M A G A Z I N E ISSUE #SAMPLE - JULY-SEPT 2019
What Damn Day is it Anyway Nina Turnipseed
The Abandoned Road Joey Edwards
and other tales by
Tom Cat Jerry Mouse Joseph Clay
Quarterly Features: Q&A, Book Review & Author Spotlight
ISSUE #SAMPLE - JULY-SEPT 2019
Joseph Clay – Managing Editor/Writer Nina Turnipseed – Associate Editor/Writer Kaye Douglass - Editor Steven Michaels - Story Submissions Joan Clay – Contest/Contest Submissions Joey Edwards – Advertising/Writer Rick Chappell - Graphic Design/Layout ThunderHorse Publishing - Publisher Contact Email’s: Corral@journalist.com ThunderHorsePublishing@consultant.com The Corral contains work of fiction by various authors. All writings and characters with in those writings are drawn from the author’s imagination and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual events or persons, living, or dead, is entirely coincidental. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted without permission in writing from the copyright owner ThunderHorse Publishing at ThunderHorsePublishing@consultant.com Copyright © 2019 ThunderHorse Publishing
ISSUE #SAMPLE - JULY-SEPT 2019
Table of Contents THE WRITINGS (Flash Fiction) To Rest in Peace One Must Die in Peace - Joseph Clay (Short Story) What Damn Day Is It - Nina Turnipseed (Flash Fiction Visual Writing Prompt Wining Entry) Abandoned Road - Joey Edwards
DEPARTMENTS Flash Fiction Visual Writing Prompt Contest Author Spotlight - Nina Turnipseed Book Review - Promise Me Always - G. Michelle Q & A: Clare Diston - Owner of Human Voices Editorial
To Rest in Peace One Must Die in Peace by Joseph Clay Chaplain Ronnie Jenkins was stepping to the podium as he was watching the hand full of people that were gathered in the smallest chapel of the funeral home. Some were taking a seat while others were making their way towards the simple wooden coffin. Chaplain Jenkins was placing his bottle of water on the small shelf under the podium as the last of the mourners were somberly viewing the body of Nathan Dewberry. Chaplain Jenkins placed the leather binder on the podium and opened it. He began reading the particulars of Mister Dewberry. Nathan Dewberry was a homeless man who passed in his sleep under the Jefferson Street Bridge. There was no sign of foul play and his body was clear of drugs and alcohol. The cause of death was listed as heart failure. With the mourners now seated Chaplain Jenkins removed the bottle of water, with the top off he took several gulps before replacing it. He was adjusting his glasses as he centered the papers on the podium. “Mister Dewberry left specific instruction is his last will and testament of what was to be said at this time. He wrote his own eulogy, and that is all that is to be read, nothing added or removed” Chaplain Jenkins said as he was flipping to the next page while clearing his throat. He then began reading in a clear deep but comforting voice. “As I approach death I felt the need to share my dismal existence and life style. I do this in hopes you will understand for ones soul to rest in peace we must die in peace. I learned this from watching the creatures, both domestic and wild. When the end approaches most wander off to die alone in silence and with a soul that is
at peace. My demise may answer some of your questions of why it had to be this way. However my friend it may trigger questions that only partaking of death will answer. There comes a time when we all have to make the decision about life and death. This is easier said than done. Our lives are hectic to say the least and the hardships of that life weigh on us. The only sure thing is death. Therefore the decision we must make is about how we choose to spend the days from birth to the only constant in life death.” Chaplain Jenkins looked up from the handwritten words that were on several sheets of wrinkled and faded notebook paper. The chaplain lowered his eyes back to the words that laid before him. “I beg of you, don’t chase the dollar. Time will get away from you, before you know it you are only existing and not living. You will have missed life, not your life but the life of Gods greatest blessing, the kids. The children only want one thing and that thing is more valuable than all the money you have. Your time. I learned this lesson the hard way. I have six wonderful kids, who are now adults. If I were not dead, I would wager that only half of them are here. I can’t blame them and not disappointed in the ones who didn’t make it. After all why should they give me their time when I didn’t give them mine?” Chaplain Jenkins was removing his glasses with one hand as the other was removing a handkerchief from his pocket. While he was wiping the tears from his eyes, he was looking at three well-dressed young adults, two females and one male. They were sitting together, holding hands with tears streaming down their faces. To clear
the lump in his throat, Chaplain Jenkins took a few more swigs of water before continuing. “Do we choose to die alone or surrounded by those that say they love us, do they really? They tell us they do. Friends you must understand love is not a noun it is a verb, an action verb. Beware of those around you that spew the word freely, almost like their favorite cuss word. They spit the words with no feeling or action. These people my friends speak with a forked tongue and the truth is not in them. The worst torment is when spouses begin to suck the very soul from the other until what once was love is now hate. Both souls are now empty and void of any light or hope for peace. Be leery of those who tell you that God is helping them get through a crisis and he will do the same for you. Yet behind closed doors these same people reach for the bottle, liquor or pill. They are putting their faith in that bottle and feeding the demons. Those demons have their soul tightly in their grasp and will never let go. The demons are laughing knowing if the captive had the faith that they say they do, the demons would not have been able to enter, capture and harvest the soul to begin with.
