Thursday, May 30, 2013

Another Priority Today! by DL Larson

First of all, thank you all for your kind words of encouragement while I waited for my book to be released.  I appreciate everyone taking time to contact me.  It means a lot.  And I will talk more next week about my book and how I plan to promote it.  But today I have another priority.

A young man, Dalton, 16, is having major surgery today.  He's from our small town and we really are just one big family here in Earlville and his fight with cancer has been on many minds.  For the last several months Dalton has undergone chemo theropy for the rare cancer he has.  He is one of the sixteen people in the world with this type of cancer. 

His surgery is scheduled for noon.  The surgeons plan to remove the tumor in his leg and the three in his lung.  The chemo has helped shrink the tumors, but the one nestled behind his heart is of particular worry. 
On behalf of his family I'm asking for your prayers today.  I know so many times we are asked not to bring our faith into our business world.  Well, I'm breaking that rule today.  I hope you understand that when we are left with no physical way to help our loved ones, prayer is the best place to go. 

Thanks for letting me share this with you.

Til next time ~

DL Larson

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

It's Three In the Afternoon - How About a Teaser?

It's three in the afternoon, and I'm just getting around to doing my Acme Authors Link post.

I've got a good excuse, since I've been working on my Blessing or Curse edits, and am now six pages from finishing them.

So, I'm almost at the finish line. Once I cross over, I'm looking forward to some breathing space until the edits come back.

This book consists of five different stories. Each has it's own name. This Teaser is from Too Much of a Good Thing, and I have to confess it's a little dicier than my usual, but to some of you it probably seems tame. (g)

The male enhancement pill, plus an extra for good measure, had not done the trick, so neither could he. Ezekial rolled off the water bed, and nonchalantly glanced over his shoulder. “Be right back.”  
Cocoa-skinned Luana, of the tight bod, champagne colored eyes and straight black hair, flashed a seductive smile. “I’m not going anywhere, big boy.”
Wincing at her choice of words, he stumbled into the bathroom, shut the door and groaned. At the moment, he did not live up to the typical African-American male image. 

Okay, that's enough for now.
Back to my edits.

Morgan Mandel

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Back in the Saddle?

I feel like I've been away from writing for a while. Not entirely. I've been keeping up with my blogs, working on cover art sheets and promotional information, and doing edits and such. But I haven't been to one of my local writers' meetings for so long I can't remember the last time I attended, and I haven't written anything new in about five months. I needed a break. Real life is busy and trying to fit a 'second' life as a writer into it just seems to add to the stress.

But now summer vacation is fast approaching, and I feel like I want to dedicate some time to actual writing again. Right now I don't have a project screaming at me to complete, but I do have several ideas out there, so I guess I just need to pick one and get to it. I'm about two chapters plus some extra scenes here and there into one story. At this point I'm not sure if it's going to be a full-length or a novella. I also have an idea (outlined!) for a time travel. That one will probably fall into the novella category. And then I have some thoughts about a few spin-off stories from my three- book series. These will definitely fall into the novella category.

I also need to figure out what happened with the mss I submitted to Harlequin last August. I sent it out, and then put it in the 'don't think about this or you'll go crazy' category. Well, it turns out I put it so far into the back of my mind that a whole bunch of months passed before I realized I should have heard something by now. And I haven't heard boo, not even a rejection in the self addressed stamped envelope I sent. We are well past the three to five month timeline I was given. So, I need to dig out the original request letter and see if I can find an e-mail address or snail mail address and find out if the mss was ever received.

I have some promotion to do. Even with my self-imposed hiatus from writing, I have a Halloween novella coming out this Fall (The Vampire and the Vixen) and the third installment in my series (This Feels Like Home) I'm guessing will release sometime early next year. I'm just waiting on an official release date for Vampire and the blurb for Home was just approved so we're heading into the cover art process. I'm also waiting on the second round of edits from my editor.

So I have plenty to keep me occupied in a writing sense. I just hope some sort of motivation to actually put words on paper makes an appearance soon. If not, maybe this time next year Debra St. John will be one of those authors that has faded away into the pages of publishing history...only time will tell.

Until next time,

Happy Reading!


Saturday, May 25, 2013

Lifestyle Change by Margot Justes

I can’t say I’ve always wanted to be a writer, but I’ve always been a reader.  The need for a challenge allowed me to become a writer. When faced with mundane tasks, I’d hear voices in my head, and that was becoming more frequent when at work. My characters would hold some lively conversations, until one day I said enough, you’ll be heard. I started writing.

