You are now entering the world of my thoughts.

This blog is my diary of works in progress. The only way a writer can improve upon her skill is to practice, practice and practice some more. Here, in this place of quiet peace, I pen to paper my thoughts and creativity. Welcome to my world.

Copyright © 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 SN Taylor, All Rights Reserved

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Guest Post: The Editing Process by Richard H. Hardy

The Editing Process
by Richard H. Hardy
Author of The Infinity Program

It’s interesting that a four letter word like ‘edit’ has so many different meanings.  I’ve heard that Eskimos have a dozen or so different words for ‘snow’.  I think it should be the same for the word ‘edit’.
When I was a young writer banging away on a typewriter, I thought of editing as the last stage in the process.  I thought it was just about correcting spelling and grammar.  Later I realized that editing was also about style and began editing for clarity, concision and flow.  When I reached this stage, the first draft then became little more than a warm-up—the real work began only upon its completion.

As I learned more about writing, I started to include structural changes as part of the editing process.  Like a tall building, a story’s structure must have a solid foundation.  In particular, I began to focus on the opening scene.

Starting points are not always obvious.  For example, if I wrote a story about a bank robbery, where would I begin?  Would it start with the thieves planning the heist?  Would it start as they entered the bank?  Would it start when a gun was stuck in someone’s face?  Would it start during their getaway?  The possibilities seemed endless to me.  My head used to spin!  Finally, I realized that imagination could create problems as well as solve them—it could present far too many options.  I learned then that logic and analysis also have a place in storytelling.  I began to break my story down to the bare essentials, the themes and ideas that engendered it.  Only then would I select a beginning that best suited my theme.  
When Camel Press accepted The Infinity Program for publication I thought I knew something about editing.  But my editors at Camel Press taught me a lot.  Their first copy edit caught numerous examples of inconsistencies.  A character I described as strong in one scene, suddenly became weak and wimpy in a subsequent scene.  And sometimes the physical description of my characters and their back stories were too sketchy.
The copy edit of The Infinity Program also required the addition of entirely new material.  The copy editor requested two new chapters and I discovered opportunities to pull the reader into the very heart of the story.
The final Edit of The Infinity Program was the line edit.  I had always thought I was a concise writer.  I was astonished when my superb editor showed me that I was not.  She stripped away dead phrases that weren’t really needed and replaced weak words with stronger ones.  She improved the cadences, creating a much better flow.   It was a humbling experience but an invaluable lesson.
The editing process is enormously important.   If you can’t find a skilled editor to read your work, my advice would be to find all the books you can about the editing process.  In a way, I think, writing is like a three stage rocket at Cape Kennedy.  The first stage, the creativity and the imagination, gives you the lift-off.  The second stage, your own editing skills, gets you into orbit, and the third stage, the editor, gets you to your destination.  

The Infinity Program Summary

Jon Graeme and Harry Sale are unlikely friends. Harry is a world-class programmer, but his abrasive personality alienates co-workers. In contrast, Jon is a handsome and easy-going technical writer, the low man on the IT totem pole.

Sharing a love of nature, the men set out together, planning to go their separate ways--Jon on a hike and Harry, fly fishing. Three days later, Jon arrives at the rendezvous point, but his friend is nowhere in sight. When Jon finds Harry unconscious on the floor of a cave, Harry claims to have been lying there the entire time. But he is neither cold nor hungry. What Jon doesn't know is that Harry fell into an underground cavern, where he came into contact with an alien quantum computer.

Back at work, Harry jettisons his regular tasks and concentrates exclusively on inventing new operating language to access the alien system. In the process he crashes his office's Super Computer and is fired. Jon convinces the company to give Harry a second chance, arguing that the system he has invented will make them millions.

Jon has no idea what havoc Harry is about to unleash.

Richard H. Hardy's Bio:

Richard H. Hardy was born in Glasgow, Scotland, during a week of relentless bombing raids just before the close of World War II. The day he was born an incendiary bomb fell on the church across the street from where he lived, so he is fond of saying that he entered the world with a big adrenaline rush.

His family later moved to England and then on to America.

After college Richard bounced through a series of temporary jobs as he traveled around the country, wanting nothing more than to write fiction. A job driving a library van allowed him free time to write several short stories and work on a novel.

