Thoughts on Editing

So I’ve been super busy lately. As you may know I am actually the Head Editor for OWS, while also being Head Poetry Editor and an Executive Board member. Which means I do a lot of editing and work when I’m not writing. Lately, my editing schedule has been a little crazy, so I thought we could talk about editing today. Just a casual chat. So here goes.


There are a couple different types of editing, developmental (or substantial) editing and line (or copy) editing. These are very different from each other and it’s important to know which type of editing you would like or need when hiring an editor. Dev edits are the big holistic changes you need to develop your story. Things like looking for consistencies and plot holes, structural or organizational changes, strengthening weak writing, adding or deleting scenes or chapters, developing characters, etc. These are the big changes to make sure your story is strong. They are not the polishing we usually think of when we think editing. These edits are also a lot of work, so are more expensive when you’re hiring an editor. But they are definitely worth it, especially early in your writing career when you’re unsure of what you need to strengthen and work on in your drafts.


Line edits are the polishing stage. They are called that because they focus on line by line. So word choice, sentence structure, grammar, and punctuation. Are your word choices strong and adequate? Are your sentences varied? How do they flow and transition from one to the next. Is your grammar solid? These are the things you focus on for line edits. If your story is solid, then these are the edits you would look for.


The important things to remember when editing is to give yourself time in between first drafts and edits and to do edits in passes. For dev edits, group issues into like categories and then tackle them in passes. For example, you can first go through and look at structure. Are you hitting all your necessary plot points for the structure you’re using? Is this the best order for your chapters? Does your timeline make sense? Then go through and look at characters. Are they all developed and three-dimensional? Are they consistent and distinguishable from each other? Then do dialogue and body language. And so on and so forth. With line edits you can start with sentence structure and flow before moving on to spelling and grammar issues. But the most important thing is to wait long enough before you start. When we finish our first draft, it’s so tempting to keep going and start editing. But this is a mistake. You need to be able to look at the draft with fresh eyes to see the issues and mistakes. You need to give your brain a break to be able to see what’s missing from the story and what’s unclear. I think a month is a good amount of time, but take at least two weeks. Then give yourself the same break between dev edits and line edits. And don’t worry about spelling and grammar until the very end. No point in polishing when you have big changes to make.


You may be wondering why I talk about self-editing and hiring editors in the same post. It’s because I believe in both. We should always self-edit before we pass on our stories to anyone else. If we don’t, the drafts are too much of a mess for an editor to go through and make the best possible. If it’s a lot of work, they may not be able to finesse as much as if you had given them a cleaner draft. It will also cost you a lot more. More of their time and effort means more money. So don’t just think that editing is all their job. You’re responsible as well as the writer. They are there to improve, but you should do some work first. Also, if you are self publishing then I strongly recommend hiring an editor to make sure you are putting the best work out there. Self publishing makes it easy for you to get your book out there fast, but you don’t want it to be subpar. Especially if you are not an expert when it comes to editing. If you publish traditionally then you will have an editor assigned to you. It’s up to you whether you want to hire an editor before you query, for example. It can be a good idea to put your best foot forward when shopping around your MS, but know it will be edited again through the publishing company.


So those are some quick thoughts on editing. Let me know if you have any questions in the comments below and happy editing!




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Angelborn Cover Reveal!

So sorry this is a little late in the day, but the time just got past me today. But it’s here! The final cover reveal for Angelborn. If you’ve been following me on social media, you’ve been privy to each stage of the project (if you haven’t, you can check out my links at the bottom of this post to catch up). So, without further ado, here it is!

AB wrap final (1)

This went through several stages, and I was fortunate enough to be able to be involved in each step. My cover designer was great and really listened to my opinions on colors and other details that really went into making this so eye catching. I was so nervous about the process, since I’m not a designer myself, but it was all a very great process that I was happy to be involved in. Not all authors are so lucky.

Angelborn is also available for pre-order at D2D and Amazon! And it’s on sale. Pre-order today and save some money!

