Category Archives: Writing

Time for a New Adventure

“…there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do —
determined to save
the only life you could save.”
― Mary Oliver

Once again in this aged adventurer’s life, a new phase is opening up.

I am fortunate that many years of proofreading, copy-editing and/or beta reading for friends and acquaintances has turned into a business opportunity.

Now, for your viewing pleasure, I offer:

Logo LET ME BE YOUR PROFESSIONAL PROOFREADER
AND COPY-EDITOR 

I am an established Proofreader/editor with many years’ experience in proofreading and copy-editing fiction and non-fiction novels, short stories, manuscripts, Children’s books, theses, E-books, and more.

My services focus on making your words look, sound and appear polished. I will check spelling, grammar, syntax, punctuation, etc. If your document is longer than 1000 words (which it most likely is), simply buy additional gigs until the word count is paid for.

Price:

Basic gig –  Proofreading  – US$5 for every 1,000 words or part thereof.
Extra gig –  Copy-editing  – add 4 basic gigs for a document of any length.

How to Order:

  • Always purchase enough basic gigs to cover word count. (12K words = 12 basic gigs)
  • Purchase gig extras. (copy edit of 12K words = 4 gig extras for improving readability + 12 basic gigs to cover word count = 16 gigs)
  • Add 4 extra gigs for copy-editing any document, any size
  • Attach a Word doc. I’ll deliver a track changes version and a final clean copy.

And an added bonus if you are in the Northern Hemisphere – I work while you sleep.

What is the difference between proofreading and copy editing?

Proofreading involves catching errors. The copy-editing service includes this, plus improving readability – a sentence may be technically correct, but if it sounds awkward I will fix it with the copy-editing service.  I will format your book to industry standards and will also offer suggestions for overall improvement when necessary.

I particularly enjoy large projects, but no job is too small. Send me a message. I can always provide you with an offer based on your needs.

If your document is over 1000 words, please purchase multiple basic gigs to cover the word count. If you would like extra help with readability, go ahead and choose that gig option, but please note that this is in addition to the basic gigs that need to be purchased to cover word count.

I am happy to help with any project no matter how big or small.  I look forward to working with you.

Feel free to email me – http://judith@judithbaxter.net.nz or send me a private message on Facebook.  Phone – +64 (0)21797400

So, if you or anyone you know would like some help, please don’t hesitate to contact me, in the comments area of this post, by email – judith@judithbaxter.net.nz, by private message on  Facebook or phone.

Note– I have just finished proofreading and editing a 70,000-word manuscript.  The finished product was sent to the author in under 96 hours.

 

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Oh Yes, More on Writing

“Better to write for yourself and have no public,
than to write for the public and have no self.” ― 
Cyril Connolly, British Author 1903-1984

Way back early in my blogging journey, I discovered this quote from Cyril Connolly.  It really rang a bell for me and I have it printed out and it resides on the inside of my journal as a constant reminder.

In January 2012 I wrote about writing.  At that time I was writing mostly for myself having few followers.  But I felt it was something I had to do and I was learning both from writing and from reading the posts of other writers whose blogs I followed.

Writing has become easier in the months and years since then.  But like all writers, whether well known or like me just writing for the pleasure of writing, we know what it is like to step up to the page aka computer screen to be faced with a blank sheet.  No thoughts on anything.  Blank screen and a blank mind.  But then something comes and the void is filled.

As writers we are vulnerable.  We write about what matters to us and expose ourselves and unveil our deepest feelings.  Our words reveal much about us and our truths.  And sometimes, because of this, writing feels dangerous.  But this is what keeps us (well me at any rate) coming back to the screen/notebook/page.  The need to share my feelings on the page with others (hopefully) or just with myself when necessary.  It is scary and often I am looking for excuses – the dishes must be done, the washing hung out etc, but I keep coming back to the page.

At times we feel the need to judge, to edit our writing.  We strive for perfectionism but we know, unless we are one of the great writers, that perfectionism is out of reach.  Lord Marks of Marks & Spencer fame said “The price of perfection is too great.  Close enough is good enough.” We acknowledge that if we are writing for publication, we need an editor and a few Beta readers who will, hopefully, pick up grammatical errors, typos and make suggestions to improve the story.   But for those of us writing our blogs and sharing our thoughts and feelings with our friends, writing the post is more important than it being judged perfect.

