Friday, February 28, 2014

#Sat Spanks: Help Me Pick a Title

Welcome Saturday Spankers!

This snippet is from a book which is now in the editing phase. I am still debating between calling it Becoming A Proper Lady or His Yankee Girl or Becoming Lady Amherst. Please read the blurb and tell me which one you think is a better choice. Or as a reader, which one would attract your attention.

Here's the blurb:
When Miss Sarah McLean causes a scandal in Boston, her father takes her to London in search of a husband.

At her first party, Sarah insults Lord Amherst who takes her over his knee to spank some manners into her. When his actions come to light, Sarah's father offers him a choice: Marry Sarah or send her back to America where she has no prospects for a husband.

Intrigued by the spirited Yankee Girl, Lord Amherst proposes.

Despite the circumstances of their marriage, Sarah and Jeffrey form a bond and appear headed for a bright future.

That is, until Sarah pretends to be someone she's not. 







And now, here is this week's snippet. Sarah and Jeffrey are discussing their imminent marriage. 

“Do you understand all that is entailed in being Lady Amherst?” he asked.

I stuttered and stammered and stared. “Are you referring to…to…my wifely duties?” I longed to run to my bedchamber and bury my head in a bowl of cold water to extinguish the flush of sheer embarrassment burning my face.

Lord Amherst closed the gap between us on the settee, rested his hand on my shoulder, slid his fingers around the nape of my neck and stroked me there. The warmth of his caress infiltrated my body, and I relaxed. Touching my chin, he tipped my face up, leaving me no choice but to stare directly into his eyes--- the corners of his mouth lifted in a small, sweet smile. “Do not be afraid, my little Yankee, for I shall take tender care of you. I want us both to be happy in this marriage, including our marriage bed.”










Spanking Stories Book Club---With Hearts Aflame

It's been a fun week having all the With Hearts Aflame ladies visiting and we are all together again for Spanking Stories Book Club. 

With Hearts Aflame is an anthology of Valentine's stories. If you scroll back through this week's posts, you'll see blurbs and excerpts for the five stories included in this boxed set. 

I asked the authors to send me some suggested questions for today's discussion and they did not disappoint. 

From Maddie Taylor: According to a 2009 study for Romance Writers of America, the largest segment of romance readers range from 31 to 49-years-old (44%), with the average age being 44. They are female (90.5%), married or living with someone, and reside in the Midwest (28.8%).    (Originally from the Midwest, I threw that last part in for entertainment purposes.) 
Master My Love features an early 40's H/h.  What age group do you prefer to read about and why?  Is there an age group you prefer not to read about? (underage and octogenarians excluded, of course). 

From Maren Smith: Do you think you'd mind if the man you'd had your eye on and been flirting with for the last year turned out to be a spanker? 

From Robin Smith: How badly do you think it would affect you to discover the most huan of your long time friends wasn't human after all. 
Another One from Robin Smith: When reading sex scenes, do you prefer to go expliccit or all soft and romantic. 

When reading romance, do prefer more realistic or fantasy scenarios? 

From Dinah McLeod: Would you take a spanking for bad behavior from someone you just met? 

One From Me: When you are reading spanking romance, do you prefer harsh spankings or more romantic one? 

I also asked the authors of With Hearts Aflame to share either their naughtiest or nicest Valentine's memory. If anyone else has one to share, feel free. 

Thursday, February 27, 2014

With Hearts Aflame Week: Lovely Little Liar by Patty Devlin

What is your sweetest Valentine’s Day?


One year we were moving around the week of Valentine’s. I remember a group of my friends coming to our new house to work, cleaning and painting every day for about a week or so before we moved in. I don’t remember if it was actually Valentine’s day or not but one of the days we were there Dev came in with huge boxes of Valentine’s chocolates not just for me but for all of my friends too. And no he didn’t just do it for them because they were working on our house. He always does this type of thing, whether it’s bringing all us cappuccinos or even babysitting my friend’s children is the “Sweetest” guy of all my friend’s husbands. 


