day of fun, family-friendly activities
• Reserve a campsite
• Receive a current list of planned events at the park or area
• Identify great trails perfect for a day hike
• Learn about special kid programs at the park or area


Updated version of ‘Hikes with Tykes’ released

A new Photo 1edition of my book Hikes with Tykes: A Practical Guide to Day Hiking with Kids was released this past week in paperback and on Kindle. Both versions update some of the tips and advice made in the July 2011 edition while the ebook includes working website links and a table of contents hyperlinked to sections in the book. Comprehensive and conversational, this book combines hiking parents' experiences, step-by-step how-to’s, and practical guidelines to help you plan the perfect day hike with your children. The updated version of the book can be purchased online.

Need an editor? Having your book, business document or academic paper proofread or edited before submitting it can prove invaluable. In an economic climate where you face heavy competition, your writing needs a second eye to give you the edge. Whether you come from a big city like Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, or a small town like Cluttsville, Alabama, I can provide that second eye.


Client releases second book, ‘Uncommon Wisdom’

An editing Uncommon Wisdom client of mine, Thomas Whittingslow, has published his second book, “Uncommon Wisdom: The Inspiring Lessons of 12 Extraordinary People.” The book tells the stories of twelve extraordinary people – among them a Nobel Prize winner, a 107-year old Navajo grandmother, and a man who lived connected to an artificial heart machine for two years – who share the inspiring lessons they’ve learned on their journey through life. “Uncommon Wisdom” touches upon such wide-ranging topics as: the purpose of life; artistic breakthroughs; success; personal growth; courage under pressure; confronting death; overcoming racial and gender barriers; foundations for a fulfilling life; business strategies from a CEO; breaking social barriers; caretaking ethics; and spirituality. It is available online in paperback.

Need an editor? Having your book, business document or academic paper proofread or edited before submitting it can prove invaluable. In an economic climate where you face heavy competition, your writing needs a second eye to give you the edge. Whether you come from a big city like Denver, Colorado, or a small town like Dewey Beach, Delaware, I can provide that second eye.



Editing client releases quest novel sequel

An editing LibraryFrontCoverclient of mine, Vance Pumphrey, has published his second novel, “The Library of Antiquity.” It’s the second book in his fantasy quest series, Valdaar’s Fist. The series traces the adventures of an unlikely band of heroes searching for a legendary sword (the aforementioned Valdaar’s Fist). In the latest book, they face their greatest challenge yet – coming up with ever-changing, counterintuitive solutions to the complex puzzles of the mysterious Library of Antiquity. Surviving the maddening maze only leads them to a fierce dragon bent on ending their quest. Currently the book is available on Kindle, Nook, iBook, and Sony Reader with a paperback due out within a few days.

Need an editor? Having your book, business document or academic paper proofread or edited before submitting it can prove invaluable. In an economic climate where you face heavy competition, your writing needs a second eye to give you the edge. Whether you come from a big city like Baltimore, Maryland, or if you come from a small town like Giants Neck, Connecticut, I can provide that second eye.



Your acknowledgements and dedication pages

Many authors 12705171_10153208106345216_5018589852242437927_nlike to take a bow (or curtsy) to those who helped their book become reality. Many also like to honor someone special in their lives by dedicating the book to them. These names respectively appear in the acknowledgements and dedication.

Though the lists may be short, they can appear on separate pages or the same one – it’s entirely up to you. Either way, the acknowledgements and dedication follow the table of contents. Typically they appear in the same typeface and point size as the book’s text. The header “Acknowledgements” and “Dedication” typically is used.

Sometimes the number of people an author wishes to list in the acknowledgements is so long that the names simply are placed at the end of the introduction (more on that section later!). This also allows the author to add a special note to many of these he acknowledges.

Who should appear in the acknowledgements? Anyone the author likes. Still, traditionally if a person created material that appears within the book – say photographs, tables/charts, illustrations, cover design – their names should appear on the title page as well. Others that you wouldn’t list on the title page but that could be placed in the acknowledgements include:
• Supportive family members (spouse, children)
• Editor and proofreaders
• Agent/manager
• Contributors/advisers
• Research assistants
• Former teachers
• Inspirations
• Office staff (attorney, accountants, executive assistants)
• Paginators (those who formatted your book)

Limiting the dedication to just a couple of names at most is traditional. After all, the dedication is a high honor; dedicating a book to a lot of people tends to diminish its specialness.

Finally, always make sure you have the names spelled right and give the correct titles. There’s perhaps no greater way to insult someone than to get their name wrong in a book’s acknowledgements and dedication!

Need an editor? Having your book, business document or academic paper proofread or edited before submitting it can prove invaluable. In an economic climate where you face heavy competition, your writing needs a second eye to give you the edge. Whether you come from a big city like St. Louis, Missouri, or a small town like Cheesequake, New Jersey, I can provide that second eye.



All right, here’s the skinny: After all vs. afterall

Among 240_F_157809617_lxlXXsxbsXcb37EQKB8HkUoGOvOuhnmJthe common grammar errors I’ve spotted during my many years of editing is the use of “afterall.” This probably arises from the same inclination to make “all right” one word by combining them to become “alright.” Alas, “after all,” meaning “in spite of contrary views or expectations” is always two words. In short, “after all” is all right, “afterall” isn’t.