He and his wife moved to New Hampshire, where he took an entry level job at a software company. He was soon promoted to the technical writing department and ended up producing over 500,000 words of online documentation. After a few years he was promoted to the programming department and ended up as the Senior EDI Programmer, creating EDI maps and writing UNIX scripts and troubleshooting on AIX systems throughout the U.S. and Canada.

After he retired, he started writing fiction again. The Infinity Program is his first published novel. 

Formats/Prices: $5.95 ebook, $13.95 paperback
Genre: Science Fiction, Romance
Pages: 250
Release: April 1, 2014
Publisher: Camel Press
ISBN: 9781603819336

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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Teaser Tuesday (14) Mr. Monk on the Couch by Lee Goldberg

I'm starting back up my Teaser Tuesdays (again! I know!) This week, I am reading Mr. Monk on the Couch by Lee Goldberg. I love the MONK show and Mr. Goldberg does an excellent job of capturing Monk's very essence on the page. 

It was shortly after eight the next morning when my phone rang. As soon as I heard it, I knew for certain that it was Captain Stottlemeyer and that someone was dead. I was right.

Sunrise in San Francisco almost always casts light on a corpse.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Book Review: Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold

Book Blurb:
Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold is the thrilling first installment in a new young adult series of adventure mystery stories by Iain Reading

This first book of the Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency Series introduces Kitty Hawk, an intrepid teenage pilot with her own De Havilland Beaver seaplane and a nose for mystery and intrigue. A cross between Amelia Earhart, Nancy Drew and Pippi Longstocking, Kitty is a quirky young heroine with boundless curiosity and a knack for getting herself into all kinds of precarious situations. 
After leaving her home in the western Canadian fishing village of Tofino to spend the summer in Alaska studying humpback whales, Kitty finds herself caught up in an unforgettable adventure involving stolen gold, devious criminals, ghostly shipwrecks, and bone-chilling curses. Kitty's adventure begins with the lingering mystery of a sunken ship called the Clara Nevada. As the plot continues to unfold, this spirited story will have readers anxiously following every twist and turn as they are swept along through the history of the Klondike Gold Rush to a suspenseful final climatic chase across the rugged terrain of Canada's Yukon.
Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold is a perfect book to fire the imagination of readers of all ages. Filled with fascinating and highly Google-able locations and history this book will inspire anyone to learn and experience more for themselves. 

There are currently four books in the Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency Series available for sale on Amazon:

About Iain Reading

Iain Reading is passionate about Root Beer, music, and writing. He is Canadian, but currently resides in the Netherlands working for the United Nations. He has published 4 books in the Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency Series. For more information, go to


 My Review:
A surprisingly fun but a bit tedious read. Kitty Hawk is an adventurous young lady whole is spending her summer in Alaska observing whale social behavior that she believes will be valuable to researchers and students alike. Just as her summer is coming to an end, she stumbles upon a mystery and an even greater adventure she thought would come out of her summer study.

What I liked:
I liked the character, Kitty Hawk, because she was intelligent, ambitious, brave, strong-willed and filled with curiosity. Kitty certainly knew how to get herself into trouble and how to get out of it, her and her "little voice" inside her head. The story is filled with historical facts and information about the Gold Rush era which makes it a fascinating read. I love she was a girl all about science and nature, she didn't get all love-struck and turn her summer into Edward-ville. I wish Walter the whale made a few more appearances throughout the book :) But I loved the various twists in the story :D

What I didn't like:

It was a tedious read. It took a long time to get to the actual 'adventure' and 'mystery' described in the book blurb. I feel like much of her summer adventure could have been summed up into a chapter or two (certainly did NOT need a chapter zero) at most before delving into the crust of the story which was about her getting herself kidnapped, forced to trek up a mountain, then have her plan hijacked to retake stolen property all the while getting educated about the history of the Yukon gold rush and other historical facts and legends. I was a little concerned about how quickly she became an endeared friend to the guys who kidnapped her and forced her into helping them.
But in all, I give Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold 3 stars because I really did like it.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Blog Tour: The Tesla Gate by John D. Mimms

The Tesla Gate
When a cosmic storm enters Earth’s atmosphere, scientists are baffled by its composition and origins, but not nearly as much as they are by the storm’s side effect – anyone who has died and chosen not to cross over is suddenly stranded here, visible, and can interact with the living.
With the world thrown into chaos, Thomas Pendleton is eager to make up for many broken promises to his six-year-old son, Seth. Soon after the storm, they set out on a road trip to the National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC, completely unaware of the social and political maelstrom they’re heading into that will change their lives forever.

