Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Copyedits, Cats, and Crazies

Life has been hectic lately. The sale on my mom's house fell through because the buyer I thought was nice turned out to be so crazy that the real estate agent who was helping her find a property actually dropped her. So we had to go back on the market. We've just signed a new contract, ironically for 10% more than the last sale; hopefully this one will go through.

At the same time, I've been going over the copyedits of WHO BURIES THE DEAD. It's been about six months since I read this book, so I was coming at it with fairly fresh eyes. I must say, it's an unusual book. But then, who wants to keep reading the same thing, right? Please tell me I'm right!

And then, of course, I'm still dealing with this little guy. I have flyers at the two vets I work with, but still no takers. He's now clean of the worms, fleas, and mites he had when he arrived, and he's had his first shots, so he could come in the house EXCEPT.... Huck is sick again, this time with a dangerously low white blood cell count (yes, I am worried; he's never been well since he almost died last fall). And since we don't know what's causing it, Indie is only allowed in the rooms occupied by our houseguests, aka Rosco and Peanut.

Rosco is a weird cat who would be on Ativan if he were a person. I don't trust him alone with the little guy (who looks enough like him to be his own offspring), so we've been having 1-2 hour play dates: Indie plays while Rosco hisses and swats, and I sit there like an anxious mama and watch. I do wish I could find a proper home for the little baby; I seem to spend my life taking care of special needs cats.

23 comments:

Charles Gramlich said...

Cats are out for us given all the birds we feed. We have quite a bit of trouble with stray cats hunting them. Cutie pie, though

Anonymous said...

C - I'm sure its not what you intended when writing this blog but I was laughing through most of it and also wishing I could rescue Indie. So, so cute. Rosco really looks like he needs medication. Yikes. But the intrepid Indie doesn't seem too put off. Either that or he's still too young and naive to know real danger when he sees it. Very Good news about that beautiful house. Fingers crossed it all works out. Poor Huck! Keeping good thoughts for him. You really need the animal equivalent of a Home Health Care Aide - Live In.

As far as unusual books are concerned there is a certain comfort factor when reading a series. Normally for me what makes them special is the consistency you get but you certainly don't want to be reading the same plots over and over again. I would say as long as vampires or aliens don't make an appearance you should be fine.
Good luck with everything!
Best, Ali

cs harris said...

Charles, that's why mine are all INSIDE. They sit at the window, watch the birds, and dream.

ALi, no vampires or aliens, I promise. I'm actually still trying to figure out what makes this books seem different; I can't put my finger on it. It may simply be me. And yes, Rosco is one weird cat; he loves pets but is almost too afraid to come get them.

Barbara Butler McCoy said...

You are right. Come on - this is Sebastian and Hero and Paul Gibson and Lord Jarvis ... 'usual' is not in their vocabulary. That's why I'm devoted to them. ;)

JustWingingIt said...

Indie is growing fast. But what a cutie!

Jarvis isn't suddenly being nice, is he? 'Cuz that would make for an unusual book. :)

Veronica

cs harris said...

Barbara, that is true!

Veronica, i know; I can't believe how much he's grown. It's scary because I know people prefer to adopt little kittens. And yes, Jarvis is quite nasty in this book!

Lynne said...

And if you find a home for Indie, then what? Another cat will find you...they know where you live, Candy. I told you - they have a website for kitties. You're doomed, woman. Just face it. And Indie is just the cutest thing - he must be driving poor Roscoe insane.
I think when you go back to do copy edits after a long time you see things that you didn't before. Kind of like when I reread a book after a year or two. New discoveries, things I missed...a similar feeling. And I'm with Veronica - a nice Jarvis would be too weird. I still think he needs grandchildren who can see and hear him coming...to drive him insane, of course.

Suzanne said...

Indie is so cute. If I didn't live on the other side of the world and wasn't allergic to cats I would take him myself. But it is not to be. I hope Huck gets better quickly. We are all thinking of him.

Your notices at the vets reminds me of one I saw many years ago when I took my dog. It said, "Found. Budgie. Green and yellow markings. Says his name is Bruce." It was really cute!

Anonymous said...

