Ringing in the New ~ @oddlynn3 #LynnCrain #PCers

Wow! Can you believe January is almost over?!? Starting a new year often brings with it resolutions and promises to do things one normally wants to do but can’t for whatever reason. It’s no secret that a person can be their own worst enemy. This year, I’ve tried to be realistic about writing and personal goals.Resized-Resolutions

I have writing goals ~ thing like write a book a month or write 5000 words a day. Those type of things. But this year, I added an extra item and this goes for all areas of my life: Learn something new. I feel that no matter what you promise yourself, if you can’t learn something new every day to help you attain those goals, then they probably won’t happen.

I understand you think that’s rather harsh but statistics say that over 60% of our resolutions don’t make it past the promise stage. In another report, I read that only 8% of us ever keep our resolutions, which means 92% of us either never make them or make them then promptly ignore them.  In the process of putting down my 2015 goals on paper, I learned the rate of failure and I also learned the two top things to make them happen. And they are two things I know I can make happen.

The first one is simple: Be realistic. All goals are based in realism or should be. When doing my goals, I look to make them an average of the best I can do and the worst I can do, which for me is nothing. I can sit around like a lump, watching TV or reading or something that isn’t propelling me forward. Or I can choose to be what I want to be.

The second one, while simple, can be daunting for someone like me: Start small. I tend to do things on a grand scale. I love to do series with lots of books, I love to write huge books, I love to redecorate a whole room, lose 20 pounds in the shortest time possible and on and on. However, I am constantly reminded that every journey starts with just one step. Just one tiny thing to get us going. There’s no problem in taking bigger steps at some point but to get the steps started, do the small things. Like planning just one book, just one room item, just one pound. Once you accomplish that one tiny task, start working up to the bigger things.

Goals, and resolutions for that fact, aren’t meant to make you unhappy. They are meant to be a guideline for the journey you’re taking. And guidelines are just that, nothing more. They are meant to guide you toward your goals. Not drag you kicking and screaming because then you have to look at the fact that maybe you really don’t want that goal.

So, what were your goals for the New Year?

Here’s wishing you all the best in 2015! See you next month!

About Lynn Crain

Award winning author Lynn Crain has done it all in her life. From nursing to geology, her life experiences have added to her detail rich stories. She loves writing full time as she weaves contemporary, fantasy, futuristic and paranormal tales, tame to erotic, for various publishers. Her home is in the desert southwest and she’s just returned from her latest adventure of living in Vienna, Austria while her husband worked his dream job. You can find her hanging out online at www.lynncrain.blogspot.com, https://www.facebook.com/LynnCrainAuthor, and on Twitter, @oddlynn3. She loves hearing from her readers at lynncrain@cox.net.


So, one of the most important things to do before putting your work out there, for sale, for everyone in the whole world to see, is to edit it. And not just your own edit, because if there’s a thing every writer out there knows, it’s that you need objective eyes. Whether that be with a critique group or with a professional editor.

We. All. Need. One.

With us today from Lemon Editing Group, we’ve got JoSelle Vanderhooft to answer all our pressing questions. If you like what she has to say, maybe you send her a quick email! 🙂 Or find her on the web. Home * Twitter


 photo joV_zpsa14ea400.jpgHow would you define success as an editor? I feel successful when an author tells me not only that they improved their manuscript because of my suggestions, but that they learned more about their craft along the way.

What kinds of editing (or what part of editing) do you most (and least) enjoy? Why? I enjoy polishing each sentence the most–I think line editing is one of my strongest talents as an editor–but helping an author create a more cohesive, logical, and fascinating world is at the top of my list too.

My least favorite thing? Trying to figure out why Microsoft Word’s features break in such spectacular ways.

When someone gives you something to edit, what do you do? I get to it right away and go through the manuscript thoroughly, doing whichever service the author has hired me to perform. I like to create style sheets for books–basically lists of character names, places, and in-book terms that may be spelled unusually–and to create letters outlining my thoughts on the book and what I think the author can do to improve it.

