Monday, March 30, 2015

An interview with author A.M. Hargrove + Giveaway

Please welcome A.M. Hargrove to The Authorteers! She's here to answer some burning questions from us about her writing and more.

The Interview:

1. Describe your latest book in the length of a tweet or less.

Nerdy scientist meets hot sexy rich guy. Who knew sparks would fly. But how far can it go when both are as screwed up as can be?

2. I've been following you since you published Survival. When you sat down and wrote that book, did you know it would lead into a series and branch off into another?

Absolutely not. When I wrote Survival, it was soooo long (it was actually Survival and Resurrection), I had to break it into two books. I have a friend who is a publicist in the traditional side of publishing and she told me there was no way I could publish that book. She recommend I edit it down. Well, there was way too much story in it to cut out that much, so I broke it up into two books and released one at the end of November and the other in January. I thought that would be it. But I started getting fan mail and things started to snowball. So that’s when I wrote Determinant. And here I am.

3. You started out with a young adult series featuring aliens, then dove into the contemporary romance world. What sparked that genre jump?

This answer could take a book! The short version—if there is one— is when I was writing The Guardians of Vesturon series, I wrote the 3rd book, Determinant. In that book, I introduced a character that demanded a book of his own. However, it had to be an adult book since the character was 500 yrs old and he was really irreverent. Basically, he was a jackass. So I wrote a spin-off called Dark Waltz. I liked writing in the adult genre so much, I decided to write a contemporary romance, just to see if I enjoyed it as much as I liked writing paranormal. And I actually liked it better. So that’s how I jumped on that train.

4. What has been your favorite book to write so far?

Yikes! That’s a toughey! I would have to say in the Guardians series, Determinant is my favorite. I just like the plot line because it has the whole element of world annihilation from a biological warfare standpoint before any of this was seen before. Mind you, this book came out in 2012. And I also like the way I introduced the Praestani. They were shapeshifters, but they shifted into energy, and not other animals. As for my contemporary books, Tragic Desires is my favorite. I love Drex Wolfe. He’s a badass guy that you don’t want to mess with. And the book is totally plot heave with suspense. The female MC was raised in WITSEC but doesn’t know it because her mother was killed in a car accident before she has a chance to tell her. It has all kinds of suspense in it, with terrorists, the CIA, you name it. And it’s big mystery until the end.

5. Which character's point of view have you enjoyed writing the most?

Gemini from Tragic Desires. She was so complex because she thought for her entire life she was one person and then suddenly she finds out she’s someone else. It’s mind bending for her.

6. A lot of writers would love to do what you did--quit the 9-5 job and start telling stories for a living. When you made that decision was it scary or mostly a relief?

Haha! The truth is my company was gobbled up by another and I was given a severance package. I decided that I didn’t want to go back to corporate America. I’d been in management for too long and was tired of the government controlling everything you do. So I figured I would try my hand at something I’d wanted to do forever, but never had the time.

7. Do you have any advice for other authors on how to market their books?

No, because in reality there is no magic bullet. I wish I could find the answer. The market is so crazy right now with Kindle Unlimited. It’s hurting the smaller authors, in my opinion. The only thing I know is to stay connected to your readers in any way you can.

8. What are you working on right now?

I’m currently editing Kestrel (A Hart Brothers Novel Book 3) which is a stand alone novel in the series. It releases on March 29. And as soon as I finish with this I will start on the 4th book in the series which will release sometime this summer.

Thank you for stopping by, A.M. Hargrove!

About the Author
One day, on her way home from work as a sales manager, A. M. Hargrove, realized her life was on fast forward and if she didn't do something soon, it would quickly be too late to write that work of fiction she had been dreaming of her whole life. So, she rolled down the passenger window of her fabulous (not) company car and tossed out her leather briefcase. Luckily, the pedestrian in the direct line of fire was a dodge ball pro and had über quick reflexes enabling him to avoid getting bashed in the head. Feeling a tad guilty about the near miss, A. M. made a speedy turn down a deserted side street before tossing her crummy, outdated piece-of-you-know-what lap top out the window. She breathed a liberating sigh of relief, picked up her cell phone, called her boss and quit her job. Grinning, she made another call to her hubs and told him of her new adventure (after making sure his heart was beating properly again).

So began A. M. Hargrove's career as a YA/NA and Adult Romance writer. Her books include Kissing Fire, Edge of Disaster, Shattered Edge, the series the Guardians of Vesturon (Survival, Resurrection, Determinant, Beginnings and reEmergent), Dark Waltz, Tragically Flawed, Tragic Desires, and Exquisite Betrayal.

Other than being in love with being in love, she loves chocolate, ice cream and coffee and is positive they should be added as part of the USDA food groups.

(If you're wondering, it didn't happen EXACTLY that way, but….)

You can also find her on Goodreads as Emerson St. Clair. Her novella series, Dirty Nights, is available and those are a little dark, a little erotic and a lot sexy!

A.M. Hargrove's latest release is Kestrel:
**This is the 3rd book in the series, but it is a Stand Alone Novel
**Not intended for readers under the age of 18 due to its mature content and strong language.

Two lives with horrific pasts. One chance meeting that changed them both forever.

“One look at her and I want to run. Frizzy hair, thick glasses, mom jeans, and ruffles up to her neck. Who the hell wears shit like that? What decade is she living in? My mother doesn’t even dress like that!”