Like love, faith is a verb not a noun. Speaking it accomplishes nothing, showing it, brings on action.” Chaplain Jenkins checked on the three young adults as he was reaching for his bottle of water. After taking a couple of sips to wet his throat he gently placed it down. Once he adjusted his glasses he found where he had stopped reading. “Blame it on Karma or whatever but I was being paid back for my actions. Those actions I take full responsibility. I knew there was no way I was going to rest in peace as I wasn’t going to die in peace. Let’s face it we can’t change a damn thing about the world or others, we can change ourselves and/or circumstances. I knew I had to escape from the people that were keeping me in a living hell. I chose to be homeless. That way when I fade from this world into whatever lays on the other side, if anything, I’ll be able to rest in peace as I died in peace.”
Short Story Genre: Erotica The following story contains sexual situations and sexual acts.
What Damn Day Is It by Nina Turnipseed I was slumped in the corner of the elevator, by the control panel as it began the journey upward to the twenty first floor. Through blood shot eyes and heavy eye lids I scanned the compartment, I was the only passenger. With the passing of every floor the dinging of the bell shot through my already pounding head. I was about to cover my ears to silence the annoying sound when my private carriage slowed and came to stop. The light from the bright fluorescents in the foyer filled the elevator as the doors opened. Staggering across the metal threshold I felt I was forgetting something, but what I couldn’t recall. I quickly turned facing the elevator, the doors closing. “Fuck my bag and briefcase” I shouted. Moving like a big cat going after dinner I sprang toward the closing doors, hoping to stop them. This cat didn’t land on all fours. After tripping over my own feet I was heading to the floor like a six foot spruce that had been chopped down. I was rotating my body hoping to avoid a face first landing and breaking my nose. The elevator bounced as I crashed to the floor, a thud echoed filling the car. The impact forced the air from my lungs as the closing doors bounced off my legs. I knew I couldn’t get to my feet, gather my thoughts and my luggage and escape this mechanical death trap. I pulled my legs in as the doors were making their third attempt to close. The elevator lunged and began moving as I made it to my feet. Taking deep breaths to refill my lungs with oxygen I checked the red numbers above the door as they flashed. The numbers were decreasing with every loud fucking ding. I pushed the button for the floor two down from what was displayed, hoping to stop the descent. The elevator jarred to a stop, the doors opened, luckily to an empty foyer. I focused my eyes and pushed twenty-one again.
Once the doors opened again I flung my briefcase and bag out into the foyer, then I stumbled out. I shot the mechanical device a bird over my shoulder before gathering my belongings. I was still breathing hard as I began staggering toward a glass office front that I prayed was mine. Once there I checked the name on the glass wall to make sure I wasn’t about to walk into someone else’s establishment. Sonny Rutherford Private Investigator “Yep that’s me,” I muttered as I let the bags fall from my hands to the floor. I pushed the door then pulled but to no avail, I shook the door hard, the glass wall began rattling and shaking. “Fuck the doors are locked,” I shouted while I let go of the chrome bar and fished my keys from my pocket. I looked down at the key ring. Thank God there was only six I thought. I knew in my condition this task of trying one key then another was going to be tedious which in return would piss me off. I began to ponder if I had the energy to shatter the fucking glass and walked on in. I decided against that and began eliminating the keys that I knew wouldn’t open the door. I slid the key to my car and motorcycle to the end of the ring leaving me with four. I stared at the keys while trying to deduct which one would fit. Since I couldn’t remember ever being locked out of my office before I chose the key that looked like it had the least wear. I inserted the key in the slot. Taking a deep breath and holding it I turned the key. The pop and clank of steel dead bolt echoed as it slid from the door to the jam. With my keys back in my pocket I grabbed my bags as I turned my back to the door. Once I felt the bar in the small of my back I thrust my body against the door. I fell into the waiting area, like a man who had one too many I was struggling to keep my balance. I weaved and bobbed till I fell against
the reception counter. I planted myself there. Looking around for some type of light switch I thought, where the hell is Linda? Running my fingers through my hair I began pondering, sorting out time zones and that fucking International Date Line. Hell maybe its Saturday or even Sunday, shit maybe the sun is setting instead of rising, whatever I’m here now, and there is a couch in my office. I decide in my confusion it was best to relock the door before heading to the office. I was digging in my pocket to retrieve the keys as I made my way back to the entry. Once in the familiar surroundings of my office I laid my briefcase on top of my desk and tossed my bag in my private bath. I was unsure of the day but one thing I knew for certain was what I needed. I headed straight for the wet bar located behind my desk. I hit the brew button on the coffee maker instead of the liquor bottle. With the blue light glowing I took a deep breath as the magic java began brewing. Being the impatient person I am I grabbed my coffee cup. With the other hand I pulled the pot while putting the cup under the flowing black liquid. Switching the two back out I flopped down in my high back leather desk chair. With my feet on the desk I was sipping the coffee while sorting out the recent events. I refilled the cup, once back in my chair, using the coaster on my desk, I placed the cup down after taking a couple of sips. The latches of the briefcase popped as they sprang open. The elevator ride this morning or night had kicked my ass. The office being locked had added to the stress that had started with a trip to Bangkok. Don’t get me wrong the trip over the pond was a profitable one, both for my pocket and society. The case was a nice change, for the kind of money I was paid I usually wound up getting my hands dirty, but not in this one. The client had contacted me three weeks ago about the case. He gave me the particulars and information. I could see and hear the determination in his voice, this man was going to avenge the kidnapping, rape, and murder of his only daughter no matter the cost or penalty. My mission was a simple one; all I had to do was
