Kelly Barr, Professional Freelance Editor

I am a Professional Freelance Editor. I have five years of experience editing fiction. If you have a fiction manuscript or short story you would like edited, check out my “Editing Services” page for more details–simply click on the “Editing Services” tab at the top of the page.

Here are some books I have worked on:

The Sorcerer's Bane (The Seven Words Book 1) by [Wachter, C. S. ]     Bride Tree (Secrets of Versailles Book 2) by [Robinson, JP]     Gods They Had Never Known by [Helms, J. S.]

For more books I’ve edited, click the “Editing Services” link at the top of the page.

Here is what some of my clients have to say about my work:

“Kelly is a pleasure to work with. She is well-versed enough to understand the nuances of my genre (Christian Speculative) even though she doesn’t write Speculative. She knows her craft and is sensitive and gentle when giving input about things that need to be corrected or rewritten. Her notes are thoughtful and her suggestions made my book a better read and a more polished final product. ‘The Sorcerer’s Bane‘, book one of my series The Seven Words, is slated to be released soon and I will continue to seek her professional help on future manuscripts.  — C. S. Wachter

Kelly Barr did a very thorough job, generating a final product that truly expresses what I had in mind. Also, they shortened it by about 1600 words and that’s always a plus! 🙂 There were some that I chose not to apply, but the vast majority of the edits proposed were golden. — J. P. Robinson

Flash Fiction Friday: A Heart’s Longing Fulfilled

brooke-winters-4-Frj4OcWZ8-unsplashPhoto by Brooke Winters on Unsplash

I stood by my car in my parents’ driveway. I’d just returned from my final year at college. That’s when I saw her. A gorgeous blonde walking toward me on the sidewalk. She turned to follow the path to the house next door. I watched as she opened the door and walked in without pausing or ringing the doorbell.

Mom hadn’t said anything about the Stewarts moving. I searched my memory. The Stewarts had had a daughter … Audrey, Abigail, … Allison, that’s what it was, Allison. But she was a gangly, freckle-faced girl with braces last I’d seen her. That blonde couldn’t be Allison.

I grabbed my suitcase and backpack and strode into the house. “Hey everyone, I’m home!”

Mom came from the kitchen, Dad from the living room, and my younger brother, Tim, bounded down the stairs. I got hugs from everyone and after taking my bags to my room upstairs, Tim helped me bring the rest of the stuff from the car.

“So, little brother, I come home and you’ll soon be leaving for college. You got some big dreams?”

Tim smiled. “Doesn’t everyone have big dreams? I’m headed to the same college you just came from, but I’ll be studying computer technology. I plan to create the best social media ever.”

“Social media? Don’t we have enough of that?” I poked him in the side with my elbow.

“Not like what I’ll create. You just wait and see.”

“Will your social media be able to hook me up with the gorgeous blonde I saw walk into the house next door?”

Tim’s gaze dropped to his feet. “You won’t need any help.”

“Whoa, did I say something wrong? Who is that girl?”

“That’s Allison Stewart, don’t you remember her? And, no you didn’t say anything wrong.” Every word came out monotone.

“That’s really Allison? How did that transformation happen? Whoa, is she your girl?”

“Huh, I wish! She doesn’t have the time of day for me, and yeah, she grew up and the freckles disappeared. The braces came off to reveal a dazzling smile, and she filled out well, didn’t she?”

I grinned and tousled his hair. “Okay, Tim, I’ll stay out of your way. I can see you’re interested in her.”

“That doesn’t matter.”

“Does she have a boyfriend?”

“Not right now. She doesn’t keep a boyfriend long.” Tim looked at me but didn’t say more.

I got settled in my room and enjoyed Mom’s cooking and dinner with the family. It felt good to be home again but I didn’t plan to stay long. With the job I had lined up, I should be able to move out of here for good after the holidays. Maybe not out of the area, just out of my parents’ house.

The following Friday I rang the Stewart’s doorbell. Mrs. Stewart answered.

“Is Allison here?”

“No, she isn’t. She should be back in about an hour. Is there something I can do for you?”

