Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Editing - Proofreading - Writing Services

Editing - Proofread - Basic Copy Edit - Line Edit / Heavy Copy Edit - Developmental or Substantive Edit - Writing Services

Holly M. Kothe
The Espresso Editor 


I work with any genre. I have experience with novels, short fiction, non-fiction, scripts, academic writing, articles, and plays. Here is a breakdown of the different levels of editing. I can perform a single service or a combination.
Proofread: The lightest form of editing, typically completed on the proof of the finished product. I read the manuscript and note errors in grammar, punctuation, spelling, and word usage. This is the final stage of editing to ensure the manuscript is as polished as possible before publication or submission to an agency.
Basic Copy Edit: I thoroughly scour your manuscript for errors in grammar, spelling, punctuation, and syntax. I will attend to issues like subject/verb agreement and word usage (that vs. which / horde vs. hoard), clarity, flow, and style consistency (e.g., comma usage throughout). Awkward wording will be noted, and I will also flag style choices that authors may not be aware of, but are important in making your manuscript consistent with publishing standards (titles in italics vs. quotes, capitalization of titles and brand names, numerals vs. spelling out numbers, headings, Latin abbreviations, quotations, dialogue format, etc.). Minimum rewriting is suggested.
Line Edit / Heavy Copy Edit: Encompasses the same tasks as copy editing, but also consists of rewriting/recasting lines that need help. The focus will be on technical grammar and punctuation, as well as a more in-depth edit noting wordiness, repetition, awkward phrasing, convoluted sentence structure, ambiguous descriptions, and overuse of passive voice. Inconsistent plot details or facts will be flagged; are character names spelled correctly throughout? Is your secondary character blond in one chapter, but brunet in another? Line editing deals more with clarity, flow, and style, along with basic copy editing. The two are closely related.
Developmental or Substantive Edit: This is the most in-depth form of editing, and looks at the “big picture”–the overall content, structure, and style of your manuscript. I provide not only a critique of content issues, but guidance and suggestions of how to go about improving the manuscript. This type of assessment deals specifically with the art of storytelling.
Rather than focusing on the technical aspects of the written language, I offer creative suggestions to improve upon the story in any and all areas such as plot, character development, dialogue, description, exposition, point of view, timeline, style, and narrative voice. With this type of edit, I edit in-line and provide numerous margin comments for each chapter, as well as an overall report. How can the voice of a character be made to sound more authentic? How could a scene be made funnier, or more dramatic? How can the author develop a story in the most appealing way and create the biggest impact on the reader? Substantive editing addresses all of these things. A good editor takes into account the genre and style of each unique work, and avoids imposing her own voice on the story.
The Order of Editing
Typically, a developmental edit would be performed in one pass, with rewrites then made by the author, followed by a copy edit, and a final proof read.


I am an experienced writer of both fiction and non-fiction. My writing services include, but are not limited to, articles, blog posts, fiction, ghostwriting, author bios, advertisements, social media promotions, reviews, story blurbs, and synopses.
Writing Samples
A Little Literary (a Lotta Coffee) – My writer’s blog includes writing guidance and reviews, as well as links to publications I have contributed to including Writer’s Digest, Blood Lotus Journal, Blue Cygnus International Magazine, Dark Gothic Resurrected, Writer’s Beat Quarterly, Trembles Magazine, Lost City Review, and The Write Room Literary Journal.
A Positive Outlook – Print newspaper article
Sweet Violent Femmes - Available on Amazon and in bookstores
Sex and Horror–The Classic Pair - Erzabet’s Enchantments Book Blog

Sunday, March 8, 2015

My Original Art For Sale

My original art is now for sale on EBAY including Nudes and Book Cover Artwork Low prices and auctions - posted anywhere in the world.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Book Release Banner - Advertising - Press Release

What I offer: • You will receive a reliable, professional and responsive service including excellent communication.

Press Release Banners - Marketing Material for Social Media - Advertising for Blogs

You Can Add:
Book Cover - 3D Cover - Release Date - Free Days - Promotions - Available from these Retailers - Taglines - Book Blurb - Reviews - Discounts - Whatever you want!

• I will deliver the first proof of your work within 1 working day.
• Make as many alterations as you wish at no extra until you are happy with the final result.
• When you have approved the final version you will receive a file at 300dpi and your required size.

contact me about your specific requirements


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

How to Make Wine Cork Candles

Wax Cork Candles to Light up That Romantic Dinner

Working with wax, and mixing in pigments to create encaustic art, and decorating hurricane candles, led me to think of other ways to use leftover bits of wax candle, so this is how to make cork effect candles to place in the top of an empty wine bottle.

