An Editor as a Reviewer?

I’ve been thinking about this for a while. As not only a professional book editor and author, I decided to ask myself this very question, but I wanted to give an honest answer.

The problem with an editor reviewing books is multifold. As I read, I cannot ignore errors in not only spelling or punctuation, but in sentence structure and the proper use of the words I and me. Every word I read, I am totally conscious of each of these things. While I can forgive some punctuation errors, I just can’t ignore the other types of errors that so many authors make today.

Unfortunately, these errors are not unique and exclusive to new authors, but they extend even into best selling authors. The errors in both are inexcusable, and I have to ask who is editing some of these books? One of the biggest complaints from readers are the improper use of words, duplication of the same things within not only one book, but through to all the others in a series.

Another problem and complaint is spelling. For instance, the use of “passed” and “past” are horribly used incorrectly and interchangeably. However, the most egregious of all errors are the improper use of I and me. I read a sentence today that made my teeth grit. While I will not quote that particular line, it was similar to this…

“Janie decided to go with Tara, Mark, Lonnie, and I.”

I do not understand what our schools are teaching these days, but this is absolutely WRONG! There is a simple test for this. Taking the same sentence, but eliminating all but “I”, read the sentence aloud.

“Janie decided to go with I.”

Now, this doesn’t make a bit of sense at all, so “I” is not the right word. Taking the same sentence, and replacing it with me, yields:

“Janie decided to go with me.”

NOW, change I to me in the sentence.

“Janie decided to go with Tara, Mark, Lonnie, and me.”

This is the CORRECT way to write this sentence. But, for some reason, these errors are not only cropping up in books, articles, short stories, essays, newspapers (online and paper), magazines, and more, but now it is creeping into TV shows and movies! The other night, I heard this same thing on TV, and I just felt my teeth grit, again!

I don’t know what’s going on, but as I said before…the biggest complaints from readers are about spelling in improperly used language. And, I can’t blame them. The only thing I can deduce is that it is our school system who is not teaching English properly.

How to correct this is like going upstream with no paddle on rapids. No matter how much you try to steer the boat a different way, the boat continues to go in the wrong direction, before going over some steep falls.

Concluding my thought and as an editor, I have to say it’s much harder to give a review to a book, or other publication. Does an Editor make a good reviewer? In my own person opinion, the answer is no. I once read a book that was so full of errors and duplications, I had to stop. Yet the book had the potential to be really great!

Good editing can make the difference between a mediocre book and a best seller, but in today’s writings, there are still those books on the best seller list that are horribly edited, yet they are still popular. I can’t figure this one out, but when I do, I’ll let you know!


Stand-a-lone Books vs Series Books



In speaking to readers, I found that there are two, distinct differences in their preferences of books.

    Series Books can range anywhere from two books to what seems to be unlimited. They can also include spin-offs for characters that are liked, but are not front and center in the main series. Then, there are the series that aren’t really series, but they are really series. These include stand-a-lone books within a series, and center around two characters with no particular order in some cases, while in others, it may center around sisters, brothers, or cousins, and even in some cases, parents of these. These can continue on and on without end if a writer wants, and is usually based on their fans’ wants. These types of books go into great detail – far more than any stand-a-lone book, and most contain around the same amount of pages. Unless they have a novela, which are usually very short.
    Stand-a-lone books are simple with a beginning, middle, and end. Once it ends, that’s it. There is nothing else that follows. Depending on the detail the writer places into the book, it can be short, medium, or long, and can contain unlimited pages.

Readers have a specific love for their favorite genres, but even more so for series or stand-alone. One group prefers series. They are hooked on a specific character or story, and can’t wait for the next installment. These people are the most likely to stay within one or two genres of books.

Other readers are adamant in that only stand-a-lone books are the best, simply because they don’t want to read continuing books. This could be because they want to read an entire story so they can proceed to the next one. These people are the most likely to enjoy more genres than those who love series books.

So, which is the better choice? There isn’t one. Everything really is relative, and not all of it has to do with Einstein. Relativity can be applied to everything, and that includes books. It is all relative to the enjoyment of the reader, and that’s the truly important thing.

So, pick your type of book, and read to your heart’s content!

Authors – Nothing is Free in Publishing a Book

Yoda said it best. “Do or do not. There is no try.”

I hear many who think they should get services free without paying, thinking that once their book starts to sell, then they can pay the publisher. There are hundreds of thousands of authors a day competing. Whether you go with a publisher or self, you are going to need to spend money. You can’t buy ISBN’s without it or copyright or printing or editors or marketing. If you don’t have money, then learn to market & promote yourself. I spend hours a day doing this. I happen to love it but most don’t.

