For Your Reading Pleasure…Susan Burdorf


Welcome back to For Your Reading Pleasure. Today’s guest is Susan Burdorf. 

1. Tell us about yourself. May include links to Facebook, twitter, blogs, websites, Amazon author page)Hello. My name is Susan Burdorf and I am the author of a YA Contemporary book called, “A Cygnet’s Tale” which is a modern retelling of the story of The Ugly Duckling. I am also a mom, a grandma, and I work full time as well as write. Here are some links to keep in touch with me (I LOVE it when my readers send me messages) Twitter: @susanburdorfauthor Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/susanburdorfauthor website: http://www.susanburdorfwrites.com

Buy Link: a Cygnet’s Tale
2. How do you choose names for your characters?

    Character names are not that hard for me. For some reason, maybe because the characters are contemporary, I do not have to work too hard to find names. I am a Girl Scout Leader and work with teens a lot so I draw my names from their names.

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

Yes, I do.

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

I do listen to music, but I do not pick songs to match scenes like a lot of authors do. I find that music, or the tv playing, or the grandkids running around in the background is like white noise – I hear it, but I don’t really pay attention to it. It soothes my mind to be around noises that are familiar, but otherwise I ignore them. I really enjoy listening to James Blunt, One Republic, The Calling, or Enya when I write. Sometimes I like instrumental music like 2Cellos or Lindsey Stirling.

5. How long have you been writing? 

Someone else asked me this question the other day and I told him the story of my “What I Did Over the Summer” essay that we all had to write when I was in school. It was third grade and I wrote such a long essay that it was twelve pages (in my defense, it had been a very busy summer) and a teacher told me I should be a writer. I never stopped writing, but the real question here is not how long I have been writing, but how long have I thought of myself as a writer. And that question’s answer is – since I was a teen. I have numerous stories buried in a box that someday will be rediscovered as my “lost manuscripts” ala Harper Lee (no, not really, I am nowhere near her skill level and know it, but it is nice to dream) and then I will know I made it! I love to write, always have. As a young teen I wanted to go to college to be a journalist, but my parents talked me out of it. Every job I have ever had I have had a way of making writing a part of it. I love stories, I love plots, and I love to see my name in print.

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

See the answer above.

7. Do you have a muse?

I do not have a muse. Although I believe I have a writing fairy who keeps sending me story ideas…usually when I am in the shower or in the car driving someplace or sleeping. Everywhere you can be where you cannot write down the ideas the ping pong around inside my head and that I wish I could write down! But, I think every writer has that issue!

8. How do you improve as a writer? (Workshops, conferences, reading) 

I am lucky to have started getting very serious about writing when UtopYA (now known as Utopia Con) began. I made connections and new friends. I joined groups on Facebook devoted to writing. I attend a monthly call with Heather Hildenbrand (the guru of everything writing) who invites guest speakers and allows fantastic conversations. I joined local writer’s groups to help me get started, and attend several conferences a year at which I am lucky enough to meet with and converse with folks who have made it onto best sellers lists and they let me pick their brains. The Indie writing community is vast and generous. I also attend workshops. At first I went to every workshop on writing I could find – query letters; plotting; character development, etc until I felt that they started repeating the messages. Now I am much more selective. For newbie writers I always recommend knowing what you want out of your writing and direct your outside activities toward achieving those goals. And I also tell them to READ. Read everything, not just how to books, but also books in and out of your genre. Write down phrases that make you think or are interesting to you and analyze them – it will help your writing improve. And make friends. Make friends with your fellow authors and your fans. WE, the writing community, are the best resource to improving writing, both our own and the rest of our community.

9. Writing quirks or superstitions? 

I don’t have any.

