Tag Archives: proofreading

Ephraim’s Curious Device – Available Now

Celebrating Ephraim's Curious Device

A toast to Ephraim’s Curious Device

Wizard Kadmeion’s airship awaits at the aerodrome, and it is ready for you to come aboard for another adventure.

With great pleasure, I announce the release of the next Clockpunk Wizard story, Ephraim’s Curious Device.  The eBook is on sale now at Amazon, Smashwords, and Barnes & Noble.

If you haven’t yet viewed the Ephraim’s book trailer, be sure to take a minute (literally, it’s about a minute long) and see it here on YouTube. Here is the back cover blurb for Ephraim’s, and a little something about the earlier story Forever Boy.

I have also talked at some length about the Ephraim’s Curious Device book cover design in an earlier blog post. And here is a free look at Chapter 1.

It pleased me to update the original draft of Ephraim’s that I wrote over 18 years ago, and make the story available now for Gentle Reader. I humbly say that time has improved my writing craft. I increased the story’s length by almost a third. Those extras passages add depth to Kadmeion and Bright’s world. I also sprinkled in some history about both magicians to better explain their current actions.

Fey Izlyesende's home on Hurt Isle

Fey Izlyesende’s home on Hurt Isle

Let Me Introduce You Around

Ephraim’s features new people in the Clockpunk Wizard world that you will see in future stories. A few of these folks are humans, and the rest are magical sentient creatures. Here are some of the new faces:

  • Wizard Nob and his employer Lord Hissalumieon
  • Fairies Izlyesende, Tessa-marine and Allura-ella
  • Harpy Queen Tkun’winddance
  • Dragon Lady Betrayal

Our heroes Kadmeion, Bright, and Furgo return. Kadmeion’s automaton Copernicus is there, but this clockworks man is usually busy in the airship’s pilot house. The story presents some non-clockwork homunculi (called “Goons” in wizardly circles). These “Meat-Men” automata bodies were grown in vats and animated by minor demons summoned by Wizard Nob. They are none too smart and cause headaches for Bright in Ephraim’s Curious Device.

Kadmeion's magic makes the thingummy look like this

Kadmeion’s magic makes the thingummy look like this

What is the Curious Device?

In the story re-write, I adjusted the back story about Ephraim’s thingummy and related it to Kadmeion’s current circumstances. The thingummy’s magic is still the same, but Lita (I’m also a magician in these situations) changed its true appearance.

Kadmeion disguises the Curious Device in the form of a beautiful chalice when he presents it to His Lordship Hissalumieon. The story explains why.

In the Clockpunk Wizard world, appearances mean everything. They teach this to undergraduate magicians at Agatha University, and call it Wizard’s Style. Others call it flim-flam. Lita calls it story fun. I intended for Ephraim’s Curious Device and the other stories about Wizard Kadmeion’s world to be absurd at times. I cannot resist a good pun (I know, “good pun” is an oxymoron, but I love them anyway). The poetry in the magician’s spells are factotum, but please understand that most of the time they are in a hurry.

A floating island in the Clockpunk Wizard world

A floating island in the Clockpunk Wizard world

Take an Airship to the Clockpunk Wizard World

How I do go on! I love to talk about Kadmeion and Bright’s world of airships, floating islands, and fun magic. Lita already has the next story in the works. Check out the back cover blurb for Old Bony Blue Eyes.

I will close today with another beautiful image of a floating island in Wizard Kadmeion’s world. It must have a lot of floating rock to make the base so thin.

Don’t forget to get your boarding pass for Ephraim’s Curious Device at Amazon or Smashwords. Welcome aboard.

Ephraim’s Curious Device: Sneak Peek at Chapter 1

Warm up with a Clockpunk Wizard story

Warm up with a Clockpunk Wizard story

Only a couple more days until Wizard Kadmeion’s airship leaves for the floating island of Mevil.

What a pleasure the preparation for Ephraim’s Curious Device has been here at Lita’s house. I’ve had a lovely time visiting the magicians, the dragon, and the fey-folk.

