Writing level-up: I’s got me a editor!

While I have no ambition to be anything more than a part-time author, that doesn’t mean that I don’t want to be a GOOD writer, and for that I need help.

There is a very interesting anthology in the works (Chillers from the Rock), and I would like to submit a short story for consideration. I’ve gone through my story a couple times myself in an attempt to clean it up, “show NOT tell”, and even read it aloud to check for pauses and such.

I was going to run it through “Grammarly” and then send it off, but instead I decided to think about this for a minute, ok maybe more than a minute.

Almost every member of my online writing group uses an editor of some sort or another, and they have honest to goodness novels to their name. So I started sniffing around, asked some buddies what they used an editor for, and was quite surprised. Coherence, consistent voice, grammar, and spelling, all things that I need help with, though was surprised that they also struggled.

While they are “leap & bounds” ahead of me, I also realized that sometimes a writer can be too close to their work, too emotionally invested in it, and fail to see pitfalls.

So, I made some inquires, got a excellent recommendation of a freelance editor within my budget, made contact and am taking the plunge. I sent off my draft the other day, and am expecting a summary of the first couple pages by the weekend.

Whether of not my little story gets accepted in “CftR” or elsewhere has now become less important, making it a better story has.


Book Review #2 “The Tatterdemon” by: Steve Vernon

In an effort to support regional authors, I’m reviewing books written by Atlantic Canadians. These reviews are from a laymans point of view, I don’t have any special insight, just like what I like.

There will be two conditions though:

  1. They will be “genre fiction”.
  2. I will have the author’s permission to post the review. I realize that I don’t need it, but I wish to maintain respectful ties with each of these talented authors.

Book Review #2 “The Tatterdemon” by: Steve Vernon

I should start off by saying that I’m not much of a “horror guy”, the biggest scare I’m used too is the price of gasoline before a three-day weekend, but decided to give it a try. I should also mention that I read it as an ebook, which was a first for me, since I prefer to hold a “real” book.

Set within rural Nova Scotia, the story revolves around a witch that was murdered, and 300 years later, the evil within her soul flows through the town of Crossfall and affects many of its citizens with fatal and graphic results. Speaking of violence, the whole book is “splattered” with dismemberment, gunshots,  brutality, and rape so it might not be for younger readers.

While the descriptive violence and swearing is common within the story, it’s well written and services to continue the story. More than once, I found myself chuckling over a particularity witty “one-liner”, or sarcastic bit of dialogue. I suspect Mr. Vernon has a “dry” sense of humour, I hope to share a drink with him someday and test that out.

If I’m to say anything negative about the story is that it didn’t read like rural Nova Scotia to me. It reminded me more of a prairie town, almost the set of “The Dukes of Hazard”, but that didn’t take anything away from my enjoyment.

In closing, if you’re looking for the PERFECT harvest time read, and with Halloween only a month away who isn’t, I suggest you grab yourself “The Tatterdemon”. I truly feel that this will be a story I come back too in future years when I want to read a tale of good vs. evil with, clever writing and buckets of blood!

My review: 4.5 out of 5 stars


Spread some love guys, local author running a contest.

42 Webs

givawayIt’s giveaway time!!

This is fun time of the year where I get to give away free books to eager readers. It’s not often that I get to do this so I very am excited too be able to give the gift of the written word. All you have to do is enter by clicking HERE!!


  • 1 of six (6) physical books – signed however you want them
  • Free VCO bookmarks drawn by Valerie Gent
  • DRM-Free epub of my VCO ebooks
  • Other Goodies!
  • My admiration!

You can win all that? LE GASP!! How can this be true? Is it true? IT IS!!! I get to be Oprah and give all this away!  You get a book! You get a book! You get a book!




All contestants must submit the form but aside from that there are additional ways to win. Between

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Do you have a writing nook?

Up until very recently, the majority of my writing took place wherever I could find a bit of free space, usually the kitchen table or my desk at work, but it always took a while settled and comfortable.

I’m self-aware of my personality well enough, they I knew I needed structure and stability if I was going to get any serious writing done, and by serious, I mean more than two sentences a day…

So, after a period of intense negotiation with the fiancé, in which I succumbed to her choice of paint colour in the Master Bedroom, I was allowed to have a writing area.