What made you choose editing? My path to editing is actually as long and winding as it is atypical. I studied literature, playwriting, and just about every aspect of theatre in college and was on track to have a job as a literary manager or a dramaturg someday. If “dramaturg” is an unfamiliar term, think of a researcher and editor who works with a playwright and/or a director on a production. I must have been thinking about this definition a lot when I decided I’d try my hand at editing an anthology while working as a dramaturgy intern. I found the techniques and thought processes I was learning on stage applied just as well on page. A year later, I left the theatre world to pursue editing and journalism full time. Although life in the rehearsal room didn’t work out for me, I wouldn’t be the editor I am today without my time spent working in the theatre.

What really gets your engine revving in a book? [in other words] What do you like to see in the submissions you get at Lemons Editing Group? Books that step outside genre conventions and give me the lives of characters who don’t often get to star in a romance. I particularly love, for example, books where the hero and/or heroine (or heroes and heroines for a same-sex romance) are disabled, LGBTQ, of color, middle aged or older, or people who would be called “fat” or “overweight.” Humanity has so much variation; I like to see it reflected in the books I read.

What is one of your writing pet peeves? the phrase “there was something about him/her that made [protagonist’s name] take interest,” or any variations on that wording. It’s often hard to describe what attracts us to an individual, but in a novel, I want to see specificity!

Do you have a favorite author? If so, who is it and how have they influenced your career? Well, since I started out as a playwright and dramaturg: William Shakespeare. His work gave me a love of language–and playfulness with language–as well as the ability to analyze and explain truly complex characters. I wouldn’t be an editor without him!

Just for fun:
Leather or lace? Lace! Prettier and more animal-friendly.
Black or red? Black. I was a goth ’90s kid.
Satin sheets or Egyptian cotton? Egyptian cotton!
Ocean or mountains? Mountains. I grew up in Utah and now live in Florida. The ocean has nothing on the Rockies.
City life or country life? Country life. Cities are lovely, but I prefer quiet.
Hunky heroes or average Joe? Average Joe, always! I find people–both characters and actual, real people–to be at their sexiest when they’re individuals with distinctive and somewhat flawed looks, rather than specimens of physical perfection.
Party life or quiet dinner for two? Quiet dinner for two, or maybe three.
Dogs or cats? Cats! I make no secret of my ambition to someday run a small-scale cat rescue that takes in cats with special needs and other “unadoptable” kitties.


Lemon Editing Group

10678705_704185259666624_3264590522941045976_nWhen life gives you lemons, you make lemonade! But first you’ve got to squeeze them and zest them and add just the right amount of sugar… Just when you’ve got the mixture absolutely perfect, some bossy know-it-all comes along and tells you it tastes bad.

That’s the experience a lot of authors expect when they approach an editor – their hard-won words being heartlessly picked over, criticized and judged.

That doesn’t have to be the case. The reason we’re in the business of editing is that we LOVE books. We live for them. We are to manuscripts what crazy cat ladies are to kittens – we want to play with them, nurture them and watch them grow into gorgeous, quirky, unique beings. We love books, so we love writers, and we want you to succeed.

That’s why approaching an editor doesn’t have to be an intimidating experience. We’ll work with you to make sure your prose sizzles and your characters jump off the page. We’ll nurse you through writer’s block and discouraging reviews. And when you gain readers, reviewers and sales, we’ll celebrate right along with you.

If you’ve been thinking about hiring an editor but have questions or concerns or don’t know what to expect, drop us a line at LifeGivesYouLemons.edits@gmail.com and let us know what we can do to help you.

About Beth Rhodes

Beth jumps into life with both feet...or head first. Impulsive and spontaneous to a T, she joined Passionate Critters and never looked back. She loves writing and reading, which made this wonderful group of woman a perfect match for her.

Listening to the voices in my head

IS A HABITAre you a plotter? Are you a pantser? Do you listen to the voices in your head?

Unless you’re a writer those questions probably mean little to you…except that last one, if you’re not a writer and you listen to the voices please don’t tell me!

I tend to be a cross between the two, I have a lovely plot board covered with colored sticky notes with POVs and plot points for chapters, but I do leave myself plenty of room for the magic to happen organically.

I need to let the story unfold as I write, I need to be entertained along the way…because if I’m not enjoying the story as I’m writing, why would anyone enjoy reading it?

Hence the voices in my head.  I can hear my characters directing me, arguing with me if I go off track, or just babbling little bits and pieces about themselves that often help me push through a block.

I know lots of writers who interview their characters extensively before they even start writing, they know the hero and heroine inside out…for me this just gives me the hives. If I know all their secrets and what makes them tick before I’ve written a word, why do I care to write their story…I already KNOW them. Boring for me!