It was that easy, at least that is what I thought. I was wrong. Musings are lovely, but to make coherent observations, learn whose point of view (POV) you’re in, and all the other lovely writing essentials are hard to come by-osmosis notwithstanding.

It’s a continuous learning experience, one that keeps me challenged, that was after all what the process was all about. The challenge of putting a coherent product out, keep the voices in your head happy, and  get better with every word, while at the same time make it  fun. Writing for me has to be joyful, it cannot be a drudge, because then it becomes laborious in the worst sense possible.

I don’t plot out my stories, I have an idea and go with it. The most fun I have is when characters interact with each other, and take me on their journey. More often than not they surprise me. It keeps the process fresh and enjoyable, except when the evil writing block hits, and the voices are silenced. So far they have always returned.

I didn’t want my writing to become homework, an obligation. I wanted to have fun with it and learn by reading others, doing research, which I love doing anyway, and just seeing where it would lead. That was my first lifestyle change as a writer. I still kept my day job, and wrote in the evenings and on weekends when possible. That became increasingly more difficult.

My formal retirement notice was eighteen months-probably the longest in the company’s history. There was a perfectly logical reason to do so. I gave myself enough time to make sure I was disciplined enough to become a full time writer, and making it official meant I wasn’t going to back down. now that time is fast approaching, two more weeks to be exact, and I’ll be a full time writer. I’m ready for next journey.

It’s never too late to change.

Margot  Justes
A Hotel in Paris
A Hotel in Bath
Hearts & Daggers
Hot Crimes Cool Chicks


Friday, May 24, 2013

Something To Talk About! by DL Larson

        Now Available!!!

The day has finally arrived ~ my book is available for purchase.  Look for Promises My Love, by DL Larson.  I still have yet to hold it, but the publisher assures me it's on its way. 

The ISBN is:  9781457519413
You can find it on for $13.95
It is also available at Ingram.
Baker & Taylor and Barnes & Noble will have it soon.
The e-book version is in its last stages before publication!  But that too will be soon available. 

My "official" book launch will be June 22nd, much later than I had hoped, but better than not having one.  It will be at the Book Mouse,
820 LaSalle Street, Ottawa, IL  61350.

The Book Mouse will take pre-orders ~ pre-pay.  If interested, call
815-433-READ or email your order to Bookmouse   They will get you a book ordered in time for the book launch. 

In case you have forgotten, here's the back cover blurb:

The Story from Promises To Keep continues with …
Promises My Love, by DL Larson

Francis Frailey fears he might become as abusive as his uncle once was, so he admires his young family from a distance. His plan is lonely, but safe, until his wife Christine sneaks past his staunch decorum. With tender devotion she coaxes him beyond his wretched childhood memories to a place where trust and love grows.

The fragile bond shatters when Francis’ family intervenes and he must decide if hate will rule his heart. Christine promises forgiveness will make him whole, but Francis aches for revenge. He’s determined to kill his uncle and be done.

Christine’s brother, Joe Douglas, has plans of his own that include asking his wife Annie to face her troubled past. But to help Christine, Joe agrees to go after Francis and bring him home. Taking his young son and nephew with him unhinges them all. Joe doesn’t know if the love Francis has for his son is stronger than the hate he harbors for his uncle. Or perhaps Francis despises himself most of all. Joe fears the wrong person may end up dead.

Midwest Book Review on Promises To Keep
‘… Promises To Keep is the story of life, good and bad, it’s challenges and the hope of new beginnings. Excellent read!’

From Reader’s View on Promises To Keep
‘… this story will touch your heart. Annie and Christine are strong women who do not take commitment lightly… I felt I knew these two women intimately… Larson is a talented writer.’

Please take a moment to share my good news with your fellow writers and friends.

Til next time ~

DL Larson

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Got My Edits Back

I received my edits back for Blessing or Curse, the sequel to Forever Young: Blessing or Curse, from Helen Ginger, my wonderful editor. Since this book has five separate stories, we were trying to figure out an easy way for readers to keep track of each of the stories.

I've decided to name each story with a phrase relating to its contents, then using chapter numbers for the different scenes.

Look below to learn the story names.

Who'll Mend This Broken Man

Too Much of a Good Thing

For the Love of Dog

What I Did for Love


Stayed tuned for more about Blessing or Curse. For now, I'm back to my edits!

Morgan Mandel
For excerpts and links to all my books, come on over to

Monday, May 20, 2013

Monday Musings on books & writing

A few Monday Musings on writing and books...