It’s been a project on my mind for several months now, I would look at the area as I lugged a piece of baseboard out to the garage to try to cut “longer”, or one of a thousand loops throughout the house as I looked for tools that grew legs…

Last month I finally allowed myself some time to get it into shape. Above an old and battered computer desk, I made two shelves, one for reference books, and the other for a growing collection of novels published by local authors (and friends). I consider that shelf my motivation shelf. When I get stuck, or the “Black Dog” comes barking, I look up at their efforts and know that they want me to succeed.

I still have some minor adjustments to the setup to make, but with “Grump the Gargoyle” keeping an eye on me, I know my productivity will improve.

Time to get writing!

Book Review #1 “To Drown in Sand” by: B.C. Laybolt

In an effort to support regional authors, I’m going to start reviewing books written by Atlantic Canadian authors.

There will be two conditions though:

  1. They will be “genre fiction”.
  2. I will have the authors permission to post the review. I realize that I don’t need it, but I wish to maintain respectful ties with each of these talented authors.

Book Review #1 “To Drown in Sand Book One Lunen Regiment Trilogy” by: B.C. Laybolt.

I would like to start off by saying that if you enjoy good quality military sci-fi actions scenes, then this story is for you. It felt like an homage to several Warhammer 40K Imperial Guard novels that I love, while at the same time bringing something fresh and new to the reader.

There is an amazing amount of detail to the characters and setting of the story, you really felt like you were slugging through the sand, or dead bodies… 😉 The attention to detail with wounds, hand-to-hand fighting, “fog of war”, and several other factors shows how much effort went into researching this novel. I now know what it must feel like to wipe brains off of my face after a mortar explodes!

The only reason why I didn’t feel comfortable giving it 5 stars, is that I felt a bit lost in the first third of the novel. In my opinion, it really could have used a bit more “setting the scene” and world-building for the reader. I have no doubt that there are reams of backstory and history in files someplace at the authors home, I just feel the reader could have made use of them.

As stated on the cover, this story is the first in a trilogy and it reads as such. The reader is left finishing the first book with a clear ending, but the author also managed to make you wanting more, as important information about the protagonists past is revealed at the end.

My biggest suggestion is that book two open with a “big picture” overview and short summary of what happened, and to whom in book one.

My review: 4 out of 5 stars

Is “Cable” an anchor to my writing?

In the process doing renovations to new house and slowly moving possessions from old one, I found it necessary to cancel my internet and cable at the old house to save a few bucks. That meant when I got home from work, I had nothing to entertain myself with. Even my T.V. and laptop were already at the new place and a person can only play so much Candy Crush on their phone before their mind turns to jelly (pun intended).

I have no lack of books to read, and this has given me a chance to do some catching up in that department, but I also noticed an unintended side-effect of no cable TV, my imagination bloomed.

After a very intense dream (I almost never remember my dreams), I started working on a project that continues to stay with me more than a week after the dream. Now when I get home from my day job, and deal with the long-suffering cat (just ask him!), I sit myself down at the kitchen table (only chairs left in the old place) and scribble out a page or two of my story.

My dream has quickly turned into full-fledged novel idea with even a minor cliff-hanger allowing for a sequel.

Is it coincidence that the best novel idea I’ve ever had, came to me after cutting out cable? Maybe so, but I challenge you to give it a try,  give yourself a 5 day challenge of no TV, Netflix, DVD’s, etc… and see if your subconscious opens the floodgates within you. It could be that a great idea is just waiting to break out if we allow our brains to create, rather than having it force-feed another’s work.

Oh, and for those of you interested, I didn’t have cable installed at new house, Fibre-Op yes, because I’m not a Neanderthal 😉


Genesis of a writing area…

Hey kids,

Sorry for the lack of contact lately, but there is quite a bit going on in my world at the moment, sadly none of it involves writing.

Well, that’s not 100% true.

The fiance and I took possession of our new  (to us) home on the 15th, though neither of our homes has sold yet, hooray for 3 mortgages!! The process of moving will take a while as we’re making some flooring changes in 3 rooms and modifications to the master bedroom.

Though through intense negotiations, I was able to slip in a clause into the “cohabitation agreement” (page 27, paragraph 3, subsection K) which will allow me to have a dedicated writing area.

It will be a little corner in our downstairs den, my back will be to the fireplace and I’ll be away from a lot of the noise from the playground across the street.

I hope to make the move soon and get it set up, I’m eager to put pencil to paper.