Posts tagged with: Autumn Jordon


It’s Friday the 13th and today’s topic is fear.

What is fear?

Fear has been defined as a vital response to physical danger. If we didn’t feel it, we couldn’t protect ourselves from legitimate threats. However, often we fear situations that are not life threatening but pose an emotional danger and thus avoid them in the name of sanity. But by not facing our fears, we are feeding the gluttonous monster.

Think about fear in terms of your desire to write, or your lack of writing. What is stopping you from being who you are? Have you let someone else’s goals become your goals? Are you intimated by the productivity, or success, of others? Did you reach for a star only to it have fade away before you could grasp it?  Did you receive love from an editor or agent and then found that relationship wasn’t meant to last? Has life in general attacked you?

We all let outside factors affect our productivity from time to time. There is no shame it, but at some point, we should recognize that we’re causing ourselves harm by tying ourselves into a knot of stress, and by extension hurting our love ones.

Great works take time and love. You can’t give your muse love if all you feel is angst because….  So you’re not the writer who can pound out three books a year. Personally, when my life is over, I want to be remembered as writing that one memorable book for my readers rather than one-hundred toss away novels. I continue to work on my skill as a writer and I want my next work to be better than my last one.

So you haven’t made USA Today or NYT best seller list. I have my opinions concerning those publishing crowns, which I’ll keep to myself today.  However, if that’s your goal, you’re not done writing yet, right? The next book might hit a list. The same goes with gaining the interest of a publisher or agent.

So life has encroached on your path? We all have priorities. Family and friends top my list. If I walked away from them during times of need to write, I wouldn’t respect myself. I can write any minute of the day and any day of the week. Some of my best ideas came during stressful times.  A truly great story mirrors life. Take notes.

My motto has been since I started writing and continues to be; Word By Word, Line By Line, Page By Page.

So today, on the day others have imposed on us to be fearful of black cats, cracks in the side walk, mom and pop hotels, strangers, bright lights in the sky, let’s examine our fears for what they truly are and then brush them to the side and enjoy our passions.



Autumn Jordon is sneaker-wearing Ruby who authors light-heart contemporary romances and seat-edging mystery/suspense novels. Her newest release, Perfect Fall is the book of her heart. Check it out at and while you’re there join her occasional newsletter.   

Suspense Or Mystery 101

When I began to write romantic suspense, I tossed out several reams of paper. Why?  Because no matter how I tried I couldn’t keep my villain hidden. He kept voicing his POV and writing his own chapters. I nearly ripped my hair out by the roots fighting with him to stay silent. Then I read a wonderful book, How To Write Killer Fiction by Carolyn Wheat.  Ms.Wheat set me straight and confirmed what my villain was telling me all along.

Is there a Who-dun-it in suspense? Of course there is. When the villain is revealed, among a few other elements, that makes suspense different from mystery. In a mystery, an act of violence begins the story, but most times the action is set off stage. The reader is invited into the dilemma and introduced to an already seasoned hero who solves the crime logically and through scientific methods. There is a small circle of suspects, clues and red herrings. Information is withheld from the reader and the said reader is kept in the dark two steps behind. The hero grows very little during the story. The story is all about who killed X? The villain is not exposed until the last scene and the end result for the reader is an intellectual satisfaction.

A suspense novel starts on even keel, showing the everyday life our hero or heroine. Then BAM, a nightmare occurs.


Excerpt from His Witness To Evil:

Stephanie masked her sigh of exertion while lifting the Coleman cooler she’d borrowed for their trip. She lugged the container to her old SUV. She knew how her son felt. She wished she had the money to take them away on exciting excursions like their friends had this summer. To places like Disney World, but she couldn’t even afford a day trip to Hershey Park, America’s chocolate capital. Em’s special diet, because of her allergies, took up a third of her take-home pay. After paying the mortgage, utilities, car insurance and miscellaneous expenses, she was lucky to save a few dollars a week.

She chewed on her bottom lip. Hopefully, next week Bobby and his friends would be off on new adventures, their summer vacations a distant memory.

The howl of a diesel engine jerked Stephanie from her musing. The squeal of brakes, crushing metal and shattering glass made her spin around.

Other basics of a suspense: All action is on stage. The protagonists’ world expansions. There are surprises. The villain can be revealed to the reader immediately and can have a POV.

Yeah! This made my villain happy. Information is given to the reader but withheld from the heroes. In other words, we know what could happen if the wrong path is taken by our hero.  The reader sits on the edge of her seat, screaming at the heroine and hero not to go there.


Excerpt from His Witness To Evil:

“I don’t want to kill no kids, Victor.” Mac danced in place ready to dodge Victor’s wrath.

“You will do as I say,” Victor snapped.

She looked at the dead driver. His lifeless stare pleaded to her for justice.

“Don’t trust her,” Sheriff Morse ordered, turning his gun on her.

Stephanie refused to flinch under Morse’s scrutiny.

Gene moved in front of her. “Frank, what the hell are you doing? You’ve known Stephanie all her life.”

“There is too much at stake, Gene. She saw me kill that guy. I’m not going to jail.” Morse’s tongue skimmed his lips. “Why the hell are you trying to protect her anyway? You two have been fightin’ like junkyard dogs for years. You complain every day she’s milking you dry. This is your chance to be rid of your mistakes.”

“Steph was never a mistake to me,” Gene’s voice rose in response. Then it softened. “I was hers.”

Tears threatened to blur her vision and she blinked them away. She squeezed Gene’s arm and glanced at her ex-husband’s profile. He remained focused.

“Touching,” Victor said. “But, sorry, no. They must die here.”


The suspense story is all about the hero or heroine prevailing. Emotional satisfaction is what the reader gets from a suspense novel. And since I write romantic suspense, love also must be found.


Excerpt from His Witness to Evil:

After a week, her touch was familiar. His heart melted. He grabbed her hand, holding her in place as he turned and smiled down on her. Her nipples pushed against her white T-shirt. He gently brushed a knuckle across one peak. “No. It was hell without you.”

“Mmmm. Same here.” She pulled back and lifted his arm around her, curling into him.  Looking out over the lake, she sighed. “I could stay here forever, if you’d let me.”

“I wish we could.” He gathered her closer and kissed the top of her head. “But eventually Bobby and Em would have to go to school.”

“I could home school.” Her chuckle was strained.