Raised by a monster, Kestrel Hart somehow survived. Now that the monster is dead, he’s trying to move on, to pull himself together. Struggling with issues no one can imagine, he moves away from his family, from the brother who loves him, and the sister-in-law who supports and understands him the best.

Charleston, South Carolina is his new home. And he has a purpose. He’s opening up a new division of his brother’s corporation. But a surprise awaits him. Her name is Carter Drayton.

Carter’s past is also a painful one. She is dealing with the tragic death of her family. She’s healing in the only way she knows how.

Carter needs love. Kestrel craves human contact. Neither of them recognizes what’s right before their eyes. Will they see it before it’s too late?


A.M. Hargrove is giving away the entire Hart Brothers series to one lucky winner!

(Click on the title to read more on Goodreads)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, March 27, 2015

Fast Drafting and Writing Advice with Dylan Quinn

Hi lovely readers! I hope you're enjoying the various posts we've brought you so far. Today my author friend Dylan Quinn is stopping by The Authorteers with a post on drafting. Dylan is fab and writes amazing characters and some SWOONWORTHY guys. I can't wait for y'all to read all her books.

First Drafts, Fast Drafts and the Best Writing Advice I Ever Got

By Dylan Quinn

           Ten months ago I wrote my very first novel, a paranormal New Adult romance, Gemini. It took me only five weeks, and I wrote most of it *coughs* while my yearbook students watched movies after sending our finished book off to the publisher. I can still recall writing particularly taxing scenes while Mean Girls played in the background.
           I remember telling people about my five weeks of writing and got gasps and surprised reactions. I was asked over and over: ‘How did you write your first book in five weeks?’
           I had no idea. Nor did I have any clue what the norm was for most new writers. All I knew was a dream I had staring me and a hot Norse-God type guy spawned an idea that ruminated for a few weeks, and I had found my muse. The Eternal Sacrifice Series was born.
           I have been a writer of sorts all my life. In the beginning, I wrote poetry and focused my gift with words into my first lofty pursuit as a singer/songwriter. Back then I used my teenage angst to write song lyrics that eventually propelled me into short stories.
           I always knew I wanted to write a novel. “Someday,” I would tell myself. About two weeks before my dream, I read the first two books of the Bound by Hades series by my lovely writer friend Reese Monroe, and I was hooked on New Adult. From there, I went on a reading binge, devouring every romance series I could download and made a lot of writer friend connections along the way. I knew then my ‘someday’ was now. It was time to write.
           Writing as a second career can seem impossible unless we do double time while taking advantage of those scattered free moments like waiting in the car line at school, staying up late or getting up early to avoid the kids, or taking advantage of any spare second—anything to get the words in. Nobody who has ever written a novel would say this life is easy.
           After finishing Gemini, it took me a few weeks to let the dust settle before I dug into first round edits but when I did, I was shocked at what I had created. I had written a book and for the first time, I felt like a real writer.
           Unfortunately, revisions suck.
           As a perfectionist, it took me until August to be ready to share what I had written with anyone. So then I got brave, sent it out to a few choice friend/beta readers and learned that while I had written a pretty cool story, it still had a VERY long way to go before it was ready to submit. After first rounds of beta reviews came in, I knew it needed a LOT more ruminating so I did what any true writer would… jumped into looking for my next project.
           I knew I wanted to write a contemporary romance next, but I was lost for ideas. One day while working on a review for another of my favorite NA series, Off the Map, I was talking to the author, my friend Lia Riley when she told me the story of her covers… I was immediately inspired and once again, had found my muse.
           A few weeks into August, I got an invite to a Fast Draft club from some writer group Facebook buddies and when September 1st rolled around, I began. Two weeks later, my second novel’s first draft, Perfectly Flawed, was complete.
           I knew then I was a writer. I’d found the words.
           Since then I’ve jumped into revisions, and I’m about ten chapters away from ‘ready to submit’ status.

           I’ve learned a lot about writing and revising in the short ten months of my career, but that conversation is for another day. For today, I have one bit of great advice Reese Monroe gave me: Keep writing. No matter how tired you get or how bummed out you may be that you’ve yet to find your story it’s publishing home, keep pushing forward because in this business, only we can write our Happily Ever Afters.

What did y'all think of Dylan's post? Are you a fast drafter or a slow one? Me, I'm a middle speed, I'd say. If you DO fast draft, has it always been that way for you? 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Guest Post: Self-Editing Tips: Things We Can Do to Help Our Editors by editor Mickey Reed

Today we have the super sweet editor Mickey Reed on The Authorteers. She's going to give authors some pointers on edits they can do before hiring a professional editor.

Self-Editing Tips: Things We Can Do to Help Our Editors

Hey all! My name is Mickey Reed, and I’m a freelance copyeditor, writer, and blogger. Today, I am hanging out with the lovely ladies of The Authorteers (thanks for having me!) to talk about editing!