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

I have a series of YA novellas that will release beginning in January 2016 with each one releasing each month. The series will involve a party where all the female guests come dressed as their favorite Fairy Tale character. Unbeknownst to the lead character who has invited her friends and their boyfriends, a demon has been released into their midst and forces them to act out the fairy tale of their costume with a twist…they must battle the demon and if they lose, he gets their souls. I am having a blast with this one, because it is so different and dark from anything I have ever written before. It is called the “A Little Midnight Madness” series. But before that one comes out I have two stand alone books releasing this year. Both are YA. “Breaking Fences” is the YA Contemporary story of Cutter Boone and his inability to release his guilt over the death of his father until he meets Melodie Graham, a former barrel racer and feisty daughter of a drunk who beats her. Both help each other discover the mystery of some cattle rustlers and face down three rabid coyotes along the way. The next book, due to release in December 2015 is called “Clockwork and Lace” and is a Steampunk novel about a young girl who must find her grandmother utilizing the help of a metal dragon who can talk and time travel.

11. What book are you reading now?

I am a moderator on a panel for Southern Festival of Books in Nashville, TN in October 2015 so I am reading the books of the panelists I will be introducing. One is “The Same Sky” by Amanda Eyre Ward and the other is “Dear Carolina” by Kristy Woodson Harvey. I just finished reading “The Orphan Queen” by Jodi Lawrence Meadows which I highly recommend.

12. What genre do you write in? What about POV?

I have written so far in YA Contemporary and one book, “A Cygnet’s Tale” is in first person POV. “Breaking Fences” is also YA Contemporary and is in third person. I know most YA books are first person, but I like the freedom of third person.

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

I do like to do character sketches for my complicated characters. Sometimes I have as much as 7 pages of information listed that show me where the character was born, what they like to eat, if they like designer clothes, what they watch on tv, what their favorite subject at school is, etc. I like to look online for pictures of people I think look like my image of the character. I outline some of the story to keep things on track, but I have found that as I write I tend to go off track anyway, the characters sometimes hijack the story…and at those times I let them take the lead.

14. Do you know how your stories will end?

Yes, I do. I know the beginning, the middle, and the end of all my stories. That helps keep me on track. I find that not doing this first sends the story all over the place. That is no fun to read, and definitely no fun to edit.

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

Yes. I like my books to carry one theme since they are YA I want people to know they are okay just the way you are.

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


17. Tell us about your other passions.

My family is very important to me. I also love to hike and photography is something I enjoy. I also like to collect DVD’s. I have a pretty extensive movie collection. I like hockey, and enjoy going to games.
18. What’s something interesting about you?

I am a conservationist. I helped create an Arboretum in a town I lived in. We also created a Nature Trail and a butterfly garden which a local school uses to conduct science experiments like rainfall totals and plant growth.

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

This is the beginning of “A Cygnet’s Tale”:
“Fairy tales don’t always have a beautiful princess…or a happy ending.
Sometimes they have ugly ducklings who never grow into their wings.
And sometimes they have something altogether different, just because they can.
There are no rules in fairy tales, except that they must start with ‘once upon a time, in a land far away, there lived a… and then you get to fill in the blank.”

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

I want to remind readers to READ. Whether you read my books or not, just read. And after you read, please take the time to leave a review. Your author friends will appreciate it very much. Thank you for taking the time to visit with me and I hope to hear from you soon!

Susan Burdorf, Author

A Cygnet’s Tale (released May 2015)Breaking Fences (releasing soon)


So I’ve not done very good (like I said I was) at keeping up the blog, but I am reviving For Your Reading Pleasure starting this Friday. Check back and hopefully, y’all will find new authors to read and enjoy. 