Blurb:
Charlie gives the cop who pulls her over for speeding and reckless driving the performance of a lifetime, telling him that her mother is in the hospital on the edge of death.

Trooper Vin Loveanu wants nothing more than to pull her out of the vehicle and comfort her, but has to settle for sending flowers to the hospital, only to find out that the mother is not a patient. Further investigation turns up an obituary for Charlene's mother from four years before!

Charlie’s lies, abominable driving and strong family ties continue to bring the two together. She can’t run away far enough or fast enough and maybe—just maybe she should be running to Vin—not away, even if it meant a trip over his knee.


Patty's Blog- www.pattydevlin.com



EXCERPT:

“It’s late. Don’t stretch this out; quit dragging your feet and looking pathetic. You know what I want, I shouldn’t have to hear it from others. Four days ago, Charlie, and as if twenty miles over the speed limit wasn’t bad enough—the lie—” He broke off just as her shame did her in. She started crying and was almost happy when he pulled her down over his legs. At least then she didn’t have to see the disgust etched on his face anymore. “How could you lie like that, Charlie? Don’t you have any common decency?” He started slapping her bottom hard and fast. This cheek and then that, his hand hot and heavy hurt like a paddle on its own. Her thin flannel pajama pants offered very little if no protection from the barrage.

Charlie gripped the cushions of the couch and held on. Each swat fell in a steady rhythm, here, there and everywhere. Lighting up her backside with scorching accuracy. She knew he was going to make sure she didn’t sit comfortably for a while, she’d seen the paddle next to him and knew he was just warming up.

“I asked you a question, Charlie. How could you lie about Mom like that? How? You don’t care about anyone but yourself. That’s how.”

She refused to answer. She knew what she’d done was wrong. There was no other way around it. All she could do was cry, bite the cushion and hang on. After all the times he’d whipped her rear in the last six—no eight years, (he’d started before, while Dad had been sick, before he died,) he’d grown extremely skilled at it. How had he gotten so freaking wise in his thirty-six years, she’d really like to know.

“Stop your kicking and carrying on. I’ve barely started.” Alex scooted forward on the couch and wrapped his leg over hers, eliminating her kicking and thrashing. “It’s a disgrace, that’s what it is, Charlie, lying like that about Mom. Most of the police in this city knew Dad—and Mom.” He gave her two really hard swats to each swell as he spoke about their parents.



We'll be discussing all the stories from With Hearts Aflame Tomorrow for Spanking Stories Book Club. Don't miss the fun! 

-- 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

With Hearts Aflame Week: Sweet Sinclair by Maren Smith

Oh my...be sure to read Maren's answer to this question: What’s your naughtiest Valentine’s Day?

My husband and I decided to run away from home one year, and it just happened to fall on Valentine’s weekend, which neither one of us realized until we reached our remote rental cabin out in the woods. As we were checking in, the lady who owned the cabins said something, like, “Romantic getaway, huh? Going fishing?”

And my husband who had, at that point, been my husband for many years, surreptitiously put his foot over mine under the counter. His way of saying, ‘If you know what’s good for you, woman, you won’t say what I know you’re just dying to say.’ He then smiled at the woman and said, “Yup.”

And there I was, getting my foot increasingly crushed under his and trying so hard not to bust out laughing because all I could think was, “Yeah, baby. Show me that big ol’ one-eyed worm.”




Blurb:
Since a competing sweet shop opened its doors, things have not gone well for Sinclair’s candy shop, Maybe’s Candy. Business was slowing, her finances were dropping, and no matter what she does she just can’t think of any way to get her business back on top. Even the one highlight of her week—that moment when handsome Parker Johnson, a man she’d been flirting with for over a year, came to buy his usual bag of caramels—even that wasn’t much of a treat. How could it be when Sinclair already knew something was wrong with him? She couldn’t quite put her finger on what it was—was he married, gay, a homicidal maniac?—but a guy didn’t show this much interest in a girl without asking her out, at least not without a good reason. And Parker most definitely has not asked her out.

