Tag Archives: indie authors

Revisions: Flow Killers – Filler Words and Repetition

Thesaurus cartoon

Are you struggling with revisions, not understanding what needs expanding, and what needs cutting?

Let’s start with filler and repetitive words.

Some say you need to cut out filler words, adverbs, all passive voice, and cut down on descriptions…well…yes and no. It all depends on your voice, what your story line might dictate and frankly, it depends on what your characters have to say.

Yes, your characters. Don’t kid yourself that your characters don’t have complete control over everything you do when writing their story.

Filler words such as that, just, very, much, really, completely, totally, somehow, somewhat, basically, literally, absolutely, rather, up/down (as in stood up or sat down),  so (as in so fast), both (as in we both stood), and own (as in she gazed at her own reflection) can be used but it all depends on your voice. As with any word, phrase or descriptive adjective, too much of anything can become less than a good thing. I don’t advise cutting all filler words but instead read the line through and think of a tighter, more exact way of saying it. Yes—exact! Only you know what you want to say so push the limit until you are saying exactly what you wish to say.

For example, in the lines I used to explore expansion and layering: (see Part One post)

Angry and feeling as though if he didn’t leave immediately, he was going to hit someone, John stalked to the door, threw it open, and despite the pouring rain, marched into the street.

Rather than using the filler word though, I tightened the line down by removing the word and using a comma after Angry:

Angry, and feeling as if he didn’t leave right away he was going to hit someone, John stalked to the door, threw it open so wide driving rain sprayed him and the foyer floor. He marched into street without looking back. He knew he’d never return.

Tighter, and more expressive, it shows the event more than tells it—our main goal as writers of fiction.

If you find yourself using one particular filler word a lot, or any word/phrase for that matter, it might be time to rethink the use of the word. Whereas the use of a word such as that or like is common in everyday language and so is fine for your characters to use, they can begin to act like roadblocks to a reader’s attention. I’m not saying these words can’t be used…on the contrary, sometimes it just can’t be said another way without changing your voice but when certain words occur in every sentence, it’s time to rethink your vocabulary. The use of a good thesaurus or online thesaurus can be invaluable.

Repetition can be a flow killer. It can be anything from using the same word to describe a movement, a body part, or even an emotion…remember to shake things up…keep it fresh.

Remember, it’s all about flow. Keeping the action moving is important, but if the flow is awkward and the reader’s eye has to stumble over rocks in the form of repetitive words then eventually the reader is going to quit. Good writing makes reading effortless, and you a success.

When you’re ready for editing, talk to me about how I can assist you in finding that success.

Come back next time to continue learning how to turn your manuscript into something worth reading.

Happy Writing Everyone!

Revisions: Turning Your Manuscript Draft Into Something Worth Reading

I am a writer

If writing was easy, everyone would do it and do it well.

As I’ve mentioned, a draft is NOT, and NEVER will be ready for anyone other than the author to see…I wouldn’t even venture a friend…but certainly not an editor, and not a reader. So how do you take that draft and get it to a level where an editor at a publishing company might accept it for publication or a hired editor might assist you in turning it into something a reader will just eat up?

Revisions. Revisions. And more revisions.

When you start revising your manuscript, you’ll begin fleshing out characters – making them three-dimensional, and more alive – developing action as well as setting, and emotion. It’s about stepping into your characters’ shoes and living the story with them. It’s about building the life and depth of the story line through layers of words like a bricklayer builds a wall.

  • An example, let’s say your draft gives you:
  • John strode to the door, opened it, and walked out on the street.

That sentence is fine. It’s grammatically correct…it shows the action, but what does it really present to the reader? It says he opened the door and went out to the street. Simple and to the point, but that’s a draft.

Revision one:

  • Angry, John stalked to the door, opened it, and walked out onto the street.

Now we know he was angry, by both stating it and making it evident in the way he walked to the door.

Revision two:

  • Angry and feeling as though if he didn’t leave immediately, he was going to hit someone, John stalked to the door, threw it open, and despite the pouring rain, marched into the street.

Now we know just how angry he was as well as creating atmosphere because now we know it was raining outside but it’s not very smooth so let’s take a step further.

Revision three:

  • Angry, and feeling as if he didn’t leave right away he was going to hit someone, John stalked to the door, threw it open so wide driving rain sprayed him and the foyer floor. He marched into street without looking back. He knew he’d never return.

By layering emotion, setting, action, and expanding that simple line, you can create a scene and that’s what we, as editors and readers, want to see in a story. Through revisions, you can layer into it so much more without writing eons of words.

