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Friday, January 31, 2014

New Beginnings by Mary Metcalfe (Author Guest Post / Book Review / Contest Giveaway)

In association with Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for New Beginnings by Author Mary Metcalfe!

Author Guest Post

Even The Top Writers Need An Editor And Proofreader
By: Mary Metcalfe

I am a content and copy editor and a published author of three fiction novels. Number four is now under construction. In my day work as an editor and doing editorial evaluations, I come across many wonderful writers. These are people who have spent many long hours to write and publish articles, short stories, fiction, nonfiction and memoirs. These are folks who know how to write and tell a great story.

And every single one of them needs an editor.

I recently evaluated a very engaging manuscript by a writer who opted not to have a professional copy edit done because “I have a degree in English Literature.” Unfortunately, that degree didn’t cover the fact that the Phil Donahue show was broadcast, for most of its record run, from Chicago and not New York, which is where she had situated it. Had she Googled it, she would have had the correct location in seconds.

Another writer, who clearly has a lengthy background in teaching journalistic writing and turned his excellent writing talents to fiction, wrote a wonderfully engaging novel. He too opted not to have it professionally edited. However, he kept changing scenes (including countries and timespans) without setting the scene up. So there I was wondering how a newborn baby in Chapter 9 had suddenly morphed into a 10-year-old going to hockey games with his stepfather in Chapter 10. There was no transition. And let’s not even get into the amazing leap to a bathroom scene in a British hotel after being in Winnipeg talking about a possible summer teaching gig. Or a woman who gave birth without a single grunt or groan and held down a lengthy conversation with her delivery doctor while the baby’s head was crowning.

Another manuscript I recently content edited had a scene where the local law enforcement officers were going off into the bush in snow up past their knees to retrieve a body… with a stretcher. I live in an area where the snow routinely piles up to a foot deep or more. There is no way a stretcher could be used in the woods. Well, it happens that my husband is a retired volunteer firefighter and first responder! They use a rescue sled. Bingo. Problem fixed.

An issue for writers of historical fiction is word use appropriate to the time setting. I recently content edited a manuscript set between 1768-1770 in northern Canada and the American colonies. Imagine my surprise to see words like hypothermia, sniper, foxhole and call girl! None of these words were in use. Call girl came from the 1930s when ‘ladies of the night’ started using telephones to make appointments. Not happening in 1770.

Then there was the semi-erotic manuscript I evaluated. Somehow, the guy was lying back on his elbows in the bed while serving his girlfriend a glass of wine. Something wasn’t quite working with that one.

In the age of e-readers, lengthy paragraphs become black screens of text in smaller formats. In several of the manuscripts I’ve worked on, particularly memoirs, there is a tendency to write long descriptive paragraphs. I tend to break these down for the sake of the e-readers.

I know from personal experience that I need an editor. And then I need a proofreader. All three of my novels were professionally content and copy edited. When that was done, I had my husband proofread them. He’s a technical editor/translator and he caught errors we all missed, including a character name being switched!

Many new authors are flocking to self-publishing without the benefit of a solid copy edit. Unfortunately, they are turning up alongside seasoned authors who recognize the value of a well-edited manuscript. It’s becoming increasingly difficult for consumers to sift through and find the polished gems among the rough cut ones. But, such is the nature of publishing in the 21st Century.

About The Author

Mary Metcalfe is the author of three published novels – Winds of Change, New Beginnings, Road to Tomorrow – and currently at work on her fourth. She and her long-time husband live in the foothills of the Laurentians in Quebec, Canada with a small herd of cats and a Canadian Eskimo dog. Their daughter is a published literary non-fiction author.


Book Review

New Beginnings by Mary Metcalfe
Book 2: Look To The Future Series
Publisher: Laskin Publishing
Publication Date: September 30, 2012
Format: Paperback - 250 pages / Kindle - 668 KB
ISBN: 9780987930
Genre: Romance Suspense / Women's Fiction

BUY THE BOOK: New Beginnings

BUY THE SERIES: Look To The Future
Book 1: Winds Of Change
Book 2: New Beginnings
Book 3: Road To Tomorrow

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author / publisher in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours.