Then, an unexpected ray of good luck: From out of the blue, she’s offered a job. All she has to do is cater a candy party—one day, 900 people, and her store would be financially set all the way through summer. The only catch? The venue is a place called the Castle, a fantasy BDSM resort inhabited by some of the hottest Masters she has ever met. And one of them just happens to be Parker, the same man she’s been drooling over for the last year.

What a coincidence! Or is it? Sinclair always knew there was something wrong with him. What she didn’t know, was how he could make WRONG feel so wonderfully RIGHT.




EXCERPT: 

“What the hell is this?” Parker snapped, slamming the door behind him, which effectively sealed the startled Sinclair in the Masters’ dining hall by herself, and he and Master Marshall out in the main dining hall with all the Castle guests who were currently enjoying their suppers. He tried to keep his voice down. There was nothing more unprofessional than two Masters bickering in public, but he just couldn’t rein his temper in. For the first time in his life, he felt like a submissive in one of Marshall’s annual “deer” hunts—he’d just been stalked, targeted, and tackled to the ground. “What is she doing here?”

“I’ve hired her to cater an event for Valentine’s Day,” Marshall calmly replied. 

“Since when do we hire out for our private events?” 

“Since Sam suggested it.” 

Parker’s head reeled. He took a startled step back and only by supreme force of will kept his temper from really erupting at that point. “Did he also suggest I be assigned to her while she was here?” 

“Yes,” Marshall freely admitted. 

Parker took another step back. He shook his head, a thousand things racing through his mind, but the dining hall was too full of guests and those thoughts too full of expletives for him to dare say any of it. He dropped his voice to little more than a hiss, “Get out of my personal business, both of you! I didn’t want her here. I didn’t want her to know, God damn it!” 

“To what end?” Marshall countered. 

“None of your business!” 

Spreading his hands, Marshall shrugged. “Having made it my business, at least until after Valentine’s Day, what do you now propose? We have a signed contract, so I’m not just going to cut her loose. Nor can I let her wander the Castle by herself. She needs a chaperone. Do you want the job or not?” 

Did he want her? Hell yes, he did! That was half the problem. Parker rubbed the back of his neck. “Hell, she probably won’t even stay, at this point. You’ve dumped so much on her right now, it wouldn’t surprise me if she—” 

“Excuse me, Mr. Leaf?” 

Snapping his mouth shut, both Parker and Marshall turned to look at Sinclair. She stood in the open doorway between the two dining rooms and looked straight at Marshall, as if Parker wasn’t even there at all. 

“If I’m going to do this job, I need to see the ballrooms I’ll be decorating and the kitchen where I’ll be working. And then I’d like to go home. I’ve got a lot of planning to do.” 

“Of course.” Marshall turned expectantly toward Parker, though it took him a moment to notice. He couldn’t stop looking at Sinclair. He felt completely blindsided, and he knew she had to be feeling something similar. Her cheeks were flushed and the closest she came to meeting his steady gaze was that moment when she dropped her eyes to the ground and stole a quick peek at his pants. 

Parker almost swore all over again. He couldn’t believe his friends had done this to him. This was what he’d dreaded; now that Sinclair knew about this side of him, she couldn’t even make herself look at him. Things between them were going to change now. They were going to become strained, awkward; his weekly trips to her candy store may as well just stop. He’d lost her. 

He’d never really had her, he tried to tell himself, but it still felt like a punch in the gut. “Do you want another chaperone?” It wasn’t until the words popped out of his mouth that Parker realized he was going to say anything at all right then, but she surprised them both. 

“No.” She stole another quick peek at him, this time her eyes making it up as far as his stomach before she had to look away again. “N-no, I’m fine… with the one I have.” 

She didn’t look fine. She was blushing, stammering. Hell, she was probably trying not to laugh at him. Parker stifled another curse. For her to find out like this was his worst nightmare; he hadn’t wanted her to find out at all. 

