Stockings & Stilettos Blog

Did you know I also offer editing services?

My editing services are available through Dark Enchantments Editing, where I offer proofreading, copyediting, and developmental editing for romance authors. I hold a BA in English Literature, have six years of experience as Editor-in-Chief of an international literary magazine, and have worked with hundreds of writers in an editing capacity.

I offer a thirty-day turnaround on proofreading and copyediting, but may return manuscripts sooner than that. Rush services are available for an additional fee. Developmental editing may require longer than thirty days due to the nature of the edits.

Whether proofreading, copyediting, or developmental editing, I take meticulous care to bring a polished and professional text to your readers. Upon entering into a contract, you will receive my personal cell phone number for text communication, and all questions and concerns will be answered or addressed within 24 hours at a maximum. I value my clients’ trust and time, and will reply to all communications, whether text or email, in a timely manner.

I offer sample edits free of charge. Your sample will consist of approximately two chapters or approximately 4,000 words, so I can get a feel for your manuscript, and you can decide if my services are a good fit. Sample edit turnaround time is one to two weeks. I book only one client per 30-day period, so you and your manuscript get my undivided attention.

I understand that obtaining professional editing services is a significant investment, and endeavor to help authors achieve a sparkling, error-free manuscript regardless of ability to pay the entire cost up front. For this reason, I offer payment plans, allowing authors to divide the total cost of services into either three or six payments, depending on the author’s situation. All payments will be made via PayPal.

Save money by bundling services! Check out the offer for new client special pricing, and see the pricing list below.

For more information, see the Dark Enchantments Editing website. If you have any questions, wish to request a sample edit, or request services, please contact me.

Behind-the-Scenes with Time Is the Greatest Distance

I’m currently writing the second and final book of The Distance Duet, Time Is the Greatest Distance, which is the sequel to book one, Desire and Social Distance (available now as eBook and paperback!). Here’s a sneak peek at the blurb:

Distance is not always a matter of proximity.

As Elena and Greyson embark on their new life together in Greyson’s New York brownstone, difficulties with his children make the honeymoon short-lived.

Meanwhile, Greyson has become distant, haunted by nightmares and a sense of foreboding that something awful is about to happen, which pulls him away from his intimacy with Elena, making her unsure about their future together.

But when a ghost from Greyson’s past reappears, throwing their lives into upheaval, nothing is certain anymore.

Will the emotional distance between them ruin what was once a promising romance, or will their love for one another triumph over the evil that has invaded their lives once and for all?

Without spoilers or giving anything away, I will say that when I first started writing Desire and Social Distance, the twist that is now in book two was originally written in the first version of book one. While writing book one, I knew and kept a close eye on what was going to happen in book two, trying to foreshadow and set up the conclusion of the duet. Book two is far more action-packed and suspenseful than book one, which was a slow burn, whereas book two is anything but! But two is also dual POV, so you see the story both from Elena’s and from Greyson’s perspectives.

In my writing process, as I detailed in my last post, I tell the story to myself first, writing in third person and using stage direction language, then during my second pass I tell the story to the reader in first person. When plotting a book, I start with the beats: the hook, inciting incident, key event, the first plot point, pinch point #1, the midpoint, pinch point #2, the third plot point, the crisis, the dark moment, the climax, the realization, and the resolution. Once I have those beats mapped out, I start to fill in with obstacles between the beats. Then I write both main characters’ narrative arcs, which include the following eight stages: 1) stasis, 2) trigger, 3) quest, 4) bolt, 5) shift, 6) defeat, 7) power, and 8) resolution. Once I have both character arcs plotted out, I combine those with the beats and write a chapter summary in order from chapter one to the end, including only what happens with my main characters. Once that is complete, I write the character arcs for my minor characters – yes, every significant minor character in my books has a simple character arc consisting of those same eight stages, just consisting of lesser events and less emotional change. Then I read through my chapter summaries, deciding which chapters need more action, and add side character subplots from the minor character’s arcs to round out the shorter chapters. Once that’s done, I revise the chapter summaries to include the subplots, and then I am ready to start blocking text! When I say blocking text, I am referring to telling the story to myself (writing in third person what each character does and says, mapping out each scene that appears in the chapter in rough sketches. I use a purple, ten-point font–Alegreya Sans–to write the blocking, to differentiate from the black 12-point Times New Roman I write the actual reader-ready text in). Once I have all the chapters blocked, I make my second pass and change everything to first-person POV, adding sensory details and going much more in-depth than the blocking was. During this phase, I do skip around, writing the scenes that excite me the most in that moment (Do I feel like writing narrative action, emotion, or spice right now? I ask myself), making notes of additional scenes and ideas that occur to me as I write out the book’s text. I write each chapter with a word-count goal of between 1,000 and 2,500 words, and adjust as I go. Some chapters end up extremely long while others turn out too short, so I have to adjust. And, as I do in The Distance Duet, keeping up with days and dates at the beginning of each chapter helps me keep a handle on how time is passing and how many hours or days have elapsed since the previous chapter, which helps me to orient the placing of events within the text. Usually I write the ending scene far before I am done with the whole novel, and keeping the end in mind actually helps me build an escalating plot bridge from where I am writing to how everything comes together at the last few chapters.

This is my method–it doesn’t mean all authors work this way or that even any other authors work in this way and with this methodology, but it’s what works for me in the long form.