I’ve been known to sit and stare into space, listening to the hero rant. I’ve woken up from a sound sleep because the heroine has revealed a side of herself that I needed to write down. But my favorite thing to do is to ask them why they did something! There is nothing more satisfying than humming along and you look at your words only to scratch your head wondering where that particular tidbit came from…the best way to find out? Ask!

What an awesome way to unblock a plot point or take a scene to a new level.

As writers there are a ton of tools available to us, but I don’t think there is anything more organic than hearing the voices, letting them guide you to write their story and letting the words flow through your fingers to the keys.

So, tell me…do you listen to the voices in your head?

About Debora Dennis

A believer in second chances and that time should never be an obstacle to finding love, Debora writes time travels with modern snark and spice! When she's not writing, she's spending time with her family, reading, or trying to figure out a way to get chocolate into every dish she serves.

A New Year’s Reflections

Here it is January again, when one’s thoughts turn reflective. Last year around this time I posted some wishes for 2014, so I thought I’d check in and see how I did.

1. I will send out my queries. . .

In 2013 I won two contests, and one of them included a request for a partial and a full manuscript of Stirring Up the Viscount.  In January 2014 I sent the partial, waited six months, and received a “sorry, but you’re too dark for me” rejection. Which stung but kind of amused me.  In July I sent off the full MS to two other editors, and received two offers. I accepted the offer from The Wild Rose Press, and January 2015 will end with the release of Stirring Up the Viscount. Woot!

2. . . .and finish writing my second book.

I did this too, in December, and started writing a third.

3. I will attend the NEORWA conference in May and present a pitch to an agent.

Okay, didn’t do this, but this was because (a) there were no agents at the conference last year; and (b) it was my kid’s birthday and he would have killed me if I spent the weekend at a conference.

4. I will blog more regularly this year. Maybe.

I did this too, and started a new website. I also blog every month here.

5. I will upload that pile of old photos into Ancestry.com.

I uploaded some of them, but now I’m not entirely sure where I put the rest….

6. And exercise. I should probably exercise.

Um. No.

It is safe to say that, writing-wise, 2014 was awesome. 2014 was far from perfect in other respects, however, but I have high hopes for 2015.  My goals include publishing my second book (fingers crossed my editor likes it!), finishing and submitting two more books, going to RWA Nationals in New York, and going to England for *ahem* research.

And exercise. I should probably exercise.

What are your hopes for 2015?

About Marin McGinnis

Marin McGinnis has been a voracious reader ever since she could make sense of words on the page, but she came fairly late to writing. She dabbled with a mystery in her 20s, but didn’t start writing in earnest until after she discovered historical romance a decade or so later. While her very first manuscript will forever languish under the bed, the next one, Stirring Up the Viscount, won two contests in 2013 and was published by The Wild Rose Press in January 2015. Her next three books, Secret Promise, Tempting Mr. Jordan, and Treasure Her Heart, were also published by The Wild Rose Press. Check out her Bookshelf for more info. Marin lives in a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio with her family. She is represented by Margaret Bail of Fuse Literary.

Edit a New Draft — with Brianna St. James

Inspiring us to work through our manuscripts today is the Lemon Editing Group editor, Briana St. James. Briana is a former acquisitions editor and book reviewer. She has worked in various aspects of editing fiction for the last seventeen years. Briana’s rarely met a genre she didn’t want to try reading–or editing!

After an amazing time as a twenty-something working in various facets of the entertainment industry, including celebrity wrangling, the care and feeding of musicians, and as a semi-pro concert photographer. Briana has been a full-time editor since 1997 and a published author since 2007.

She spends her spare time attending concerts, being the minion to the most pampered cats in creation, and dodging the dramatically rolled eyes of her indulgent husband.
How would you define success as an editor?

A strong partnership between author and editor is the ultimate success as an editor. When a team works together, sharing trust in each other, to see a project to fruition, that is success.

What kinds of editing (or what part of editing) do you most (and least) enjoy? Why?

My ultimate favorite thing is early developmental editing, which often includes long brainstorming sessions. Seeing ideas gel is so rewarding!

When someone gives you something to edit, what do you do?

