Month: February 2015

For Your Reading Pleasure…Janey Edkins

Our feature today is Janey Edkins. Let’s see what she says about her writing process. Enjoy!

1. Tell us about yourself. May include links to Facebook, twitter, blogs, websites, Amazon author page)

I’m British, but lived a good chunk of my life in South Africa. A few years back I suddenly yearned for home, so I up sticks and moved back home and now live in the smallest county in the UK called Rutland. I live with my partner Peter Barker, who is a professional landscape artist (look him up!) in a dinky little stone built cottage in the village of South Luffenham where it overlooks fields of sheep and birds flock every day. Sounds ideal, doesn’t it? Well shall I let you into a little secret: it is!

2. How do you choose names for your characters?

Names are really vital and I changed my characters names many times until I got the perfect fit. It worked for me, but it may not work for some.

3. Do you talk about your book/characters as though they are real?

You mean they’re not? Seriously though, the scary part about that is that they are more real to me than my own neighbours!

4. Do you listen to music when you write or edit? What kind?

No, I have tried, but I find I can’t concentrate.

5. How long have you been writing?

About five years.

6. Tell us about when you realized you were ‘meant to be’ a writer.

It dawned on me years ago when I’d leave messages pinned to friends’ doors that could never be short and succinct; they would always end up as long as the Dead Sea Scrolls. I always had a story to tell, whatever shape or form.

7. Do you have a muse?

No not really. I have a few authors whose books inspire me when I feel a bit low and unloved, but other than that, no, it’s a lonely journey. And I have a huge confession to make. I very rarely read, (a) I’m too busy writing my own stuff, (b) I find myself analysing the style too much, and (c) I get bored and want to get back to my own adventures.

8. How do you improve as a writer?

Just keep on writing and writing. Writing is like an apprenticeship; the more you hone and sharpen you gain confidence. I’m still doing it. Every time I look back on my work, I find more ways to improve, every single time!.

9. Writing quirks or superstitions?

None, I’m afraid.

10. Tell us about your current work-in-progress.

I’m doing a follow up on Walking on Marshmallows. I was in two minds, but I have so many more adventure to fulfil.

11. What book are you reading now?

The Help’ which is a very moving story, but I generally love humour, so every now and again I dip into a couple of old novels I bought at a charity shop. One in particular: Pastures Nouveaux by Wendy Holden, a ridiculously funny pastiche of characters and situations. This author is a very, very clever writer, and beyond funny.

12. What genre do you write in?

Contemporary women’s fiction with lots of humour and gutsy characterisation.

13. Tell us about writing preparation. Character Profiles? Outlines?

Honestly, I wing it as I go along and let the characters take me where I’m going.

14. Do you know how your stories will end?

I thought I did, but the characters take over, veering much to my own surprise in a totally different direction.

15. Do your books have a message or theme? Or are they purely for entertainment?

Both: my stories are always laced with humour, but weaved with practically every inescapable human emotion there is.

16. Do you have any favorite snacks or drinks that you eat/drink while writing?

Actually, I forget about eating when I’m writing, so for those who want to lose weight take up writing.

17. Tell us about your other passions.

Beyond writing: three daughters, art, Peter, wildlife, beautiful jam-packed gardens, the sight and soundlessness of drifting snow, good wholesome food and a glass of wine, British dramas, The Great British Bakeoff, Strictly Come Dancing, amateur dramatics – which translates to me making a total arse of myself- and to let off steam I’m the member of our local choir.

18. What’s something interesting about you?

I used to be a Playboy Bunny .

19. Share a small sample (limit to one paragraph, please) of your writing… can be a WIP or already published.

Here goes…

“Hello Sleepy Head
Guess what? You’re mad, and you drive me mad, but I’m mad about you…
Happy Anniversary, darling.

