Guest Post – Why I Like Gritty Heroines

My NEORWA Chapter sister, Becky Lower, is back at Heart-Shaped Glasses today to talk about her newest Cotillion Ball release, Expressly Yours, Samantha. Welcome, Becky!

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When I first began writing my Cotillion Ball Series, I envisioned lavish ballrooms in Nelower authorpicw York City filled with young ladies from the elite of New York society making their debuts, all dressed in elaborate white gowns. But the time frame for my series at times took me away from New York and high society.

America in the late 1850s and early 1860s was an exciting, tumultuous time. Tensions were rising between the North and South, which would explode into the Civil War in 1861. There was the westward expansion, with wagon trains leaving St. Louis and St. Joseph, MO every spring, en route to a better life. Gold had been found in California, and the Pony Express began operation.

It seemed natural to me that the two younger boys in my large New York family would want to get in on the action. So their books take place on the edge of the frontier, far away from the fancy ballrooms of New York City. And the women they fall in love with are as far removed from the debutantes as you can get. Not at all what I envisioned at first. But, both Temperance (Banking On Temperance) and Samantha (Expressly Yours, Samantha) have become my all-time favorite heroines. They each, in their own way, embody the spirit of early America. They aren’t afraid of hard work, they figure out a way to make their mark in the world, they fall in love, hard, with the right man. They wear homespun, not silk. They get exercise not by taking a turn around the park, but by chopping firewood and cleaning out barn stalls. And when life hands them a set of circumstances beyond their control, they rise to the challenge.

At a time when the law of the land was on the side of men, these gritty, strong and resilient women made their mark. Both of them value family above all, and would take any risks they had to in order to keep their loved ones safe. They may have lived far from the elegant ballrooms, been less privileged and dressed in more crude clothing, but their strength and backbone were essential to the shaping of America.

So, which do you prefer? The beautiful settings and gowns of a Cotillion or the gritty, rough life of a settler on the frontier?  I’m giving away an e-copy of Expressly Yours, Samantha to one lucky commenter.

roses2 Samantha Hughes has one day to escape from her wicked uncle, and a sign in the post office is her answer. She’ll cut her hair to pose as a man and become Sam Hughes, a Pony Express rider.

Valerian Fitzpatrick doesn’t want the weight of responsibility that his brothers have in the family business. Fortunately, the Pony Express offers a chance to make his own way in the world.

He assumes his new buddy, Sam, is on the run from the law, until she’s hit by a stray gunshot and he has to undress her to staunch the wound. Friendship quickly turns to attraction—and more—but when Sam’s uncle tracks her down, she is forced to run yet again.

Val’s determined to find her, but will a future with Sam mean giving up the freedom he’s always craved?

Amazon best-selling author Becky Lower has traveled the country looking for great settings for her novels. She loves to write about two people finding each other and falling in love, amid the backdrop of a great setting, be it on a covered wagon headed west or in present day small town America. Historical and contemporary romances are her specialty. Becky is a PAN member of RWA and is a member of the Historic and Contemporary RWA chapters. She has a degree in English and Journalism from Bowling Green State University, and lives in an eclectic college town in Ohio with her puppy-mill rescue dog, Mary. She loves to hear from her readers at beckylowerauthor@gmail.com.

Author Links:
Website: www.beckylowerauthor.com
Facebook: http://facebook.com/becky.lower
Twitter: http://twitter.com@BeckyLower1
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/authorbeckyl/
Blog: http://beckylowerauthor.blogspot.com
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6159227.Becky_Lower
Amazon page: http://amzn.to/1FOy3Sd

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.

Spotlight: Her Immortal Viking by Adele Downs — Guest Post

Her Immortal Viking - Blast Banner

Viking Warrior. Immortal Slave. Freed by Love.

Penny pleads for divine intervention from overwork and mountainous debt one desperate, lonely night. She sings songs of praise, chants like a yogi, and rubs her belly like Buddha until the crystal charm on her navel shimmers, hoping to draw the attention of someone up there.