“No. I’m Chad Waters from next door, just returned from college. I saw Allison the day I arrived, and thought I’d stop by and say hi.”

Mrs. Stewart looked me up and down, then closed the door. Had I offended her somehow?

As the time drew nearer for Allison’s return, I went over and sat down in their driveway in front of her dad’s Range Rover. I bet no guy had ever waited for her like this before.

I didn’t have to wait long. I saw Allison coming down the sidewalk, wearing a pair of jeans and an orange t-shirt, her hair, pulled into a ponytail. I could tell the moment she spotted me. Her pace slowed and before getting too close, she called out, “Who are you and what are you doing sitting in our driveway?”

I stood up and smiled at her. “Allison, it’s me, Chad, from next door. I thought I’d see how you’re doing and maybe take you out for a soda or pizza or something.”

She came and stood about three feet away from me. “Chad, is it really you?”

I nodded. She stepped closer then reached out and touched my arm, sending an electrical current up to my shoulder. Then she stepped even closer and put her hand on the side of my face and my heart skipped a beat.

“You’re more handsome than I remember. This must be a dream.”

“I know what you mean. You’re so beautiful … not at all like I remembered you.”

She laughed out loud—a sound like tinkling bells.

Her eyes glistened with unshed tears, and she whispered, “I’ve always dreamed of being your girl.”

Then I kissed her.

 

Unbreakable by Sara Ella

Unbreakable (The Unblemished Trilogy Book 3) by [Ella, Sara]

I completed my reading of Unbreakable by Sara Ella last night. This is the third and final book in the “Unblemished” series/trilogy. What a ride these books have been. Lots of romance, action, suspense, and struggles. Sara Ella did a fantastic job with her world building and creating fascinating, well-developed characters. These books kept me turning page after page.

However, when I finally reached Unbreakable, the page turning became an act of anxiety and anticipation. Would Eliyana end up with Joshua or Ky? Would she and her friends be able to defeat the Void? Which characters would remain alive at the end of the book? Whose hearts and lives would be intact, and whose would be broken?

I turned each page with trepidation because I wanted a certain outcome/ending. Would Sara Ella deliver?

This entire series was so well-written. The characters and their dialog were so realistic. I was pulled into each book in the series from the very beginning, and I fell in love with certain characters and wanted to see others defeated. There were fascinating connections between characters. There were twists and turns. Sometimes I gasped. Sometimes I smiled. But all the time, my heart pounded and my nerves were taught.

I will say, Sara Ella did do a good job of resolving everything in the end. However, with all the suspense and tension I felt throughout the series, especially the last two books, I have to say I felt like the end was too calm. The characters’ emotions didn’t seem to hold their tension and strength. Though the ending was satisfying, I felt that everything was too calm, quiet, and peaceful like walking out of an epic battle into a high school study hall where no talking is allowed. I guess I expected and wanted something more.

However, I still highly recommend these books to anyone who loves a good YA Fantasy read with incredible world-building, characters you can relate to, and intriguing romance, and I look forward to reading more of Sara Ella’s books.

Special Post: Interview with Laura Zimmerman, Author of the New Release “Keen”

Hi Everyone! Yesterday was a big day for my friend and fellow writer, Laura Zimmerman, as her debut novel, Keen, released YESTERDAY! It is my pleasure to interview Laura for this event.

Q: Keen is your debut novel. How long did it take you to get to this big moment?

Laura: Well, I began writing the rough draft of KEEN in July of 2017, but my journey to publication began much earlier. I’ve always loved to write and have spent years crafting my stories. (I’ve got bits and pieces of stories from when I was in elementary school and even a novel I started while in high school!)

It wasn’t until 2013 that my husband tired of watching me write novels, only to see them sit on my laptop. He gave me an ultimatum to try to get published or he would take one of my (very rough) manuscripts and would publish it on Amazon. *hides face*

I attended my first writers conference in April 2014. When I pitched my novel, the editor was real with me. The manuscript I had wasn’t ready. But she encouraged me to continue to attend conferences and to work on my craft. She said statistically the average time it takes for an author to get published is 5 years. Sometimes it takes less time, sometimes it takes longer. But for me, her words were right on!