find the scum bag, the client would handle the rest. The costs of my services were insignificant to him. He never blinked an eye at my one hundred thousand dollar fee plus expenses, with half down before I started. The money was in my off shore account an hour after he left my office. I took another sip of the coffee as I was pulling the newspaper, which I picked up before boarding the plane to leave Bangkok from my briefcase. I placed the coffee down and unfolded the paper, the headline caught my eye. Suspected Child Pornographer and head of Bangkok’s Human Trafficking Ring Bleeds to Death Hanging from Temple Roof. Yep I had done my job and my client had done his part as promised. I continued glancing over the article while sipping on my coffee. The first couple of lines let me know how ruthless a pissed off dad can be. The victim’s penis had been removed and he had been castrated. Once the tape was removed all three body parts were found lodged in his throat and mouth. The cause of death; two puncture wounds were discovered in the Carotid Artery about the size of a knitting needle. The witness accounts were stranger. They all reported seeing two men on the roof. They varied in the descriptions. Some say it was a big hulk like man dressed in all black, others swear it was a Ninja, a few described the killer as having a ghost white face and thin maybe a vampire. I laid the paper to the side and removed my laptop from my briefcase. I placed it on my desk and as it was booting up I poured myself another cup of Joe. Back at my desk I keyed the information in that would give me access to my off shore bank account. The second half of my fee had been deposited. All that was left was to bill my client for the expenses. I began removing receipts that that I had not yet placed in the expense folder along with the folder. With them scattered on my desk I began double checking and getting them all organized for Linda, so she could handle the task. The expenses were done and in the center drawer of the desk, the briefcase was stowed away in the closet beside the bar. My feet were
back on the desk as I was working on my third cup of coffee. I knew once this cup was down I knew what would follow. With the cup empty I headed to the bar. I dumped what coffee was left in the pot and turned the maker off. After washing the cup and pot I put them away. I was headed to the bath to grab my bag as the stomach began to rumble. I quickly stowed it the closet with the briefcase and returned to the throne for my morning constitutional just in time. With the small room filled with a stench that even I found repulsive, I flipped the switch, turning on the exhaust fan. After washing my hands I filled the sink with cold water. I took a deep breath and planted my face in the water, shaking my head side to side. I came up for air, Damn that shit is cold, but between it and the coffee the fog is lifting. I thought as I repeated the process. Back up for air again I pushed the rod down to release the water from the basin then reached for a towel. I dried my hair and let the towel hit the floor as I froze. The last of the fog that was clouding my mind cleared up in a hurry as my heart began to race. I stood listening, there was music now mixed in with the gurgling of water and the hum of the exhaust fan. The draining of the sink was complete as I shut off the fan. The music was still faint but was clear, it was coming from the office. I eased the vanity drawer open, removing the .45 I kept in there. Staying low and using caution I eased the door open enough for me to see who was in my office. Immediately I knew what day of the week it was. Bent over my desk was Linda, my assistant, business partner, and lover. The more she reached across the desk the higher her light brown skirt inched up. Linda was now revealing her large cotton white buttocks. The light was reflecting off the emerald that was set into the base of her stainless steel butt plug. “Butt Plug Monday, starts off hurting like hell, but pays off in the end,” I whispered to myself as I was replacing the .45. Making as little sound as possible I made my way back to the door that was still ajar. I was smiling as Linda’s head was bobbing to the music that was blasting from earbuds. She had the
volume jacked up allowing the music to spill into the room. Linda was still leaning over the desk spraying the furthest edge of it with polish. Once she began rubbing the polish in Linda’s ass began to jiggle. This made the butt plug vanish and then reappear, like the emerald was winking at me. I was becoming aroused at her movements and had already removed my pants to give my Johnson room to grow as I continued watching. Linda shifted and toyed with her plug trying to get it comfortable once she finished with the desk. Walking away from the desk Linda stopped as a smile came across her face while she began to shiver. With the smile still on her face she began walking toward the couch, there she picked up a package. While strolling back across the room she stopped again and flopped down in the chair across from the desk. Linda began grinding her hips in the seat as she tossed her head back. Linda was licking her lips and exploring her body with her hands as the parcel fell to the floor. After a few minutes she sprang to her feet and retrieved the package. Linda began shaking the parcel as she took strides toward the bar, once there she sat the package down. With