Mmmm…a little shiver passed through Angie as she thought back to earlier that morning – Matt waking her with the spongiest of kisses, their eyes locking, mouths seeking each others out and intensifying and intensifying and intensifying into the biggest, most frenzied, most delicious tongue-duelling sno –
‘Stop! For the love of God, stop!’
There was a split second’s confusion, during which Angie let out a hideously girly scream, did a dithery pin-toed cha-cha then slammed with wild abandonment into the well-padded contours of her mum’s arse.
‘Mum! Jesus Christ!’ she staggered about, finally righted herself. ‘What the hell?!’
‘I can’t do it!’ wailed Bridie dragging a theatrical hand up to her quivering mouth.
‘Do what?’ hissed Angie, glancing about with utter embarrassment as she bent down to retrieve one of about thirty try-ons she’d been carting about– in this instance a pair of elasticised slacks for the fuller figure (size 18-masquerading-as-12).
‘I can’t bear it, this place, it’s horrible.’
By this place Bridie meant Oxford Street’s Top Shop: totally upbeat and crammed with every conceivable accessory of inner, outer and under wear, but notorious for inducing heart attacks for anyone with even the slightest disposition of feebleness.
‘But you wanted to come here,’ said Angie, trying to conceal an exasperated eye-roll.
‘I know,’ said Bridie, looking sheepish for a second before spouting forth. ‘But I didn’t know it was going to be like this!’
‘Like what?’
‘…Dante’s Inferno.’
‘Mum, don’t be so bloody ridic—’
‘I can’t do it,’ said Bridie, hysteria mounting again. ‘It’s vile! It’s the devil’s lair! You have to get me out of here!’
Angie narrowed her lips and gripped the strap of her handbag until her knuckles turned white. Get her out of here, did she just say: Where the hell did she think she was in the bloody jungle lying on a makeshift hammock on I’m a Celebrity. When only milliseconds ago she’d been swanning up and down the aisles and inspecting labels (with her ridiculous, pretend glasses on) as if she was bloody-bleeding-pissing Kate Middleton’s personal shopper.”

End of sample

20. Anything you’d like to say to your current and future readers?

I am more than grateful to the people who have downloaded or purchased my book Walking on Marshmallows which is available on Amazon. And will be even more grateful if you read the next one and give me some feedback! You can contact me on My Blog – Janey’s Jottings, or email me at – or best of all flex your fingers and get a review on Amazon; it only takes about thirty seconds!

Great! Thanks so much, Janey, and good luck!!

The Watching Blurb


Secrets, lies, and family ties bind us together on the banks of the Pontchartrain…

Discouraged over the direction the Douglas murder investigation is headed, Gregory Adams reaches out to Jamie Caissy for help.

Hopeful to avoid another family crisis, the Montgomery-Adams family returns to South Louisiana, and Finn Adams takes a job that will alter his world… and his mother’s.

Lesley Huff receives a generous and life-changing gift, yet she refuses to tell anyone… including her wife, Sylvia.

Moving forward, Millie Douglas focuses on the relationship with her daughter, Sydney, and finds an unexpected new friend.

Resolving that her marriage is at an end, Christine Caissy makes a bold decision.

Bob O’Malley’s faux relationship with Millie deteriorates, yet he finds solace in the most unlikely companion.

The Congressman sends his daughter to New Orleans with specific instruction: marry an O’Malley.

After the death of her son and loss of her beloved Gregory, Arianne Douglas spirals downward into a dark depression and finds a secret way to cope.

Andrew Douglas is still determined to hold his family together, despite subtle evidence that his wife is still in love with his best friend.

With the “Operation” still reeling from Nash’s death, the O’Malleys regroup and Sol takes the helm, but unbeknownst to him or his father, another “Operation” is in the works.

The Watching – Book 2
© The Waiting Series by Elizabeth Burgess and Marie Hewes

Coming SOON!!!!!!

For Your Reading Pleasure…Kathy Lapeyre – editor


I try to be unbiased with all the authors I feature even if they are friends or acquaintances, but today’s feature is not an author, it’s an editor. And not just any editor, but MY editor.
Kathy is so much more than someone who corrects grammar and punctuation…she’s a sounding board, a cheerleader, a promoter, and a critic.
She has knowledge and insight into the character’s heads that sometimes rivals my own. Kathy’s ability extends to every manuscript she edits. She has an innate ability to ‘feel’ the books, and also, the integrity to tell it like it is.
I’ve always believed that people cross our path at the exact juncture we need them, but if I didn’t, Kathy would have made me a believer. Y’all enjoy this feature on the best editor out there!!

Tell us about yourself and your background with editing. May include links to Facebook, website, twitter.

Anyone who reads my Facebook posts knows I’m an editor. But my primary role is wife (47 years to the same man … my best friend), mother of two grown children, and grandmother to one. My husband and I retired six years ago, and both of us found that staying busy is what we enjoy. A few years ago, I started a full-time editing business, working from home, and he spends most of his days making beautiful knick-knacks and furniture in his woodshop.

