shadow river books

Hello! Have we met?

We're Shadow River Books, a fresh, new imprint for personal growth, memoir, and fiction.
Our website exists to acquaint readers with the books we publish as well as others we can enthusiastically recommend.
We also provide editing services and helpful articles on life, dreams, and goals. We hope you'll take a look around.


No Secrets in Creedence

Moira Dashwood was supposed to inherit her father's ranch. Instead, she finds herself working at a boarding house in Creedence, a town full of gossip, cowboys, and a mysterious doctor who can't stop staring at her.
Sarah Hall's Austen Goes West series reimagines Jane Austen's heroines living and bumping into one another in a single small town in 1880s Colorado, offering a fresh and delightful take on the classic stories.

A Second Chance in Creedence

In the second installment of Sarah Hall's Austen Goes West where all the Austen characters inhabit the same small town in 1880s Colorado, Anne Middleton has lost everything and is forced to live as a guest of the Kings. Then, a surprise visitor from the past turns her world upside down.

Chasing Your Dream: a guided journal

In just thirty days, Debra Hewitt's guided journal, full of inspiring quotations and unique prompts for each day, will help you discover what you really want from life. Maybe it's a new job. Maybe just time for something you loved to do as a child.It inspired S. to start auditioning after a 10-year break from the stage and C. to start baking again for family and friends. What will it inspire you to do? The answer is inside you. Let's coax it out. There's never been a better time to start Chasing Your Dream!

The Celebration Journal

Whatever your circumstances, however far away your goal, there is always something in your life worth celebrating. This 90-day journal is designed to make sure it doesn't slip your notice. It offers daily reminders to record what you're grateful for and what you can celebrate. Use The Celebration Journal to finish a special project or boost your confidence during difficult times. Reap the rewards of your efforts in ninety days—any ninety days you choose. Available in paperback or spiral binding.

The Road to Success Day Planner

This 90-day planner has the same great content as The Celebration Journal in a more classic style. You will find ample space on these double-page spreads for habit-tracking, appointments, to-do lists and notes along with daily tips from the author. You can find it in paperback, hardback, or spiral binding.

Meet the Author:
Debra Hewitt

Hello! Thanks for stopping by. Keep reading to learn more about me and what I'm working on right now.I grew up in an Air Force family which gave me so many wonderful opportunities! I feel very privileged to have lived in Asia and across the United States. Those early experiences probably sparked my love for the ocean and also made me a little bit of a change junkie!In 2016, after years of teaching and working in the arts, I designed my first guided journal, Chasing Your Dream. Like those that followed, it focused on providing tools and encouragement for helping readers like you achieve their goals.I continue to edit and coach other authors, but my primary focus these days is fiction. My husband and I live in Virginia where I am working on a screenplay and a novel.


offering perspective and inspiration

Ever feel lost when thinking about your goals?

See how relaxing it can be to lose yourself in a picture.

Do you find it hard to stay motivated during long projects?

Let's Talk About Goals

by Debra Hewitt

For some of you, goal setting may be the most challenging part of your planning. You don't fall into that group of people who've already identified projects they need to accomplish in the coming quarter and can easily describe what they hope to achieve. This part of the system leaves you stymied. You stare at the blank space where you're supposed to record your goal and have no idea what to write. Nothing feels big enough to refer to as your goal. Or it feels too big and you hesitate to commit it to the page where it will live to mock you for your failure. You need to get over those feelings. I know, that's easier said than done. But look at it this way. By writing your goal every day you will be giving yourself permission to change your mind, to focus on the big or small, long-term or immediate.But you need to write something.Read on to consider four options that will help you conquer goal-setting.

  • Go Big.......If you choose to go big, you might list a life goal such as learning Chinese. Recording that goal day after day in your journal will remind you to find time to practice your vocabulary, to look for opportunities to connect with people who speak Chinese so that you can practice having conversations, to find Chinese movies online. Any of those actions could be listed in your tasks or could even be used as your goal for the day. Other life goals might be to start your own company, adopt needy children or publish a book. You might even try, "make a difference." This is rather vague, but if you write it daily and keep asking yourself what you are doing to make a difference, it could turn out to be a very powerful life goal indeed. By definition, life goals are broad. You will want to aim for a goal that gives you scope to dream without ending up so vague that you have trouble picturing it.

  • Not So Big.......Instead of writing down a life goal, you might choose a goal that is only for the ninety days you use The Celebration Journal or Road to Success Day Planner. The shorter the time frame for your goal, the more specific you should be. Perhaps you want to learn a Chopin waltz on piano. Instead of writing, "work on Chopin waltz," include the details of success in your goal: "Learn to play Waltz in A-flat up to tempo from memory ." You won't necessarily need to define the number of mistakes you will tolerate. But including the tempo in your goal gives you something measurable. You can track (and celebrate) how close you come along the way by timing your performance or recording what metronome setting you can keep up with. (Those are the numbers you will put into the # box next to your goal.) Other examples of ninety-day or quarterly goals might be to sign X number of clients, get your real estate license, find a new job, prepare and launch an advertising campaign, or help your son catch up in algebra.

  • Think Short-term.......There may not be a large goal in your life right now. In that case, focus on your priorities for the week or day. Are you responsible for a meeting or special event taking place soon that requires extensive coordination? Then your goal is to complete preparations by a specific date. It can be really helpful in this case to create a countdown right next to where you write your goal. That way you will be reminded just how many days are left until your deadline. Other short-term goals might be perfecting your omelet technique, reducing clutter in your office, sleep training your child, or standing up for yourself in a toxic relationship. Put what you want to achieve front and center, and it will remind you to set aside time and energy to accomplish it.

