Why I hired a beta reader

Cinthia offers some excellent reasons for HIRING a beta reader … did I say HIRING loudly enough?

Cinthia Ritchie

I originally wrote this  post for my blog but then realized that I needed a post for 49 Writers so submitted it there instead.

Before I repost that, though, here’s the inside scoop. Last week, I hired a beta reader. I did this, as I do most things, rather impulsively. I was browsing through Twitter, saw a tweet from Carrie Rubin about Kevin Brennan’s beta reader service over at Indie-Scribable, read it over and thought,  hmmmm, why not? The price seemed reasonable and I was struggling, lord, was I struggling with the beginning of my novel. I needed a second opinion, and I needed it fast, and I needed it to be as honest and brutal as possible.

So I shot him off an email, agreed to his terms, sent him my manuscript and, for the next few days, put my damned book away and enjoyed life for…

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More Best Bloggers Blogging to check out …

At the risk of tooting my own horn (yes, I’m old enough to appreciate that tired saying), here’s a wonderful list of bloggers for writers to follow that Susan Toy, fabulous blogger and writer herself, has put together. Yes, I’m on it and, frankly, I am truly honored to be acknowledged by Susan and to be included such great company.

Books: Publishing, Reading, Writing

While it was impossible for me to have followed, listed, and awarded in my earlier post every blog I know of that is good, I didn’t want anyone to think they’d been forgotten. So here’s an additional list of blogs, many written by published authors, that are always interesting and informative, and will provide you with great reading! (Some of these bloggers review books, interview authors, run guest posts, reblog regularly from other blogs, and promote new publications, as well as offering solid information on writing and getting published and the book business in general, so if you are an author you would be wise to check out all the blogs on this list.)


And some have reviewed and interviewed me, as well as hosted my guest posts!

Links are included as well for those authors who have been promoted on my blog, Reading Recommendations.

Nicholas C. Rossis

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Editorial gun for hire

No truer words in this age of self-publishing run amok: “Don’t forget, every writer needs a crackerjack editor. We’re raising the bar for indie quality, and that helps every indie writer sell more books.” Please, for your readers’ sake, invest in an editor for your next opus. Click on through for information on Kevin Brennan’s services.



By the by, you writers out there, I have some editing slots open during the holiday season, so if you have a novel or short story collection that you’re aiming to publishing early in ‘17, consider hiring me as your editor/proofreader. Details at Indiescribable.com.

I’ve set my rates at an affordable level so anyone can get professional editing for a price that won’t blast your production budget out of the water. For instance, proofreading of an 80,000 word novel will run you $800 (which always includes simple copyediting as well, along with some basic formatting to get your manuscript ready for publication).

I always evaluate a sample of your work before we sign a contract so I can tell you up front what level of editing the book needs. That way you’re not surprised later, and you can budget confidently as you get ready to send your masterpiece out…

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Living in the Moment #HurricaneHermine

As some of you may already know, my husband and I and our three cats survived Hurricane Hermine practically unscathed.  Other than the expected power outage, we had only this heart-stopper:


A rather tall pine twisted and fell between our driveway and our neighbor’s driveway, missing our cars.  As it turns out, even our fence, which helped break the tree’s fall, had minimal damage.  Interestingly, an arborist my husband had recently consulted over some other trees that we want removed, predicted that this particular pine would fall exactly in the way it did.  And the same arborist was able to arrange for a crew to come the next day and take down this pine, although we have to wait for the city to pick up the remains.  Click on the following link below for a time-lapse of the tree removal.  It took about 17 minutes, or …

$100 a minute

Still, I’m feeling pretty lucky.  We ventured out for a bit on Saturday, to get some ice since by then we had been out of power for almost 36 hours.  It still makes my stomach lurch to think of the homes we saw, where trees had fallen, caving in their roofs or crushing their cars.  And I know that as I write this post, in the wee hours of Monday morning, a lot of people still don’t have power.