What services do you offer?

I do a combination of copy editing, line editing, and proofreading for fiction (short stories, novellas, novels, and the blurbs and excerpts associated with them).

Tell us the difference between a developmental editor and a copy editor.

A developmental editor usually works with an author prior to completion, or at the very beginning stages of writing the manuscript, to help develop characters and plots. This type of editor is likely to suggest character name changes and major changes in story flow or plots prior to the story going to a copy editor. I don’t do any developmental work.
Copy editor is what most people mean when they use the generic term, “editor.” It’s my primary function to catch the errors in basic grammar, punctuation, and sentence structure. That includes fact checking, fixing repetition of descriptive words, pronouns, proper tenses and matching verbs and nouns, noting any inconsistencies in characters or plots and alerting the author to them. I read each manuscript at least twice … once for the edit and a second time after the author has dealt with those suggestions, for a proofread or subsequent edit. Style sheets are kept for each manuscript, particularly when a series is involved.

What’s the normal turnaround time for an edit?

Of course, the time it takes for each manuscript varies, even ones with the same word count, but most manuscripts between 50,000 and 150,000 words take 10-14 days for the first edit, and another week or so for the subsequent one.

Can you give us an idea of how you determine the cost?

Every new author I work with provides me a sample of the manuscript to be edited. I supply a 5-10 page free sample edit so the author can see my editing style, and I use that to gauge the complexity of the edit required. From that information, I provide a price quote and turnaround time. My prices are based on word count, and a formula I use to calculate the approximate number of hours needed for completing the project.

What is your editing process?

I read the manuscript as I would any book, for enjoyment. Because of my training and 25 years working in the printing/publishing industry, my “editing brain” works whether I want it to or not. I can’t turn off the need to correct errors in grammar and sentence structure. Sometimes I can read many chapters in a day, in other cases, I’m lucky to read 30 pages during an 8-hour period because of the need to read and re-read each sentence to make sure it fits. Every time a word or punctuation mark is changed, it has the potential to alter others, so once a change is made, it prompts another read-through of that sentence or surrounding paragraphs.
A typical editing day is 10-12 hours with breaks for meals and normal life interruptions (a quick trip to the grocery store or tossing a load of laundry in the washing machine). Eight hours of actual editing a day is normal. The only time I take full days off is generally when I need to clear my editing brain between manuscripts, so 6-7 days a week, I’m right here … doing what I love.

Do you listen to music when you edit? If so, what kind?

I have a writing playlist that’s a mix of soft music, mostly instrumental, that I occasionally play at a low volume in the background. Most of the time, when I’m into a serious edit, I prefer complete quiet so I can concentrate on each word. Also, when I do the second reading, I generally read out loud. Music or TV sounds would disrupt my process. I never edit where a TV or radio, even from another room, can be heard.

What kind of books do you read for fun?

My usual schedule doesn’t allow for much pleasure reading. When I do read, I love my Kindle and the same genres I edit. My favorites (no particular order) are drama (crime drama, including mystery and suspense – I love detective stories), paranormal (yep, witches, vampires, werewolves, dragons, and faeries), light romance (if there’s a good plot involved or great humor – nothing too serious), fantasy (even some YA fantasy). I’m not a big fan of any reading that’s written strictly for shock factor. Erotica isn’t my favorite, but I’ve read and edited a few excellent stories – My age is considered “senior,” but it’s not the same thing as dead. SciFi as a genre isn’t my favorite, but I enjoy well-written books and manuscripts that are in that category.

What do you enjoy most about what you do?

Seeing the realization from authors when the light turns on and they know their writing has improved after working through a few edits with me. My primary reason for doing this is to educate writers to become better at their craft.

In your opinion, why do writers need editors?

It’s not an option for any serious writer or author. The best writing begins in the creative side of the brain. Excellent writers aren’t expected to be super creative AND know all the mundane rules of English grammar. There’s a fine line between writing brilliant copy and putting correct words on the page. A trained or experienced editor uses the other side his/her brain and instinctively spots words and phrases the author misses. Besides, after an author reads and re-reads his/her own manuscript dozens of times, words that aren’t there appear to be in the writer’s mind.

Walk us through the editing process from your standpoint.