Okay…bullet points because I love them…

  • In a few weeks, we’ll be releasing a prequel to The Waiting Series called The Foundation. Why you ask? Well, in all honesty I didn’t set out to write a prequel, I just needed more details about the “Operation” and wanted to discover how it all came together. In the middle of writing, it was evident that the story could easily function as a prequel. It’s short…less than 20k, and there are only five major characters (Millie, Nash, Stephen Mullins, Layton, and Bob) which is a far cry from the  amounts readers usually see in these books. I hope that a slower introduction will intrigue those readers who may be intimidated by books with a large cast. Also, it will be free to all who subscribe to our mailing list that’s yet to be set up but will be soon. 
  • The Wanting: Book 3 in The Waiting Series has a ballpark release date of December 1 – 21. I had said I wanted to release in Fall 2015, and that’s still my plan. Even if it is December. 
  • I am one-third done with The Flood: Book 3.5, and I am pleased with it so far. It’s release should be in June 2016. Yes, I know that’s a long time to wait but it leads me to my next bullet point…
  • I (Elizabeth) am writing a new series, underneath a different pen name. It’s still in the developmental stages, but the first book is about a young female witch named Starling Hopewell and based on Native American and Celtic folklore. Of course, the books will be set in the south and I doubt will be as racy as The Waiting Series, but I think y’all will enjoy this story. Side note: Starling is the name of my great, great, great grandfather born in 1813. When I discovered his name, I knew it would be in a book one day. 🙂 
  • Today’s picture is of Arlington, my favorite antebellum in Natchez, Mississippi. Clearly, it is abandoned and likely in a total state of disrepair, but it’s still lovely to me. 
  • Thanks so much for reading and sticking with us. ❤️❤️❤️

The Fire is LIVE and other housekeeping items…

Good afternoon from Louisiana, the state where a cold front came thru and it’s still 93 degrees, but hey, we’ll take it. Lots going on: 
-The Fire is LIVE!!

Amazon link to The Fire
– Today is The Waiting Series first birthday!! On this day one year ago, I hit publish on the very first book in the series, The Waiting!! First year STATS: 2 novels, 2 novellas, 1,527 pages, and 297,000 words. Impossible without our family, friends, editor extraordinaire, Kathy, and especially our readers and reviewers. 

– I am halfway done with what I hope to be a short novella about “The Operation.” For those of you familiar with the series, this story takes place a year before Millie returns to Rivers. I’m considering it as a series prequel, but I’m not 100% yet. Which would make sense as it does happen before the action of The Waiting, but we’ll see how much information it gives away when I’m done. 

Hope everyone has a great Wednesday. ❤️ Elizabeth


The Waiting Series is having the biggest sale EVER!! The first two books (The Waiting and The Funeral) are FREE and The Watching is only .99!!! Take advantage of this deal today!!! 

Link for The Waiting: http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B00MOJFZNW/ref=mp_s_a_1_2?qid=1428098902&sr=8-2&keywords=the+waiting+book+one&dpPl=1&dpID=51eIK4VdyuL&ref=plSrch&pi=AC_SY200_QL40
Link for The Funeral: http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B00OOF05CU/ref=kina_tdp?ie=UTF8
Link for The Watching: http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B00UO1QYUA/ref=kina_tdp?ie=UTF8

In other news…

– I finished The Wanting last week. I’ve never had a book stretch me like that one did, but it is probably my favorite book to date. The subtitle could actually be Three Weddings and a Funeral, but I’ll stick to Book 3.  

– While my computer is at the doctor, I’m working on a short story/maybe novella about the origins of the “Operation.” In this story, we’ll meet Stephen Mullins, the surgeon from Jefferson City, Missouri, and discover how Millie and Bob aligned St. Tam in Slidell, and Rivers in New Orleans with the black market organ scheme. 

– When I have my computer back, I’ll start work on the outline for The Flood. For those of you concerned for Arianne (The Wanting is even more brutal for Ari than The Watching, FYI), she finds her voice and maybe even a new best friend in The Flood. I’m excited to get started on it! 

– The Fire release date is coming soon… as in within the week. Since we  published in August 2014, my hope has been to put out 4 books within the year, and I’m so proud to have met this goal. 

– We love our readers and reviewers!! We’ve received so many beautiful and encouraging words about the series. Thank you so much for reading and we are thrilled that the people on these stories resonate with you. 

Laments of an Indie Author…

Good morning from sunny (and unbearably HOT) Louisiana! It’s been a minute (several months) since I’ve posted anything and I’ll be honest as to the reason. 

I was burnt out. 