So I’m very grateful.  In particular, I’m grateful for my husband, for the common-sense survival skills he developed growing up in South Florida when hurricanes were all too common, and for the awesome cooking skills he developed during his two years in the Peace Corps.  He can whip up a mean three egg and brie omelet on a little two-burner propane stove.  I know that without him I would have been a basket case.

I have one confession:  being off the grid was actually nice while it lasted.  We read until dark and then sat in the dark, talking.  And the dark was wonderful … except for the neighbor’s generator, there was a peacefulness to the darkness.  For 36 hours we were untethered.  When I had service, I used my cell phone only to call my mom.  I started to remember how I used to entertain myself before the internet, before Facebook, before blogging.  Somehow I used to keep myself pretty busy back then, knitting, sewing, and writing stories that no one would read.

But I missed all of you.  I missed reading your stories, your adventures, your gripes du jour.  I missed your humor and your thoughtfulness, your poetry. I missed the joy of your latest publications and the angst of your recent rejections.  I missed this community that I now realize I sometimes take for granted.

So I return to the grid, but with a keener appreciation for the wealth in my world:  my husband, my cats, my neighbors, my family, my friends–all those both on and off the grid.

I leave you with a sign of life returning to normal:

Wendy chillin' after the hurricane.

Wendy chillin’ after the hurricane.

Absentee Blogger

My absence from the online social milieu over the next few days will likely be due to this:


My city is more or less in the purple, just above the notch.  We’re about 20 or miles inland.  We are prepared for the worst, of course.  My husband has stockpiled enough H2O for a few weeks (mild exaggeration).  We only wish we had had our trees trimmed.  Ah, yes, complacency.  This area of the Big Bend in Florida hasn’t seen a hurricane since Kate in 1985.  My fingers are crossed that the worst we’ll experience is a deluge of rain, because it’s wind we really fear.

Since it is highly probable that we’ll be without power for a day or two or three, I thought I should let you all know that I will no doubt be well; just reacquainting myself with life literally off the grid.

I know that doesn’t explain my sporadic blogs (mostly reblogs) of late, nor my most recent now-you-see-me, now-you-don’t episodes over the last week.  I’ll save those excuses for later.

‘Til then …


Poetic medicine

This post from Kate Shrewsday is welcome not only because her posts are always a delightful read, but the concept, the person she writes about is a bit of balm, I’d argue, for what many of us are feeling right now. The focus here is writing, but the healing properties of poetry in particular and writing in general are real and necessary.

Kate Shrewsday

So, it has been a while.

I return to write here today, because yesterday a woman in a white coat told me I must make the space to write. She told me this with the conviction of a true medic; and the zeal of a true poet.

She is The Emergency Poet, and she operates out of an ambulance.

I was on duty yesterday: working at my Cathedral in Guildford, manning the kiddies crafts and taking photos for publicity.

My boss and I strolled out of the great marquee – they call it a canvas cathedral- onto the lawn to watch the early visitors to the Cathedral Summer Fair.  The air was soft, moist English air which caresses the skin, and though there was the odd spot of rain it was a benign sort of day, really.

Our eyes surveyed the scene, panning round to the large ambulance parked to…

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The Storms in Life

Jill Weatherholt shares a beautiful story she received recently. Her timing is perfect for me because of my own family’s struggles right now. If you or someone you love is experiencing a challenge right now, especially a health challenge, you might find comfort in this story too.

Jill Weatherholt

stormThose of you who’ve followed my blog for any length of time know that my posts are typically brief. I’m aware that everyone is busy, so the last thing you want is a long-winded post.

This week, I’m stepping outside of my guidelines to share a story that I hope you’ll take the time to read.

Lately, many of my lifelong friends, as well as a few blogging friends have experienced challenges in their lives. Some have faced the death of a loved one, a life-changing illness, or an incident that has left one fearful of the future.  

Below, I’d like to share a story that was mailed to me by the mother of one of those dear friends. It was written by Roselyn Aronson.  My hope is that you’ll find it as comforting as I did.