And Marshall couldn’t seem to stop grinning. “See, it’s fine,” he said, thumping Parker solidly on the back. “Welcome to the Castle, Ms. Adleton.” 

The look he shot Marshall would have killed a lesser man, but the Master of the Castle walked away not only unscathed but grinning like a fool. Parker glared after him.




We'll be discussing all the stories in this set on Friday for Spanking Stories Book Club so be sure to come back then for more! 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

With Hearts Aflame Week: Love Potion 9.1 by Robin Smith

Please welcome Robin Smith (sister of Maren Smith). She's here today to share from her book Love Potion 9.1 which is part of the With Hearts Aflame Box set. 

Blurb:
Harper Hicks is a bonafide witch, who has brewed up a bonafide love potion for sale to the normal and not so normal customers at her bookstore. After all, who doesn’t want a little extra heat around Valentine’s Day? And this one is guaranteed to make fantasies come true. What could possibly go wrong?





EXCERPT:

Harper was a witch, the last twig on the Hedgewick family tree, where being a witch used to go without saying, but in this enlightened modern age, Harper was the only one left of her generation who could get a broom off the ground. Yes, the Hedgewicks had always been witches, but the Hickeses? Schoolteachers and nurses and fast food fry dippers. Practically normals. Half her cousins didn’t even believe in magic.

Harper parked and made a dash for the door through light eddies of snow, holding a haphazard mess of papers over her head as a kind of umbrella. The bell over the door rang out as she came in from the cold and her voice rang out with it, cheerfully unrepentant: “I’m back!”

“Oh, were you gone?” drawled Damien, not looking up from his book. “I hadn’t noticed.”

Born a scant six months before The Omen would give his parents the world’s worst case of baby name buyer’s remorse, Damien Kaine was Harper’s partner and it was thanks to his business sense and accounting skills that the store was turning a profit even here, in the No Man’s Land of 1800 Plaza. More than that, he was her best friend, something she thought she’d outgrown along with high school until she had it again with him. And if they did some hanging out now and then (okay, every Friday), so what? Friends could hang out and go to movies and occasionally even feel their heart leap whenever another friend smiled that certain way or got that devilish glint in his friendly dark eyes or even pulled a friend close at midnight to start the new year off right with a kiss.

Just friends. It was better this way. Well, maybe not better, but less complicated. Even if it wasn’t for the whole business angle or the witch/normal dynamic or the usual risk of ruining a perfect friendship by trying (and failing) to fall in love too, there was the rest of it. The rest of her. The secret submissive Harper. What would happen when they got to the bedroom and she had to exposethat part of herself? Oh, he might give it a go, but he’d laugh first and treat the whole thing like a joke. Or worse, think ‘submissive’ meant ‘slave’. The last guy Harper had dated kept trying to get her to say she was a filthy little slut who needed a spanking and when she finally complained, had said, “Look, it’s your sick game. I’m just trying to play along!”

She shouldn’t have to be a filthy little anything to get a spanking. A man could be loving and still be dominant, couldn’t he? And a woman could be strong and independent and still submit, just like she could be sexy without being a slut. And in a perfect world, that woman could just walk up to that man and say, “I really like you and I want to try to be with you and also, please spank me,” without fear. But this was not a perfect world and that was her best friend sitting there behind the counter, not to mention her business partner. That man was a man she would have to face for days and weeks and months and maybe even years after she said the word ‘spanking’ and saw his surprise/disbelief/disgust/amusement.

And why was she torturing herself like this? Why, when it was such a great day?



We'll be discussing all the stories in this set on Friday for Spanking Stories Book Club so be sure to come back then for more! 

Monday, February 24, 2014

With Hearts Aflame Week: Love Hurts by Dinah McLeod

The lovely ladies from With Hearts Aflame are here all week. Today's guest is Dinah McLeod who answers this probing question: What was your sweetest V-day:

The first one with my now-husband was amazing. He was my first real boyfriend and I’d never had a Valentine’s date before that didn’t include a class full of kids and a box of nerds. I wasn’t sure what to expect. He came to pick me up and while he was driving he told me to reach back in the backseat for my gift. I did and had a wonderfully sweet card and a cute teddy bear. I was very touched.