If you’re struggling with revisions, not understanding what needs expanding or what needs cutting, come back next time and I’ll start breaking things down with you. Remember…when you think you’re really ready to show it to the world, having a professional editor like me look at it can only make it shine brighter.

Let’s find success for you – together.

Happy Writing Everyone!

Cover Reveal for SAM, book seven in The Men of Clifton, Montana by Susan Fisher-Davis

SAM_digital front cover final_2 600 x 876


A Men of Clifton, Montana novel #7

by Susan Fisher-Davis 

An honest man wants an honest woman to love. But when a lie comes between them, can their love be saved?


Everyone tells Sheriff Sam Garrett to find a good woman and settle down. When he sets his sights on Clifton’s veterinarian, he fears she despises him yet he’s desired her from the first moment they met. She is quite possibly the only woman in town who isn’t attracted to him which might be why he wants her even more.

Tessa McGuire has a secret and she fears anyone learning it, especially Sam who she can’t seem to resist even though she knows she should. After arresting her for outstanding warrants, desire fuels their mutual needs to the point where neither can resist its pull. Once they start seeing each other, she’s happier than she’s ever been but knows she should tell him the truth.

Tessa wants Sam to be happy, but wanting him for her own is dangerous because her secret could change everything… When her secret comes out, Tessa’s life and hopes fall apart, possibly putting everyone around her in danger. What once was a hopeful relationship with Sam comes to a heartbreaking end. Now can she win him back and save what they had?


About the Author:

Susan Fisher-Davis writes steamy, hot, sexy books that women love to read. Her stories always have a Susan Fisher-Davishappily ever after and isn’t that what romance is about? After starting out with Secret Cravings Publishing, she decided to go indie when SCP closed their doors in August 2015. Now she writes and publishes with Blue Whiskey Publishing.
She currently has two series out, The Men of Clifton, Montana and The Bad Boys of Dry River. Cowboys and bad boys…what more could any woman want? Her newest series, The Callahans, a series about four cousins, begins with A COWBOY FOR CHRISTMAS, a novella, which is now available but the following books in the series will be full-length.
Susan was born and raised in a small town in the western part of Maryland surrounded by the Appalachian Mountains. She moved to Tennessee in 1996 with her husband and two children where she enjoys walks in the woods, fishing, and dreaming about hot men to share with us.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Newsletter

***cover created by yours truly of which I’m quite proud. I can create one for your book too.

Click Here for more information on Book Cover costs.

***tagline and blurb written by yours truly as well. I can assist you in getting success too.

Happy Writing Everyone!

No First Drafts Need Apply…

First Draft

SO…you’ve written a book, and are now thinking…this being a writer thing is easier than I thought. I’ve written this great first draft and it’s ready for publishing…who needs revisions or editing, right? If I get a publisher, they’ll do that, right? And if I decide to self-publish, I don’t need to do anything more…because…I’m a writer! Right?

No. No. And no!

As a well-known writer once said…The first draft of anything is shit. And he’s right because it’s the second, third, or even fourth or fifth draft that will finally tell the reader the story.

If you’re a writer planning to self-publish or you keep getting rejected after submitting to publishing houses because your manuscript is ‘not what they’re looking for’, it’s because your manuscript is far from being ready. A first draft is exactly that—a FIRST DRAFT.

Those two words speak volumes. It’s rough…it’s a first draft, which means it is the first thoughts of your story. A first draft is more like an outline. You’re telling your initial story but now it needs fleshing out…meaning the characters are still in need of development, both internally and externally. Its missing words, filled with spelling errors, and the punctuation may or may not be correct. And maybe, you don’t have a good handle on point of view changes or if writing in first-person, understanding how to stay there. If it was perfect, polished, and ready for publishing, it would a FINAL manuscript not a FIRST draft, or even a second.

I recommend all writers, even the best, even best-sellers revise their first draft at least twice before even having an editor look at it. When we are writing, we are completely submerged into the work and because of that, we don’t see all the errors, missed words, poor sentence structure, head hopping and sometimes, we are even missing points of conflict and emotion that our characters and story line need. When we write a first draft, we don’t always get everything on the page we want there. It takes starting from the beginning, and going through it word for word, and experiencing it to begin to achieve the level of completeness to make it ready for an editor to see. And then the editor takes it apart again.

Editors are a fresh eye on your work, and once you reach the point where you don’t think you can revise one more word, an editor might see other problems or places that can be expanded or deleted that will enhance the story, and the characters even more…and can also suggest how to fix it. Without an editor and a fresh eye, you may be hindering your work and keeping it from being published or if you’re self-publishing, keep you from getting top rated reviews and in turn, selling books.

