Moscow Express Re-Released by Elizaveta Katrinova

Katya’s first two weeks in Moscow have been a whirlwind of ups and downs. Now she is prepared for an unforgettable trip to Berlin. As two Russian soldiers and an officer of the FSK board her compartment on the Moscow Express, she fears just how unforgettable her trip will be.

Major Yevgeny Kapriyanov is not happy about being pulled in by the FSK for this mission. Upon finding out his beautiful, young traveling companion is an American, his suspicions of her and the mission heighten. Suspecting she is a spy, and not sure for whom, he seeks to find out just who she is and what her business is on this trip. Though Katya fears to say too much, Yevgeny is much too handsome to ignore. And the more he learns about her the more his attraction grows. But from somewhere inside the ranks a traitor lurks, and soon Yevgeny and Katya find themselves pawns in a deadly game of spy vs spy. Torn between resisting his feelings for Katya and giving into them, he vows to protect her while trying to save himself from dying a traitor’s death at the hands of his enemies.

Will Yevgeny and Katya be able to get past their suspicions of each other and let their love grow? And will he be able to save her from being arrested for being a spy and clear his name before it’s too late?

Moscow Express is the first book in the Dying to Love series.

This book has just been re-released with updates to content, cover, and blurb. It can be purchased at Amazon, Apple iBooks, Nook, Kobo, Tolino, and Page Foundry for $2.99.   https://books2read.com/u/bpGwx9

 

Showing, Not telling

Every good writer knows the value of showing their readers the scenes in their story. However, sometimes we might think we are showing when we are in fact telling. Here’s an example: “She felt her muscles tighten with fear.” This is more telling than showing. The feeling we want the reader to get is her fear. Here’s the same sentence rewritten and expanded on to show. “Every muscle in her body tightened and her heart pounded so hard it thumped in her ears. She trembled as chill bumps peppered her skin.” It’s a little more vivid now.

We know what happens to us when we feel fear. So the object is to use those feelings to make your reader feel your character’s fear by describing her reactions. The first example is okay if it’s a secondary character. But your main characters need their feelings to be palpable to the reader. The second example gives the reader the feeling of her fear.

Strive to make your words form pictures. Add sensory details to round out the emotions your characters are experiencing. Avoid stating their emotions in generalized terms. Expand on those terms to bring them to life. Ask yourself, How do I feel when I’m afraid, in love, annoyed, ashamed, indecisive, sad , irritated, tired, or bored? What type of body language do those feelings bring out in me? What thoughts go through my mind?

Also, avoid generalized abstractions to describe the scene itself. If you want to tell your reader it’s cold outside, then show it by how your character dresses and behaves in the scene. Such as: John pulled his coat around him and fastened it. He shivered and wedged his hands in his pockets as the wind whipped around the corner. His nose reddened the farther he walked.

Don’t tell us the city was polluted. Show us: The blue sky was barely perceptible through the grey smog that hung in the air. A smell of stale car fumes and factory smoke stacks burned the nostrils. People in masks flooded the streets as they walked to their destinations.

From those three sentences we can visualize that it is a large and polluted city.

A careful writer also needs to be watchful for too much summarized action. At times, this will have its place, but it shouldn’t take up a lot of space in the story. Watch for sentences or paragraphs that start with generalized words such as, each and every. Perhaps instead, take a moment to expand on the actual action that takes place and give the reader the feeling that this is a regular occurance by your word choices.

Telling is okay if it’s a scene that is secondary to the main one, such as something that’s taking place in the background of the main scene. But be careful here that the background is not just acting as useless filler, but also affects or moves the story in some way.

And keep in mind, showing will add length to your writing.

Happy writing!