C - good Lord it never occurred to me Jarvis could be nice. I remember thinking with glee at the end of Why Kings Confess and Simon had yellow eyes - Jarvis is going to spit blood! I can be gruesome sometimes...Ali

cs harris said...

Lynne, I know--it's an affliction. And my daughter, who was supposed to eventually take back my two "houseguests", just rescued a dog! I wanted to throttle her. But then, I know where she gets it.

Suzanne, I've been taking him to a different, more naturalistic vet, and I'm hopeful. He's only 13, poor guy.

Ali, no, it never occurred to me that Jarvis could be nice, either. He loves Hero and Simon, and is dedicated to King and country, and that's about the limit of his good qualities!

Suzanne said...

Candy, I have a question. What are copy edits?

cs harris said...

Suzanne, sorry! It's part of the editing process. First my editor reads the manuscript and sends it back to me with her editorial suggestions (things like, "You need to make sure new readers understand the background between Gibson and Sebastian," or "I don't understand why Sebastian is doing this.") When I revise and send it back, it then goes to a copyeditor; it's her job to make sure that I don't change people's names and eye colors, that I haven't typed "wobbling" when I meant to say "warbling," and that I'm not using a word that wasn't in use in 1813. A good copyeditor is priceless. I always worry when I get a manuscript back and they haven't caught a lot. It's amazing and scary the things that still slip past all our eyes--mine, my editor's, and the copyeditor's.

Susan J. said...

I was interested when you mentioned your copy editor checking that you are not using a word not in use in 1813. Sometimes you have people using, what to me seem to be modern American expressions, such as "Goddamn" or "someplace else". However, I also know that many modern American expressions are actually English phrases that have gone out of use here, such as "often-times" or "Fall", for Autumn. I also notice that Bernard Cornwell has Sharpe also using "Goddamn", so was it actually still in use in England then and what about "someplace else"? We would say "somewhere else" nowadays but was it perhaps used in the Regency period in England?.

Suzanne said...

Thanks, I understand it now. I can imagine that being a copy editor must be a very specialized job. There are so many words that are relatively modern in origin, such as "hello", which I heard on TV recently didn't come into general use until the invention of the telephone and that it is Hungarian in origin. I never would have guessed that.

Lynne said...

Your explanation about copy edits is really helpful. I have always believed that we have too few good editors in the world...people who can read a book, essay, speech, etc. and catch those errors that the writer misses because they're thinking ahead. You're lucky to have good people doing the job. I did some editing of speeches and articles for a boss I had once years ago and OMG! the mistakes that fellow made without realizing it. And your comment and Suzanne's about time-specific words is very important. That subject came up more than once with regard to Downton Abbey. But what is funny is that many words and phrases used in that series were in common use before or during the early part of the last century...people just didn't realize it. Our language is so fascinating...Suzanne and I had a laugh once about the fact that the English and Americans are separated by a common language. Susan's comment supports that fact...it all makes me smile.

cs harris said...

Susan, I think I'll do a post on this--next week, when my eye isn't bandaged (long story!)

Suzanne, they do use "Hullo," but if you try using that, the copyeditor will go, "What's this? Reword?"

Lynne, I am always amazed by the mistakes I make. It's as if there's a disconnect between my brain and my fingers. Or sometimes I'll use a modern word meaning to go back and change it when I have time to linger; I put it in red, and somehow it gets switched to black and then is overlooked. The potential pitfalls are endless. And then there's what you don't know you don't know.

Lynne said...

Eye bandage? Are you trying out for the part of a pirate? You'd better post about that or we'll all wonder...??? And it's not really the mistakes you make - you do what all writers do: you think ahead while typing, because you know what you want to happen next and that damn computer can't read your mind:). Anyone who writes does that...I think.

Suzanne said...

Lynne, you struck a memory for me. I once worked in a department where I had to deal with some very senior company executives, most of whom were younger than me, and some of their emails used to horrify me. They were little better than pigeon!! I really wonder what they teach people at school these days.

Susan J. said...

Sorry to hear that you have an eye problem. I had eye operations a few years ago, so I know the feeling! I look forward to the post.

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