All authors need editing. Really. Our brains can only catch so much. With that in mind, you’ll probably need multiple editors to catch all the mistakes. Even then, there might still be a comma out of place or an extra word here and there. But there are quite a few self-editing tricks you can use to send your editor the cleanest copy of your manuscript and save yourself from some editing mistakes.
  1. Use Word’s text-to-speech function
    If you have the newest version of Word, you can add the “speak” function to your Quick Access Toolbar. Then highlight your text and press the button. This allows you to hear what you’ve written. It’s a different medium, so your brain works in other ways to catch errors. You’ll be able to listen for missing, extra, or overused words, awkward phrasing, and unclear sentences.
  2. Put your manuscript on your e-reader
    When you change the environment of your work, you can look at it with a fresh pair of eyes. Use the comment function to keep notes, or have a pen and paper at the ready to track the changes you want to make later. Some e-readers also have that text-to-speech functionality, so that might come in handy later.
  3. Change the font of your manuscript
    Much like moving your manuscript to your e-reader, this gives you a new look at what you’ve written. Make sure the font is very different from the one you wrote with. As you read it back, you’ll likely catch errors you wouldn’t have while reading it back in the same font.
  4. Print your manuscript
    Get that red pen out, fill your printer with paper, and hit the print button. Then read it back and make notes in the margins or right on the text about what you want to edit. I’ve never done this, but I’ve seen many people try it. It’s a LOT of paper, so please recycle, use in a giveaway to your readers, or find some other good use for it when you’re finished.
  5. Edit in rounds
    Just like you have different editors for different things, you can also edit your own manuscript for different things each time you read it. Perhaps the first time is for the overall, big-picture stuff. Is your story tight? Are there any plot holes? Does the tension hold up throughout the book? Next, you can edit for smaller-picture things. Does each paragraph flow from one to the next? What sentences need to be reworded to avoid awkward phrasing? Is the dialogue clear and concise? A third round can be performed to catch any last-minute typos or punctuation marks before you send it off to your editor.
  6. Take grammar/punctuation/editing/writing classes
    There’s nothing wrong with taking ownership of your work. Know your craft. Keep learning and growing as an author. Not all editors were created equal, so take responsibility of knowing who’s a good fit for your work, who will be able to fulfill your editing needs, etc. And that means knowing a bit about the field yourself. You certainly don’t need to be an expert, but your work will only benefit from having some working knowledge of grammar and punctuation. 
Those are my self-editing tips. You can find more ideas and tricks other authors use to self-edit their work if you Google it, but these are definitely the big ones I’d recommend before sending your manuscript to your editor(s). I hope they can be of some use to you! If you have any questions, feel free to contact me using any of the social media below. Thanks, and happy self-editing!

Thanks so much for the great editing tips, Mickey!

Find Mickey on:

Contact Mickey Reed for your editing needs:
| Website | Email: |

What do you think of Mickey's self-editing tips?
Sound off in the comments!

Friday, March 20, 2015

An interview with author Ginger Scott + Giveaway

Please welcome Ginger Scott to The Authorteers! She's here to tell us about her books and what else she has in store.

The Interview:

1. Describe your latest book in the length of a tweet or less.

My newest book is called Wild Reckless.

Kensi's life was perfect, until it became a nightmare. Owen's heart was numb, until a girl trapped in hell moved next door. One act changed everything.

2. This is Falling was such an honest and real book to me (so much so that I was crying near the end). What was it that sparked this story?

That book was real for me, too! I'm so glad you felt that way. The idea came from an ASU baseball game I attended. My kid and husband were off somewhere playing catch during warm-ups, so I just hung out in the lawn and did some good people watching. I noticed this one girl who was there by herself, and she was definitely interested in one of the players. He kept looking at her, noticing her, and there was a lot of glancing and flirtatious looks going on. Eventually, the game started and her friends came and it all stopped, but by that time, I had written down the character names--Rowe and Nate--on my ticket stub, along with some basic plot points. I started writing that night and the story just flew out of me. The conflict in that book is something I've thought about for a long time (I can't give it away totally, because I hate to spoil). I spent years working in the media, and I've covered some pretty tragic scenarios, and I've always thought: "What happens for these people two years down the road? How do they cope?" And those questions are at the root of THIS IS FALLING.

3. You and Everything After deals with two characters facing huge challenges. Was it difficult to write their story?

Extremely! I wanted to write a character like Tyson Preeter for a long time, but it intimidated me. Tyson is paralyzed, living most of his life in a wheelchair. And I wanted to portray him in a way that honored the strength of many of my friends who have disabilities but simply kick-ass in the face of adversity. And he needed a woman who was his equal in every way. I had some very insightful beta readers for this story, people who live with paralysis and MS, and they kept me honest, and I learned a lot. As scary as writing this story was, I'm so very glad I did. Tyson quickly became my favorite.

4. Has your writing evolved since the first book you published?

Definitely. I think it's hard for that not to happen. I'm immensely proud of my first book, and that story--Waiting on the Sidelines--is very much the story I always wanted to tell. But I've learned things, gotten tighter with my story arcs, smoother with my plotting. I think one thing that I haven't changed is character development, and taking care of those side characters just as much as the main ones. I love my side characters, in every single book.

5. Do you have any advice for other authors on how to market their books?

Try anything. I have tried things that have worked and things that have failed miserably. But, if the cost is minimal, and there might be something there, I say go for it. For me, I think the best recipe has been to just roll up my sleeves and connect with people. I love that part of the job honestly, and if waving my "look at me" arms 24-7 on social media is what it takes to share my stories, then I'll start strength training right now.

6. What is/are your favorite quote(s) from your books?

I have a few, but let me share these three.

The first one is a favorite quote of mine from a standalone, How We Deal With Gravity. I love this quote because I am a huge autism advocate, and this book had my entire heart in it. It's about a single mom of a child with autism and her second chance at love with the guy who broke her heart in high school but has come back home to do some growing up. This is a scene during a public meltdown with her son, and it's one of the truest things I've ever written:

All I can do is smile, and meekly, at that. “I’m sorry.” That’s what I’m saying with that smile. That I’m sorry my son has autism, and that I don’t know how to hide it from you.