a twirl and a few more dance moves she stopped at the desk, staring at it. She shook her head as she removed the dust cloth from her pocket. Linda reached over to get a smudge off the shiny top. I seized the opportunity; with the music blaring she did not hear me when I came up behind her. With one hand I forced her beautiful face down on the desk, with the other I pulled the plug out and waited till the gape closed. Once it had become taunt again, I entered. Linda was well lubricated from the gel she used on the plug. With each stroke I could feel the ridges and warmth of her chute pulling me in deeper. I grabbed her hair and pulled her head up. “Sonny, you are back, hit it big boy, it has been almost three weeks since you have rode me hard. Make me scream.” I got faster and deeper. I was about to explode when I pulled out. Waiting for the forbidden entry to close I picked up the plug from the desk. Once it did I gave the gem a firm push spreading it apart again. After holding pressure, the
emerald studded plug began inching back inside causing Linda to moan. I dashed to the bathroom and washed my Johnson down and like a bullet returned. Linda was swaying her ass from side to side as I ran my hands up between her thighs. Her juices were hot and coating both of them. I knew it would be no problem spreading her flower. I placed my tool in position and inched my way in. The wetness, warmth and tightness of her flower almost brought me to my knees as I began thrusting in and out of her, as I thought. Slow down big boy, regroup, we don’t want to be a minute man here. I changed plans. Instead of drilling her deep I switched to short strokes. I was penetrating three inches at the max and rocking my hips from side to side. I continued this until Linda insisted I give it all to her. “Sonny, I want to feel your head in my guts and the girth stretch me till it feels like you are tearing me apart. Come on Sonny I know you can do it. Fuck me hard, make it hurt Sonny, make it hurt!” She screamed as she was thrusting her hips towards me. That was my cue. With deep rapid strokes I was giving her all I had and knew I had her on the verge when she began pounding the desk with her closed fist. Linda began bucking hard driving me and the plug deeper. I grabbed a hand full of ass with each hand and began grunting as I picked up speed. The moans became gasps and screams as she began beating the desk with more force as her body went in to convulsions. I heard a pop then felt something hit me just below my navel, I looked down. The force of her orgasm had ejected the plug. With weak knees and trembling hands I managed to reinsert the plug without losing rhythm. “Come on, I want to feel the power of your explosion, blow my head off with it.” Linda shouted. I was a blur as the eruption built, with a scream I sowed my seed in her flower. After a few more pumps I slapped her ass as I pulled out. I stood up and backed away giving her some room. Linda slowly straightened up, her legs wobbling as she took three steps and eased herself on to the soft blue carpet that covered the floor.
“What’s wrong babe?” I asked breathing heavy. “Legs give out, I can understand that, hell my thighs are shaking so bad I may fall in the floor myself.” “You and that salami you got hanging between your legs always make my legs weak after a good fucking.” She said as she began rubbing her thighs. “I think the rest may be from the way I was bent over the desk, cutting off the blood flow to them, they are asleep,” she said with a smile. “I see,” I said as I extended my hand down to her. Once on her knees I noticed my fertilizer oozing from the freshly tilled garden. She must have felt it also as she let go of my hand. She cupped her hands and placed them between her legs. “Oh yes a creamy after sex treat,” she purred as she licked her lips. I was smiling as I was heading to the bath to clean up and get my pants. “I’ll bring you a warm wet cloth from the bath.” “Thank you, I can tell from this load you didn’t get your cock banged in Bangkok.” “You know I only bang you, no one else can handle it,” I said. Once I returned Linda’s brown eyes were gleaming as she was pouring the milky fluid from her hand onto her extended tongue, while rubbing her bud with her other hand. With furious speed her fingers began working her garden till she began shaking all over. Linda swallowed deep and continued licking her hand as a loud moan escaped her lips as she purred. “Sonny I’m about to cum again, hope you don’t mind.” “Not at all babe,” I said as I stood watching her please herself with the fingers of one hand while rubbing her bud with the other. The sound of her fingers moving in out of her wetness was making me hard again. I could tell by her face she was close and didn’t need me interrupting by exposing my excitement. Linda tossed her head back as she cried out. “Two on a Monday, fuck yeah.” Her legs began shaking as they opened and closed around her hand till her body was no longer quivering. She removed her fingers from her body and put them
in her mouth licking them clean. My eyes grew wide as Linda lunged toward me ripping my pants down, my Johnson shot out, bouncing as it became free. She engulfed it in her warm mouth and pulled it deep down her throat. My head tilted back as she began giving me oral. I didn’t last long, losing it as fast as a teen seeing his first naked woman up close. With each shooting spew Linda swallowed deep. As my erection died she released her mighty suction. Licking her lips Linda reached up and took the towel. She was wiping the saliva from her chin as she was getting to her feet. “That was mighty tasty, as soon as I get done in the powder room I’ll unlock the doors and we’ll get this Monday started.
I winked as I was asking, “Honey I now know its Monday, but what time is it?” “While you were away we moved the clocks back an hour, it’s just now seven.” Linda said as she closed the door to the bathroom. “Damn on top of everything else the time changed also. That explains why I thought Linda was late.” I said under by breath as I was headed to the bar, this time for celebratory Scotch.