From the place between heaven and earth, in the west beyond the seas, an immortal hears Penny’s cries. Once a fearless Viking warrior, Gunnar has been cast into eternal servitude by an angry god and made a Light Elf. While Penny sleeps, he comes to earth from Alfheim for a single night to complete her tasks. When she awakens and confronts him, the handsome immortal kisses her, sparking a night of forbidden passion. By dawn, the couple has fallen in love.

Dark forces target Penny, seeking revenge for Gunnar’s earthly misdeeds. To protect his mortal lover, Gunnar takes up his sword to defend her. Though his strength and courage are unmatched, it might be the power of Gunnar and Penny’s love that saves them both.

Excerpt:

Her Immortal Viking_coverHe smoothed her hair and rubbed a thick tendril between his thumb and forefinger. “I am Gunnar.” He pronounced the name Goo-nar.

An emblem of the sun, surrounded by a circle, had been branded on the back of his powerful hand. Penny touched the scar while he held a length of her hair, recognizing Freyr’s sacred insignia from her textbooks. “The pain must have been excruciating.” Without thinking, she lifted the old wound to her mouth and laid kisses along its perimeter before pressing a kiss to the icon inside.

Tremors vibrated across her lips when they touched the ancient symbol and her body tingled with the contact. The brand grew warm and then hot against her mouth, though it did not burn. She ran her tongue over the thick scars to erase the heat, and then licked the center, finishing with a tiny swirl.

Gunnar’s gasp of surprise was the last thing she expected when she lifted her head. He released her hair and drew away.

“I’m sorry. I don’t know what got into me. Have I offended you?” She’d always been popular with men, and comfortable around them, but her behavior with Gunnar was bold, even for her. She sat up. “Am I under some kind of spell?”

Gunnar shook his head. “I used my powers to heal you, but your free will remains intact.”

She searched his face for clues about what to do next, because desire shone behind the wary expression in his eyes. Something else shone there, too. Gratitude. Penny waited for Gunnar’s reply without letting go of his disfigured hand.

He said, “Kindness isn’t something I’m used to finding. Perhaps you’d be less inclined toward compassion if you knew what I’d done to deserve this brand of servitude.”

She reached out and draped an arm around his neck to bring him closer. Their gazes locked and held. Gunnar’s eyes were like pools of ice blue water that pulled her in and down.

Her breathing slowed while the sound of her heartbeat rushed blood through her ears. “I am Penelope. And if you’re from Alfheim, I know who and what you are. I just don’t understand why you’re here.” How could she deserve his rare, benevolent gifts? She was just an ordinary woman from an ordinary town, barely scraping by.

His warm breath grazed her cheek in shallow rushes, lifting goose bumps across her skin. His wide, firm mouth smelled of sweet ground parsley and fresh-picked mint. “Sometimes we get what we need, simply because we ask. That’s the beauty and power of the unexpected.”

***

GIVEAWAY PRIZES

$10 Starbucks Gift Card

3 Kindle gift copies NATURALLY YOURS

3 Kindle gift copies KISSING HER COWBOY

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

About the Author:

Her Immortal Viking - Author PhotoAdele Downs writes best-selling contemporary romance inside the office of her rural Pennsylvania home. She is a former journalist, published in newspapers and magazines inside the USA, UK, and Caribbean.

Adele is an active member of Romance Writers of America and her local RWA chapter where she serves as a past-president. She has written several articles for RWR magazine (Romance Writers Report) and has presented workshops for writers.

When Adele isn’t working on her current project, she can be found riding in her convertible or reading a book on the nearest beach.


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.

Guest Post — Anne Victory

anne_victory

Anne comes to us from her own company, Victory Editing. With writing sensations like Gena Showalter and Nalini Singh on her resume, she is definitely someone to have on your side. You can find out more about Anne on her WEBPAGE. Now, for the nitty gritty, get-to-know-you fun…
How would you define success as an editor?
Being a vital part of an author’s publishing process. Knowing that my contributions get a book closer to perfection is the best thing in the world. Editing is a fine line—you don’t want to change an author’s voice or their story, but you do want to polish it. Doing that and having a good relationship with my authors is how I gauge success.

