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Blood Moon, black dragon and six simple lessons. Can Zora stop the sorcerer’s curse?
During the Rite of Familiar ritual, under the decennial Blood Moon Eve, Zora is lined up on stage to connect with her spirit guide. She prays that she will receive a rare animal familiar, which will give her access to advanced magical abilities, but soon wishes that she could revoke her prayers when she sees the fear in her godly mother’s, never before, panicked face.
The familiar that bonds with Zora brings about an ancient magical prophecy of a Dragon King who cursed the world to end after his queen had stolen his four heir eggs. Three, the queen hid, but one was lost to the underworld and prophesied to rise to Earth as the most powerful sorcerer to ever walk the world.
But the prophecy also tells of an irresistible love, who would be the only one able to bind the evil sorcerer’s powers by a kiss of deceit.
Okay, I want to tell you the story about when I met Sally. With a small budget for my book writing hobby, I was given the idea to swap services with other individuals to secure an editing service. Thank you, that was great advice given on the Book Connector Facebook group!!!
I saw a post from Sally Dixon, who had all the necessary skills to start her editing services business, but just needed a chance to prove her worth. I jumped at what I deemed could be a good collaboration.
I have never used a professional editor before as my husband is a teacher and very good with correcting my writing. So not sure what I was expecting in terms of quality or how I would react from having someone else dissect and critique my work, I contacted Sally. I was nervous to say the least as there are so many con artists out there.
Sally liked my idea and knowing you need to work to succeed, she agreed to the job. After she had corrected the first chapter of Symmetry; my 113k word novel, I noticed on the time stamps and the amount of corrections, that our collaboration wasn’t a fair trade. I immediately offered to end the collaboration as the amount of hours she needed to spend would never be worth a testimonial from me. I think Sally appreciated my offer and my awareness of how much work she put in to the quality of her work, but didn’t shy away from rolling up her sleeves and finishing her commitment. Admirable!
Although she must have other things to do in her life, the chapters she had corrected came flying into my inbox – one or two chapters an evening. They were all thoroughly worked through and no time spared or skimping on her quality. Even though my Fantasy genre contained scenes that Sally wouldn’t normally enjoy I could tell she had launched herself into the story whole-heartedly.
So, how did I find her way of working? I thought I would put a defensive wall up, but Sally was so humble and kept repeating that it was only her opinion and that it was my story after all. It made me feel safe and open minded when opening her documents, which looked like a Swiss flag in red comments on the white page. As I went through the comments and suggested changes I found that I accepted 99% of them. The way she worked made it really easy to follow her advice and make the necessary corrections. She made text red when she wanted to add something and just deleted words she thought should be deleted and referenced them in comment boxes so I knew they had been deleted. In this way it made the body text correct already and it was easy to just accept the correction boxes and it was done – Simple!
How did her changes make a difference?
The aim of her editing is based on the reader experience and the correctness of the grammar. It was many times that she twisted the sentences around … making it the same, but not??? Strange I know, but it makes sense. I could basically have written three rows-full of text in one sentence and she could shorten it to one and a half, basically saying the same and without loosing any understanding of what I wanted to divulge. Sometimes it was due to simple words that made more sense in the context and sometimes she filled in words that I’m not that familiar with and wouldn’t have thought of using, but that were a better fit. She could for example change words such as;
culprit – to kidnapper, Cookie – to biscuit
He pressed the lift button for the sixth floor which I realised was the top floor – deleted red.
An uneducated man said I don’t know – she brought him to life and suggested I changed it to dunno– Sally the writer-first-aider!
I had written that the cologne was infectious and she advised that it was the wrong context as it normally only referred to an illness – good word knowledge!
Sally also noticed that I kept writing emerald green eyes and advised that I could take off the word “green” as emerald means green. That is as clear as water of course, but for some reason I hadn’t picked that up. – Sally saw clearer than water!
Sally was on the ball.
In my book, Samuel had been able to do a few things without his attackers emerging from the basement. Sally mentioned that she wondered where the attackers were doing during this time as it had taken too long. I decided to add a few comments to explain the situation better. – Sally had paid attention to the story!
