Editing Rant: Distances

Map Of Brazil Stock Photo

Image courtesy of Gualberto107 at


Please for the love of goodness know where things are located and how long it will take you to get there with various transportation methods. Normally my rant of this type is about medieval or regency romance type settings in England where a distance can vary from one hour to several days … by horse – to the same location in the same story – when the map says 20 miles on smooth roads originally installed by the Romans.

Today edit is a British author writing about America (rather than the other way around). Atlantic Ocean to Chicago by horseback is NOT five days. Horseback is not that much faster than walking when going through forested areas. And doing it while dodging zombies … well, let’s just say more like five weeks than five days.

Maps are your friends – USE THEM!


WRITING/READING EXERCISE: If your present work-in-progress or you present read is set in the real world, review distances for things.

Humans walk about 3 miles an hour, 4 miles an hour is a brisk walk and not sustainable over distance (except for infantry on a forced march). Horses go about 4 miles an hour steadily. And travel for both is usually limited to daylight hours – summer has much longer travel time than winter. Caravan and large groups need to start and end the day sooner than a couple of lone travelers. Bikes go 10 to 15 mph, and cars, when they first came out went the ridiculous speed of 20 miles per hour – equal to an easy day’s walk in an hour! (Scientist were worried about our ability to breath at those speeds.)

Flash: Bunny Hop Line

Man in Bunny Ears
Image originally on Breathless Press; found again on Pinterest
Cannot find original attribution

Howie always knew a police lineup was in his future. He just always figured it would be for a break and enter, or a bar brawl, or a drug deal, or a hooker who was a cop in disguise, or speeding. He actually hoped for the speeding. Speeding would mean they had set up a full road block and used a plane to catch him during one of the times he pushed over a hundred. His boys would buy him drinks for a year on that story alone.

He never thought it would be for helping out at a kid’s birthday party. God, the cops wouldn’t even let him take off the bunny ears during his mug shots. The fuckers were laughing their asses off.

It had gone wrong, oh … so … wrong.

(words 132 – originally appearing at Breathless Press 9/4/2013 for the 4/8/12 Sunday Fun – and published on the blog on 4/9/2013; republished in new blog format on 4/10/2016.)

Other Cool Blogs: Magical Words July 19, 2013

Sewing Stock Photo

Image courtesy of Carlos Porto at

An adage I have learned as an embroiderer is “as you sew, so shall you rip”. For every stitch that makes it to the final product, two more stitches have been removed. Or so/sew it seems/seams.

With writing comes editing and to get good editing, you have other people whom you have deliberately BEGGED to kill your baby. It hurts. It hurts bad.

Mindy Klasky captured this in “Five Stages of Grief (Critique Edition)” for Magical Words back in 2013. Read it, know it. And for the love of goodness, realize when you hit stage 3 what is happening and do not burn your work.

(Yes real people do destroy their work. I have seen it happen with friends, amazing, talented friends – poets, authors, writers, calligraphers, artists. Realize it is a STAGE. If you need to burn it, print out a second copy and take that into the backyard and rip it into little, little pieces and light each on fire. Then come back and move to stage four. Please!)

Again the link is here:

Book Review: Steel’s Edge (The Edge #4)

Book Cover for Steel's Edge

Book Cover from Amazon

Steel’s Edge by Ilona Andrews
Charlotte de Ney is as noble as they come, a blueblood straight out of the Weird. But even though she possesses rare magical healing abilities, her life has brought her nothing but pain. After her marriage crumbles, she flees to the Edge to build a new home for herself. Until Richard Mar is brought to her for treatment, and Charlotte’s life is turned upside down once again.

Richard is a swordsman without peer, future head of his large and rambunctious Edger clan—and he’s on a clandestine quest to wipe out slavers trafficking humans in the Weird. So when his presence leads his very dangerous enemies to Charlotte, she vows to help Richard destroy them. The slavers’ operation, however, goes deeper than Richard knows, and even working together, Charlotte and Richard may not survive…


An awesome contemporary romantic “urban” fantasy. Last of the four book series, the manuscript can be stand-alone or enjoyed at the end of a long reading marathon. At this time I have only read books one and four.

