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Writer Wednesday Welcomes Brenda Coxe!!!

Today Writer Wednesday welcomes fellow writer/freelancer and aspiring author, Brenda Coxe! Brenda is a lovely friend I had the pleasure of meeting on FaceBook in a group called Thursdays Novelists. If you haven’t been, you should stop by. Brenda has graciously offered to take the reigns today and guest blog on a topic that’s pretty hot in the industry.

Should a Writer Pay an Editor?

by: Brenda Coxe

I recently became involved in a discussion on the topic of paying an editor to review writing prior to publication. It surprised me to read the remarks from one of the posters who was dead set against the idea of writers enlisting the services of a professional editor. This person had the idea that anyone who charges to editor a manuscript is exploiting writers. This line of thinking actually shocked me. What was even more shocking was when this poster indicated that any writer who is not good enough to be published without the benefit of a professional editor is not good enough to be published in the first place.

The question now is this: are professional editors taking advantage of authors when they charge them to edit manuscripts before they go to publication? Is it only authors who are contemplating self-publishing who should go to the expense of hiring a professional editor? In the mind of the poster I mentioned, this is indeed the case: only authors contemplating self-publishing need to bother with a professional editor.

Where is the mindset of the aforementioned poster? The biggest problem appears to be he/she feels that when you have a piece edited by a professional that person will take away from the voice and style of the original author. While this could certainly happen, the job of an editor is to help an author turn a manuscript that may not be salable into something that will make money for the author, publisher and agent. This need not involve changing the voice of the original author nor should it do so.

First time authors should certainly take the time to hire a professional editor if only to make sure their manuscript is as perfect as it can be before they send it to an agent or publisher. There is nothing worse than sending a manuscript full of errors to an agent or publisher; it is also the easiest way to find your hard work in the slush pile without a second glance. That doesn’t mean once you are published you can depend on your own self-editing skills. Remember, you are close to the writing, and you are likely to miss things. As writers, we tend to read what we intended to type rather than what we actually typed thus missing some errors.

The final answer to the question whether a writer should pay an editor depends on whether you are a hobby writer or a serious author looking for publication in the traditional market. Even if you aren’t looking for traditional publication now because you are writing something in the niche market that will not appeal to the average publisher, you want to make sure you don’t submit anything that is less than perfect because publishers communicate with each other. If you submit something that is full of errors you will not be well-received in the publishing industry the next time you are ready for publication.

About Brenda:

“I have been a full-time freelance writer since November 2005 but have been writing since I was a teenager. I have ghost written 3 e- books and published a number of articles online. I am also working on 2 novels and several short stories with one hopefully ready for submission after the current edit.”

You can read more from Brenda on writing at her website aptly entitled The Joy of Writing

Leave a comment. Say Hi. Let us know what you think?

What Is Flash Fiction? Guest Post by Racquel Henry

What is Flash Fiction? 7 Ways to Craft A Quality Flash Fiction Story

Flash is one of the fastest growing genres of fiction. A growing number of literary magazines now accept flash stories, host contests, and there are even some that cater exclusively to flash. What exactly is flash fiction? Simply put, it’s a complete story between 100-1500 words. The number of words that a flash story should have is debatable. I’ve seen so many different variations, but I think any less than 100 and it starts to border more on the micro-fiction side of things. I consider flash to be separate from micro-fiction, but many argue they’re the same. You may also see flash fiction disguised as other names including, short shorts, post card, sudden, and quick.

So you want to write a flash story but don’t know where to start? I’ve compiled a list of seven ways you can get started.

Write about a Small Idea

In a flash fiction piece, you won’t have time to develop the plot or give any back story. Try focusing on a moment in time or a specific event. There should only be one scene.  For instance, if you’re going to right about a love story turned sour, you won’t be able to give us the couple’s history or lead up to the break up. Concentrate on the exact moment they break up, or just choose one character and focus on what they feel at that exact moment.

Get to the Conflict Quickly

Again, time is of the essence so you won’t have a chance to set a reader up for what’s “going” to happen. Think about the name, “Flash Fiction.” Action should happen in a flash. Start the story right at the conflict and if not right away, in the first couple of sentences.

Limit the amount of characters

Just as you have to zero in on your topic, you have to do the same for your characters. There won’t be any time to really develop a character let alone multiple characters. Instead, focus on just one or two characters so that your piece can pack more of a punch.

Write in the Active voice

Seems like a no-brainer, since we are given this type of advice for all fiction. In flash fiction it’s especially true because too many adverbs, adjectives, or details will just slow the story down, not to mention do nothing for your word count.


Alluding to things in flash fiction stories is always a good. If you can allude to an event, place, person, etc. then you won’t have to waste words explaining and describing what’s going on. Besides, what reader doesn’t like a little mystery?

End with a Twist

Many flash fiction pieces end with some sort of twist or surprise ending. Remember, there is limited time to develop sympathy for a character, or reveal an intricate plot. A story can resonate more with the reader if there’s a twist at the end. Be wary of this method though. I’ve seen a lot of magazines and contests specifically ask that your story have more to it than a simple twist at the end.