1. I put up a short post today on the other blog with some "fun facts" about my character Becca from GIRL Z: My Life as a Teenage Zombie

2. Deep in proofing now. Gosh, amazing the things that get missed, or misspelled, or... how doe   does that happen??

3. It takes for-ev-er to get reviews, while you sit on pins and needles, wondering, waiting...

4. It's a good thing when you can still say after X number reads of your book that you still like it - and hope others do, too. See number 3 above.

5. When did libraries become so author un-friendly unless you are Dan Brown or someone famous?

Maybe I'll think of a few more later. Or got some musings of your own?

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Country Road Trip

I wouldn't miss a chance to see Kenny Chesney in concert, so even if I have to take a road trip to Wisconsin and take several detours because of closed highways, it was worth it last night. It's an annual tradition. Kenny is the way I start my summer every year. This year it was a bit early, but it was still a fabulous time. Even better, Eric Church was the opening act.

Girls' Night Out!

The view from our seats.

And I love the camera my hubby got me for my birthday, because I can really zoom in on the action!

Until next time,

Happy Reading!


Saturday, May 18, 2013

Aruba by Margot Justes

Last island on our itinerary, like Bonaire, it’s another gorgeous Dutch Island, and the most developed and most cosmopolitan of the islands we visited. It was interesting to see the progression, and the distinctive personality of each island, while at the same time it was a relaxing experience. Life is slower,  it’s closer to home and the pressure to do everything in one day is not there.  

Aruba is lively, energetic and filled with tourist shops, beautiful hotels and an abundance of tourists. If you like to shop, know your prices well. I bought T-shirts for my kiddies, and Aloe cream, which I will admit is fantastic for sunburns and general care, but it can found on line. Most things are available home for less, tax savings notwithstanding.

Took a morning tour to visit a few boulders, and I had a lump on my head to prove it. To get to the top you had to crawl through a small hole, not that small since I fit, but it was too close for comfort. The guide said keep head low, of course I looked up and heard a resounding thud; that was my head and the boulder meeting. I lost, boulder is okay, but it was touch and go for a bit.

Once I reached to the top, it was worth the egg shape rock on my head. Aruba was below, the view was worth the headache, literally. The way back was interesting too, a gorge below, and the only thing between you and the bottom were uneven deep and shallow steps, and a life saving railing. I’m not the most coordinated individual, and all the way down I did not let go of the railing, and actually looked where I was going, something I tend not to do.

We visited an Aloe factory and I bought a few bottles of the stuff for gifts. Good thing the stuff works, since I had a nice sunburn, a farmer’s burn to be precise. Uneven at best.

I also forget to wear a hat, not a smart thing to do when it’s scorching hot. It was neatly stashed in my purse, where it remained for the whole tour.

The afternoon was spent with my friend and next door neighbor. She was spending two weeks in Aruba and we met to do some sightseeing on our own. Aruba is a place where you go to relax and unwind. I’m not a beach person, but enjoy being around water, and no matter where you are there are always things to see.

After we boarded the ship, I went for a dip in the indoor pool, where the waves relaxed my achy muscles. It’s a tidal pool, the sea water is treated, but still salty, and as the ship lolls so does the water in the pool,  you wind up riding the waves. Delicious feeling.

The captain announced that it was going to be a stormy night, and anyone susceptible to sea sickness, should take precautions, pills were available. I thought I had my sea legs firmly in place, but walking in a straight line was impossible.

Margot  Justes
A Hotel in Paris
A Hotel in Bath
Hearts & Daggers
Hot Crimes Cool Chicks

Monday, May 13, 2013

New bookmarks & GIRL Z: My Life as a Teenage Zombie news!

So excited! I got my bookmarks for GIRL Z: My Life as a Teenage Zombie! Aren't they cool?

* Also: I'm having a giveaway contest at the GirlZombieAuthors blog.  

** And... you can now pre-order the book! See title link or giveaway link above. 

* (And on another topic -  check out this cool new miniature cabinet I decorated.)

Sunday, May 12, 2013

A Cover!

The cover for The Vampire and the Vixen arrived in my in box on Friday! I have to say I love it and it's perfect for the story.

Although what was interesting was this time around, it came through as a preliminary cover pending my approval. In the past, covers from TWRP came through as final covers, with only changes for misspellings made. The way the e-mail was worded, it seems like I would have been able to make other suggestions as well, which would be considered, but not guaranteed to change. But, like I said, all in all, I am very pleased!

