Sunday, August 25, 2013


Critters at the Keyboard welcomes Emelle Gamble author of Secret Sister

Emelle will be awarding a $100 Amazon gift card to a randomly drawn commenter during this tour AND her Reviews Tour.

Critters asked Emelle to talk about the editing process the book went through. 

Secret Sister has seen a long and winding road into publication. I first conceptualized the book years ago with the single thought of “What if everything about you changed in an instant, would your true love still know you?” Wrapping a plot, structure, characterization and ninety thousand words about it has been a long and wonderful process.

It’s been edited by my critique group, twice. By me about fourteen times. I kid you not. And then, after its acquisition by Char Chaffin at Soul Mate Publishing, another 5 or 6 times by the two of us.

Every single time I’ve edited it, I’ve changed something significant. Sometimes it was characterizationan alcoholic fell off the wagonthen he didn’t. A woman had an affairthen she didn’t. A character told someone the truththen she recanted. I changed tones from sarcastic funny to more serious. I changed hair color, eye color, the years of cars, what people ate for dinner.

These changes, either to make changes I thought would make the book stronger or more compelling, or because a trusted critique partner or editor convinced me to cut or add an element, reminded me that we working writers are always working on our craft. Like a boat builder or an artist or a baker, we learn from the mistakes, take inspiration from a sudden new thought, and try to always make our newest creation better than the last.

The editing process on Secret Sister with my new editor at Soul Mate Publishing was very beneficial to me and the book. I’d rewritten it so many times over the course of a couple of years that I couldn’t see mistakes and weaknesses that were immediately clear to her. Her fresh eyes, and great skills, helped me through those final rewrites to make it a stronger story.

So the editing process I went through with Secret Sister, while strenuous and taxing, made me a stronger writer.

Writing is a craft, good writing is good craft, and good craft comes from repetition and ‘seeing and correcting’ past mistakes. While I know my readers reactions to my work will be varied, editing is the tool most helpful to achieving my goal, which is to entertain and tell a story that touches, in some small way, those generous enough with their time to read my work.

To their friends, Nick and Cathy Chance have the perfect marriage. High school sweethearts who’ve been together for ten years, they’ve weathered challenges and are as committed as they were when they first fell in love. Cathy trusts Nick, Nick’s world revolves around his wife, and the future looks golden.

To everyone who knows them, Cathy Chance and Roxanne Ruiz have a perfect friendship. They connected in grade school and since then have been each other’s confident and trusted advisor. Cathy loves the gorgeous Roxanne like a sister, Roxanne has fun-loving Cathy’s back in every situation, though lately there’s been tension between these two best friends…

And then, on a sunny summer morning, the unthinkable occurs, throwing into doubt the truth of what each of these people really know about themselves and one another.

Will Roxanne’s sacrifice be too little, and too late? Should Nick’s love for his wife be strong enough to risk trusting his heart more than logic? Can Cathy’s devotion to Nick give her enough strength to convince him to see her for who she really is?

Secret Sister proves how strong, how stubborn, and how trustworthy love can be as Nick and Cathy and Roxanne are challenged to overcome the secrets, the lies … and one extraordinary twist of fate that turns their lives upside down.

Please enjoy this excerpt

“May I sit down, Nick?”

I nodded. Roxanne sat at the table in the kitchen. Despite her appearance, she seemed in control. I felt her eyes on me as I poured myself a glass of water.

The kitchen was a mess. For a second I was embarrassed by the dirty dishes, the soured
milk on the counter. Then I got a grip. This wasn’t a social call and Roxanne wasn’t someone I was trying to impress. Every time she walked into the room, she did so with an agenda.

I turned around. “Do you want something to drink?”

She shook her head.

I sat across from her. She was pinching the back of her hand, like Cathy used to do.

“What’s going on? What do you want from me?” I sounded angrier than I thought I was.

“What do you mean?”

“You’re fooling around with your hands exactly like Cathy always did. You never had that habit. Why are you doing stuff like that?”

“What else am I doing?”

“You’re wearing your hair pulled back in a ribbon, and clothes like my wife wore.” I pointed at her blouse. “And you’re acting weird with the cat, like she’s your cat, among other things. It’s freaking my sister out.”

Roxanne fidgeted. “That’s ridiculous,” she said, but her face revealed I’d hit a nerve...

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Emelle Gamble was a writer at an early age, bursting with the requisite childhood stories of introspection which evolved into bad teen poetry and took her first stab at full length fiction in an adult education writing class when her kids were in bed. As M.L. Gamble, she published several romantic suspense novels with Harlequin. She has contracted with Soul Mate Publishing for Secret Sister, summer of 2013, and Dating Cary Grant, an early 2014 release.