As always, I’m glad to share this process with each of you and shed some light on my experience with publishing. A lot of people advocate for self-publishing or traditional, but it all really depends on your goals for yourself and your book, and on things like what you can realistically invest yourself in the process. This includes time, money, and marketing. And of course, the press makes all the difference with what they do to help or harm you. There’s no one answer, but I am happy to answer any questions, if you have any.

Thanks for sharing in my reveal today and be sure to stay tuned for more!


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Cover Reveal Stage One

So I know this isn’t the day I normally post on here, but I wanted to share my cover reveal which I will be doing all week. I may not post each stage on here, but you can see it on my other social media sites, which I will link to at the bottom of this post. I am revealing the cover by posting all the stages and transformations the cover went through until the end where I will post the final version on the first. So here it is, the first stage of the cover reveal.

woman faded

It all started with this figure, which I love and captures some of the emotions of the book perfectly. Ginny, the protagonist, goes through some turmoil and mixed emotions as she discovers she is half-angel and that her father is alive. Here’s the blurb.

High school is all about boy meets girl, girl gets demon mark, and girl finds out she’s half-angel. At least that’s how it is for Ginny Gracehurst.

Sixteen year olds have a lot going on in their lives, and Ginny is no exception. Grades, homework, pimples, oh and now the sudden appearance of a demon mark. And discovering her father, who she thought was dead, is actually the great angel Grace. Who is very much alive.

With unforeseen powers growing, she has to figure out who she really is. While also staying out of the reach of a powerful half demon who is hell-bent on bending her to his will. The Alliance, an organization that is supposed to help people like her, is threatened by her potential gifts. They are more invested in their own hierarchy than in upholding their divine mandate. It’s up to her and a new friend, Aiden, to protect not just herself, but the ones she loves.

And in case you missed it last week, here is a short excerpt from the story I posted on my social media.

Quote 1 Version 3

So be sure to tune in for the final cover reveal on the first!

In the meantime, happy writing!


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Tips to Write Like a Pro

So a couple of months ago I attended another writer’s conference in my area. I’ve meant to share some of what I’ve learned with all of you, so that’s on the agenda for today. One speaker, Brian A. Klems, talked about some tips to write like the pros. I won’t go over all of them with you, since we’ve talked about some of them already. But I will go over some of the ones that stood out to me along with my thoughts about them.

Don’t just open with action, open with conflict

Get your readers hooked from sentence one and sympathizing with your character. And action doesn’t just mean a car chase or an explosion. But the character shouldn’t just be sitting around and thinking. Move the plot forward from the beginning towards the inciting incident and the rest of the story.

Speaking of the inciting incident, it is crucial to your story

It is the impetus to the rest of the story and builds to the climax. For a good example of what an inciting incident is, let’s look at the Hunger Games. The inciting incident occurs when Katniss’s sister is picked for the Reaping and Katniss volunteers to go in her place. The rest of the story couldn’t happen without this event and it sets up the conflict for the rest of the story. The inciting incident isn’t the same as your hook. Your hook is what starts your story and pulls the reader in and gets them asking questions. The inciting incident comes after, unless you are using the Fichtean Curve as your story structure.

Don’t include too many adjectives and adverbs

These don’t work as well as strong verbs and concrete nouns. And adjectives can often be vague. Pretty doesn’t tell us anything about what she actually looks like. And don’t use things like ran quickly, use sprinted, dashed, or raced. Stronger verbs are always better than adverbs.

Avoid passive voice

Passive voice is where the object of the sentence becomes the subject. So instead of “Bob threw the ball,” we have “The ball was thrown by Bob.” If you’re unsure whether a sentence is passive or not, see if you can add “by zombies” at the end of the sentence. If it makes sense, it’s passive and should be changed to active voice. Active voice is easier to read and much more immersive.

Hooks aren’t just for the beginning of your story

Keep raising questions for the reader in each chapter to keep those pages turning.