Now all we need is a release date and we'll really be rolling...

Until next time,

Happy Reading!


Saturday, May 11, 2013

Bonaire by Margot Justes


Bonaire is a beautiful, developed, rather wealthy, and arid Dutch island. The shopping is abundant but expensive, it’s best to know your prices.

Once we docked, a short stroll down the pier and across the street was a garden, and in the garden, an art fair. Tents were pitched and one display after another showcased the local talent. I was in heaven. I bought a couple tiny original drawings for my kiddies, they both love fish, and these were local to the island. I tried to find a clown fish, but Nemo was not available.

This time I didn’t take a tour, but instead walked along the beautiful pristine shore, the water is crystal clear, and we could see fish and various reefs. This island is a paradise for snorkeling and scuba diving, and any other water activity. I’m a land lubber, but do appreciate natural beauty, and I find water mesmerizing.

I stopped for coffee, and in the al fresco setting, I listened as the water lapped against the rocks; the rhythmic sound of the waves almost put me to sleep. This is an island where you sit and enjoy, you do not rush,  you whisper a soft thank you just for being there. Truly relaxing.

Once we left the port, I watched our huge ship glide along the waves and not sink. I know water is heavy and there is displacement involved, but it’s still magic, and incredibly peaceful. After dinner, and the serene day on the island, I went for a swim and watched the stars. To make the day more perfect, I was alone in the pool, and Tom Jones serenaded me as I swam. I happen to love Tom Jones’ voice.

As promised, the Barbados fish cake recipe courtesy of the Sunbury Plantation.
1/2 lb boneless salt or Cod fish
1lb flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Green seasonings/chives
Sweet Pepper/Marjoram
Hot Pepper Salt to taste
Cooking oil (to fry)
Water to mix

Soak salt fish overnight. Clean thoroughly, removing skin, vein and bones. Mince fish & chop all seasonings finely, including hot pepper. In a medium bowl combine all ingredients except salt. Gradually add water until mixture reaches to a ‘drop’ consistency. (Mixture must be able to drop from a teaspoon in small balls.) Add salt to taste. Fry in hot oil (deep fry) until golden brown. Drain on a paper towel; serve hot with dip of ketchup and hot pepper sauce mixed together.

The fish cakes were positively delicious.

Margot  Justes
A Hotel in Paris
A Hotel in Bath
Hearts & Daggers
Hot Crimes Cool Chicks

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Is There Such A Thing As Too Many Surprises? by DL Larson

My life is becoming a tangled web of "should do this," versus "need to do that."  The other day I tackled one of my "need to" items.  I approached a local book store about having a book launch for my upcoming book.  Yes, I'm still waiting, no, you haven't missed it!

I have had my ISBN# for nearly a month and as a librarian and an author, I know once that number is designated to a book, said book should be available for pre-order, regardless of release dates.  When I walked into the book store the owner recognized me from my previous books.  That was a perk I hadn't expected.  I still tend to forget people actually read news articles and obviously she had read an article about my upcoming book.

She told me many independent bookstore owners don't cater to local authors as there is usually little money in it. I know that fact all too well from previous encounters with other book shops.  But she has worked with local authors in the past and she intends to continue in the future.  She also told me she wasn't happy that I hadn't mentioned her store in the article she read.

Several thoughts raced through my head, mainly that I sent a generic news article to several papers across Illinois.  I didn't mean to omit her store, I simply hadn't thought of zoning in on any particular store other than the big ones where retailers buy their books, ie. Ingram, Baker and Taylor, plus the places that offer e-books as well. 

I told her I simply followed the advice my publisher had given me, to promote the author and not just the upcoming book.  I also explained that I planned to put an ad in the local paper when I would have a book launch.  To that she said good and we got down to business of setting a date for my book signing.

Then the BIG snag hit.  She could not find my book in the Ingram List.  Nor could she find it in Baker and Taylor or  I knew it wouldn't be available for pre-order on Amazon, but surprise smacked me up-side the head that my book was not available through Ingram.  So that meant no date for a book launch until I got this straightened out.

Instead of coming home with something checked from my "need to do" list, I had added to it.  So I immediately sent an email to my publisher - I would have liked to talk to them personally but thought it best to wait a few days.  I am a redhead after all and no need to burn bridges if I don't have to.  My temper has on occasion, matched my hair.

So, here I am, waiting to hear from my publisher about why my book is not on the Ingram List.  I really pray she will call me tomorrow and tell everything is fine and wonderful! 

