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

Tea and Poetry Tuesday

Today’s Tea Tip:

Tea absorbs moisture. Be sure to store loose tea or tea bags in a tin or sealed jar.

 

When the world is at odds
And the mind is all at sea
Then cease the useless tedium
And brew a cup of tea.
There is magic in its fragrance,
There is solace in its taste;
And the laden moments vanish
Somehow into space.
The world becomes a lovely thing!
There’s beauty as you’ll see’
All because you briefly stopped
To brew a cup of tea.
(Anonymous)

Book Review: Caledonia by Sherry V. Ostroff

Caledonia by [Ostroff, Sherry V.]

Caledonia is Sherry V. Ostroff’s historical fiction debut novel. It’s a novel that simultaneously tells the story of Anna, a character living in Scotland and traveling during 1696, and Hanna, a character living in the United States in 2005. The two characters have a connection to one another. The similarities of their names was an unwise choice, in my opinion.

While Anna’s story is full of hardships and struggles, Hanna’s story is full of adventure and research to find out how she and Anna are connected. Both story lines include a love story.

I found that I was much more drawn to Anna’s story as well as to Anna and Alain who were the main characters of her story. I felt that Ms. Ostroff did a much better job of developing the characters in this story, and it was obvious that Ms. Ostroff did her research to tell the tale of Anna, Alain, and Caledonia. Ms. Ostroff did an excellent job of writing an interesting plot in this story line–a plot that kept me turning pages and wanting to know what was going to happen next.

I found the story of Hanna and Alec to be less developed and less interesting as it almost entirely revolved around Hanna searching for the connection between her and Anna. She spent a lot of time reading a journal and researching things she found in the journal, as well as the history of a candlestick. Therefore this story line did not hold my interest as much, and I wasn’t as invested in the lives of Hanna and Alec. I was, however, invested in the character of Hanna’s grandmother, whom I believe Ms. Ostroff did a good job of developing. As a matter of fact, one of the chapters about Hanna’s life ended with a cliffhanger in regard to her grandmother, and though the next chapter was about Anna, I bypassed it long enough to read the first scene of the next chapter that was about Hanna to find out about her grandmother, then I flipped back to read the chapter on Anna.

Overall I felt that the story was unbalanced because there was so much focus on Anna’s story and much less on Hanna’s story. I learned so much about Anna and her personality and life that she was very real to me. I loved and cared about her. I felt much less interest in Hanna and very little connection to her. I never came to love or care for her as I did for Anna throughout this story.

I was a little disappointed at the end of the story. I felt that certain things were unfinished. Then I read that there will be a sequel to Caledonia. The first chapter of On the Edge of a Precipice is included at the end of Caledonia, and I couldn’t help but wonder how Ms. Ostroff will write an effective sequel, as it seems to me that there’s not much left for her to tell of Anna’s story because she did such a thorough job of covering the historical story line in Caledonia. However, I will be looking for the sequel to see what else I can learn about Anna and further Scottish history.

For those of you who choose to read clean fiction, I will say that there are some mildly explicit sexual scenes in this book. There are also a few places where profanity is used.

Tea and Poetry Tuesday

 

Today’s Tea Tidbit:

“Tea is quiet and our thirst for tea is never far from our craving for beauty.”

James Norwood Pratt

 

He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven
by Y. B. Yeats

Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

Flash Fiction Friday: A Personal Ad

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Photo by taha ajmi on Unsplash

A Personal Ad

by Kelly F. Barr

My wife and a group of her friends went out for “ladies night” – dinner and a movie. I can’t remember the last time she and I had dinner and a movie together. The kids are grown and on their own. I’m forty-five years old, and my wife and I have slipped away from one another. She has her friends and activities, and I have … not much.

Reading the local paper, I notice a new section of ads – personal ads. Apparently, single, lonely people run ads looking for dates. I suppose I’m not—technically—single, but I am lonely. My wife goes out with her friends more than I do. She goes once a week; me … once a month.

I miss the companionship, the passion, the softness of her skin under my touch, and her sweet kisses. I miss walks, holding hands, and long talks.

A notepad and pen lie within reach. I grab them and write:

If you like holding hands, walks in the rain,
dinner and dancing, cuddling by a fire in a

secluded cabin in the woods, long talks,
and moonlit walks on the beach, you’re the
lady I’m looking for.
Write to me and
take an adventure.

Reading over it, an old song came to mind – “The Piña Colada Song”. I chuckled. I tore the slip from the pad, folded it, and slipped it into my pocket.

In the morning, before leaving for work, I reached into my pocket, searching for my keys. I pulled out a folded up paper, realized what it was, and slipped it back into my pocket. I found my keys and headed out the door. On my way to work, I stopped by the local paper and took out a personal ad.

Three days later, I was reading the paper in bed. I saw this:

I like walks in the rain, swing dancing, and
Chinese food. Snuggling by a fire puts me
“in the mood”. Meet me tomorrow at noon
at Gilda’s Café and we’ll plan our adventure.

My stomach did a flip. Someone had answered my ad. Excitement at the possibility of an adventure with a beautiful young woman quickly waned when my wife rolled over and asked when I was going to turn off the light. Guilt washed over me as I folded the paper and turned off the lamp.

The next day I arrived at Gilda’s Café at 11:45 a.m. I took a seat at a table for two with a clear view of the door. My stomach was in knots as I waited. Then she walked in and I was again reminded of “The Piña Colada Song” – I was living it. I knew her smile in an instant and her confident gait. It was my own beautiful wife, and she said, Oh, it’s you.”

I said, “I never knew you like swing dancing and walks in the rain.”

She smiled and sat down. “I guess we’ve lost touch.”

I reached across the table and took her hand. I gazed into her eyes. “I’ve missed you.”

She leaned toward me. “Me too.”

I leaned in and kissed her sweet lips.

After lunch, we walked out of the café hand-in-hand.

At home she called to reserve a cabin and I began to pack. She came into the bedroom to pack her bags while I took mine to the car. A few minutes later, she locked the house and handed her bags to me. I put them in the car and turned to find her still standing beside me. She moved in front of me and slid her hands up my arms. “I think this is going to be good for us.”

I put my arms around her, pulled her close against me, and gave her a lingering kiss. Then I whispered in her ear, “It’s a new beginning … a fresh start, and it’s going to be a-ma-zing.” I nuzzled her neck, then led her to the passenger door, opened it, and she stepped in.

I ran around to my side of the car, feeling like I did when I took her on our first date twenty-four years ago.

Four hours later, when we reached the cabin, the first thing I did was start a fire in the fireplace.