ADVERTISE HERE! Promote your Business, Book or Writing Related Services. Contact Joey Edwards at Corral@journalist.com with any questions and get a quote.
Visual Writing Prompt Contest
Abandoned Road - Joey Edwards from Fixin’, Georgia Honorable mentions: Johnny Bravo, Over Yonder, Texas. - Wilma Flintstone, Bedrock, Utah. - Betty Boop, Star Shinning, California. - Johnny Quest, Ocean Deep, Florida. - Samurai Jack, Sword Bearing, Ohio.
Abandoned Road by Joey Edwards
Jack could hear the teeth of his girlfriend Sue chattering as he watched her rubbing her arms with her hands. He too had had chills flooding his body from the cold and dampness of the forest. Jack continued watching Sue as she was surveying the area. Jack was getting angrier as Sue, unlike Jack, was showing no signs of being frightened by their situation. The screams of agony from deep within the forest reached Jack’s ears once again. The hair on
his neck began standing on end as the compass, falling from Jack’s shaking hands, plopped to the ground. Jack covered his ears as tears filled is eyes while he was going to his knees. Trembling he looked up at Sue. She was staring down the abandoned road they had stumbled upon several hours back. She pointed towards a bend that was a hundred yards ahead of them. “Jack, get a grip, this was all your idea so stop acting like a scared child.
Now come on, we need to see what’s around the bend.” She shouted. The screams were fading as Jack was reaching for the compass as he said. “I only planned this get away to put a stop to your bitching and constant nagging about how I ignore you...I see that didn’t work.” Jack said as he was getting back to his feet. Looking down at the compass he added. “Neither of us planned on getting lost.” Jack looked over at Sue who was staring at him patting her foot on the soft dirt of the abandoned road. “You are just as scared as I am so don’t stand there with your arms crossed trying to pretend you are not.” “Since I have been replaced by your fitness instructor every night of the week I guess I may need to remind you, I’m a woman.” She barked. “Not going there Sue and besides what in the hell does that have to do with anything.” “Well since the screams that are filling the for-
est are coming from men I figure I have nothing to be afraid of.” Sue said as she started walking while adding, “Let’s get to the bend.” The mist was getting lower and thicker the closer they got to the curve in the road. Sue’s laughter filled the air causing Jack to stop and turn. “Have you lost your...” Before Jack could complete his question a charging Sue with her shoulder lowered rammed in to Jack’s chest. The force of her impact drove the air from his lungs as he was propelled through the thick mist. Sue turned and began jogging back down the road dusting her hands as the forest filled with Jack’s screams. She was smiling as a Jeep was slowly approaching her. From the rolled down window of the vehicle a voice echoed. “Perfect plan Sis, the Fraternity of Man-eaters will take it from here. Come on lets go get a beer.”
ADVERTISE HERE! Promote your Business, Book or Writing Related Services. Contact Joey Edwards at Corral@journalist.com with any questions and get a quote.
Deadline for entry Wednesday November 20, 2019 The Corral will award a prize of $25.00 to the writer who comes up with the best story (in 500 words or less) based on the above picture. Title the tale “The Fire” Along with the prize money the winner entry will be published in a future edition of the online magazine The Corral. The author of the winning submission will be featured on The Corral’s web site. That feature will include a short Author Bio with links to their website and/or social media sites. How to Enter: Submissions are accepted via email only. Submit to: ThunderHorsePublishing@consultant.com. The submission must be an attachment to the email and not written in the body of the email. Subject Line: Contest Entry – VWP “The Fire”. The body of the must contain: Name, email and mailing address, link to the writer’s website or social media page. Short bio or a link to a bio. Before entering visit the website for complete rules, writing guide lines and formatting.
Author Spotlight Nina Turnipseed
Genre: Romance, Erotica, Mystery
Biography Born in Sydney, Australia Nina Samantha Turnipseed is the youngest of three children. After graduating high school she persuaded her parents to let her move to the United States to study music, theater and dance. Nina moved to New York and roomed with her older sister and began her studies. Nina’s sister Abby, worked in the fashion industry as a designer. To help Nina pay her part of the rent and with college fees, Abby petitioned her firm to hire Nina as a model. After interviewing Nina and seeing firsthand how photogenic she was they gave her the job as a print and runway model. After completion of her studies Nina continued modeling while appearing in several off Broadway productions across the country. Nina took odd jobs in between gigs to keep her head above water. Nina after a stent in Hollywood moved to Las Vegas in her late twenties. She settled there and worked as a show girl for several years. Nina had always kept a journal of her travels, adventures and misfortunes. The journal was packed with her sordid love life along with the different jobs that she had taken to pay the bills and what some required of her to get the job. The pages were also filled with the pain of losing Abby in the 911 attacks. Her writings also contained her regret of leaving home and not chasing her dream of becoming a writer. A dream of hers since middle school. Nina in her late thirties hung up her dance shoes and moved from Las Vegas to Cody, Wyoming where she now resides. Using her journal as inspiration she is now pursuing her dream.
