Clean Up Your Manuscript: Five Quick Fixes

Monday, September 6, 2021

After you’ve written your book and rested it for a while, then comes the task of self-editing. As a line and content editor, I come across habits that are common among writers.

These are things we know, but they still creep into our writing. While re-reading your manuscript, here are some specific tips and tricks to help smooth out your story before it leaves your hands.

1. Some phrases sound natural to us when we are speaking but become redundant when we put them on the page. Read the sentences below without the words in brackets and you’ll see that they flow better and nothing is lost.

Trina laughed [to herself] when Patrick crashed into the door. 

She whispered the words of the hymn [to herself].

2.  Since heads and shoulders do specialized jobs in conveying our emotions, some reactions are understood without adding body parts to the sentence. 

John nodded [his head] in response to Donna’s request.

When Dana asked how his day had gone, Mark shrugged [his shoulders].

3.  Colloquialisms creep into our writing, but can be removed without losing the meaning of the sentence.

Mikayla stepped off [of] the sidewalk.

“Get off [of] me,” Monique squealed.

4.  Have your characters do what they intend to, without delaying them with “filler” words.

Dane managed to get to work early today.
Dane got to work early today. 

Megan began to explain what she meant.Megan explained what she meant.

5. Give your reader a ringside view of your characters’ actions by avoiding filter words, such as felt, saw, thought, wondered, etc. The reader sees through the eyes of the point-of-view character. Immerse them in that experience. 

Instead of: Dionne saw him reach for the box. 
Try: He reached for the box. (the reader knows Dionne’s watching him)

Instead of: She felt the rough wool against her skin.
Try: The rough wool scratched her skin. 

It will take a bit of practice to break out of habits we’ve formed over time but with fresh eyes, we can get rid of those pesky words and phrases that weigh down our sentences. 

Until next time. 

The Long Game Between Friends

Friday, September 3, 2021

So, I've been busy these past few months trying to finish several books, but that's the life of a writer.

A few days ago, to mix things up a little, I put The Long Game on sale at 0.99. In case you want to check it out, here's the blurb.

The Long Game

After knowing Vance for fifteen years, Ayisha is certain he’s not relationship material. He’s an expert at romance, but with her, it's all or nothing.

While Vance is intent on proving he’s a changed man, an unseen enemy is determined to ruin his career as a financial analyst.

Now that he's set his heart on having Ayisha, her head says a love affair would be a disaster.

You’ll love this series, of three books. Download your copy from Amazon.

Get your copy of The Long Game here

Sample Sunday - Dominic's Pride

Sunday, August 29, 2021

Kylie sat in the passenger seat, smirking. She lifted the flap of the envelope she’d already opened. 

“As you can see from these results.” She waved the paper under his nose. “This baby I’m carrying belongs to you.”

“Lemme see that.” He opened the folded slip and read the result, which swam before his eyes. 

How on earth could this happen?

He had used protection and from the little he remembered, it hadn’t broken. The paper fluttered to his lap, and he stared through the windscreen. 

How was he going to take care of a baby? Especially when he wasn’t connected to Kylie in a way that mattered. 

“Yeah, you thought I was gaming you, but see—”

“I get it,” he snapped, then rubbed his face with both hands. “No need to rub it in.”

He’d had a long morning at work and took his lunch time to bring Kylie to the facility to collect the result. Although she had agreed on Monday, she’d been livid on Tuesday when he insisted they do the test before he took her home. 

If she said ten words to him during the time they were together, that would be plenty. Kylie had sulked and muttered under her breath until she stepped out of the car in front of her building. 

The one thing she had been sure to say before he left was, “I’ll be in touch.”

Her demanding tone made him feel as if she had put a leash on him. The thought of being at her beck and call for years to come made his empty stomach twist in rebellion.

Nick didn't want to say anything that would move their situation from bad to worse. This new information meant they needed to get along.

He turned the car toward home as his thoughts went to how this news would affect Ashley. He didn't have to tell her, but instinctively knew being honest would help, rather than hurt his situation. 

What he didn't know was if she’d believe he wasn't in a relationship with Kylie. After all, she'd seen them at the clinic last weekend.

Nick parked curbside and was on his way upstairs when his phone rang. He looked at it and frowned. He hadn't heard from Marlon since he returned to Miami, nor did he expect to, unless something had happened to their parents. 

His scalp prickled as he let himself into the apartment and threw his keys on the center table. He swiped the screen and put the phone on speaker. “Yes, Marlon.”

“I'm calling to let you know that I am officially done with you.”

“I thought you were done with me the last time we spoke.”

