Friday, July 26, 2019

Are Editors Important to Writers?

How important are editors to writers? I’m considering this question because I’m currently working with an editor on my latest historical novel. In fact, we just finished the second edit back and forth.

Are editors necessary? For those of us who are traditionally published, it is editors who decide what will be published. So obviously, we writers should be paying attention to what they have to say. Yet I have heard some writers claim that self-published authors can do away with editors. These writers feel they should be able to write and then edit their own work without interference.

Nevertheless, a good editor can help a writer gain a clearer perspective, distill the most significant elements of a piece of writing, organize content in a way that's comprehensible to a reader, offer advice on how to solidify story elements that are causing problems and then proof or copy-edit in a way that preserves the integrity, voice, and tone of a given work. A good editor can point out plot flaws or information inconsistencies, proofread for typos, grammar, and spelling, check references, and format your work properly.

Given all of that, should you hire an editor? That depends. I’ve never done so. However, I was an English major as both an undergrad and a grad student. I taught English at all levels. I likely could have worked as an editor myself. That doesn’t change the fact that when I put on my editor’s hat to examine my own work I still find errors that need to be fixed. So I truly value input from editors because they present a fresh set of eyes. They can also be objective about our work in ways we cannot be. But my work with professional editors occurs only after my work is contracted with a publisher.

After my work is contracted, be it a novel or a short story, I value what the editor brings to it. With a novel such as the long historical I am working on now, I particularly appreciate the editorial suggestions and corrections I have received. They make my writing much stronger. Of course, I don’t always agree with all editorial changes, but I keep an open mind to them. I truly appreciate the benefits good editors provide.

What’s your opinion on this topic? What have you experienced working with editors? Frustration, positive experience or a little of both?

Friday, July 19, 2019

In the Spotlight: Author Pamela S. Thibodeaux

Today it’s my privilege to host a fellow writer I’ve known for quite a long time via shared publisher, Five Star/Cengage.

Award-winning author, Pamela S. Thibodeaux is the Co-Founder and a lifetime member of Bayou Writers Group in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Multi-published in romantic fiction as well as creative non-fiction, her writing has been tagged as, “Inspirational with an Edge!” ™ and reviewed as “steamier and grittier than the typical Christian novel without decreasing the message.”

Pam is sharing information about her romance novel TEMPERED HEARTS now available on audio.

Blurb: Rancher Craig Harris and veterinarian Tamera Collins clash from the moment they meet.  Innocence is pitted against arrogance as tempers rise and passions ignite to form a love as pure as the finest gold, fresh from the crucible and as strong as steel.  Thrown together amid tragedy and unsated passion, Tamera and Craig share a strong attraction that neither accepts as the first stages of love.  Torn between desire and dislike, they must make peace with their pasts and God in order to open up to the love blossoming between them.  It is a love that nothing can destroy when they come to understand that only when hearts are tempered, minds are opened and wills are softened can man discern the will of God for his life.

Taking advantage of the luxurious facilities, Tamera stood a long time in the shower washing away the grit and grime from traveling, as well as her other activities, then settled in the tub for a hot bath. She saturated her thick locks with conditioner, wrapped a moist, hot towel around her head and relaxed in scented, frothy water. Her vision blurred as exhaustion numbed her senses and she sank lower in the tub. She awoke with a start an hour later, shivering. She rose, drained the water from the tub and rinsed the conditioner out of her hair. Patting herself dry with a thick, soft towel, she reached for the robe that hung on the door.
Wrapped in the warm terry cloth, she sat at the vanity and combed the tangles out of her mass of blonde hair. She retrieved the blow dryer from her overnight bag, and ran her fingers through the thick tresses while applying heat. When the chore was nearly complete, she sprayed her hair with leave-in conditioner and brushed it. Tamera closed her eyes and mentally counted the strokes as a memory emerged in her mind…he in his favorite chair, she sitting at her father’s feet while he brushed and counted one hundred strokes. She heard his voice in her mind as she completed the task.
An everyday routine she once thought of as soothing, a time of bonding, she now considered a chore. Tamera blinked back tears, swallowed the lump in her throat, put down the brush, and seriously considered getting it all cut off.

Purchase Links:

Amazon Print:

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Amazon Author Page:

Comments for Pam appreciated.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Interview with Mystery Author Kathy McIntosh

Today I have the pleasure of interviewing author Kathy McIntosh. Kathy loves the way words sound and the way they look on a page. In addition to creating offbeat adventures for the zany characters in her novels, she is an editor who helps others make their words the best possible. Kathy’s first novel was chosen as one of Idaho’s Top Ten Fiction books and she was named one of the top three emerging writers for that year.