So it’s back to the keyboard for me.

And as C S Lewis says “You can make anything by writing.”

 

 

 

A Wintry Wind – 2

Well, WordPress is having fun.  I wrote this post and published it yesterday but all you can see is an empty page.  So I’ll start again.  Thanks Chris at Bridges Burning for letting me know.

100-word-challenge

This week Tara has excelled herself. She has set us another 100-word challenge.
Well, in fact, it’s two words – WINTRY WIND.
If you want to play along here’s the link to Tara website, Thin Spiral Notebook.

So here goes again:

A wintry wind blew making the washing dance on the clothes line.  The sun had been shining when she hung it but now the wind had taken over. 

She watched as the large trees around the house began to shake and then the small bushes she had planted, took a lesson from the trees and started to move.

And the noise from the badly fitted back door reminded her of the blows she had suffered and she wondered if this new house was really safe from him.   Would he find her here or could she be really free this time?

Now a question – Was it worth waiting for?

And as it still raining here I thought I’d share my rainbow although we haven’t seen any rainbows here recently.

Rainbow

My rainbow

 

To see what Tara and others have written on the subject, go to Mr Linky

 

 

 

 

Promises Made

But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep, ”
From Stopping by the Woods on a
Snowy Evening by Robert Frost.

 

Do you find that occasionally (I do hope it’s occasionally) that you make promises then some time later remember that you haven’t made good on the promise?

 Looking through Prompts and Practices in Judy Reeves’ A Creative Writer’s Kit I came across the prompt “Write about Promises made”

 Well, the promises I have made to my friends in the blogosphere that certain of the fiction stories I had written, would be continued.  Woe is me!  Life got in the way, more particularly my latest adventure, that these promises were never fulfilled. 

 There are several that I could continue and I need to decide on which one

 “The effrontery of the man quite took away Maisie’s breath.  How was she going to deal with him and the fall out if his claims became known in Society?  She would need some time to think and plan; perhaps consult Reggie; certainly consult Sir Charles (Juliet’s brother) and his friend Sir Hector Ryder, Head of the Metropolitan Police and maybe even  the ailing Earl.

But time was certainly needed.  She would put this scoundrel off for a couple of days to give Sir Charles and Sir Hector time to delve more deeply into this man’s past, although the thought of bringing the fellow’s claims to their attention horrified her.

“Well obviously I shall need some time to consider what you have told me this afternoon,” she said. “And equally obviously I shall need to see the so-called proof of the relationship between you and my husband.  So I suggest that you leave now and come back again in two days time, with some proof of your claim at which time I shall have an answer for you.”

With that, the swarthy gentleman picked up his Panama hat, gave each of the ladies a broad smile, thanked the Countess and took his leave.

A shocked silence remained in the drawing room after his departure.”

  • Then there was Sarah of Here and Now. You may recall that she met a man in a bar with whom she had drinks and then suddenly found herself a prisoner in a dark room. 

When we left her, she had been to the police station and made her report:

The policewoman then excused herself from the room returning shortly with an older man whom she introduced as Detective Brian McLeod. The Detective asked Sarah to repeat her story and at the end of it sat for a few minutes looking very thoughtful.

 He then said, “As the Sergeant has already told you, it is most unusual for a victim not to want to lay a complaint. But if you’re determined then so be it. But I must ask you to give the Sergeant the names of the three people involved.

 “We will have to interview them, probably at their house rather than at the police station, but if you are sure that you don’t want them charged we will issue them with a warning. Are you OK with that?”

 Sarah was relieved that the Websters would not be charged and so she gave their names to the Sergeant who promised to keep in touch to let Sarah know when they had been interviewed.

 So feeling much better Sarah and her friends left the police station and found their way to a local bar where they all had a well-deserved drink

  •  And what of Sandy and the woman claiming to be her daughter?.When we left her both women were pleased with the way the meeting had gone. 

