Monday, October 26, 2009

Rats & Dead Guys & Cake, Oh My!!

So, life has been busy! I just finished the edits for NIGHTSHADE CITY last night, on my birthday no less. By birthday law the edits have to be great, right? Of course Nightshade will be getting one final read through before sending off to my editor, but they are done! I'm thrilled with the changes I made and hopefully my editor will be too. My rats are dear to my heart and I hope I did them proud!

EDWIN COPPERPOT should be off to my agent this week. Editors will finally meet my dead friend Edwin and I couldn't be more excited! He's got a lot to say, and quite eloquently I might add, for a guy who kicked the bucket in 1788.

Last but not least, my super thoughtful husband had our bakery make me a birthday cake out of my business card! They did such a nice job! And yes, if you couldn't tell, it's Halloween themed! Normally, I wouldn't put a severed finger, brains or eyeballs on a cake, although I might write about them! In fact, in Edwin I did!

If only there was more time in the day or I didn't need to sleep! Happy almost Halloween everyone!

xoxo -- Hilary

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Translating Editor Language...

I'm exactly half way through my NIGHTSHADE CITY edits. When I first saw all those funky editor symbols on the page, I'm not embarrassed to say, I had no clue what several of them meant! Hey, I'm not an editor, so how would I know? We don't know things until we know them! So, I did a little searching and quickly figured things out. I Googled it! Yes indeedy!

I found a great resource on the University of Colorado at Boulder website. It demystified all those mysterious marks, making something that resembled ancient Egyptian into plain English! The symbol that confused me the most looks like a simple fraction with an I on top and an M on the bottom. I had no idea what it meant. I thought semi-colon, colon? I had no clue. Found out it's an em-dash. "Ah-ha!" I said! Now it makes sense. Long story short, you may want to bookmark the link below. It spells out all the symbols in simple language that even I can understand and I'm blond! Ha, ha!

One symbol that is not on there is "AQ". If you see an "AQ" in the margins, that stands for "Author Query". It's a marked off area of the MS that needs clarification of some sort. Your editor will send along separate notes with corresponding page numbers to the AQ. My editor sent 4 pages of AQ to me and I'm about 75% through them, yay! The tricky part is making sure when you clarify or change the specific AQ segment, that you do it throughout the entire MS. I recently changed a character completely. He went from a short and quiet rat, to a tall and jovial fellow, who likes to crack jokes. So, clearly, I have to carry that through the whole MS or things will make no sense! My rats aren't shape shifters after all!

Without further ado, here is the link for the Proofreader’s and Editor’s Symbols guide on the University of Colorado at Boulder website.

Hope it helps!

xoxo -- Hilary

Friday, October 9, 2009

Edwin Copperpot Edits Done + New Mysterious Excerpt!

So, I love finishing a manuscript, but it's never truly done until the edits are finished, and I'm thrilled to say, yay, I'm done! I'm so happy with the way Edwin Copperpot has turned out! Can't wait to share with the world! I'm so glad Edwin is complete that I'm going to bother you all with another little excerpt. This novel has been a whirlwind in many ways! Now my rats will get the full attention they so greatly deserve!

xoxo -- Hilary

In this excerpt, Edwin has found the cellar of the mysterious House of Warrants. Things are growing stranger by the hour...

The spirit hovered around the bookshelves, waiting until Edwin followed. The books all had the date painted on their spine; Edwin noticed the last book read 1888. A hundred years he thought, maybe that's how long he'd been down here, or maybe there were more books somewhere, there was no way to be sure. The Phantom Spirit fluttered in front of another case.

As if impatient, the spirit aggressively rammed itself into the spine of a book several times. "I gather you want me to look at that, don't you?" asked Edwin. The spine of the book read 1788, in gold lettering. With a hard jerk, Edwin yanked the book from its shelf, expelling what must have been lifetimes of dust. "Just wonderful, more dust, thank you kindly." He coughed, fanning it away. "1788 was not a good year for yours truly."

He cracked open the book, revealing more of the same: Missus Elvira Tarkington, strangled while asleep, C-Mr. Jonathan Willington, brother, M.B. Edwin read a few entries aloud, "Sir Tobias Remington, gutted from stem to stern, C-Miss Lorna Remington, daughter, M.B." He assumed 'C' stood for culprit. "Gutted, by his flesh and blood?" Edwin thought of his father. He shrugged. "I suppose he must have deserved it. Luckily, my father was murdered before I had the chance to consider such an option." He flipped through several pages. "Well, whoever M.B. is, he's certainly a most prolific note taker. He has more entries than all the other M's combined, whoever they are." The pages were dated chronologically. "October second 1788, poor Monsieur Duvall did not meet with a peaceful reckoning in any fashion, apparently drowned by his servants, frightful business that must have been." The month, October, suddenly struck him. He looked at the spirit. "That's what this is about. My reckoning is in here, isn't it?" The spirit hovered in place.

Edwin madly turned through the pages, nearly tearing them from the book. "October 30th, 1788." Running a nervous finger down the page, he read the names off one by one. "Mr. Samson Todd, hanging, Miss Lucy Whittington, bludgeoned--" He skipped to the next entry, pushing out a shaky breath. "Lord Edwin Copperpot...Lady Celia Baskerville, eviscerated with an axe, C-Lord Leopold Baskerville II, husband, M.B." The book dropped from his lifeless hand. Holding the desk for support, he crumpled onto a stool.

Friday, October 2, 2009

A Glimpse at an Editor's Edits!

So, I recently received a hardcopy of my manuscript, NIGHTSHADE CITY, from my editor, Julie Amper of Holiday House. She marked it up nice and pretty with her editorial notes. The snapshot is of one of the worst looking pages I could find. I came across it flipping through the MS and thought, wow, this is a bad one! Thank God that's only one of a few that look that! Most pages have a few little things and some have none at all! Seeing pages coming back clean surprised the heck out of me. What? You think it's good the way it is? The rats were happy too. See the white one in the picture? He's smiling, you just can't tell!

Now I'm just getting into the edits and things are going well. I was very intimidated when the FedEx arrived last Friday. I waited until Saturday morning to look at it, expecting everything to be crossed off in bright red marker! Thankfully, no such luck!

I can't wait to have Nightshade finished, perfect and off to the copy editor. That will be a good day!

xoxo -- Hilary