Book Description:

Workaholic real estate agent Carol Brock can't seem to find a good man. Her first husband cheated with a law clerk less than half his age. Then she found herself in a string of bad relationships with unscrupulous men, including a con man and art thief, who shredded her professional reputation and strained her relationship with her college-age children. Carol has sworn off men and is determined to reclaim her life and career on her terms. But, when Boston’s most eligible bachelor, restoration specialist Devin Elliott, puts in an offer on a charming Victorian, Carol admits she’s attracted. Devin’s offer unwittingly unleashes a psychopathic rage in an ex-girlfriend that spills into Carol’s life. As she and Devin try to stay one step ahead of violence, Carol must decide whether she's ready to risk her heart again.

Book Excerpt:

“Damn. I don’t have time for this.” Carol Brock stared down at her electric-blue BMW in dismay and growing anger. She’d been completely boxed in by a SUV on one side and a glossy black pickup on the other. Not a chance she could get in either the driver or passenger doors. I’m supposed to show a house in thirty minutes, half way across town. I don’t need this. Then she saw her driver’s side mirror and gasped. It was dangling on a couple of wires.

“What the hell?” Taking out her phone, she pressed on the camera app and started shooting. “Think you can get away with this? Think again.”

She snapped the scene, the vehicles, and their license plates and sent the photos to someone she knew in the Boston Police, with the message: ’Guzzo, you’re my witness. I’m having the pickup towed so I can get in my car.’

As she called for roadside assistance, Carol stamped her feet to try and warm them. It was another cold, wet, gray November day. Gone were the sweet smells and vibrant colors of early fall. While her soft leather boots were beautiful and comfortable to walk in, they were not meant to stand around in. I should call the Fowlers and let them know I’ll be a bit late, she thought and keyed in another number. I can blame it on the traffic.

The tow truck arrived. Within a few minutes, the driver had hitched up the gleaming black pickup and was pulling it onto the truck bed when a loud voice yelled over the grinding whine of the hydraulics.

“Whoa! Wait a minute. What do you think you’re doing? Stop!”

Carol turned to see a very tall, well-dressed man running across the parking lot. She stood her ground and watched his approach, with a smirk on her glossed lips. Great eye candy, but boy, does he look angry. I might enjoy venting on such a magnificent male. If you’re going to have a good mad on, might as well be mad at someone good looking.

As he drew up beside her, Carol looked up into molten hazel eyes that were flashing with anger. She felt a small frisson of fear but brushed it aside. She already had a business card in her hand. Before he could say a word, she held it out to him.

“You ripped off my side mirror. Here’s my card. I’d appreciate yours if you have one. You owe me for the mirror.” She could almost feel the heat of his anger and swallowed a bit nervously. But adrenaline was coursing through her veins. Her emerald green eyes stared straight into his.

“My God, woman.” He looked at her card. “Carol Brock, real estate agent. Well, you’re a real piece of work, Ms. Brock, let me tell you. What gives you the right to move my truck? I could have you charged with theft.”

“Go ahead and try. I’ve already sent photos to the police. I can prove you boxed me in and ripped off my mirror. I’m sure I can have you charged with something too.”

“Well, I’ll be damned. You don’t miss a beat. Photos to the police already.”

Carol watched in amazement as the flashing fire of anger was completely extinguished and replaced with mirth. She was sure the color of his eyes had changed in an instant. Now the brazen man was smiling and laughing at her. Her temper seethed as she fixed him with a look that only a mother could muster.

“I hardly think this is anything to laugh about.” Her voice dripped with disdain as she fixed him with a steely gaze. “I have a full day ahead. You’ve thrown my entire schedule off, and you’ve damaged my car. I’m going to lose valuable time getting it fixed.”

“Okay, Ms. Brock, mea culpa. I did park badly, but I didn’t realize I’d damaged your car. Now I see that I have, and I’m making you late for your next appointment. Can’t argue with you on any of those points. My name is Devin, Devin Elliott.” He held out his hand, which now held a business card.

Carol took the card but refused the offer of a handshake. She couldn’t argue with him. She swallowed her temper reluctantly.

“Devin Elliott, the architect.” Carol knew the name. Anyone in Boston real estate circles knew Elliott and Co., Restoration Specialists. “Well then, at least I know you can afford to pay for the mirror. That honking big truck of yours was a pretty obvious clue, too. The mirror will cost at least eight hundred dollars. It’s articulated, electronic, and heated.” She looked at her phone. “Damn. I really am going to be late. I need to get going.”

