The Big Edit


Last night, I finished the BIG EDIT on How to Steal a Romance. I was too tired to get onto FB, WordPress, etc. to sing that hallelujah until today.

The intense past two weeks did me in. Whew. I took a day/evening off and hope to gather my wits about me, and in another day or so, will go back…and…listen…again. Via an eReader. It speaks each word

so if you have have an extra word here or there awkward sentence here… or accidentally insert a horizontal line that you thought was a strikeout line that sometimes our eyes don’t see–it picks up on it, and boom, you can hit pause and fix the MS. Even better, ’cause it’s free.

I spent about 20 minutes writing my most used phrases and words this morning (yes, again). Actions and emotions. Dialogue-y type stuff. Things that should individually belong to individual character. While the agent didn’t call specifically for these things, as a reader (and my Inner Edit Zombie), my eyes cast a shadow over them, scarier than Dark Shadows (that … might age me … if you know what that is without having to look it up, you’re in the same group!).

What is a writer’s life without the agony of editing? The rejections? The tunic rent asunder, ashes thrown into the air, with weeping and gnashing of teeth?

Okay, so that last part is 1. too Biblical and out of context … and 2. way over the top. For most of us.

Despite my ‘thank you, Lord’, for the small mercies of getting things done, I am still beat. Don’t think I could pick up a book or write a limerick today. Feel like a Borg. Plug me into the wall and let me stand there until I can fit into that waist-crushing outfit Seven of Nine had to wear (like that would ever happen).

<looks around, fanning self>

Anyone have a nice place in Nova Scotia I could stay at? It’s too hot here, so my tropical island dream right now has a latitude of Vermont or higher.

And surely there is a holiday or birthday somewhere in the world tomorrow, so Happy August Ninth *insert name of holiday* and have a great rest of the week.


I am NOT Your Arc Enemy!

computer woes

Decidedly decided to be an ARC reader. YES, though I decline to go through a publishing house (well, I may).

ARC reading costs the publishing house. It comes off the back end of your royalties (they say no, but read the fine print. If they send 150 or more ‘free copies’ to ARC readers, how do they pay for that?).

Self publishing and Indie writing is like swimming in a shark tank. Think  about it.

You’ve finished your book. You’ve had it professionally edited (or you are smarter than the average reader). The professionally-designed cover is perfect. 

The baby is ready. Bathed. Clean diaper. Fed. Giggly.

You are about to put it on Create Space or whatever venue you have readied. Create Space is great if they sell your book for 18 bucks and you get … $4.50. Don’t forget the free promos to market. Okay, so you don’t want to overwhelm readers with an $18 book. You lower the price to very reasonable. You get that very reasonable royalty at $1.50.  

You realize you need to market every day. All your waking moments (when you are not working on the next WIP). It’s cheaper to have Print on Demand copies sent to you. Costs, but cheaper and you can pocket that cash (don’t forget taxes). You pay $2.50 per book, one hundred, obviously $250.00. You sell it at $4.50. Great!

Now all you need is one HUNDRED THOUSAND readers to get rich, and no reviews. Now you might. The average runs around $2000 in sales (per book, not month or year). That means you are prolific. You must write and sell about ~ 6 books in three months, and now you are producing trash. I’ve read novels put out by Bethany House, Avon, Harper-Collins that rush a book through. With trashy writing. Why? Because they mass market crap. They want YOUR royalties. Even great writers fall into the hands of the greedy PH.

And, remember this: READERS FORGET TO REVIEW. GOODREADS takes out the majority of your 5 star ratings. If you use Create Space, they do the same. Why? They don’t have to pay the royalties unless you reach a certain number of copies sold. Who is going to sell a 1 or 2 star book?

What if  a publishing house stamps your book with a horrible cover? Back flap? Tough. They believe it will sell. You think it sucks. Publishing houses want perfection. They now are moving to the side of the Chicago Manual of Style and roll their eyes at Strunk and White. But … you still need to have your edit near perfection in content, spelling, grammar, fresh voice, sale-ability, and YOUR marketing plan, and why should anyone read your work?

Think Fifty Shades of Grey, or John Dies at the End. Full of horrific writing. But, everyone is into BDSM and erotica or aliens.  Both made the big screen. If you write sweet romance, being Amish is all the rage. What? Wait, what?  