“Barbara because she had now eased her conscience somewhat.  She knew she had to thank Sandy for her kindness and understanding and decided she would take a bunch of flowers with her the next time they met.  A small gesture but it all helped with her conscience.

And Sandy?  She was pleased because she had found that this was a decent young woman who had made a ghastly error of judgment and while Barbara would have to live with the outcome of that, Sandy decided that she could forgive her.  And besides, she had learned much about her daughter that afternoon.

As soon as she arrived home she called both Greg and Cathy and invited them to come round.  Of course, they were both eager to hear how the meeting had gone.  So, tea served Sandy told them about the meeting.  How they had discussed her daughter and how she was convinced that Barbara was a young, somewhat confused young woman who had acted first and thought about the consequences later.  She told them that she planned to see Barbara again and that even if though they would never be friends, she would like to get to know her more.

“Oh I’m so glad that it worked out well, and so happy you found out some things about your daughter,” said Cathy.  “Yes, it’s a good idea to keep in touch with her.”

               ******************* 

So which one shall I continue with?.  All three have been buzzing around in my mind over the past months.  Some notes have been made and I think it’s now time to move on with them.  There are also several one-off posts that I should like to pursue.

Decision time.

g-t-and-dog

No G & T but another cup of tea and decision is made.  Paris from Harney &Sons is this afternoon’s choice. If you’re a tea drinker and you haven’t already, I suggest you try it.

So I think it will be Maisie and her cohorts.  So please watch this space.

 

“Just living is not enough,
One must have sunshine,  freedom,
and a little flower”
Hans Christian Anderson 

 

Words and More Words

It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn’t use long,
difficult words
but rather short, easy words like
“What about lunch?”

― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

Posted letters are few and far between these days as so many of us use email instead. So when I arrived home the other day to see an envelope with my name and address hand written, I became quite excited.  That is until I opened it and found a business card inside setting an appointment date with an Otolaryngologist.  Well, I had no idea what an Otolaryngologistt did so I went to our trusty friend Google to find that it is is an ear nose and throat surgeon.  Suddenly the card and appointment made sense.  Since the accident my hearing has markedly declined and this was a follow up to a hearing test I had recently with an audiologist.

Note – I am now referring to the accident as my latest adventure.  Sounds better don’t you think and it gives me lots to look forward to.

Goofy-Riding-A-Bike Not ready for bike riding but who knows where this adventure will take me.

So another new word and yesterday while reading Elizabeth George’s novel Just One Evil Act I came across another word new to me -” ..that chain of thought led him ineluctably to the Pakistani professor…..”

The Oxford Dictionary tells me it is an adverb meaning inevitable, not to be escaped, impossible to avoid etc etc.  So we get the meaning and see how it fits in the Elizabeth George sentence.

By the way, are you a follower of her books.  They are about Detective Inspector Thomas Lynley of the Metropolitan Police and his side kick Sergeant Barbara Havers.  An amazing writer of whom I am totally in awe, and if you haven’t read any of her books I suggest you hurry off to your local library and pick up one.

Having returned from the mall where I had a facial and bought my own copy of Upwords, the game I play with my friend on Tuesday afternoons.  I can now introduce it to another friend who is almost housebound.

Upwords

I shall continue to read Elizabeth George’s book.I’m at page 493 of 719.  Will I finish it this afternoon?

book-tea

I found this on Pinterest. I hope I’m not impinging on anyone copyright.

 

Here and Now, Chapter 3.

Stranger from the past (1)

Through a small part of the window she saw the sky. She had no way of knowing what the time was.  As so many of her contemporaries did, she relied on her iPhone for the time nd so never wore a watch.  The iPhone was nowhere to be seen, nor was her purse.

She feared what would happen when he came back. He hadn’t molested her in any way, yet but she was sure he would. Why else would he have taken here?

She tried to work out why he had taken her. Was there anything about him she recognised she asked herself. Yes, there was something in the smile, or was it the inflection in his voice, but something definitely was beginning to feel familiar. Had she met him and known him at some earlier time? Perhaps once she managed to free herself, if she managed to free herself, she could spend time working out why he seemed familiar. But now, she had to concentrate on getting free.

