Monday, July 30, 2012

Meet the Editors: Rebecca Hill

Rebecca started devouring every book she could get her hands on from a very early age. She discovered romance novels as a starry-eyed teenager and was hooked from that day on.

She took a degree in English Literature, specialising in vampire literature, and went on to a master’s degree in publishing studies. Her thesis was titled “In Defence of the Potboiler”, because she’s a passionate advocate for the idea that genre books can be brilliant books. Ellora’s Cave’s wonderful authors continue to confirm that belief.

When she isn’t reading or editing, Rebecca enjoys cooking, paper crafts and poking about strange old museums looking at interesting things.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Dinna-Canna That Dialogue

by Raelene Gorlinsky

You’ve all heard of the dreaded “dinna-canna” book? One where the author doggedly reproduces the uninterpretable Scottish accent in dialogue of some secondary character throughout the whole story. The reader is completely distracted from the book by trying to translate. “What the hell is he saying? Is it important to the story?”
It happens in more than just Highlands historicals. Any story where a character might have an accent seems to seduce authors into the worst excesses. Editors hate it, readers hate it. Hey, yes, it’s great to give us a little taste to help flesh out that character – but after a few sentences, CUT IT OUT.
The July 2012 issue of Romance Writers Report has a very good article by Kinsey Holley on this issue. Basically, what she says is “more dialect, less accent”, and she defines it as “accent is the way words are pronounced (i.e., the way they sound), while dialect is vocabulary and sentence structure.” In other words, use the appropriate regional words and phrases that will attach a locality or nationality to your character—without all the accents. Slang works the same way—it can indicate young versus old, city versus country, and a lot more.
Do you carry your groceries in a sack or a bag? Drink soda or pop? Eat a sub or a hoagie? Those words place you. That strip of grass between the sidewalk and the street, which is owned by the city but the homeowner is responsible for maintaining? It’s got a lot of names; I grew up referring to it as the curb strip. But here in EC-HQ land, it is the “devil strip”—look that up and you’ll find out the phrase is unique to the Akron, Ohio, area. Have your character say that, and Ohio readers will love you as an author and believe in your Akronian character. All parts of the US have entertaining regional sayings that you can slip in where appropriate. Just make sure someone unfamiliar with the phrase will still be able to grasp the meaning from the context. It’s an effective way to “show” rather than “tell” about your character.
So use words themselves, rather than the way the words “sound”, to illustrate a character’s nationality or regionality or social level. Spare your readers’ mental ears, avoid excess accents!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Wednesday Writing Tips: Lay/Lie

Writing tips from the EC editors


This is the most common verb tense error.

From Dictionary of Problem Words and Expressions by Harry Shaw:
'Lay' means "to place" and is a transitive verb requiring an object.
     Present tense (lay): Is it better to lay a baby on its stomach or on its back?
     Past tense (laid): She laid the baby gently in the crib.
     Past participle (laid): She had laid the baby there dozens of times before.

'Lie' means "to recline", is intransitive, and takes no object.
     Present tense (lie): My dog loves to lie on my bed.
     Past tense (lay): The man lay where he fell in the street.
     Past participles (lain): He has lain there all night.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Meet the Editors: Elizabeth London

After five grueling years as an attorney, Elizabeth's job moved to California. She waved goodbye from her Texas doorstep, never so relieved to watch it go and, surprisingly, equally relieved to be unemployed.  It was time for a change and wouldn't you know it, editing felt like the natural direction to travel.  Since then she's been digging in at EC, steadily building up her author list and finding herself constantly amazed by the camaraderie and support of the EC staff -- something she had no idea she'd been missing in corporate America. Ironically, she has yet to actually meet a single one of her EC coworkers in person! Elizabeth loves to read but has a special fondness for funny contemporaries and steamy paranormals.