Being an indie author can be tiring, lonely, overwhelming, and downright depressing. When you look at your minuscule books in the expansive sea of novels that are published daily, it’s easy to fall into the trap of insignificance. For the past several months, I truly didn’t see my place (or the place of this series) in the vast, evergrowing, competitive, cutthroat world of books. 

Honestly, I still don’t. 

Between financial hardships, broken computers, and job changes, I’ve almost given up and walked away from the entire thing. 

But that’s not me. 

Nor is it the mindset of the team of people I’ve surrounded myself with. My partner, Terri has been my biggest cheerleader, putting up with mood swings, a dirty house, and sporadic meals. My co-creator, Marie has always offered encouraging words and constantly reminds me to forge on. And last (but certainly not least) my beloved editor, Kathy, who loves and knows these characters as well as we do, and is an endless source of positivity and realism when I need it.

Quitting is not the work ethic my beloved grandparents instilled in me, nor is it part of the legacy I wish to leave behind. “You can do anything you set your mind to.” Not a few things. Not what’s easy.


I might have stopped promoting and putting myself out there, but I NEVER stopped writing. Presently, we are weeks away from releasing The Fire: Book 2.5. If you’ve read The Watching, you can guess the content within the novella. It’s beautiful and bittersweet, and the beginning of a love story that transcends life and death. We cannot wait for you to read it. I’m also two chapters away from finishing the 3rd novel in The Waiting Series. If possible, this one is crazier than the previous two. Several short stories are in the works including one that chronicals the origins of the “Operation” and another one entitled “Vermilion Bay.” Paperbacks will be available soon along with beautiful color covers (thanks to CJ Design) instead of the original black and white. 

As for what to do about marketing and promoting these books…I still don’t know, but I do know GIVING UP ISN’T OPTIONAL. I’ve never been one for reading directions or instructions. I tend to do better if I’m allowed to figure it out for myself because let’s just be honest: there are no quick fixes. 

No magical publishing deals.

No wishing on a lucky star. 

But there is hard work. 


And for all I lack in the ability to promote myself, I have stubbornness in spades and I’ll be damned if I’m going to allow something to keep me down. So, in the prolific words of Lindsey Buckingham:

I’ll ‘go (my) own way.’ 

To our readers: we love you. We are thankful that these stories resonate in your mind and heart and that you keep coming back for more. YOU are part of the reason I still write. Thank you. 


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: get.her.out.of.here? 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 janeuknow@gmail.com – 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!!

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.”




For Your Reading Pleasure…Jennifer Sadera


Today’s feature is Jennifer Sadera, author of “Flawless.” Let’s read about her writing process.

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

I am a curious person. Okay, my kids would call me nosy, but, really, I’ve always liked to know how people are feeling, and what they’re thinking. The best way to learn about them is to ask questions. So, I’m always asking questions. Once I get answers, I mull them over in my mind, to figure out exactly what they mean, or to determine if they’re truthful. Much of this forms the basis of my writing.

2. How do you choose names for your characters?

How I choose names for my characters: Three “baby name” books, baby! The meaning of names is vital to character development. For instance, my main character in FLAWLESS is named “Lia,” which means, “weary one.” That tells a lot about what she’s up against in the novel, don’t you think?

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

I don’t talk about my characters as though they are real people. I am very protective of them, and their stories, and I’m always put off a bit when people refer to them as if they are my friends. My husband has done it a few times, and it always catches me up short. Also, I don’t want to “push” them onto others. I want readers to WANT to meet them, and develop their own relationships with them. I am deeply committed to the notion that I AM NOT my writing, and my writing is not me. I feel that if I cannot separate myself from the writing, I’ll never be able to handle critiques. Everything will become too personal.

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

I never listen to music when I write or edit, but often lyrics or poems run through my mind of their own accord, and usually weave their influence into my stories. This week, the late poet, Matthew Arnold, keeps visiting me in the form of his work, “Dover Beach.” I especially love the last stanza!