She hadn’t heard the door being locked or unlocked so obviously he thought it completely unlikely that she would be able to escape the bindings he had applied. But she would listen hard the next time he came and make sure that the door wasn’t locked.

He had shown up earlier at what she guessed was his lunch hour, although time had become rather undefined for her. He approached her “Well Sarah how’re you doing”. He released her feet. It took a while for the circulation to return so that she could walk rather than stagger. He took her out of the room into a hallway where there was a bathroom where she relieved herself. He then took her back to the dark room but instead of laying her on the bed he sat her in a chair and proceeded to bind her hands to the arms of the chair. He left her feet free, which gave her some hope that she might eventually be able to escape.  When he left her she took particular notice of the door as he closed it. She was sure he hadn’t locked it. Was there a way to get free and out of the room into the hallway? Who knew where that would lead?

Some time later he returned with a bread roll and a takeaway cup of coffee. Of course it was difficult to eat with her hands bound and she asked him to release one of them. Surprisingly he agreed and as he undid one of her hands his cellphone rang. Turning away to answer it he left the room leaving her with one hand free.        

He didn’t return and after what she guessed to be an hour, she decided he had taken off again. So with one hand free she set about getting the rest of herself free.

With her free hand she picked at the duct tape on her other arm. It was hard and there was so little light, but bit by bit she felt the tape giving way. She couldn’t hurry this but she knew that at any time he could return and when he did he would bind her other arm to the chair again.

After what seemed a very long time her arm was free. She stood up and steadied herself against the chair as the circulation returned to her feet. She felt light headed and wondered what he had put into the coffee he had brought her earlier. Obviously he had drugged her at the bar so it was conceivable he would do so again. But there was little time to dwell on this question. He could return at any time and she just had to escape.

She found her shoes at the side of the bed and gratefully put them on. She then crept to the door. Hearing no sound from the other side she slowly opened it. To her delight there was a light on in the hallway and it took a few seconds for her eyes to accustomise to it. She saw she was in a long hallway with doors leading off each side. She tried the first door and it opened into a bedroom. Working her way down the hallway she came to the last door on the left. This opened into a kitchen with stairs in the corner leading upwards.

She had no time to think where the stairs might lead. She just knew she had to take a chance and get away…..

 

 

 

Here and Now, Chapter 2

Stranger from the past (1)

The evening passed very pleasantly and when Alec offered to drive her home after dinner, Sarah readily accepted. She had drunk rather more wine than usual and so as she settled into the passenger seat she felt herself dropping off.

And the next thing she knew she was here in this cold, dark place alone and restrained to the bed on which she was lying.

She looked down and was grateful to see that she was still clothed. Her shoes were missing but other than that her dress was intact and in place.

She tried to sit up but couldn’t. Once again she tried to move her arms but they were tied to the bed with duct tape. There was no movement. Her arms were bound tightly as were her legs. She could move her head and was grateful that at least she hadn’t been blindfolded.

She gathered her strength and shouted for help. She had no idea where she was or if there was any chance that she might be heard, but she had to try. The only response to that cry was a door opening and light suddenly flooded into the darkened room from outside. She could see a person moving towards her but couldn’t tell if it were a man or woman. The person took slow, deliberate steps to where Sarah was lying.

When he spoke she realised it was Alec Wishart with whom she’d spent a pleasant couple of hours yesterday, or was it even still Friday evening?

“Hello Sarah” he said. “Are you comfortable?   Is there anything you need? A drink perhaps?”    

“Who are you really? And what do you want?”   Sarah asked.

“Are you sure you don’t want a drink, Sarah?” he asked again.

“Just tell me where I am and why I am here?”

“You’ll find out soon enough why you are here. I have some people I should like you to meet. They’ll be here soon.” With which he left her and once again she was plunged into darkness.

Left to her own thoughts she began to imagine awful scenarios. Was she being held as hostage? Who would pay for her release? Her parents were both dead, having been killed in a car crash some years ago. And her brother was hardly in a position to pay anything for her. He had his own young family to support.

And now she regretted not taking the drink when it was offered. Apart from being dark it was getting hotter.

