Tag Archives: raj

Writerly Wednesday: the value of a good editor

EDITED TO ADD: This was supposed to publish 1/24, but I forgot the key “schedule post” step.

I was chatting with my PSM the other day, and she was flattering me hard by telling me how much better a writer I am now than when I wrote Cardinal Gate. (She also threatened to put icy hot in my thongs, but that’s kinda how we roll).

ANYWAY – I told her that the number one thing that’s made me a better writer is the editors I’ve had. I had a different editor for book 1 than for the last 3, but both editors have taught me some valuable fiction-writing skills.


It’s easy to say “show don’t tell” but unless someone is showing you where you’re doing it and showing you how to fix it instead of just telling you where/how, it’s not as easy to see.

Crutch words! OMG! So, I just can’t even communicate how I know that I pretty much suddenly throw these in everywhere. I think it’s a curse.


Repetitive phrasing – it’s so easy to tune out when you’ve started the last five sentences with a variation of  “she was” or whatever.

Learning how to be conservative with words but still get my point across. When you have someone say: “This paragraph could be one sentence, have more clarity, and get your point across just (crutch word!as well, if not better,” eventually you learn to see it yourself.


Reading for continuity. I realized this morning, two days after sending The Broken World to my editor, that I have a teeny (for real, not understatement) plot hole in it. Betcha $10 my editor catches it. (No pressure, Colleen!)

My editors have proven invaluable to my evolution as a writer. Every book I write is better because of them.

Because of them, I am also a better editor myself! And because I edit 2-3 novels a month, I’m a better writer as well. It’s a great cycle to be stuck in, honestly.


So – the point? A professional editor is, by far, the best thing you can do to make sure your book is good. (A professional cover artist is hella important as well, but I’d argue that editing is even more important.)

(Pssst…a new Raj chapter will be out this week! If you haven’t already, sign up for my newsletter! – check the sidebar!)


Writerly Wednesday: WINNING! Edition

If you’re interested in winning (and who isn’t?), there are a couple contests open right now that super benefit me personally. I mean are awesome opportunities for you.

The first is to win a free Ilona Andrews book! I mean, she’s so good. SO GOOD! Free book!

Click the link to learn how to enter to win!


This second opportunity is amazeballs. Like super amazeballs. Look at all this Buffy stuff you can win? #buffyforever #whatwouldBuffydo #itallcomesbacktobuffy

This prize package, from the best TV show ever, is pretty fucking fantastic.

Click the image to win $500 worth of Buffy stuff (and sign up for some awesome author newsletters).


Update on the writing.

I am done with editing projects for the next month or so. That means I can really get back into the writing. I’m just about half way done with Eleanor #4. I think it’s harder to rewrite a book where I’m mining from something I had before than to write from scratch. It’s halfway between a rewrite and a first draft, and it’s driving me crazy. This might be the first year in ages I don’t win NaNoWriMo…and I’m worry really hard at being okay with that. I have my excuses at the ready.

  1. I’ve edited four novels and two novellas in the past 2 months.
  2. I’ve worked an average of 40 hours/week at the day job in the same time period
  3. I spent a week in Mexico where I didn’t get nearly as much work done as I’d hoped
  4. The last month, since returning from our trip, have been the most stressful parenting month I’ve experienced in 5.5 years. It’s not my story, it’s Bean’s, and he’s at an age where I need to start moderating what stories I tell, but suffice it to say, I’ve cried more in the last month than I have since I was drowning in post partum depression. Parenting is hard, yo.

But all those excuses aren’t really enough to explain why I’m so far behind my word goal. I was hoping to finish the book by the end of the month, but 12/15 is looking more realistic – and that’s only if I pull myself together and write.

Speaking of writing, the newsletter will be coming out next Wednesday – so if you want to catch up on Raj’s story before the newest chapter comes out – use the sidebar to subscribe!

(Psssst….there’s a small possibility that The Cardinal Gate will be on super Black Sale Friday – Cyber Monday Sale. If you haven’t gotten your copy yet, you’ll have a chance starting Friday!)

Writerly Wednesday

The book is done. One (or seventeen) last proofreads, and then it’s ready for prime time.