Characters are a priority and should be complex

Each main character should be unique and memorable. All characters, even the minor ones, need three things; a goal, a flaw, and motivations driving them. This will make your characters well-rounded and drive the plot forwards while creating tension. After all, goals conflict between characters. And without conflict, you don’t have a story. Flaws are important to make your characters relatable and believable to the reader. This is crucial and a good step towards getting your reader to care about your characters.

Watch your verb tenses

Don’t switch back and forth between present and past tense, for example. It’s jarring for the reader and should be something you catch in editing. The same applies to POV. Don’t switch from first to third, unless it’s intentional, such as when writing journal entries versus exposition.

Stay consistent

If you use the Oxford comma, use it each time. If you spell it grey instead of gray, stick to it. If you use OK instead of okay, keep to the acronym. Stay consistent.

Those were the tips that really stood out to me that I wanted to share with you. What do you think of these tips? Do they help you progress? Share your comments below and happy writing!

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Primal Elements Out Now!

Sorry I wasn’t able to get this up yesterday. It’s been very busy for me lately, with being added to the Executive Board of OWS Ink, LLC and the Primal Elements release party that was last Friday! I’m here to talk a little bit about the Primal Elements poetry anthology now that it’s live. And a little bit about poetry in general. Scroll down for my write up on imagery!

I’ve written poetry since I was about 13 or so. I discovered Pablo Neruda through my older sister and I was hooked. Like many youngsters though, I had a hard time really understanding what went into writing a successful poem. Though I wrote them constantly through high school, it wasn’t until college that I really began to blossom as a writer of both poetry and fiction through my classes.

Poetry has always meant a lot to me, so I was pleased as punch to accept the position of Head Poetry Editor at OWS last year. It also meant that I was extremely involved in getting Primal Elements together. From selecting the poems to shaping the final product, I was submerged into these poems and this anthology. And I loved the process! Especially getting to read everyone’s poems.

Primal Elements was inspired by the elements; air, fire, water, earth, and spirit. And even though it was themed, all the poets went a multitude of surprising ways with their poems making for a very diverse and well-rounded collection. Here’s the blurb:


Earth, Air, Fire, Water, and Spirit. The raw force of these elements is truly phenomenal, but can these extraordinary poets harness their power?


What happens when you give poets an open call to write about the elements? You get a diverse array of poems that touch on everything from loss to the celebration of life, passion, and long lost memories, to the feeling of being at home in a storm. Though each poet wrote about these same five elements, each tapped into different themes and emotions, creating a well-rounded anthology that has something to offer to everyone.


OWS Ink Anthology collection brings you themed poetry from the brilliant minds of J.K. Allen, A.F. Stewart, Dorothy Tinker, Anna Schoenbach, Ed Ahern, Janet McCann, Ynes Malakova, Karla Linn Merrifield, Kerry E.B. Black, Matt Wilson, Rebecca R Pierce, and Stacy Overby.


From the lyrical to the concise, from odes of joy to the desolation of war, you’ll find your next favorite poem in these pages. Grab your favorite brew and settle in to explore Primal Elements today.

Grab your copy today at



So without further ado, here are some excerpts that I really loved.

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And the write up as promised!

Now to me, part of what makes poetry so powerful is the imagery it uses to invoke emotions in us. I find imagery to be a really integral part of what makes me connect to a particular poem really strongly. So I wrote a little bit on imagery, giving some tips and examples here. Be sure to check it out and let me know what you think.  Happy writing!


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Interview with Rebekah Jonesy

So we are back this week with another interview. I was lucky enough to edit Moss and Clay by Rebekah Jonesy and I fell in love with this story. Moss and Clay is the first book in the Mab’s Doll series and was just released by OWS Ink, LLC. It’s got great characters, action, and comedy all rolled into one awesome story. You’ll love the characters of Gillian and Pitch, the protagonist and her mischievous kelpie sidekick. Gillian kicks ass while Pitch says a lot without saying a word. Get this book on preorder today. On paperback here.