He felt her pain. He smiled while his heart wrenched. He would like nothing more than to forget about the world and stay here with her and the kids. But they couldn’t. “Sooner or later Ben will call. We’ll have to go back.”

“I know.”

Steph moved away. A cold void took her place.

She drifted to the other porch column. Leaning against it, she folded her arms across her chest. Her lips pressed together as if she was forming the right words behind them. “I know I said that our time together here was going to be enough to last me a lifetime, but—” Tears brimmed her lids. “I was wrong.  A lifetime won’t be enough.”


John stepped toward her. “I don’t know what—”

“I know, you don’t know how we can be together. So, Ben will call. We’ll go back, and I’ll identify Victor. You’ll toss him in jail and throw away the key. You’ll drive off in pursuit of the next bad guy and me…Well, I’ll go home and wonder where you are. Wonder if what I felt was love.”

The woman knew how to make a guy feel like a heel.

John pulled her into his arms. She buried her head in his chest and cried softly against him. He kissed her head and smoothed her hair. “Steph, I didn’t think I’d ever love again,” he whispered softly, cupping her chin and tilting her face up until she looked at him. “Like a bomb, you dropped into my life. Every defense I’d put up to protect myself from ever being hurt again came tumbling down. You opened up my heart. As much as you don’t want to live without me, I don’t want to live without you. I love you.”

He kissed her gently. Her arms wrapped around him and held on.  “Somehow, we’ll figure this out. I promise.”

Evil’s Witness, now titled His Witness To Evil, was my 2009 Golden Heart Entry and Golden Leaf Winner.  To learn about my more recent releases please visit my website  Don’t forget to join my newsletter.






No part of this post may be copied or reproduced without the expressed permission of the author, Autumn Jordon.


Freelance Editor Showcase

Welcome to the Ruby Sisterhood Editor Showcase.

Editing. The Rubies can’t stress enough how important it is you have your work edited by a professional. We all think our babies are without flaws, but others do see the flaws. You want to make sure your work the best it can be before readers get their eyes on it. The goal so to entertain and receive great reviews. Editors help you achieve just that.

There has been a lot of chatter on many loops lately concerning editors and sensitivity readers. Several indie publishing loops have file sections where anyone can list their name and contact information, but with so many names listed how can a writer know which editors are honest, reliable, and totally awesome to work with? With those questions in mind, we asked the free-lance editors that we work with if they’d be willing to post on our blog today and we had a great response. I asked each editor to tell you about themselves, their business, and to answer a few questions. Below are their responses.  Enjoy, and remember to join us tomorrow when we discuss Editor Etiquette. 


Gina Bernal has 14 years of publishing experience, including editorial work for the Berkley Publishing Group; the Doubleday and Rhapsody Book Clubs; Harlequin’s Carina Press; as well freelance copywriting for Penguin Random House. She holds a degree in History and Literature from Harvard University. Her specialty is commercial genre fiction including, but not limited to: romance, urban fantasy, mystery/suspense, historical fiction, YA and women’s fiction. Editorial services offered are developmental/content editing, line editing, and copywriting. She is open to new clients, and rates will be discussed upon contact. Contact her at:

What is your best advice for authors in approaching an editor, Gina?

Come to an editor with a clear goal in mind, and don’t be afraid to ask questions, ask for a sample edit, etc. Be realistic about how much guidance you need before selecting an editorial service to contract. For example, are you the type of person that can take the suggestions of an editorial letter and run with them, or do you need a more detailed step-by-step breakdown?

Do you expect authors to have a certain level of skill, and how do you judge that? Or do you work with beginning writers who show promise?

I am always open to working with beginning authors who show promise. The most important thing to me, as an editor, in starting a new relationship with an author is feeling connected to their writing. I always ask myself, “Would I personally acquire this book for publication?”

How do you judge if you and the author are a good fit?

I look for a connection with their writing, whether that’s voice, story, or both. A lot of publishing is subjective, and I want to choose projects that I truly enjoy in order to provide the best editorial guidance I can to my clients.

How far in advance do you schedule clients? What is your expected turn-around time– You to author and author to you?

Depending on my schedule at the time an author approaches me, I have scheduled projects immediately or months in advance. Turnaround times are also often dependent on my schedule, the amount of work needed, or an author’s timeline, but a general estimate for developmental editing is approximately 2 weeks; line editing approximately 3 weeks.



I am an award-winning author of historical, urban fantasy, and erotic romance. I have been freelance editing for 5 1/2 years and have been a freelance editor for The Killion Group for more than 2 years. I’m happy to do developmental, line, and proof editing for most fiction and romance, preferring all subgenres of paranormal, historical, and suspense. Visit my website for more information at Please note, my website says I am no longer taking new clients directly, but if you are interested in my services, email me and mention the Ruby blog!

Jenn, what is your best advice for authors in approaching an editor?

Be specific in what you expect from an editor.  At the same time, understand what you may think is a proofread might actually be something more. Trust an editor to know what a story needs. Be aware that editing is a critical process. An editor is looking for what’s wrong with a story and/or ways to improve it. No matter how much it hurts or how long the revision letter, authors should not take it personally.

Do you expect authors to have a certain level of skill, and how do you judge that? Or do you work with beginning writers who show promise?

I do expect authors to have a certain level of skill. We all have weaknesses, but an author should at the very least know basic craft. In my opinion, if an author doesn’t have a grasp on grammar or point of view, has meandering goals/motivations/conflicts or nonexistent plots, then they are not ready for an editor. I can and do work with new writers but they have to be willing to learn and use the tools I give them.

How do you judge if you and the author are a good fit?

One way is to be excited by the author’s story and the author be excited by the edits I provide. It’s a genuine, mutual respect.

How far in advance do you schedule clients? What is your expected turn-around time– You to author and author to you?

I schedule a month to two months out, but can be flexible. Turnaround time would depend on the level of edits. A manuscript heavy on developmental edits will take longer than a light polish. My average time is 2 weeks.



I am the mother of three adult children and three grand-babies I don’t see often enough. Beginning in my teen years, I read until I exhausted a genre. About five years in I’d shift to another: paranormal to romance, to historic romance, to children’s, to YA, to suspense, to self-help, to thriller, to fantasy, to memoir/biography to… And that continued until I took editing courses and began to edit work for others.

Q: Who reads novels ten hours a day, every day, but seldom reads a published book? Me.