“Excuse me?” They both looked over as the tow truck driver leaned his head out of his window. “Where do you want the pickup, sir?”

“Just put it over there, please.” Devin pointed towards the entrance of the lot and then turned back to Carol. “What do you say we get the tow truck to take your car to your dealership? I’ll drive you to your next appointment if they don’t have a loaner for you.”

Carol snorted and put a hand up to smooth her coppery auburn waves. “I do not need a ride, and I am perfectly capable of handling this situation. You’ve been quite enough help already.” She pulled up to her full height. Even with towering heels she couldn’t look him straight in the eye. She thrust her chin up stubbornly.

He smiled down at her. “After seeing you in action just now, I’m quite convinced you can take care of just about anyone or anything. But I don’t think your day will get any better driving around with your side mirror hanging off.” Devin continued his delicate negotiations. “You’ll just get stopped by the police, ticketed, and pulled off the road. Then you’ll be calling for the tow guy again. He’s already here. Why not take advantage of it and save some of that valuable time you just mentioned? Plus, we can get the estimate, and I can pay for it right then and there.”

His small jab of sarcasm was not lost on her, but he did have a good point. “Oh, all right. I accept your offer.”

My Book Review:

Carol Brock is a forty-three year old successful real estate agent who has sworn off men after a series of bad relationships. Carol is determined to take back control of her life and career, that is until she meets Devin Elliott, Boston's most eligible bachelor and restoration specialist. Devin puts in an offer for a Victorian house that Carol has listed, there is mutual attraction and a chance at a new beginning for both of them. But there is just one little problem ... Devin's psychopathic ex-girlfriend Allison, who is hellbent on stopping Devin from buying her mother's house and his growing relationship with Carol. Can Carol and Devin overcome the complications and obstacles that arise from their budding relationship and get a chance at a new beginning?

In New Beginnings, the second book of the Look To The Future series, author Mary Metcalfe weaves an intriguing tale of romance and suspense that will captivate the reader's attention. The reader is transported to picturesque New England as they follow Carol Brock and Devin Elliott's budding professional and personal relationship that is wrought with past emotional baggage, complications, and one seriously psycho ex-girlfriend.

This fast-paced story has a good mixture of romance, drama, tension, intrigue and suspense that easily draws the reader in and keeps them turning the pages. The characters are realistic and well developed with witty dialogue and engaging interactions; the author provides a richly detailed description of the setting; and a fascinating storyline that flows seamlessly as it builds momentum with unpredictable developments and suspenseful twists and turns until the dramatic conclusion.

I enjoyed watching the development of Carol and Devin's relationship, and how they both had to let go of their past emotional baggage, overcome unpredictable obstacles, re-evaluate their lives and take a risk in order to move forward and get a second chance at a new beginning.

New Beginnings is an enjoyable romantic suspense thriller that is simply hard to put down!


Virtual Book Tour Contest Giveaway

Win A $20 Amazon Gift Card

Anyone who leaves a comment on the New Beginnings tour page will be entered to win a $20 Amazon gift card! Anyone who purchases their copy of New Beginnings before January 31 and sends their receipt to will get 5 bonus entries!

Virtual Book Tour Schedule

Tour Schedule:

January 13 – The Latchkey Mom – Novel Spotlight
January 15 – Change the Word – Guest Post
January 16 – Storm Goddess Book Reviews – Review, Q&A & Excerpt
January 17 – Everything Books and Authors – Guest Post
January 21 – Chick Lit Plus – Review
January 22 – Musings From an Addicted Reader – Review
January 23 – Book Suburbia – Excerpt
January 27 – Authors and Readers Book Corner – Q&A
January 28 - Authors and Readers Book Corner - Review
January 28 – Samantha March – Q&A & Excerpt
January 29 – Fiction Dreams – Q&A
January 30 – Reader Girls – Excerpt
January 31 – Jersey Girl Book Reviews – Review, Guest Post & Excerpt


  1. Thanks for closing out the tour!

    1. Thank you for the opportunity to host the virtual book tour event.

  2. And what a closing it is! This is an awesome post and thank you so much for the lovely review. You just made my day and my week!

    1. Hi Mary! I loved this series, I've read all three books and each of them were wonderful stories. Thank you for the opportunity to host your virtual book tour event. :)