Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Shauna Granger

Do you ever wonder how people get started in their jobs? I don't flatter myself enough to believe that a great following of people are drooling over my "How I Got Started Editing" story, but some may wonder, so I'll share.

Once upon a time, my favorite cousin got married to my favorite cousin-in-law. At their wedding, I met my new CIL's best friend. Her name is Shauna and she's a writer. A month or so after the wedding, Shauna remembered that I'm a writer wannabe and she offered to trade books for editing.

And then my world changed.

I loved editing her book. She was fun to work with, liberal with her praise, and actually thought I was good at editing. One would hope that, after years of higher education, I would have decent grammar skills, but I didn't have a ton of confidence in my editing ability. I just read a lot and edited based on what I've learned from reading. Nothing made me feel better than finding an inconsistency or pointing out where she needed more or less information and getting her to say, "Gah, why didn't I see that?!" One day I asked her if people actually get paid for this. She sent me a link to an editing agency and I shot them an email. Two days later, I was an official freelance editor!

Shauna has written a series of YA fantasy books and I have had the pleasure of working on all of them. Earth is available for sale on kindle and amazon now and I loved reading it. Her characters are Elementals, meaning they can control an element. In Earth, someone new to town to performing blood magic and trying to unleash hell. Shayna, Jodi, and Steven, along with some help from a local witch, are the ones left trying to stop a menace the police can't catch. Perhaps that isn't fair, but what can you do when you're given special powers? Seriously though, her book is better than my summarizing skills. You can follow her blog here: http://shaunasspot.blogspot.com/

On top of being a kick ass author and a pleasure to work with, Shauna has become my friend. It never ceases to amaze me how relationships can be formed over the internet. I read articles all the time about how people don't connect anymore because they're too busy sitting in front of computers or they go on tirades online, forgetting that real people with real emotions read those tirades. These articles always forget to mention the beautiful people putting their hearts on their online sleeves and connecting to people across the country.

I guess the moral to Shauna's story (or her story thus far) is to reach out and connect with someone. I'm not saying my life would be a black hole of suck if Shauna hadn't reached out to me, but it wouldn't be the bright, sparkly rainbow of joy it is now without her. The best part about it is that she's grateful for me too! So go email that person you want to talk to, go apply for that job you want, go try that hobby that you've always thought looked cool.

And they all lived happily ever after.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Being Human by Patricia Lynne

One of the books I had the privilege of proofreading recently is called Being Human by Patricia Lynne. This is her first book and I’ve already asked her to keep me informed about anything else she puts out, even if I don’t edit it. The book revolves around the after life of a vampire named… well, I probably shouldn’t tell you his name. In his world, to know one’s name means that you have power over them. In fact, there’s a young woman he tells his name to and then corners her friends, demanding they tell him her name so that he can counter her power over him. This vampire is turned at 15 years old and the book follows him for roughly 20 years after that event. One of the things I loved the most about Being Human is that the book covers the 20 years in five segments with time gaps in between. Lynne didn’t get cornered into the idea that she had to explain every moment of his life and let herself tell his story through the major events.

I love vampire books. Given the choice between a modern vampire novel and a classic novel, I’d pick the vampire book. Actually, I’d probably grab both and run away before you tried to take one away, but let’s run with the original decision. Like most readers, I hear vampire novel and think, “Vampire meets human girl, falls in love, and spends his after life trying to protect her from everything that tries to keep them apart.” Being Human has a bit of that kind of story in it (for those of you who can’t stand the idea of missing your vamp/human love story), but that isn’t even close to the majority of the story. One of my biggest complaints about standard vampire stories is that I want to know, “Why this girl?” Usually the answer is something like, “She smells good. She’s unusual.” Being Human has a better answer. You’ll have to read the book to get that answer, but trust me, it’s good. It’s understandable. And it’s really, really human.

The bigger love story in Being Human is the love story between the vampire and his human twin brother. I’m not a twin, so I don’t know anything about the bond between twins, but I’ve met enough twins to believe in it. This bond extends beyond death for these brothers and ties the vampire to humanity in a way that is unique among vampires. Most of the vampires in this book kill their families, no matter how close they were to them in life. After being turned, the only thing vampires care about is survival. That means that the sleeping human in the other room is fair game and they don’t feel any guilt about feeding from their gene pool.

In Being Human, vampires don’t retain memories of their human lives. They know how to walk and talk and they have instincts that teach them to hunt humans, avoid the sun and Vampire Forces, and survive, but they don’t understand why humans do the things they do. Well, that’s not entirely true. The vampire in this book understands why humans walk for exercise, because it keeps them healthy and helps them survive, but not why they walk for pleasure. One of my favorite scenes in this book is when the vampire is taught how to brush his teeth. Do you ever think brushing your teeth is weird? I don’t. Lynne wrote the scene in a way that kept me in the book, but made me step back and think, “Wow, that is a strange practice. Spreading goo over your teeth to make them smell better.” Almost as strange as people going to school dances where no one dances.

Being Human is almost ready for publishing and I highly recommend you buy it as soon as it is. You can follow Lynne’s blog here: http://plbjourney.blogspot.com/

Friday, July 22, 2011

Begin Again

As seems to be all the rage in our internet driven world, I feel the need to be sucked into blogging. What should I write about though? How about what I do with my days, which is mainly work. I work two jobs, one as a freelance editor and one as a hotel front desk clerk. I love editing, it's my favorite thing to do, but the health benefits and steady paycheck from the hotel are too good to pass up. So, for now, let's leave this introduction as is and I'll be back soon with some fun stories from the third shift and editing world!