What kinds of editing (or what part of editing) do you most (and least) enjoy? Why?
I like what’s called line editing. That’s not quite as big-picture as developmental editing, but you get into the language of the story more than with just copy edits, which tend to be all about grammar and making sure the book follows the chosen style guide. And I do that, too, but I love the English language (even with all its idiosyncrasies), so polishing dialog and sentence flow and structure is perfect for me. My least favorite thing—and it doesn’t have anything to do with editing, per se—is the business side of things. I’m not all that fond of administrative work, I confess. I’d rather be editing!

When someone gives you something to edit, what do you do?
Mostly I’m thankful to have a job that I enjoy. But more to the point, most jobs follow the same path—that is setting up the client, the project, completing edits, going over revisions, and answering any questions the author might have.

What made you choose editing?
I adore books. I have a background in English education and library science. Shortly after I got my Kindle, I started noticing a fair amount of typos in indie-published books. Don’t get me wrong—I occasionally spot things in traditional books too. But it seemed that in Indie Land (at that time—these days indie books often have higher production values than traditionally published work), it was more than the occasional occurrence. Seeing a need, I started doing “Oops Detection” for indie authors, which is a final-pass service before a book is published. Fast-forward a year, and a lot of my clients were asking me to edit for them. The rest, as they say, is history. The fact that I get to immerse myself in language—I love the rhythm and flow of words—every day is the absolute best thing I could have dreamed of.

What really gets your engine revving in a book? [in other words] What do you like to see in the submissions you receive?
I’m pretty eclectic in my reading preferences, and of course that applies to editing too. A good story is king. I also love clever dialog. Genre wise, Romance and Urban Fantasy are my two favorite genres, and I also adore Paranormal Romance as it’s a bit of a blend between the two.

What is one of your writing pet peeves?
Stilted dialog. Dialog is such a huge part of a story, and if it’s not right, it can throw off the balance of the entire book. That’s especially true in Romance, where the focus of the story is the interaction between two characters. We readers need to fall in love with the hero and heroine too. One thing I suggest to all my authors is to read dialog out loud. Hear the inflection. Do you want to contract something or leave it two words? What feels more natural when you’re speaking? Those are things you often can’t spot when you’re writing or just reading your work on the page, and yet those nuances can bring your characters’ exchanges to life. Another tip is when you’re reading your dialog out loud, omit the action beats. Sometimes a portion of dialog won’t match up with the response from the other characters, but that’s something you catch if you only read the spoken parts.

Do you have a favorite author? If so, who is it and how have they influenced your career?
I have more favorites than I can count, truly. Probably one who has stuck with me my whole life, though, is C.S. Lewis and his work, The Chronicles of Narnia. Such wonderful adventures and such valuable lessons. I don’t know that he’s necessarily influenced my career, but his words have shaped some of my choices, particularly when it comes to doing the right thing and striving to treat others with kindness.

Just for fun:
Leather or lace? Lace… only I want to be contrary and say cotton or linen. I’m all about being comfy
Black or red? Black… (But really green)
Satin sheets or Egyptian cotton? Egyptian cotton
Ocean or mountains? More contrariness—the woods.
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, preferably followed by a movie.
Dogs or cats? Cats, though I adore my poodle and two parakeets

…A big thanks to Anne for taking time to visit our blog. <3

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.

A Loveable Heroine–Guest Post

Creating a Lovable Heroine

by Emily Mims

I’m going to make a confession right now.  Writing a lovable heroine didn’t always come easy for me.  I have been taken to task time and time again by my editors and occasionally by my readers because my heroines have not been the nicest people in the world.  Oh, they weren’t cruel or vicious or evil.  They didn’t deliberately set out to steal or cause trouble or hurt others in the story.  But somehow they weren’t all that likeable either, at least not in the first draft.  Unlike my heroes, who the readers and I fall in love with right along with the heroine, my heroines could sometimes seem cold and aloof and uncaring.  And I had to change that, because along with falling in love with the hero, my readers also have to care about the heroine.  They have to like her and root for her and really, really want her to have her happily ever after.  Otherwise, why read her story?