My goal, was to keep in the realms of crafting, using things that are normally found in the home or you would make an inexpensive purchase like PVA glue, student oils, and masking or wide adhesive tape.

What you will need


Cut the tube along its length


Mark out the tube 3" - 75mm and cut.


Open the tube ready to write

 Lines first marked out in pen/pencil and then covered in oil paint - some thick pencils will transfer from the cardboard.
Paint over using oil based paint as this takes time to dry.
Use a pencil or pen to write what you want on the cork or draw a motif - Everything should be in reverse.
Mark a line on the outside so you have 4" when flat this will give an overlap and a 1 inch diameter tube. 
 Corks have lines around them, one close to the top and the other higher to allow for the bottom to be cut away to fit in the bottle top.

Glue the outside edge and overlap using the previously marked line.

edge Use adhesive tape to hold the tube in position while the glue dries.

Tape up the tube

tape Tape up the bottom of the tube – this needs to seal the tube so the strongest tape is best or you could use additional cardboard cut to shape.

Heat old wax or crumble a cheap Candle

Add a small amount of oil paint to colour. 


Using muffin tins or tuna tins anything metal. Put the wax in enough to fill three quarters of the tin Place on a hot plate to melt.


Oil paint or wax crayon is added to create the colour of the cork. Oil gets the best consistency and you only need a small amount as shown here.


Mix in and stair until the wax is melted. As soon as the was is liquid remove from the hot plate ready to pour.


Make a wick from thin rope and dip it into the wax.


Lay out the wick to dry this I cut into three afterwards. 


Alternative to a hot plate is, place the metal container with wax in it into a bowl and pour hot boiling water around it to heat it up, this may need to be done a few times.

Pour in the wax using grips or pliers

Place the tube in a plastic container and support.

As the wax is cooling but still liquid pour in the wax to the top of the tube.

You can pour a small amount in and see if it leaks if it does let it cool – reheat the wax in the metal container then pour again as now it should be sealed.

Top up the tube

As the wax hardens it will shrink so reheat the wax left in the container and pour to the top.

Insert the wick into a cut out piece of cardboard so you can center the wick.

Alternative make a hole with a tooth pick before you top them up and insert the wick.

Let cool and then you can place in the fridge to harden – optional.

Film Cartridge

I also use film cartridges (if you can find them) I still use cardboard so I can use the transfer method of the markings and writing.

The writing can be added afterwards and when you remove the coverings any imperfections can be tidied up using a knife.

The bottom of the candle will also need cutting back to fit inside the wine bottle.


Finished cork effect Candles 



Saturday, November 1, 2014

Encaustic on a Candle – Art on a Candle

Decorating Candles Using Encaustic Painting


A few years ago, I received a strange invitation to a barbeque high up in the Aitana Mountains on the Costa Blanca. The man on the other end of the telephone asked me to bring samples of my work, that was it.

When I arrived through the high security gates, a little angst with anticipation, eight people were stood around a large grill, quaffing beers.

On the grill stood pots of wax mixed with colour pigment, a table adjacent had rows of different sized candles, various pallet knives, and a box of sponges.

Turns out he wanted to know if it was possible to create art on a candle using wax and had invited local artists from different nationalities.

The best four would be invited to create (Mass produce) candles for a price.

That was the first time I had ever heard of Encaustic painting, and even though the dodgy fella turned out to be a scammer, the experience was worth it. Anything can be achieved with wax and the willingness to fail, a little at first.

What's Encaustic Painting?

Encaustic painting involves using heated beeswax, paraffin, soy, and other plant waxes to which coloured pigments are added. The liquid/paste is applied to a surface, usually wood or canvas, but other materials can be used.

Encaustic was developed by ancient Greek ship builders, adding pigments to hot wax they used to repair their ships hulls. Some of the earliest examples of encaustic art are those of paintings attached to mummies in Ancient Egypt, about 3,000 years ago.

I have been applying wax to candles, especially to hurricane candles that burn through leaving the outside intact, the effect is superb.

The technique of mixing wax and pigment for candles is simple.

Spanish Dance Candles Use a temperature controllable hot plate. Crumble a cheap plain candle into a stainless or metal shot size pot or muffin tins and add powder pigment with a teaspoon.

Knowing the characteristics of your pigments, whether they’re transparent or opaque will influence how much pigment you use. Don’t use too much pigment if there’s not sufficient wax to stick it down, the wax will flake — practice will gets the best consistency ratio.

