Tag Archives: Susan the editor

Safe House is up for preorder!


Safe House (Tales from the Sheep Farm Book 3)

There’s been a lot of chatter this week on socials about quick releasing books. I stand by the practice… IF the author can hold off on publishing until their books are the best possible, they’ve been through editing… in other words, don’t rush. Publishing is the long game, so it’s smart to make sure you’re playing to your best advantage.

That’s what I’ve done with the first four books in the Sheep Farm series. (I’m working on Book Five right now, in fact, and I do hope to have it out for you by the end of 2024.)

Which brings us to today’s subject matter: Safe House, Tales From the Sheep Farm #3 is up for preorder at all the usual retailers. And like always, it’s 99c

Here’s your universal book link.

I’ll have my amazing web person update the books page soon, but in the meantime, here’s the book description:

A deadly virus is bearing down on the world and Emerson Mackenzie, CEO of PharmaScience Technologies—now back in its ancestral home of Port Kenneth, Tennessee—opens up the historic Mackenzie house on the family’s defunct sheep farm to six people: himself, his wife Tess Cartieri, his house manager, two members of his board of directors, and his executive assistant, Taylor Alexander.

Taylor won’t abandon Emerson, but at the same time, they don’t want to be there. Taylor has secrets, a past and memories they cannot face, and they fear that being locked in a house with five others will be entirely too revealing.

Taylor’s passion is to be outside, hiking, in a world that makes sense to them, and Emerson harnesses that, asking Taylor to map the boundaries of the old sheep farm and maybe help discover secrets buried on the land. Taylor is glad to do so, although the secrets they help Emerson and Tess discover are immediately darker and more disturbing than any had expected.

As the virus rages, as tensions across the country simmer, as relationships within the house change, and as the land gives up its secrets, Taylor realizes time has grown short. Their secrets cannot remain hidden any longer.

When they spill, Taylor is exposed for all in the house to see.

And every person inside the house responds in ways Taylor never expected.

If you’ve read the first two books, or even just Maybe the Bird Will Rise, you’ve met Taylor. But now you get to really know them. So did I as I wrote this, and I really like who Taylor revealed themself to be.

If you need a copy of Maybe the Bird Will Rise or Populated, both are on sale right now to celebrate the release of Safe House.

And of course, if your library uses either Hoopla or Overdrive/Libby, look for me there. I get paid, the library gets circulation numbers, you get books within your budget… it’s a win-win-win for everyone.

On the editing front, I’m going to be finishing up one that’s taken me longer than I would have liked, but it needed a lot of attention and love. Next up in the editing queue is a genre switch by an established author. This is the second time I’ve gone over it for her (reminder that I charge half the original amount when you ask me to do this) and I’m anxious to see her improvements. This author, like all of my clients, is more than willing to do the hard work, and it shows. Watching her develop as a writer has been a pleasure and a privilege.

Next week (Feb. 3), I’ll be appearing with a few other authors at the Peters Township library here in the Pittsburgh region. If you’re nearby, come see me and my friends! Event flyer for Peters Township Library event.

That’s it from this end. Expect more of these updates and let me know what you think of them!


#SaystheEditor: Writing Versus Editing


I sat down last night to write a post. It’d be my usual Says the Editor type of post, pithy and fun and the sort of thing that one of you would submit to the Passive Guy so I could get the free promo and pack my schedule and work my tail off and redo my family room, now that the windows are taken care of.

But something funny happened.

It happened last week, actually. I sat down, put the laptop on my lap (go figure. They tend to work better from that position, or else I have weird arms), and … opened a Word file I hadn’t touched for almost one entire calendar year. I believe the date on the file was April 14, 2014, actually.

Yes, your editor friend found her way back to her fiction.

Oh, I’ve done this off and on over the past couple of years. I’ll start to work on something, start to write — I have a whole other project I’ve played with, off and on, for awhile now — and then get distracted or overwhelmed or just plain worn out. Staring at a screen all day doesn’t exactly make me want to stare at a screen all evening. Playing with other people’s words doesn’t exactly inspire me to turn off that editor part of my brain and do the sort of crappy first draft that’s necessary for my own writing process. Running the kids from activity to activity doesn’t exactly… You get the idea. It’s a full life I lead. It’s a good life and I’m happier than I’ve been in a long time.

But I’d be happier if I was writing, creating, letting characters run amok in my brain instead of it being full of the daily struggles of worrying about taking care of a house and two kids and myself and a business and all the other stresses of life. In that vein, I had it easier in the old incarnation of my life. And yes, the further away I get from the old incarnation, as I fix the problems I was left to discover, the more relieved I am that life took such a drastic turn.

I do miss writing. I miss my characters. And heck yeah, I miss those royalty statements. Even though I love editing with a passion I thought I’d never feel, it is an engagement with a book in a different way than when I’m engaging as the writer. The book I’m editing right now blows me away with its vision and creativity — as do they all, but this one in particular makes me shake my head in amazement at the quality of the ideas and the ability of the author to go to these places. There are many times a day when I sit back and envy and admire my authors and their storytelling abilities.

At some point, I’ll find that elusive balance between editing all day — the challenge of seeking out weaknesses and trying to build a better infrastructure, better word choice, better sentence structure, deeper characterization — and my own writing — that head rush of watching characters do what I wasn’t expecting, the lip-pursing moments when I fight for the right word or idea.

But for now, like so many of my clients, I struggle. And I remind them that I feel their pain even as I put them first. Not just because it pays my bills. But because it fulfills me in a way writing can’t.

Just as writing fulfills me in a way editing can’t.