So much to do!

The cover artwork and layout comes first. Editing is the biggest task, first with telling the story, then polishing every moment until it shines. Then it’s proofreading until the vision blurs over. No time to rest. Lita uses her eye drops, then returns to more proofing and polishing.

The beta reader weighs in. Lita adjusts the last nits in the story. Then come mundane matters with filing the copyright, formatting the upload files, and publishing–what lovely magic. A moment to rest, then Lita is off to plan the book launch party.

If you haven’t yet done so, take a quick minute to see the book trailer and let me know your thoughts, then head over and read the back cover blurb for the story teaser.

You’re back?  Splendid!  Here are the first few pages of Wizard Kadmeion’s second Clockpunk Wizard story. Welcome aboard the airship.

Ephraim’s Curious Device by Lita Burke

Copyright 2012 by Lita Burke. All rights reserved.

Chapter One

His Lordship Hissalumieon, Mevil Island

The air popped at Bright’s elbow. He jerked, then dropped a tiny brass gear from one of their airship’s clockwork automata. A scroll with an unfamiliar wax seal fizzled in to existence on his workbench. The vellum rocked for a moment, then lay still.

Bright slipped off his stool and backed away. He ran a hand through his long blond hair to get it out of his eyes. “Ham-fisted mooncalf of a magician. Our message box is in the next room.”

A crash came from Kadmeion’s forward workroom at the end of the hall, followed by rare harsh words. A wizard’s curse flapped through the doorway on leather-like wings and circled Bright’s head. He snagged and crushed the curse. It squeaked. Disappeared. A wisp of mint and pine-scented magic tickled his nose.

“Furgo, fetch my broom now.”

Bright blinked. Kadmeion never shouted. Another wizard’s curse winged its way in. Time to lend a hand. Bright snatched his workroom’s broom and trotted toward the commotion. He paused at the wizard’s doorway. Several circling curses swooped toward him. He swatted them away. “Need some help?”

Yes. Where’s Furgo?”  More…

Review: The Library of Lost Books

The Library of Lost Books by Darius Jones

The central character Darius, an ad copy writer by day, plunges into the mystical world of The Library, where all of humanity’s lost or destroyed books live. A rich world awaits Darius. He experiences situations with misty temples, lashing thunderstorms, and forests filled with monkey chatter. Darius learns that The Library is threatened with destruction, and he sets out to investigate.

The Library’s steward is simply the “old man,” a mysterious sage who feeds Darius tea by the fireplace. Assistant librarians are Friedrich, a bourgeois with a handlebar moustache, and Heraclitus, a toga-clad Ephesian.

Darius’s adventures are sequences of dreamy images. I saw gritty beaches, surreal sand castles, and vine-encrusted edifices. The very best part of The Library of Lost Books is its homage to the literature in the accumulative canon of humankind. My compliments go this indie author for presenting a story with solid writing craft. I did not find a single flaw in the grammar, spelling, or formatting.

The only negatives about this story is that it is a complex reading experience. Some descriptive paragraphs filled a page or more, a technique that many readers frown upon. The multiple historical references, while enjoyable for me, again may not be to everyone’s tastes. The action sequences were description-filled narrative not having much movement. I would have loved to learn more about Friedrich and Heraclitus. The ending satisfied me, but others may miss the more typical nail-biting story climax found in other fiction.

I recommend this book.  It is a thoughtful read filled with lovely description and rich with languages.

The Library of Lost Books on Amazon

The Library of Lost Books on Goodreads

Darius Jones on Goodreads

He Loves Blue Eyes

String ’em Up Syndrome

I have been line editing the first Clockpunk Wizard story I drafted eighteen years ago. I’m embarrassed with my findings.

Why didn’t anyone tell me?

This manuscript shares a problem with many indie stories I’ve read in recent years. The issue is with how to describe actions. My early Clockpunk Wizard manuscripts, and these other stories, suffer from String ’em Up Syndrome.