The next one is from This Is Falling. It's one of those...moments :-) From Nate...sweet, sweet Nate.

"I will wait for you," I say, and her breath catches quickly, her eyes watering almost instantly. "Do you hear me?...For as long as it takes. Forever if I have to. I'll wait forever..."

This last one is from my latest release (which came out March 17), Wild Reckless. This book...gah! It's simply my favorite.

He’s wearing gray jeans, black Doc Martens and a tight black, long-sleeved shirt that fits his frame perfectly. From a distance, he’s a shadow. I don’t know about the wild theory. But Owen Harper is definitely dark. And he sleeps thirty feet away from me.

7. What are you working on right now?

I am working on finishing up book 3 in the Falling Series, The Girl I Was Before. This one is Paige's story -- the sister from the first two books. And I am LOVING being in her head. Paige is cocky, confident, and maybe a little conceited. But she knows what she wants and goes for it. Unfortunately, what she thought she wanted has turned out to be pretty poisonous and is ruining things on the other end of her life. Paige's journey is definitely one of growth and finding your true self. And her match--Houston--well, he's pretty damn special too.

Thank you for sharing, Ginger!

About the Author
Ginger Scott is an Amazon-bestselling author of seven young and new adult romances, including Waiting on the Sidelines, Going Long, Blindness, How We Deal With Gravity, This Is Falling, You and Everything After and Wild Reckless.

A sucker for a good romance, Ginger’s other passion is sports, and she often blends the two in her stories. (She’s also a sucker for a hot quarterback, catcher, pitcher, point guard…the list goes on.) Ginger has been writing and editing for newspapers, magazines and blogs for more than 15 years. She has told the stories of Olympians, politicians, actors, scientists, cowboys, criminals and towns. For more on her and her work, visit her website at

When she's not writing, the odds are high that she's somewhere near a baseball diamond, either watching her son field pop flies like Bryce Harper or cheering on her favorite baseball team, the Arizona Diamondbacks. Ginger lives in Arizona and is married to her college sweetheart whom she met at ASU (fork 'em, Devils)

Ginger's latest release is Wild Reckless:
Kensington Worth had a vision for her senior year. It involved her best friends, her posh private school in downtown Chicago and time alone with her piano until her audition was perfected, a guaranteed ticket into the best music programs in the world.

Instead, a nightmare took over.

It didn’t happen all at once, but her life unraveled quickly—a tiny thread that evil somehow kept pulling until everything precious was taken from her. She was suddenly living miles away from her old life, trapped in an existence she didn’t choose—one determined to destroy her from the inside, leaving only hate and anger behind. It didn’t help that her neighbor, the one whose eyes held danger, was enjoying every second of her fall.

Owen Harper was trouble, his heart wild and his past the kind that’s spoken about in whispers. And somehow, his path was always intertwined with Kensington’s, every interaction crushing her, ruining her hope for any future better than her now. Sometimes, though, what everyone warns is trouble, is exactly what the heart needs. Owen Harper was consumed with darkness, and it held onto his soul for years. When Kensington looked at him, she saw a boy who’d gotten good at taking others down when they threatened his carefully balanced life. But the more she looked, the more she saw other things too—good things…things to admire.

Things…to love. Things that made her want to be reckless.

And those things…they were the scariest of all.


Ginger is offering up an ecopy of any one of her books (winner's choice)!

Here are the lovely books you get to choose from:

(Click on the title to read more on Goodreads)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Character Playlist: Jonah Walker from As You Turn Away

If you know me, it's no secret that I love music. I love music A LOT. So much so that when Jessica, Marie, Lilly and I were tossing around ideas for posts, and the topic of a playlist came up, I pretty much went all ME ME ME at the chance.

I always create a playlist for each of my projects. It's the first thing I do to get to know the characters. I go through my iTunes and Spotify, and the songs I stop on get added; throughout the WIP, I'll remove some songs, or add some. They're background noise to help me concentrate, and sometimes they get me through emotional scenes.

Today I'm sharing with y'all Jonah's playlist. Some of these are songs actually on his playlist, but some are just ones I could see him listening to. Haven't met Jonah Walker yet?

I hope you guys enjoy the playlist!
This one is all about redemption, and that's definitely something on Jonah's mind in As You Turn Away.

Just a fun song about a "country boy lookin' big city," trying to keep his cool around his girl and not doing so well. HEH.

All about trying to make a love last, and struggling with it, I couldn't resist putting this one on the As You Turn Away playlist.

I loved this song from the moment I heard it, and sometimes when I listen to it, I can imagine Jonah singing it to Quinn. It's SO sweet. 

They can't ALL be heavy songs! I can totally see this coming on the radio on one of Jonah's drives from the city back to Quinn, and him rocking out to it. 

"Everything will be alright, if I can kiss you tonight." It just speaks to them struggling a little bit with being apart, and wanting to see and hold each other, but knowing they will make it through.

Uh, welp, this one is pretty sexy and definitely will probably end up on the sequel playlist for some sexytimes because... "I wanna crawl through the dark just to feel your heart beat against me."

A song for Jonah, his brothers, and Darren! "Blood brothers, closer than your next of kin, thick as thieves and the best of friends."
 Something I could see Jonah listening to when he and Quinn were apart after high school.