Hobbies – Personal Interest • Horseback Riding • Photography • Hiking • Motorcycle Riding • Comic-Cons
Bibliography None to Date - First release titled Two Doors Down scheduled for late 2019 - early 2020 release.
Promise Me Always G. Michelle
Promise Me Always is love story of two people, Gabe and Evie, with an excellent and tight plot. The tale is set in New Orleans, Louisiana, and you can feel the humid air, smell the magnolia blossoms, and sense the passion and deception from chapter one. Was the deception intentional or was it by mistake? It could be that one character felt that deception was the only way to keep the truth hid. To them it was the right thing do and necessary to protect all involved, never thinking about the devastation it was causing those near and dear to them. Will the truth ever come out and if so will it be too late to mend the broken hearts left in deceptions wake. Yes this story is filled with twist and turns that will keep you guessing till the final page. The sexual scenes are steamy to say the least and are scattered throughout the book. When the tension reaches its peak between Gabe and Evie, along
with the readers, â€˜BAMâ€™ G. Michelle drops a sex scene in just at the right time. Not only are the love scenes tastefully done but are believable and told from each characters point of view. Gabe and Evie or both strong characters and G. Michelle masterfully brings their flaws to the surface as well as their strong points. The supporting cast is also full of colorful characters which makes the book more believable, as in the south family is everything, and that theme shows throughout the book. The dialogue is right on point for this part of the country and is filled with wit, wise cracks, southern humor and charm. Promise Me Always can found on Amazon in eBook and Paperback formats.
Editor/Proofreader @ Human Voices
Q: Hello Clare, congratulations on achieving your goal and starting Human Voices Editorial Services. You have been in business a year now, is that correct? “Thank you! Human Voices has been my fulltime job for about 9 months now, but I’ve actually been in business since 2011. After graduating from university I went back to my hometown to work out what to do next. Whilst I was temping in the local council (and really not enjoying it!) I had the idea to start an editing and proofing business, so I launched Human Voices and started out helping friends and relatives with their writing. Then I landed a job as in digital marketing at an SEO company and I worked there for nearly four years, keeping my business going at evenings and weekends, until last year I decided to leave my job and just concentrate on Human Voices. I took my business full-time almost four years to the day after I first set it up, and I haven’t looked back since!” Q: What if someone wanted to be an editor/ proofreader? What are the qualifications and education requirements? “I’m sure there are all sorts of routes for qualifying for this kind of work, and it might even be
possible to set up a freelance business like mine without any official certificates. I went into this work with a BA in English Studies and an MA in Creative Writing (which has helped me to specialise in fiction), but I knew I needed some more specific industry qualifications so I did two distance learning courses in Proofreading and Copy-Editing from the Publishing Training Centre. Those courses taught me the practicalities of proofreading and editing, and I started picking up work while I was doing those courses, so I got a mixture of theory and practice at the same time, which was really helpful. I think for anyone interested in this kind of work you really have to have an eye for detail and a love of language. I’ve always been the type to question how a particular element of language works, and to notice misplaced apostrophes and spelling mistakes. If you find you do this naturally, proofreading and editing could be perfect for you.” Q: Do you think it helps in the editorial process if the writer and the editor have some sort of connection – a common goal or understanding, so to speak? “Definitely – it really helps when a writer and
editor can build a good working relationship. Editing a book is such a collaborative process, and you’re going to spend a lot of time talking to each other, so it certainly helps if you get on and understand that you are both trying to make the book as good as it can be.” Q: Hello Clare, congratulations on achieving your goal and starting Human Voices Editorial Services. You have been in business a year now, is that correct? “Thank you! Human Voices has been my fulltime job for about 9 months now, but I’ve actually been in business since 2011. After graduating from university I went back to my hometown to work out what to do next. Whilst I was temping in the local council (and really not enjoying it!) I had the idea to start an editing and proofing business, so I launched Human Voices and started out helping friends and relatives with their writing. Then I landed a job as in digital marketing at an SEO company and I worked there for nearly four years, keeping my business going at evenings and weekends, until last year I decided to leave my job and just concentrate on Human Voices. I took my business full-time almost four years to the day after I first set it up, and I haven’t looked back since!” Q: What if someone wanted to be an editor/ proofreader? What are the qualifications and education requirements? “I’m sure there are all sorts of routes for qualifying for this kind of work, and it might even be possible to set up a freelance business like mine without any official certificates. I went into this work with a BA in English Studies and an MA in Creative Writing (which has helped me to specialise in fiction), but I knew I needed some more specific industry qualifications so I did two distance learning courses in Proofreading and Copy-Editing from the Publishing Training Centre. Those courses taught me the practicalities of proofreading and editing, and I started picking up work while I was doing those courses, so I got a mixture of theory and practice at the same time, which was really helpful. I think for anyone interested in this kind of work you really have to have an eye for detail and a love of language. I’ve always been the type to question how a particular element of language works, and to notice misplaced apostrophes