Techniques for applying the wax

Seascape Sponge, pallet knife, an old thin paint brush, and for detailed work a bristle-less thin paint brush with a metal end.

Start sponging backgrounds like skies and seas, form boats and sailing ships, dipping a pallet knife into the hot wax, moving it along letting the wax slip off.

With practice you can judge the speed needed to apply thick or thin lines and pallet knife larger areas in. Almost drizzle the wax, at the same time spreading it. If you go over, even on a wax back ground you can trim back with a knife and repair mistakes.

Paint layer after layer to raise a surface for a motif and also paint the side of hurricane candles for more complex work as the exterior stays intact, you can place a tea light candle inside and keep reusing.


Safety and further practice

Sea world Apart from the obvious, breathing in the fumes, heat from the wax, and the hot plate, the other thing is to not over heat the wax and don’t dip a pallet knife, brush or anything into a colour that is loaded with a different colour.
Dipping your tools into the right colour then wipe it, will clean it.

Practice on cheap candles as you can scrap them clean for another try until you get a feel for it.
Once you have and got it down. The next step is to buy a large expensive candle.
I don’t think it’s necessary to purchase Carnauba wax or Beeswax.

Using cheap clear candles crumble and melt, add powder pigments (from any art shop) or Oil paints and add Damar resin is enough.
Damar resin is mixed with beeswax to harden it and raise its melting temperature. It also keeps the wax translucent preventing blooming (whitening). It can be polished to a glossy shine.
Wax melts at 150 degrees F– 65 degrees C.

 Why not try with some wax crayons and a cheap candle dip a sponge into the hot wax and dab it onto the candle use a pallet knife to make lines

Practice Candles

I’ve seen people take days to get it and some look like they had been doing it years, which one are you?

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Best Barbecue Sauces

Three Different Sauces To Try This Summer

If the definition of barbecue, is grilling meat slowly, allowing it to cook in its own juices, then it of course, has been around since cave men discovered fire. Barbecues are much more than cooking food. They are a social gathering of multi-generations of family, friends and neighbours, eating al fresco.
Most countries have their own versions of barbecue, and here in Valencia Spain cooking outdoors is done most of the year round with Paellas and salted Sardines.

But, what is a barbeque in any country without barbecue sauces?

Here are three great sauces to accompany barbecued meats and a barbecue sardine dish from Spain.

Disfruta de la barbacoa!

Spanish Sauce Recipe

Spanish Sauce A rich sauce to accompany barbecue meat dishes


500 ml meat stock
30 grams of butter
1 teaspoon of olive oil
45 grams of flour
1 onion chopped
1 chopped carrot
1 chopped leek
1/2 cup red wine
Salt to taste


1. Heat the oil and butter in a pan.
2. Add all the chopped vegetables and sauté until golden brown.
3. Add the red wine and flour stir and leave 2 to 3 minutes over low heat.
4. Gradually pour in the stock, salt and let simmer for 40 minutes over low heat.
5. Once it has been cooked blend in a mixer and strain for a smooth finish.

Preparation – 10 Minutes
Cooking time – 60 minutes
Serves 4

Argentine Chimichurri

Argentine Chimichurri A spicy sauce for barbecue meats


Cup of olive oil.
Cup of white wine vinegar
3 garlic cloves
1/2 medium chopped onion
3 dried chillies crumbled
1 ripe tomato.
1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 teaspoons of ground cumin
1 teaspoon of thyme.
3 tablespoons dried oregano
1/2 bunch chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon of paprika
Salt to taste


Put all ingredients into a blender and puree until a smooth sauce.

Passion fruit sauce recipe

Passion fruit sauce recipe Sweet and sour sauce to accompany barbecued meats


5 passion fruits
5 tablespoons of sugar.
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
¼ cup water
Chopped fresh parsley
Salt and pepper


Bring the balsamic vinegar, water, sugar, parsley, salt and pepper to a boil and simmer for 3 minutes, let cool. Cut the passion fruit in half and scoop out the pulp. Puree the passion fruit in a blender with half the sugar syrup. Adjust the taste by adding more sugar syrup until a pleasant balance of sweetness and tartness is reached — you do not want it to thicken like jam.

Strain and discard the seeds.


Barbecue Sardines

Sardines Sardinas a la barbacoa


4 cloves of garlic
Extra virgin olive oil


Peel the garlic cloves, cut them and place them in a mortar and pestle to a pulp. Pour a splash of oil in the mortar and mix well.