5. How long have you been writing?

I’ve been writing since the age of 8. My first “novel” was written in a spiral binder. It was called “Shekel,” and was about a girl who found a magic gold coin.

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

I think I’ve always known on a deeply subconscious level that I was meant to write. It took many years for my conscious mind to agree, and even longer for me to lose the fear of trying. Eventually my faith became greater than my fear, because I just wanted it so badly!!! It was only when I TRULY DIDN’T CARE what others thought that it all worked out for me.

7. Do you have a muse?

I have a muse: the natural world around me. I have but to look around to become inspired.

8. How do you improve as a writer?

The best way for me to become a better writer has been to become a better reader. Being the most excellent reader I can be has helped me immensely, as well as enriched my life. There is so much to learn and share! I read every day, and still I feel the lack of not reading enough. Other things I have done to improve: I took a class with an established author, who not only gave me valuable insight, but introduced me to other writers who were just as helpful. I attended a writer’s conference, where I met up with an literary agent who encouraged me.

9. Writing quirks or superstitions?

I have no writing quirks or superstitions. I simply know that what will flow each day, will flow. Like all else in this world–good and bad–my writing unfolds as it was meant to. For that reason I don’t need to depend on anything else. And I never get writer’s block!

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

My current writing project is a New Adult novel titled ANONYMOUS CLUB, about four young woman who meet at an AA meeting. The twist: none of them are alcoholics. So what are they doing there? This story is a departure for me, because I tend to write long, sweeping, emotional novels. This entire story takes place in the span of one day. It’s a challenge for me, and I’m excited about it.

11. What book are you reading now?

Right now I am reading “My Brilliant Friend,” by the Italian author, Elena Ferrante.

12. What genre do you write in? What about Pov?

My first published book, FLAWLESS, straddles the fence between New Adult and Women’s Fiction, and has been referred to as a “dark contemporary,” which I think is fitting. Since publishing it just over a year ago, I have written a straight-up Women’s Fiction novel titled, TENDING PARADISE, which is in the hands of my (hopefully—fingers crossed) soon-to-be agent, and I am now starting on the aforementioned ANONYMOUS CLUB, a New Adult novel. I write in first-person P.O.V because I love the immediacy of it. The characters become so accessible to the reader.

13. Tell us about writing preparation.

I do a lot of prep before I begin a book. It starts on long car rides and in the shower, when I have time to just think, think, think. Then I write down everything I’ve thought about. I write detailed descriptions of each character, including physical and mental details, as well as quirks. Then I outline the entire book in a “sun” pattern. I put the main character(s) in the center of the sun, and shoot out “rays,” each one representing a chapter. I can’t do the organized (translation: boring) outlining that I learned in middle-school English Composition. I tend to think visually, and natural themes/organic symbols help me organize my thoughts into workable forms.

14. Do you know how your stories will end?

I always know how my stories will end.

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

I always have a message and theme to my novels, and this is why: we’re all just bopping around on this planet trying to find meaning in our lives, and figure out where we fit in, how we can contribute, and if we’re “good enough.” These are universal things we all experience to some degree. I feel like exploring it helps us make sense of the whole jumbled mess. I try to make sense of it with my questions and my observations. Then I relay what I’ve learned through my writing. I often feel like words are all I have to give, but I give them all up for a greater good.

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

I drink coffee and tea nonstop when I’m writing. And if there’s chocolate in the house, it will also become my constant writing companion. For that reason it is seldom in the house!!!

17. Tell us about your other passions.

My other passion in this life is the natural world around me: my family, and nature. I am also a horticulturist, and that love came through in my second novel, TENDING PARADISE, which is a story about loss, love, and the tangled vines of family. It’s a poignant, but uplifting (I hope) story of a woman, marred by tragedy, who hides from the world in her opulent estate and gardens. Sort of a “Terms of Endearment” (without the terminal illness) meets “The Secret Garden.” My husband and I built a pond by hand in our back yard, and I value each and every frog who visits. I also treasure the sound of birdsong on the wind. I’ve explored and shared my love of the natural world on my weekly gardening blog, GreenGardenGuru.blogspot.com.

