Blog

Adventures in Editing, or The frustration of English.

blackboard-2721887_960_720

To hyphenate or not to hyphenate, that is the question.
Currently, I am working on reviewing galley proofs for an upcoming Steampunk Fantasy from Pro Se Productions.
What’s a galley proof? Very simply, it is the last step before publishing. It’s an ancient term, from a time when type was actually hand set using wooden or metal blocks and placed into metal trays called “galleys.” Then single-column pages of type, or “proofs,” was printed. The authors would edit and make corrections to the text and send it back to the printer. The printer would then take great delight … uhm, curse the author to the third generation, while rearranging the blocks of type that needed to be corrected. Lather, rinse repeat until the book was perfect.
In this case, a) not my book just double-checking the copy edits and b) it reads well. There is not much in need of correction…except two lines which caught my attention. And they don’t need correction, they just got my curiosity up. They are:

  1.  “You’re always snooping around the back alleys…”
  2.  “There are other means of employment besides back-alley robbery,..”

Do you notice the difference? Yeah, there is a hyphen in one and not the other. Ever had that experience where you look at a word, and it just doesn’t look right?
In the first sentence, “back alleys” is a noun. It follows the standard definition of Person, Place, or Thing. An alley, or alleyway, runs behind a row of houses, or between rows of houses. Definitely a place then. What about context? In the United Kingdom, (our story is set in London), a residence or other premises whose only entrance is on a back alley will have an address of the form “Back of [number] Something Street,” where the row of houses is in “Something Street.” It would appear, according to my sources, no hyphen is needed here.
Except… in sentence number two it is an adjective. A word or phrase naming an attribute added to or grammatically related to a noun to modify or describe it. By modifying robbery, back-alley (with a hyphen) is defined as dirty, unprepossessing, sordid, or clandestine.
Fortunately, I didn’t have to burn too many brain cells on it. A quick check of a sound source on editing questions, Editor Group, had the answers about hyphenation. Still, it reminds me of a quote about the English Language.
“The problem with defending the purity of the English language is that English is about as pure as a cribhouse whore. We don’t just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat them unconscious and rifle their pockets for new vocabulary.”
–James D. Nicoll
Pretty sure we can add torture to its list of crimes too.
Thank you for reading
Ernest Russell