The cover is pretty much done. The cover reveal will happen right here in this space in two weeks. (If you’re a newsletter subscriber, you’ll get it next week.)

If you’re getting an ARC, those will go out by the end of this week.

There’s really one major step left before the pain of formatting and uploading and stuff like that.

The blurb. I hate this. I’d rather write 100,000 words than 150.

Current working draft – I’m open to feedback.

Eleanor is the awesomesauciest. Her taste in men is occasionally questionable. BUT, at least she likes sexy dudes. There is a lot of fighting. Her kill count is good. There is an impending apocalypse, too! Some sex. Much fighting.

Thoughts? Yes?



In other news, I’ve started a new series and got a few thousand words down on that over the long weekend. Because starting a third series is obviously the best idea I’ve ever had.

However, while I was writing, guess who popped in the coffee shop? It was overcast on the coast, so there wasn’t any sun to keep my 1000-year-old vamp indoors.

Seriously – hot dude, dead ringer for how Raj looks in my head. I stared. I took a sneak picture over my shoulder. I appreciated the endorsement from the secret vampire contingent from the Pacific Northwest. It was a good morning.


I’m pretty scattered right now. Between the day job, and the upcoming release, and having a new series in my brain and the 3rd book in front of me, and the other series, and apparently I still have this small creature I’m raising, and partner I enjoy spending time with, and running I’d like to do again someday.

Coffee and words on the Oregon Coast

Writerly Wednesday-Stuff & Utter Nonsense

Issue 2 of the newsletter, complete with an excerpt from The Waning Moon and Chapter 2 of Raj’s stories, should be hitting your in-boxes momentarily. You can head on over to my Extra’s page to sign up for the newsletter. You’ll get the latest issue and a link to all of Raj’s story so you can catch up.

I’m working on balancing my new work schedule with my writing. So far, it’s been working on getting the kidlet and me up and out the door so I can catch my bus and not so much writing. That should keep improving. I don’t have kid drop-off duty on Thursdays and Fridays (and every other Monday morning), so there’s a chance I can get some real work done on the (almost named) book 3 later this week.

I’m feeling pretty positive that after a month or so, I’ll know what I’m doing enough at work to both do a wonderful job as an employee, but give Eleanor & Co. more mental energy. I’ve gotta tell you, though, this whole “getting up early” and “talking to adults” and “commutes longer than 30 seconds” is taking some getting used to. I’m settling into my corner office, though. (It really is a corner office. Kind of. In a windowless basement. At least it’s my very own office? I ordered a SAD lamp today.)

Happy reading, Raj fans! You can always let me know what you think either here, or on my Facebook page!


I am going to give my 666th Twitter follower a free copy of The Cardinal Gate, and everyone who retweets my contest tweet will be entered to win their very own free copy of The Waning Moon! LUCK!


Writerly Wednesday: What Am I Doing?

My book is with my editor, who is probably editing out all the deaths so she can win our super serious killing contest.

I am working on book three in the series. Funny story! I wrote Book 3 in 2014-2015. I wrote Book 4 in 2016. I have now decided that book the third needs to be split into two. So, I found my split point and am now rewriting book three to be long enough and murdery enough.

I’m three chapters into the rewrite, and have already killed two street urchins. (Do I get bonus points if I kill off kids? Or do I lose points if I don’t fatten them up and eat them?)

I’m hoping to get through the book this week and decide where it needs fattening up and get through the rewrite and second draft by the end of June so I can send it off to my beta readers in July and get started on the rewrite of the 4th book, which will be more significant.

At some point, I’d like to write something new. I’m working on Raj’s story (chapter two will go out with the newsletter next week!), but can’t write the next book in Eleanor’s series until I get back from Romania. I’ve been doing almost nothing but writing and rewriting and editing since December and I’m itching to start fresh with a blank page.

I think once I get The Waning Moon out the door, I’ll start on my 13th century Icelandic novel. I am so ready to do the research!

In the meantime, I just need to buckle down, put my nose to the grindstone, and other hard work clichés so I can ramp up both my productivity and my kill count.