I have a BSc, a BA, Bed, MAEd (thesis Writing as a Social Act), and second MA without thesis (Critical Literacy). I completed a Certificate in Professional Writing and Rhetoric except for the course on writing press releases – I really wish I’d taken that one – and several additional courses on writing, creative writing and women’s studies. I was a career educator (primary to Grade 12) and then a college instructor in the area of adult literacy until I began taking editing courses while on sabbatical in 2005: Mt. St. Vincent and Ryersen University Publishing Program.

I’ve taken short courses through Editor’s Canada and given writing workshops on editing and have worked as a freelance editor for traditional publishers: Lachesis Publishing, Fernwood Publishing and Roseway Publishing and Harlequin Digital. I have also judged literary and fiction writing contests.

Now I have a small company, WindyWood Publishing. Through it I help local writers get their books into print and e-book formats. I also provide active and ongoing editorial support for several series writers in the States, Canada, and Australia.

I’ve edited 180+ books – through all three levels of editing – and I try to work on two to three projects at a time, overlapping different levels of edits. I take new clients occasionally.

I prefer to edit series of books and in these genres: Contemporary Romances, New Age Fiction, Thrillers, Historical and Fantasy, Contemporary fiction and Paranormal.

My website:

My contact information:

All rates can be viewed on my website  or discussed upon contact with clients.

Pat, what is your best advice for authors approaching an editor?

Read in your genre. Know what appeals to you as a reader. Apply that to your work. Take your work seriously and take it as far as you can on your own. Then find a good critique partner and revise with their suggestions in mind – only the ones you agree with and that strengthen your story. Find out who edits books you enjoy reading. Then approach that editor if you feel they would be a good fit for you, for your genre, for your writing style.

Realize a professional editor has only so much time to spend on your manuscript. If it’s thrown together, lacks logic, contains many errors or requires extensive revision, that will limit how far the editor can help you take your book. Also, realize editors are taught not to take on work that doesn’t appeal to them. So, if they can’t envision ways to help you make it better it’s one they’re likely to turn down. Make sure your editor likes your story and has a level of interest or excitement about working with you on it.

Do you expect authors to have a certain level of skill, and how do you judge that? Or do you work with beginning writers who show promise?

It’s so subjective. Basic writing skills, applied to a great story, can get my attention. If I see an easy fix – a way to address and strengthen skills with instruction – I might take a chance. Initially I read twenty pages of a manuscript to size it up – that’s about two hours of my time – before making a decision based on the writing and a concise summary. And I mean a summary, not the back jacket blurb. I need to know the ending too. If I accept the edit on the basis of 20 pages, but find the rest of the book does not meet expectations or style, I will step back and suggest another editor or writing coach.

I work with writers willing and open to learn and who demonstrate that during the process. I’ll take on tried and true authors, who’ve written successfully in one genre, received awards, and have worked with editors before, even if they are switching genres, especially if their intention is to begin a new series. I will sometimes take on new clients sent my way by authors I already work with. I do not advertise. I was fortunate to be mentioned and endorsed in The Naked Truth about Self-Publishing five years ago. My most prolific client, Chris Taylor, came my way through that recommendation – all the way from Australia – and we work well together. Twenty plus books, I believe, over three series in four or five years.

Sometimes I’ve been asked to do a “ghost” substantive edit for another editor working on a difficult project. They combine my notes with theirs to present to the author. This is done on a barter basis with another editor whereby they’ll do the same for me if I require a second set of impressions/suggestions.

I have also gently let clients drift away if they keep repeating same large types of errors even if I’ve repeatedly shared instruction and examples. For me, that’s fair.

How do you judge if you and the author are a good fit?

If I can edit the anticipated pages in the time I expect. If it takes five or six times longer, then I am unable to work with the author on their project and will refer them to someone who offers coaching as well as editing. I am very willing to recommend someone else edit a piece. If we communicate easily – and not too often – and if questions and suggestions relate to the project, if timelines are met and if writers are satisfied and come back for more, then I’m happy. I’m not a warm and fuzzy type editor and sometimes the highest praise an author gets is “nice” in the margin. I don’t edit and comment as I would a student on a report card. I take the writer to be a professional and try my best to help.

How far in advance do you schedule clients?

New clients, five months or longer, in advance. Series authors create a rhythm that we all work within. There’s a tacit understanding and a unique style guide created for each series and I follow those. It’s like a dance. Depending on frequency of completions and preorder and formatting deadlines this work rises to the top and is given priority. Others are fit in when there are openings.

New authors are aware this could lengthen their editing time and agree to that ahead of time. They have to be more willing to be flexible with time, perhaps stretching the edit to two months instead of three passes over four to six weeks. If an edit goes on too long, with huge gaps between drafts being returned, it can become stale. If I believe my substantive suggestions are huge, I will bill for that portion after the first pass and let them know it’s okay if they’d like to find another editor who can move them up in the priority pile.  Once in the cue we’re good to continue, though, if they wish..

What is your expected turn-around time — You to author and author to you?

Four to six weeks to completion for series authors once the process begins. First pass often takes me ten days to two weeks and that’s when I begin to create the author’s style sheet – recording decisions they make as writers – and then I apply those consistently. Then it’s back for a week or two with author who works on major revisions. I take about a week for my second pass. This works if authors take three or four days to do these less obtrusive edits. A week is required at the end because it often involves two proofreaders going through the manuscript and we come to consensus on final line edits.

Facing facts, I‘ve learned new authors, or authors requiring a lot of coaching, take longer than this because of the cueing system with series authors, but also because the learning curve can be huge, on both sides.

I learn something new or appreciate something different with every edit I do. Sometimes it’s about sentences that flow like clear water, or dialogue that grabs my attention, or characters I don’t want to let go of at the end of the book – even after three passes. As well as inspiring me, writers constantly challenge me.

Over time I’ve become less rigid, more bendable. For the first years in the business, I enforced every mote of convention on writers. Would not allow my name attached if they chose something other than convention. My wonderful authors pushed back, exerted their style, intuition and common sense, and over time they taught me about what is most important: It’s not so much about which style guide I use, but rather, what their readers will understand and accept and then applying that consistently.

I’ve learned that if writers are consistent with style, readers will stay on board. I’m working on a book now on this topic as it relates to dialogue: Dialogue Dilemmas. In it I illustrate and discuss how different authors I work with (Bev Pettersen, Julianne MacLean, Chris Taylor, Benjamin Stevens, Autumn Jordon, Anne Zoelle and others) handle different types of dialogue in ways that readers understand. The book’s completion depends on finding time in this crazy life though – and it may never get its time.