Advertisements

Monday’s Musings

Types of Currency

bracelets-cash-crumpled-271168

I’m in my late fifties now and have had regular jobs since I was twelve. Throughout working these various jobs, a majority of them dealing with people and money, I naively believed I had seen the different categories of currency used in transactions. These categories, as I am calling them, relate more to the condition and method of carry at the time of a cash transaction. I share with you now my observations.
New Currency
Yes, this is the category of bright, crisp money. The bright greens popping against the white, wrapped in bands of green, reds, yellows, violets, and mustards being the most common wrappers denoting denomination, the number of bills and the amount of the bundle.
These are pretty unless you are a cashier. These deceptively attractive bundles which reputedly cause the world to go round are really quite the hazard. These same new bills take delight in striking to cause paper cuts. There is a legend in some circles these stiff, sharp bills can be just a sharp as any well-honed blade. Their intent to slip through your hands, laughing as they make good an escape. Their Velcro-like tendency makes it easy for two or even three to act together as one. At closing, anticipating a balanced drawer, your frustration growing as you try to balance. A vain search for the escapees, only to make up the difference from your own meager supply of cash.
Regular or “used” Currency
Have no fear, over time these bands of bloodthirsty marauders of the cash drawer and wallets are handled and beaten in submission. As we stuff them into our wallets, purses, and pockets their edges become blunted and the Velcro-like surfaces are sanded to a sleeker finish something begins to change. No longer brash and beautiful, the minty freshness dwindling to a memory as it is laundered, folded and crushed. This legal tender transitions in just that, an object as soft and pliable as a well-loved pair of comfortable jeans.
Now, you would think these are the two types of currency yet, they are not. There are other categories created by people. Just as our influence affects our surroundings, so too have people created subcategories of cash based on the method in which it is carried.
After all, how did you suppose this money achieved its delightfully soft and plaint condition? It has probably been through one, or more, of the following methods of carry.
The first of these subcategories is usually seen carried by women, and it breaks into two subcategories.
This is not meant to be a sexist reference in any way, it merely involves apparel those identifying as male generally don’t wear. The bra.
Yes, I am talking about –
Bra money.
Upper Bra Money
One of the amazing things is the number of items some women can carry in their bras without creating the appearance of being lumpier than badly mashed potatoes. No, it’s not a flattering picture, but when you watch the assortment of items some women remove from their décolletage, it can be downright scary to watch. Externally, there is no evidence all this “stuff” was ever there!
It’s the body pocket trope made real. You know the one where a character, often animated, reaches into a pocket or other space and pulls out a series of gag items until they find what they need. The array of cell phones, lipstick, makeup, keys, hard candies/mints, small wallets/ids/credit cards, hankies, and of course, money is impressive. Stages magicians weep at not being able to stuff this much up their sleeves.
This is cash stored in the bra on top of the breast. Presented with the amount due the customer reaches into her top extracting payment from the upper portions. The money is always warm and depending on the weather may be slightly damp.
Under Bra Money
Sharing many traits in common with Upper Bra Money it is found under the breast, held in place not only by placement between the bra and the breast but by the weight of the breast itself. This money is always damp, occasionally has an aroma, and the bills could be difficult to separate.
Both of the above methods do seem to represent a somewhat secure method of carry. Neither is likely to cause any loss of funds.
Those identifying as a male of the species rarely carry the particular forms of currency so far described. A predominately, though by no means exclusive, male category of currency is carried in the sock.
Sock Money
Sock money, as the name implies, is carried in the sock(s) of the bearer. The quality of this currency varies on many factors. Weather, as with Bra money, is a primary factor regarding the moisture level. So too does where in the sock the money resides. If an athletic tube sock, the cash held in place between the ankle and top of the sock, those bills on the interior of the fold may be relatively dry. The outer bill, or bills, which wraps the others will absorb any sweat produced.
Migration can occur with this method. If the cash migrates too far up the sock, there is a danger of it falling out, or even ejected between the elastic and motion of the calf muscle. At times, the bills carried in this manner may be pushed downward wedging itself between the ankle and edge of the shoe. It is recommended not to allow this position to continue as the cash rubbing against the side of the foot could cause various degrees of irritation.
I have witnessed some to carry the money placed deep in the sock, so the foot rests upon it. Thus providing additional arch support. Not being an orthopedic specialist I cannot attest to this and would suggest speaking with a qualified podiatrist before attempting.
Positioning the cash in this manner causes all of it to become soaked foot sweat and should it be raining it guarantees the money to be soaked thus rendering it very tender indeed. A condition for the cashier akin to separating wet newspaper.
As mentioned, carried above the ankle cash presented from this form of storage is generally damp for the outer bill or two absorb the sweat, leaving the inner bills in reasonable condition, and they exude little odor. For those bills which are carried inside the shoe, a very different matter. As one person removed his shoe, setting it upon my desk, thereby guaranteeing if I were any species of canine with a tracking ability I could find him anywhere, before proceeding to remove his sock. As he reached into the ecru nylon tube, it may once have been white, and stained with his footprint, I wondered what might emerge. Flashbacks to episodes of Rocky and Bullwinkle flashed before my eyes:
“Hey Rocky! Watch me pull a rabbit out this hat.”

“Again? That trick never works.”
Indeed, many things came out of the sock. An ID, some loose change, and a crumpled bus pass. But no cash. He had forgotten which sock the money was located. The idle thought crossed my mind if he went through this process whenever he rode the bus, I suspect it was carried higher up. It is a question I regret not asking.
A repeat performance on the other foot occurred. This time cash was produced. It was damp, to the point of slimy but not to the point of inseparability, and for the rest of the day, the cash drawer emitted the distinct aroma of the combined unwashed contents of a basketball teams gym bags. It took several doses of Lysol, Febreze not yet invented, and a pine tree-shaped air freshener left in the drawer for about a week before the offending effluvia dissipated.
Honestly, until recently I had thought these were the ways people carried their stash of cash. Over the past few months, on a reasonably regular basis, there have been enough instances of this for me to think a new category should be added. Are you ready?
Underwear Money.
Yes, you read it correctly. For a few years, as almost everyone is aware, there has been a fashion trend among young males to wear their pants below their underwear. Not a style which suits me, but to quote Tim Gunn, “”If that’s the look you were going for, that’s quite a look!”.
My first encounter with this form of currency remains quite vivid. It was time for the young man to pay for his purchase. After hearing the cost he stands up, I thought to reach into his pocket. But no. It was to reach down the front of his black and white checked underwear. Not the pants, he very definitely pulled the underwear forward and reached down plunging about half of his forearm down the front of his pants, having to lean forward slightly as he did so.
Was this was some parody of Cleavon Little’s Sheriff from Blazing Saddles? It would not have surprised me had the young man said: “Excuse me, while I whip this out.” Which, disappointingly he did not, as he whipped out a crumpled wad of bills.