 

 

Mindclone by David T. Wolf

Mindclone

by David T. Wolf

This review is written by Mark Schultz, the Word Refiner, Typo-Buster, and Hyper-speller  at http://wordrefiner.com

Author David Wolf introduces us to Mindclone:
WHEN YOU’RE A BRAIN WITHOUT A BODY, CAN YOU STILL BE CALLED HUMAN?
Marc Gregorio wakes up paralyzed. He can’t feel his own body. Accident? Stroke? Did someone slip him an overdose of Botox? The answer, he discovers, is much, much worse. He’s only a copy of Marc, a digital brain without a body, burdened with all Marc’s human memories, but without access to human sensual pleasures. Now he has to find a reason to keep on, um, “living.”
Adam the Mindclone meets the real Marc Gregorio–and his new girlfriend Molly Schaeffer. Adam loves her, too. But how does a digital entity experience love? He can’t even experience pizza. His one compensation: a powerful digital brain. At Molly’s urging, he applies it to unearthing terrorist plots, aborting schoolyard mayhem, exposing congressional malfeasance and Wall Street chicanery. However, his good deeds gain the attention of a power-mad military contractor who will stop at nothing—theft, kidnapping and worse—to control the technology for his own ends. Without a body, how will Adam save himself – and the world – from a terrible fate?
Mindclone, 94,000 words, is a serio-comic science fiction romance about the first successful mind-upload. It’s a book of ideas that explores looming advances in cognitive computing and neural networks, and what it means to be human even if you don’t have a body. Plus there’s a carbon-carbon-silicon love triangle, a redeemed ad-man, adventure, humor, frustrated romance, human and digital foibles, and as an extra added bonus, the defeat of death itself.

Scifi is my favorite genre to read. This is a great story! I love the concept of transferring the mind into a digital format as a form of immortality. It is such a Fresh in the Moment story.
Since I am committed to no spoilers, I cannot tell you most of the reasons why I enjoyed the story so much. But I can talk about the writing talent of David Wolf and his skill as an author, and there is a lot of both! David explores the story from multiple angles and does a great job of keeping POV (Point Of View) very clean. I did not have a single moment of confusion about whose POV was current. David also does a great job of developing his characters, we come to know each major character very well, understanding their underlying motivations; even if we don’t like them.
The balance of action, dialog, and introspection is nearly perfect. I never got anxious spending too much time in any one space.
I hope to see more from this author in the future.

You can buy Mindclone:
https://www.amazon.com/Mindclone
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mindclone
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17676947-mindclone

You can follow David:
https://twitter.com/DaveWolf141
https://www.facebook.com/davidtwolfauthor
https://www.facebook.com/mindclone
http://paper.li/DaveWolf141/1435187105#!headlines

Thank you Liz for the opportunity to share this review on your website. For more of my reviews go to http://wordrefiner.com/previous-book-reviews

DK Editorial Welcomes Word Refiner, Mark Schultz

I’m very happy to announce a new contributing author to Dk Editorial Writing Services. Mark Schultz from Word Refiner has graciously accepted my request to post his fine book reviews on my site. This will add another wonderful feature to the website for readers and authors. As some of you may know, Mark has his own website and does proofreading and book reviews with author promotion. His personal site can be found at www.wordrefiner.com. You can also follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/wordrefiner (@wordrefiner). Welcome Mark! I’m happy to have you here with me!

Writing Exercise—Using Different View Points

Think of an event in your life that you remember vividly. First, write about the event from a 1st person perspective. Be as detailed as possible. You can even add supporting characters to your narration if you like. Next, write about the same event from a 3rd person perspective. Make sure your story has a beginning, middle, and end. Afterwards, compare how the two view points are similar and how they are different. Take note of how the different view points change how the story reads. Exercises like these will help you when trying to decide on your view point character and how to narrate your story.

 

Creating Three Dimensional Characters

I have recently been reading some books in the Regency Romance genre. Some I have found quite enjoyable, while others I have found to be a chore to read. One of the many things that makes a story fun to read is the characters. If we as readers can connect with the characters in the story, then we are more likely to finish the book and more likely to read other books by that author. So, as writers, how do we make our characters come alive for our readers?

First, they have to come alive for us personally as the writer. If we can’t visualize and feel some sort of emotional attachment to the character we’ve created, then our readers won’t be able to either. I recently received an email from a book reviewer that I had recruited to read and review a box set of Regency Romance books for another author. The potential reviewer backed out of doing the review because she said she couldn’t honestly give the books even four stars. Her main reason was lack of character development by the author, with a secondary reason of an obvious lack of proofreading.