So I had to sit down and think.  Why were my heroines coming off less than wonderful?  Why was I writing them so cold?  A part of it was because I wanted my heroines to be very, very strong women.  I grew up reading a generation of romance novels in which the women were seldom portrayed as strong.  They were young, pretty, and just marking time until a rich, handsome older man came along (or rode up on his steed) and swept her off her feet.  Or they let themselves be a doormat, both for the hero and for just about anyone else who cared to use them in that manner.  I had a lot of fun reading those books but I would also get aggravated.  No way, I would think.  Where is her spine?  Where is her gumption?  Where is her career?  Where is the strong woman I want to read about?  Where is the strong woman I want to be?  My heroines would be different!

And so at first I over-compensated.  My heroines were strong and independent all right, but at the same time cold and brilliant and emotionless–or they were until my editor at Candlelight Ecstasy sat down with me and together we looked at my ladies.  She took me page by page through the first few novels I wrote for her, patiently pointing out the places where my heroines were cold and needed to be ‘warmed up’.  “Don’t make her so perfect,” she said to me.  “Put her in a ratty robe and let her have laundry on the sofa.  Make her human.”  And that went for my heroine’s relationship with the hero.  She could be strong, but she has to be loving as well.  She has to care about him and it has to show.

I like to think I paid close attention and learned.  But I struggle still.  In the first read-through of ‘Solomon’s Choice’, my first book in the Texas Hill Country series, Caroline Stern was very cold, frozen in grief over her dead husband, bitter about the time lost with her child and totally uncompromising in her attitude toward Jack Briscoe, under the circumstances perfectly natural reactions–but not very attractive ones.  So, taking the advice of a trusted reader I warmed her up and gave her compassion for Jack, a fellow victim of a cruel plot and the father of her child.  I was more careful with my next heroine.  Captain Holly Riley, the heroine of ‘Daughter of Valor’, is a wounded warrior who is understandably unhappy with the turn her life has taken, but she has channeled her frustration into helping her wounded warrior friends who are worse off than she, and in spite of her amusing tendency to pop out orders her soldiers and the four year old daughter of the hero adore her.  Christi of ‘Welcome Home’ helps paraplegic Tommy Joe adjust to his new life in a wheelchair and Emily Riley of the upcoming novella ‘Unexpected Assets’ is able to look past her hero’s horrible scarring to see the wonderful man within. And what can I say about Angie Baxter, my heroine of the next full-length book in the Texas Hill Country series ‘Never and Always’?  This woman stayed with an abusive husband because of her love for her beloved stepson.  I made sure that her love for the boy shone from every page of the book.

So what qualities did I finally learn to create in my heroines?  These days, they are strong, yes, but I’m also careful to make them caring of the hero and others around them.  Caroline shells the pecans in her yard to make Jack pecan pies.  Holly buys special pots and pans for one of her warriors so he can get a job as a chef.  Angie bakes special cakes for her son.  They are less than perfect–I let them get tired and frazzled and frightened and down–but they never let life defeat them.  They accept or learn to accept the heroes for who they are, or better yet, help the heroes become better men than they were. And they too grow in the story.  They are better women on the last page of the book than they were on the first.  And we love them for it.

***

Together Cathy and Beto have faced horror and heartbreak. Will they together find their way back to happiness?

What was to be the first night of the rest of their lives together instead became an evening of heartbreak and horror. Now dealing with the aftermath, Cathy Armbruster and Beto Flores struggle to put their lives and their relationship back together. Was their future destroyed on that fateful night, or will Cathy and Beto find a way to get past the heartbreak and claim the happily ever after with one another that they both want so desperately?

Buy Links:

http://www.amazon.com/After-Heartbreak-Emily-Mims-ebook/dp/B00NP7N4SK/
http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/477608
https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-aftertheheartbreak-1630094-149.html

When wounded war hero Holly Riley comes home to the Texas Hill Country to build a new life for herself, she has no idea that life will include sexy Congressional candidate Jimmy Adamcik!

