Copy edits — done

It was a weekend of good food, good friends, and copy edits. I do two passes — the first is the in-depth cleanup pass through the manuscript. The copyeditor has gone through in red pencil with corrections and queries. I go over her changes and add my own. I hardly ever stet a change. I know what it’s like to copyedit; these editors know grammar, punctuation, and style, and I figure they are the experts. When I copyedited for magazines, we had the mindset that a good copyeditor is an advocate for the reader, adding clarity, simplicity, and readability. Plus, I learned a few things — did you know duffle bag is spelled duffel? I had no idea. And I used it a lot. Also, wrack. It’s a great word. But I meant rack. The copyeditor caught that.

The second pass was to answer a few tough queries. If you have read Gordath Wood you know the gordath is the portal at the center of the woods — it’s the heart of the story. The copyeditor had questions about how it worked. It was the type of thing, though, that I couldn’t just add changes where the queries were placed. I had to thread in my explanations in three other parts of the manuscript so that the information unfolded more naturally. That took a while.

So Saturday I was going over the manuscript at my friend’s dining room table, and her dad was teasing me. I explained that I was going over corrections to the book and he asked in his deep Southern voice, “So why didn’t you just write it right the first time?”

I assured him that for the next one, I would. This manuscript was slightly less pristine than my first book, partly because when it takes a few years to sell a book it tends to have been polished to a high gloss, and partly because I wrote this one at lightning speed by comparison.

So what happens next? I have been promised a cover. When that comes I will post it here. Then there are galleys for one more check (publishing: heaven for anal retentives).

So that was my Thanksgiving. Cooking, eating, playing Scrabble (hey, my friend used all of her letters across TWO triple word scores, making a whopping 92 points) and Yahtzee, and copyediting. What did you all do?

Thanksgiving — the cooking begins

Book 2 copy edits are coming along, but this is Thanksgiving week! There’s some serious food going on this week.

We are sharing Thanksgiving this year with friends. I said I will make the cranberry sauce, a green salad, and a chocolate mocha pecan pie (and maybe a regular pecan pie too, because once you start one pecan pie, it’s easy enough to just make two).

We’re frying a turkey — or rather, the guys are frying a turkey — and other guests are bringing all kinds of dishes.

So how can I concentrate on copy edits?! This is food week!

Cranberry sauce:

1 1/2 c sugar

1/4 c water

1/2 c raspberry vinegar

cinammon stick

bag o’ cranberries

orange peel

Mix the first three ingredients and dissolve sugar over medium heat. Add cranberries and everything else. Stir to coat, and then let simmer for 10-15 minutes, partially covered, til cranberries burst. Let cool. This cranberry sauce turns leftover turkey and stuffing sandwiches into the best. leftovers. ever.

Chocolate Mocha Pecan Pie: 

I’m a Yankee. I never got the pecan pie love til I moved down here. This is pretty good, plus chocolate! Coffee!

Hill Country winery tour

Saturday we spent the day on a chartered bus tour of four of the Texas Hill Country’s wineries, and it couldn’t have been a better day for it despite starting off at the ungodly hour of 3:30 am (not the bus tour itself ; I’ll explain that later). Crisp, cool weather, bright sun, and a deep blue sky. We visited Woodrose, Grape Creek, Becker, and Torre di Pietra, in that order. What a way to spend a Saturday, and the day even had a spec fic link at the end — you’ll see.

Woodrose has a beautiful facility with great people. Unfortunately, I didn’t like any of their wines. I was bummed. I really wanted to. However, the guy serving us told us a great story about one of their wines, a rosé that was extremely drinkable. He said that reporters from Food and Wine dubbed it “housewife crack” because of the number of women purchasing it by the case during the reporters’ visit. If you wanted something that was easy to drink and would give you a quick buzz, that would be the wine. I found myself polishing off the smidge I’d been given but I felt cheap even while I was drinking it. ; – )

Grape Creek was next. That was good. I bought a bottle of their syrah and port, both of which were some of the best I’ve ever tasted.

Then came Becker, which is the most touristy of the bunch but with decent wines and a wonderfully informative tour. I was starting to flag, and so I didn’t try all the wines. The group had a picnic there and it was so pretty. It was a perfect Hill Country fall day. They also run a lavender farm and I got a chunk of lavender spearmint soap that smells like heaven.

We finished up at Torre di Pietra, and by then, I couldn’t put anything more alcoholic into my body. It didn’t help that I was sleep-deprived and had given blood the day before, I’m sure. So I and another guy on the tour sort of slid into these chairs on the patio and looked up at the deep blue sky and kind of talked about how it was good we weren’t driving, and how all the wines added up, which ones we thought were the best, and wouldn’t a nap right about now be really nice?

Right about then I noticed a pair of familiar faces. John Gibbons and his wife Cat (Kat?) who are Armadillocon fixtures walked by with their wine, glasses, and snacks to enjoy the music of fiddle and guitar maestro Erik Hokkanen playing at the pavilion. We had a good chat and it was nice to see someone who I usually see only once a year at the best little convention in Texas. So that was the science fiction ending to my day.

The 3:30 am awakening began with a bang, as a drunk driver slammed into our truck, which was parked in front of the house. His Land Rover hit our truck so hard it knocked it across the street almost into our neighbor’s car parked in front of their house. The driver wasn’t injured, but we were out there for about an hour with the cops taking a statement and arresting the driver, and the tow truck etc. Oh yay! Insurance fun! But nobody was hurt and that was something.