It did make me wonder if he had seen The Sting. There is a scene where a grifter is showing a numbers runner to carry the cash down the front of his pants “because no cop is going to frisk you there.”
So there I am with this crumpled wad of bills, glistening from unknown fluid, with a rather strong musky odor emanating from them. The young man proceeded to sort and count out the correct amount then duly returned the remainder to their resting place and sat back down. With no hesitation, I used a paper towel to scoop up the bills and left them covered by it in my cash drawer.
Several pumps of hand sanitizer later I felt almost clean again. This has not been the only time I have seen this occur. It has happened with enough frequency that it must be included here, though I do believe it to be limited to only young males at this point.
I leave you now with my observations on the ways people transport their money. Perhaps you have run into some and not others, if you have spotted other means not mentioned, I would be interested in hearing them. For now, it is enough to have shared my two cents and the descriptions herein. Until next time, try not to think about where your money may have been.
As always, thank you for reading,
Ernest Russell

KAISHAKUNIN

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
VENGEANCE, INTRIGUE, AND BLADES COLLIDE IN HISTORIC JAPAN-‘KAISHAKUNIN’ DEBUTS FROM PRO SE PRODUCTIONS

KAISHAKUNIN

Continually pushing the boundaries of Genre Fiction and New Pulp, Pro Se Productions proudly announces the release of author Shane McInnis’ debut novel, Historical Adventure at its best. KAISHAKUNIN is now available in print and digital formats.

In a country where a person’s name and the honor it carried was more important than life itself, and a time when only a samurai could carry a sword, a young man with neither a clan nor status strives to find his life’s purpose. Caught up in the tumultuous events of early Tokugawa Era Japan, Kai must survive the schemes of the shogun’s court long enough to claim his revenge and finally rid himself of the stigma of the title Kaishakunin. A novel of historical action and intrigue by Shane McInnis. From Pro Se Productions.

Featuring a stunning cover and logo design by Brittney McInnis and print formatting by Antonino Lo Iacono and Marzia Marina, KAISHAKUNIN is available in print at Amazon for $9.99.

McInnis’ historical action novel is also available as an eBook formatted by Lo Iacono and Marina on the Kindle for only $2.99. The book is also available to Kindle Unlimited members for free.

For more information on this title, interviews with the author, or digital copies for review, email editorinchief@prose-press.com.

To learn more about Pro Se Productions, go to http://www.prose-press.com. Like Pro Se on Facebook to get the latest releases and announcements.

BABYLON- A Hero For All Time

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
STRANGE ADVENTURES OF BARRY REESE’S NEWEST HERO DEBUTS-‘THE SECOND BOOK OF BABYLON’ DEBUTS FROM REESE UNLIMITED AND PRO SE PRODUCTIONS

Babylon

Known for his innovative creations and exciting characters, Barry Reese is not only an award winning author, but also the first author to receive his own imprint from Pro Se Productions seven years ago. REESE UNLIMITED has become the stage for the adventures of Reese’s Peregrine, Lazarus Gray, Gravedigger and others to unfold upon, and now Barry adds one more blazing star to his unique universe. THE SECOND BOOK OF BABYLON introduces, and yes it introduces, a super hero as only Barry Reese could create.

Birthed from the horrors of American slavery, the spirit of cosmic retribution is called Babylon. Inhabiting a variety of hosts, the spirit has waged a war for the protection of innocents…but now he finds himself trapped under a mystical shield that has weakened his powers and left him without a host. With the world teetering on the brink of destruction, Babylon must find his way through a mystic battlefield that’s lined with betrayal, shock and violence. Award winning author Barry Reese (Creator of The Peregrine, Lazarus Gray, and Gravedigger) introduces his own brand of super hero into his REESE UNLIMITED Universe in THE SECOND BOOK OF BABYLON.

Featuring a fantastic cover and logo design by George Sellas, interior illustrations by George Sellas and Steven Wilcox, and print formatting by Sean Ali, THE SECOND BOOK OF BABYLON is available in print at Amazon  and on Pro Se’s own store for $9.99.

The first book in this new Reese Unlimited series is also available as an eBook formatted by Antonino Lo Iacono and Marzia Marina on the Kindle for only $2.99. The book is also available to Kindle Unlimited members for free.

For more information on this title, interviews with the author, or digital copies for review, contact editorinchief@prose-press.com.

To learn more about Pro Se Productions, go to http://www.prose-press.com. Like Pro Se on Facebook to keep up with our latest news and releases.

GeekFest is almost here!

Did you miss this cool interview for GeekFest host by the New Orleans Public Library?
Did you know it is this Saturday May 4th?
9am-4pm
New Orleans Public Library
219 Loyola Ave, New Orleans, Louisiana 70112

Need Directions?
I’ll be there to chat with folks and have a table of books from Pro Se Productions with me. Stop by and say hello!
Need the link the interview?
https://www.fox8live.com/video/2019/05/01/geek-fest/

 

THE BEAUTY OF OUR WEAPONS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FUTURISTIC SPIES, KILLER NUNS, CORPORATE ESPIONAGE AND MORE IN JILLY PADDOCK’S ‘THE BEAUTY OF OUR WEAPONS’!