We got to a restaurant, which wasn’t fancy but it was “our” place. We ordered our usual and I listened to him talk, looking shyly across the table. Just when I thought my heart was full to bursting, he pulled a black jewelry box out of his pocket. Inside was a white-gold necklace with a heart that had a tiny diamond in the center. Small it might have been, but it was the first diamond I ever owned. I doubt I will ever forget that night. 

Blurb:

Karen Donahue is intimidating, but she has to be. The youngest CEO of a Fortune 500, her job is stress personified. She's used to being in charge and if she doesn't always like it, well, it's part of the job. And if she's a little bit of a brat, it's just because she works so hard.
An excuse that is not good enough for Brandon Fuller.
After Karen's car breaks down, he comes to the rescue only to be chewed out by the fiery, hot-tempered brat. He informs her that he won't fix her car unless she accepts a spanking for her behavior and having broken her phone during her last tantrum, she has little choice but to accept. What she's not prepared for is how much she'll enjoy discovering the pain that often accompanies pleasure.










EXCERPT:

“How long are you going to be?” I called out, anger making my voice petulant.

“As long as it takes to do a thorough job. You wouldn’t expect anything less, would you?”

“Just get it fucking done,” I muttered. I thought I’d spoken low enough under my breath for the comment to go undetected, but the minute he climbed out of the car and stood facing me, I knew better.

“What was that?” He was smiling but I could the displeasure in his arched eyebrow and the unspoken warning in his voice.

I hesitated, which was another first for me, swallowing hard as I waffled between apologizing and pretending he’d misheard me. I’d always been a bit of a spit-fire, and this was the first man I’d ever considered apologizing to for it. In the end, though, I stretched to my full 5’4 height, throwing my shoulders back and giving him the look that I’d been told was intimidating, the one I normally reserved for business meetings. “I’m late. I need you to move this along.”

“If it were that simple, I’d be done already. But as things stand right now, I don’t have the first clue what’s wrong with your vehicle and I won’t if you keep making unreasonable demands. I’m going to take the time to get this done right, or not do it at all. Your choice.”

I narrowed my eyes, but he met my eyes without flinching. He pinned me with the intensity in his gaze until I was forced to look away. I swallowed again, wondering why my mouth suddenly felt so dry. “Fine.”

“I’m sorry, I didn’t catch that.”

“Fine,” I repeated, facing him again and speaking through gritted teeth. “Do what you have to do.”

First I’ll be needing an apology.”

Despite how calmly and matter-of-fact he sounded, I took a step back when the words registered. “A what?”

“An apology for your behavior, Ms. Donahue, along with a promise that it won’t happen again.”




We'll be discussing all the stories in this set on Friday for Spanking Stories Book Club so be sure to come back then for more! 

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Welcome to With Hearts Aflame Week---First Up: Master My Love

 It's With Hearts Aflame Week here on my blog. All week I'll be featuring the individual books from this great anthology by Maddie Taylor, Maren Smith, Robin Smith, Patty Devlin and Dinah McLeod. 

First Up: Master My Love by Maddie Taylor
Master My Love Blurb: 
When a mysterious invitation to a new BDSM club arrives in Valerie Thornton’s mailbox, she sees it as a fateful intervention.  She has long suppressed her desire for a strong man who can nurture her inner-most desires and bring the submissive inside her to life.  Now widowed with an empty nest, she’s alone, unfulfilled and wondering what she’s been missing. 
Walking into the most exclusive club in LA all alone, Valerie almost loses her nerve, but the testosterone-filled atmosphere is pure temptation.  Each dominant man she sees is sexier and more handsome than the last.  When she meets intimidating Eric Dupree, the Master Dom takes her breath away.  He seems perfect for her and Val knows he could bring her secret fantasies to life.  She’s ready to throw herself at his feet, but refrains.  How could he possibly be interested in a forty-year-old BDSM novice like herself?    
As managing partner and Rossi CFO, Eric should be thrilled.  Club Decadence LA is successful and Rossi is growing by leaps and bounds.  But as he approaches middle age, he finds that he needs more than his career and bachelor lifestyle can give him.  In walks Valerie Thornton, an innocent to his world.  What has brought her to his club, of all places, and why can’t he get her out of his mind? 