I’m an English major by education and a software and process engineer by trade. I recently stopped telecommuting to Silicon Valley to teach, edit, and write full-time. I’m an award-winning paranormal romance author, an award-nominated editor (for my indie release, TEMPT ME), a frequent contest judge, and a feral reader of most romance sub-genres. I recently joined the teaching staff at The Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis, teaching workshops on story structure and three-dimensional villains. I offer developmental editing, beta reading, and sensitivity reading of full-length romance novels for all sub-genres except YA/NA and Inspirational, and I’d be delighted to work on your edgiest sci-fi and erotica projects. Sensitivity reading topics include software engineering, women in STEM, Silicon Valley work culture, chronic pain and pain management (including opioid use), and living with sensory sensitivities. Please contact me at to discuss your project, your timeline, and rates.  

What is your best advice for authors in approaching an editor?

A) Is there a particular area of the manuscript, or of craft, which concerns you? That’s great information to provide to an editor up front.

B) For best results, please deliver a manuscript that’s largely free of spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors!

Do you expect authors to have a certain level of skill, and how do you judge that? Or do you work with beginning writers who show promise?  

I feel there’s only so much “Writing 101”-type instruction that an editor can effectively provide during the editing phase of the work. For that reason, I prefer working with published writers, or with writers who have a strong working knowledge of craft fundamentals. (Intermediate-Advanced)    

How do you judge if you and the author are a good fit? 

Ooh, that question of alchemy is a tough one. I think I’m a good fit for clients who know their strengths and weaknesses (we all have them) and who don’t necessarily need a lot of hair pats. That said, I’ll definitely let the client know when something’s working well. 🙂   

How far in advance do you schedule clients? What is your expected turn-around time– You to author and author to you?

I prefer to schedule work at least one month in advance, and the expected turnaround time varies depending on client need and my own commitments. Depending on the length of the work, I can usually provide feedback within a week.



My name is Christa Desir and my editorial experience began with a nine-month internship at Entangled Publishing when they first opened their doors. I then became an acquiring content editor for Samhain Publishing from 2011 until they closed in 2016. Most recently, I have been doing freelance content editing for St. Martin’s Swerve, as well as copy editing for Kensington and Macmillan’s YA imprints. I continue to content edit for many of my Samhain authors who are now self-publishing. I’ve worked across many romance subgenres (paranormal, contemporary, UF, historical, LGBTQ, NA) but tend to prefer higher heat books. I also have a personal affinity for multicultural romances as well as queer books of any type. I’m a pro-sex feminist and rape victim advocate, so I prefer not to work on books that involve rape/abduction fantasies or are predicated on a romantic rivalry between women. You can find my rates and contact me at or on Twitter at @EditorChrista.

What is your best advice for authors in approaching an editor?

Mostly, I prefer when authors contact me with a completed manuscript and some specifics about what they’re looking for in an editor, what their scheduling needs are, and what they want to accomplish with their book. My best advice is to be patient with editors getting back to you. I try to get back to everyone within a week, but sometimes life happens and I’m on an editing deadline. Also, the earlier you hire an editor, the better. (This goes for payment too!) A lot of really good editors are booked out pretty far in advance so waiting until the last minute is leaving you with fewer choices. A good rule of thumb for me is to book the next season out. So if we’re in summer, reach out to me about my fall/winter schedule. Sometimes I have last-minute openings, but those tend to get snagged up pretty quickly.

Do you expect authors to have a certain level of skill, and how do you judge that? Or do you work with beginning writers who show promise?

With authors I’ve never worked with before, I generally ask them to send me 5-10 pages that I’ll quickly edit for them and I can see what I’m dealing with in terms of their skill level and they can see how I edit. If I can see that a book will take more time from me, I’m not going to say no necessarily, but I might push the book further back in my schedule so I have the time to give it a thorough edit. Also, not every author is going to love my style and I think it’s best if new authors approaching me get a feel for how I edit and make sure that’s what they want.

How do you judge if you and the author are a good fit?

A lot of my work comes from referrals so I trust the people who have referred me. In terms of our fit, again, that 5-10-page edit helps a lot. Some editors won’t do that because they don’t have the time, but I find it very fair for a new-to-me author to ask me for it. If I don’t have time, then I’m always honest about that and will refer to other editors I know.

How far in advance do you schedule clients? What is your expected turn-around time– You to author and author to you?

I’m booked 3-4 months out, so I’d like authors to schedule me as early as possible. In terms of turn-around time, it depends a LOT on the needs of the book. I generally can complete one editorial pass in about a week. But a lot of times the author will have to do some extensive work so I don’t want them to feel they have to get it back to me in that same amount of time. Here is where communication and scheduling expectations are critical and need to be made clear before work starts. For more seasoned authors, generally the entire editorial process can take a month if I’m doing multiple edit passes (a week per edit pass and a week per author revision). If the novel is shorter, I can sometimes get it done more quickly, but I don’t want to make those promises.

Thank you for having me!



I started working as a freelance editor six years ago. After a manuscript from one client sold to Spencer Hill Press (which primarily published YA), that publishing house took me on as a copy editor and later as a senior editor. I continued to do freelance projects on the side to get a broad sampling of more genres. Last year, I transitioned into technical editing and writing, but I still enjoy doing fiction editing on the side. I most often edit YA, fantasy, science fiction, romance, and mysteries. I also have a some experience with historical fiction and middle-grade work and am happy to explore other genres: the middle-grade steampunk fantasy I edited recently was a great change of pace. I do take on new clients, primarily for developmental edits or line/copy edits on full manuscripts.

All rates can be viewed at my website here:

For more questions, contact me at

What is your best advice for authors in approaching an editor?

Before you look for an editor, decide what you want from the experience. Are you looking for big-picture help in tightening your plot and growing as a writer? Are you happy with your fourth draft and looking for someone to help catch details before you send it to agents? Knowing what you want makes it easier to send those initial inquiries. The more specific you are, the more an editor can help.

 Do you expect authors to have a certain level of skill, and how do you judge that? Or do you work with beginning writers who show promise?