Here’s the blurb:
A doll, crafted and given a mission by Danu. Given life by human and Fae blood.  First daughter of Mab, Queen of the Fae, Gillian must track down the rogue fae in the Americas and bring them back under Fae Law with only a volunteer kelpie to travel with her.

And no one knows what they’re in for. Not even the gods that sent them.

Get the FREE prequel story here:

Without delay, here’s the interview!



Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m a dabbler. And a poker. And an instigator. I like to experiment with lots of things. My brain is always saying “What if?” or “Why?” or “How?” And then I do my best to figure out the answer. I’ve worn a lot of hats over the years and love them all. I haven’t really retired any of them and I use everything I have ever learned to ask and answer the next set of questions. People fascinate me.


Why do you write? How did you get started?

I write so I can see the answers to my questions. Stories are my sounding board. I bounce ideas off of them, through them, and see what I come up with.  I have almost no music appreciation, but I understand why musicians make music. Because the music is playing in their head and they have to work with it to make it whole. That’s what I do. I release the melody locked deep inside of me, and it becomes a story.

That’s not a fun story.  Actually I started in first grade I guess it was. In school we made this book from our workbooks. Rip out the pages, fold them a certain way, cut along the lines, and there was a book with a story and drawings about a little alligator.  The last few folded pages were blank, so I filled them up with his continuing story. Then I cut out more pages, folded them the same way, and kept going. My older siblings, and mom, thought they were stupid and wasteful and kept throwing them away. But as long as I could find paper and pencil I kept writing and drawing.

Basically that continued and evolved until I was living on my own and they didn’t have access to my stuff to destroy. I still kept all of my writings hidden though. Unpacking after another move a few years ago I was looking for a spot to hide my stash when it clicked in my head. I didn’t have to hide it. Any of it.  I was in my 30s and at that point I had two moving boxes full of notebooks. And a few disks of things too. So I sat down and read them. And yeah, most were crap. But some of them were really good. I looked online, found videos and how tos by indie authors, two of whom I am friends with today thanks so much Josh and Joe! And with their recorded advice I started publishing.  But I didn’t tell anyone. Not a soul. It was just me. And, amazingly, I got good reviews.


What is your process like? From idea to finished piece?

The stories sit in my head. They stew, ferment, rot, evolve, grow, and sometimes die, all without ever typing a single word. Some are full stories, some are series, some are just characters. But if I try to outline or plot, they fade away. When I have enough time and peace, I sit down, close out the world, and brain dump. With my novellas I would usually write the whole thing in a day or two. Because once I start it’s almost impossible for me to stop. I’ll forget I have a body. And any time I stop or walk away I have to read back through everything and edit it again, even though I edit while I go.  Once I am done, I get up and walk away, usually for a day. Once I can read it with a clearer mind I started the real editing and rewrites. Then I walk away and do something else. Usually cooking. Maybe a different kind of craft. Then I will sit down with it again and go over it, paragraph by paragraph. After third pass it’s off to the editor. Once it’s sent, it moves to a different folder in my brain. And after my editor is done with it and sends it back I can look at it like a product to be honed instead of my baby that I had to protect and nurture. Then comes the struggle of the cover. Ughhhhhhh. Graphic art is not something I am good at. I much prefer giving a basic idea to someone and having them make something then I will just add or ask for tweaks. After the manuscript and cover is done, some marketing people work necromancy or something like that. Later I am given a link and and I can cheer and share it with my friends and followers.


Where do your ideas come from? What’s your favorite way to brainstorm?

Everywhere. Anything. I’ve written two books based on covers I saw. I’ve written around five from secondary characters in my other books. The idea for my first trilogy started out with an idea to go on a shooting camping trip with some friends. It ended up no place near that. My second one was from a comment a waiter said. The fifth one was from a comment a character said in my book. And on and on. The series I am working on now, the concept of the idea started because of a child character in my romance thriller book. That got the idea of Americanized Irish lore stuck in my head which came up later in a conversation with a fantasy author friend of mine. So anything can spark the idea.

