Monday, November 27, 2017

Unnecessary Redundancies

Déjà vu all over again...

I mentioned in my last blog that I had re-released THE TRAZ and FATAL ERROR, the first two novels in my BackTracker crime series. 

In addition to astounding new covers (thanks, Cathy at Avalon Graphics), a fair amount of editing and revisions took these books up a notch.

Thanks to my editor, Elaine Denning, some of those improvements involved 'tightening the writing', which in layman's terms, means getting rid of the unnecessary. Those who produce Readers' Digest Condensed versions are masters at this craft.

Here are my top ten pet redundancies that I often find in my writing as well as in others'. The unnecessaries are highlighted.

10. No Trespassing Without Permission
 9. She sat down in the chair (or laid down on the bed.)
 8. She looked up at the sky 
 7.  "Stop!" he yelled loudly. "Don't you dare!" she warned.
 6. He put the car in reverse and backed up
 5. She closed her eyes and went to sleep.
 4. It reminded her of memories of her childhood.
 3. "We do not feed our cattle steroids or hormones."
 2. I'm Canadian, eh? or I'm Canadian, eh?
 1. They found a dead body behind the school.

Eileen Schuh, Author
Schrödinger's Cat
Web site:

Friday, November 24, 2017

New and Improved!


Back in January, six years after THE TRAZ was released, I deemed it ready for a makeover. This thrilling crime novel was not only the first is my BackTracker series, but my debut novel—the first book of mine ever published.
Ah, the thrill of holding that paperback in my hands, seeing my name on the cover, inhaling the intoxicating smell of its freshly-printed pages. The sound when I riffled the pages.

After publishing THE TRAZ, I went on to publish FATAL ERROR Book 2, FIREWALLS Book 3, and OPERATION MAXTRACKER Book 4 and SHADOW RIDERS, a novel that runs parallel to my series. Also during this time, WolfSinger Publications out of Colorado published my two science fiction novellas, SCHRODINGER’S CAT and DISPASSIONATE LIES.

My experience as a writer expanded and my writing abilities, bloomed. Although never embarrassed by those earlier releases, I had an intense desire to revisit them, improve them, and make my series more cohesive from start to end.

I spent 2017 doing just that and have now completed the exercise. The second editions of both THE TRAZ and FATAL ERROR are now on the market in both ebook and paperback formats. Doing the revisions was a lengthy and difficult, but passionate exercise, topped with the skilled editing help from Elaine Denning and stunning new covers by Cathy over at Avalon Graphics.

Although the first edition of FATAL ERROR is no longer available for purchase, the first edition of THE TRAZ is. I suggest aspiring novelists may want to purchase both books and compare them to see firsthand the difference powerful, skilled, keenly-edited writing can make to a story.

Right off the top (after noticing the new cover), readers will see the difference a powerful opening page makes. CHAPTER I of the second edition of THE TRAZ effectively introduces not only the novel but the series. It creates a glorious sense of suspense that doesn’t ease until the final chapter. It’s full of danger, anticipation, and fear.

This scene came to me in a dream and is what started me writing this series. Every night, it appeared to me, but would never advance. The vision would end before I knew who that young girl on the ridge was, what she was doing, and what danger pulsed through the scene.

Because of the difficulties of starting a series in the middle of a drama, which is where this scene takes place, editorial decisions led to cutting that initial scene. The power it had over me, however, was never forgotten.

By comparing the two editions of THE TRAZ, you can decide for yourself how effective that change to the opening chapter is, as well as examine the effect other revisions have on the novel.

If you have purchased FATAL ERROR in the past, you can get the re-release and compare those two books as well.

If you have any comments or suggestions on the revisions, I’d love to hear from you!
New and Improved has been brought to you by the BackTracker series.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Unbecoming of a leader

For our Governor General Julie Payett to scoff at people who have a different belief system than the one she’s chosen for herself, is decidedly not becoming of a Canadian leader.

When the future of the world could very well depend on all of us promoting understanding, respect and tolerance among people of differing cultures and beliefs, her speech rang crass.

We all choose our beliefs, as she has chosen hers and she has a right to her beliefs and a right to promote those beliefs, as do the rest of us.  But it is not becoming of her or any of us to consider ourselves more intelligent, more worthy, more valuable, wiser than others because of our beliefs.  And when she scoffed at people with different beliefs than hers, she sent the message she feels superior to them.

She was not just scoffing at the beliefs, but the believers which makes it even harder to accept.

That she has chosen science as her religion, makes her no better than anyone who hasn’t. And yes, we do choose our beliefs. Anyone of us could choose be an atheist, a Muslim, a Christian, or a follower of Judaism.

That she says her choice to believe in science makes her better than others, displays a lack of wisdom, a misunderstanding of humanity, an ignorance of the science of the human nature. The fact is, for many people, spirituality is a fundamental need.

Both science and religion have given us blessings as well as curses. Science does not hold a superior moral standing to religion, for after all it is science that gave us nuclear weapons...and greenhouse gases. She would do well to also study the science behind the sugar pill and the mind. The evidence supporting the existence of their power might surprise her.

We need to respect each other and each other’s’ belief systems. Yes, we should all feel free to discuss our beliefs, argue them, explore them, believe them the best—but we have no license to deride people who believe differently than us, or to believe ourselves superior to them.

Your Excellence Madam Payett, science without heart is an empty vessel indeed—perhaps even a dangerous one.
"Unbecoming of a leader" has been brought to you by FATAL ERROR