What I'm reading: Still Life With Murder, by P. B. Ryan
If you haven't checked out WHEN DANGER CALLS as the Book of the Day featured at Ereader News Today, take a minute to pop over.
And thanks for all your comments and suggestions yesterday. I'll send a list to the editor, and will update you on our final answer.
Speaking of editors, I seem to be in editing mode these days. Just as I'm finishing up with edits on my short story, I get the copy edits for my next Blackthorne, Inc. story, ROOTED IN DANGER, which is due to be released next April. (Note: reminder to those who have been following my discussion of editorial preferences with my police procedural short story, this post is about a different story, a different publisher, and a different editor.)
I've already worked with the first round edits, where my editor and I worked with the manuscript I'd submitted to Five Star. We worked together to turn in the best possible product. But from there, it goes to their copy editing department, and they go over it carefully. Despite the efforts made to give them something perfect, they're probably going to find things that need attention.
Much as I dislike working with Track Changes, these edits come back in a pdf document, so you can't really make changes. Anything the editor changed will show up very much like it does in Track Changes, but there's no "accept/reject" option. Instead, you create a new document in Word, noting page numbers and paragraphs, and noting anything you disagree with. For the most part, changes are things to be sure the manuscript conforms to house style, and catching inconsistencies. For example, the heroine's family business is Epicurean Unlimited. However, in two places, I'd written Epicurean, Unlimited. Neither the first round editor nor I noticed it, but copy editors are alert to things like this.
But, just as the original editor and I missed some things, I'm not comfortable simply scrolling through the file looking for the editor's changes. I have until July 27th to return the manuscript with my accompanying comments, and I intend to read the entire book again. However, this kind of a read isn't for story, or even (one hopes) for continuity. It's for finding errors. This is the kind of reading where you can only read a few chapters at a sitting.
And, because I'm busy working on those edits, here's a snippet from the book as a sneak preview. For those of you who read my guest post at "Under the Tiki Hut", you might recognize the "inspiration" for the scene.
“Say again, Fozzie. You’re breaking up.”
Foster Mayhew slapped the radio. He took a calming breath and wiped his palms on his cargo pants. Several hundred feet below him, in the dense foliage of the tropical island jungle, Hotshot, the team medic, had their target. A few minutes and they’d be aboard the helo. Safe.
Focus. Almost clear. His heartbeat ticked away the seconds.
Fozzie kept his voice steady. “Another storm band is closing in. Fast. Get her up here,” Fozzie barked into the radio. “Now.”
Endless seconds ticked by. “Target is ready for transport,” Hotshot said.
“Thank God,” Fozzie whispered under his breath. He keyed the radio. “Hotshot, hold the hell on. Manny, start winching.”
All too slowly, the litter rose from the jungle below. Blackthorne, Inc. had been hired to get the target out, and that’s what they’d done. However, alive was understood to be part of the deal, and from the look on Hotshot’s face when he brought her on board, it wasn’t a given. Yet.
“All accounted for,” Manny said. “We’re clear.”
Grinch, the pilot, did the helicopter equivalent of pedal to the metal and they were off.
“Another successful mission, mates,” Fozzie said with forced bravado. “Chalk one more up to Blackthorne, Incorporated.”
When he didn’t get a response, Fozzie glanced over his shoulder. Hotshot knelt over their target. Kathleen? Katherine? Didn’t matter. Keeping them anonymous made the job easier if things went south. And since people trusted Blackthorne for its discretion, Fozzie preferred to know only what was necessary for the mission. Getting the target out of the jungle was their job, and they’d done it.
“How’s the patient?” Grinch asked.
“I wouldn’t know. Hotshot’s the medic. Me, I’m just the one who saves your arses.”
“And we’re glad you do, them being mighty fine asses and all,” Grinch replied.
“Shut up and fly,” Fozzie said. “I’ll alert the boss.”
An ambulance waited at the airstrip. Four men rushed a gurney to the helo. Within seconds, the ambulance tore away, sirens screaming, lights flashing.
“She gonna be all right?” Fozzie asked. “Did we get her in time?”
“I hope so.” Hotshot’s grim expression sent a knife through Fozzie’s belly. “She’s dehydrated, running a high fever. The local specialists are probably familiar with whatever bugs lurk here.”
“Hey, mates, we did our part. It’s out of our hands.” Fozzie brushed his palms together and wiped them on his pants. “How about a beer?”
“You’re buying,” Grinch said.
Be sure to come back tomorrow. Jason took a trip to Florida to be on hand in person for the final space shuttle launch. You'll want to see his pictures.