But now that her eyes had become accustomed to the dark she was able to make out a small sliver of light from far up on the wall to her left. Was it a grating or maybe a window in a basement wall. Was there any exit from this prison through there. But first she had to work out how to release herself from this bed.

Sarah thought back to a video she had seen showing how to release your arms if tied with rope. Well she was tied with duct tape and in the video it said that duct tape was less robust than rope and it is possible to free oneself if restrained with duct tape.

It claimed that duct tape is not indestructible. It is breakable. She tried to remember how to do it.

First she had to wiggle her hands to get some movement. In moving the tape she thought she could tear it. But it would have to be moved backwards and forwards to create the cross tear needed to break the tape. 

It looked reasonable when she had been sitting on the couch in her apartment with her two dogs for company. 

Oh goodness, what about the dogs. They would need to go out and need to be fed. Who would do that, or even know that she wasn’t around to do it? She had made no plans to meet anybody over the weekend, and so she wouldn’t be missed until Monday morning when she didn’t turn up for work.

But for now, she had to concentrate on getting free.

To be continued….

 

Related posts

Here and NowHere and Now Continued

 

 

 

Here and Now Continued

Did you read the 100 word challenge – Here and Now?

Well,  thought I would explore this further and so here goes…

Stranger from the past (1)

But what day was it? How long had she been here? And where was here?

Sarah had a usual busy Friday in the office and on the way home she popped into a local bar for a quiet drink. She often did this as a break between the hectic life at the office and her dogs clamouring for attention in her apartment.

There was a quiet bar close by into which she went most Fridays. She was known to nobody there and apart from the cheery greetings from the bartender, was left alone to unwind. This Friday she had taken a file home with her to work on over the weekend. She had been reading the file when the man approached her table to ask if he could sit there.

They passed some pleasantries and she went back to reading her file.

After a time, he said, “That looks like heavy reading for a Friday night. Aren’t you supposed to relax over the weekend?”

“Oh weekends are often given up to catching up with work things, and tying up loose ends.”

“Well, why not take some time off now. Put down that file and talk to me,” he said.

Sarah hadn’t taken much notice of him when he sat at the table. But now she did. She saw a well-dressed, middle aged man sitting opposite her. He wore his dark hair slightly longer than was the fashion, curling around his ears somewhat. His eyes were a deep, dark brown and for a fleeting moment Sarah thought ‘just the sort of eyes to drown in”. He was wearing a dark suit with a blue buttoned down shirt and a darker blue striped tie.

He didn’t appear to offer a threat and although it was not something Sarah usually did, she put aside the file and turned towards him with a smile.

“That’s better” he said and “I’m Alec Wishart. I’m 50 years old, unattached, recently divorced” this with a rue smile “and I have twin boys of 15. Now it’s your turn”.

“Oh I’m Sarah Holliday” she offered “Single, unattached. No children but a couple of very demanding dogs waiting for me at home.”

“Well they can wait a little longer I’m sure. Let’s have another drink and spend a little time getting to know one another.”

This was so unlike Sarah and she surprised herself with her ready agreement to both anther drink and some time spent in the company of this man.   What harm could come, she thought to herself. And those dogs could manage for an extra hour without her.

They sat in companionable quiet while the waiter took their order and returned with their drinks.

“So what do you do Sarah Holliday, that you have to take work home at the weekends?” he asked.

“I’m a very junior paralegal in a very large legal firm. I’ve only been there a short time and find it difficult to get through the mound of work that appears on my desk each day. I think it reproduces itself overnight.” She laughed.

“And what about you Alec Wishart. What do you do when you’re not meeting strange women in bars?”

“I’m a property developer” he responded “But in a very small way. I’m working on a project in the dock area, quite near here. And I was on my way home from a meeting when I saw this bar and decided a quiet drink would be in order. Then I saw a space at your table and came over to sit with you.

So you might say it was fate that we both happened to be at a loose end and happened to chance on the same bar.”

At that they both laughed.

The hour Sarah had given herself stretched into another as they  decided that food was in order. So once they had ordered their food,  they got back to discussing themselves and their lives, and to Sarah it seemed perfectly normal to be sitting here with this stranger sharing details that usually she kept to herself.