In my book, Tarus and Susy are in a hotel room and I had mentioned an office chair. It wasn’t really an office but a hotel room so Sally suggested we take the word “office” off. – Small detail, well spotted Sally!
In one place in the book I had explained how Samuel brought out his items and brushed his teeth etc. Really not relevant to anything and not very interesting to read – Sally again came to the rescue!
In another place I had written there was a victorian chair in Switzerland – Sally knowledgeably pointed out that that was doubtful.
In another place I commented that the windows in CERN were dirty – Sally again pointed out that it would be unlikely in such an environment. – Gosh you are on the ball Sally!
POV & Tenses
In a few places I had made small comments or short explanatory sentences that really were from the third person Point Of View, and not Susy’s. I write in first person and past tense hence this is wrong. – Sally noticed and offered suggested ways I could change the sentence to make it appear from Susy’s perspective!
In some places I had also mixed up the “to walk” vs “was walking” as well as other incorrect uses of tenses – which Sally changed without even bothering me with a comment box.
She even picked up on the fact that I had mixed English words with American words and asked what format I wanted to stick to. – Shows Sally’s language skills.
Adjectives & Adverbs
And so my world opened up! I thought it was good writing to push as many adjectives into a sentence as possible, as the best way describe a scene. This is wrong – I could delete half my book by taking these off and of course – Sally was very helpful in advising on which I should keep and which I could get rid off.
Apparently, it is also not best practice to describe how someone is saying something, so for example – he said mysteriously. I thought that added to the understanding of the situation, but advice I have read says that how a character speaks should be clear without these remarks. Sally helped to change or delete in good style!
So I would say, if you are looking for an editor, give Sally a chance!
I am equally passionate about editing and writing. I love to create with my own writing and I also gain enormous satisfaction from helping other authors refine their own efforts.
I have a B.Sc and a B.A. from UK universities as well as having completed a year’s Postgrad. Research. I have also studied Music & Creative Writing.
I was born and grew up in the South-East of England, but moved overseas in my twenties. I have lived in many different countries including the US, the Middle East and Europe and love writing about them and incorporating the many different experiences I have had in my writing – some of them wonderful and some downright scary!
Nowadays I live in southern France with my husband, two Dachsies and two cats.
As well as my writing, I enjoy teaching English, French and Spanish to adult learners and spend as much of my spare time I can walking the dogs in the countryside.
I have had two books published in the US and several short stories and articles in the UK. These include a short story in The Guardian which was syndicated in The Mail On Sunday.
The narrative of my latest book, Three Girls, takes place in Holland. It is a romantic thriller set against a background of extremism and and social unrest: viewbook.at/ThreeGirls
My next book, due out in the summer is set in Cairo and tells the story of an expat. couple whose young child is kidnapped by terrorists.
I am currently working on a book set in France which draws in threads of the story of the Cathar Heresy in the Languedoc.
Her fees are reasonable
I proofread on screen using Word for docs with track changes and/or comments boxes, or Adobe Acrobat &
PDF X Change for pdf’s
I copy-edit on screen in Word for Docs ( using track changes & comment boxes ) or Adobe Acrobat & PDF X-Change for pdf’s
Fees for proofreading & copy-editing are normally calculated as a rate per 1,000 words or for a whole project.
I am aware that clients’ needs and requirements can vary, so my rates are flexible. They range from €5 to €20 per 1,000 words. Same day or next day incur a 50% additional charge. I have a minimum charge of €30 per job.
For Indie writers I charge a special rate of €4 per 1,000 words for proofreading and €6 per 1,000 words for copy-editing. ( this can be slightly higher if the editing requirement is very high ). I would normally ask to see a sample before committing to a firm quote.
For business proofreading and editing, I normally charge between €10 & €20 per 1,000 words depending on what is required.
TRANSLATION ( French to English & Spanish to English )
Fees can be calculated at an hourly or daily rate, per word or for a complete project.
Each project is assessed and costed individually as there are many factors which will govern the time required.