and spelling mistakes. If you find you do this naturally, proofreading and editing could be perfect for you.” Q: Do you think it helps in the editorial process if the writer and the editor have some sort of connection – a common goal or understanding, so to speak? “Definitely – it really helps when a writer and editor can build a good working relationship. Editing a book is such a collaborative process, and you’re going to spend a lot of time talking to each other, so it certainly helps if you get on and understand that you are both trying to make the book as good as it can be.” Q: As a new author I had no idea what the protocol was when it came to editing. There were so many terms: proofreading, manuscript review, editing, copyediting, etc. Could you explain the steps that you suggest a new author take to get a manuscript from its first draft to a book that can be published? “Even amongst editors, people tend to use different terms – I’m not at all surprised that it gets confusing! I usually suggest that, once a writer has a draft that they’re happy to show other people, they get beta reader feedback or a manuscript review, or both. Beta readers will suggest improvements from a reader’s perspective; editors can give you feedback about the biggest changes that need to be made with a view to editing. Once you’ve got some feedback, return to your book, do any necessary rewrites and then begin the editing process. This is when I recommend getting in a professional for a detailed edit, to really knock the book into shape, and then move onto the proofreading (checking spelling and grammar) at the end, once no more big changes need to be made.” Q: Anyway, give us a breakdown of what each of those processes would cost, or is it done on an individual basis? “The costs will really vary depending on word count – some editors charge by the hour and can give you an estimate when they start as to how long it will take. I tend to charge a fixed fee by word count, and I sometimes offer a free editing sample of 2,000 words so the writer can see
how I work, and so I can see how much work needs to be done on the text. In general, a manuscript review will be done for a relatively affordable one-off fee, and editing will cost more than proofreading, because it is that much more indepth.” Q: Would you rather do a project from start to finish, or does it matter if someone else does the manuscript review and then you do the edits, or if everything is done by someone else and you are needed only to proofread? “Working on a project together from start to finish is a great way for an editor and a writer to form a relationship and get used to each other’s ways of working, but it isn’t essential. I have stepped into projects halfway through before and, although there is a little catching up to do, it certainly doesn’t have to harm the project. Of course, a writer might be used to one editor’s style and maybe that won’t gel with the new editor, but ultimately the editor’s job is to understand and adapt to what the writer wants, whilst still offering professional and helpful advice.” Q: There are a lot of genres, along with subcategories of each. Are there certain genres you will not edit? What about certain scenes inside a story, which may contain graphic violence, bloodshed, sex, profanity, etc? If you do agree to edit the above, do you charge extra because of the content, like some editors do? “So far I haven’t come across any genres I won’t edit; even genres I tend not to read for pleasure I still find very interesting to work on. I’m also not fazed by editing violent or sexual material and I don’t charge extra for it – it’s not something that’s ever really bothered me, but I can certainly see that some editors would want to steer clear of it, and I know some make a point of avoiding that sort of material altogether. That’s fine, I’m sure if I had to edit really dark or explicit things all the time it might start to get a bit overwhelming, but since I always have a good mixture of projects I’ve never found it to be a problem.” Q: When you do a manuscript review, do you know from the first ten pages, what an agent or publisher wants to see, and if the book is going to be a good read? If it’s awful do you keep that to yourself or tell the writer if they should do total
re-write? How do you handle such a situation? “This is the beauty of the manuscript review – at that stage you can bring up the book’s biggest problems and suggest rewrites of whole chapters, or even more. If the writer sees there’s a lot of work ahead and can’t bring themselves to sit down and do it, they likely won’t return for a full edit (and if they did, at that point I’d tell them they need to fix their big problems before we can work on the smaller ones). But if they are prepared to sit down and give their book an overhaul, then that paves the way for a strong edit.” Q: What are some of the common mistakes a new writer makes besides spelling and grammar? ”There are some technical mistakes I notice that crop up again and again. For example, sometimes new writers don’t get the level of detail quite right – they might describe something unimportant in too much detail (eg: ‘He sat up, pulled back the blanket, twisted his hips, put his legs over the edge of the bed, lowered his feet to the floor and stood up’), and then later introduce something huge without giving it any context or background. Another thing I notice is accidental switching of perspectives, which can be very tricky to control when you’re writing and just want to tell the story. So, if a chapter is told from one character’s point of view (that doesn’t have to mean it’s written in the first person) and then suddenly the narrative voice moves into another character’s head, that can be very jarring. I’ll try to give an example. In a story told from a woman’s point of view – in which we see everything through her eyes – something like this would work: ‘She felt upset by what he had said. When they looked at each other she could tell that he was upset too.’ But this sentence does not work: ‘She felt very upset by what he had said. When they looked at each other he felt very upset too.’ Although it says much the same thing, it’s confusing because we suddenly move into the male character’s head.” Q: As a writer we like to think that we are the most important people on the planet and our project is the only one our editor has before them. However, I don’t think that is the case.