Wounded war hero Holly Riley has come to the lakeshore community of Heaven’s Point to recover from her injuries and build a new life for herself with her band of fellow wounded warriors. Temporarily employed as a nanny be charismatic Congressional candidate and neighbor Jimmy Adamcik, Holly and Jimmy quickly began to care for one another in spite of Holly’s distrust of politics. But Jimmy finds himself sucked deeper and deeper into the seamy side of the political process, and an old enemy from Jimmy’s past targets Holly’s soldiers one by one. Will Jimmy and Holly’s love survive the double onslaught-or will they be the final target of their unknown enemy’s rage?

Buy Links
http://www.amazon.com/Daughter-Valor-Emily-Mims-ebooks/dp/B00S0H8LBA
http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/508976
http://allromanceebooks.com/product-daughterofvalor-1720943-149.html

Welcome Home
Tommy Joe is home from war, but he’s now in a wheelchair-and always will be. Can he still be the man a woman like Christi deserves?

Crippled by a sniper’s bullet, paraplegic Tommy Joe Reece doesn’t see how he can run a ranch from a wheelchair-or be a husband to Christi, the girl he’s always loved. Will Tommy and Christi let their doubts and fears about the future destroy their love, or will they have the courage to reach out to one another and find a way to make it all work?

Buy Links:

 

http://www.amazon.com/Welcome-Home-emily-mims-ebook/dp/B00S1AWDPQ

http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/509051

https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-welcomehome-1720959-149.html

***

Emily_W_Mims_2012Writing was not San Antonio teacher Emily Mims’ first love-in fact, she wrote her firstnovel on a dare.  “I had just finished a romance novel and it was so awful I pitched it across the floor and said I could do better.  My husband Charles promptly dared me to do so.”  She did and although that book didn’t sell, she sold her second book and seventeen more to Candlelight Ecstasy Romances under the name ‘Emily Elliott’.  These books were translated into six languages and sold millions of copies all over the world, and Emily discovered to her delight that she had many stories to tell and that she loved telling them.  But Emily never left the classroom, and when the Candlelight Ecstasy line closed in 1986 she continued with her demanding teaching career and raising two young sons and her storytelling fell by the wayside.  “But the desire to write never really left,” she admits.  “I would be driving down the street making up stories in my head.  Now that I’m no longer in the classroom, I am ready to tell my stories again.”

Again inspired by the thought that she could do better, Emily pitched another novel across the floor and under her own name wrote Solomon’s Choice, set in the Texas Hill Country where Emily and Charles have a second home.  “I love the Hill Country and hope to set several more books there,” she says.  “I also enjoyed incorporating suspense into the story.”  She draws inspiration from the people and places in her life and from the things she loves to do.  “Sometimes my characters are loosely based on someone I know, although by the end of the first chapter they have taken on a life of their own,” she laughs.  “Places aren’t that contrary.”  She also loves to combine her love of writing with some of the other things she loves to do.  “I play dulcimer and ukulele in a folk music group and hope to use this as a background in future work.”

Emily lives in San Antonio with her husband Charles and their five dogs but spends time both in the Hill Country and in Eastern Tennessee.  She would love to hear from each and every one of her readers!

 

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.

Guest Post — Emily Mims, Season of Enchantment

The Writing and Revisiting of ‘Season of Enchantment’

Recently I had the pleasure of revisiting my favorite novel of my first writing career when Boroughs Publishing purchased ‘Season of Enchantment’ for reissue.  ‘Season of Enchantment’ is based on the true story of the rescue of one of my husband’s colleague’s sweethearts from behind the bamboo wall of 1985 Vietnam.  The story of the enduring love this young couple had for one another during ten long years of separation struck a chord deep within me and got me to thinking-how many couples, even couples who love each other very much, would survive such a separation?  What kind of love would that take?  And what can the rest of us, especially those of us who are skeptical about the power of enduring love, learn from lovers such as these?  And so two love stories were born-the story of Jim and Li, star-crossed lovers who have been separated by politics and fate, and the second story of Debbie and Ben-a young woman desperately seeks love from a man who refuses to acknowledge that it even exists.

