Archive | December, 2013

Happy New Year !!!

31 Dec

Can it really be true? Is tomorrow a new year? 2014? Wow. (Or maybe it’s already a new year wherever you are!) This year has really flown by for me, and probably for most of you, as well. But, in addition to being speedy, this year has been totally astonishing for me, with all kinds of unexpected wonderful happenings!  I’m not sure I’ve ever had such a good (maybe even great!) year.  Ever. I’m going to do my best to repeat it again for this coming year. Not that I was personally responsible for most of it, but I am super grateful for it all, regardless.

I’ve not ever been really big on New Year’s Resolutions, although a bit of advance planning seldom goes astray. It’s been great fun to watch the progress of my Christmas novella (The Duke’s Christmas Gift) as it made its way up the Best Sellers List at In the Kindle Store>  Kindle eBooks> Literature & Fiction> Historical Fiction> Regency , it made it up to #19 at one point, and for most of November and December it was consistently in the top 40.  I promise not to let that go to my head! (It was #52 this morning.)

But for sure, I plan to complete more of my unfinished books to publish them during 2014. When I counted up the day after Christmas I found 28 individual titles, but some of these are mystery series, with anywhere from 1 to 7 titles buried therein.

I chose four of these to work on (seriously work, I mean) for 2014. If possible, I’ll also try for more, of course, but in the meantime, these four will hopefully see daylight this year. Not necessarily in this order, however.

First is a hilarious Regency fantasy written epistolary style – letters between two cousins. One young lady lives in Cheltenham, while the other is from Boston, Mass. Their fathers are brothers. This is being written with a dear friend in England, and her imagination knows no bounds, whatever. We started this in 1998, but it was put away a couple of years later for multiple reasons, and we think now is the time to finish it. We’re not 100% certain of the title as yet, but it could be Devilish Designs. More info will come when I/we have it.

The second book is a contemporary novel with a love story that features an older couple. There really aren’t enough of these out there, in my opinion, so in 2007 I started this one, and again, it was shelved for other projects. Now seems to be a good time for this book which is set in the auto racing world. Two high school seniors are in love with each other, but her father objects and separates them. They meet up again by accident 50 years later, to find their feelings haven’t changed during all that time. What a lovely surprise!  This book is also busily looking for a title. I’m sort of leaning towards It’s About Time.

The next book is a contemporary novel featuring a young widow, a  ghost and a love story and takes place along Lake Ontario in Niagara-on-the-Lake. This one has been brewing since 1997 or so, and a couple of years ago, I spent some time there physically locating the book. I found the perfect spot for the old house, and so, this one will also be completed this year. Or else!

One of my problems is that the characters come to life and hijack their stories!  Then I have to do more research and I get distracted by something else, and there they sit.  Another difficulty is that I like a plot that is more than just the romance between the two main characters. This means that for most publishers, my books were not publishable, as they’re also not easily categorizable. Thanks to CreateSpace that’s no longer a problem. This book is called Saint’s Harbour.

And then, there’s my collection of short stories — Brief Interludes. I keep cannibalizing it, taking stories out of it to publish elsewhere, so now I still have a couple to finish up and maybe a couple to write — and it’ll be ready to go. I hope.

I wonder how many of these will actually be in print by one year from now? I’ll keep you posted! Until then —

Happy writing to you all, and above all – A happy, prosperous and healthy New Year of 2014 for all!


Is that all?

11 Dec

Last time, I told you all about my books– Shortly after that post went live, one of my editing clients wrote to me and scolded ‘You didn’t mention your editing!”

I hastened to assure her that I wasn’t ignoring that happy part of my life, as it would comprise the next post. So – here we are. I really enjoy helping others produce the very best book possible, regardless of what kind of book or story that it is. Some things I know absolutely nothing about, so I steer clear of them, but generally, I think I can be of at least some help.

The year 2013 was no exception, as I served in many capacities to various people. The first one was very well written, with a great plot and characters, but on occasion, there were very minor glitches.  This was the second book I’d proofed for this author, who is really very meticulous with her work. Cathy Jo (her pen name) released No More Expectations in September, 2012, but I’m including it here, anyway.

A long-time friend, Adam Naef, decided to publish his three Regency books through Amazon and Kindle, and asked me to proof them which I did. The Lyndale Wager andThe Barbury Hall Murders are full-length stories in their own binding. The other book consists of two novellas: This Indenture & The Final Wager.  Adam really has the Regency era down pat – his favorite author is Clare Darcy.

Since 1998, I’ve been proof-reading stories for an on-line e-zine: originally known as Peridot Books, and now Allegory E-zine, the creation of Ty Drago.  (He’s also printed a couple of my stories!) Ty writes science fiction and mystery novels, plus a wide range of clever short stories. A few years back he came up with a young adult series titled The Undertakers. Early in 2013, he asked me to proof the 3rd of the series before it went off to his agent. Zombies, etc., are not really my bag, but for a great friend?  Sure. Thus I proofed Secret of the Corpse Eater, which will be published in March 2014 by Month9Books. January 1 will see the 50th edition of his e-zine –

In early February, another multi-book client, Gloria Hanson, published her first book of poetry, cleverly titled  From Sevens to Seventies: The Grandgirls’ Book of Poetry. This is because she enlisted her two granddaughters (Sariaka Melissa Hanson and Lucca Allessandra MacDonald) to contribute some of their poetry as well.  All told, it’s a truly grand and unique venture.