I can work with newer writers, especially if they’re open to advice. I enjoy hearing from writers who haven’t been published before and are willing to say “I like the plot I have, but my dialogue feels clunky. Can you help?” If the sentences are so oddly assembled that I can’t figure out what’s happening, though, that writer probably isn’t ready for an editor. You want to get good value for your money, so take the manuscript as far as you can on your own and maybe with beta readers before you bring in an editor.

How do you judge if you and the author are a good fit?

If an author and I are a good fit, we often have conversations about projects. My first client and I are a great case here. She used to be published through the same publishing house where I worked. Both of us have moved on from there, but we still get dinner together to brainstorm her books and she likes to get developmental edits during the writing process to help bring everything into focus. Not everyone has that kind of time, but I’ve worked with authors who send me several books over the course of months or years and I enjoy watching their writing grow and change.

In the shorter term, I find that sample edits help a lot with this. If writers send in a few chapters at first, it’s a small payment to test the waters. We can have a conversation about what I mean by comments or where they want more attention: it helps so much in establishing a rapport.

How far in advance do you schedule clients? What is your expected turn-around time– You to author and author to you?

Scheduling varies a lot based on the time of year: conventions, holidays, and NaNoWriMo leftovers tend to make things exciting. I like to have at least a week or so of warning when I schedule projects, especially for line edits. If a writer asks if I can start a project tomorrow and turn it around in a week, the answer is no unless my schedule is clear and it’s a short sample edit. If you know you need an editor in October, start asking around in August or early September: my schedule can fill up quickly if a lot of people want to make pitches at the same convention.

For an average book (70-80k), I’m generally comfortable turning that around in two weeks. For a longer book, or something that needs very detailed line edits, I might book closer to three weeks. I like to do two passes with a little space between them so I respond both as a fresh reader and as someone who already knows what’s coming. Authors spend very different amounts of time if they want to send the same project to me twice: I’ve done passes a few weeks apart and almost a year apart.



Hi there! I edit under my name, Linda Ingmanson, and my website is I’ve been freelance editing for twelve years for various publishers including Samhain and Loose Id, and I currently work with indie authors at various stages in their careers. My schedule is pretty full right now, but I’m always open to talking to potential new clients. I’ll edit anything, but I’ve handled primarily romance — any heat level, any subgenre including m/f, m/m, sweet to boiling hot, etc. My process is to do two rounds of edits, with the first covering the bulk of the line editing as well as content editing, the second round cleaning up revisions, and then it’s off to the proofreader for a fresh pair of eyes and a final polish. Rates are posted on my website. I can be contacted at

What is your best advice for authors in approaching an editor, Linda?

I will edit anything with words, but some editors do have preferences or genres they’d rather not work on, so it’s good to establish up front if your editor has any content limitations. Also, when discussing deadlines, be sure you tell the editor the date you need all completed edits back to you, not your release date. There’s no way for an editor to know if you need the book back three weeks ahead of your release date or one day ahead of it, as every author is different. Clarity of communication makes the entire process run smoothly. Please ask how much time is required for edits. For example, I ask for six to eight weeks for books over 50,000 words. That doesn’t mean I’ll be working on the book for six weeks, but that gives me time to fit it into the schedule and get it back to you in a timely fashion so we’ll meet your deadline. 

Do you expect authors to have a certain level of skill, and how do you judge that? Or do you work with beginning writers who show promise?

 I have worked with everything from first-time authors to NYT bestsellers. I really enjoy working with beginners because the growth and improvement is so much more evident as we progress from the first book onward. However, of course, those edits are much more time-consuming and require patience, a degree of hand-holding, and probably more than the standard two rounds from me. I don’t take on too many first-timers anymore because of time constraints. If I am curious about a writer’s level of skill, I’ll ask for a few sample pages and go for there with estimates of price and turnaround time. I also enjoy working with established authors as they tend to be very professional and know exactly what they want and need out of an edit.

How do you judge if you and the author are a good fit?

The first couple of times you work with someone, you’re feeling them out to see how receptive they are to edits and suggestions, how hard you can push for changes, how much explanation you need to give with each change, how much feedback they’re looking for, etc. Most authors are great to work with. I really have very few complaints. My “regulars” and I work together like a well-oiled machine, and I know they trust me to make the right suggestions for their books and there won’t be much back and forth. The author always has the final say in any edit, of course, so even if there’s something I feel strongly should be changed, and the author really wants to leave it in, then I respect the author’s decision. I think mutual respect and, as mentioned above, clear communication builds a solid author/editor relationship. If an author is uncomfortable with something in the process or wants me to focus more on a certain aspect of the story, I’m completely open to adjusting to whatever they require.

How far in advance do you schedule clients? What is your expected turn-around time– You to author and author to you?

I ask for four to six weeks for novellas, and six to eight weeks for novels, but authors are frequently late finishing their drafts and have already put the book up for preorder, so I try to be flexible. If an author sends me a book and says there’s no hard deadline, or they have a few months to work with it, I just want to kiss them, because it’s rare not to be under pressure to hit a tight deadline, lol. Again, those windows don’t mean I’m dropping everything as soon as the book hits my inbox and leaping on it, but if I have the book in hand, then I can put it in the queue and it’ll be there as soon as I’m ready to start. My proofreaders require a week as well (or a bit longer on books over 100K), so that also needs to be factored in. Some authors are super quick to turn around edits, and others are slower, so that should be considered when scheduling an edit. One thing I would recommend is having your betas go through the book before you send it to the editor, because there can easily be a case of too many cooks in the kitchen and the author tying herself in knots trying to please everybody when she’s getting conflicting advice in the final rounds.  


I was going to title this blog ‘I’m pissed’ but it’s not about me being pissed as a writer but more so as a reader who recently mentally threw a digital book I bought for $5.99 against the wall. Why? Because the author totally, blatantly portrayed the book to be romantic suspense and she stated that even though there was a love triangle involved and there was sex, it was not erotica. COUGH Right? As romantic suspense fan she hooked me with the first chapter, but after that… hmmm The only thing that hadn’t happened in the bedroom, kitchen, living room, bathroom during the first 40% of book was that the donkey didn’t show up to bring in a new element into the trios tryst. I didn’t finish the book.

I’m sure the situation she created happens or has happened somewhere in the world throughout the centuries, and she is writing fiction after all, but to sell the work for what it is not in my opinion is wrong.