Be Precise

Don’t use any unnecessary words, they’ll just weigh the story down. When revising your story, cut words that aren’t essential and use contractions wherever you can. Make every word count and choose wisely.

It’s not easy to write a flash fiction piece. The task of writing a complete story in few words can be daunting, but a good challenge can only make you a better writer. I hope everyone will at least give it a try. I’ve also included a few flash fiction literary magazines where you can submit your work. Good luck and Happy Writing!

Every Day Fiction-

Gemini Magazine

Vestal Review


Racquel Henry is a fiction writer residing in Florida. She received a B.A. in Criminology and a B.A. in Creative Writing from the University of South Florida in 2008. She is currently pursuing an MFA at Fairleigh Dickinson University. Racquel is a reader for the university’s literary magazine, TLR and is also the co-founder and editor of The Black Fox Literary Magazine. She blogs weekly at her own blog, Racquel Writes. She has a slight obsession with books and is in the process of editing her first novel, tentatively titled, What’s in the Fabric.

You can get more on writing from Raquel by checking out her sites. She not only has a fabulous Blog: Racquel Writes , but she is also co-founder of an unbelievable site for writers Black Fox Literary Magazine

I highly recommend you leave a comment, say ‘hi,’ then jump over to one of Racquel’s sites and get to know her. She’s A.Maz.Ing. Matter of fact, while you’re at it, follow her on twitter @RacquelHenry. If you’re a writer and you’re not yet on twitter…have I not broken you? Aren’t you tired of me on your case? *hangs head* Serious.


It’s Baaack! IMM & Mailbox Monday

This week was a wild ride of writing for me. I learned that one of my manuscripts was requested by an editor at a major house. I sent a proposal to an epub who’s setting up a new line of books and I want to write some “sweet romances” for their line. I discovered that I won the Alien Vampire Bunny contest from Greyhaus Literary and I got some long overdue crits done for my critique group. SO- I didn’t get to read like I have for the last couple months (which was without abandon).

This week, I can thank my local library for two books I love and will be buying. Neither are new, but both are fabulous!

Giving Up the V by Serena Robar

What’s So Wrong With Waiting

Spencer Davis just turned sixteen. But unlike most hormonal teenagers who seem obsessed with sex — like her entire crew of friends — Spencer just doesn’t get it. She’d rather wait for the right guy and the right moment. But that moment may be arriving sooner than she’d thought.

Enter Benjamin Hopkins, a new transfer student who seems to have his eyes on our V-card-carrying heroine. He’s gorgeous, funny, suave, athletic, and capable of making Spencer’s knees wobble with a single glance. Spencer has never felt this way about anyone before, but is Ben truly V-worthy?

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King

On Writing is both a textbook for writers and a memoir of Stephen’s life and will, thus, appeal even to those who are not aspiring writers.  If you’ve always wondered what led Steve to become a writer and how he came to be the success he is today, this will answer those questions.

In this master class on the craft of writing, Stephen King reveals the origins of his vocation and shares essential habits and rules that every writer can apply. A truly unique volume, it begins with a series of telling memories from youth and the struggling years leading up to publication of King’s first novel. Offering readers a fresh and often funny perspective on the formation of a writer’s character, King lays out the tools of writer’s craft and takes the reader through aspects of the writer’s art and life, offering practical and inspiring advice on everything from plot and character to work habits and rejection. Brilliantly structured and chock-full of master’s experience and advice, On Writing will enable the work of writers around the globe.

In My Mailbox is a meme from the Story Siren designed to help book lovers unite, meet, greet and follow one another in our quests to find the next most awe inspiring, tear jerking, mesmerizing or just entertaining new tome.

Mailbox Monday is a meme hosted this month at Rose City Reader. This is one more incredible way to get to know one another, build your following and find great new sites to add to your dashboard.

What was in your mailbox this week?

Once Upon A Time by Cynthia Watson

Please welcome back my new writer and gal pal Cynthia Watson. I had the pleasure of interviewing Cynthia recently about her paranormal YA entitled Wind.  Since meeting Cynthia, I’ve come to truly enjoy her tweets and emails. She is so dear and just so much fun! I hope those of you in search of new writerly type friends will look Cynthia up. She’s a hoot and a smile waiting to happen.  Enjoy the post, then look her up! I’ll have all her stalker deets at the end of this  post! Enjoy!!

Once Upon A Time . . .

Someone recently asked me, as a writer, what books I read and treasured as a child.  I honestly had to stop and think about that one—it’s something I hadn’t ever been asked before.  So, after stretching my memory back quite a few years (never mind how many!), here goes:

The first one that came to mind (not surprisingly considering the celestial theme of my YA Paranormal Romance, Wind) was, “The Littlest Angel” by Charles Tazewell.  First published in 1946, it’s the story of the youngest angel in Heaven who acts as though he were still a little boy on earth—untidy, loud, awkward, perpetually late—and is homesick for his box of treasures still on earth.  He eventually redeems himself with the help of “The Understanding Angel,” who retrieves his treasure box, and mentors him in the ways of Heaven.  The story is incredibly sweet and beautifully written.