18. What’s something interesting about you?

Something I’ve not shared before about myself is this: I was once a fitting model in New York City. After I graduated from college, I moved to the city and took modeling assignments (as well as waiting tables at a comedy club) to pay my outrageously expensive rent on Manhattan’s upper west side. My experiences helped form the core of some of the designing scenes in FLAWLESS. They also helped me work through the conflicted feelings I’ve had about inner and outer beauty, and how we use appearance to feel valuable. It’s a fascinating theme to me, and one I explored in the novel.

19. Share a sample of your work.

The idea of “image is everything,” is prominent in FLAWLESS. The cautionary tale of Lia Copeland, who appears to “have it all” is evident from the very first paragraph: “I knew what they called me: Ice Queen. Princess…I smiled, recalling my favorite nickname: The Royalty. They all called me that, but not to my face. Never to my face.”

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

In this story, Lia’s flawless, an object of worship. And hated. And, more than anything else, she just wants everyone to leave her the hell alone. I hope it begs the question: why? I hope readers want to find out.
The last, and most important, thing I’d add is this: write and read from a place of truth. Writers, put it all out there–with no fear. Your truth is real, and important. It helps people understand their own lives better. And readers, be true to your core values when reading. There are a lot of books out there, and only a limited amount of time to read them. Don’t waste time with something that doesn’t rock your world. Toss it and try something else.

Awesome! Thanks Jennifer!

For Your Reading Pleasure…Tom Beck

With us today is Tom Beck. We’re glad he stopped by to share all his writing secrets with us. Enjoy!!

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

Facebook under Tom Beck, Thomas Beck is my facebook published site. Thomas Beck’s Blog Covers hospital stories, flash fiction/, poetry, family tales, etc.

2. How do you choose names for your characters?

Names can come from anywhere. Church bulletins, family members.

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

I write mostly from first person, sharing what my brain thinks the character sees, hears, and feels. When I write the character, it is me seeing through their eyes

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

Usually if I have the radio on, it’s a talk station.

5. How long have you been writing?

I have written as soon as I knew letters could make words. Only recently published. I have reams of poetry, folders of haiku, A play script, several children’s stories that I illustrate myself. (Unpublished)

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

It was a slow evolution that I knew I wanted to write and be published. Working as a nurse and having a family didn’t allow for much time writing. I think it was writing compositions and the professors’ encouragement that finally sealed it.

7. Do you have a muse?

Three muses so far. For Tommy Two Shoes Minerd it is his finicky deceased uncle Aidan Leclerc. For Mary Alice (Brandi) the P.I. it’s Mae West, and for Luigi Garibaldi, it’s Margo, the Shadow’s assistant. Guido isn’t actually a detective, but is a gambler in hiding from a casino owner and has clues dumped in his lap.

8. How do you improve as a writer? (Workshops, conferences, reading)

I belong to three writer’s group, an organization to promote new writers (CAW), and I attend and read at salons.

9. Writing quirks or superstitions?

The only thing special is that I hand write my stories and do my first edit when I enter it into the computer. I can write faster than I can type and I don’t want to impede the flow of words and ideas.

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

How many works do you want. I have probably 15 or more. Tommy is about to become a P.I. He figures if he’s solving mysteries, he needs paid. Brandi is investigating the spouse of a woman. She thinks that he is prostituting himself. I just entered a flash fiction contest where the entire story had to be 100 words or less.

11. What book are you reading now?

A book titled “What’s the Smallest Thing You Will Do Today.” By Dylene Cumraes.

12. What genre do you write in? What about PoV?Most of my writing is from the view of first person singular, but have been dabbling in third person for some.
13. Tell us about writing preparation. Character Profiles? Outlines? )

I don’t have a specific outline. Just a general idea of a plot. Sometimes it’s based on a single phrase or sentence. Everything spills out of a disorganized, creative mind. The characters will often write the story themselves. I am often surprised how an insignificant detail will show up later and become very important.