Did I return the book? No. Maybe I should’ve, but I learned a valuable lesson from this author and for that I’ll let her keep the royalty she earned by making the sell.  Will I buy from her again? Even though her writing was top notch, I will not. She lost my trust, not through her writing but through her marketing of the book.

In any genre, there are element degrees: comedy, suspense, drama, mystery, fantasy, love, sex, etc.  The writer’s voice is her style in using the different elements in different degrees. Unfortunately, the cyber book shelves, just as the brick and mortar books shelves only allow us to classify our books in a general genre. It’s only through our marketing that we can let our readers know of the sub-genres and sub-subgenres the work could be classified.  

I write a light comedy contemporary romance series that I tell my readers is written in Hallmark Holiday movie tone. In doing so, I believe I’m letting my readers know the level of sexual tension and the degree of comedy and drama they can expect. The first book in the series, PERFECT, which is a Christmas romance, was given a one-star review shortly after its release because the reader believed for some reason that it was a Christian book. I felt bad that I hadn’t specifically written out that it was not a Christian Romance, but I never said it was.

Writing blurbs and marketing material is hard.

I also write romantic suspense and romantic mystery. I try very hard in writing all of my blurbs to let the readers know if they are getting more of a suspense with their romance or they’re getting more of a mystery. Or if the story is more suspense/mystery with romantic elements. Again, even though, I’ve tried to be up-front, some readers will flat out review the works as failing to meet their idea of the perfect romantic suspense or romantic mystery. All I can say is I tried and the 99.99% of the readers who’ve reviewed my works tell me I’ve done okay in marketing my books.

Do you believe the publisher’s and/or the indie author’s has a responsibility to convey to the best of their ability what genre or sub-genre their work falls into?   Have you purchased a book only to learn it’s not want the author led you to believe it to be?  Have you returned books for the reason, never to buy from the author again?


Autumn Jordon is an award-winning, sneaker wearing Ruby who has a new release out titled PERFECT FALL. Learn more about her and her work at and join her newsletter AJ Revealed





I Hate You

Okay. I bet the second you read my blog title an ex-significant other popped into your mind and you’re recalling what it was about him or her that caused conflict between the two of you and ended the bond.  Think back to the turning point in your relationship.

Was it something he did or didn’t do?

While eating out, did he/she always pick at the dinner you ordered because he decided yours looked or tasted better than the dinner he ordered?

Did he/she always leave the television on when leaving the house or apartment?

Did he/she never wash or clean out his car? And was happy to have a backseat filled with garbage?

Did they constantly make promises and always had an excuse for not keeping them?

Or was it something he/she said?

Like beginning every sentence with “Hummm”

Or “I told you to…”

Did he/she never let you finish your sentence?

Or did it seem the relationship was all about them?

You always went out with his/her friends but not with yours?

You attended all of his ball games but he/she always found an excuse to miss your book signings.

She/He always wants sex with the lights off and never in the afternoon.

Or were there outside influences that strained the relationship?

He/she hated your dog, or cat.

Her/his family always had to be consulted concerning decisions that should be made by the two of you. Or the family interfered on their own.

His/her job took priority over everything.

Maybe there was a habit at first you thought was kind of cute but then it became really annoying.

He called every one of his buddies MAN.

While in the shower, he sang his version of We Are The Champions, inserting I am instead of we are.

He always swiped a cookie or veggie from the tray you just finished making for a party.

He always wore the same ratty shirt on the weekends.

I’m sure many of you could add more really great examples.

My point in listing all these examples is that they are character flaws and by giving your characters a flaw, your reader will connect with them and identify with your hero or heroine’s reaction. And that is what you want as a writer—a connection with the reader.

Perfect characters are boring characters.

Think about your favorite sitcom. One of mine is Everybody Loves Raymond.  Every character in that show is memorable. All have huge flaws.

Raymond, of course, is lazy when it comes to helping with the children and around the house. He loves golf and sex and would do about anything to have more time doing both, including telling his white lies.

Deborah, his wife, her flaw in my book, is she puts up with Raymond. But she can also be admired for sticking it out with the guy.

Robert, Raymond’s older, much taller brother, is insecurity about being second in line to his baby brother. And he has this freakish way of touching his chin when eating.

And Marie and Frank, Ray’s parents… well there isn’t enough room on this blog to list all of their faults.

The only characters who seem perfect are Ray’s and Deborah’s three children.  GRIN. Kids are always perfect!

In my 2009 Golden Heart entry, Evil’s Witness now titled His Witness To Evil, my hero, John, a FBI agent, is very curt. He is a loner with deep wounds. John wears a tiny rubber band around his ring finger and constantly snaps it. This works the heroine, Stephanie’s nerves. She is the target of a Mafia lord and under a lot of stress, so this little repeated action becomes the catalyst for her to express anger over her situation. It also does something else. When Steph blows her top and she presses John about it, she learns of his internal conflict. It reminds him of his daughter who was murdered out of revenge against him.


Now let’s go back to the lists above. I’m going to pick a few and show an example what conflict and emotion can be developed from the trait, flaw or habit.

A) Leaves the television on. Perfect internal conflict. Character was abandoned. Afraid to come home to an empty house.

B) Hmmm.. Heroine yells, “Hmmm. That is all you ever say to me. You never share what you’re thinking.”

Hero thinks, I really don’t want to do Thanksgiving at the grandfather’s house again, especially this year when it’s going to be the old man’s last.  I’ve lost enough this year.

C) Sex in the afternoon:

“I’ll get these reports to Mr. Gillings right away.” Marcy tapped the papers into a uniform pile, surprised Bill had agreed to all of her terms.

“You have time.” He stood and second later she heard the door lock clink.

“What are you doing?” Her nervous chuckle echoed off the walls of her office as he walked toward her. It was Saturday and there was no one in the building. “I told you, I’m not going to have sex with you.”

“If you want my support, you will.’”

Marcy’s heel landed home, in his nut patch.

How’s that for conflict?

I know you’re all avid readers. Do you have an example of a character with a flaw you’ve read you’d like to share?







Autumn Jordon is an award-winning, sneaker wearing Ruby. You can join her newsletter at or follow her on Facebook and Tweeter.


NOTE: This blog might seem like a me blog but there are important lessons to learn.

If you would ask any of my elementary, junior high or high school classmates, or teachers for that matter, to describe in one word what I was like in school, you’d probably hear the words quiet, nice, shy, friendly, helpful. I was the person who got along with everyone; Nerds, Jocks, Wall-flowers, Artists, etc. etc. Everyone seemed to include me in their groups, but I always stood on the fringe of their social troupe.

