The Mistress of Pennington's Tour

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Stacy Holmes, Senior Editor, kicks off the Honky Tonk visits...


Welcome, Stacy! Absolutely thrilled to have you here and for my visitors to have the chance to ask you questions :) The new Honky Tonk series sounds brilliant fun and I know having spoken to at least four of the series authors, they absolutely LOVED writing their stories. Okay, let's get started. Can't wait to find out more about you and your busy, busy days...

What is the best part about your job?

I get to do what I love—read, teach, assist and sometimes even make dreams come true.

2   The worst?

The fact that I can’t be at the home office full time to edit.  Life as it is at this time doesn’t afford me the luxury LOL.  But it is where I would prefer to be.

3   Does a synopsis feature in your decision to accept a manuscript? Or is it the pages?

The pages.  It is hard for a lot of people to get a 65K book they have worked months or years on into 2 to 5 double spaced pages.  So, I use the synopsis to guide me on the general plot of the story, but it is the actual pages of manuscript that I use to assess voice, structure, execution and whether it is an engaging story overall.

4   What would you love to see more of? Sub-genre? Characters?

Personally, I love humor in romance, so though I’m always looking for an entertaining story, my eye catches quickly on one that can make me laugh.  Short stories are very popular right now, so some shorter 10K to 20K manuscripts would be nice to see cross my desk.

5   What is an acceptable turnaround time for you to get back to an author with a decision on a full manuscript?

It depends on the size of the manuscript (short story or novel length) but I  try to get back to authors on a full manuscript within six to eight weeks.   I know it’s not easy waiting and hate to leave it longer than that. 

6   What is the best thing about being an editor?

Helping authors find more in their stories and more in themselves.  It is so amazing being a small part of helping someone achieve their dreams.

7   The worst?

Rejections.  I’m glad we don’t send out form rejection letters but instead offer guidance on areas needing work or direction to resources, especially for newer writers.  It doesn’t make the rejection any easier to write—or receive—but I hope they know that we are trying to help them get one step closer to publication.

8   Do you believe any sub-genre ever loses popularity? Or should a writer always write what they love?

First and foremost write what you love…believe me, it shows in the writing.  As for sub-genres losing popularity, I don’t think so.  Readers are often faithful to the genre they love while adding others in as they discover them. 

9   What is on your ‘to do’ list today?

Wow, there’s a loaded question LOL.  Let’s see:
Start first round of edits on a recently contracted story.
Read through first edits returned from an author.
Answer and return interview questions for two blogs promoting the Honky Tonk Hearts series (visit for more details).
Dinner, baseball practice for the kids and WW meeting tonight.

                   What does your workspace look like?

Another loaded question LOL best described as an organized mess.  Half the room is for working and half the room is for working out (and to remind me that I need to LOL).  On top of the desk are a line of reference books, sticky notes galore, a pile of papers that need to be filed and another pile that needs to be dealt with.  Various cows grace little pockets of space here and there and next to my laptop is a purple lamp with a small speaker in it for my iPod because I am one of those that NEED music to work.  I also have a big white board calendar behind my desk with edit schedules, blog dates and release dates on it.  Only way I can stay organized these days LOL. 

Right now we have a brand new series debuting in the Yellow Rose line: 

Honky Tonk Hearts

Lonely hearts seem to gravitate to the Lonesome Steer Honky Tonk. A few miles outside Amarillo off historical Route 66, the large wood-paneled structure boast a large neon star with a single flashing steer riding away from it.  Owner and bartender, Gus Rankin, has seen his share of the wandering souls cross his bar and dance floor over the years—he’d even like to think he helped a few find true love along the way.

These stories all have at least one main scene at the Lonesome Steer Honky Tonk, but then range out from close by to all over the country…and all have amazing cowboy heroes.  The first two stories, Honky Tonk Man and Nothing But Trouble debuted last month and you can find them at

Thank you so much, Rachel for having me today and hosting our Honky Tonk Hearts authors over the next few months. And to thank you and your readers, I will be randomly drawing a name from all the commenters today to win a special Honky Tonk Hearts envelope filled with a special coupon, bookmarks, magnets and other fun stuff from the authors of the series. 

 Oohh, great giveaway and you're welcome! I love my fellow WRP authors with a passion and want all my lovely readers and visitors to know all about this great new series. Such a fabulous idea - I love it!



  1. Thank you so much for having me today Rachel! I am so excited about our series and would love to answer any questions your readers may have about stories, submissions, editing...or anything that I can in the publishing industry.

  2. Stacy, I love that you love humor in your stories. If a book can make me chuckle, the author owns me. Great interview.

  3. Great interview, Stacy and Rachel! I was wondering what your number one tip for writing a shorter story (10K to 20K) would be?

  4. Hey Vonnie!

    Karyn--My number one tip is to tighten repetative information and especially descriptions. It is very possible to get all the detail you need in there, it is simply a matter of choosing when and where to place it. Obviously shorter pieces don't lend well to paragraphs of description or narrative so it's a matter of choosing HOW to incorporate them in the minimal amount of words to project the image, so you can save words for the more important relationship growth.

    A good way to do this to dot descriptives of a person into dialogue instead of using up a small paragraph to describe them. This not only saves words, but makes the reading far more interesting.

    1. Thanks, Stacy! I'm testing things by trying to write a novella. It's been a challenge to fit everything in while keeping things to a shorter length. I can definitely work with reducing the amount of narrative though, and incorporating some of that into dialogue.

  5. Insightful interview, Stacy and Rachel! :-)

    Stacy, thanks for sharing your advice about what to look out for in a short story. I'm just working on two, so will bear your guidance in mind.

    The new series sounds exciting. I'm going to check it out.

  6. Hi Stacy and Rachel! Great advice for writing short. It was a challenge writing 20K for Home.

    Always good to know what an editor looks for so I'll keep your interview replies for future reference. Thank you. :)

  7. Hey Cathie and Calisa! Thanks for stopping in and I'm glad the info is helpful.

  8. I like that you like humor in a story. Sometimes something little and comical (or big in the case of Muffin the bull) can lighten up a scene and make the reader smile. I definitely want to smile when I'm reading!

    Thanks for sharing your quirks with us, Stacy.

  9. I loved hearing about your organized mess area. We have a few common items. I prefer buffalo over cow but close! Thanks for sharing and the advice.

  10. Jannine and Brenda! Nice to see you.

    The winner of the Honky Tonk Hearts envelope for today is.....#3 Karyn Good...congratulations!

    And thank you again Rachel for hosting myself and the Honky Tonk Hearts authors over the next few months!

  11. You're welcome, Stacy and thank you for everyone who stopped by - great advice! When I finish my current novel, I'm going to try my hand at another novella. I think it's a great way to keep disciplined and tight.

    Congrats, Karyn!

    Rachel x