The Importance of Proofreading

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As some folks here know I’m in the process of republishing the second book in my series, Argentum. I wrote this book three years ago starting with the first draft during NaNoWriMo of 2013. I polished it and self-edited it, sent it out to beta readers, and edited it again. Then it went to my publisher at the time who edited it and sent it back to me for proofreading. I proofread, found errors that were corrected and it was published.

During the years it was published by the small press several friends found more errors that I made note of and when I got my rights back I fixed. I went over the whole thing again myself and then hired a professional proofreader who still found tons of errors! Fixed them all, read it again and sent off for a paper proof.

This week I’ve been sitting with the paperback copy reading it yet again (I know my story backwards and forwards by now, but amazingly I still like it.) And guess what? I’M STILL FINDING ERRORS!!!!

So folks remember this – it’s a process. Never assume because a professional editor has been through your work that you don’t have to check it. Check it, check it again and keep checking it and eventually you’ll get an (almost) perfect copy!

Also if you’re looking for an editor or proofreader, I do that too. Check out the Editing and Proofreading tab on the top of the page.

And remember to preorder the brand new (hopefully error free) version of Argentum releasing on December 1st.

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Ready, Set, NaNo 2016

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Five years ago I started my author journey with NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). I’d just come out of cancer treatment a few months before and had always wanted to write a book, but before cancer I’d thought I had all the time in the world for that. That it could wait until the kids were older, until my life was more in order. Cancer made me realize that we never know how much time we really have on this earth and if I truly wanted to write a book I needed to stop talking about it and do it.

I’d heard of NaNoWriMo – a friend had attempted it the year before, so when an idea emerged during October 2012 I decided to have a go at writing it. And so P.A.W.S. was born. That first NaNo was amazing. I launched myself into my story. Forgot to eat and sleep, but by the end of the month I’d written “The End” on that first draft and achieved something I’d wanted to do my whole life.

Five years later I’m start writing Book 4 of my series today. Each one of the previous books started as NaNo projects. Why don’t you join me?

(Oh and remember to reward yourself with a little chocolate or whatever you prefer whenever you complete your daily words.)

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Say Shalom to Assaph Mehr

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Today on Paws 4 Thought we welcome author Assaph Mehr and his feline muses, Felix and Tiger-lily.

  1. Tell us a little bit about yourself, Assaph.

I was born in Israel, where one can’t avoid treading on antiquities. I think living in the area of the dawn of civilization was influential in growing up to love history so much. I now make Australia my home, with my wife, two cats and a variable number of children on any given day (long story).

I always liked to read, and have spent most of my life with my nose in a book. I read a lot of science fiction and fantasy as a kid, and recently fell in love with historical fiction, particularly that set in Ancient Rome.

  1. When did you first start writing?

Very recently. I had my nose in a book since I was a child, and whilst seeing my name in print was on my bucket-list, I never thought to actually go and do something about it.

I had the idea for a fantasy detective story and for the particular twist ending for a while. Then one hot night in January 2015 my wife complained that she had nothing good left to read, so I just sat down and started writing. And I didn’t stop until I finished the novel.

  1. As some readers of this blog are aware my son, Joey, named our cat Miri after the protagonist of P.A.W.S. I hear you did it the other way – is it true that your protagonist, Felix, is named after your cat?

Yes, it’s true. ‘Felix’ in Latin means lucky, and it fits both my cat and my protagonist. Besides, it was past midnight and I needed to come up with a Roman name for my character. My cat was already there, helping me write, so he got first honours:

Felix

His sister, Tiger-lily, was more involved in the editing process, as an over-the-shoulder tough critic:

Tiger-lily

  1. Who are your favorite authors?

So many! On the historical fiction side, probably Colleen McCullough, Steven Saylor and Lindsey Davis stand out. The last two also cover mystery novel, and I will only add the amazing Boris Akunin.

On the fantasy side too many to mention, from classics like JRR Tolkein and Fritz Leiber, to modern authors like Neil Gaiman and Terry Prachett.

I haven’t read Jim Butcher yet, but I’ve had several people comment that Felix is reminiscent of Harry Dresden in a toga. I have a feeling I’m about to discover a new favourite.

  1. What inspires you to write?

Like many other authors, it’s an itch that needs scratching. Once started, it’s impossible to stop.

I’ve always been an avid reader. I’ve had random scenes and ideas running through my mind. All it took was the prompt from my darling wife to sit down and start writing. After that, inspiration is not the problem. As I wrote my first novel, I just had more and more ideas for future novels, ideas I am working with now. It’s the 99% perspiration that’s hard work.