One of THE sexiest country songs ever. Y'all gotta listen to this one. "I softly kiss your neck and slowly whisper. You breathe in 'cause it feels cold where my lips were."

What did you think of the playlist? Do you know and like any of these songs? If not, will you give them a listen? Would you like to see more posts like this? 

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

An interview with editor (and author!) Stephanie Parent

Today, we have author and editor Stephanie Parent here today to give us the scoop on being an editor. Of the four of us here on The Authorteers, Stephanie is the editor for two of us (myself included!) so we love her.

The Interview

1. I’m going to start with an easy (and probably one you get asked all the time) question: What’s your favorite part of being an editor?

My answer is probably one of the most common responses to this question…I love getting paid to read awesome books! And what’s more, I get to read them before they’re published, and I’m usually one of the very first readers. It can be especially fun to edit an entire series of books or stories—I’ve done a bit of that for one of this blog’s founders, Lilly Avalon. For some reason I get a special sense of satisfaction out of editing a series. Whether a book is part of a series or not, I love seeing a novel I edited as a Word document get a gorgeous cover, turn up on Amazon, and get read and reviewed and talked about!

2. And your least favorite part?

I’m always really disappointed when a book I edited isn’t as popular or selling as well as I think it should be. Of course, sales aren’t the most important part of publishing for every author, but it can still be maddening to see great books get lost in the overwhelming mass of choices that is Amazon these days, while other, not-so-awesome books become bestsellers. And of course this is even more frustrating to witness when I played a part in creating the book! Unfortunately the current publishing market is incredibly oversaturated, and that’s just something authors need to be aware of when they make the choice to publish.

3. What made you decide to become an editor?

I was a writing tutor in college, and I edited the Writing Center Handbook…that was my first experience editing something as a paying job, and I realized I really liked the detail-oriented aspect of it and actually found it relaxing. With my love for fiction, the jump to editing novels was a natural one. I first answered a craigslist ad to edit for a small online publisher (this was before self-publishing was really a “thing”) and it just snowballed from there.

4. In your opinion, what makes a good editor?

I think the most important aspect of editing is understanding what the author and/or publisher wants. When I’m working with a publisher, I need to follow their official style guide, but with an author I try to respect the style they’re working in. A romance or popular fiction novel will require a different approach from literary fiction, which will differ from children’s fiction, and so on. It’s important for an editor to know grammatical rules well, and then to use their own judgment to determine whether following the rules will improve or detract from the story in any given situation. An editor also needs to be very detail oriented, not just in terms of grammar, but also picturing and keeping track of the physical scene. You have to notice things like a character sitting in a chair on one page, then a sofa on the next page, when there was no mention of the character getting up and moving. I find that these kinds of errors are often the most difficult to catch, much more so than a misplaced comma or semicolon!

5. What’s one of the most common misconceptions about what it means to be an editor?

I think a lot of authors fear editors because they think our word is law, and an author has to make the changes their editor suggests. This is not true at all, whether we’re talking about big-picture content changes or small sentence-level things. As I mentioned above, when I’m working with a publisher, I do have to follow their style guide, and the author is expected to do so as well; however, I’ve found that even with publishers, authors are rarely forced to make big changes they don’t agree with. And now that self-publishing is more popular and profitable and I’m editing more books without traditional publishers, the author has even greater freedom. I make suggestions based on what I think readers will respond to, but ultimately the changes made are entirely up to the author. That’s one of my favorite parts of the self-publishing revolution!

6. What is your biggest pet peeve as an editor?

I know that no person can catch every error in a book, and even after a novel has been both copy edited and proofread, it will probably still have a few typos. But I hate seeing any published book, particularly a book from a major publisher, that’s full of obvious mistakes. I’ve noticed more and more errors in traditionally published books over the last few years, as publishers try to rush books into print to capitalize on quickly changing trends and compete with self-publishing. I think these publishers have a responsibility to readers to take the time and expense to make sure books are polished, and if they stop doing so, they’re going to lose readers’ trust and respect.

7. How long does it usually take you to edit a novel?

It completely varies! A novel can be anywhere from 40 to 50,000 words to 200,000 plus…I can edit something on the shorter end of that spectrum within a few days if the author needs it back quickly, while a longer book can take over a month, especially if I’m juggling multiple projects.

8. What are the most common errors you come across when you edit for authors?

One error I see fairly often, which bugs me because it can require reworking the entire sentence, is when the subject of an introductory dependent clause doesn’t agree with the main subject of the sentence. An example would be “Staring in the mirror, my mouth gaped open.” This construction implies that the person’s mouth is doing the “staring,” so you’d have to change it to something like "Staring in the mirror, I gaped at my reflection” or “My mouth gaped open as I stared in the mirror.” I could go on and list many other small grammatical mistakes I see a lot…but I’m thankful to readers who have stayed with me this long, so I should probably wrap this up. Thank you so much to the Authorteers for hosting me!

Thanks so much for stopping by, Stephanie!

About the editor/author
Stephanie Parent is a graduate of the Master of Professional Writing program at USC and attended the Baltimore School for the Arts as a piano major. She moved to Los Angeles because of Francesca Lia Block's WEETZIE BAT books, which might give you some idea of how much books mean to her. She also loves dogs, books about dogs, and sugary coffee drinks both hot and cold.

Need an editor? Stephanie is looking for new clients!