Q: Have you always known you wanted to be a writer?

Laura: Actually, I wanted to be a visual artist when i was little. At age 11 I got bitten by the acting bug and was headed to Broadway. But in my senior year in high school I decided a degree in music would gave me more opportunities. I went on to graduate with a BMUS. All that time I wrote stories but only considered it a “hobby”. Until my husband suggested I get published, I honestly didn’t think it was something I could do. I haven’t always wanted to be a writer, but I’ve always been writing.

Q: What made you choose to write Fantasy Fiction?

Laura: Ha! I think my brain gave me very little choice in that. I’ve always been drawn to fantasy, sci-fi, and paranormal stories. As a child I ate up Christopher Pike and Goosebump books like they were candy, and Star Wars has been one of my favorites for as long as I can remember. I’ve tried to write straight fiction, but somehow fantasy always bleeds through into my story! (I guess my head is in the clouds!)

Q: Where did you get the idea for a banshee character?

Laura: I was actually in the middle of writing another series and had no intention of starting a new one. But my teenage daughter asked me to watch the CW show Teen Wolf (that was on Netflix) with her. At first I humored her, but wasn’t really interested. However, like many shows, by the time I got a couple seasons in, I was really hooked! They featured a teenage girl banshee on the show and spent quite a bit of time building up to reveal exactly “what” she was. I was intrigued by the idea of a teenage banshee. I’d never read or seen anything else with that type of character. I began thinking on what it would be like for a teenage girl in high school to have to deal with the curse of being a banshee. Eventually I couldn’t stop thinking about it and had to begin writing. Once I did, I just never stopped.

Q: What is your favorite fantasy or mythological creature?

Laura: Mermaids! *swoon* I love anything mermaids and secretly want to turn into one. (The beautiful kind that don’t kill men, though. *wink*) I even bought my daughters mermaid tails to swim in when they were little. Of course, that’s easier said than done, so they really just wore them in the tub! Haha.

Q: What does your writing process look like?

Laura: I used to be solely a plotter, than changed over to writing by the seat of my pants. Now I’ve balanced out. I plot as much of the book/characters as I can by mapping out plot points and creating character arcs. But I leave it there and allow my creative juices to direct the story as I write. It’s hard to know the characters’ personalities early on, so sometimes writing the book helps bring their true personality out as I go. Which means some tweaking in rewrites but that’s what rewrites are for, right? Overall I feel like my stories flow much better and I’m less frustrated than writing strictly by plotting or writing by the seat of my pants. I like this balance and hope it continues to work for me!

Q: Is Keen a stand alone novel?

Laura: When I started writing it, it was. But since I like allowing my creative juices to flow while writing, it ended completely differently than I expected. In the final climax scene I planted a solid Easter Egg to allow for further books, although I did also tie up loose ends so it could be a stand alone just in case the publisher wasn’t interested in continuing the story. I had a good idea of where I wanted to go with books 2 and 3 by the time I pitched the novel to the editor but let them decide if there would be room for more books.

Q: What Fantasy authors have you read that have inspired you?

Laura: Wow. There are a ton of inspirational authors that have influenced me. JK Rowling is the obvious, along with some other big names like Ingrid Law and Jennifer A. Nielsen. But I think the ones that have influenced me the most are the authors I’ve met at conferences or through social media. My fellow authors in the #bookstagram community and those I’ve connected with through Realm Makers have influenced me more because I get to see their authenticity in their life and their writing. I’m so thankful for all the connections I’ve made with fellow writers and the way they’ve encouraged me in my writing journey. I wouldn’t be here today without the writing community!

Q: What makes writing for a young adult audience appeal to you?

Laura: I’ve always been drawn to reading YA and just never stopped reading it as I got older. I think it’s easiest to write what I know, so it feels natural that I gravitate toward writing YA. It helps that I’ve got two teenagers in the house to pull inspiration from as well!

Q: Have you begun working on another book?

Laura: Yep! I’m about to finish LAMENT, book 2 in the “Banshee Song Series”! *throws confetti* I’m not sure when that one will be released, but I hope you’ll enjoy that one just as much as KEEN!