  • Work Backwards.......Still feeling lost? It's possible the minutiae of your day is keeping you from ever focusing on the big picture. You can work backwards then. Carefully note how you spend your day by recording your tasks and schedule. Once the day is over look back at what you've done and play detective. What's the theme you see? If you had to guess someone else's goal from seeing that they had done these things, what would you come up with? If your day was spent responding to other people's requests for help, perhaps you can describe your goal as providing support to your co-workers and family. If you feel you squandered your time with boring errands, perhaps your goal was to catch up on family business so that you are free to focus on a big project in the coming days. And if you can't put a positive spin on what you've done? Well, that tells you something, too. You've learned a valuable lesson about how you're spending your day which may help you set more satisfying goals in the future.

It's Up to YouWhat you accomplish is not a matter of luck. Your focus and determination are key to your success. Those will only come into play as you learn to set goals that truly matter to the life you want to live. Try one of these options today, and see how it goes. Each day you get another chance to try again. And one day you may feel that goal-setting has become automatic, the easiest part of your day.

Photo Meditation

by Debra Hewitt

What is it about doorways, gates and paths that speaks to the imagination? Is it the promise of adventure just beyond?
Come find out.
I invite you to spend a few weeks using photographs as visual meditation to enhance your creativity and calm your jangled nerves. I've selected a beautiful group of pictures for this very purpose, and I'm willing to share them with you.Over the course of three or four weeks, you'll receive a series of 12 photo emails featuring arches, gates and pathways around the world. Let them remind you to stop and reflect. Use them as writing prompts for your journal or a restful moment in the midst of a busy day.See what taking a few minutes to lose yourself in a picture can do.Sound interesting? Click below to sign up for this free, no-obligation series.

Learning to Celebrate

by Debra Hewitt

When we're working on long, complicated projects or far-off goals, we have to wait a long time for the eventual payoff, and that can be discouraging. Focusing on small wins along the way can help us stay motivated. That's why it's so important to take time each day to find something worth celebrating. Sometimes it will be easy. We can all recognize tangible progress. When there is something measurable to point to such as pages completed, new clients signed on, or other milestones along the way, we know those are wins. Most of us don't have trouble identifying those when they happen, although we sometimes need to be reminded to take notice and enjoy them.Other types of wins may be a little trickier. They fall into the category of things we have to dig for. But on days when there aren't any noticeable signs of progress, the practice of looking for something to celebrate can be even more valuable. It may force us to consider the way we approach life. When you don't see an obvious marker of progress toward your goals, ask yourself if you can celebrate your patience or perseverance. Those sorts of victories may be even more important in the long run.The underlying theme of my planner, The Celebration Journal, is encouragement. I want to help people push through the mental barriers that either keep them from reaching their goals or keep them from enjoying the process and results. I really believe that a relentless focus on the positive and on forward motion will help people make faster progress. This is not just about thinking good thoughts and expecting things to happen. And it's not about telling you "You got this!" no matter what. There will be times in life when you don't in fact "got this."It's about noticing what's good. I once read that when teachers or coaches provide feedback they can help others improve more by showing them what they have done well than by pointing out their mistakes. Why is this? Wouldn't knowing our mistakes show us what to work on? But think about it. If we want to be better tennis players, for example, we want to watch the very best players in order to emulate them. Picking at the mistakes of other amateurs doesn't really help us understand what we need to do. I'm not sure if that's the whole story. I think it's still a mystery. But I do know this: no matter how many setbacks we face or how long our path to success, we are never well served by looking at ourselves as failures.Make a plan today to find something to celebrate. Try to do better. Try to be your best. But remember to celebrate how far you've come.

shadow river books editing services

You've written a book. Hurray! But you're not sure what it will take to get it ready for publication and really want some professional guidance. Let me help you!

B.A. in English, M.S. in Library Science,
SLJ book reviewer, author, editor

I'm Debra Hewitt, and I bring years of experience in the book world to your project. I will provide knowledgeable, detail-oriented editorial services to help you get your book in its best shape for submitting to agents or for independent publication.

start here

Manuscript Review

This is the best place to start. It is not just a sample edit of a small portion of your book. I will read your manuscript from beginning to end and provide you with a feedback letter from an editor's perspective. I will explain what is working well and what areas need addressing before your book is ready for publication. Whether or not you hire me for other editorial services, this review will provide high-level guidance and help you see how your book compares to other books in your genre and where its strengths and weaknesses lie.I'll also suggest what kind of editing makes the most sense for your manuscript so you know what level of investment to expect. The professional manuscript review helps you to see early on if we share the same vision for your book and are a good fit for working together.This process takes about four weeks and is an investment of $250.
The best part is I will gladly credit this initial payment toward future editing packages.
Click below to be notified when I have an opening for a manuscript review.

Style Editing

Once the book flows logically, it is ready for style editing (sometimes referred to as copyediting or line editing). Here is where the paragraphs and sentences are polished. In nonfiction I evaluate instances where the tone becomes too colloquial or too formal for your audience and help you deliver your message more precisely and effectively. In fiction I scrutinize the storytelling voice, point of view, and dialogue to keep readers engaged.This package includes a coaching call to discuss suggested changes before I prepare the manuscript for proofreading. The investment varies with the length and quality of the manuscript you send me. But you won't be left guessing. Following my manuscript review, I will send you a firm quote for any recommended editing.


Proofreading is the final stage of editing after all revisions and rewriting have been completed. It is the final quality check of everything that will be in the book when it is launched into the world. The focus is on the mechanics of writing: punctuation, spelling, grammar, and internal consistency.The proofreading stage actually comprises two parts. In the first pass, I create a style sheet incorporating accepted practices and the names and conventions specific to your work. In the second pass, I will painstakingly examine the manuscript word by word and character by character so that it aligns with that style sheet. The book will then be ready for independent publishing or professional submissions.

Thank you

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