Sunday, January 12, 2014

Editing in Process...Barbara J. Webb

Midnight in St. PetersburgMy latest project is by author Barbara J. Webb and is not the novel pictured to the left. The novel I worked on is entitled City of Burning Shadows, which the author plans to self-publish. In the meantime, I'm pointing you to her previous novel, Midnight in St. Petersburg, volume one in The Invisible War series. But I'll be sure to post here when City of Burning Shadows is published. The wait will certainly be worth it.

Unfortunately I don't pimp myself as much as I should. In addition to the work I do with publishers, I also work directly with writers: new and novice writers, self-published writers, and contract writers who understand the value of an editor and copy editor. I'd like to point you to one such project, Bradley P. Beaulieu's self-published short fiction collection Lest Our Passage Be Forgotten & Other Stories. If you have an interest in chatting with me about a project, you'll find my email address listed under my blog profile. I don't attend as many conventions as I used to, but should you see me at a con, please feel free to come up to me and introduce yourself, and let me know you would like to talk about a project. And this should up my pimp quota somewhat....

But back to this project: Barbara Webb sent me the first chapter of City of Burning Shadows prior to our signing an agreement to work together on this project. I was impressed with the quality of her writing in this opening chapter and didn't come upon any obvious editorial issues through my initial read. But more important, this one chapter presaged a great novel that I wanted to read further. Here's the end of that first chapter:

...I couldn't afford to lose this job.

Getting myself killed provoking fights was one thing. Starving to death in the street was a whole other. Not that I'd probably live long enough to starve. I'd be another headline: former priest of Kaifail beaten to death, or burned alive, or strung up with his intestines hanging out for the crows. People in this city were nothing if not creative in their punishments for those of us they blamed for the state of things.

All this was still fresh in my mind when the intercom on my desk pinged. "Mr. Drake?" The security guard. "There's a man down here asking for you."

Was there any way this could be good? "Who is he? What does he want?"

"Says he needs to see you. Says you know each other." The guard's voice dropped, whispering into his microphone: "He says he was a priest."

Just like that, I was back on my feet. "I'll be right down." Because I hadn't learned my lesson yet about getting involved. Because I didn't have enough to worry about these days. Most of all, because I thought it would be good to see a friend.

In other words, I hurried back downstairs because I was an idiot.

The blunt, choppy sentence structure hints of the noir detective story. The priests have the ability to perform magic, but the kind of magic present in this story brings to mind Charles Stross's Laundry Files stories: magic via technology. There are conspiracies, and plots within plots.

Whatever tool you use to make notes to yourself -- a journal, Google Keep, MS OneNote, Evernote, or just plain old sticky notes -- make this note: Barbara J. Webb and City of Burning Shadows. As I previously said, I'll post on this blog when the book is available.

Added March 14, 2014:

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