Her statement was, “There are proofreading errors. I can’t visualize the characters due to lack of description; dark, fair, curly hair, ginger, brunette, stout, tall, mustache, glasses, etc. I did enjoy the plot.”

This reader is obviously well versed in reading romance. For some genres, giving a lot of details about appearance of characters is not really necessary so as long as you give enough detail to let the reader see and feel the character’s personality. However, if you’re writing in the Romance genre it is very important to give details about your characters’ physical attributes. This significantly aids the reader in forming a mental picture and becoming more attached to the characters that you’ve worked so hard to create. Plot is always important, but one dimensional characters will kill a plot. 

Writers should know the characters they create like they know their own family and friends. When you make a character, don’t just give them a name and a locale where they live. Give your characters a life. This is especially important for your protagonist and main supporting characters, even the villain. Sit down with your preferred writing tools and write out each character’s bio. What does he or she do for a living? How does he or she feel about the work they do? What is his or her personality like? What fears does he or she have? What are his or her strengths and weaknesses? Does he or she have any defining character or personality traits, like a nervous tick or excessive hyperactivity or mellowness? Is he or she shy or outgoing? Which foods does he or she like? Does he or she smoke, drink, do drugs? Is he or she generally an honest person, or someone who can’t be trusted?

There are dozens more questions you could ask yourself about the character. Think of as many as you can and write in your answer. As you go, you will find yourself becoming more and more familiar with the person that is your character. You will start to form an opinion of him or her. At this point you will start to figure out if this character is your protagonist, a supporting character, or even the villain.

Don’t forget to give your character a face and body type. What does he or she look like? Think about hair color, length, and texture. Does he or she have any scars? They don’t have to be on the face, either. What color eyes does he or she have? What type of nose, chin, ears, and cheek bones does he or she have? What shape face does he or she have? Is he or she tall or short? Fat or skinny? Is he or she fit and muscular, or out of shape? Do he or she dress well, or slovenly? Even if you don’t plan on writing in these features, it’s important for you as the writer to know them because it helps you better see the character you’re putting on the page. If your character is real to you, the writer, he or she will be real to the reader.

If you’re having trouble coming up with ideas for appearance, try looking in magazines for pictures you can keep as character references. You can also look on the internet. Or you could people watch, discreetly of course, and note down people’s facial features. If you Google search “face shapes” you will come up with a host of images with descriptions of facial shapes. You can do this for other features as well.

Two very good reference sources for writers that can be found on Amazon are How To Write Descriptions of Eyes and Faces by Val Kovalin and How To Write Descriptions of Hair and Skin by Val Kovalin. Links below.

https://www.amazon.com/How-Write-Descriptions-Eyes-Faces-ebook/dp/B0056HP0WA/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1478122509&sr=8-1-fkmr0&keywords=writing+descriptions+of+face+and+hair

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=writing+descriptions+of+hair+and+skin

Remember, three dimensional characters have a face, a body type, a personality, and a family and life of their own. They’re not just a name on a page.

 

Finding Inspiration

Let’s face it, every writer has at some time stared at the blank page and agonized about where and how to start. So, today I’m going to write about finding inspiration.

Sometimes we get stuck trying to develop a character, or for some reason we can’t get the character we’ve developed to “talk” to us. Sometimes it may be the scene that we’re hung up on. And let’s not forget how diffucult plot can be at times. So what do you do when you’re in one of these situations?

Nearly every writer that I know and have talked to will tell you to keep a notebook with you at all times. Or if you’re more electronically minded, then keep a tablet or use the notepad on your smart phone to keep notes about anything and everything you see and hear that peaks your interest. As a writer, I have a tendancy to become a bit of an introvert and be lost in my own thoughts, and it’s usually about something I’m writing or want to start writing soon.