If you choose erotica, you’ll do great. If you choose Amish, maybe great. Here’s conventional wisdom: Get an agent (15% off your royalties), publishing house accepts it (another 15%), an entertainment attorney (15-20%).

Skip to the chase, Claire!

You get free critiques from critique groups. You run it through the Beta groups. Great! Now what?  Like the PHs, you want to know (before you invest in the pro edit – or not -that’s your call; before you pay for an awesome cover), you want to know. Will it sell?

An ARC reader (like my small plan) reads your work as average Joe or Josephine, and gives the PH (or you) the likelihood of a great read. A good review. Suggestions if needed. ARC readers are not editors, Beta readers (although if there’s a major plot hole or confusion, a million distracting SPaG issues – I would) will.

But you want to know WILL THIS SELL? Before you throw your work to the four winds, find an ARC. Either through traditional means or ME. Of course, what do you think I am, silly?

Don’t pay the cost of all of the above until you know your book is worthy of 4-5 stars. The two things I DO recommend, however you decide: Get an entertainment lawyer. They protect your work, go over fine print and help you navigate the shark tank of PH and even the rules of SP/Indie.

As a freelance ARC, I charge a one-time, ten dollar fee to read your work in a timely manner. You send me a LOCKED pdf (means I can’t change a thing), consider a copyright (means no one can steal it), and I send you an honest critique via email–privately to you, and I give good reviews. If your baby needs work, I will tell you. When your work is done and on the shelf, you let me know, and my review hits your favorite site, i.e. GOODREADS, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Nook, etc.  

You might THINK this is torture. It is not. Promise.

So tag me here, on Facebook, Word Press, or Twitter. Here on WordPress: Cindy212 Twiter: authorclaire1:  Facebook:  OR my gmail account : . PM, DM or as you want.

Pardon the language of the above. It’s picture perfect. The one bad word is pardonable, yes?



Edit. The four letter word. Add a gerund, and what author action have you? This:

Plunges katana, with no one to help. Seppuku, she whispers, over and again. Screams in agonizing silence while the katana button, otherwise known as DELETE, slices the lifeblood from the WIP. Yet, dignity is preserved. Oh, yeah. For everyone else.

It’s past midnight. The moon casts eerie light upon the computer. Wailing continues, then wanes. Shh.

Howls of death throes would wake the spouse.

So, I bang my head on the table.

That, my friend, is what the newbie writer does for ‘hope-for’ money.

I don’t know ’bout you, but I think Earnest Hemingway got it wrong. Shoulda been, ‘Drink sober, edit drunk.’ At least seppuku wouldn’t be so painful.

“In case of seppuku, cut along dotted line…”





A Laughing Matter … No Really

What qualifies me to write ‘Edit Zombie,’ anyway?

NOTHING. Absolutely nothing.

*Other than the million websites, books I pile next to me as I edit. Makes … me … crazy*

Of course, my hope is to condense every possible rule(s) down to one simple book, smaller than the Chicago Manual of Style. Easier to deal with, updated from Strunk & White. Maybe a table or two.

Too much stuff comes my way, like a bullet train without notice. Much of the material seems overwhelming, and heavens above, I need those books/sites to quote from.


I am finishing Forget Me Not: Non Compos Mentis. The synopsis and proposal complete. One more pass through and in the mail it goes. Yes. This time, not email, but whosoever -oh wait- too Biblical. Whomever accepts snail mail because I am computer-illiterate. Yes.

Sure I can get onto a few sites. There are a lot I haven’t heard of ’til recently. Reddit. Instagram’s been around, but … er, I am on social media, so much so that my writing, editing and reading time gulps blinky like a Pac Man. I am that old.

When it’s done, it may look like the image above, that which will haunt your dreams…

your edit zombie









Today …


Sunday! Day of rest. Uh. Okay. I already know Who is my Sabbath Rest, every day.

Well … I arose too late to make it to church (this seems to be a routine problem…) but there is a plethora of reading that, every time I read through, shows me something New. Must always be discerning and test, compare with Hebrew and Greek and seek the wisdom from well-trusted pastors.

I don’t want to be an illiterate Christian in any chapter, Old and New Covenant. I mean, everyone in the NT spoke and taught only from the OT. Jesus never baptized anyone. He didn’t write a Gospel. He taught. He healed. He forgave everyone and those who would believe were sons and daughters of God. So yes, I am a bit preachy today. Did you know there is no category for Christian(s)?