Take it from Lilly and me--she's amazing. Just go to this page and get in touch with her today. Stephanie does an exceptional job with her editing. If you have any questions, just ask one of us and we'd be happy to tell you more!

Stephanie Parent's books:

Defy the Stars
Julia Cape: A dedicated classical piano student just trying to get through her last semester of high school while waiting to hear from music conservatories.

Reed MacAllister: A slacker more likely to be found by the stoners’ tree than in class.

Julia and Reed might have graduated high school without ever speaking to each other…until, during a class discussion of Romeo and Juliet, Julia scoffs at the play’s theme of love at first sight, and Reed responds by arguing that feelings don’t always have to make sense. Julia tries to shake off Reed’s comment and forget about this boy who hangs with the stoner crowd—and who happens to have breathtaking blue eyes—but fate seems to bring the two together again and again. After they share an impulsive, passionate kiss, neither one can deny the chemistry between them. Yet as Julia gets closer to Reed, she also finds herself drawn into his dark world of drugs and violence. Then a horrific tragedy forces Julia’s and Reed’s families even farther apart…and Julia must decide whether she’s willing to give up everything for love.

Defy the Stars is written in an edgy free-verse style that will appeal to fans of Ellen Hopkins and Lisa Schroeder; however, the writing is accessible enough to speak to non-verse fans as well. The novel’s combination of steamy romance and raw emotion will appeal to fans of Gayle Forman, Simone Elkeles, Jennifer Echols, and Tammara Webber. With a story, language and form that both pay homage to and subvert Shakespeare’s play, Defy the Stars is much more than just another Romeo and Juliet story.

Precious Things
| Goodreads | Amazon | B&N |
Isabelle Andrews isn’t supposed to be here. She isn’t supposed to be a freshman at Hartford Community College, she isn't supposed to be living at home and working at her dad’s failing bakery, and she definitely isn’t supposed to be taking Intro to Electronic Music Production, a class that will get her nowhere toward her goal of an English Lit Ph.D. by age twenty-five. But when her dad’s latest business fiasco eats up her college fund, Hartford Community College is exactly where Isabelle finds herself—and thanks to her late enrollment, she doesn’t even get to choose her classes. Stuck with Electronic Music and way-too-easy English courses, Isabelle is determined to wallow in all the misery she feels entitled to.

But community college brings some unexpected benefits…like the fact that a certain overworked, over-scheduled Electronic Music professor hands over most of his duties to his teaching assistant. His tall, green-eyed, absolutely gorgeous teaching assistant. When TA Evan Strauss discovers Isabelle’s apathy toward electronic music—and, well, all music—he makes it his mission to convert her. The music Evan composes stirs something inside Isabelle, but she can’t get involved—after all, she’ll be transferring out as soon as possible.

Still, no matter how tightly Isabelle holds on to her misery, she finds it slipping away in the wake of all Hartford Community offers: new friendships, a surprisingly cool poetry professor, and most of all, Evan. But Evan’s dream of owning his own music studio is as impractical as Isabelle’s dad’s bakery, and when Evan makes a terrible decision, everything Isabelle has gained threatens to unravel. Soon Isabelle discovers that some of the most important lessons take place outside the classroom…and that in life, as in Evan’s favorite Depeche Mode song, the most precious things can be the hardest to hold on to.

Forty Days
Neima's Ark #1
| Goodreads | Amazon | B&N |
The entire village knows Neima’s grandfather is a madman. For years the old man has prophesied that a great flood is coming, a flood disastrous enough to blot out the entire earth. He’s even built an enormous ark that he claims will allow his family to survive the deluge. But no one believes the ravings of a lunatic…

…until the rain starts. And doesn’t stop. Soon sixteen-year-old Neima finds her entire world transformed, her life and those of the people she loves in peril. Trapped on the ark with her grandfather Noah, the rest of her family, and a noisy, filthy, and hungry assortment of wild animals, will Neima find a way to survive?

With lions, tigers, and bears oh my, elephants and flamingos too, along with rivalries and betrayals, a mysterious stowaway, and perhaps even an unexpected romance, FORTY DAYS is not your grandfather’s Noah’s Ark story.

FORTY DAYS is approximately 45000 words, the length of a shorter novel, and is the first installment in a two-part epic story. It does contain a cliffhanger ending.

Readers looking for a traditional, religiously oriented version of the Noah’s Ark story should be warned that FORTY DAYS may not appeal to them. The novel will, however, appeal to lovers of apocalyptic fiction, historical fiction, and romance, as well as anyone who’s ever dreamed of having a baby elephant as a pet.

Forty Nights
Neima's Ark #2
Neima, her family, and her grandfather Noah have found themselves trapped aboard an ark as a great flood destroys all life in the world. As their time aboard the ark lengthens, food begins to run out, wild animals grow restless, and family tensions become as much of a threat as the flood outside. In the second and final installment of Neima’s Ark, the stakes are higher, the conflicts are greater, and Neima finds herself facing a choice as impossible as the destruction all around her.

Forty Nights is a continuation of the story begun in Forty Days, and it’s recommended that you read Forty Days first for the best experience. Forty Nights does, however, contain a character guide to refresh readers’ memories. The Neima’s Ark series is a historical, feminist reimagining of the story of Noah’s Ark rather than a religiously oriented one, and the novels are best suited for readers who are comfortable with new interpretations of biblical stories.

Forty Days, the first half of Neima's story, is free on all major ebook retailers including Amazon.