To be continued…

 

Related posts – Here and Now.

 

 

Here and Now.

Where was she and how did she get here? It was so dark and she could feel a heavy load crushing her chest. She couldn’t stand. Couldn’t even lift her arms. Were they restrained?

The last thing she remembered was accepting a lift home from the attractive man with whom she had spent a pleasant evening.

She had been sitting sipping her drink when this well presented man came and asked if he could sit at her table. She smiled and agreed and went back to the papers she had been reading.

How she wished she could change that decision.

100-word-challenge

This week’s word in the 100 Word Challenge is change.  If you want to play along go to Tara at Thin Spiral Notebook for all the details.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Opening the Box

On the way home Sandy and Cathy discussed the meeting with Barbara.  “Well I think that went well, don’t you?” Cathy asked. As Sandy didn’t respond immediately she looked over to her.

“Is everything alright?” she asked.  “Is something bothering you?”.

“I’m probably just being silly but I wonder why she didn’t tell us where she was living.  We heard a lot about the house in which she was brought up but nothing about where she lives now”.  Sandy worried.  She thought it strange that Barbara had omitted this from the discussion.  Also when asked what she did for a living, Barbara had quickly and effortlessly it seemed, changed the subject.  So what was she hiding?

When they arrived at Sandy’s house it was agreed that they would meet again in a couple of days so that Sandy could get her head around what she had learned and where she wanted to go from here.  She had so many decisions to make but the main one was when and who to tell of this new development.

She went inside and hung her coat on the hall stand.  She stood looking at the stand for a while.  It had always been part of her life it seemed.  It had stood in the hall all through her growing up years.  She could remember her father standing in front of it, adjusting his hat and tie before going out for a drink with his friends.  Her mother always put on the bright red lipstick there and she always looked in the mirror to check her hair before opening the front door.  Then when Sandy’s mother had to move into the retirement home, the hall stand came to live in Sandy’s hall.

But delving into these memories was only a way to put off making some decisions.

Of course, Ian her son would have to be told before anyone else.  Though goodness knows how he would react to this side of his mother about which he knew absolutely nothing.  And what of Val his wife?  How would she react to a mother-in-law who had a child before she was married and had given it up for adoption?

Sandy had never talked to her son about her life before she met his father, and certainly had never told him how she had been involved in the Swinging Sixties.  Oh he knew about that era – who didn’t, but how would he feel about his mother having been part of it?  Questions that could only be answered by calling him.

 She checked the time in Vancouver and was pleased to see it was only 6am there and so far too early to make a call.  So she could put that call off for several hours.  Perhaps after the boys had finished sport and the family had lunch would be a good time to call.  But would any time be a good time?

So that decision made, she called her ex husband.  Unfortunately, Saturday afternoon and he was out,  Probably at the football which was his passion.  West Ham was his team and they were playing at home to Arsenal.  He wouldn’t miss that. 

So she left a message on voice mail for him to call her when he got in.  She thought she would suggest they meet for a pre lunch drink at the local pub tomorrow, Sunday.  It would be easier telling him about Barbara face to face.

Now who else would she have to tell?  Her mother was in a retirement centre drifting in and out of dementia.  Should she even tell her?  It was so long ago and it would probably disturb her.  No.  That decision was easily made. She wouldn’t mention the meeting when next she saw her mother.

So who else to tell.  Her bridge friends – no, they were more acquaintances than friends although they did she each other each week and exchanged tidbits about their lives.  And if/when it came out, as it obviously would, they would be hurt that she hadn’t told them. 

So she decided to make a list.  Always making lists was Sandy.  She was methodical and said that once she saw the scope or scale of a chore written down in list form, she could get her head around it.

So Ian, her son was at the top of the list, followed by her ex-husband, her bridge friends, Grace her next door neighbour with whom she was quite friendly and of course, her closest friend Julia would have to be told.

But none of these other calls would be made until after she had spoken to her son and her ex-husband.

The question of what Barbara was hiding would have to wait for another day.

“You can’t make decisions based on fear and
the possibility of what might happen.”
― Michelle Obama