Kathy shares space with a part Lab, part Catahoula Leopard hound known as the neighborhood Welcome Waggin’. She and her husband travel the world as often as they can, in search of adventure and great meals. (Although they find plenty of great food in Tucson, named the first UNESCO City of Gastronomy in the U.S.) More about Kathy, her writing, and a chance to sign up for her very occasional newsletter and a free short story, are at

Question: What is the title and genre of your new novel?  Why did you select them?

Answer: My novel is titled Murder, Sonoran Style, An Adventure Calls Mystery. It is an amateur sleuth mystery. I chose the title because the titles of my first two novels didn’t reveal that they were mysteries. I chose the genre because I like putting regular people in difficult situations and forcing them to solve the mystery. I also think it’s easier to add humor to amateur sleuth mysteries.

Question:  What inspired this novel? How did it come about?

Answer: When I moved to Arizona, I knew I wanted to set my next novel here. I happened to stay in the town of Benson, AZ, and read about a proposed development that would potentially affect the San Pedro River National Conservation Area, because of its size and its proximity to that area’s water table. Even after the several years it took for my novel to be published, the controversy remains.

Question:  Could you tell us a little bit about the heroine and/or hero of your novel?

Answer:  My hero is Gabe Ramsay, a former science professor who left his tenure track post in disgrace, falsely accused by a very wealthy donor of attacking the donor’s wife. He buys into Adventure Calls, an eco-tour company, as another way to teach people about nature and ecology and to prove he can succeed in business. Of course his hopes are challenged when he finds the dead body of someone he’d recently fought with, stabbed with Gabe’s skinning knife. He gets help solving the murder from the tour company’s spirited chef, Madrone Hunter.

Question:   Can you tell us about some of your other published novels or work?

Answer:  My first two novels are part of the Havoc in Hancock humorous suspense series. Mustard’s Last Stand and Foul Wind are set in north Idaho, where the wackiest characters live. (I lived in the south part of the state.) I’ve also had a few short stories published.

Question:   What are you working on now?

Answer:  I’m working on the second Adventure Calls mystery, in which Madrone, the chef, will take the lead.

Question:   What made you start writing?

Answer:  I’ve always loved reading and words and love to make people laugh. In my business career, I wrote scads of marketing documents, so I already knew how to spin fiction.

Question:   What advice would you offer to those who are currently writing novels?

Answer: Trust in yourself, and keep going, with a goal of getting better with every novel, every story you write. Listen to critique partners but don’t lose your own unique voice.

Question:  Where and when will readers be able to obtain your novel?

Answer: Murder, Sonoran Style, is available in ebook and paperback on It’s also sold through IngramSpark and in two local Tucson bookstores.

Kathy welcomes comments and questions. 

Friday, July 5, 2019

Summer Reading 2019

It’s that time of year again when every magazine, newspaper and newsletter offers suggestions on summer reading. So why should this blog be any different?

Summer is the perfect time to spend some time vacationing or just relaxing. Sit in the sun, lie on a chaise poolside, rest by the ocean or a lake, or under the shade of a tree, sip a cool drink, and read a book—hard cover, soft cover, audio or digital.

Mysteries remain one of the most popular genres for summer reading. Why? Because they entertain us. They also engage our intellect in a satisfying manner. Romances provide us with a happy ever after ending. If you like reading for enjoyment, it’s the way to go.

I just finished the last two novels by Jayne Ann Krentz, one of my favorite authors. The latest one, TIGHTROPE, is published under her Amanda Quick nom de plume. It’s a fine romantic suspense novel perfect for summer reading.

Lots of good summer reading on the bestseller list. But what about some of the excellent authors who write for small independent presses and provide us with quality fiction but don’t get as much publicity because they are not with the big publishers?

For adult readers, I suggest my mystery novel
Death Promise, a romantic mystery thriller published by Encircle and available on Amazon and from other booksellers in both print and ebook editions.

For readers of young adult fiction I suggest WITCH WISH from Black Opal Press, also available from most booksellers.

Intrigue Publishing is offering my adult romantic mystery THE INHERITANCE as a free read on Audible.

There are many fine writers who can be added here. As a reader and/or writer are there any authors and/or books you would like to recommend for summer reading? You are most welcome to mention your own books.