Thursday, November 2, 2023

Her Dream, Her Rules – #HistoricalRomance #TimeTravel #Giveaway

Sam Time tour banner

Today I’m delighted to welcome Donna Balon, who is touring with her debut novel, Sam Time. Since this is her first publication, I asked her to talk about her experience with the nuts and bolts of the process.

Tackling Copyedits

By Donna Balon (Guest Blogger)

Clean Sample

I submitted a 3,000-word sample to an online platform with copyeditor freelancers. My in-house editor (my husband) and I had reviewed the sample before I posted my proposal. To my delight, a copyeditor, who works on books for celebrities, accepted my project. That the sample was not a mess was key to landing a top professional.

Editing Software

Using an editing software tool helped shift my focus from author to editor. One flag was using “rather than” verses “instead of”. The former shows preference, and the latter suggests replacement.

Handy Dictionary

A large, heavy dictionary was always open because I referred often to when selecting most appropriate words. Flipping through pages was faster than Internet searches.

Copyediting Handbook

The book Line by Line, How to Edit Your Own Writing by Claire Kehrwald Cook, has a glossary of use, which I combed through. The handbook cautions that a writer who confuses “lay” and “lie” will not garner any respect. In discerning the correct usage, I tested if “place” could be substituted for the verb.

Internet Searches

I searched the Internet for “pet peeves of copyeditors”. One blogger advised against starting a sentence with “it”. The caveat being “it” must refer to something.

I’ve always liked Charles Dicken’s opening line to a Tale of Two Cities: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times . . .” Classic authors know when to break the rules. I, however, followed the advice of this blogger. Here’s one change:

Original: “It was daylight when they awoke.”

Revised: “They awoke and daylight was streaming through the blinds.”


I surrender to the comma. Even with my Copyeditor’s Handbook at my side, with tabbed pages and highlighted sections on comma rules, I lack confidence in my comma usage.

The novel’s first paragraph introduces four characters with short descriptions. It’s a comma fest. I tried my best to use the commas correctly. The copyeditor and proofreader agreed on the correct comma usage.

Word Cloud

I generated a word cloud of my manuscript. “Look” showed heavy usage, so I pared down its use.

Said” was another word, which was heavily used. Where possible, I inserted an action tag. Here’s an example:

Original: He snapped a few shots then said, “I want to take one with my cellphone.”

Oh.” Samantha said smiling. She posed.

Revised: He snapped a few shots. “I want to take one with my cellphone.”

Oh.” Samantha smiled and posed.

Word Count

I kept track of the manuscript word count, which decreased after making changes, and the text was more concise. I often asked myself: Is this sentence needed? Most full-manuscript revisions reduced the word count by at least 1,000 words.

I don’t find copyediting a chore. But I would always hire a professional before publishing.

Sam Time book cover


When her fiancé is away on business, lonely Samantha Hunter despairs and absorbs herself in historical research. Her nighttime dreams being so vivid, Samantha believes she’s traveling to a past century. As she navigates the Victorian era rules of dos and even more don’ts, she charms Ulysses S Grant while struggling to maintain her present-day romance.


But this was Samantha’s dream, and she could be bold. She stepped forward until she was several feet from Grant and stopped. “Lieutenant Grant,” she said softly.

He turned around. His light blue eyes were his most striking feature. Chestnut-brown hair, mustache, and beard. Straight nose. Square jaw. Wide-at-the-temples facial bone structure. About five eight in height. Slim beneath the soldier’s coat. This was Ulysses S. Grant. In his early thirties. Good-looking.

He glanced at Samantha and then turned around to tend to his horse.

He’s a married man, and he sees an unknown woman. What are the protocols?

Her dream. Her rules.

Samantha persisted, using what she thought was common phraseology for this era. “Lieutenant Grant, I am Miss Samantha. I hear you are an expert horseman. I would be most pleased in taking lessons under your tutelage.”

His back still facing her, he made no reply.

She thought quickly of a scheme. “My brothers are in town on business. It would be most helpful to our family business, if I could learn how to ride.”

I am a soldier with duties at the fort.” He speaks.

I understand, Lieutenant Grant. But surely you have leave.”

While keeping a distance of several feet, she stepped to his side so she could see his profile. “I understand you will not transact with a lady, but I will return with one of my brothers. He will pay you compensation.”

Others can teach you.”

About the Author

Author Donna Balon debuts Sam Time, a novel well-researched and professionally edited by quality talent from the publishing industry. Donna resides in Las Vegas, Nevada, with her husband.



One randomly chosen winner via rafflecopter will win a $25 Amazon/ gift card.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thank you so much for hosting this book and featuring the author today.

Donna Balon said...

Thank you for hosting my book promo. I like the catchy heading. "Her dream. Her rules."

Marcy Meyer said...

Thanks for sharing. Sounds like a really good book.

Michael Law said...

This looks like a great book. Thanks for hosting.

Sherry said...

This sounds like a really interesting book.

Lisabet Sarai said...

Hello, Donna! Sorry I wasn't here to welcome you yesterday. Some days I get home from work too late to check my social media.

Congratulations on your first novel -- hopefully the first of many!

Michael Law said...

This looks like great book.

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