“This is not a joke.” In the silence, Nick’s mind went in a thousand directions. What was Marlon talking about now? He sighed, then continued. “I don't know how else to reach you. When you self-destruct, I hope our father will be in a position to help you. That's if you don't put him six feet under first.”

Nick pulled in a sharp breath. The jab hurt, but he wouldn't give Marlon the satisfaction of knowing that.

“I don't know what I'm supposed to have done this time, but I would appreciate hearing why you're cussing me out.”

“There's been another robbery.”

Find out more about Dominic and his challenges.

Amazon Has Done A Thing

Saturday, July 31, 2021

So I noticed that Amazon has put a couple of my paperbacks on sale, so there's no reason not to share that. The series is Virtues & Vices and although the characters in each book are related, each is a standalone story. Do have a look-see right now. 😀

DNA When an unauthorized test yields unexpected results, the Majors family goes through a trial by fire.

Sacrifice Dane’s two-year-old daughter is the center of his world, but his life implodes when he discovers a son from a previous relationship.

Dominic's Pride Dominic Whitehorn’s existence revolves around women and parties until he finds a woman who makes him question the meaning of life.

Sample Sunday - Vision

Sunday, July 11, 2021

Today's Sample Sunday excerpt is from my latest book, Vision: Aligning With God's Purpose For Your Life. I hope this snippet gives you food for thought.

Don’t think twice about shedding energy vampires from your life. It’s sad but true that if you keep company with negative people, you’ll be headed in their direction.

Sometimes that means staying in a hovering pattern, with no plans to do anything but land in your comfort zone.

I’ve found it important to guard my spirit. If I allow one negative thought to settle, another follows, and then it’s hard to kick them to the curb.

It’s okay to be sympathetic to our friends when they need to talk about their problems. We all have them, and need a listening ear.

But, it’s definitely not okay to take on other people’s burdens, let their energy seep into you and leave you drained. Guard your spirit.

Life will never be perfect, but happiness isn’t found in other people. If that’s where you’re looking, you’ll never find it.

Happiness springs from deep within.

From harmonious relationships.

From finding fulfillment in the things you do.

From discovering your skills and talents.

From getting things done.

From being on the journey with like-minded people.

From rising each day with a plan to work on your dreams and make them reality.

From finding the only source of real peace - The I AM.

None of us will ever be happy 100% of the time. It’s not possible, but we can develop an awareness of where our thoughts lead us. More than that, the company we keep is life and death to our dreams.

Want to read more from Visions? Check out the blurb and links below.

Vision: Aligning Wit God's Purpose For Your Life - J. L. Campbell

Have you ever wondered why we allow other people’s opinions to warp the view we have of ourselves?

What if you could refocus on who God created you to be instead of where you fall short?

How do you know beyond a doubt that you are on the path that feeds your passion and satisfies your soul?

Journey into the past, examine the present, and receive encouragement to pursue your dreams and step into your purpose with a new Vision.

Amazon - 
B&N -

Connect with me through Sociatap -

Sample Sunday - Vision

Sunday, July 4, 2021

 Here's my Sample Sunday offering. Hoping you're having a peaceful day!

“Nᴏ ᴏɴᴇ ᴄᴀɴ ᴍᴀᴋᴇ ʏᴏᴜ ꜰᴇᴇʟ ɪɴꜰᴇʀɪᴏʀ ᴡɪᴛʜᴏᴜᴛ ʏᴏᴜʀ ᴄᴏɴsᴇɴᴛ.” ~ Eʟᴇᴀɴᴏʀ Rᴏᴏsᴇᴠᴇʟᴛ

This simple statement makes a big impact when you understand it. We labor under the weight of other people's opinions, some of whom are not qualified to speak into our lives. 

All of us have been in the orbit of individuals who are super-critical, some to the point of being mean-spirited. 

If you can’t point to anything constructive they have done with their lives, then those people have no right to give you advice or make you feel less than worthy. Hurt people hurt people. 

If you aren't sure of who you are, the guidebook—Bible—God has given us for life on this planet will tell you everything you need to know. 

He, in His wisdom, has also provided a treasure trove of encouragement for us within its pages. But how do we know He loves us with an everlasting love and that He has inscribed our names on the palms of His hands if we never take the time to dig in and see what His words say about His children? 

When my son was much younger, I used to tell him how smart and handsome he was, how much I loved him, and that he had blessed my life. Sometimes he would blush. 

Other times, he looked at me funny, as though thinking, she’s going overboard again with the mushy stuff. But through the years, the message sank in. He has turned into a confident young man who knows how I feel about him.

You see, there was a method to my madness. In the same way God gave us His words to tell us who we are to Him, speaking positive words to my son and praying over him before he stepped out each day was a powerful way to impact his life. 