Do you really want to put your hard work out there in a first draft or even unpolished manuscript? I have to tell you that is a surefire way to make sure you don’t succeed.

Yes, editors are costly. There are some that cost thousands, some come a little cheaper but honestly, where as some say they are cost efficient, and might be able to do a 65,000 word manuscript for a squeak under a thousand dollars, I can do it for less than $600. In addition, for new clients, I always offer a FREE 2000 word sample to show them what I do for them…and to see if we’re a match.

Who knows, you might be a fast study and be able to take what I show you in that free sample and edit your work yourself…but would you be sure that you did your hard work a good service?


But if you want publishers, readers, and reviewers to take notice…you want your manuscript thoroughly and completely, word for word, edited. No First Drafts Need Apply—ANYWHERE! :-)

Let’s find you success. Happy Writing Everyone!

Stuff Your eReader Campaign! June 15, 2016!

Scandalous Campaign
ATTENTION AUTHORS! Do you have a $0.99 or freebie ebook that you want downloaded?
Then join Scandalous Summer Reads!
We’re offering you the chance to get your erotic / erotica / BDSM or steamy romance book
in front of hundreds of readers!
Entry costs just $5
(payable via PayPal & which will be used solely for the purposes of the grand giveaway. We will be using KingSumo to host the giveaway which should hopefully promote viral sharing as readers can share the post via Twitter, FB, Pinterest & Linked In and with their own lucky URL to gain entries 🙂 )
We will accept freebies and $0.99 bargain ebooks available via Amazon, InstaFreebie, iBooks, Google Play, Nook or Barnes&Noble. One book per author.
Hurry – just 50 spots available!
The giveaway will be shared with over 150,000 Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest followers.
** All participating authors will be required to share via their newsletters, Facebook or Twitter to ensure a successful campaign. Downloads can not be guaranteed. **
Happy Writing Everyone!

Where Do You Plan To Publish Your Book?


Well, it’s a New Year! You’re getting a clean slate, and a chance to take control of your writing life. Have you finished your book? Had an editor look at it? Let me know if you haven’t, but most importantly, if you’re going indie – where are you going to publish your book?

Well how about wherever you want to publish it? The world is open to you.

We all know about Amazon and yes, you definitely want to make your book available through Amazon, but what about all of the other readers who don’t use Kindle. Yes, you heard me. There are many readers who do not own a Kindle or read on a Kindle app. I have a Kindle App available to me, but I prefer to read on my Kobo reader. And folks, there are books unavailable to me – why are they unavailable? Well, it’s because the authors have only published on Amazon.

When I hear of an author publishing independent, I immediate head over to Smashwords to see if it might be available there because at Smashwords, I can get an .epub edition but sadly, it doesn’t happen often.

You’re probably asking where else can I publish free other than Amazon? My darlings, anywhere you want.

You can publish at Amazon at Kindle Direct Publishing.

You can publish at Barnes and Noble – check out their Publisher and Author Guidelines.

You can publish at Kobobooks at Kobo Writing Life.

You can publish at Smashwords.com where you can publish your ebook in every digital format to Apple iBooks, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, OverDrive, Flipkart, Oyster, Scribd,  Baker & Taylor’s Blio and Axis360 (libraries!) and more.

So where are you going to publish? It’s a great big publishing world out there and you definitely want to reach all of the readers, not just some.

Happy Writing and Publishing!
Don’t forget I’m here to assist you in making your manuscript all it can be before you hit that Publish Button.🙂

You Truly Cannot Judge A Book By Its Cover or Its Blurb – Every Book Needs Editing

LG Book for Sale

We all love to look at book covers. We enjoy the different images, the sexy ones, the elaborate ones, and the ones that intrigue us, but are the covers the most important things about good books? Then again, just because a cover draws my eye and the blurb is intriguing, will I enjoy the read? Not necessarily. I’ve read my share of books with fabulous covers where the story was so amazing, it could be wrapped in brown paper and I would still love it. But we truly cannot judge a book by its cover – or blurb.

With the onset of digital books, covers still attract but it is ultimately the blurb, which sells the book. I’ve discussed the importance of a great blurb, which captures the reader’s attention and sells the book. What happens after the blurb and the cover already hook the reader but when he/she begins reading the actual story, it just isn’t as good as was expected?

