Saturday, September 7, 2013

Call the Midwife . . .

In this case, the midwife's an editor and the baby is a book. My pal Amy Valentini of Unwrapping Romance fame will very soon be offering author services such as comprehensive manuscript editing, blurb polishing and tips on how best to get promoted as well as a connection to an excellent tour site. As soon as she gets the site up and running (next week with a bit of luck), I'll post the link. She promises her fees will be reasonable to help author's keep the costs down. 

As testimony to Amy's editorial aplomb, I post the following--a revision of the scene in the post below based on Amy's feedback. She felt I used too many commas and should consolidate the descriptive passages to stay more focused on the action. Here's what I did with the feedback:

It was now the next day and Graham was standing at the perimeter wall of Stirling Castle, gazing out at what the tour guide had described as “one of the finest views in Scotland.” The Asian-American beside him evidently disagreed. Sweeping his arm dismissively across the landscape, the blovious yank said, “If you ask me, it’s highly overrated. I’ve seen way better back in L.A.”
     With a disgruntled snort, he returned his eyes to the panoramic view: the slate rooftops and green fields of Stirling, the rock bridge where William Wallace divided and conquered the invading English army, the boggy carse where Robert the Bruce finally broke the chains of English bondage, the flat bank of hills fortifying Fife, and, finally, the first purple hills of the Highlands.
            Clouds streaked the blue-gray sky. The day was dry, though a wee bit too breezy to qualify as perfect. Still, it was excellent weather for sightseeing—a blessing given that it would be his only chance to show her around. After the tour, she’d gone to browse for souvenirs while he ducked into the whisky shop--a snug hole-in-the-wall whose tartan-festooned shelves offered an excellent selection of single malts. He’d sampled several before finally making his choice: Wallace Whisky Liqueur, a quirky blend of single malt, Scottish berries, and French herbs. He enjoyed a dram now and again when he felt nostalgic and it was hard to come by south of the border.
            Taste buds still humming, he waited at the wall where they’d agreed to rendezvous. He’d sported his kilt at her request and a cold wind now whipped around his bollocks. He moved his free hand around back to anchor the pleats. One good gust and those bloody yanks would get a view they’d not soon forget.
            A grin sprouted when he saw Cat coming toward him across the courtyard. She was a vision even in her dungarees and bulky sweater. The trousers hugged her arse in a way that made it challenging to keep his mind on history. She carried a bag. What had she purchased? Not, he hoped, another of those silly books with a half-naked Scot on the cover.
            “What have you got there?” he asked.
            “A book.”
            He fought the urge to roll his eyes. “Oh, aye? What kind?”
            “A novelized biography. Of Robert the Bruce. By someone named Nigel Tranter.”
            “Oh, aye?”
            He let the grin bloom. Tranter’s biography of Bruce was par excellence. As she came alongside, he put his arm around her shoulder and turned toward the view. “Do you see over yon--the first hill with all the trees? That’s called Abbey Craig. And the tower rising out of the crest—that’s the Wallace Monument.”
            “I had no idea all this meant so much to you,” she said, nestling against him.
            “Aye, well. It does.”
            As he bent to kiss her hair, a chilly gust lifted the back of his kilt, opening the pleats like a fan. The hand gripping the bagged bottle shot around just in time to deprive any onlookers of an unadvertised attraction. Though it would have handily answered the age-old question about what lurked beneath his native costume.
            Cat, with a smile as bright as the sun, kissed his shoulder and said,
            “My heart’s in the Highlands, my heart is not here,
     My heart’s in the Highlands, a-chasing the deer,
     Chasing the wild deer, and following the roe,
     My heart’s in the Highlands, wherever I go.”
     Her unexpected recitation of Robert Burns both surprised and delighted him. Pulling her closer, he nuzzled her hair. “My heart’s wherever you are, lass. And always will be.”

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Writing smexy paranormals with a Celtic twist. Blogging about good books.