Another thing I told him was the quote that opens this segment. In different words, of course. 

Children can be cruel and it was evident each time he came home and told me he had been called a name or teased for some reason. 

At those times, I reassured him of what I knew. He was special to both God and his family, and should not allow people to make him feel as if he didn't belong, or as if he was less than anyone else. 

I reinforced these things because I did not want him to live my experience.

Excerpt from Vision: Aligning With God's Purpose For Your Life

Get your copy:

It's Sample Sunday!

Sunday, June 6, 2021

Dominic's Pride is the third book in the Virtues & Vices series. All I'll say is that he gets up to enough trouble for three people, before getting his head on right. Then again ...

Nick claimed the empty seat next to Kylie. “Hey, I got here as quickly as I could. What’s up?”

Kylie sniffled but didn’t answer.

He touched her arm. “You thought it was important enough to call me, so now that I’m here, tell me what you wanted to say.”

“I’m losing the baby.”

The stark words hit him in the face. “How do you know?”

Her angry stare silenced him momentarily, but he persisted. “I’m sorry, but you can’t throw out something like that and not expect me to ask questions.”

Kylie tightened her arms around her belly. “I’ve been spotting.”

He didn’t know what that meant, but could make a good guess. “So, what happens now?”

“They gave me something to slow the contractions, but I’ll probably still need to go to the hospital.”

She swiped at the corners of her eyes, while Nick racked his brain. The situation was unreal. He’d resented her, but now he felt sorry over a situation she clearly didn’t know how to handle. 

God knew he didn’t want to get in the middle of what was shaping up to be more drama, but he couldn’t leave her to figure things out on her own.

“So, about the money … will what you asked me for be enough?”

She shook her head. “I’ll need another seventy-five.”

Nick retrieved his wallet and held out two hundred dollars to her.

“Can you pay it at the counter?” she said.

Embarrassed, Nick focused on his sneakers. “What’s your last name again?”

“Barnes,” she spat. 

Without responding to her attitude, he went to the square, wooden counter and paid the money. 

“Are you the baby’s father?” the young woman asked. 

His gaze went to her name tag as he worked out what to say. 

Nurse Holgate pressed her lips together, then said, “Never mind. Can you ask Miss Barnes to come, please? The doctor needs to see her again before she leaves.”

Nick met her gaze, refusing to be shamed over something that had been thrust in his lap. He wasn’t a delinquent baby daddy and wouldn’t allow anyone to make him feel “less than” from their uninformed position.

Find out what happens to Kylie here ...

Finally Got It Right!

Thursday, June 3, 2021

Today I have exciting news. I’m part of a list-aiming boxed set, Finally Got It Right: Romance Stories from Small Towns and Big Cities

A talented group of writers have banded together to produce a collection of small-town and big city romances and romantic comedies that will keep you glued to the page. The stories include …

* A Rockstar who broke his promise to resurrect his fiancée’s languishing ranch, but took five years to return. Will she grant him a second chance, or has their love played its last tune?

* A young woman who fled the big city to escape her politician father's cheating scandal…only to fall for a struggling small town bike builder waiting for his big break. Is he a cheat like her father, or could the sexy single dad be custom made for her?

* A rundown single mom looking for a break and a kind-hearted entrepreneur in love with the wrong woman. Will their chemistry bring them love…or will the ghosts of her past come back to haunt them?

* A divorced, big-time city baker forced to return to her family’s ranch. Falling for the younger and all too charming ranch hand was never part of the plan…

* A scandal that made Mitch and Olivia enemies. Can they now claim their joint inheritance without starting World War III?

* A haunted vet with nowhere else to go and a determined woman with no place to call home. Can they heal the hurricane-ravaged town of Patriot Bay…or with their broken hearts get in the way?

* And many more stories full of surprise, heartache, humor, and ALL the feels!

Fans of small-town romances, romantic comedies, friends to lovers, second chances, military veterans, and happily ever afters will devour this boxed set of more than 15 standalone romances.

Each unique story in the Finally Got It Right Boxset guarantees a swoon-worthy book boyfriend and a happily ever.

Sounds fascinating? I sure hope so. What I’m asking you to do is pre-order your copy of this collection of stories. It’s $0.99 and here are the places you can purchase. If you can, buy it on all three platforms, which will help us meet our goal of becoming USA Today Best Sellers. Thank you so much!

Books2Read Link -

Amazon -

Apple Books - 

Barnes & Noble - 

Sample Sunday - DNA

Sunday, May 23, 2021

If you haven't read DNA, here's a chance to sample what the story is about. 