14. Do you know how your stories will end?

I will have a general idea of an ending, but there are times when the character steps in and changes things.

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

The kids books, a specific message, poetry, message, haiku to share beauty, the cozy mysteries, entertainment.

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

Unsweetened iced tea or Diet orange Crush. I eat anything that isn’t nailed down.

17. Tell us about your other passions.

My deceased wife Cindy. Gone 12 years in March. Ovarian cancer. my three kids, and my three granddaughters. Also reading Louis L’Amour books. He has the most fabulous turns of phrases.

18. What’s something interesting about you?

The way I became published was unusual. I would have remained in obscurity if by happenstance I hadn’t met a woman at one of my writer’s groups. She liked some of the stories that I had written, had decided to edit and to start a publishing company. She asked me if I had anything to publish. The rest is history. As an aside we have about 8 to 15 members and out of that number, five of us has had our writing published in the year that we started the group. (No they aren’t all under the same publisher.)

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

Her Beauty
She stepped onto the bus. Her tresses cascaded over her shoulders in shimmering chestnut waves. Her smile immediately filled the bus with sunshine. That smile seemed directed at me. With amazing grace, she dropped her money into the change box and sauntered down the aisle. She stopped.

“Is this seat taken?” she asked.

I glanced around. The bus was nearly empty and yet she chose the seat beside me.

“N-n-n-o-o,” I managed to stammer.

She slid into the seat. Her delicate scent filled my nostrils.

“I’m on my way home,” she shared, glancing over at me.

I felt a lump in my throat and couldn’t speak. She was so beautiful.

“My husband isn’t home at present,” she murmured and placed her slender hand on my thigh.

My breath caught in my throat. My brain began to spin as her heady perfume captivated me and her suggestion sank in.

She slid her hand up and down my thigh, stirring a feeling in my loins.

The bus hissed to a stop. Taking my hand, she led me down the aisle and off the bus. I held my newspaper in front of me to avoid embarrassment.

She closed and locked the apartment door behind her. Pulling me close, she whispered in my ear, “What do you want for supper, dear?”

“Whatever you want, but it’s my turn to pick you up on the bus tomorrow.”

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

A word of encouragement to all readers and would-be writers: May all of your romances be real, your mysteries, solvable, and your adventures be pleasurable. Thanks for your interest. If you should need anything, I am quite a character myself.

Thanks Tom! Good luck to you!

For Your Reading Pleasure…Talamasca


With us today is Talamasca. We’re happy to have her insight and look forward to her answers.

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

My name is Talamasca, I live with a army veteran, and have been writing all my life. Recently we lost everything in a house fire so I am up to my ears trying to recover my resume and tear sheets. Not to mention rewrite items I can remember which isn’t much and recover copies of what has been published. I am also a photographer and shoot the cover for, and some interior shots, for the Australian equine welfare book, They Shoot Horses Don’t They? By Jane Duckworth. The best place to check out my writing is http://www.fanstory.com/talahorse

2. How do you choose names for your characters?

Prior to the fire I’d use baby naming books, occasionally, characters like Charlie Dawson, from the military thriller I am working on at the moment just happen, it ends up being a combo of a friend’s name, or a name that matches their initials as a nod to them.

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

Of course. It makes it simpler to create their world if you are able to step into and engage in it.

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

My music taste is pretty wide, in my old studio you could easily find black sabbath next to bob segar, I always have music on no matter what I am doing, right now I’m listening to alot of comfort music. Queen, Garth Brooks, Bob Dylan, Bob segar, The Commitments, and heaps of other stuff, anything really that is tied to a physical memory, so I can pull it to the front of my mind and remind myself that although the fire took alot, took mementos of my life, I can still access those memories, as for writing, sometimes I try to create a soundtrack for a project so that the written word will carry the vibe of that music.

5. How long have you been writing?

For over 20 years, everything from prize winning poetry with The final Realization, about a pair of friends where one deciedes she’d rather pull the life support on someone she’d previously considered her friend than continue to put up with his manipulation, to newspaper articles and my novels. I have also released a non fiction series of equine care books.