  1. Tell us a little bit about Murder In Absentia.

Quite simply, it’s the story I wanted to read. I loved historical fiction about ancient Rome since the first time I read Asterix. I’ve read a lot of classic sci-fi and fantasy in my youth, as well as classic detectives. Lately I’ve read a lot Roman mysteries, like those of Steven Saylor and Lindsey Davis. So when it came time to write, I knew exactly what I wanted.

The story itself is a classic noir detective. A young man dies, his powerful family wants to know why. Felix goes after the people responsible, and gets drawn into a little circle of nasty people. What makes this story unique – besides the very surprising plot twists – is the setting. The melding of Ancient Roman culture (I’ve done hours and hours of research into every aspect) together with the high-fantasy magical world.

I’ve subtitled the novel as a “Story of Togas, Daggers, and Magic” as it draws on all three elements equally.

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  1. So what’s next for Felix?

Felix will continue solving cases, usually those involving corpses no one else wants to touch. A few short cases appear on the blog, but he is currently working for one of the city’s top magistrates in clearing a haunted house. It seems like even large apartment buildings – or especially large apartment buildings – can have their own unique troubles.

Never Practice Magic When You're Drunk

  1. What do you like to do to relax?

I can’t remember, it’s not like I have time to relax…

But late at night, after the kids are asleep and the cats are comfortably ensconced in my lap, that’s when I write. I do find the writing process extremely satisfying, though I can’t say that the glass of legal-age scotch doesn’t help.

  1. If you had a super power what would it be?

The one I’d like to have is to stop time. I could always use more hours in the day.

The one I’m stuck with is that I’m partially anosmic, and can withstand really bad smells without a trouble. (My kryptonite is fart jokes – I just can’t stop laughing).

  1. If you could have dinner with anyone real or fictional who would you choose?

This is one of those questions I never know how to answer. So many bright people, yet I fear I wouldn’t know what to say to them.

You know that feeling what someone says something, and you’re left speechless, and hours later you come up with the perfect comeback? Well, being witty on paper is easy – you just put a [witty retort goes here] marker, and add it in when it comes to you.

Spend dinner with actual, live people like Neil Gaiman? I’d be star-struck and mumble too much.

  1. How can readers connect with you?

Here is where you can find my on the webz:

Website: http://egretia.com
Blog: http://egretia.com/news
Facebook: http://facebook.com/AssaphMehrAuthor
Twitter: @assaphmehr
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14422472.Assaph_Mehr
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Murder-in-absentia-Felix-Fox-Book-ebook/dp/B015TXPPG6

Murder in-absentia - Assaph Mehr - Small Cover

 

 

 

 

 

Seven Things You Didn’t Know About Me as a Writer

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Over at The Dragon’s Rocketship (the coolest group on Facebook) we’re doing a thing, so I thought I’d share it here too.

So here are seven things you (probably) didn’t know about me as a writer:

  1. I had my first mention in a publication when I was nine years old. I wrote a story about turning into a ladybird and sent it to the Puffin Post. I sent lots and lots of stories and poems to the Puffin Post, but this was the only one that got a mention.
  2. I wrote a series of novels at about the same age in exercise books. I even still remember the titles: Rodney and Me (Rodney was a big Old English Sheepdog that hung around our school playground), The Day the Workman Came (based on the time the workman dug up our school playground), The School Flood (Barking, where I grew up was in a flood zone, so we had drills – Back then I thought it would be cool to have a flood!) and Parents Week (when the parents got to go to school instead of the kids.)
  3. I won a poetry contest run by my Sunday School about eating Kosher food – I remember the first line of the poem – “You always must try to keep Kosher, whether you’re in Paris or Nova Scotia!”
  4. I used to keep diaries all the way through Senior School and College, then one day after I’d broken up with my boyfriend I tore up and threw away the whole lot! (My mum on the other hand kept her teenage diary and I found it when I was cleaning out her house – she let me keep it and today it’s one of my greatest treasures – she even wrote some stories in the back of her diary.)
  5. In my adult years I started many novels, but never finished any of them. There was one fantasy novel I might go back to some time (if I can find the exercise books it was written in), I remember it had a very funny vegetarian ogre in it.
  6. I am a cancer survivor – It was going through cancer treatment that made me start taking my writing seriously. I realized that if I really wanted to finish a novel (and maybe be published) I couldn’t wait – none of us know how long we have on this Earth.
  7. I’m addicted to tea which I drink hot, strong, and with milk (though it doesn’t have to be Earl Grey!). I make many many mugs of it during each day and can’t write (or think) without a mug of tea close by.

So there you have it – think I’m going to get myself a new mug of tea now . . .

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