Would you not pay your doctor or lawyer to help you? These are services. How about a lawn service? Tree service? Automotive service? Hearing aid service? PR Service? Or a LITERARY AGENT? None of these are free! So what is the common thread in this? The word – SERVICE. Just because one cannot see & hold something in their hands does not mean a service isn’t working for you. Would YOU WORK FOR FREE? No.

If you can’t afford it, work hard till you can! But know it may never happen, even if you hire someone. You gain nothing when you don’t pay something. You are gambling your entire writing on making it big. It is a gamble. Think lottery. That’s what all authors are up against. It costs money to do these things.

Stop trying and just do it. I built my Twitter following for my books from 18 followers over 4 years to 34.2K. It wasn’t easy at all. I spent hours a day promoting my own books. I have the best followers on Twitter, and we all share each other’s works. In the last 6 months, I have had several small publishers follow me. Until that time, I had 1 or 2.

Is it hard work? Absolutely it is! But I do it, because I have faith in my writing skills. I also am a professional book editor, but again, it is a service, and I do not work for free. Get out there. Work your butt off. Use whoever else if you can afford them. But don’t complain if you can’t afford a service. No one works for free.

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  • Appointments – Whose Time is More Valuable

    Friday, I lumbered into my Doctor’s office, well before my appointment time @ 10:30 was scheduled, I might add, because I believe in being before an appointment. After checking in, having to fill out yet another dumb form required by BCBS, and paying my $35 co-pay, I was summoned into the depths of the Doctor’s office by the nurse calling my name. (I mean…who wants to hear their name yelled to one and all? Everyone’s eyes dart to you, glaring as if you are the most evil person on Earth for daring to be seen before them!)

    The room wasn’t ready, but in fact, a patient was still in it! I was weighed, and waited for 5 minutes. Rarely do we spend more than 45 minutes, total, between the waiting room and the exam room. I might also mention that there are only 5 exam rooms, and the clinic is in a school. The nurse lead me into the room, and seemed extremely flustered. The bed had no paper on it, so after she told me to sit in the chair, she rushed out to find some, only to come back a few minutes later, her arms laden down with 4 rolls of exam paper. She threw 3 of them under the counter, and quickly put one onto the bed. She ran right back out of the room, again. She didn’t return for about 10 minutes, then proceeded to ask me the same questions that I had been asked last time I was there. I kinda took exception to the mental health questions, which are subtly buried in your regular health questions, but…I answered them all truthfully. Then, she said,

    “The Doctor will be here in a minute!” yelling cheerfully, as she ran out the door.

    All of this took, maybe 15-20 minutes – still abnormally long. I pulled out my iPhone, and began to read the book I’d started the day before. I was so engrossed, I didn’t really pay attention to the time, until about 30 minutes later, I happened to look at the clock, and no one had come in to see me. About that time,the nurse stuck her head into the room to see if it was empty, so she could get it ready for the after lunch rush. She started to leave, when she saw me in the corner. Surprise was on her face.

    “Are you still waiting???” Her voice kept rising into the treble clef.

    “Yes. I’m still waiting,” I answered.

    “I have no idea what happened! I’ll get someone in here!” And, she left.

    I heard one of the Drs. Speaking to a patient in the next room. I realized that it was the woman who had come into the office 10 minutes after I had. Now, it is possible that her appointment was earlier than mine, but if so, she was horribly late. Finally, I heard the Dr. leave, and I thought for sure, he’d be in my room next. So, I began to read again. After another 15 minutes, I really needed to go. Her face was even MORE shocked that I was still in the room.

    “I am so, so sorry! I have no idea what happened! He’ll be with you in a minute!”

    So, I used the facilities, and shuffled back to the room – only to wait another 10 minutes, before he finally showed his face. Just before he did show up, I had decided I had to leave to get to work. I was losing my time and money attached to that time! So, I was going to go to the receptionist, tell her that I needed to reschedule, but that I had already paid my $35, and had been sitting in the room for 1 1/2 hours, and they could just use that co-pay for the reschedule. (Yeah. Right. We ALL know that would happen!)

    While he didn’t apologize, he was the most subdued I have ever seen. My Doctor talks up a storm! Loves to shoot the bull! I needed to get back to work.

    So, how valuable was my time? About less than 9 minutes worth, because that’s all the time the At Dr. was with me. I had sat for 1 1/2 hours – mostly in the exam room, in a Dr’s. Office with only 5 exam rooms, forgotten, and then, no apology? I guess he thought the nurse apologized, so that was enough.

    After I grabbed a quickie lunch, I drove to the office, luckily not speeding. Oh, but I wanted to speed! I was stewing over the fact I had not only sat and waited and been forgotten at the office, but no apology by the Dr.