In Ophelia's Garden
Wisdom always comes at a price, you know.

I will teach you to grow this garden, but the knowledge will cost you. You won’t be able to avoid the thorn bushes; on your arms a web of scratches will bloom, delicate as Queen Anne’s Lace. Your fingers will bleed and your bare feet will grow tough as leather. Unprotected by your thin cotton dress, your neck and shoulders will blister under the sun. Your hair will slip free of the knot atop your head, growing longer and catching on the thorns, weighing you down like thick coils of rope. Your voice will grow too parched to sing, to call out for a fairy godmother or a lover. You will be too tired to attend the balls, the weddings and the christenings.

In Ophelia's Garden is a short story that combines Shakespeare, herbal lore, and fairy tales into a unique, magical brew. Originally published in Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet literary magazine, edited by Kelly Link and Gavin Grant. Appropriate for ages fourteen and up.

What do you think about the life of an editor?
Did you learn anything new about it?

Monday, March 16, 2015

Why I wrote 3 short stories before my first novel by Lilly Avalon + Giveaway

Hi! It's Lilly again. Today I'm going to talk about novels, novellas, short stories, and how I ended up writing the books I published in the last year.

Why I wrote 3 short stories before my first novel

After publishing a short story and two novellas, some people have been wondering why I chose to do that instead of putting out a full-length novel. Is it because I'm a wicked little tease? Or is it because I like to taunt you with unfinished tales of the sexy kind?

It's actually neither. Near the end of 2013, I decided I wanted to write erotica. It had been on my mind for awhile, but I was afraid to jump into it. So I started small and wrote Here All Along. The first draft was about 5000 words (and written in third person). I expanded in it and added a scene to make it 8000. Then I hit publish and crossed my fingers. I felt really good about it. I mean, yeah, it's a pretty short story—but I was proud of it.

Over the next few months, I started working on the full-length sequel to Here All Along (titled Here We Are). I came up with the basic plot and wrote several scenes, but I wasn't getting into it. A few other ideas came to mind, so I decided to give HWA a rest while I pursued something I could get into. I started writing a new adult story called Unexpected. That one started out as a novella, but it kept changing and growing. I loved it, but I couldn't focus on that one either.

Then Resist came along and my writing was flowing again. The idea started originally as a short story, but as time went on and I learned about Allegra and Devlin, I knew there was more to them than just simple attraction. And even though they were going to have their one story, I knew that wouldn't be it for them. Resist ended at about 21,000 words, which was enough to tell the first part of their story.

As soon as I published it, I got to work immediately on Longing, the full-length sequel to Resist. I just broke the 10,000 word mark when I was suddenly inspired. A story idea from a couple months back started running through my head and it was just so persistent and demanding that I had to listen. So I did. And for the next 12 days, I wrote 12,000 words. That writing blitz became my third book, More Than Words. I didn't set out to write it. It just happened because it had to.

As I edited More Than Words, I kept plugging away at Longing. Luckily for me, the story was coming along nicely. I had high hopes to have it written by the middle of October so that I would be able to publish in December, but then real life got in the way. My focus was thrown off and I didn't want to rush the story. I gave myself an extra month, delaying the release until January instead. I felt awful about postponing Longing, and I even had a brief moment of feeling like I failed. But I had to tell myself that I didn't—I took in the situation and acted accordingly. If I hadn't, Longing wouldn't be what it is today.

So, why did I publish three books that weren't full-length novels?

As a writer, you have to go with what's working. For me, it ended up being three shorter stories before I finally published my first novel. Am I a tease? Inadvertently, yes.

The point is, you never know where your books are going to lead you. You can have every intention to write only full-length stories, but sometimes the shorter ones end up happening. You never know which story is going to stand out to you the most, or why it does. You may wake up one day, change your mind about your WIP, and start a new one. I'll tell you something, though: If you don't follow the inspiration when it strikes, you might regret it.

Trust your instincts.

Just because your current WIP isn't working for you today, doesn't mean it won't work for you tomorrow, or in a month, or maybe even a year. Sometimes the best thing for a story is to let it breathe, let your mind wander over time, and then you'll be truly ready.

As writers, we need to write. So, when you have a story that lets you do that, hold on to it and keep at it. I know you can make it happen!

Lilly Avalon is the author of the RESIST series as well as other erotic romances. She's somewhere in the midst of her twenties and lives mostly in the stories in her head. When she's not enveloped in the worlds she creates, she's out in the real world making stories happen. That or reading other romances. It's a toss-up.


I'm offering up an ecopy of both Resist and Longing today to TWO lucky winners! Both winners will receive both books.

(Click on the title to read more on Goodreads)
| Resist | Longing |

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, March 13, 2015

Guest Post: The Question that Plagues Author’s Like No Other: Indie or Traditional? by Cindy C. Bennett

Please welcome Cindy C. Bennett to The Authorteers! She's here today to discuss writing indie versus traditional.

The Question that Plagues Author’s Like No Other: Indie or Traditional?

