"I LOVE this story arc for all its twists and turns. As always, the characters are well-drawn, compelling, and either very likable or they evoke dislike or even hate (e.g., Lowball and his gang of Satan’s Dogs).
Romance lovers will go crazy over this one!" Review by Cindy L. Draughon
Excerpt (ARC - Currently in Editing)
The biker returned that evening, accompanied by half a dozen of his brothers. The rumble of their vehicles caught the attention of animals and humans alike. Melanie’s father ventured outside, shotgun leveled and ready. Melanie and Julie peeked at their unwanted visitors from the barn where they were finishing up evening chores. Melanie’s eyes flickered over the bloodstained spot where Buster had been killed. Not one to tolerate waste, Daddy had hauled the carcass to the local butcher for processing.
“What do you want?” the old man shouted.
The big, handsome biker who’d escorted Melanie from the rally dismounted his steel steed and approached, hands raised, palms open.
“I just want to talk to you and the girl.” He paused, then said her name, “Melanie.”
The muzzle of the shotgun swept across the line of bikers.
“And them? What’re they here for?”
“We don’t need your help.”
Stubborn old man. Hammer sighed and explained again, “Look, mister, Satan’s Dogs is a big club, bigger than Black Ice Revolution, and not known for their easygoing, forgiving nature. Your daughter humiliated one of their own. It doesn’t matter to them or their allies that Lowball was in the wrong: he was shown up by a girl. They’ve lost respect and they’ll do what they think necessary to get it back. You’re risking yourself and both girls if you don’t accept our protection.”
The old man’s eyes narrowed with angry suspicion. “You folks only protect what’s yours.”
Hammer squared his shoulders. “I claimed Melanie in front of the entire rally to make sure she got out of there safely. I put my reputation on the line, so she’d better be mine.”
“No!” Melanie screeched. Dropping an empty bucket, she marched toward them. “No! I don’t belong to anyone!”
Even though I'm a freelancer, writing and editing is my job. I enjoy doing both, which makes it great job. Like many jobs, however, it comes with ups and downs, things I like and things I dislike. After all, ain't nothin' perfect.
Part of my job concerns networking and marketing myself as open for business and as an author. Some of that is accomplished on Facebook where hordes of other authors attempt to convince people to buy their books. (I'm no different.) Many post excerpts of their work. A well-written, intriguing excerpt piques curiosity and interest. A poorly written excerpt backfires.
Once in a great while, I contact the author with a private message to alert him or her as to the easily fixed errors in the content posted. After all, if you want to sell your book, then posting an excerpt riddled with mistakes gives a poor impression. Only once have I received a response from an author thanking me. Once, the author made the corrections, but didn't acknowledge the error. Frankly, I'd hope that someone noticing errors in my posted excerpts--there will be errors because I'm not perfect--will alert me to them so they can be fixed.
Since editing is how I make my living, I'm particularly sensitive to the use of language. Frankly, I prefer editing fiction to nonfiction, because who doesn't like a story? Not everything must be straightforward and blunt. Brevity and passive voice have their places and uses, as do allusion, allegory, and alliteration. Hah! I appreciate the poetic and lyrical as much as the staccato syllables of succinct and direct prose. My heart goes pitter-patter when an author makes language sing.
However, we don't always get to do what we want, when we want, how we want, where we want, or with whom we want. To wit, I'm working on editing a manual. It's over 90,000 words of a topic that doesn't interest me in the least. The tone is dry, and I cannot figure out how to convert the pervasive passive voice to active voice without changing the point of view from didactic, third person POV to a more concise, conversational, second person POV style. That would require rewriting most of the manual, which they're not paying me to do.
At the other end of the narrative spectrum is an excerpt that appeared in my Facebook feed. It's ... florid. I cannot read that single paragraph, a neon-bright example of purple prose, without taking a break. The excerpt's grammar is excellent, the punctuation spot-on, the language ... that made me shudder. Knowing how that author writes, I would not offer to edit for him, if only because I cannot appreciate his style of prose. To put it simply: we'd clash.
We all have preferences. As editor and writer, I don't work with horror. Yep, my preference. I know what horror does to my impressionable mind, how it takes root and affects my imagination. It ain't pretty or pleasant.
Perhaps that's the best part of freelancing. I do get to indulge in my preferences to some extent. What a luxury!
I edit for a talented young writer, Dominic Brogsdale, who brings the raw, violent, and sometimes beautiful experience of his experiences to the page. He was recently invited to present a public reading of an excerpt of his self-published short story "Evil on Top of Evil." The story, published in two parts, is part of his "Children of Darkness" series, illustrating life in the poorest urban neighborhoods with gritty realism. He decided to read from the second part. Enjoy!