As a rough guide, rates are in the range of €50 to €100 per 1,000 words of French or Spanish
I would definitely recommend Sally Dixon for your editorial services if you like to work with someone professional, who gives concrete feedback and specific suggested corrections. She is a no-nonsense woman who isn’t going to tell you her opinion about your story just to sell herself with flowery marketing tactics, but sticks to giving you solid advice to make your book the best it can be for your market. Personally, I love to work with this sort of person as it makes me confident that I receive value for money. Her only proviso is that she doesn’t take on work that contains excessive violence or erotica.
Did my story become better after Sally’s editing? Did it make it more sellable? You decide! You can buy Symmetry on Amazon or join my newsletter and receive an e-book for free.
There are a lot of books to be both written and read in 2019. It’s so hard to choose! But I have narrowed down a short list. I have chosen twelve books for this year, one a month, since I do have a busy lifestyle, but hope to be able to squeeze in one or two more. I will list them below so that you can read them with me if you like. I love to discuss books so don’t be shy. Visit my YouTube channel (visit a video about this post) or my facebook page to share your opinions.
Okay, let’s get started!
January read: Son of Chaos by Lexi C. Foss
I have already finished my first book of the year, which was Son of Chaos. This was the third book in the series of the Dark Provenance by Lexi C. Foss. I loved this book, although now I will have to plan when I can pick up and read the first two books in the series. You can find my review on this book here.
Blurb: A simple mission turns deadly as the Daughter of Death is kidnapped by an old enemy seeking revenge. Now it’s up to me to find her and I will kill anyone who steps in my path. The Son of Chaos isn’t playing. I’m armed, I’m pissed, and I want my Evangeline back. It’s time for Heaven and Hell to meet the real Archangel inside of me.
Everyone will pay. Many will die. Silver will slay. And a new power will ascend from the Shadows…
*This book will be released exclusively with Wings of the Wicked on January 8th. Individual re-release will be in April 2019.
February read: Live fae or die trying by Jenna Wolfhart
I am very excited about this book after having read the prequel novella that Jenna provides for free when you subscribe to her newsletter. It will be released in February 2019 and I’m counting on a little mind reading fae to kick some serious butts in the aim to remain court-less.
Blurb: I’m a fae without a court, but that suits me just fine. Kind of. For years, I’ve hidden in my shabby East London flat, working as a private investigator for romantically-scorned supernaturals. The pay? Total rubbish. I’m broke as hell and almost homeless. But I’m stuck in this life. If anyone discovered my dark past, I’d end up dead.
But when a serial killer starts picking off London’s fae, it seems fate has other plans for me. Balor, a dangerous and sinfully enticing fae prince, wants me to help him hunt down the killer. Apparently, my mind-reading abilities would be an asset. Now, I’m being whisked away into a court of wealth and magic.
Problem is, I can’t read his mind, and I’m not sure I trust him. Worse, he knows I’m keeping a secret of my own, and he’s determined to figure it out. Despite his allure, I start to wonder if he’s behind the crimes. If he is, I’ll never make it out of the fae Court alive.
March read: Winds of Change by Angela Sanders
This book seems to feature a strong heroine that I can’t wait to meet. I hope she will put her stalker in his place.
Blurb:At the age of twenty-one, Abigail Blanque is a fun-loving, naive, and carefree witch, having the time of her life, partying and hunting rogue vampires for the Hybrid Coven. That is until she learns of a murderous stalker who’s been watching her every move.
After two witches are murdered, all signs point to Abby being the next victim. In a dangerous turn of events, Abby’s life descends into chaos and she must summon an extraordinary power she never knew she had in order to fight a dark evil that wants her dead. Abby knows her life is about to change.
Darkness is coming…
April read:Michael’s Passion by Joel Crofoot
Okay, let’s spice it up with some hunk hero as spring closes in on us. I will consider this my Easter Bunny present. I’m excited to read this after seeing all of its awards.
Winner of a Best of 2017, Reviewer’s Choice Award, from the Paranormal Romance Guild!
Winner of a Best Romance award from the Wild Dreams Publishing 1st annual Indie Awards 2018.
Blurb: When the archangel Michael is forced to rely on his estranged brother Gabriel for help after a demon attack goes wrong, Gabriel places him before the throne of God for healing and it doesn’t go quite as planned. Soon they find themselves cast out of heaven and at each other’s throats when Michael meets a demon that he can’t bring himself to kill.