 photo 01de53b5-6ac3-4af7-88be-18d825066cf3_zpscc0e7886.jpg

Dollar Photo Club image, by ricardoreitmeyer

The interwoven love stories were easy to plot and write.  Li and Jim’s story was fairly tightly based in fact-our friend did work for ten long years to save the money to have his fiancée broken out of a Vietnamese work camp.  He did hire mercenaries.  They did rescue the young woman, who did marry our friend.  Ben and Debbie, on the other hand, were complete fabrications of my imagination.  But it was fairly easy to weave together the two stories as Jim and Li’s struggle to overcome their physical separation mirrors Ben and Debbie’s struggle to overcome Ben’s deep skepticism and distrust of love.

Although telling the love stories in ‘Season of Enchantment’ was not difficult, there was a rather large obstacle I had to overcome in putting this story on paper.  Normally I have a hard and fast rule that I do not write about a place I’ve never visited-there is too much potential for errors that are going to have my readers shaking their heads in dismay.  Obviously, I had to break that rule for ‘Season of Enchantment’.  There was no way I could visit 1985 Vietnam, and at that point it was impossible for me to make a trip to California either.  And in 1985 I sure couldn’t Google it!  So I found people who had been to both places and picked their brains.  I got two very different pictures of Vietnam.  Our friend saw his homeland as a wonderful place of enormous beauty and appeal, and the Army captain I talked with?  Let’s just say I got another picture entirely!  I wove the two together into what I hope was something close to the truth.  And a fellow teacher who had lived in Marin County killed a bottle of wine with me and got me up to speed on that portion of the world.

I was faced with an interesting dilemma when I sat down and looked at revising ‘Season of Enchantment’ for the market thirty years after the fact.  Do I leave the manuscript as it is or add the technology to bring it into 2015?  Unlike most of the reissues on the market, with stories that are timeless that could be updated a bit and told in just about any modern timeframe, ‘Season of Enchantment’ is quite specific in its timeframe and had to be left in 1985 for it to make any sense.  (Today Ben and Debbie could have gotten passports and flown in-no problem!)  Yet I didn’t want to just leave the story in the past.  After a bit of thought, I decided that maybe a glimpse into these couples’ lives thirty years later might be in order.  So I wrote a new epilogue which expresses the same sentiments as the original, but in which we get to see how it all turned out for them.  And (shame on me!) I planted the seeds for another generation to have an enchanting season of their own!

***

 photo cebd3bb3-48af-4f28-9cde-016ff0770de2_zpsbea3ae80.jpgIn 1985, to save a friend left behind in fallen Saigon, a young woman will undertake a desperate mission-and discover an even more desperate passion.

THE RESCUE
1985. Before cell phones and Facebook, before Glasnost and our brave new world, America and Communism remained at odds. Vietnam was a front line, and when it fell, there were those left behind. Like Debbie Cheong’s friend Li. Yet there was hope…if someone was willing to go in after her.
Only one man was up to the job. Cold and ruthless, mercenary Ben Sako lived by his own rules and trusted no person or feeling. The ex-Green Beret would take the mission for a price, and he would demand more of Debbie than she expected to pay. But the expedition would also reveal an undeniable attraction and a soul of powerful sensuality-and deep feeling. Debbie’s upcoming journey would be filled with danger and desperation, passion and peril; it would rescue an innocent from imprisonment and a man from himself. It would be a season of enchantment worth any price.
ISBN 978-1-941260-60-9
Buy links:
AllRomanceBooks
Amazon
Smashwords

 

***

Emily_W_Mims_2012Author of nineteen Romance novels, Emily Wright Mims combined her writing career with a career in public education until leaving the classroom to write full time. The mother of two sons, she and her husband Charles split their time between central Texas and eastern Tennessee. For relaxation she plays the piano, organ, and dulcimer. She says, “I love to write Romances because I believe in them. Romance happened to me and it can happen to any woman – if she’ll just let it.”

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.

#AmEditing

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

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 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.

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