At that time, girls like me graduated and went to work in the mills, or became secretaries, nurses, store clerks, waitresses, teachers or housewives. I didn’t long to be any of those things. I wanted to be a writer. Fortunately, my school had a newspaper so there was a possibly that I might try on the dream, but remember I was shy. Of all the groups I mentioned above, the wall-flowers were my groupies. Then something happened. My parents said, if you want a car you need to get a job to pay for the gas, repairs and insurance. This was the inciting incident that changed my future.

I did get a job, through my aunt, as a waitress. Now waitresses are not shy people. They can be quiet, but being friendly and open earns you much better tips and believe me I learned that lesson fast.  And the next year, I joined the school newspaper staff and even managed to ruffle some feathers with one of my articles. (If you read my current bio, you’ve read that trouble is my middle name. I believable this when it all started.)

Jumping forward; I remain a wall-flower of sorts whenever I enter a new situation. My stomach is still a bag of nerves. I still tend to pick a corner away from the action and scope out the happening playing out in front of me.  I still watch the people who walk in the door with their heads held high, flashing smiles, and who jump right into the conversations of others and I wonder how the hell they became that way.

I remember walking into my first writer’s meeting and first writer’s conference feeling a nervous wreck. But then I remembered my first day working as a waitress, and how nervous I was. Then I recalled the more confident person I’d become when I left that job to go college. It took steps to become that person. They were hard steps to take but the rewards were so great.

Over the years through my careers as a mom, professional volunteer (25 years in the elementary PTO plus other orgs.), national restaurant chain area supervisor, a corporate secretary, and as a writer, I’ve amassed a huge number of friends. I count a number of my writer friends among my most dearest. My Ruby sisters and my sisters of the Pocono-Lehigh Romance Writers (past and present) and others, have helped me through the darkest hours of my life after losing my husband to cancer and then my father a year later the same way. It was because of these relationships that I was forced to look up from the dark hole of depression and see the light of hope. Hope that joy could still be found in life.

Writing has always given me joy, but being a writer and having the gumption to step into uncomfortable situations and meet new people has been a blessing. So, you introverts who are heading off to RWA National next week, good for you for taking that step. If you’re thinking of going to a meeting, workshop or conference, do it. Keep my story in mind and start a conversation with other wallflowers. Start your own gang. Introduce yourself to others while in line or sitting next to someone in a workshop. Exchange business cards, like them on FB or tweeter immediately, join a newsletter or two of those authors who impressed you.  Most of all, be you. Be genuine. And have fun!




Autumn Jordon is award-winning sneaker wearing Ruby. She writes both romantic suspense/mystery and contemporary romance filled with attitude and laughs. In fact, her fourth release in a Perfect Love Series, Perfect Fall, releases tomorrow July 18, 2017. Preorder today at a special price. She’d love to have you join her newsletter at

How Do You Find Your Characters

Many years ago, I was like a shaky legged fawn stepping into the world of writing. I had written before, for myself and for my school newspapers, but this new world was totally different and scary as hell. I knew if I was going to survive I would need a strong man by my side so I began my search for the man I knew whose name was Hudson Alan Mitchel.

I searched every store, every street corner, and every office I entered, but I was always disappointed. Yes, there were plenty of men in all those places but none were Hudson.

This went on for months, during which time I began to write his story. It came to me like I was listening to his dreamy baritone voice over the radio. (Yes, at that time there was no podcasts or You Tube channels). Taking long walks and listening to him like we were connected by our cell phones, I learned what he liked and didn’t like. I discovered all of his dreams from childhood and on. I felt his angst over the burdens and problems he carried as a major league ball player. I became aware of whom he trusted and who would put a knife in his back because of his fame. And he revealed to me his most personal desires. He wanted a woman just like me. (Yes, when he told me that, it was a sigh worthy moment.) But sadly, I was blissfully married to my own hero and being the decent guy he was Hudson said he would always be my friend.

But I didn’t have an idea of what he looked like. I knew his heart but not his face.

He assured me that we would meet and soon.

I wanted to meet Hudson so much, face to face, and touch his cheek and let him know that I would do anything to find the woman of his dreams for him. I wanted him as happy as I was. Then, I thought why not start the search for Hudson’s dream woman right away. It would be so great to be the one to orchestrate their cute-meet.

One sunny afternoon, I sat on my patio, flipping through a catalog when Sileen Wright caught my eye. She had long, nutmeg brown hair and dark eyes like I did, but she had a cute button nose like Sandy Bullock and a body I’d need to exercise like ten hours a day for a year to achieve. But physical beauty wasn’t all Sileen had going on for her. Her smile reflected her warm heart and her witty sense of humor. She had a look that told you exactly how she was feeling.

I felt privileged when she told me about her family and her dreams to work for NASBO (National Association of Small Business Owners). However, I picked up on the sadness when she spoke about those dreams. She hid the sadness quickly and I didn’t pry. I knew who could help her figure out her problems­~the man who I trusted. They were perfect for each other.

Maybe a month after, Sileen and I met, I attended my first big writer’s conference at Penn State’s main campus. For three days, I learned more about the craft from great writers such as Merline Lovelace. ~I love Merline’s work and not because she gave me such great advice. Her writing is wonderful.~ Anyway, my critique partners and I stopped at a local café and while we enjoyed Ben and Jerry’s ice cream (I know, I know about the Creamery now!) Hudson appeared. It was love at first sight. Yes, I mean me. But at last, remember I was married. So, it was love at first sight for Sileen and Hudson and their story took off in my imagination.

After years, their story is now going out into the world and you all are among the first to know how Sileen and Hudson’s love affair started.  Perfect Fall is up on all venues for a preorder price of $.99 now.  It will release in four short weeks on July 18, 2017 at $4.99. Grab your copy today and if you feel like sharing the information with your friends, please do!




I Books


To me the story is all about characters. Finding a picture of my characters and interviewing them is usually how I begin to learn the direction and theme of my stories. Where do you start? Do you just dive into write and learn about them as you go?  Do you use character charts?



Autumn Jordon is an award-winning, sneaker wearing Ruby. She loves writing both contemporary romance filled with chuckles and romantic suspense/mystery meant to keep you on the edge of your seat, guessing. Visit her website for information on all her works and to join her newsletter.