On a good note, this Friday I will be guest blogging at Heroines With Heart, hosted by Deb St. John. .  Please stop by.

Til next time ~

DL Larson

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The Cleanup

Blessing or Curse, the anthology sequel following Forever Young: Blessing or Curse, is now in my wonderful editor, Helen Ginger's hands, or should I say, on her computer.

Today, while I could, I did a cleanup of some neglected areas of the house.

That bunch of papers I said I'd shred someday, I finally shredded! I also switched around some of the clothes from winter to spring, threw out, sorted out, and arranged papers and miscellaneous stuff I for some reason seem to think I can't do without.

My desk even looks neat at the moment. Well, that never lasts!

Anyway, now I'll be set for when I get the edits back from Helen. Then, I'll be back in the writing groove and forsaking all other stuff! I still have the last book to write in the Always Young Trilogy, which will be called, Always Young

Morgan Mandel

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Back Up and Running

It goes without saying that a computer is important to a writer. Gone are the days of banging on the keys of a typewriter. Everything is done with technology today from drafts to revisions to submissions to promotion to sales.

So when my computer died last week, it wasn't good. I knew this day was coming. My computer is old. It's been in and out of The Geek Squad (LOVE those guys!) at Best Buy on a regular basis for some time. Last summer when I brought it in, the initial diagnosis was the mother board was gone. As it turned out, it was just the power supply, but the guy warned me that my computer would not be long for this world.

Even so, we trudged on with it. Around Christmas the CD/DVD drive broke. We managed without it, but it was quite inconvenient. In the ensuing months, endless windows would pop up. (You know, the ones that never close and keep multiplying until you force the computer to shut down?) And let me tell you that molasses in January are faster than the time it took our poor old computer to do tasks.

Finally, one day last week when I shut down the computer to get rid of those annoying multiplying never turned on again. The time had come to lay it to rest.

We ordered a new one immediately and it was delivered last Wednesday. In the meantime, I did what I could to keep current with e-mail and blogs at school, and I finished my first round of edits for This Feels Like Home on my laptop. Luckily I was working off of a flash drive. So we got by. But when you're used to 24/7 access to a computer and you don't have's definitely a disruption to routine. Just little things like, "Oh, I'll check that on line..." Ooops, never mind, can't do that. It was definitely a game-changer.

On Wednesday then, I was going to reinstall my anti-virus and realized my new computer has Windows 8 (Which I'm still getting familiar with. The first night I couldn't figure out how to turn the thing off.) and my software was compatible with 7 and Vista. So I headed over to The Geek Squad and the very nice boy not only installed the new version, but made sure all of the proper updates were up and running too. Of course I spent two hours there, but it saved me a lot of swearing and wanted to throw things.

Now it's all about making new lists of favorites, reloading software, and transferring documents and pictures from my external hard drive. (Now that was a smart investment!) Let's just say it's a work in progress and will get there eventually. It's a good time to weed out all of those old documents that I'll never need to look at again. I also need to figure out how to adjust my time zone. I seem to be on Pacific Time. And the hubby is looking forward to smashing the old hard drive with a sledge hammer.

So at least for the next ten minutes, before it changes and something new and faster and better is invented, my technology is all up to date and running!

Until next time,

Happy Reading!


Saturday, May 4, 2013

Barbados by Margot Justes


Welcome to Barbados, even the name sounds exotic. We docked at an industrial port, where nothing could be seen but containers, more containers and a few cruise ships; Celebrity among them, I missed the cold towels and cold drinks that Celebrity provides on hot and humid days as you re-board. The little touches are important. Celebrity even had employees hold up signs and guide the passengers of the area, so that they could head to town or board the appropriate tour bus. I followed the Celebrity signs to get to my destination. Great customer service, that little commodity has become increasingly scarce. I am a Celebrity convert.
I fell in love with Barbados and would definitely go back, it is one of the most vital islands I have visited, the people are lively, exuberant and friendly. The island is developed and tourists abound, but it is the local population that really makes one feel welcome. I always think of pirates when I think of Barbados, and even the name evokes mysterious sunken treasures, mischief and mayhem.

The first stop of the our tour was the Gun Hill Signal Station, the view of the island from above was picture perfect. The name says it all, the station watched as ships entered the area, guns poised. Now, it is a museum that houses military artifacts.
We paid a visit to the Sunbury Plantation House, the sugar plantation is over 300 years old and gives an excellent example of life in the 18th and 19th Centuries. Originally bought by an Irishman, who was one of the first residents of Barbados. The house filled with antiques that span centuries, along with many carriages provides a visual tour of life in Barbados that spans 300 years; well worth a visit.