All Together Now

Here’s the problem. In life, things happen simultaneously. A cat purrs while we pet it. An evil villain chuckles while he leans over the helpless victim, flicking open a switch blade with a click (I’ll return to this awful sentence).

Actions Are Like Beads on a String

Activities in fiction happen one at a time. Yes, they must. Why? Because authors should help Gentle Reader keep things straight. Even if we fictionalized real-life events, and those events happened all at once, we must present them one at a time in our stories.

Think of it as an action (a beautiful bead) strung with a reaction (another bead). Let’s revisit the “A cat purrs while we pet it sentence and correct the String ’em Up Syndrome:

  • Jayne stroked the orange tabby cat. Garfield purred. Two sentences for the action/reaction pair show sequencing.
  • Garfield narrowed his eyes and bit Jayne. Two actions using “and.”
  • Jayne shrieked, then fled to the other end of the couch. Two actions with a comma and “then.”

Back to the Redundantly Evil Villain (bad grammar intended)

Back to “An evil villain chuckles while he leans over the helpless victim, flicking open a switch blade with a click.”

First, what’s redundant in this sentence? Evil villain. Aren’t they all? Let’s show he’s despicable with actions and dialogue. Second, we will correct the String ’em Up Syndrome along the way:

Mortimer leaned over the hog-tied Penelope. He chuckled. “You have lovely blue eyes, my darling. Think I’ll take one for my collection.” He teased a switch blade from his vest pocket. Flicked it open. It clicked.

Is Mortimer acting, and talking, like an evil villain? Well, I’m squirming, and I even wrote it. Look at the beautiful beads we strung: leaning/chuckling, small talk about blue eyes and hobbies, easing torture instruments from pockets, then flicking/clicking.

We fixed the sentence. Its awful writer’s craft no longer distracts Gentle Reader. The focus is now on Mortimer’s awful hobby. Still cringing? Good. My work here is done.

Review: Neophyte

Neophyte by Emmalee Aple

Neophyte is a YA paranormal romance novel about a high school senior named Addisyn who died two years ago and became an angel-in-training.

Teen Dramas

She now spends her afterlife in a beach house with five male angels, called her Link, where they teach her the ropes of angelhood. One of them has been Addisyn’s best friend since her living days, and another is her love interest, Greysan. Addisyn’s existence is filled with the usual YA dramas of finishing high school and going to prom. Neophyte oozes with teenage anguish and trivial outrage. Addisyn’s Link won’t tell her anything about what’s going on, and she gets, like, huffy about it. Frequently huffy. Her Link also interrupts her when she’s trying to kiss the gorgeous Greysan.

More sinister machinations involve a fallen angel who wants her and Greysan for his Link. She makes a string of poor choices ending in a battle of angelic proportions, where one of her protectors make the ultimate sacrifice to protect her.

Love Those Angels

I have a weakness for unique fantasy worlds. Neophyte is a delight with its angels-among-us premise. It confirms that male angels are handsome and the afterlife has politics. I wanted to know more of its magical minutiae, and would like to see more details sprinkled throughout the dialogue, narrative, and action sequences.


At the end of the story, Addisyn appears to have no clue why she became an angel and how to assume the responsibilities of angelhood. Neophyte suffers from mechanics that pulled me out of the story-not a fatal flaw-a thorough editing would fix these. In all, Neophyte is a great début novel with an intriguing fantasy world surrounding an angst-ridden teenager.

Neophyte on Amazon

Neophyte on Goodreads

Emmalee Aple website

A-Editing We Will Go

I’ve edited Wrath yesterday and today.

In general, my drafts suffer from two problems: too loquacious (today’s word for the day from my grammar calendar), and misbehaving commas.  I’m investigating proof/edit apps to help me slay my grammatical two-headed dragon.  Two editing programs caught my eye, and I’ve downloaded the demos from their websites to try them out:

Plenty of other reviewers have posted their discoveries on these apps (you might want to check Google to find and read the reviews yourself).

Are you using any proof/edit apps for your fiction that’s worth a look?  If so, please let us know what you recommend.