When Elizabeth isn't chained to her computer, she's teaching novel writing, story construction and editing at the local university, a job that keeps her on her toes and constantly entertained.  In her scant free hours she's a regular gym attendee (no, that's not her in the back of spin class with her iPad) and comes home to a hyper bullmastiff puppy, a cat who thinks he's a dog and a second cat who believes himself the Supreme-Ruler-of-the-World (bow and grovel before I cut you).  Her house, like her life, is in a constant state of change.

She loves every minute of it.

Friday, July 20, 2012


What do you do with 250,000 books? How about build a maze?
See all the images at

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Wednesday Writing Tips: Misplaced Modifiers

Writing tips from the EC editors

Misplaced/Dangling Modifiers

Participial phrases that are modifying the wrong noun, often at the beginning of the sentence. These are confusing to the reader, and often unintentionally comical.

“After training for more than a year, the event was canceled.”
This says that the event trained for more than a year.

“Standing out in the snow, his hands were cold.”
This says that his hands were standing out in the snow. (So where was the rest of him?)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Wednesday Writing Tips: Head Hopping

Writing tips from EC editors

Head Hopping

If the text indicates a character’s feelings or internal thoughts, that is the POV character. Avoid changing POV too frequently. It is a common practice to include a blank line when POV switches, to help the reader.

Example of really baaaad head hopping:

“We could play poker.” Darla smiled at Rick, hoping he’d say yes. She wasn’t ready to say goodnight just yet.  [Darla’s POV]

Rick dragged a hand over his jaw and nodded slowly. The devil in him wanted to suggest a small adaptation of the game. One involving the removal of clothes.  [Rick’s POV]

Darla didn’t miss the wicked sparkle in Rick’s gaze. Her skin prickled with anticipation. “I’ll get the cards.”  [Darla’s POV]

“Super.” Rick watched the sway of Darla’s hips as she sauntered to the kitchen.  [Rick’s POV]

Friday, July 6, 2012

Bookstore Cats

by Raelene Gorlinsky

Our regular readers know that we here at EC are animal lovers. We've featured some of our office-visiting pets on this blog. So we couldn't resist this Buzzfeed article with photos of "12 Cuddly Bookstore Kitties".

(Oh, and happy birthday to my (well, actually my son's) cat, Gremlin, who turned 16 last Tuesday.)

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Wednesday Writing Tips: Remove Redundancy

Writing tips from the EC editors

Redundant Words

Redundancy: needless repetition; being superfluous and unneeded.

Chop out the superfluous words clogging up your prose and annoying readers.
  • shrugged his shoulders; nodded his head; blinked/squinted his eyes  [What else would he have shrugged, nodded or blinked?]
  • pursed her lips together [You can't purse them apart.]
  • rose up  [You can't rise down, so the 'up' is redundant.]
  • "the reason is because"  [Remove the "because", or better yet delete the whole phrase and just state the reason.]
  • thought to herself [Who else would she be thinking to, her pet fish or the dust bunnies?]
  • "the fact is that"  [Just say the fact, don't say that you're going to say it.]
  • she waved her hand  [Try simply "she waved", unless she is waving something besides her hand.]
  • bald-headed man  [The reader assumes a bald man is lacking hair on his head.]
  • breathing in and out  [Can you breathe up and down? Forward and backward? It's enough to just breathe.]

Monday, July 2, 2012

Meet the Editors: Shannon Combs

Shannon Combs

I have been with EC since 2005, and what a great time it has been. I always loved to read and collected mountains of books. I once owned and operated a small sports newspaper, did some layout and web design work, and was even a fitness instructor for a while. But editing is my niche, my happy place. I have worked with some amazing authors and hope I have managed to add something positive to every book. It has been such a pleasure to help polish and refine these wonderful stories. I look forward to working on many, many more.

When I'm not editing I spend time with my family, play with my two kitties, hike/backpack and skate. And skate. And skate. I'm a roller derby girl. I'm part of a very competitive roller derby team that has recently earned its place into the Women's Flat Track Derby Association. It requires a tremendous amount of time and dedication, but we always have fun. It feeds my soul to regularly surround myself with so many strong women and is a great way to stay in shape and relieve stress.