Amoy chewed a bit of banana, feeling like a condemned prisoner consuming the last meal before execution. Try as she might, she couldn’t find a positive spin to put on this situation.

“You're taking the boys to your father?” Russ asked, without looking at her.

“Yeah, he's expecting them.”

“I'll take them,” he said.

His offer surprised her, but she said okay. She'd been looking forward to being out of the house and supposed Russ probably had the same motive. He was likely trying to get away from her.

“Will you be coming straight back?” she asked.

“Yes, I have some work to do.”

She stared at him, wondering if she'd heard right. How could he think of work when they had so much to discuss? Did he think the situation would change if he ignored it? His hurt would fester even worse if they didn't talk.

Amoy opened her mouth but realized she didn't know what to say to him. If last night was anything to go by, nothing she said would make an impression. Still, she had to try. She pitched her voice low and said, “We have to talk. Can we do that when you come back, since the boys will be out of the way for a while?”

“Whatever you want,” he said, getting to his feet.

She tipped her head back to look at him. “It’s not what I want, Russ, it's what needs to happen.”

“The only thing that needs to happen is you giving me room to breathe.”

She glanced toward the doorway as she responded. “There's no reason for you to treat me this way—”

He cocked one brow. “Really? You think you deserve anything from me after this?”

His words were like a blow to the chest and it took her a moment to catch her breath and regroup. “I understand—”

“You don't understand a damn thing, Amoy.” He pointed at her. “If I were you, I'd just let things be. Right now, I can't even stand the sight of you.”

Her throat closed and her eyes stung. The involuntary tears had been her default response since yesterday, but she was out of ideas. If Russ wouldn't allow her to explain anything, how would they resolve a problem with the power to destroy their marriage?

She could have continued pleading with him, but she chose not to aggravate him further.

Russ wasn't an unreasonable man. He would realize how much he was hurting her and adjust his attitude. Until then, she'd ride out the anger and distress that had him in their grip.

Read more ...

Sample Sunday - Dominic's Pride

Sunday, February 21, 2021


“I got a woman pregnant.”

The uncharacteristic silence at the other end of the line set his nerves on edge, but Nick waited for his mother's response.

“You said you were being careful, so how—”

“She almost lost the baby.”


“I don’t know. She has a condition.” He squinted at the cupboard. “I can’t remember the name. She went into early labor.”

“What exactly is the problem?” 

He left the kitchen to pace the living room. “I told her the baby wasn’t mine.”

“Why would you do that?” She sounded incredulous and disappointed at the same time.

“Because … “ He sat on the couch. “It was only one time.”

“You’re bright enough to know that making a baby doesn’t take a lot of practice,” she said dryly. 

When he didn’t answer, she continued, “I’m going to assume this isn’t someone you care about.”

He sighed. “Right and the trouble is, there’s another woman I’m interested in.”

“Have you done a test?”

Rubbing his forehead, Nick answered, “She doesn’t want to do one.”

“I’m sure she’s in a quandary because of her situation, so now might not be the right time to force this issue.”


“I don’t want to hear it. If you weren’t in her bed, or she in yours, you wouldn’t have this problem. Do what you must until you don’t have to.”

“Are you saying I’m to act as if—”

“At least until you sort out the paternity situation. Now is not the time to pressure her. Not while she’s in a hospital bed.”

He thought about that for a moment. In the interim, he heard the doctor’s voice in his head. 

"The good news is that the baby is safe for now. The not-so-good news is that Miss Barnes will have to remain in the hospital. We'll stitch her womb to keep the baby in place so she doesn’t deliver early."

At that point, there was no reason to tell the doctor that he and Kylie weren’t connected like that. 

“You’ll have to provide some support for her, at least for now.” Mom sighed. “Are you in a position to do that?”

A year ago, he might have said no to get her to send money, but he cleared his throat. “Yeah, it won’t be a problem.”

“So, about this other lady. Is she aware of this, and does she understand the situation?”

He gave a half-hearted chuckle. “She knows, but I don’t think she wants to have anything to do with me in the foreseeable future.”

“That’s the thing about the challenges we face,” she said. “We can’t see beyond the moment we’re in, so tackling anything more is a sure recipe for stress. It will work out even if it doesn’t look that way now. I’ll be praying for you.”

“Thanks, Mom.”

“No need to thank me. You keep me close to God in a way I wouldn’t be if you were a different person.”

“Should I be offended?”

“No, baby. I believe you’re exactly where you should be on your life journey. One day, you’ll grow into the man God intended you to be. Until then, your father and I will keep you lifted in prayer.”

At this moment, he didn’t know who he was supposed to be, but he’d do what was necessary to survive.

Find out how Dominic gets through this challenge.