For content editing, I read the work several times, and then form some questions. My initial approach to editing is to read a work as if I’d discovered it on the open market, approaching the readability, characters, plot development, and pacing as a reader would. Only after I have that reader mindset established do I turn the technical editor on and begin to formulate an editorial approach.

When line editing or proofing, I do my first pass starting at the last page and working my way forward. It allows me to familiarize myself with the author’s writing style without getting lost in the fabulous story.

What made you choose editing?

I think I fell into it 😉 I was working in various facets of the entertainment world, and one of my clients would ask me to proofread his interview material for typos, etc. before faxing it onward. Eventually, friends would ask me to check out their work for readability, and I couldn’t help marking up changes for them.

What really gets your engine revving in a book? [in other words] What do you like to see in the submissions you get at Lemons Editing Group?

Passion! An author with passion in a work brings so much to the table. Like everyone else, I have pet favorite genres, but passion in a work and characters trumps everything for me! I’m a character geek and love discussing character arcs and motivation at length with authors.

What is one of your writing pet peeves?

Try and rather than try to. Borrowed him/her some money. Ministrations versus menstruation—yep this one exists! An excess of exclamation points. Any character who becomes a stereotype. Who versus that when referring to humans. Erotic scenes where the female anatomy is incorrectly presented.

Do you have a favorite author? If so, who is it and how have they influenced your career?

I have too many to name, but in the interests of answering your question, I’ll single one incredible lady out.

I first discovered Joey W. Hill when she submitted a science fiction story to a publisher I was doing submission evaluation for. This was circa ’98. The book was *incredible* and I enthusiastically suggested it for publication. Several years later, we both found ourselves at EC, and I became her editor.

Joey taught me a great deal about how *not* to get lost in beautiful prose. It can be hard to not get swept away, and working with her, and learning her writing style, was an invaluable lesson in stepping back from the beauty of the words and diving into the technical aspects. We worked on over a dozen books together, and it has been a pleasure seeing both of us grow individually and as an editor/author team.

Leather or lace? Leather for sure
Black or red? Black, with red accents 😉
Satin sheets or Egyptian cotton? Microfiber!
Ocean or mountains? Both. Ocean in summer, mountains in fall. Oh, the colors.
City life or country life? City.
Hunky heroes or average Joe? Average Joes are often not so average.
Party life or quiet dinner for two? Quite dinner, preferably at a foodie-type restaurant. Maybe a party every third dinner.
Dogs or cats? Cats. I’m ruled and overruled by my feline overlords.


About Beth Rhodes

Beth jumps into life with both feet...or head first. Impulsive and spontaneous to a T, she joined Passionate Critters and never looked back. She loves writing and reading, which made this wonderful group of woman a perfect match for her.

The Same Old Trap

Are you writing? Working on your current WIP, or trying to decide which of your many stories should be completed this year? Or maybe writing every day is on your 2015 resolutions list. If so, yay for you!

This year I haven’t made a single writing resolution. I had to spend some serious time away from the computer through the fall and end of the year, and it really gave me time to think. Did I want to continue to do this writing thing? The answer was and still is, an unequivocal ‘YES!’

That being the case, with a limited amount of time on the computer, I had to change the way I approached writing and everything associated with it. I used to do a ton of writing related things, lots of social media, and feel really good about them, yet never get actual words on the page. Over and over again I fell into the trap. The deceptive line of thinking that doing anything associated with writing means you’re moving forward. Any successful writer will tell you the words come first. Everything else related to writing is secondary.

So I made a couple small changes in that I don’t do anything until I’ve spent thirty minutes writing. No email, no social media, zip, zero, nada. Also, no social media until evening, and then only if I’m up to it. It proved to be way tougher than I thought. Letting go of social media made me feel disconnected. Some days it still does. Then there’s the changing of a morning routine that’s been years in the making.

But after thirty days, it seems to be working. I’ve got some chapters of a new WIP. And that’s more than I had before. I’m moving up to forty-five minutes next week. Eventually I’d like it to be an hour. We’ll see how it goes. The sense of accomplishment is turning out to be worth the struggle. I’m going to have a new story!

With working, families, small children, we’re all short on time for different reasons; do you have any tricks that help you get words on the page?

About Beth Rhodes

Beth jumps into life with both feet...or head first. Impulsive and spontaneous to a T, she joined Passionate Critters and never looked back. She loves writing and reading, which made this wonderful group of woman a perfect match for her.

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