Trivia tidbit about books one and two: the last line of book one, which I won’t write here so as not to spoil anything for anyone who hasn’t read it, echoes the title of book two, so it reaches out of the text and points to the title of the next book. With that in mind, the end scene of book two hearkens back to the beginning of book one. This kind of interconnectedness exists between opposing plot points, too, and is actually called Chiastic Narrative Structure, but I won’t bore you with my English-major nerdery by going into detail about that.

Anything else you want to know about my writing process? Drop it in the comments, and I’ll answer in another post!

Sneak Peek into my Writing Process

I got the idea for Desire and Social Distance from something that happened to me in real life. The man Greyson is based on is a real human, who old-school courted me long-distance for six months back in 2020. Although he and I didn’t get to have our HEA, I decided to write a book in which a version of him did.

Elena is completely fictitious, loosely based on my idea of myself as a writer, but with a personality much different from my own.

From that seed of a beginning grew my debut novel. I lived in Buffalo, New York for 22 years, so it seemed natural for me to have half the novel take place there.

The reason I wrote Greyson as a father was to help show what kind of person he was when circumstances dictated that he be reclusive and cut off from his friends. But the one friend whom he hadn’t ejected from his life, Sebastian Benjamin, was probably the most fun character for me to write. I have to admit giggling to myself when writing their banter! Writing Greyson’s trauma flashbacks was the way I helped construe to readers that he was damaged, and why a man of his wealth and stature wasn’t crawling with eager ladies. He was too traumatized by his past to want anything to do with that. But when Elena came back into his world, she connected him to a past that was before the trauma, a past that he remembered only too well. A past that, for once, brought him joy.

FYI: most mothers who have read my book have bluntly stated that they’d have killed Sybil Jameson if she were their daughter, which makes me laugh every time. That was intentional. Just throwing that out there.

When rewriting–yes, rewriting–the novel for the second time from the ground up, the characters were practically telling me what to write. I had coaxed them into existence in the first version, then deleted 79,000 words to rebuild afresh to listen more closely to what they had begun to say. It was a hard decision to make to delete all that work, but I’d do it again in a heartbeat because the book that resulted from following my creative gut was so much better than the one I wrote the first time around.

In my writing process, I tell the story to myself first. I usually write this in third person, using stage-direction type language. I use a purple font and enclose the text in brackets to distinguish it from reader-ready text. Then, during round two, I write the actual book in first person, in text meant to be read by the reader, deleting the blocked scenes as I go. So I tell myself the story first, then I tell you.

Tell me in the comments if you’d like to go more in-depth about my writing process, and want all the nerdy-writer details about scene blocking, three-act structure, and all the rest, and I’ll be more than happy to tell you all about it!

Desire and Social Distance releases TOMORROW!

Read what reviewers have been saying about Desire and Social Distance:

“Descriptive and fun and the sex is steamy!! Truly can’t wait for sequels with these colorful characters!” – BETA READER REVIEW

“SMART AND SEXY! I loved this book! The characters are smart and romance between these two is sexy and fiery. Wonderful book and so well written!” – AMAZON REVIEWER

“Colorful characters, laugh-out-loud dialogue, all the yearning, and all the steamiest, unexpected pages. Finally, a book wherein women my age get butterflies and have sexy adventures! I can’t wait for the sequel and everything after that!” – BETA READER REVIEW

“SPICY! This book has everything: banter, spice, emotional betrayal, and redemption. The heroine is empowered, and leaves you wanting more after THE END. I can’t wait for book two!” – AMAZON REVIEWER

The paperback is available now on Amazon, and the eBook launches tomorrow, 3/30, in Kindle Unlimited!

Cover Reveal & Newsletter Startup Coming in January 2023!

I cannot wait to show you the completely redesigned covers for The Distance Duet! Completely redesigned series covers for a completely rewritten book. I’ve written 162,000 words of this novel counting the first draft, which was a completely different novel. I will be opening preorders early in 2023, and will reveal book one’s release date at that time.

My Lightning Survivor Story

Bizarre but true fact about me: I was struck by lightning when I was 7 years old. I was on the back porch of my parents’ house enjoying my favorite kind of weather—a thunderstorm. I remember it vividly. I was eating a creamsicle and watching the dripping eaves and smelling the petrichor when suddenly I felt a searing pain and heard a deafening pop and was thrown off the porch into the sopping grass. It was instant—it happened within a blink. One second I was on the porch, the next second I was sprawled on the wet lawn, my creamsicle a few yards in front of me. I don’t know how I was able to understand what happened so quickly, but I immediately knew, and through my sudden, wracking sobs I screamed to my mother inside, “I got struck by lightning!” She rushed me to the ER, where they examined me and tested me for internal organ damage. Luckily, there was none. All the evidence present was a big black mark where the bolt had entered my shoulder, and my right big toe was black from where it had exited. The doctor told me the voltage had traveled down the right side of my body, bypassing my chest cavity & thereby sparing my life. He said had I not been wearing rubber-soled flip flops I’d have lost my toe. The last thing I recall the ER doc saying to me was, “You have survived Thor’s thunderbolt. You are destined for great things.”

What’s a totally bizarre but true fact about you?

Mood Boards as Writing Tools

A lot of authors use implements to assist them in the creation of their books. While music is not something I utilize for writing, visuals totally are. I make mood boards for my characters, settings, and for the book itself. I even use stock photos that closely resemble my characters in the profiles I outline for them. For a word-slinger, I’m awfully visual. What tools & implements do you use to help you visualize your creations?