Ilona Andrews, a husband and wife team, write banter like they took notes during a few of Benedict and Beatrice (Much to do About Nothing) private arguments. Sexy, funny, witty. The men of the series are warriors and the women stand by their side with their special abilities, kicking ass and maybe even scarier than the male loves; Charlotte, the heroine of Steel’s Edge, certainly is the more dangerous of the two. All the heroes and heroines are strong people.

And the worldbuilding is delicious. It isn’t so much political intrigue as sociological intrigue. Unless you know how to move through the society, you got problems. In the first book it was trying to fit in with the isolated Edgers, and in the fourth book maneuvering through the challenge of a three-hundred-year old aristocratic society – it isn’t a Victorian novel on manners, but picking the right color gown can mean the difference of getting in to see the person you need to assassinate.

Steel’s Edge is clearly a three-act book – the first on the Edge dragging Charlotte out of her hidey hole back into the land of the living and personal hurt, the second an unholy absolutely amazing preparation for and then battle at a slaver’s town, and finally going after the big slave bosses who move at the very top of society. In each act Charlotte’s and Richard’s relationship develop further and the stakes get higher.

I loved meeting up with the children from Book 1 – George and Jack – again in Book 4. They have grown older, now full teenagers and on the cusp of adulthood. And I may forgive the Andrews the first major death of the book … if they write two more romances set in the Edge. I want to see who George, Jack, and even Sophie end up with.

Flash: Funner (Part 2)

Opened Dictionary Stock Photo

Image courtesy of Arvind Balaraman at

Joe was trying to get little April to accept puréed carrots, when his wife said out of the blue, “Yes, I believe funner is a word. Fun, funner, funnest.”

The peanut butter and ginger jelly sandwich was placed where their personal 4-year old tornado named Scott would land as soon as his milk glass was added. She returned to the kitchen to pour the final attraction, and then start assembling their more adult sandwiches. Joe wouldn’t mind a PB and J himself, but Cheryl tried to keep them on a somewhat non-strict diet. Thirties brought a little gut to both of them and she dislike buying clothes just for “upsizing” as she put it.

Scrapping up the carrots that were using osmosis to feed his favorite daughter through her cheeks and bib, Joe tried to place the conversation … it took a moment. Reorienting the food through the more proper channel of her small mouth, he was able to respond, “Nope, I am pretty sure funner is not a word. Did you look it up?”

Delivering the last of the Saturday lunch to the table, Cheryl mouth pursed in consternation as her husband got a point in the debate. “Well, no.” She pulled out her smartphone after sitting down. Booting up, she started navigating through menus looking. “Let’s see, some stuff about funner added to the dictionary in 2010 … Urban slang … oh here is something. Both noun and adjective, but not … drat.”

The arrival of their oldest made her put the smart phone aside, as she saved various glasses from spilling and laid down the requirement of eating at least three apple slices as well as half the sandwich before leaving the table. Joe concentrated on cleaning up the baby, the highchair, the plastic beneath the high chair and finally himself before joining his family at the kitchen table and snatching the phone for himself. Juggling April on one knee, and scrolling through the Google search he found a good article and passed it over to his wife after Scott started counting the Fritos on his plate.

She read through it, taking a bite of her chicken sandwich. Cheryl sipped some black cherry Kool-Aid then returned the phone and said “I believe the circumstances were very informal and therefore the usage stands.”

Joe laughed at loud, thinking back to exactly what he was doing during the “circumstances” of its usage. Glancing at the phone, he confirmed the article he had found boiled down to “Funner should not be used in formal writing, though it’s usage has been accepted for informal writing. For formal English writing, more fun should be used.”

“Agreed. In addition, I will concede we were not writing at the time.”

“Funner … Fun .. Ner … f.u.n.n.e.r.” Cheryl stated and spelled.

Laughter took them both, with April’s baby chortle joining in. Scott looked up from his counting; not understanding the joke, but enjoying the laughter, his high pitch child squeals joining in.

(words 498 – first published 1/2/2013; republished in new blog format 4/3/2016)