Along with a full tour of the plantation, and the sumptuous gardens, we had an opportunity to sit in the garden and sample rum punch, and positively delicious fish cakes. A visit to Barbados must include a sampling of Rum; it is abundant. Not a big fan of spiced rum, but became a huge fan of the fishcakes.
After visiting the plantation, we stopped at Orchid World. I have never seen so many orchids in one place,  the stunning colors, one exotic bloom after another, from white to black and anything in between.  The garden was huge, the vegetation rich and luscious, but the orchids were truly sublime.

I would be remiss, if I did not share the rum punch recipe that was given to us.
Bajan Rum Punch
1 of Sour (Lime Juice)
2 of Sweet (Liquid sugar syrup or sugar)
3 of Strong (Rum)
4 of Weak (Ice and/or water)
2 Dashes of Angostura bitters
Pinch of grated nutmeg
Place ice in glass, add rum, liquid sugar, lime, top with water and 2 dashes of bitters. Grate some nutmeg on the top and serve. For a Sunbury Style Rum Punch, add 2 measures of pineapple juice. You may use your preferred unit of measure.

To go with the rum punch,  next week a recipe for the fish cakes. They were positively yummy.
Margot  Justes
A Hotel in Paris
A Hotel in Bath
Hearts & Daggers
Hot Crimes Cool Chicks


Thursday, May 2, 2013

What's Your Problem? Inadequate Plotting, Weak Setting or Boring Characters? by DL Larson

After reading Morgan's post yesterday I have to speak up.  Right now I'm judging a few published books for a contest.  Both are well written - with their word choices.  It's the words that are NOT there that bother me.  Let me explain.

The first book I judged is a sci-fiction.  Obviously that means things are different than our human standards.  The reader wants to know these differences, they do NOT want to have to play detective to discover how this new world works.  The writer needs to write the words that will bring this world to life.  Or the characters into focus.  The reader needs purpose and direction to understand the theme of the book.

Another problem that I see all too many times in sequels is the lack of explanation of each character's traits or past.  If a reader picks up a new book and begins to read and does not read about the basic premise of the plot, they are easily confused and likely to not finish the book. 

Introducing characters without some character description or relation to the theme of the book confuses the reader.  When writers do not take the time to create minor characters into "real" people, the book lacks depth.  And every time that lack-luster character is in a scene the scene is compromised because the character doesn't fill up the space as he/she should. 

My advice, as a reader and a writer:
1. Develop a scene so vivid your reader would recognize it outside the pages. 
2. Develop each character until she/he is three dimensional.  Paper characters are boring!
3. Develop your plot so it is the strongest thread throughout the book.  No matter how many times your characters detour from it, your reader knows/wants the plot to continue to completion.

I try to follow my own advice and often fail, only to work to make my words stronger.  I try to follow the advice I was given long ago: "Bring your writing level up to your taste level!"

Til next time ~

DL Larson

PS: still waiting for my book to be released!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Sloppy Editing

Editing is a real pain, but a necessary evil. I'm spending countless hours editing Blessing or Curse, my five story romance/science fiction anthology, to get it just right. Even after the best screening, I know a few errors will crop up, because it's almost impossible to produce an absolutely perfect manuscript.

Still, there are limits. When a book is not edited, or done sloppily, it's immediately noticeable. I very recently  quit reading two books, which were fortunately free. I won't name titles, because I don't like embarrassing people.

Problem with the first:

Too many coincidences.
I'll go along with one, but when they pile up, the believability factor flies out the window. Fiction isn't real life, yet the author needs to make a good case, so the reader can pretend such an alternate world exists. Yes, truth is stranger than fiction, but such strangeness doesn't wash in a book.

Problem with the second:

Repetitive phrases. 
Everyone is human and can make mistakes. Even an editor can miss a repetition. I'm not talking about a repetition purposely included for emphasis, but one which seems to harmlessly appear in the flow of words. 

When the same phrase appears a few paragraphs down in the same page, that gives me pause, but I'll ignore the redundancy. However, when another phrase gets the same treatment shortly thereafter, I lose patience. It's obvious the book has not been properly edited. Maybe the story is good. Maybe the author can convey emotions and pull at my heartstrings. I'll never know, because I've already removed the book from my Kindle.

What about you? How much patience do you have with sloppy editing? Have you seen any recent examples?

Morgan Mandel
Twitter: @MorganMandel