Excerpt: 
Her tinkling laughter escaped and encompassed him.  He noticed several other members heard and turned to look, charmed as well.  She seemed classy and refined although the leather outfit was all wrong for her.  His phone buzzed, a problem somewhere he was sure.  Checking the screen, he frowned and signaled to Samson. 
“I’m sorry, Valerie.  I need to attend to a problem.”  Samson stepped up then and Eric nodded toward her.  “Samson will watch you while I attend to an issue in the playroom.”
“I’m swamped, boss.  Terry called in and Marcia is late.  It’s just me back here.  I’m afraid I couldn’t give her all my attention.”  He gave her a once over, then turned to look behind the bar.  “She’s little; my naughty slave cage is empty.  I could put her in there in a pinch.”
Val’s cry of alarm and her hands flying to her mouth in shock prompted Eric’s eye roll… newbies.  The least little thing petrified them.  Being naked, restrained to a cross, and flailed with a flogger often didn’t faze them, but in a gilded cage, safe and secure while their Master attended to business seemed beyond the pale.  Go figure.
“Never mind, this is her first night and she’s skittish.  I’ll put the reins on her and bring her with me.”  Eric pulled the length of chain from his pocket and clipped it to her collar.  She gave a small whimper of alarm.  With a little tug, he brought her down from her stool. 
“You know the rule, subbie.  Unattached guest subs have to be tethered in the play areas.  It’s for safety, especially in your case.  We can’t risk you wandering off and freaking out.”
“It makes me feel so…”  She searched for the right word.
“Submissive?” Eric supplied.
“Yes, Sir.”
“Good, that’s exactly as intended.  Shall we go?” 













Friday, February 21, 2014

Spanking Stories Book Club---Mail Order Switch by Patty Devlin

We're going Western and Sue Lyndon is here to lead the charge. 

Spanking Stories Book Club – Mail Order Switch by Patty Devlin

Blurb:

Liz will do anything to get away from her evil guardian, and she was prepared to disguise herself as a boy and look for work as a ranch hand. When Caroline, a stranger on the train next to her, sees through her "boy" disguise, and begs her to take her place as a mail-order bride, Liz doesn't hesitate long before saying yes. It's got to be easier than working on a ranch, and as a married woman with a new name, she'll be out of her guardian's clutches forever.

Wade Malone has been looking forward to his new bride for months, but when "Caroline" finally arrives, things don't exactly add up. For one, "Caroline" was supposed to be twenty-five years old; the woman who came off the train doesn't look a day above sixteen. He has a strong aversion to liars, particularly in a wife. But he's also a man who keeps his promises and whoever the woman is at his side, he's made a commitment.

That doesn't mean he's not going to handle his new bride very firmly indeed. Then, against all odds, Liz starts to fall for the no-nonsense rancher and his family. How will she ever keep him from finding out the complete truth about the switch?


Thanks, Celeste, for having me today. It’s always fun to end the week with Spanking Stories Book Club!

If you haven’t read Mail Order Switch yet, I highly recommend it. I mean, a western spanking romance with a mail order bride switcheroo plot? What’s not the love about that? I really enjoyed the book and thought Liz and Wade were well-suited for one another. Wade suspects something is amiss with his new wife because she’s obviously a lot younger than she told him in her letters, but despite knowing she’s not being totally truthful with him, he marries her anyway because he made a commitment to do so. Then the fun (and the spankings) start as the couple begin their life as husband and wife.