    So, over the weekend, I began wondering…Just WHOSE time was more valuable? Is it the person who keeps their appointment on time? Or is the doctor’s more important, because he has a title after his name? What about the person who keeps their appointments on time in any venue, but because the person they may be seeing has a title after their name, they feel it entitles them to keep you waiting as long as they want just because of that title?

    What is the answer? The correct answer is: It depends on who is the person and who is the professional. Which one is the late one? If the person is late, then it is the professional’s time. If the Professional makes so many appointments, they cannot get to the person’s appointment on time, it is the person’s time. Being a professional with some kind of title behind, or in front, of your name, does not mean you are entitled to do whatever you want to whoever is your appointment. It does not entitle you to make the person “wait” just because of “who I am”. Likewise, the person is not entitled to be late to an appointment, only to demand to be seen on time.

    The old argument that “well, the professional went to school for years to learn his business” does not fly in the face of R U D E. If the person cannot get there on time, then either leave early, or reschedule.

    If the professional cannot get to the appointment on time, then do not keep the person waiting forever! That person may be an hourly employee, and is losing THEIR money and THEIR time!

    And, for goodness sakes! If an employee of yours goofs up, just admit it and apologize!

    So, on Friday, I figured up my loss against the Doctor’s gain.

    1. Doctor made $35 = 9 minutes of work after forgetting I was there
    2. LK LOST $55 = 3 1/2 hours of work I missed because I was forgotten

    Apology is all that is needed, but if you are so high up on your own self-pedastal that you cannot show simple common courtesy and respect just because someone doesn’t make as much money as you do, then you shouldn’t be in business at all.

    So, back to the time…my time is no less valuable than my Doctor’s time. When I am at work, my patient’s times is no less valuable than my own time. Lesson over.

    Hunter’s Chase by Val Penny

    I am privileged to present to my readers a really terrific book blogger in her own right as well as Author.  Val Penny has shared with me information about her exciting new book!  OK, gang!  I really excited about it, too!  I am also please to present a synopsis of the book at the end of the article!  Enjoy ~ LK Kelley

                                                                                                                 author pic 2

          AUTHOR  VAL PENNY      

    ‘Hunter’s Chase’


    Thank you for inviting me to your blog today. I am very excited, because Publisher, will be published by Crooked Cats Books, has released my debut, crime novel, ‘Hunter’s Chase’.

    The story is set in Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland. I think setting is very important to a novel.  I considered creating an imaginary town for my main protagonist, Detective Inspector Hunter Wilson.  However, I know the city of Edinburgh well, as I lived there for many years, and it has everything a writer could need.  It is a diverse city with all different kinds of buildings and people. It is small enough, that characters can move around quickly, and is large enough for anything I want to happen there, could happen.

    Edinburgh is also a beautiful city with a castle, a palace and a cathedral, wealthy homes, horrible slums, fine restaurants, fast food outlets and idiosyncratic pubs. It is home to an Olympic size pool, the National Rugby Team and two famous football teams. It is also home to The Edinburgh International Festivals, so what more could either my characters or I want?

    I chose Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, as the setting for my novel ‘Hunter’s Chase’.  It is a beautiful city, and there is a population of around half a million people. The location of the city is on the south banks of the Firth of Forth. There are some lovely views across the Forth from Edinburgh to the county of Fife on the north of the river. There are three bridges crossing the Firth of Forth: the oldest is the Forth Rail Bridge, which was built in the nineteenth century, the Forth Road Bridge was built in the twentieth century, and the most modern, named Queensferry Crossing, is a bridge built for road traffic, and was completed in the early part of this century.

    edinburgh bridges

    The delegated parliament of Scotland, is where Hunter’s nemesis, Sir Peter Myerscough serves as Justice Secretary. The Scottish Parliament has wide powers over how the people of Scotland are governed and meets in the Scottish Parliament Building, in the Holyrood district of the city. Following a referendum in 1997, in which the Scottish electorate voted for devolution, the current Parliament was convened by the Scotland Act of 1998, which sets out its powers as a devolved legislature. Since September 2004, the official home of the Scottish Parliament has been a new Scottish Parliament Building in the Holyrood area of Edinburgh. The Scottish Parliament building was designed by Spanish architect Enric Miralles. There was much concern at the time as the building was completed many years late and several times over budget.

    edinburgh parliament

    Hunter Wilson is divorced. He lives in a flat in Leith, an area to the north of the City and drinks in his local pub, the Persevere Bar. His home is also close to one of the main soccer grounds in Edinburgh, the Hibernian Football Ground. Hibernian Football Club, commonly known as Hibs, is a Scottish professional football club based in Leith.

    edinburgh gillespie cres

    The other main character, Detective Constable Tim Myerscough is Sir Peter Myerscough’s son. He lives across the city from Hunter, in the south-west of the city. He moves into a flat Gillespie Crescent between Tollcross and Bruntsfield. His local pub is in the Golf Tavern, off the Bruntsfield Links.

    edinburgh persevere

    A wonderful free activity to do all year round is to play golf on Brunstfield Links. It is believed to be one of the oldest sites of golf as it pre-dates the seventeenth century, the short hole course was founded in 1895. Situated south of Melville Drive, there are two courses available to play on. A summer short 36 hole course (open end of April to September) and a 9 hole winter course (open October to end of April).