58372901_1074967709371885_3138467456570359808_n

Author Jilly Paddock has created one of the most unique pairs of spies ever to grace science fiction in her ZENITH ALPHA 4013 series. Now this unusual pair returns in their most dangerous and demanding mission yet in the fourth volume in the series-THE BEAUTY OF OUR WEAPONS.
Anna-Marie Delany and her computer partner, Zenni, are spies with psionic powers, agents for Earth Intelligence. When their boss at EI, Chandre Marteen, goes missing on the idyllic vacation world of Tambouret, their mission is to find her.

A child has also vanished, Angel Jansen, daughter of Anna’s dead enemy. Add to the mix an anti-technology cult whose leader may be possessed by a demon, a dark-sister from a sect of assassin nuns, an attempt to destroy EI and the Zenith project in a hostile takeover of Delany Corp and the help or perhaps hindrance of a pompous native detective-can Anna and Zenni rescue the hostages and survive unscathed?

Thrill to the fourth book in Jilly Paddock’s ZENITH ALPHA 4013 series, THE BEAUTY OF OUR WEAPONS. From Pro Se Productions.

Featuring a fantastic cover by Antonino Lo Iacono and print formatting and logo design by Lo Iacono and Marzia Marina, THE BEAUTY OF OUR WEAPONS is available in print at Amazon and on Pro Se’s own store at for $14.99.

The fourth book in Paddock’s terrific science fiction espionage series is also available as an eBook formatted by Lo Iacono and Marina for the Kindle for only $3.99. The book is also available to Kindle Unlimited members for free.

The first three books in the ZENITH ALPHA 4013 series are also available on Amazon in digital and print formats.
For more information on this title, interviews with the author, or digital copies for review, contact editorinchief@prose-press.com.

To learn more about Pro Se Productions, click the link to visit our website or Like Pro Se on Facebook.

 

20190413_12031120190412_213715

 

Leaving a convention is often difficult, and CyPhaCon 2019 this weekend was no exception. As a presenter, a responsive audience is what makes it fun. When can share your passions with a room full of people and they respond in kind is quite a rush. Fans are the soul of a convention and the CyPhaCon fans were great this weekend.
It was great seeing friends and making new ones. Frank Schiavo, Dave David Ducorbier and his sidekick Brian Held Jr , Don Cooper, Derec Donovan, Chris Hayes and many more. Happily met were Sherry Melancon, Michael Hinton, Michael Moreau, Randolph Allen, and Paul Honsinger. If I missed anybody please accept my apologies.
A convention is a great deal of work and can eat up a lot of your life. The team running CyPhaCon did it well. I appreciate their bringing me in as a guest and all the communication from the staff with whom I had contact. Hats off to Garrett Manuel – Guest Relations Director, John Juhala – Table- top Gaming Coordinator, Sven Brooks – Vendor Coordinator, and Michael Hinton – Programming Coordinator. You ran a fun convention and in working with you would happily be a CyPhaCon guest anytime.
A special note of thanks to a young lady whose last name I do not know, Emily, your services of running food and drink for the vendors was deeply appreciated.

 

CyPhaCon Schedule Update!

As packing and final preparation are underway for CyphaCon, an invitation was received for another panel. As it stands now my panel schedule is as follows:

Friday
7 pm – Writing Science Fiction with Real Science
8 pm – Genres: Do They Still Matter?

Saturday
3 p.m. – Creating Memorable Characters
8 pm – Vampires, Zombies, Elder Gods, and things that go bump in the night

Sunday
2 p.m. – Tropes: Good, Bad or Ugly?

Looking forward to seeing as many of you as can make it!

Thank you for reading,

Ernest

CyPhaCon!! My Panel schedule…but wait! There is more….

One week from today CyPhaCon Returns to Lake Charles!

56264378_2049120252047691_6881675345028710400_n.png

Really excited as I prepare for CyPhaCon next weekend. Have my panel schedule and these are all going to be fun.

Friday

7 pm – Writing Science Fiction with Real Science
8 pm – Genres: Do They Still Matter?

Saturday

3 p.m. – Creating Memorable Characters
8 pm – Vampires, Zombies, Elder Gods, and things that go bump in the night

In a first for CyPhaCon and Pro Se Productions, Pro Se will have a table at CyPhaCon.

Come see us and discover new worlds within our pages!

For complete information on CyPhaCon please visit our website!

Visit the official CyPhaCon Events Page for more details of the great panels, guests and activities.

CyPhaCon returns April 12th-14th, 2019 to the Lake Charles Civic Center in Lake Charles Louisiana.
Pre Reg Tickets still on sale at Paper Heroes until Monday, April 8th. Tickets also available on Ticket Master and Civic Center Box Office up to and during the entire weekend of CyPhaCon.
Stop by and say Hi!
Thank you for reading
Ernest Russell