Mr. Tentmaker, it was nice living in this tent when it was…

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Pre-Order for Legends of Windemere Fantasy Series Bundle #2 is Available! #fantasy #ASMSG

Hey, all you fantasy fiction fans! You know who you are. Charles Yallowitz, fantasy author extraordinaire, has TWO great book bundles for you. Check them out 🙂

Legends of Windemere

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Now Available on Amazon Kindle For Pre-Order!

*This Book Bundle contains volumes 4-6 of the LEGENDS OF WINDEMERE fantasy series.*

The destiny of Nyx, Sari, and Luke Callindor has been revealed, but that does not make their lives any easier. With old enemies still on the hunt, a new threat is stepping out of the shadows to indulge his sadistic desires. From battling the magic-devouring Krypters in Hero’s Gate to facing a demonic curse that has befallen one of our heroes, the champions will be pushed to their limits and beyond. Can the arrival of two more destined warriors improve their chances or will it bring them one step closer to failing like their predecessors?

Get this bundle now & it will magically appear on your Kindle on June 1st!




That’s NOT All!
Starting tomorrow Bundle #1 will be 99 cents for…

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Another Monday #MondayBlogs #JoanObsorne

My friend and fellow blogger John Howell likes to commemorate Fridays.  For some (insane) reason, I’m hung up on Mondays … beginning of my work week, beginning of the race to the weekend, beginning of my hopes that I’ll end the week with both my mind and body intact (and usually it’s just one or the other … you guess which).

And lately … I’ve been on a Joan Osborne kick. I have a couple of her CDs but since the local radio stations play the same crap music over and over and Borders exists no longer so the one store in town where I could sip a coffee and browse through the music section is gone … I’ve gone unaware of just how much Joan has produced.  The following clip from YouTube is a twofer:

And if you want something that will get your hips shaking …

Comments are closed as I’ll be too busy hip shaking my way through the work week 🙂

Still Here But Not There #Mondayblogs #Nature #Mindfulness

It’s been so long since I’ve been on my blog, I almost forgot my password.  WordPress recently “congratulated” me for having first registered with WP eight years ago.  My, my, how times flies.  Except … I have posts going as far back as November 2007.  Oh, I don’t want to be snippy, but my head is so full of computer code right now, it’s hard not to try and make mincemeat out of WP.

Yes, sadly, my absence (or, at best my filmy, flimsy presence) is due in large part to my workplace.  It’s been a hellacious time with projects being delayed and then coming due all at the same time; with little nonsense fires that takes several people (including moi) to put out because, you know, leadership (or the lack thereof) don’t have a clue; with regular duties that get put off because of the projects and then the thousand mea culpas that I feel obliged to give because it’s “Nobody’s Fault But Mine.”  Okay, that is just the title of a song I like, as sung by Joan Osborne.

I’ve been surfacing here and there in the blogosphere, trying to keep up with friends and failing (as usual) but … I can’t stop trying because there’s just so much good stuff being written and shared.

Unlike this post.

But there is light at the end of my workaday tunnel and I expect to (eventually) be back up and writing and reading and commenting … eventually, as I say.  I may never regain the energy or even the will to be a daily blogger as I once was or even a weekly one.  It’s not that I don’t want to write.  I do. I do. I do.  I just don’t feel compelled to engage with you all on only my platform when visiting you on yours is so much more fun.

More importantly for me right now, I’m trying to get some balance in my daily life by engaging in mindfulness (and I do hope you all aren’t sick of hearing about mindfulness yet).  Spring has come to my corner of the US and I make a daily effort to get out and walk about, even if it’s just around my building.  The sun is warm but the air is cool in the shade and often I pick up my pace and make my way (with determination even) to a large pond uphill from the complex where I work.  Often my efforts are rewarded with sightings of hawks, red-winged blackbirds, egrets, blue herons, squirrels, rabbits, pond sliders, and lazy cats gazing out windows.  Recently, I was fortunate in coming upon a wood stork feeding in a clump of tall grass that bordered the pond.  I approached slowly, quietly, but the nervous large bird took exception to my presence and flew off.  And I was fortunate that for once I thought to use the video function on my iPhone.  Please enjoy and see you all around and about again.



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