Always intrigued by the words ‘what if’, Emelle’s books feature an ordinary woman confronted with an extraordinary situation.  She most enjoys reading stories that surprise and amaze her, and hopes her readers will enjoy the challenging and exciting journeys her characters take

Emelle lives in suburban Washington D.C.  with her husband, Phil, her hero of thirty years,  and two orange cats, Lucy and Bella. These girls, like all good villains, have their reasons for misbehaving. Her daughter, Olivia, and son, Allen, are happily launched on their own and contributing great things to society, their mother’s fondest wish.


FaceBook:  Author Emelle Gamble

Twitter: @EmelleGamble


  1. Quite an exhaustive process. Appreciated though.


  2. Thanks for hosting Secret Sister at this stop on the blog tour, S.R. Howen and Critters at the Keyboard! I paused before I wrote this piece, wondering if readers are interested in the editing process, but decided that I always enjoy hearing what other writer's journey looks like, so I jumped in. The biggest takeaway about editing is that books really are 'works in progress' until they are ripped out of the author's hands! S.R. Howen knows this process as a fellow writer, and now your readers do too. Have a great day everyone, and good luck in the drawing!

  3. HA!, yes exhaustive Mary Preston...but all work has this aspect to it, yes? Anything worth doing is worth doing well, and editing always improves, even though we authors have trouble accepting it sometimes. Thanks for posting and great good luck in the Giveaway!

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. It's always interesting to read not just about the initial writing of the book but the whole editing process. I think it's good to know that this book went through a lot of editing. :)

    1. Leah August, thank you for posting. Yes, I think having readers be aware of the process is helpful to appreciating the book sometimes. And it reinforces what we all know about any kind of work any of us do. It's hard. That's why it's called work! Good luck in the drawing!

  6. Thank you for the excerpt, I enjoyed reading it.


  7. Rita, thank you for stopping by and commenting. Good luck in the contest. And if you get a chance to read Secret Sister, let me know what you thought!

  8. Cool to learn more about your process!


    1. Thanks Vitajex! And something I find astounding that every writer I know (and I know a couple of dozen) has a different process. From outlining a new idea, doing different versions, even ending it, we all work from some inner comfort zone (or hysterical perch-HA) to get it together into a cohesive book. Thanks for stopping by and good luck in the drawing!

  9. I cannot WAIT to read this book. I want to know what "the unthinkable" is and what the heck happens between Cathy, Nick and Roxanne!

    1. Hey Staci Bailey! So a fellow author certainly has stories to tell just like mine above, yes? thanks so much for stopping by. I hope you get a chance to read Secret Sister, and I'd love to hear what you think! It's a fun and complicated book...perfect if you're in the mood for a book most readers say they can't put down! Ha, even the ones who haven't liked it said that! good luck in the drawing.

  10. this book sounds unique and compelling. Very captivating. sharon - bencanada1(at)gmail(dot)com

  11. Hey Sharon...thanks for posting and stopping by the blog. I think the set-up is a fun and somewhat unusual one to frame a love story with. I hope if you get a chance to read it you'll let me know what you think. Good luck in the giveaway!

  12. Cannot wait to read this - looks like a great book!

  13. Very interesting sounds like it will be a great book something i would be interesting in reading.

  14. Hey LA Remenicky! thanks for posting today! I hope you do get a chance to read Secret Sister, and if you do, please let me know what you think. Part of the 'editing' strategy for authors is remembering things from past books that worked with readers...not to say we tailor our stories, but what I've learned from folks who liked this book is that I don't need to shy away from exploring important life issues in a romantic tale. Good luck in the drawing!

  15. Joe Hawk..I'd love to know what caught your interest you like stories with suspense? I love trying to figure out how a book is going to end and read a lot of mystery. I also think all types of books benefit from keeps you turning pages. Thank you for posting and good luck in the drawing!

  16. Thanks for sharing the great excerpt and the awesome giveaway. Sounds like a really good book. evamillien at gmail dot com

  17. Interesting topic of discussion. After all those pre-submission edits, does your book still come back from the editor asking for additional changes?

    kareninnc at gmail dot com

    1. thanks Eva Millien for posting. I hope you get a chance to read Secret Sister and if you do, please let me know what you think! good luck in the drawing.

  18. Thanks for the great question, Karen H!Yes, editors always in my experience have requested major (scene deletions or additions, character changes) and minor (errors in timelines or simple things like someone is wearing a red shirt that suddenly becomes green 3 pages later -HA!). I have not ever been asked to edit a lot of things out, so I've been lucky there. But it really is a work in progress until someone at the publishing house yells, "That's a wrap!" and then we writers have a glass a wine and, if it's me, say, 'maybe I should change one more thing...Good luck in the drawing! And thanks again for posting.

  19. Good Morning,
    I love a good tale that surprises me.I consider that a mark of a great writer. :) Good luck with Secret Sister.

  20. Sounds like a great read!!
    Thanks for the chance to win!
    natasha_donohoo_8 at hotmail dot com

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  22. I have put this book on my TRL. Sounds like a great read can't wait. thank you