Questions:

1. Liz is on the run from her evil guardian and she has two choices: Try to disguise herself as a boy and get a job on a ranch OR take the place of a mail order bride and marry a complete stranger. She chooses the latter. Given the time period, her options were obviously very limited. Do you think she made the right choice, even though it meant deceiving her new husband? Would you have done the same thing?

2. When Wade asks Liz how old she really is and she confesses to lying, he scolds her and she becomes upset, thinking perhaps he is just like her evil Uncle Rupert. She begs him to take her back to town, but he refuses, so she jumps from the wagon, thus earning her first spanking from her new husband. What do you think about Wade spanking her so soon after their wedding?

3. Wade knows Caroline (Liz) hasn’t been completely truthful with him about her past, but he’s still kind to her and treats her fairly, believing he needs to honor the commitment he made in marriage to her. I really admired that about him. What did you admire most about Wade? If you haven’t read the book yet, what traits do you admire most in a hero?


Thanks for joining in this discussion today!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Liz Borino---Picking An Editor's Brain and Talking About Kinky Boots

Editors---we all need them. We want to please them, but sometimes, we butt heads.

To help sort out this relationship, I've invited Liz Borino, author and editor, to answer a few questions.

Celeste Jones:  Liz, please tell us a bit about yourself.

Liz Borino: I’m an author and editor for Lazy Day who spends far too much time in her head.

Celeste Jones: I know you are both a writer and an editor, but today I'd like to focus on your skills and experience as an editor. Can you tell us a bit about what an editor does and what it's reasonable to expect an editor to do? Are there different types of editors?

Liz Borino: I’ll start with the second question. The types of editors vary by publisher, but most manuscripts need at least one round of content editing and one round of line editing. Content editing includes identifying problems  with plot and character continuity – as well as likeability – timeline issues, point of view inconsistency, and general plot concerns. Whereas line, or copy, editing focuses on grammar, repeated words, and punctuation. Both are important, but people generally advise starting with content edits and then moving to copy edits. I don’t disagree with this suggestion. However, it’s nearly impossible for me to see problematic copy and not want to edit, so I end up always doing a little bit of both. As far as reasonable author expectations go, an editor identifies problems and can offer suggestions. BUT they are not obligated to fix the content issues. They’ll likely point out when an author has head hopped, but that doesn’t mean they will go through and fix the paragraphs to make them consistent with the majority of the manuscript.   

Celeste Jones:  Has editing ruined reading for you? Are you able to read without wanting to make corrections?

Liz Borino: Celeste, between graduate school and my job as an editor I can’t exist in the world, much less enjoy entertainment properly without wanting to make corrections. Here’s a perfect example, I saw the fabulous Broadway musical, Kinky Boots, back in November. Fun music, great acting, unique storyline – everything you’d ever want in Broadway. Unfortunately, I could not stop picking. Example, the play begins with the main character telling his father repeatedly that he has no interest in running the family shoe factory. Then, he becomes incredulous that his father sold the factory before he died! While everyone else was bouncing to the music, all I could think was, “He finally listened and now you’re complaining! What is wrong with you?” Yes, I have problems. If anyone is curious, these are the two songs I was referring to: “Price and Sons” and “Everybody Say Yeah.” Of course this nit-picking extends to other people’s books. Not to mention the headaches reading status updates can produce.

Celeste Jones: What are some of your pet peeves as an editor?

Liz Borino: Head hopping, repeated words, and unrealistic situations/characters.

Celeste Jones:  I know you work for Lazy Day, so you've probably edited some of my work. Is that ever a little awkward---editing for people you "know"?

Liz Borino: It can be, but as long as everyone remains professional – which Lazy Day authors are known for – it’s not an issue.

Celeste Jones: Please share your thoughts as an editor on the use of the following:

Exclamation marks: To be used mainly in dialogue.

Was: A classic sign of passive voice, which is not as evil as people make it out to be, but authors should use it with caution.

-ing words: Good way to vary the beginning of sentences. Also to be used with caution.