I sample edit and provide the author with a price quote and when I’m actually ready to begin work, a 50% deposit is due. When the first edit is complete, the balance of payment is due, and I send the manuscript to the author for input (to accept or reject suggestions, and any rewriting or additional copy the author thinks is necessary based on my ideas). The author is under no time restrictions at this point and when it’s ready, the manuscript is returned to me for proofreading (or second reading). At this point, the manuscript takes priority in my schedule and I go through it again, checking for additional errors and looking at each item or comment left in red by the author. When I’m satisfied that the text is good, I send it back to the author for publishing.

What about the author’s standpoint? What can we expect with your edits?

I take editing seriously. Starting in 1972, I was trained by craftsmen, experts in their field, to do this work. Due to scarcity of job availability in a new location after a move for my husband’s work, I changed occupations in 1997 and didn’t return to editing until several years ago when a friend asked me to help with his manuscript. I spent about a year taking classes, attending online seminars, reading, and brushing up on my skills. Indie Editing by Kathy was founded in 2013.
My edits and critique of the stories are honest and sincere. When I notice a line that’s especially touching or heartwarming, I offer proper praise in the margin comments. By the same token, when errors are repeated, or I spot something that detracts from the manuscript (or when a character does or says something that doesn’t fit, I note it). I offer praise where merited … but don’t sugar coat the criticism. My edits are never aimed personally at the author and most comments are teaching in nature.

Do you have any favorite snacks or drinks that you eat/drink while editing?

I’m a morning person (sometimes starting work as early as 5 a.m.), so I begin my editing day with 2 cups of coffee. Last year I bought a Keurig machine and the second cup is usually a flavored one … pumpkin spice is my favorite. Since my husband isn’t a morning person, I usually eat breakfast in front of the computer monitor too. Other than that, I generally don’t snack much other than an apple or a handful of nuts in the late afternoon.

Tell us about your other passions.

After writing and editing, photography is my next love … particularly landscapes. Music, a wide variety, has always been present in my daily life. My iPod contains over 2,500 songs (in 22 genres), 6 movies (all Twilight saga), and almost a hundred audio books. Oh, and I’m a really good cook.

What’s something interesting about you?

I rarely watch TV, maybe a few hours a week. When I’m not editing, I prefer to read or listen to music (or audiobooks). My husband laughs at me while I dance around the house, sock-footed, headphones on, doing normal housework or cooking. I love travel, and particularly cruising. It’s been a big part of my life. My husband and I have taken more than 30 cruises all over the world. I’ve been to all 50 states (a few only at airports, but still … it counts, right?) and lived in 14 states (some on multiple occasions) and our family wasn’t military. If we manage to sell our house this year, a 15th state will be involved.

Do you accept all clients?

Sadly, no. Although I welcome new clients, not all manuscripts are ready for a copy edit. Some stories need the services of a developmental editor or writing group. Others should have independent critiques or beta reading and basic proofreading done prior to the author paying an editor. I make suggestions and referrals accordingly.
Most of my work comes from repeat business or referrals, but I turn away probably 3 out of every 10 new requests. I always let those writers know that I’d be happy to work with them in the future, but I explain the reasons their manuscript isn’t ready for my particular service. If they follow my advice, they could end up saving a lot of time, frustration, and money.

Is there a genre you prefer to edit?

The same ones I listed on my personal reading preference, but if I had to pinpoint a few … drama (including detective stories, mystery, suspense, and crime-drama) – paranormal – light romance … and it might sound contrary, but I love editing children’s books. I currently have several clients who write books for children aged 9-12 and those books are entertaining and fun to edit.

Do you have any tips for that writer who’s just starting out?

Yes, the more eyes on your manuscript, the better. Take each opinion for what it’s worth. ARC copy readers and betas are great sources of free input, but their knowledge of actual editing is likely limited. Join a local or online writing group or critique group. Write from your heart (and what’s in your head), instead of what’s popular and selling at the moment. Trends change and most readers know if your writing is forced.

Anything you’d like to say to your current and future clients?

Be true to yourself, your characters, and your plots. Find a good editor and stick with him/her. That person should be your literary confidante and collaborator … someone you can bounce ideas off without fear of the mocking and eye-rolling that you might get from friends or relatives. Write … and write … and write … and read as much as possible too. Learn from mistakes you see in your own and other writers’ work (even the traditionally-published professionals). Develop your own style and polish it. “You keep writing … I’ll keep editing.”