With all of the changes that have occurred in publishing over the past several years, writers have moved from the hope that they’ll be published, to having to decide which path to take: traditional publishing or self-publishing.
I entered the world of self-publishing about 6 years ago after the nth rejection by an agent. I was part of a fledgling critique group (before it was cool to be part of a critique group) and one of the other authors, Jeffery Moore, suggested self-publishing. I honestly hadn’t known that was possible. So I read about it, and published my first book, Geek Girl, in June of 2010. In December of that year, I published Heart on a Chain.
At the time, I knew nothing about marketing, and so decided I should try to get a smaller publishing company to publish my books. I felt Geek Girl would be an easier sell, so I searched several small publishers that would accept a previously self-published book. In March of 2011 Cedar Fort Publishing accepted it for publication and I signed with them. However, in the 3 months between my searching and signing, I learned a great deal about marketing, and around the time I signed, my efforts paid off and Heart on a Chain suddenly began selling very well.
Because of that, I decided to continue self-publishing. I had agreed to write a fairytale retelling for Cedar Fort, and so honored that with my submission of Rapunzel Untangled. Other than those two books I continued to self-publish.
Last year, after my publication of The End of Feeling, I received an email from Skyscape Books inquiring if I’d be interested in signing the book with them. Because I was pretty firmly sold on self-publishing, I wasn’t interested. But after a few phone conversations with them, and talking to some of their authors, I decided to put my trust in them and signed it with them in August of 2014.
The reason I’m giving you this history is just so that you know where I’m coming from when I talk about the two different types of publishing. I think both have advantages and disadvantages. And, just so you know, I co-own a small publishing company with Sherry Gammon called Creative Prose Publishing. The fact that I still believe self-publishing has merit in spite of owning a publishing company hopefully shows that I’m unbiased. From my point of view, and my experiences, here are the pros and cons to each (these are short lists, and by no means cover every single pro and con, and other authors may have completely different experiences).
  • Creative control of your cover and formatting
  • Creative control of your manuscript content
  • Control of your pricing
  • Higher royalties
  • Ability to give away your books whenever you’d like at little to no cost to you
  • Ability to change anything about your book at your whim (cover, content, price, etc.)
  • You retain the rights to your book forever
  • You’ll have to pay for editing (this is one thing you cannot bypass)
  • You’ll have to pay for a cover unless you have the artistry and capability to create your own
  • You’ll have to either pay for formatting, or spend some time learning how to format on your own
  • It’s difficult to get word out about your book when you’re unknown
  • Marketing is entirely on your shoulders (and sometimes on your wallet)
  • It’s almost impossible, or at least very, very difficult to get your book into bookstores
Traditional Publishing
  • They will edit, format, and create your cover at no cost to you (note: there should never be any costs to you when your book is with a publisher. If they are charging you for anything, they aren’t a traditional publisher but a vanity publisher, and you should not sign a contract with them or pay them a penny)
  • Many publishers have the ability to get your book into bookstores
  • Some publishers pay an advance (but not all, and many times not to a debut author)
  • They will share their marketing expertise with you
  • A feeling of validation (note: I think this is silly. If you’re selling books, what more validation do you need?)
  • Generally a publisher will provide a certain number of books to readers to obtain reviews
  • You’re going to do about the same amount of marketing for a publisher as you’d do for a self-published book
  • With eBooks, you may never get your rights back because it will never technically be out of print (note: some contracts have a provision for this, where you might get your book back after a certain time period or if your sales drop below a certain threshold)
  • Lower royalties
  • Though a publisher may get your book into bookstores initially, it’s extremely difficult to hold shelf space, so your book may be only online within a few months
  • Loss of creative control: You probably will have little to no say about your cover, and sometimes even your book content as they hold the right to edit it as they see fit
  • You will have to abide by your publishers limits on books they provide for giveaways (though you’ll be able to purchase books at a discount and give them away)
When making the decision whether to traditionally publish or self-publish, I suggest you research them both, and then talk to authors from both sides. You have to do what’s right for you, ultimately . . . and you’re the only one who can determine what the right thing is.

Thank you for sharing, Cindy!

About the author:
Cindy C Bennett was born and raised in beautiful Salt Lake City, growing up in the shadows of the majestic Rocky Mountains. She lives with two daughters, and three dogs. She also has two sons and two daughters-in-law. She volunteers her time working with teen girls between the ages of 12-18, all of whom she finds to be beautiful, fascinating creatures. When she’s not writing, reading or answering emails she can often times be found riding her Harley through the beautiful canyons near her home (yes, she rides a Harley and no, you'd never know it to look at her!).

Cindy's latest book is The End of Feeling:
Benjamin Nefer seems to have it all. He’s the most popular guy in school, the star quarterback with college scouts looking at him, his grades are near the top of his class, he can get any girl he wants . . . but he hides behind his dream life to mask the nightmare of his reality.

Charlie Austin is the new girl. Forced to move in with a bitter aunt, she only wants to protect her fragile mom from the world’s cruelty. When Benjamin sets his sights on Charlie, she’s armored against his charm—friends warned her about Benjamin’s game of pursuing and then dumping a long line of girls, not caring about the broken hearts he leaves behind. She doesn’t count on how single-minded he can be when she refuses him, or how charismatic, easing into her life through what he claims is just friendship.

Benjamin thought he could keep Charlie in the same place he keeps all girls—something to be used and then discarded. But Charlie has as many secrets as he does, secrets he’s determined to discover while keeping his own hidden. He realizes she’s the perfect girlfriend candidate . . . someone he can use to keep up the façade of a perfect life. Now he just has to keep his frozen heart from softening toward this unique girl, because if he doesn’t, his carefully constructed lies might just come thundering down around him, crushing him beneath the burden of feeling.

What do you think about indie versus traditional?
Sound off in the comments!