Jahi is a demonic seductress who uses sex to steal people’s souls. It’s not exactly her dream job, but it keeps her boss at bay, until a chance meeting with Michael changes her fate forever.
May read:Dark Promise by Nikki Landis
Let’s twist the heat up a bit and stay indoors to read some more Paranormal Romance whilst we shape up our summer bodies for the beach. This book was 2017 IPPY Award Winner, Gold Medalist Best Romance/Erotica.
Blurb: A love story between two people who live in two very different worlds; is it right to keep a promise when it hurts the one you love? Can the darkness survive in the light?
Mare’s life is in danger. An unknown enemy seeks to destroy her, only months after her mother’s brutal death. When a handsome stranger saves her life everything she has ever known will be put to the test. Dare she trust her life – and her heart – with a man who walks the endless night?
Andre stumbles upon Mare’s attack, saving her life, immediately drawn to the innocent beauty. Cursed and soulless, his existence has never meant so much or brought him so close to salvation. His dark promise, hidden in the deep recesses of his heart, becomes his only objective. Can he save Mare in time? Or will he be lost, forever damned, in his pursuit to have her at any cost? Can love survive the impossible?
June read:Black Prism by Brent Weeks
As I have listened to book vloggers on YouTube this book keeps coming up as a great read with a complex magical system. I can’t wait to see what it has in store to sweep my imagination away to the world beyond ours.
Blurb: Guile is the Prism, the most powerful man in the world. He is high priest and emperor, a man whose power, wit, and charm are all that preserves a tenuous peace. Yet Prisms never last, and Guile knows exactly how long he has left to live.
When Guile discovers he has a son, born in a far kingdom after the war that put him in power, he must decide how much he’s willing to pay to protect a secret that could tear his world apart.
July read:Wiccan Wars by Heather Marie Adkins
This cover looks so cool and I have a good feeling about the story. I will be diving into this wiccan war in the summer.
Blurb: Ever O’Connell prides herself on being a good Wiccan, and her coven follows the path of the Goddess with love and light. But the “dark” witches in school—the BlackMags— keep pushing her toward the edge, until Ever finally finds herself at war.
Cade Bourdain inherited his father’s thirst for power, drawing him into darker areas of magick. Despite his dislike for the “Fluffy Bunny” Wiccans, he feels an unearthly connection to Ever.
When the two strike up a secret relationship the real magic between them is ignited, generating a power that a dangerous warlock yearns to take for his own. Ensnared by the warlock, Ever and Cade’s conflicting covens must work together despite their differences—or else be destroyed by a common enemy.
The line between light and dark has never been so unclear.
August read: Demons and Deception by Katerina Martinez & Tansey Morgan
This looks like an angry girl series where you shouldn’t be out playing if you can’t stand the heat. The blurb indicates a forbidden love romance. My favourite!
Blurb: In London, I have my dream job: stacking books in a University Library. Even though I’m a mage, I have a quiet life these days. At least, until Levi shows up. Immediately, I know he’s trouble. He’s too sexy by half, and I can tell he’s dangerous. Worse, he wants a forbidden book in my library. No way in hell am I going to give it to him. It’s my job to protect it.
But now, Levi won’t let it go. And it turns out, he’s not the only person who wants the book. All of a sudden, enemies are closing in on me, trying to get the book.
I need to figure out what the hell is going on if I want to live. I’m about to head right into a storm, I think the only way out, is to fight through it.
September read: The forever Girl by Rebecca Hamilton
A spell gone wrong and an inexperienced girl in the deep end. I will be picking this up when the kids are back in school after the summer.
Blurb:At twenty-two, practicing Wiccan Sophia Parsons is scratching out a living waiting tables in her Rocky Mountain hometown, a pariah after a string of unsolved murders with only one thing in common: her. Sophia can imagine lots of ways to improve her life, but she’d settle for just getting rid of the buzzing noise in her head. When the spell she casts goes wrong, the static turns into voices. Her personal demons are soon joined by the company of otherworldly creatures, and the newcomers are dangerous.
One of them is a man named Charles, who Sophia falls for despite her better judgment. He has connections that might help her unveil the mystery surrounding her ancestor’s hanging, but she gets more than she bargains for when she finally decides to trust him.
