An Interview with Tara Shaner, Editor

I am very pleased to welcome Tara Shaner, of Shaner Media Creations, to the page today. Shaner is a creativity and content editor, who focuses on taking the author’s words and intent, and making them brighter. She is also my editor, and through her guidance, my writing and delivery has improved considerably.

Please read on to learn more about Tara’s insights, experiences, and advice.

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An Interview with Todd Barselow, Editor

I am very pleased to welcome editor Todd Barselow to the blog today! Several years ago, Todd moved to the Philippines for a change of pace, and an opportunity to pursue his dream of being a full-time editor. Since then, he has edited over 50 books, and has worked with a range of successful authors, such as Becket, Greg Wilkey, and M.L. Stephens. You might also recognize Todd as a frequent contributor on Anne Rice’s Facebook page.

Please read on to learn more about Todd’s insights, experiences, and advice.

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Guest Blog: “Time, Not Words” by Tara Shaner

Today I am hosting a post from Tara Shaner, owner of Shaner Media Creations. She specializes in editing, creative assistance, and voice talent. She also happens to be my editor, my muse, and one of my favorite people.

To say that she is my editor is accurate, but it is also not exactly the right word to describe it. She takes my voice and amplifies it. Hones it. She takes what I was trying to say (but didn’t) and helps me say it. While I don’t normally include advertising on my blog, I cannot recommend what she does highly enough. She is as integral to my writing experience as my own creativity and imagination.

This post is a very eloquent statement on what she does, and why.

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It Is Done.

35kaobAfter many, many months of writing, editing, rewriting, re-editing (over and over and over again), it is done: The Storm and the Darkness is now in the hands of my beta readers!

It is somehow appropriate that I finished on Mother’s Day. I do not have children of my own, but my work–my characters and their stories–ARE my children. They will always be a part of me, and an extension of me, and telling their stories is a true labor of love.

For anyone who is following the progress, here are the critical dates coming up:

  • June 1: Expected to receive completed cover art.

  • June 15: Feedback due from beta readers.

  • June 15-June 30: Finish final edits.

  • July 1(or close to it): Click Publish!

So for the next month, while my story sits with my readers, I get to spend time catching up on all the other things I neglected. I’ve really missed my WordPress Reader. All my snobby historical dramas on the DVR are calling my name. The house might or might not need a little sprucing up. Groceries are awaiting purchase. The husband is tired of living like a bachelor.

And then, July starts another round of Camp NaNoWriMo, where I start work on Book 6. Come August, it will be time to begin the edits on The Illusions of Eventide, which is the third book in The House of Crimson and Clover Series.

The work never ends…and thank goodness for that!

Final Editing Phase Commenced. Set Phasers to Blow Minds.

doomcatI’ve been talking about my upcoming book, The Storm and the Darkness, for awhile. It’s the second book in my series, and I wrote the first draft as part of NaNoWriMo in 2011. After some epic levels of procrastination, I finally completed the major rewrites and edits in March, and now I’m settling in for the final round of edits before it gets sent to my beta readers.

For anyone fascinated with the individual writer’s editing process, here is what my “final edit stage” will look like.

3 Phased Approach:

  1. Complete Re-read that includes some body/copy edits as I go along, but the biggest task is refreshing the story in my mind, and adding to my story detail/continuity notes for Phase 2.
  2. MIND BLOWING EDIT PHASE. That’s my mind being blown, not yours. This is where I take my pages of continuity and story building notes and make all necessary fixes and pray to Xenu that I haven’t overlooked anything. I’m going to become unpleasant during this phase. If bitches get in my way during this phase, bitches are going to get told.
  3. Final Clean-up where I do one last read and sweep to check for any remaining copy errors or story problems before calling it a day and sending it off to the betas to rip apart.

The goal is to have all three phases completed by the end of May, but I’m aiming for sooner because I’m a masochist and that’s how I roll.


I is for Incomplete (You Won NaNoWriMo…Now What?)

5766889608_f092ff652e_zWinning NaNoWriMo is pretty awesome. Not because you get a prize…because you don’t. And not because you win money…because you also, don’t. No, it is awesome because you have something at the end that you did NOT have in the beginning: 50,000 words written of a novel that you could potentially do something with. As a writer, the act of creating is only topped by having a finished product of your creation.

Except…you’re not finished. Not even close. Continue reading

Aaaaaand….We Have a First Draft!

It’s coming, precious!


There are not words adequate enough to express my happiness and relief in finally finishing a first draft of The Storm and the Darkness. HOO-FREAKING-RAY!

I started this story, which will be the second published book in the House of Crimson and Clover series, as my NaNoWriMo project in 2010. It sat for a couple of years (at the same 50k words where I left it) while I worked on other projects, and I picked it back up again in December last year to polish it up and get it ready for publication.  Continue reading