My favorite way is easily by chatting it over with a friend. That leads fairly quickly to actually writing it and it’s cleaner when I start working on it.


Who’s your biggest influence?

Coffee. And friends. I am blessed to have amazing artist friends or all flavors. And their creativity sparks my own and makes me feel more comfortable expressing it.


What’s your one piece of go to advice for other writers?

Write. Write. Write. Just write. Don’t have an idea? Write. Don’t think you can? Write. Work isn’t “good enough”? Write. Keep getting stuck? Write. Doesn’t matter what you write. So long as you are writing. Just shut up and write.


Tell us about Moss and Clay. What inspired you to write this story?

In my thriller romance Dangerous Angles there’s a family. They are Irish American and the parents passed down the old oral stories. Researching that and writing out what they would do really intrigued me. Later, much later, I was chatting with an author friend of mine and I don’t remember what exactly sparked it, but together we came up with this concept of an automaton crafted from magic to hunt down bad guys by following American legends and lore. Like Ghost Hunters meets Puppetmaster.

That stewed in my brain and even rotted a bit. But I trimmed off the rotted pieces and pulled out something new. It had grown and developed on its own over the year and became a story about a doll crafted by Danu, blessed by the sky, and brought to life with human and fae blood who is given a mission to find her lost peoples stuck in the Americas where they are surrounded by metal that they cannot touch or cross.


What’s one thing writing Moss and Clay taught you?

The similarities in myths and how they relate to and are influenced by languages. One example is how many cultures have a story about a water horse. Depending on how the language says “horse” it is either male or female, benevolent or malevolent, and even relates from there how to protect yourself from it. And a lot of myths seem to have a lot to do with how women are viewed in the culture as well.


What’s next on the horizon for you?

I see reds, yellows, oranges- which I am going to say is a sunrise, not a sunset. Either way I am moving forward fast and hard. I have the next three books in my series planned out along with a short or two to go with it. I have a full romance I have finished and will be publishing soon. I have a Patreon idea I plan to go forward with in the near future. And I have my gleefully geeky podcast that is really taking off recently that I have so much fun on. And of course my wonderful new job with OWS Ink publishing.


What’s your favorite food, favorite color, and favorite beverage?

Coffee, coffee, and coffee! Yay!


What’s three things most people don’t know about you yet?

  1. I am left handed.
  2. I am the youngest child of five.
  3. I had West Nile and nearly died from it.


And finally, where can we find you online?

  1. All over!
  9. Newsletter

Rebekah Jonesy knows stuff about things and isn’t afraid to talk and write about it. Outside of the literary world, she is a mad scientist cook, gardener, Jill of all trades, and military spouse. Inside the literary world she is a devourer of books, publisher, and mentor.

“Rebekah has the best kind of rabies”- JD Estrada


Check Rebekah out and grab your copy of Moss and Clay today!

Coming Soon!

So poetry is very special to me. It’s actually what I chose to do my senior thesis on in college. That was an intense experience, though I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I am actually the poetry editor for Our Write Side, a lovely resource for both writers and readers (check them out at As such, I had the joy of selecting poems for the upcoming poetry anthology, Primal Elements, coming this June (that’s just next month!).

I had a great time reading all of the submissions and putting together the awesome line up for PE. I even had the honor of having four of my own poems selected for the anthology. The theme for PE was the elements. Fire, water, air, earth, and spirit. You would think that the poems written about these elements would all come out similar, but you couldn’t be farther from the truth. Each poet took the subject matter a completely different way and some wonderful poetry was the result.

Primal Elements is now available for preorder for just $2.99! Grab your copy here. Prices may rise once it’s released, so now is a great time to buy it.

Since we are talking poetry, here’s a link to a write up I did for OWS talking about getting started with poetry here.  What’s your favorite poem? Why? Share below and happy writing!


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