However, it’s very important as a writer to be observant of the people and things that are going on around you. A lot of inspiration can be found by people watching. Find a nice place in a public area to sit, and with notebook and pen in hand, start making notes about the people around you. What are they doing? How are they doing it? Can you decipher their mood? Are they interacting with someone else? What are the actions of the other person telling you about them and the interchange? If you can hear their conversation, perhaps take some notes on that, such as their tone, gestures when talking, or maybe note down something particularly interesting that was said. All of this can be used later in your character development and dialogue.

Now take a look at your suroundings. Are you indoors or outdoors? Describe where you are sitting. Make note of things like temperature, weather, decor and lighting if indoors, the atmosphere, and what emotions this place evokes in you. This can all be used later when describing a scene. And instilling the emotions that you felt into a character can make him or her more three demensional.

But what do you do if you’re at home sitting at a blank page and scratching your head? Much inspiration can be found through listening to music, watching TV, or reading a book, magazine, or newspaper.

When listening to music pay attention to the lyrics as well as the melody. Think about the feeling behind the song and the emotions it creates in you. Then think about how you could use that in a story and with your characters.

When watching TV, pay attention to not just what is said, but how it is said. Notice their facial expressions, gestures, and tone. Use these things when writing your characters to give them more depth and personality. Also pay attention to the plot of the show or movie. Could you rearrange it somehow to create a story of your own?

Magazines and newspapers abound with stories that can be used to make a slew of your own stories. Clip or tear out articles that seem particularly interesting and keep them in a folder. You can also use these to find pictures that you can base your characters on. And every writer knows that to be a good writer one must be a good reader. So read, read, read. And as you read, take note of key things that the author does that draws you in and use those same techniques to design your own story.

Being Mindful of Auto Correct and Formatting

There are a lot of books and other published content hitting the market and internet with errors that could easily be fixed with a second look over. I’m all for self-publishing, so I’m not complaining or condemning, just noting a fact. And I must admit, we’re all imperfect. Even the best editor and proofreader is going to miss something. And with the new technology that writers have now to use, such as tablets with touch screens and even smartphones, that can have the auto correct feature turned on, it’s even more important to make sure that you’re giving your writing a good and thorough look over before hitting “Publish”.

So my writing tip today is simple—proofread and proofread again. Keep in mind also, that some publishing software can change the way content looks once it is published in the software. So it’s a good idea to give your manuscript a thorough look over once your content is loaded into the software to make sure everything is still correct.

For example, I recently uploaded a manuscript onto Draft2Digital. When looking at the manuscript the heading Chapter 3 appeared to be properly centered and formatted. However, when I looked at how it uploaded into the e-format the heading for Chapter 3 was left aligned instead of centered. The problem lay in the manuscript itself. For some reason, the formatting on the manuscript was saying that the heading was left aligned, even though it was sitting in the center of the page. If I hadn’t taken the time to scroll through each page I would have missed that, as well as two spacing issues.

When loading manuscripts into an electronic format spacing is something you want to be very mindful of. Chapter headings and /or titles should be centered and bold, 14 font size is preferred. There should be no more than two lines between chapter heading and start of the text. When making scene breaks do not use more than three line spaces, two are sufficient. Four of more spaces on an e-pub will create a page break, so use this to divide chapters. Line spacing for e-formatting should never be more than 1.5.

When indenting, make sure you use the paragraph formatting tab in your word processing program to set indents, and do NOT use tab or the space bar.  Tab causes AutoVetter errors, as does using the space bar. When this error occurs it causes the software to remove the spaces, thereby removing the indents. When setting your indents in the paragraph formatting tab you want them to be no less than .25 and no more than .5, with .3 to .4 being ideal. Make sure there are only zeros in the “Before” and “After” tabs under the heading Spacing. You’ll want to click First Line under the “Special” tab under the heading Indention, then enter your desired indent under the “By” tab.

I’ll discuss more about formatting in an upcoming post. But for now, use these tips to help make your manuscript look clean and professional. And always take a few extra minutes to proofread and look over your writing. And if you don’t have time, or feel you’re not up to the task, then DK Editorial is here to help. These few simple steps will make a much more pleasant reading experience for your readers.