Dialogue tags: Oh god. I struggle with these. The best rule I can come up with is if two characters are speaking to each other, establish the order, and then use sparingly.

Celeste Jones: How has your work as an editor improved your writing?

Liz Borino: Working as an editor has improved my writing more than any other single thing I have done. Learning to identify other author’s mistakes has made me more conscientious of my own weaknesses.

Celeste Jones: How do you tell someone their story stinks without stepping on their toes?

Liz Borino: Um… very carefully. I give reasons for all my suggestions. That way, the author is better equipped to understand my logic and make their own judgment call.

Celeste Jones: What sort of feedback do you give your employers about the quality of the books you are editing? Or do you just edit and send them off to be returned to the writer?

Liz Borino: I give the publisher very detailed analyses of the quality and major problems I found.

Celeste Jones: If you could only give one or two bits of advice to writers, what would it be?

Liz Borino:  Try to find an editor who respects your style, story, and voice. After you’ve found them, please listen.

Thank you, Liz! 

Liz's DD M/M romance, No Flag, will be .99 from2/19-2/26!


Blurb: For Mike and Will, "No Flag" meant "come home alive", but will their love survive what happens next?

Captain Mike Kelley does not ignore his intuition, so when sexy bartender Will Hayes captures his heart, Mike embarks on a mission to win him over to a Domestic Discipline relationship. Will accepts with one caveat: Mike must promise not to renew his Army commission. Mike agrees, and they spend a year building a life together, getting married, and starting a business.

Only days before their café's grand opening, Mike receives news that threatens everything he and Will have built. The Army invokes the Stop Loss military policy to involuntarily extend his commission and send him back overseas. Will, left alone to cope with the café, must rely on the support of old friends who may be no longer be trustworthy. Through emails and Skype calls, Mike and Will keep their love and structure alive...until the day a horrific terrorist attack occurs on Mike's outpost.

Mike awakens in a hospital with a devastating injury and no his memory of the attack. As the only survivor, Mike's memory may be the key to national security. Mike struggles to cope with his injury and Will struggles to support the man who always held him up. Both fear they have lost their previous relationship. Will has Mike back rather than a folded flag, but in the aftermath of war, can they rebuild the life they had before? Especially when those closest to them may not have their best interests at heart?
Amazon

Monday, February 17, 2014

Sir, Yes Sir By Dinah McLeod

In honor of President's Day I am saluting Dinah McLeod and her new book, Sir, Yes Sir.

Blurb: Shelby Davies has always tried to be a good wife. She's done everything possible to support her husband in his career and raise their son, often single handedly. Her whole world is tilted on it's head when her husband, Dean, retires from the military and they have to start all over as civilians; a world unfamiliar to them both. What's worse is that they're both keeping secrets that could change everything.












I found this book thought provoking and a bit gut wrenching. It tells the story of Shelby, Dean and their teenaged son as they adjust to Dean's unexpected retirement from the Army. As the series title states, Dean is an old-fashioned husband used to giving orders and having them obeyed without question. 

However, civilian life is not as tidy and controlled as the Army and Dean must  maneuver (clever 
Army reference !) a wide range of changes---his wife has a job, his son not only has a girlfriend, but the two of them attend anti-war rallies and his new co-workers are hardly spit and polish. 

The beginning of this story had me gritting my teeth. I'm pretty sure I would have told Dean a few things  that might not have gone over so well. Shelby, however, has known Dean longer than I have, and she loves him very much, so she had more compassion for his situation--- a strong, self-sufficient man without a job and  facing physical challenges --- than I did. I admired her for that . She was in a tough spot, trying to hold her family together while giving Dean the space he needed to sort through his issues. 

I'm not sure I'd call this a romance as much as I would call it a story of mature, lifelong love. The sort that lasts through tough times and heartache rather than flowers and rainbows and riding off into the sunset for a life without stress. This is a realistic look at the types of struggles I'm sure many people deal with in their marriages. The resiliency and love of this family was heart warming. Give it a try!