This is the third book of Gloria’s that I’ve been involved with, and each is different from the others. The first one was Zora: The Life of an Ordinary Girl Living in Extraordinary Times, a biography of her Mom, and the second was Late Night Stories, a book of short stories, mostly set around maturing adults.

Another repeat author is Trudy Brandenburg of Columbus, who writes really nifty mysteries in which kayaking plays a major role.  Her protagonist Emma Haines is a fascinating female, formerly an insurance fraud inspector, who after being shot at, decided to start a program to train other inspectors.  The first book last year was Nighthawks on the New River. This year’s title is Peacocks on the Paint, and readers are eagerly clamoring for more!  Now!  If you read one, you can easily see why.

In quite another direction are two books by a friend of several years with several books that I’ve nudged him into ‘getting out there’.  Robert W. Birch is a retired sex therapist, with the most unusual and vivid (off-the-wall) imagination I’ve ever encountered. He writes serious sex therapy books and poetry of all kinds (I’ve not worked on any of these) but also a wide range of fiction – science fiction, mystery, and erotic romance, and some of his books have a blend of all three of these elements, all mixed with a wicked sense of humor. I never know quite what to expect from Dr. Bob, but I’m never bored while working on his books, either! This year I proofed two of them:  Sex is her Specialty and  Rekindled Desire.

Then came another biography, but this one had elements of adventure mixed in, as the author began her tale as an 18-year-old in Hungary in the waning days of World War II. Unplanned Journey by Judy Wallace, is the story of her nearly-unbelievable trek across Austria and Germany, some 1000 kilometers, which she traversed by walking, riding a bicycle, or as a passenger on a boat, train, or US Army jeep! Ms. Wallace then came to the US, and eventually brought her sister and parents here, too. She married and raised a family, but never forgot her Hungarian roots. It’s a fascinating story, to be sure.

And – still in process is Sound of Adventure by a high school pal of mine, Kay Blevins, who achieved her dream of being a Powder Puff Racer. We re-connected a few years ago at our 50th reunion, and with another big one scheduled for next year, we’ll each be able to talk about our books!

All of these books are available (or will be) through or other bookstores, and most of them are also in e-book format.

So, you ask – just what did you do for each of these books? Fair question. Generally, I do light editing (if requested) or just proof-reading for spelling and punctuation. Of course, if something pops off the page yelling at me, I make a note of it, and inform the author. I seldom change anything on my own, as I think it’s best for the author to make such decisions. Although I usually do not do fact-checking, there are those times when something grabs me and I’m compelled to check it out for myself. If I find conflicting info, I point it out to the author. There are times I might make a suggestion regarding a scene or other plot element – to add, delete or move elsewhere.  Other than spelling and punctuation, the next biggest problem is continuity – making sure that blue eyes don’t change color mid-way through the book, or the hero’s name doesn’t change or some other such boo-boo doesn’t escape us and make it into print.

All but two of these books came to me as Word documents attached to an e-mail. At the time Cathy Jo worked at the library next door to where I live. We met for a sunny luncheon in the garden there, and I then took her paper manuscript home with me. I prefer paper, but postage is ridiculous, so an attachment really works just as well for me – and helps keep the cost down.

The other manuscript came in precise tiny (but very legible) handwriting with a Hungarian flavor on legal pad paper.  Ms. Wallace didn’t have access to a computer or e-mail, so I typed it for her. (There is an extra charge for this, however.) She had made notes over several years, and sometimes individual tales overlapped or were out of place in the final narrative, so we worked all that out together. Her photographs were amazingly clear, and easily scanned. Because I also formatted the book for both Kindle and print, we met several times to discuss page size, page color, font choice and size, and other design details.  She liked a photograph I had taken locally, and this was used for her cover. (Same with ‘Late Night Stories’ – one of my photos is on the cover.)


If you would like more information about my editorial services, please ask. I’m always happy to explain the process. And, in case you want to get started with your own book, here’s a gift certificate that you can use or send to someone else, if you know someone who might want to try it.  


Thank you all so much for your comments and support this year, it’s meant a lot to me.  I really appreciate your comments as well as your questions – you keep me busy finding answers!

P. S.  Here’s a happy little footnote to my previous post: my novella The Duke’s Christmas Gift is doing really well – it was up to #22 of the top 100 Regency Kindle best-selling books list! Twice, in fact –on November 5 and 22 — and yesterday, it was up to #21! It goes up and down all the time, I’m truly thrilled by this, and a bit overwhelmed, too. I do hope to have another post before the end of the year, but in case I flub up, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Joyous and Prosperous New Year! Imagine that. 2014, here we come!