Need an editor? Having your book, business document or academic paper proofread or edited before submitting it can prove invaluable. In an economic climate where you face heavy competition, your writing needs a second eye to give you the edge. Whether you come from a big city like San Diego, California, or a small town like Eek, Arkansas, I can provide that second eye.



Editing client releases first children’s book

An editing client Best Bear Hugs Ever coverof mine from last summer, Scott Washburn, has released his first children’s book, “The Best Bear Hugs Ever.” Written for preschoolers through early elementary kids, the book tells the tale of a father and son who go to the zoo, trying to determine which animal gives the best hugs. The conclusion? Once home, they decide that their own family gives each other the best bear hugs ever. The book is beautifully illustrated by Laura Liberatore and comes with score written by Lucas Denzer. It is available for purchase online.

Need an editor? Having your book, business document or academic paper proofread or edited before submitting it can prove invaluable. In an economic climate where you face heavy competition, your writing needs a second eye to give you the edge. Whether you come from a big city like Spokane, Washington, or a small town like Looneyville, Texas, I can provide that second eye.



Add 'big scenes' to give story some oomph

Does your 240_F_60663162_DcaTXp7PFEQyGpvNoz6xWkBB2PMzNpoQstory’s plot feel flat, as if there’s not enough build-up to the final, fateful act? The story probably lacks big scenes.

A big scene occurs when the story’s drama – which occurs because it is central to the theme – is powerful. Because of this, a big scene is more than just flash and bang.

Think of one of the great big scenes of all time: the final battle between Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader in “Return of the Jedi”. It’s larger than any scene that has occurred before in the movie (perhaps larger than any scene in any of the six “Star Wars” movies, which is prefect as this is the last episode in the series). There’s more at stake than ever: Luke’s life, the lives of his friends such as Princess Leia and Han Solo, the fate of the rebels against the evil Empire. This scene, however, also is thick with thematic elements: son vs. father, the value of self-control vs. rampant emotions, and good vs. evil.

A big scene is more than just the story’s climax, however. Indeed, a big scene should come at regular intervals. Think of the rising action portion of a story’s plot. It’s not a steady, even climb up to the climax but a series of bumps, with a dramatic action that ascends and then falls only to build again. Each bump represents a big scene.

Usually each big scene is bigger than the last. That’s because as nearing the story’s climax, the main character must be increasingly pushed to make a final, do-or-die-like decision. Each of the story’s thematic points are increasingly explored and questioned.

Re-examine your own stories to see if there are big scenes in them. If not, reconsider how you’ve plotted the tales. Is there a more exciting way to tell the story by testing a thematic issue through suspenseful action in increasingly more dramatic ways?

Need an editor? Having your book, business document or academic paper proofread or edited before submitting it can prove invaluable. In an economic climate where you face heavy competition, your writing needs a second eye to give you the edge. Whether you come from a big city like San Francisco, California, or a small town like Nimrod, Oregon, I can provide that second eye.



Story more profound with man vs. himself conflict

Perhaps Dark-1283752_1920the most profound conflict a character can face is when he is at odds with himself. Conflicts in which the protagonist faces off against other individuals or society often result in characters that represent ideals and concepts. But the character that first must deal with his own foibles in order to overcome a villain or oppressive values has learned something. He has grown as a character and become a better human being. Ideally, your readers will grow with this character, making his triumph over others more lasting in the readers’ minds.

An example of man vs. himself conflict is Anakin Skywalker’s internal struggle in “Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith” in which the young jedi must decide if he will serve the powers of good or turn to the Dark Side. In this case, Skywalker makes the wrong choices and becomes the villain Darth Vader.

If handled correctly, a man vs. himself conflict can raise a story to high art. The “Star Trek: The Original Series” episode “The City on the Edge of Forever” in which Captain Kirk must decide between his love for a woman and his responsibility to the future of humanity is modern tragedy. In Stanslaw Lem’s “Solaris”, a psychologist is reunited with what appears to be his wife but in reality is an amalgam of his memories of her. The result is an intense psychological struggle worthy of the best contemporary literature.

Arguably, your story gains sophistication when your main character must do overcome a challenge other than defeating the forces of nature or a straight villain. To survive being marooned on a desert world or succeed in taking down an alien menace, your main character ought to first have to overcome some internal conflict that in turn allows him to be victorious over nature or invader. For example, in Anne McCaffrey’s short story “The Smallest Dragonboy,” the main character Keevan must learn self-discipline and gain self-confidence to achieve his goal of becoming a dragonrider. In doing so, he overcomes the story’s wider challenge of being ridiculed by the other older and stronger boys.

Your story almost always is better when a man vs. himself conflict rests at its core.

Need an editor? Having your book, business document or academic paper proofread or edited before submitting it can prove invaluable. In an economic climate where you face heavy competition, your writing needs a second eye to give you the edge. Whether you come from a big city like Arlington, Texas, or a small town like Chicken, Alaska, I can provide that second eye.