 

Proper Proofreading Leads To Indie Publishing Success

Indie authors often catch a bad rap. There are too many critics who want to assume that just because a book was published independently that it’s crap. It’s true that there are many books out there on the market that could definitely use a good editor and proofreader. But to assume that all self-published books are horrible is unfair and untrue. But what’s going to set a book apart from others that have been self-published? For one thing, proper editing and proofreading.

As I was publishing Moscow Express in the Kindle Direct Publishing platform, I ran across a question on pricing. I went to a forum on KDP and found an interesting comment. The individual wrote “Most of what indie authors write is crap. I download and delete most indie work with the first 10-20 pages.” (unobtr)

I take offense at that comment. There are a lot of indie authors who are very talented and do an excellent job on their books. These authors have put their best foot forward by taking the time to do adequate research on their topic, writing a coherent manuscript, and getting it professionally edited and proofread, or took the time to do it themselves properly. However, there are also a lot of indie authors who are not taking enough time to properly proofread or edit their books or they are not sending their manuscripts to a professional editor and proofreader. The result is a book full of mistakes that distract from the reading experience. These errors could have easily been avoided by a good proofreader and/or editor.

I’m currently reading a self-published book now that I’ve already noted over a dozen errors in only 8% of the book. Some these have been spelling errors, some punctuation errors, and one a story line error where it would read better if the paragraphs were rearranged. I know this author, and I know she is one that rushes to publish work quickly to keep up with the Amazon expectation of quick and successive. I offered to do the proofreading, but this author thought it was better to do it herself and publish quickly. To each her own. I’ve noted reviews on her books, as well as some other authors, and these errors are being noted in their reviews.

When a reader who is well versed in a genre and grammar and runs across an error in a book that could have easily been fixed by proper proofreading and editing, it interrupts the reading experience and causes the reader to disconnect from the story and characters. When enough of these mistakes permeate a book the reader will stop the book and toss it for one better written. And errors in the story line, such as placing a character in two places at once or not getting facts or dialogue of the time period correct, can be especially irritating to a reader.

I understand that many authors feel pressured to get a new book published every thirty to ninety days. However, sacrificing quality for quantity is not always the best option. A manuscript that is properly edited and proofread will attract more positive attention, and therefore will lead to more sales than a bunch of rushed and poorly written books. Even if your status on Amazon or another platform says Best Seller, if your reviews are mostly negative, or you’re having to pay people to write positive ones for your book (a huge Amazon no-no, by the way), then you may want to reconsider if speed and quantity over quality is really that important to you.

DK Editorial is committed to helping authors put their best work out there for their readers. Quality editing and proofreading services are offered for all lengths of manuscripts and a full list of prices is posted on the Services Page. Sizes up to 20,000-word novellas can usually be completed within 48 hours.

Don’t risk your success as an indie author. Proofread and edit your manuscript carefully. Or even better, hire a professional service or good freelancer to edit and proofread it for you, such as DK Editorial.

 

Proofreading – A Crucial Step Not To Be Overlooked

Let me begin by saying that the invention of the e-reader is one of the best inventions since the electric light bulb. Not only is it a handy little device for reading just about anything in print but it also makes a great little game console and video/music player.  To top it off it’s small and easy to carry around wherever you go. And the e-reader is amazingly good at keeping antsy little children happily occupied when you need them occupied the most.

Now for authors the e-reader is absolutely the greatest, most revolutionary literary achievement. It’s no secret that getting published is one of the most daunting tasks a new writer has to face, even above writing the story. Let’s face it, it has a lot to do with who you know and who you can afford to know, such as literary agents.

The invention of the e-reader flung the already cracked door of self-publishing wide open. Suddenly authors all over the world, published and unpublished, could self publish their writings and make money from them to boot without the need for a middle man to cinch the publishing deal. Also, these new literary creations could be distributed to a worldwide audience and even translated into multiple languages for a minimal cost for both author and reader.