To say this may seem weird, but who was the most anti-religion in Christ’s time? He was, and the reason? Religion was a perversion of works. Pretension. The elite who looked down on the lost. The arrogant. Everything the Church, collective, is today. He looks into our hearts. The lost (everyone) needs Him, but not everyone believes they do. How many rich rich rich people ‘need’ the Savior? They have everything they want. Good works won’t do it. Au contraire. It’s the recognition of falling short (all that we do against God), realizing His words in the OT, all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Then, asking for the forgiveness only He can give and turning away. Then accepting it, and realizing that God is alive, and He wants a relationship with you (me, and everyone).

I suspect this will turn a lot of folks off (no, I know it will…). But there it is.

Today then, I am happy to say I have reached another edit of Forget Me Not, and my word count is up…I may have to cut and slash, but for now, am filling in the work with the timeline. Have asked my hubby to find my corkboard (which was conveniently moved into a secret place only he knows of…) so I can print my novel timeline and the crime timeline. Not my food/weight/health chart.

After I finish my social media flyby, I will put on my headphones, listen to music, and fiddle with the next chapter. Hopefully hubby will bring me that corkboard.

Ya, it’s old-fashioned. But I like it, so there.  🙂

Have a great Sunday, rest if you wish, dream about the characters (don’t forget paper and pen), stroll about, and watch human behavior.

If you are curious, visit my website (under my pen name – Claire O’Sullivan) I tend to write on every subject that hits my fancy.

Twitter: @authorclaire1 – and I follow back.



Too Hot to Cook. Not for Pulled Pork!

Okay, so pulled pork is NOT in my healthy cookbook.

Pork is NOT the other ‘white meat.’

But, I had a picnic pork, a shoulder cut in my freezer taking up space. I have NO idea how it got there …

I’d been wondering since yesterday what to make for supper today. Okay, truth be told, I pulled the frozen pork from the freezer the day before yesterday …

The temperature hit 110 degrees. It’s hot enough to cook eggs on the sidewalk. Not a pleasant thought. But not so hot that I couldn’t use the crockpot and some cheap over the counter type sauce.

We shop at Winco. Yes, we’re cheap. But the prices are great. Months ago, I hit upon a recipe for pulled pork. I made it during the chilly weather. Yum.

Worked just as well today. Turned out perfect. Even on a hot day.

  • 1 shoulder cut picnic pork (I’m going to try  chicken or sirloin next time for health). Honestly, I don’t remember how much it weighed …
  • Sweet BBQ sauce (I used what I had, Sweet Baby Ray’s) 3/4 cup
  • Salt, pepper to taste
  • 1/2+ cup Chicken broth
  • Onion, diced
  • Garlic, diced (two cloves was enough)

In pan, braise pork on all sides in 2 Tablespoons hot canola oil (or your oil of choice)

Remove from pan; add diced onion and garlic to pan, lower heat, stir until onions are opaque.

Mix BBQ sauce and chicken broth into crockpot. Add onions, garlic, pork.

Cook on ‘HIGH’ for 2 and 1/2 hrs. Then turn heat to ‘LOW,’ and cook another two hours. When done, use two forks and it should be tender enough to pull apart. Serve by itself or on hoagie buns. Add corn on the cob baked/roasted with tarragon and margarine, and a small salad. After a long day of editing, a sure and awesome reward.

And… easy, inexpensive, and perfect for anytime of year.


pulled pork pic

image: Wikipedia

pork sandwich


Fast and easy recipe, my own  🙂


I am shouting it from the top of my scorching hot rooftop.


While I scribble, type, and otherwise muck up ‘Edit Zombie,’ vindication comes from Maine.

The Oxford comma is in. Out with the old serial comma (reminds me of murderous grammar).

And … from the liberal state of Maine! Hey, it’s cool. But here it is, another blogger posted on WordPress, so I can’t take credit for finding the article. Vindicated. Yes. Yes. I posted my thoughts on my website.

The best news of all? The section on the use of commas will be small, and the inner Edit Zombie can breathe. Rest those killer muscles. Down, boy. I’m sure you’ll find something else to terrorize.