How many projects on average do you work on at a time and how much time is devoted to each in a work day? “I tend to focus on one large project at a time (although I have been known to have two on the go) because I don’t just do book editing, I do quite a few other things as well. So when I have a large project like a book edit to do, I tend to dedicate most of my day to that, but I might take an hour or two in the morning to proofread something short or write a blog post. That’s the great thing about this kind of work – you get to choose what you do every day, and you can mix it up if you want to.” Q: No matter the genre, do you find that all good writers have some of the same qualities? “Yes, a good writer can pace their story so the reader is always interested, show what their character is thinking or feeling rather than explicitly stating it, and also use occasional descriptions or turns of phrase that make me stop reading and say “NICE!” out loud at my desk!” Q: What are the major differences between US writers and UK writers? “I have worked with both and I can’t say that I’ve noticed significant differences between the two. I suppose the main thing I’ve come across would be cultural differences – I remember when I was editing your book, A Witch’s Dilemma, there was a moment where a character knew how another character was feeling by how they drove their car, and the logic of it didn’t fit for me, but then you explained about certain driving ‘etiquette’ in that part of America and suddenly it made sense! I suppose there are cultural things like that in UK writing which don’t stick out because they’re normal to me, whereas working with US writers and writers from other countries has taught me all sorts of new cultural and social factoids I never knew before!” Q: Since you live over the Great Pond, as we call it here in the United States, is the 6 hour time difference an issue? “I usually work with my clients over email, which is certainly easier than trying to schedule in phone calls between different countries. I’ve also worked with writers a couple of hours ahead in Europe, and even in Singapore and Australia –
it just means that you have to raise queries sooner rather than later (and not too close to the deadline!), because there can be a day’s delay between emails.” Q: Now Clare, it’s time to let your hair down as we move from the editorial services to more of a personal tone. To start with, can you tell us a little about yourself, something that is not common knowledge or can be found on your website? “I don’t think it’s anywhere on my online profiles that I was an archer when I was at university. I joined the university archery society and won medals in a couple of competitions. I even own a recurve bow, but it’s under my bed now and I haven’t shot it in years – I’d really love to do that again!” Q: Now be honest here, do you ever get aggravated reading a manuscript because it is done so poorly? “I have read manuscripts for people (not in a business capacity) which were so filled with mistakes it would be difficult to know where to begin if I had to edit them – we’re talking characters changing their names two or three times within one chapter, that sort of thing – and it does really frustrate me when the writer can’t see any of their own flaws and won’t do anything to change them. But when people approach me to work on a manuscript then I know they’re open to making changes, so I can just roll up my sleeves and get stuck in. And even if there are lots of mistakes to deal with, there’s usually a solid story in there and I love the process of drawing it out. It sort of feels like unravelling a knotted piece of string: the whole piece of string is there to begin with, it just needs smoothing out.” Q: As a writer we are told to read. Tell us more about the reading goal you have set for yourself, 50 books a year, is that correct? “Yes, that’s right! I started in 2012 because I saw a documentary that mentioned how many books the average person reads in their lifetime and the number seemed scarily small, so I decided to set a concrete goal to get myself to read more. I started my blog, 50ayear, at the same time, and that really helps me meet the goal every year. This is my fifth year of reading 50 books
and I don’t find it too much of a challenge any more – in fact, I’ll probably blast past 50 this year because I’ve discovered the graphic novel section in my local library and I can get through one of those in an afternoon!” Q: Have you read anything by Mark Twain? “I’m ashamed to say I haven’t! I went through a real classics kick when I was a teenager, but in recent years I’ve concentrated more on contemporary literature. I should definitely go back and fill in the gaps in my knowledge though.” Q: Who are your favorite authors, past and present? “OK, I have lots! In terms of the past, I love Thomas Hardy, Isaac Asimov and F Scott Fitzgerald, and I used to be a bit obsessed with TS Eliot. As for more modern writers, I adore David Mitchell and Philip Pullman (the His Dark Materials trilogy has my heart), and Toni Morrison and Yoko Ogawa and… I’d better stop!” Q: When you read do you use an e-reader or do you prefer physical books? “I have an e-reader, which I think is a fantastic invention and I’ve read lots of books on it. But in general I prefer the feel of a physical book, so I can put my bookmark at the end of each chapter as I read, and flip the pages between my fingers when I need to stop for a moment and think.” Q: That wraps it up, Clare. Once again, thank you for agreeing and taking your time to answer
the questions. In closing, is there any advice, from an editor’s view that you would like to give to the upcoming author? “As a new writer, excited by the whole process, it can be easy to write something, think it’s the best thing ever, and then get disillusioned when somebody picks it apart (believe me, I’ve felt that way too), but remember that editing is all about strengthening your writing. Remember that common goal: both you and the editor want to make your book the best it can be, so stick up for your style when you need to, but be open to criticism and changes as well.”
Bonus Question Q: In your answer above about giving new writers advice you alluded to the fact that you have felt that way before also. Does this mean you have written a book, and if so was it published? “Good catch! I actually write short stories. At university I did an MA in Creative Writing and there was a lot of feedback and critiquing as part of that. In fact, one of the people I did that course with is now my writing buddy, and we still write stories and send them to each other for advice (funny how editors can find it difficult to turn the same critical eye on their own work). I’m sure I’ll publish some of them eventually!” Connect with Clare Diston and Human Voices
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M A G A Z I N E
Coming Soon Issue #1 January 2020