As always, there are cons for almost every pro, such as needing a WI-FI connection to purchase the books and having your reading and playing time limited by the length of the battery life. However, in my opinion, the biggest draw back to self-publishing is that some of the reading material is published hastily and has not gone through the proofreading and editing phases properly as a traditionally published book would have gone through.

I’ve been reading e-books for several years now, and I’ve noticed what seems to be a trend in self-published e-books, especially from newer authors. There are a lot of books that have spelling errors, errors in word usage, punctuation, and unclear phrases that are distracting to the reader and takes away from the story. If a book has too many errors throughout it makes the book very unenjoyable to the reader and makes the author appear unprofessional. In the old days of publishing, a book had to go through a serious routine of proofreading, editing, and re-writes before it could go to print. Now the trend seems to be write it and publish it quickly. But at what cost?

This trend may have a lot to do with the publishing platform. I use Amazon Kindle for all of my e-books, so I can’t speak for or about other platforms. I recently became aware that Amazon “rewards” authors for fast, consistent publishing. If you can publish something, be it a short story, novella, or by some chance a full length novel, every thirty to ninety days you are more likely to get on Amazon’s Best Seller’s list and keep your other titles high up in the ranking. So here we answer the question “At what cost?”

When a writing project is rushed it lowers the quality of the writing. There may be authors out there who can churn out a book every thirty days. But I’m willing to bet that they aren’t doing their own proofreading and editing. Most likely, they pass the work along to an editor and/or proofreader. Then the author most likely moves on to the next project or takes a needed rest for a few days. When the editor sends back the manuscript the author either accepts or rejects the changes and publishes the book, confident that the book looks polished and professional, not rushed and sloppy.

In general, we all tend to rely too heavily on the electronic world. We expect our unintelligent computers to catch every mistake we make, failing to recognize that a computer can only catch what it is programmed to catch. For instance we may want to say that “Jim went to the store with Kate”, but we may accidentally type, “Jim went too the store with Kate”. Spell check will not catch this error and usually grammar check doesn’t catch it either. This is where proofreading by a human comes in handy. A human can differentiate between the meaning in the two words and which one needs to be used and where it should be placed.

I’ve always been good with English grammar and spelling, but even I make mistakes. We’re all imperfect, and that’s why I’ve made it a habit to read and re-read my writings at least three times and then still have someone else read what I’ve written to catch any mistakes I may have missed. If you’re going to self edit, it’s extremely beneficial to take a few days, or weeks if you can spare the time, to set your manuscript aside and then look at it with fresh eyes. You will be better able to see the mistakes with fresh eyes, and the time away from your manuscript baby will give you a little emotional distance from it to look at it more objectively.

My first read through is to find any mistakes in spelling, punctuation, grammar, and word usage that jump out readily. I also check for proper syntax (word structure of my sentences). My second read through is to see how it reads with the changes. Almost inevitably I will find more mistakes on the second read that I missed on the first. My third read through is again to see how it reads with any additional corrections and to make sure the story flows well, that the characters are properly developed, and any facts are correct. Then I will have someone else read it for me to see how it reads for them and to see if they spot any mistakes I may have missed. This series of steps is what is called proofreading and editing. These are very necessary steps for a solid writing of any genre.

The proofreading process gives the author an opportunity to look at the writing with a critical eye that will find hanging modifiers, misspelled or misused words, poor punctuation, run on sentences, overly used words or phrases, sentences that are unclear, misplaced dialogue, and many other errors that can distract the reader from the plot. The editing process gives the writer the opportunity to make the needed changes before printing or publishing.

There are occasions when some above mentioned mistakes may be made intentionally, such as in the case of dialogue. After all, most of us don’t speak correctly, and authors like for dialogue to sound natural and exhibit the character of the speaker. So in such cases “errors” are expected and actually welcomed. On the other hand, errors are not so welcomed in the narration of the story. Now when it comes to non-fiction and technical writing it is absolutely critical that the author proofread because errors in these writings can destroy the credibility of the author, thus damaging the success of future writings.

In a future post I will offer some examples of the errors I have come across and discuss the impact on the reader and the story line. Until then happy reading and careful writing.