    DC Tim Myerscough’s father, Sir Peter Myerscough, lives even further to the south in the Morningside district of Edinburgh. From his large house, he has fine views across the Pentland Hills. The Pentland hills are situated just outside of Edinburgh. The reservoirs are picturesque and each hill is slightly different. If you are fit enough, you can go on top of all of the hills in one day.

    edinburgh Pentland_Hills_From_Caerketton_Hill_II

    Edinburgh is such a diverse and cultural city, home to The Edinburgh International Festivals that represent all aspects of art, three universities and several colleges and the Scottish national rugby ground at Murrayfield. It is the perfect location for my ‘Hunter’s Chase’ novel, and the cases DI Hunter Wilson has to solve.   ~ Val Penny

    Hunter’s Chase

    by: Val Penny


     Hunter by name – Hunter by nature: DI Hunter Wilson will not rest until Edinburgh is safe.

    Detective Inspector Hunter Wilson knows there is a new supply of cocaine flooding his city, and he needs to find the source, but his attention is transferred to murder when a corpse is discovered in the grounds of a golf course.

    Shortly after the post-mortem, Hunter witnesses a second murder, but that is not the end of the slaughter. With a young woman’s life also hanging in the balance, the last thing Hunter needs is a new man on his team: Detective Constable Tim Myerscough, the son of his nemesis, the former Chief Constable Sir Peter Myerscough.

    Hunter’s perseverance and patience are put to the test time after time in this first novel in The Edinburgh Crime Mysteries series.

    Friends of Hunter’s Chase –


    About the Author

    Val Penny is an American author living in SW Scotland. She has two adult daughters of whom she is justly proud and lives with her husband and two cats. She has a Law degree from Edinburgh University and her MSc from Napier University. She has had many jobs including hairdresser, waitress, lawyer, banker, azalea farmer and lecturer. However she has not yet achieved either of her childhood dreams of being a ballet dancer or owning a candy store. Until those dreams come true, she has turned her hand to writing poetry, short stories and novels. Her first crime novel, ‘Hunter’s Chase’ set in Edinburgh, Scotland will be published by Crooked Cat Books on 02.02.2018. She is now writing the sequel, ‘Hunter’s Revenge’.


    Author Contacts:

    The Unforgettable Kiss by Tamara Ferguson

    When I first started reading this wonderful story, the Prologue grabbed me instantly, because, like her character, Kassie, we have several things in common. I had a best friend who had an incurable disease as well. She lost her life due to an inoperable brain tumor when we were 8. The last times we had together with my other three best friends, were precious to all of us, but we never would be the same again. I am also a Professional Interior Decorator, so I love the scenes about construction, and remodeling. Finally, Tamara weaves a very engaging story about love at first sight, that lasts even when they are no longer together. Fighting this true love is always hard, but just another thing I believe in, since my husband and I fell in love at first sight.

    And, that’s where similarities end. Her love interests were wide and varied until Michael Murphy enters the scene. He’s her parents’ godson, and wants to be an architect, but needs to learn some basics. Unknown to Kassie, Murphy has been brought in to help find who is taking their construction supplies. After pointing the reader into different directions, Tamara has the reader going in circles as to who the thief really is, and as usual, the villain in the piece isn’t the one you think it is, as her writing shows the jealousy of not just one man, but of others toward the main character. Kassie needs control of her own life, because her sister had been attacked, and she uses that control in an unique way. Not only did her best friend die at 14, but there have been murders and assaults over the years in this small community. Her own sister, Lucy, was also the victim of an assault, and the similarities abound for many little girls and women in the area. Thefts from her Father’s construction company, abound, yet no one, despite all the surveillance can figure out who is the culprit. It took me 3/4 of the way through, before I realized who the culprit had to be! At first, I had the suspects lined up, until. I saw the one thing that clued me into who it was.

    Nope! I’m not going to tell you! This is a great read, and I truly enjoyed it immensely! You can’t go wrong with Tamara’s awesome books, and there is a reason why she wins all kinds of awards.

    I am not only an editor and writer, but I am also an avid reader and I love reviewing books when I get a chance! Enjoy this amazing book, and others that she has written as well!