Well, in some cases the reader has actually asked for a refund. Oh yes, my friends, readers have asked for refunds on digital books which only cost them a mere 99¢. I’ve purchased my share of books, which turned out to be okay reads or even something I couldn’t finish because they were poorly written but honestly, I never asked for a refund. Print copies, I donate to a local library or book bank, and digitals, I just forget about them or delete them from reader, but I’ve never asked for a refund. I always thought it was too much like going to the movies, sitting through the entire thing and then asking for a refund because it was horrible. I say chalk it up to taking a chance on the unknown. So, when I hear a reader has asked for a refund on a digital book that cost only 99¢, I can only assume the reader is actually doing so to make a statement.

What statement, you ask? A statement I totally agree with and support. Indie publishing is competitive enough without readers being pushed away from taking chances on unknown authors who might be extraordinary storytellers by those who refuse to acknowledge that even the best authors don’t publish without an editor looking at it first. Yes, that’s where the problem is with books that aren’t even worth 99¢ – poor or worse, no editing at all.

Authors who publish through traditional publishing have editors who work for the publishing house who scrutinize the entire manuscript, make suggestions on how to improve it, point out awkward writing, grammar and spelling errors, as well as catch continuity problems. Admittedly, I still find all of the above in traditionally published works but hey, no one’s perfect. Although, I do have to wonder why everyone, including the author, editor, copyreader, proofreader, and beta readers all miss them but what can I say, I guess everyone’s not perfect.

These are all things that an author cannot see without stepping away from a work for months or even years in order to come back and look at a manuscript with a fresh eye. Who has that kind of time, right? No one, not if they want to publish it in a timely manner. It’s for this reason, every author – EVERY AUTHOR – needs an editor who will scrutinize every word, every line, make corrections, pay attention to continuity, and make sure the story makes sense, flows well, and the characters grow as well as making sure the plot coming to a sensible conclusion. It’s a lot more than just putting words on a page and telling a story – it’s creating a world the reader wants to climb into every time he/she picks up the book. It’s a creative work, which will leave the reader happy they read it and eager to read more by the same author, not return it for a refund of 99¢.

So who is your editor? Don’t think you can afford an editor who will do your work justice? Who will polish it until it shines so bright, anyone who reads it will exclaim over its ability to hook, capture, and keep the reader’s attention and never wish to ask for a refund? You can afford an editor. If you’re looking for someone to do all that for your manuscript, just give me holler. It’s what I do and I do it well, without breaking your bank.

Happy Writing Everyone!

Helena Fairfax

Romance author, insatiable book lover, Yorkshire lass

Terri Herman-Ponce

twists, turns, past lives and suspense


Tuning you in to the young adult nonfiction book world.

Christina Mandara

Erotica, BDSM, Bondage and More...

Savoring the Past

Savoring history's repast. Discovering flavors not lost but forgotten

All Things Georgian

Blogging about anything and everything to do with the Georgian Era


Musings of a young widow.


Author of Romantic Suspense - Action / Adventure


Thoughts From a Work in Progress

Thoughts on Life and Love

Blog on emotional well being and personal development


Helping writers and readers find time for their passion.

The 11th House

Kim Falconer's notes from the future . . .

Ella Quinn ~ Author

Bestselling author of smart, fun, spicy Regency romances with a large cast of characters.

Christina Mandara

Erotica, BDSM, Bondage and More...

New York Times & USA Today bestselling author Danielle Jamie

A Place to stay up to date on all things Danielle Jamie!

Jaye Shields

Travel and Romance

Gwen Jones Writes

Seriously Snark

Brit Nanny Reads

Books & Coffee are my addiction!

Raisin' the Signal Flag

Rogues, Rebels & Rakes

Author's Taproom

Where every hour is happy hour!

Nina Mason

romance for thinking women

J.M. Gregoire

Urban Fantasy & Paranormal Romance Author

Tori L. Ridgewood

Romance and Other Dangers

A Bottle of Bourbon, No Glass


Kim Talks Books

...where Kim muses over all things literary.

Amanda Usen


Liz Everly

Romance. Food. Passion. With a dash of suspense.


Now, what to read next...???

Jessie Lane

Best-Selling Romance Author

Romance With An Edge

Writing on the Edge

Karen Ranney

NYT and USA Today Bestselling Author


Gail Gentry

Laurie Kozlowski

Wrangler of dear daughter, incredible husband, and sweet pups. Writer and insatiable reader.

A Self-Published Author working to Help Other Self-Published Authors

Jessa Slade

Author of Paranormal Romance


Addicted to Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series? Me too! I need a Jamie fix...

The Devil DeVere Official Fan Site

Dedicated to the fans, the characters, and the books

%d bloggers like this: