Things to do in 2015…

I spend a lot of time thinking about writing goals, but I very rarely consider making personal ones. So today, I’m going to think about what I’d like to change in my personal life. They won’t be huge, because I quite like my life the way it is, so I’m not looking to make any major changes. Instead, I shall come up with five smallish things I’d like to achieve. So here goes…

 

1. I occasionally go running. I’m not very good, but I enjoy it. The problem is, I live on a mountain and I’m crap at running uphill. My favorite route has this one long uphill stretch. At the moment I have to stop twice to recuperate. So I’d like to improve my fitness levels so I can run all the way!

2. Train Grunt. Grunt is my BAD dog. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI love him dearly, but he’s bred for hunting and he likes chasing anything that moves, cars, bicycles, goats… So this year, we’re going to do some serious training. I want him to be able to sit at the end of the drive while the shepherd goes past and not spontaneously combust.

3. Get a sun tan. Frivolous, I know, but last year, for most of the summer, I wasn’t allowed near the pool and was banned from sunbathing. So this year I plan to take in a few rays, preferably while floating on the pool, reading a book, and drinking a frothy cocktail!

Gencie flirting4. More horse riding. Last year we didn’t do much at all. This year I plan to get out more. I’ve already committed to doing a 20km ride in February so we have a few weeks to build up to it.

5. And finally, try not to fret about things I can’t change.

 

So do you have any personal goals this year?

About Nina Croft

Nina Croft grew up in the north of England. After training as an accountant, she spent four years working as a volunteer in Zambia which left her with a love of the sun and a dislike of 9-5 work. She then spent a number of years mixing travel (whenever possible) with work (whenever necessary) but has now settled down to a life of writing and picking almonds on a remote farm in the mountains of southern Spain. Nina writes all types of romance often mixed with elements of the paranormal and science fiction.

Start the year Editing

We’re continuing our New Year featuring some more great editors. Today, from Lemon Editing Group, I’ve got Rebecca Hill, answering a few questions, and Mary Harris. Come on over, bring your most polished manuscript, and hear what Rebecca has to say about editing.

And keep in mind:

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.

***

Rebecca Hill
QUESTIONS:
How would you define success as an editor?
Developing a friendship with the author, which means she can ask me for whatever she needs, and making the book pretty and shiny and flawless without interfering with the author’s unique writing voice. The former helps with the latter! And it doesn’t prevent me from telling hard truths when they’re needed.
What kinds of editing (or what part of editing) do you most (and least) enjoy? Why?
I love editing on a line level – making sure turns of phrase are elegant or authentic (not always the same thing!)
When someone gives you something to edit, what do you do?
READ. I read the whole thing at least once, often more. I want to know what level of editing is needed, but more importantly I want to try to get into the author’s head and make myself familiar with the characters and the setting. I want to settle into the world of the story.
What made you choose editing?
When I was little, my mum asked me what my dream job would be, in a fantasy world, and I replied “Being paid to read.” I read eclectically, extensively and tirelessly. It was really a no-brainer.
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. Playfulness. If an author has fun writing, it shines through, and I enjoy reading and editing.
What is one of your writing pet peeves?
I’m a slave to the grammar goblins, and can be a horrible nit-picker. I try to rein it back!
Do you have a favorite author? If so, who is it and how have they influenced your career?
Oh…dozens, if not hundreds. Anyone who has something new to say or a charming way of saying old things! Please get in touch and tell me yours!

Just for fun:
Leather or lace? Both
Black or red? Both!
Satin sheets or Egyptian cotton? Cotton
Ocean or mountains? Mountains
City life or country life? Country life
Hunky heroes or average Joe? Nerds!
Party life or quiet dinner for two? Dinner for two
Dogs or cats? Mad cat lady all the way

Rebecca Hill has an MA in publishing studies and has worked as a fiction editor for over a decade, across a variety of genres. She has provided training to dozens of other editors who have gone on to successful in-house and freelance careers. She prides herself on providing a thorough editorial service that nevertheless shows respect for the author’s individual writing voice, and is keen to help make your publication dreams a reality. When Rebecca isn’t editing, she’s writing, in her children’s, YA or romance author personas. She regularly ghost-writes for NY Times bestselling authors.

***

Editor name: Mary Harris
Types of editing offered: Developmental, copy or line edits, proofreading
Editing strengths: seeing what the story lacks; verb tenses, teaching author to change from passive to active, teaching author to get rid of gerunds and adverbs, I (or I make my author) do research to verify trade names’ spelling and punctuation because readers will jump on that shit!
Editing Weaknesses: I can see a great story in just about every submission! Need to hone my discerning skills a bit
Any special editing skills: (IE historical knowledge, tech savvy, Brit
to English spellings, professional knowledge of specific industries) not tech savvy.
Any genres or types of books you do NOT want to work on?: the usual no-nos: child involvement, bestiality (unless it’s the werepoodles)
Part time/Full time?: I am a full-time editor.
Anything else beneficial: I work well with authors to develop their stories and their styles

 

 

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.

Something about a New Year

Hi, all! Jennifer here.

What is it about the new year and that special feeling I get about starting afresh?

January feels good for that reason. Any and everything seem possible. Motivation gets a jumpstart and we get start the year with a clean slate. The weather is definitely helping with having to stay home and get things done, too.

I’ve already begun some eating and exercising goals–which I’m committed to for the next 90 days. And on the writing front, I’ve written down a work plan sheet and am happy to say have remained on target with it.

I think it’s really important to have some sort of plan for the year. I am a trustee for our local library and lately we’ve been working on a strategic plan as well as a work plan for it. Every entity needs a goal to achieve.  So, I definitely thought as a writer I needed one as well.

So far so good. But it really take commitment and a want to achieve something better.

Do you have it?

I hope so. And if you do, what are you doing to achieve your goals this year?

About Jennifer Shirk

Jennifer Shirk is a USA Today bestselling sweet romance author for Montlake and Entangled Publishing who also happens to be a mom, pharmacist, Red Sox fan, P90x grad, and overall nice person. Check out her latest sweet romance: CATCH HIM IF YOU CAN

Seinfield, Chains, & Writing

SeinfieldbgI’ve been trying a new technique to increase my writing output with quite a bit of success. Let me clarify, I measure success by working on writing in some way, every day. That’s been my goal. (I wrote last year about how important it was to set goals and then create a plan to achieve those goals, a road map of sorts.) I have finally found a very simple method that works for me.

I first heard about this technique on the website lifehacker.com. Basically, the site covers everything from how to put an altoid tin to use when you’re finished to how to land your dream job (in case you’re one of the five people who hasn’t heard of it). I’m an organization junkie and I’m in love with efficiency. I’m always searching for ways to accomplish more in more efficient ways.

This bit of advice hit my radar last year sometime.

[Seinfield] told me to get a big wall calendar that has a whole year on one page and hang it on a prominent wall. The next step was to get a big red magic marker.

He said for each day that I do my task of writing, I get to put a big red X over that day. “After a few days you’ll have a chain. Just keep at it and the chain will grow longer every day. You’ll like seeing that chain, especially when you get a few weeks under your belt. Your only job next is to not break the chain.”

“Don’t break the chain,” he said again for emphasis.

I noted it, did a little nod that it was likely good advice, and promptly filed it away. Fast forward a few months to me being utterly disgusted that I could not find a writing schedule that worked for me. I’d write for a day or two, slack off for a week, and start over.

I finally decided to buy a calendar and try this technique. I can tell you that making those chains is more addicting than candy crush. Or chocolate. Or Downton Abbey. Whatever you find irresistible, you will also find yourself compelled to add another link to your chain. There were those days, and we’ve all had them, that writing anything seemed so huge that the only reason I opened my laptop to do it was to create another link in my chain. And I got good, solid work done because of it. I started seeing real progress.

If you’re struggling, I suggest you give it a try. I also (again) recommend Jamie Raintree‘s writing progress spreadsheet to help you keep up with your work on various projects.

Do you have any other tips that might helps all of us get butt in chair?

About Lori Sizemore

Lover of nail polish, pens, her Kindle, and fresh coffee. She likes romance filled with messy, real characters and lots of snarky banter. Reading was (and still is!) her BFF; when she discovered writing she fell in love. Come for the snark. Stay for the story.

On Deadline

Julie Jarnagin

January 15 on my calendar has the word “Deadlines” written in big bold letters. Plural because I have two things due on this day–a novella and the content edits of my novel Kiss the Cowboy that releases in June. Deadlines are awesome because it means that the books are under contract! Having a deadline right after the holidays has proven to be a little challenging with busy schedules and a long to-do list.

But I’ve learned that a few strategies have been able to keep me on track to turn the manuscripts in on time.

1. Leaning on my husband for support – My husband is amazing. When I need him to pick up the slack by entertaining the kids or helping around the house more, he jumps right in. He doesn’t even complain when I don’t have time to go to the grocery store or he runs out of clean underwear. He just fills in everywhere I’m falling behind. I’m definitely blessed in the supportive spouse category.

2. Writing every day – For me it’s important to keep momentum going. I try to work on my writing every single day. I worked on my books on Christmas day after the kids went to bed. With a full-time job, a 10-month-old, and a six-year-old, I don’t have big chunks of time to get my writing done, so I have to make sure not to waste the time I have set aside, which is currently after my six-year-old goes to bed.

3. Taking baby steps – If I step back and think of everything I need to do before I turn the books in, I can get overwhelmed. I try to stay focus on one chapter, one scene, one line at a time. If I’m consistent and keep moving forward, I can get it all done.

4. Remembering why I write – Sometimes in the midst of an approaching deadline, I can forget why I do this in the first place. I have a passion for writing. I love giving readers an uplifting story about love and faith. It’s hard work, but it’s worth it.

How do you handle deadlines (writing or any kind of deadline in life)? Do you thrive on them or dislike the pressure?

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.

Editing in the New Year

Christmas-Drinks

 

Share a drink. Light your firecrackers. Kiss your loved one… cause it’s all up hill from there.

Beth, here. Hosting our New Year on the blog, Through Heart-Shaped Glasses, and we are ready to take over the writing world with success. [okay, yes. Our world is relative, but still. It’s time to start a new year, and we are doing it with vigor.] As you know, we love books around here. We write them. We critique them. We read them…

We want to talk about them.

And we’ll share them, too.

So, come on in and sit a while. It’s time to meet a few editors who also love books, love stories. Today I’ve got Julie Naughton answering my questions, as well as a feature for her associate, Shannon Combs. Maybe this year, YOU can get that ms whipped into shape and sent off to an editor you met through Heart-Shaped Glasses. <3

~*~*~

Lemons Editing Group

(Beth: just going to say it. I love that their acronym spells LEG)

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.

***

Julie Naughton

How would you define success as an editor? Being able to make a living doing something I love. Which I can, and I’m immensely grateful for that.

What kinds of editing (or what part of editing) do you most (and least) enjoy? Why? I love content editing and helping authors to make their work the very best it can possibly be. Erotic romance is by far my favorite genre (especially stories with Rubenesque heroines and BDSM themes), but if it has words, I will happily edit it.

When someone gives you something to edit, what do you do? I first read through the entire thing, make broad notes to myself, then go back and start editing line by line.

What made you choose editing? I’ve always known that I wanted to make a living doing something with words. I double-majored in journalism and English (with a concentration in creative writing) in college. I am a newspaper reporter by day, so I get my writing in at the day job and then edit by night. When I discovered erotic romance, I knew I’d found my niche — after spending large amounts of my day-job salary purchasing it, I decided to try editing it. I also review romance, self-help, general fiction and general non-fiction for Publishers Weekly, have written several romance and new-adult roundup pieces for PW, and have been a quarterfinal judge in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards (ABNA) contest for the past four years.

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? I love BDSM themes and Rubenesque heroines. But really, the main thing that gets me going in any book is a coherent plot. If a plot is too far-fetched it will drag me out of the story in about three seconds flat, even if the prose is decent.

What is one of your writing pet peeves? Using the possessive as the plural. IT MAKES ME BATSHIT CRAZY. Just sayin’. Using that rather than who to refer to people is also likely to get me going, and not in a good way.

Do you have a favorite author? If so, who is it and how have they influenced your career? That’s a really, really hard question to answer because I’ve had the great good fortune to work with some incredibly talented authors. One of my first editing projects at my old publisher was doing a co-edit on Mari Carr’s book Screaming Orgasm — I was totally having a fangirl moment. Editing Lolita Lopez’s Grabbed books and Jan Springer’s menage series was a blast. I’ve also loved discovering really terrific writers from the slush pile — authors such as Lea Griffith, Kirstie Abbot, Elizabeth Finn and L.J. Fine. That’s incredibly rewarding.

Just for fun:
Leather or lace? Lace
Black or red? Black
Satin sheets or Egyptian cotton? Egyptian cotton
Ocean or mountains? Ocean
City life or country life? Country life
Hunky heroes or average Joe? Average Joe
Party life or quiet dinner for two? Quiet dinner for two
Dogs or cats? Cats (even though I’m allergic to them!)

Julie Naughton2Types of editing offered: content, line, ghostwriting
Editing strengths: contemporary erotic romance; expertise in non-fiction, romance, general fiction, journalism and self-help as well
Editing Weaknesses: historical (pre-1900; very comfortable with 20th Century history)
Any special editing skills: (IE historical knowledge, tech savvy, Brit
to English spellings, professional knowledge of specific industries): professional expertise of publishing, fashion, beauty industries, legal matters and military operations (particularly the USMC); freelance writer for Publishers Weekly for 7-plus years; decent at Brit to English spellings due to editing multiple British authors at EC. Also have a freakish sense for spelling and most types of grammar (excluding lie/lay.)
Any genres or types of books you do NOT want to work on?: No, but I’m not at all confident with historicals. Regencies TERRIFY me and I’m not really into shifters and vampires. My favorites/strengths are contemporary erotic romance, particularly with BDSM, Rubenesque, military and multiple partner themes. But I’ve never met a manuscript I couldn’t be persuaded to edit.
Part time/Full time?: Part time for now, but working toward full time.
Anything else beneficial: Double majored in journalism and English (concentration on creative writing) in college. Have been a journalist for 23-plus years. First published nationally at 18 🙂 I’m told (by Kelli Collins, former EC editor-in-chief) that I’m really good with authors. Heck, I know how strongly I feel about my own writing, so I strive to bring that sensitivity to working with others. 🙂

 

Shannon Combs

shannon CombsTypes of editing offered: developmental, content, copy/line, proofreading, ghostwriting
Editing strengths: Character development & behavior, timelines, consistency, pointing out ways to create more powerful sentences
Editing Weaknesses: Historical/Regency
Any special editing skills: Tech savvy, Brit to English spellings/terminology
Any genres or types of books you do NOT want to work on?: Inspirational
Part time/Full time?: Full time
Anything else beneficial: Tactful with authors and good at communicating what is needed and why.

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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