Quick. What’s Your Story About?

With Nationals only ten weeks away, I thought I might address the subject of loglines and blurbs. (Ten week is not long. Trust me, especially during summer and when the kids are out of school.) Now is the time to think about them, so you can brand the log lines in your thoughts. You can even practice with checkout people while you shop for your conference essentials.

Recently, I worked on the blurb for my next book, releasing this summer, and for days I detested every line I’d written. I walked the floors, the dog, the mountain trails, trying to pen the right words. I took showers until my skin looked beyond a hundred and two years old. I pounded my head against the keyboard which caused some issues that required me to reboot. My failure to come up with the perfect words that would make a reader hit the buy button made me question the entire manuscript. And that sucked.

In order to keep from going insane, I stepped back, took a deep breath, and remembered the day the spark of an idea landed in the dry wheat field of my brain. It’s that flash and the excitement over meeting my sexy hero and sassy heroine and had me writing and laughing and sighing for months, that I needed to relive those moments. You only need to convey what will intrigue the reader, nothing more and nothing less, is what I reminded myself.

Then I sent it to friends (Thanks, Hope, Rita and Anne) along with permission to rip it apart. I found I wrote more of a one page synopsis than a blurb. (Have I mentioned I’ve written over a dozen blurbs for myself for other works? It’s not easy. It’s work.) So with their suggestions, I took what seemed to really work for my story and let the rest go bye bye.

It was after I finally wrote an exciting back-cover blurb, that I thought about my elevator line; a.k.a. elevator pitch, logline, ad copy, hook, etc. It’s the one or two lines I would recite if ever asked, “What is your new book about?” From past experience, I knew I would need to have this line, so why not whittle away now. So I did and came up with this paragraph.

In Perfect Play, when baseball’s superstar is named the sexiest sport’s man of the year, pressures become too great for him and he escapes to a small Vermont town where he meets a no nonsense woman who urges him to handle life and not let life handle him. Does he follow her advice, because she doesn’t seem to be handling her own life too well? (WC 62)

Now, I didn’t really care for two elements of this logline; using the title and ending with a question. Titles change, so including it is not necessary, IMHO. Some writers might disagree. And second, I think ending with a question is more of a back blurb element where the author has already answered questions and ends by asking the ultimate question. So with this in mind, some more whittling occurred.

When baseball’s superstar is named the sexiest man of the year, pressures become too great for him and he hides out in a small Vermont town where he meets a no nonsense woman who challenges him to handle life and not let life handle him. (WC 45)

The question I asked of myself now was, could I remember to say all of this while riding an elevator? Probably not. It would be better to cut the line down to the bones and use words that would lead to questions. And, to me, the lines sounded like many other lines I’ve heard before. My hero was really much different and more complex than the sexiest sports hero I portrayed here. So again, back to the keyboard.

I found I wanted to say more again, and then Rita Henuber called me for a chat of “Hey! What you doing?” and we got out our knives. (HINT: Never call a writer friend and ask that question unless you’re willing to brainstorm. Thanks, Rita.)

Our first attempt as we each picked out words from the prior pitch line.

Pressures become too great for a baseball star and he hides out in a small Vermont town where he meets a no nonsense woman who challenges him to handle life and not let life handle him. (WC 36)

And again changes. Why? It didn’t tell what kind of pressure my hero was under. I felt it was important to do so because I wanted to get away from the sexiest man theme. Also ‘too great’ and ‘hides out’ made him seem cowardly.  And Rita felt the ending was preachy. So she pushed me to dig into my heroine. Also does it really matter the small town is in Vermont? No.

Next attempt: Feeling career pressure, a baseball star disappears and holes up in a small town where he falls for a woman bent on saving everything but herself. (WC 26)

I liked that we used the word disappears. The word paints a better picture, but the question rose from whom did he disappear? Adding ‘the world’ in the next example tells us who and also puts my hero at conflict with my heroine, because her everything refers to her world.

Next attempt: Feeling career pressure a baseball idol escapes the world in a mountain village and falls for a self-sacrificing woman bent on saving everything but herself.  (WC 25)

There, we have it! We know who the hero and heroine are and we have GMC. But can we go shorter? Sure.

A baseball idol hiding from the world and encounters a woman bent on saving everything but herself. (WC 17)

I’m very happy to use either one of the last two lines. They’re both concise and written with colorful words that paint a picture and filled with facts that will prompt questions.

And if I’m asked to tell my book in six words, I’m ready. Baseball idol encounters die-heart world advocate.

Here are a few rules, I use when coming up with my loglines.

  1. A logline is the one or two sentence description of your story. It conveys your hero & heroine’s architype using a strong multi-faucet adjective. It shows the hero’s primal goal and it must cause our minds to run wild with potential and questions.
  2.  A logline is more than just content. There needs to be cadence and voice. It has to be short and snappy.
  3. In loglines, names are not important. Strong descriptive words are what you’re aiming for.

Keep in mind, if your logline is clear, concise and provocative, this will tell the agent or editor that your writing is also so. If it’s ambiguous, rambling and voiceless, the person you’re pitching to will only assume your writing is more of the same.

I hoped this helped someone, and if anyone has any other suggestions please share.

Autumn Jordon is an award-winning, sneaker wearing Ruby. She writes romantic suspense, romantic mystery, thrillers and romantic comedy.  Visit her and join her newsletter.

Spring Holiday

Today and this weekend, The Rubies are renewing ourselves with our loved ones.  We’ll see you next week, but in the meantime check out the great blogs posted recently.

Have a blessed Easter or Passover. 

Are Blogs History?

Recently, behind the red curtain, the question ‘if blogs are history’ came up and a great discussion followed.   It’s hard for us to know the correct answer, because our brick counter tells us we have between 650 – 1000 reads a day, which is pretty awesome. And some days, only sisters comment while on others the world speaks up. This same question arose at my local writers meeting this past weekend.  

Promotion is a big topic for writers, whether you’re traditionally pubbed or self-pubbed. Blog tours are still on the list of things an author must do, but should they be?

So the questions today are:

Are blogs like the Ruby Sisterhood helpful to the writing community? (Do you love the Rubies?)

Do writers see a ROI on doing blog tours?

Do readers really read blogs?

Please chime in. And if you have blogs that helped with promotion of your work, please share.

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The Latest Comments

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