Season the sardines generously (without removing the heads and guts) with sea salt crystals, transfer them to the bowl of olive oil and garlic or coat with a brush and place on the grill or into a fish grill basket and place directly onto the heat.

Cook 3 minutes on each side. Serve on a platter and garnish with a sprig of parsley.

Note: The sardines are kept in a large bowl of sea salted water. This helps provide a fresh seaside taste to the fish.

The fish is fully cooked when the eyes turn a glossy white.

Serve with a splash of lemon juice.

Discard the bone, head, and guts.

A Hot Curry Recipe to Cook for Dad on Father’s Day 


A Celebrity Favourite - Whole Chicken Curry

I first made this dish, after trying it several times in a restaurant called the Sopna in Blackheath Village, London. Unfortunately it is no longer there.

I would visit often with an Irish friend, and he thought it amusing to challenge the chief to prepare him a red hot curry, suggesting he was incapable of making one he couldn't eat - bad alcohol-induced mistake.

The waiter, smirking, brought out a curry dish with a little flag stuck in the middle reading: "God bless you". I think he was too polite to say God help you, but the metaphor wasn't lost, especially on my friend, who went home with the hiccups.

I, on the other hand, would order a dish made in honour of another regular diner, called a Terry Waite Special/favourite.

Terry Waite CBE is an English author and humanitarian. He was the assistant for Anglican communion affairs for the Archbishop of Canterbury in 80s, and an envoy for the Church of England.

He try to secure the release of four hostages held in Lebanon, including the journalist John McCarthy, and ended up being held captive himself between 1987 and 1991.

He also likes Awesome Curries!

Chicken Tandoori - Murgh Musallam

First the Stuffing


Keema Stuffing

600 grams – 1 lb 5.16 oz of Minced Lamb or Minced Ground Beef
1 Onion (finely chopped)
1 Green Pepper (finely chopped)
3 Green Chillies (finely chopped)
1 tsp. of Ginger Root (freshly grated)
3 cloves of Garlic (finely chopped)
1 tin of Tomatoes
1 tsp. of Turmeric Powder
2 tblsp ground coriander
1 ½ tsp. of Ground Cumin
5 tbsp. of Medium Balti Paste
600 ml of Beef Stock
2 tbsp. of Olive Oil

Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and Sauté the onion until golden brown and soft.

Add in the minced lamb or minced beef and fry for 10 minutes or until brown.

Add in the chilli, green pepper and garlic and fry for a further 5 minutes. Stir in the ginger, turmeric, coriander and cumin, continuing to fry for another 2 minutes.

Stair in the balti paste and fry for an additional 2 minutes. Mix in the tinned tomatoes and add the beef stock. Bring to the boil and simmer without a lid for one hour ladling off excess fat.

Drain of the stuffing into a bowl and set aside for later.



1 (3-pound) whole chicken skinless

1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup tomato pureed
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon peeled and grated or crushed ginger
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
1 tbsp curry paste
2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
Olive oil, for brushing

Three boiled eggs

Cut slashes in the flesh to allow the marinade to penetrate. Place the chicken on a platter or large, shallow dish.

Mix the yogurt, vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, ginger, cumin, ground coriander, cayenne pepper, cardamom, black pepper and salt. Stir and mixed well, pour the mixture over the chicken and rub it into the flesh, turning the chicken until fully coated. Cover and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.

Set aside the excess marinade.

Remove the chicken from the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before cooking.
Spoon in the pre-prepared keema stuffing compacting and stitch up the opening with skewers to hold in place.

Preheat the oven to moderately hot temperature – gas mark 6 – 400 Fahrenheit or 200 Celsius.

Place the chicken on a rack in a roasting pan, brush the pan with oil, and cook, turning once for 20 minutes then reduce the heat to moderate gas mark 4 – 350 Fahrenheit – 180 Celsius further cook for 60/70 minutes.

Add the excess marinade with the left over sauce from the keema stuffing previously set a side stir together and heat allowing to simmer.

Remove the chicken from the oven pierce the thigh if the juices run clear it is cooked, Pour away the fatty juices from the pan.

Place on a platter or large dish arrange the boiled eggs around the chicken and pour the sauce over the chicken and cover the eggs.

Grate on some cheese and serve.

Being a garlic lover, I eat it with garlic Naan but you can serve this Murgh Musallam-esque stuffed Chicken with any kind of Indian bread, like plain naan or tandoori roti.