Another much-loved book that springs to mind is, “The Story of Little Black Sambo,” by Helen Bannerman in 1899.  Sambo is a Tamil boy who comes across four hungry tigers, and gives them his new, smart red jacket, fancy purple shoes, blue shorts, and large, green umbrella so they will not eat him. Eventually, the tigers chase each other around a tree until they melt into a pool of butter.  Sambo then retrieves his clothes, and his mother makes pancakes from the butter—a simple, but delightful story.

I know now it was a controversial book, but as a child, I wasn’t aware of the racial connotations.  All I knew was that I loved (and still do!) the unusual story and wonderful illustrations set in a jungle.  It sold over 1,000,000 copies before being yanked off the shelves, but it was eventually re-published by Golden Books under the title, “The Boy and The Tigers.”

The Velveteen Rabbit” by Margery Williams is another favourite of mine from childhood.  The beautiful story of how a toy becomes real through the love of a child was first published in 1922.  It is the tale of a little boy who is given a stuffed rabbit who longs to be “real”; “real” is what happens when you become your true self.  This little gem promotes the timeless values of love, and self-acceptance, causing it to remain a beloved classic.

I think my all-time favourite childhood book was, “Go Dog Go,” by P.D. Eastman.  This humorous yarn is all about a variety of dogs, driving cars and other vehicles ultimately to a huge “dog party” that takes places at the top of a tree.  I especially love the girl-dog who keeps asking, “Do you like my hat?”  The boy-dog replies, “No, I do not like your hat.”  She re-appears several times in the book, donning a different hat, asking the same question, until the boy-dog finally approves of her hat.  The illustrations are colourful and humorous, and the simplicity of the story is delightfully reminiscent of the books of Dr. Seuss.

What were your favourite childhood books, and why?

Author Bio:

Cynthia lives with four young adults, and a Cocker Spaniel, Symon, a Daschund named Lucky, and five rescued cats, Daphne, Buddy, Sparkles, Angel and Evy.

When not writing, she work for a large Paramedic Service.  In her spare time (hah!), she’s a gourmet cook, loves watching movies and, of course,  always has her nose in a book.

You can read more about Cynthia, her thoughts and tips on writing and all about her YA pararom Wind by stopping by her site Cynthia Watson, Young Adult Paranormal Fiction, and if you tweet – if you don’t, seriously get yourself in gear – follow her @CynWatson. You’ll love  it! I did!

Come on! Do the Hop & Follow!

It’s time for the Blog Hop & Follow Friday again! I love this part of the week because  I’m meeting so many awesome bloggers, writers, readers *sigh*. So to all of you hopping with me I’m smiling widely like a doofus and waving frantically as always!!

Blog Hop is hosted over at Crazy-for-Books and Follow Friday is hosted at Parajunkee. These memes were created to help make the web smaller, and introduce us bloggers to one another. We can find sites and meet people and follow those we love! We increase our followers and we get some fun new sites to add to our dashboards too. Its a big win-win and I am thrilled to be taking part again this week.

So the question this week at Crazy for Books is: Why do you read the genre that you do? What draws you to it? This is easy because I am an obsessive YA reader, and I LOVE this genre for a ton of reasons, so many that I’m not sure which to point out first.

For one, I’m hooked on the energy. Teens are full of angst and drama and its still the good kind, “Will he kiss me?” “What should I wear?” “Can I get home before curfew?” “Is he really a wolf all winter, or a fallen angel seeking my soul, or a vampire trying to love me not kill me?” You  remember, the yoosh. In a YA, no one hates their ex-husband or can’t pay their rent.

Another thing I like about YA is the format. Generally, the reader gets a few pages, maybe even a whole chapter to know the main character before things get hairy. There’s no big rush to force a meet cute on page one. You get into the MCs head and you’re on your way to bio, craving a mochachino and regretting the pass on those kitten heel boots, when Ka-Pow, hawtest guy on earth is glaring at you and you want to dissolve, but also jump into his arms and wrap your young stretchmark free body all around his.  *hotflash* Yeah, that’s why I like YA.

Parajunkee’s question was: What makes up your non-human family?

Our family has recently acquired our very first pet, a guinea pig. Our sons are in 4H and the oldest is in second grade. Next year he will be old enough to show an animal at the fair, but I’m not really an animal or pet person, so we went with the guinea rat pig. “Not a pet-person” is a hugeo understatement. Most days, I’m barely a mom-type person. The nurturing gene is weak in me. I prefer nursery rhymes to nursing babies, and if I had the choice, I’d skip the cutey baby stage and go right to the walking, speaking, rear em up phase where they are semi independent. I also dislike binkis, bottles, potty training, and five-point-harnesses. Please, no “Babies are the best” hate mail. God did not gift me that way. I like the stages my kids are in now better than any before this. I like raising and rearing them, not so much cleaning them. Anyhow – I’m not a pet person. We have a guinea rat pig. My sons named him Monster because it sounds tough. I call him Schnoodle Doodle because he freaks me out and he’s less scary with a cutie pie name.

Thanks everyone for stopping by! Leave a comment and tell me if you follow! I always follow back!!!

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