This is my contribution to read a book from a debut author. I believe this is her first book and it sounds super cool. It’s a bit darker than I normally read, but hey, I got to try right. No better time to read it than when the autumn darkness kicks in.
Blurb: Edie Holloway longs for an exciting life. Instead, she’s lost her job, her band is going nowhere, and her hamster just kicked the bucket. Or did he? Because he’s breathing again.
When a mysterious man with magical powers saves her from an otherworldly attack, Edie gets more excitement than she bargained for. Turns out, she and Marius are on opposite sides of an apocalyptic battle between the forces of good and evil—and he wants her dead.
To make matters worse, a gun-toting zombie shows up in Edie’s living room—an undead servant inherited from her father. And he’s not all she inherited. Edie can raise the dead, a power that places her squarely on the side of evil. The only way to change that destiny is to assemble a team of supernatural warriors, revive an ancient faction, and stop the oncoming war.
If Edie screws up, it could literally mean the end of not just the world, but everyone she loves. And this time, everything will stay dead.
November read: Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb
On a YouTube channel that I followed called ‘What Cass read‘, Cass states Robin Hobb is her favourite author and that this series is amazing, hence I better check it out so that I don’t miss out.
Blurb: Young Fitz is the bastard son of the noble Prince Chivalry, raised in the shadow of the royal court by his father’s gruff stableman. He is treated like an outcast by all the royalty except the devious King Shrewd, who has him secretly tutored in the arts of the assassin. For in Fitz’s blood runs the magic Skill–and the darker knowledge of a child raised with the stable hounds and rejected by his family. As barbarous raiders ravage the coasts, Fitz is growing to manhood. Soon he will face his first dangerous, soul-shattering mission. And though some regard him as a threat to the throne, he may just be the key to the survival of the kingdom.
December read:Moon Tortured by McKenzie Hunter
This is the series that I have been most excited about this year and hence am leaving the best for last. This will be my Christmas present!
Blurb: Sky Brooks’ life started with a death – her own. Sky’s spent the first 23 years of her life unaware of this, among other things. She always thought she was just a shapeshifter until she wakes up in a strange house in rural Illinois – battered, bruised, and with only vague memories of her mother’s death at the hands of vampires.
At the request of a powerful witch, Sky is put under the protection of the Midwest Pack. But she isn’t sure she can trust them, especially after she meets the dangerously sexy Ethan, a pack member who’s known for being more ruthless than altruistic. After she’s attacked by a necromancer, a mercenary, and the vampires who killed her mother, she has no choice but to accept the pack’s help.
The Midwest Pack aren’t quite what they seem – but then again, neither is Sky. As they form an uneasy alliance to search for the reason behind the vampires’ vicious attacks, it becomes clear that Sky possesses magic no one has ever seen – and it all started with what happened at her birth.
HAPPY READING 2019
So let me know what you think of these choices, and if you have read them already share your opinion with me!
Connect with me on any or all of the places below:
I am very delighted to be featured with my guest article on Nick Stephenson’s blog. My article gives tips on how to make your everyday life more efficient so that you will find more time for writing. I hope that it will inspire and help other authors. Read full article here.
Mystery, passion, magic and the fringes of science fiction meld together in Symmetry, the new novel from author Therese Caruana. An original telling of an apocalypse foretold and an enlightening quest that sees her young protagonist questioning the facts and fictions of her known world. It’s an ambitious tale, both in terms of scope and action that Caruana tells with confidence. Her characters are aptly formed and interesting in their roles with her main protagonists subtly conveying their otherworldly origins through multiple narratives and perspectives. It is certainly an intriguing read, with her judicious use of poetry and biblical reference adding a beguiling depth of mystery. A read that doesn’t suffer from complexity of plot, which is easy to envisage and might easily be transitioned to wider mediums.
Written as the first book in her Science series, Symmetry marks a notable debut for author Therese Caruana and is sure to spark interest in her coming books. It is definitely recommended. In the spotlight.
I have started one of those read and pass on to see how far my book will travel. I am excited to learn about its adventures and hope that the readers send me a picture of them in the world. I have started by sending a copy with a friend to Poland. Let’s see how it goes!