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

I didn’t have that duh moment, when I started working with horses on a professional level we needed PR and other things, I had previously worked PR in the music industry and still had all my contacts…I grew into it, more than realized it. Ideas that won’t leave me alone till there on paper left me little choice.

7. Do you have a muse?

I’d like to be able to say yes but its been a long time since a individual has influenced my work. I use to have a writing partner for some projects and I would write part of or the first story in a set and he the next and it would go back and forth, he died a while back from a heart attack, I certainly miss the interaction involved with working with another writer.

8. How do you improve as a writer? (Workshops, conferences, reading)

As a writer of course I am always reading, not only my own genre, everything. One of my educational institutions that I attended was Charles Sturt University so of course I am a member of their writing centre, Wagga Wagga Writers Writers. No my typing doesnt have a stutter, they love it so much they named it twice!

9. Writing quirks or superstitions?

My downfall. Pre fire I didn’t like putting anything online till it had been published, I’d had some bad copyright experiences. Now however having lost all previous work I wish I had ignored myself an utilized stes like http://www.fanstory.com more, they allow you to publish, get feedback but most vitally youcan through the site obtain a registration code for your work.

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

I’m currently trying to put back together the last item I was working on before the fire, working title is simply C.D 3.8, and it is a military thriller based in Australia and our top end, I don’t want to give too much a way but a group of private contractors that are ex-service are recalled so if they fail the govt. Has plausible deniability in regards to the team who are trying to prevent an attack from another nearby country.

11. What book are you reading now?

PIXIE by Andrea Mohr and Sail by James Patterson. I try to stay away from reading what I am writing in until the project is finished.

12. What genre do you write in? What about PoV?

I don’t stick to one genre and mostly I write in first person, but not always.

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

I don’t do alot of prep, for a romance book for example I can just sit and write, however something like a military thriller requires alot of research before you even think prep though I tend to do a full brief without it and then go back and do secular research for that section. An example of this would be the os raid by a SASR unit in my current book, my own history and experience provided enough intel to write the initial chapter but things like weapons were 20yrs out of date for a story that was happening now, so I wrote it then went to research current weaponary and plucked and changed those areas.

14. Do you know how your stories will end?

Sometimes a vague idea but I try not to lock myself in.

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

I write firstly to entertain me, so short of my non fiction work, I hope entertainment.

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

I’m lucky if I remember to eat!

17. Tell us about your other passions?

Working with the introduction of PZP for the fertility treatment of feral horses in Australia.

18. What’s something interesting about you?

Honestly, I’m not sure?

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

“So anyway, what’s on the books for today?” asked Malcolm’s.
“Rebecca Ryan’s kids need to be covered while she is in the studio at Brookvale, we have instructions to take them to the zoo” he indicated to the chairs in the conference room “take a seat guys and we’ll get down to the briefing”
As everyone on today’s team took a seat, Sascha began outlining the job. “Although the threats are against her she will have fulltime people at the studio…what she is looking for is someone, in fact two guys to entertain and look after the kids while she is working since as a general rule of thumb she doesn’t work of a weekend”

“So why now” Steven jumped in.

“Apparently the recording has fallen behind and the label has a lot of pressure on her to step up”

“Another words, shit or get off the pot”

“In this case a million dollar pot” put in Malcolm’s.

“that’s it mate, anyway apparently the troublesome twosome have their sights set on Taronga zoo, groans came from all around the room, “hey we should be thankful they didn’t insist on Luna Park or Western Plains zoo, anyway they want to see the snow leopard and having being Adrians parent units old mascot we were with him on the team able to pull some strings to get them into the enclosure with the animal.

“Nice to see I have my uses” I mumbled.

“Well you and government sponsorship anyway” retorted Sascha.

“It’s a logistical nightmare, there will be civilians everywhere”

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

Stay tuned.

Thanks so much, Talamasca, and good luck to you.