Q: Where can readers purchase Keen?

Laura: The easiest way is to visit the L2L2 Publishing website. They have all the links where it can be purchased there. Both the paperback and the e-book version are currently available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, as well as other distributors!

Q: What social media sites can Keen readers use to connect with you?

Laura: I’m active on Instagram @lauralzimmauthor, Twitter @lauralzimm, Facebook, and my website http://www.lauralzimmerman.com. I love connecting with fellow readers and writers!

Thanks for having me, Kelly! It was fun getting to talk about writing and KEEN!

You’re welcome Laura! Thanks for taking the time to talk with me, and best wishes on your release of Keen!

Readers, If you like YA Fantasy stories, and want to read about a character unlike most Fantasy characters, pick up a copy of Keen today!

Tea and Poetry Tuesday

Today’s Tea Tidbit”

“My hour for tea is half past five, and my buttered toast waits for nobody.”
– Wilkie Collins, The Woman in White

To Write a Story
by Kelly F. Barr

My pen bleeds
As my words flow.
Characters born
To live and grow.

His story must be told
Or my brain shall burst.
Her love must be found.
But which should come first?

Their whispers fill my ear
And I write faster
Caught up in their lives,
They become my masters.

Until their journey’s end
To my desk I am chained,
Til their love has blossomed
Through struggles overcame.

Update on My Writing Journey

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you may already know I finished the rough draft of my upcoming novel at the end of March of this year. I have begun revising and editing my novel and am currently working on chapter nine.

However, at the encouragement and urging of a writer friend, I wrote a proposal for my completed novel and revised and edited the first three chapters, added a query letter and sent it out to an agent. Then I tried to forget about it for the next sixty days. I also tried not to get my hopes up, as I know most writers receive many rejections before finally acquiring an agent and/or publisher.

I will say that I was surprised, when after just a week or two, I received a brief email from the agent’s assistant informing me that they had received my Book Proposal and would review it. I hadn’t expected that.

Then in early June there was an email in my inbox from the agent’s assistant. I was nervous about opening it, and after a brief pause, clicked to open it. As I read what was written, I took it as a rejection, felt hurt, posted on my Facebook Writer page that I had received my first rejection and gave myself twenty-four hours before writing or revising anything.

On June thirteenth, one of my closest writer friends was in the area and we met for lunch. At the time, she was preparing for her first published book to be released, so I printed a copy of my rejection email letter and took it along to show to her. She was glad that I had brought it because she had recently been to a writers’ conference where she attended a session about rejection letters.

After reading my rejection letter, she was really excited. She said, “This is not a rejection!” She proceeded to tell me there are three types of rejections: 1) a form letter; 2) a flat “no” with no other information; or 3) you simply never hear back from them at all.

Well, my “rejection” letter was none of the above. My letter states that “there is much to recommend in your story, and we can see your writing talent.” Then they state two things they didn’t like about my story, and end with “Because of your talent, we’d be happy to see other projects from you in the future”. Therefore, my friend said, “you should be celebrating. This is not a rejection, and I’ve been told that if you really want to try to get in with an agent who sends you this kind of information, you can revise the story, changing the things they didn’t like, and after a year, resend it to them. Or since they are willing to look at another story you write, write another one and send it.”

Her excitement and enthusiasm were catching, and what she said made a lot of sense, so I felt a lot better about the letter.

What did I decide to do in regard to my writing?

I decided that I am not going to send anything to any agent again until I finish my revision and edits on this novel and get it edited by an editor. Then I will rewrite my synopsis and send a proposal out again. I’m hoping to finish it and send it before another year passes so I wouldn’t be sending it to the same agent. Besides, one of the two things the email stated that they didn’t like is one thing I am unwilling to change because I would have to start the story all over from a completely different character’s perspective and that would change the entire story.

One thing that you will find whenever I get this novel (and any future novels) published, if you choose to read them, is that I do not write formulaic romance. I don’t know why that should be a problem, when one of the things an agent or publisher always wants to know is “what makes your book different from the others in the genre”.

I’ll keep you posted on this writing journey I am on.

Thanks for reading!