Thomas Pendleton is a hard-working and loyal father and husband but he lets his work get the better of him. He is always busy and breaking his promise to his family. But when a cosmic storm hits the planet, he is given a second chance to show his son, Seth, just how much he loves him by finally taking him to the museum. But their vacation is cut short when dead people start showing up and the government decides to capture them and get rid of them once and for all.
Despite the awkward writing style, it was written in hindsight (Thomas retold the events of his life and adventure) I found the story line interesting enough to read on till the end. I’m glad I did. The ending was the best. Thomas Pendleton becomes the father he was meant and always wanted to be by making the ultimate sacrifice for his son, Seth.
The Telsa Gate took some getting used to. The writing felt more like the main character was reliving the story as oppose to me reading along and experiencing it with him, there was too much hindsight. The story was still enjoyable. Lots of action, suspense, betrayal, stupid mistake after stupid mistake, but in all, Thomas was a good father to the end. After getting used to the writing, I could enjoy the unique story line. The description of impals were vivid and interesting. The ending was the best. Thomas Pendleton becomes the father he was meant and always wanted to be by making the ultimate sacrifice for his son.

Even though this was not one of my favorite reads, it was still very interesting and I would definitely be interested in following this story if the writer continues with what happens to Thomas and his son and the Tesla Gate

Friday, July 11, 2014

Book Blast: The Telsa Gate by John D. Mimms

Tesla GateThe Tesla Gate 

When a cosmic storm enters Earth’s atmosphere, scientists are baffled by its composition and origins, but not nearly as much as they are by the storm’s side effect – anyone who has died and chosen not to cross over is suddenly stranded here, visible, and can interact with the living. With the world thrown into chaos, Thomas Pendleton is eager to make up for many broken promises to his six-year-old son, Seth. Soon after the storm, they set out on a road trip to the National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC, completely unaware of the social and political maelstrom they’re heading into that will change their lives forever.

Excerpt (The prologue)

 The day the storm hit, the world was changed forever. Its severity would not be measured in property damage or loss of life, although the latter could be argued. This storm’s impact turned man’s beliefs completely upside down; the social upheaval would be worse than the aftermath of any storm in history. Though this storm did not bring hurricane force winds, driving rain, cyclones or even floods, its effects would be far more subtle … but the impact every bit as palpable. This storm had unique origins and, unlike most weather events, it was not relegated to one geographic area. Indeed it covered the entire planet; no one was left unaffected. Living or dead

john mimms.   Author John D. Mimms John D. Mimms is a business owner, paranormal researcher, and author. John served as the Technical Director for the Arkansas Paranormal and Anomalous Studies Team (ARPAST). During his four-year tenure with the organization, he helped supervise over 100 investigations and wrote more than sixteen technical articles. One of John's articles, titled "A Christmas Carol Debunked," was read live on Parazona Radio by Paul Bradford of Ghost Hunters International fame. John also wrote the ARPAST technical/training manual which is a comprehensive guide on equipment usage, investigation protocol, and scientific theory for paranormal research. In 2009 John decided to couple his knowledge of paranormal phenomena with his lifelong love of literary fiction. Among his titles are The Great Keep, Death Theory, and The Lemonade Girl. John is currently working on book two of The Tesla Gate trilogy.

book blast button        Blast Giveaway 

 $50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 8/7/14 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the publisher. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, June 23, 2014

Summer School 2014: Building Character

This summer I am going to summer school!
That's right, Summer School 2014: Building Character with Nerdy Chicks Write.
I need this challenge to reboot my writing and honing my craft. Thanks Nerdy Chicks Write!!!!!

Originally posted by Sudiptabq

Welcome to Summer School 2014: Building Character
Are you looking for a way to keep writing through the dog days of summer?
Do you want to be inspired by some of the best writers in children’s literature?
Join a fun and fabulous community of  people who are as passionate about kidlit as you are!

Enroll in Summer School now! (It’s free!)

What is Summer School?
Summer school is defined as a school or a program that provides lessons during summer vacation. Studies have shown that participation in summer school has substantial beneficial effects on its participants. 

kami and sKidlit Summer School is a four week writer’s workshop that will run from July 21 through August 15. Because we (Kami and Sudipta) both enjoy teaching writing classes, we wanted to find a way to offer craft-based writing advice on a particular topic each summer. Our 2014 course is going to focus on writing great characters.

Read more and register here. I did!!! So what are you doing this summer!

Member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators