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I have enjoyed a life-long love affair with the written word, and “published” my first novel in the seventh grade—a serial romance that I read to my friends during our lunch hour. I didn’t stop there. I have a bachelor and master’s degree in Mass Communication and a year of doctoral coursework in the same field, and have taught writing courses at the university level. I have had six books published by large New York publishers: one business book and five novels, one of which made The New York Times bestseller list. A short story appeared in the NINC anthology Cast of Characters. Details about my books are available on my website:

I have been a freelance technical researcher, writer, and editor for more than 20 years, with experience spanning the finance, workplace health and safety, environmental engineering, telecommunications, software and software security, and corporate intelligence fields. My clients have included several Fortune 100 companies, the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, NASA, three branches of the U.S. military, and the White House Communications Agency Executive Office of the President. I have also judged entries in dozens of writing contests. A few of the other hats I have worn are journalist, copy editor, and corporate intelligence analyst.

My writing life has included a lot of high points, from the first time I read a short story I wrote to an appreciative audience in the fifth grade, to signing my first traditional publishing contract, to seeing my first romance novel in print, and then seeing it go on to win the Holt Medallion, the CRW Award of Excellence, and the Desert Rose Golden Quill, to learning that my first thriller hit The The New York Times Bestseller List, to having a long, successful career as a senior technical researcher, writer and editor. Perhaps I’ve just been lucky, perhaps I’ve just been in the right place at the right time, perhaps my hard work has just paid off; whatever the reason for my success, I want to spread the happiness. Some fabulous people helped me achieve my dreams and I want to “pay it forward” by helping other writers achieve their publishing goals and dreams. I established The Book Spa to provide writers with a valuable service that will improve their books and their careers, and will provide them with an experience they will want to share with their writing colleagues.

I provide a variety of manuscript evaluations, from quick reviews of contest entries to high-level, big-picture manuscript critiques to more granular, substantive edits. I do not offer proofreading or copy-editing services, except where identified.

My interests and experience are wide-ranging and I am comfortable providing editorial assistance for any fiction or non-fiction manuscript.

I don’t rip people off. I will not tell you that are the next Nora Roberts, Tom Clancy, Ernest Hemingway, Simon Winchester, or Peter Drucker unless I really, truly believe it. I would never apply lipstick to a porker, put a bandage on a sucking chest wound, or take your money if I haven’t earned it. If I start reading your work and realize five, 10, or 20 pages in that you need instruction rather than editing, I will tell you.

Everything I do will be tailored to you and your project. Please send me an email containing details about your project, including:

 The type of editing services you wish to schedule;
 Information about the manuscript, including genre and word count;
 Your intended audience(s) and what you want your book to do to or for your readers;
 Your publication goals for the manuscript (traditional or independent publishing);
 Your timeline, including your intended submission/publication date;
 Your publication history, if you are published, or information about your writing background, including contest results, critique groups,
   writing workshops, etc., if you are unpublished;
 Your budget; and
 Other information you want me to know about you or your manuscript.

If I am not familiar with your work, I may request the first five pages of your manuscript to read to help me determine if I am the right editor for your project. There is no charge for this reading.

We will proceed from there to determine the type of service best suited to your project, the compatibility of our schedules, and our comfort levels in moving forward on the project.

You can expect open, timely communication. I know how frustrating it is to expect to get a project back only to have it be delayed, or to send an email and wait…and wait….and wait for a reply. When I’m working on your project, I will keep you informed of my progress. I won’t let you languish.

You can expect me to deliver a candid, honest, professional evaluation of your work, provide suggestions that I think will make it stronger and more marketable, and direct you to resources that can assist you in achieving your goals. You’re hiring me to help you improve your book, not to love it as is. Of course, I might love your work, in which case I will tell you that and provide sincere praise. But more likely, I will identify areas of your work that need more attention, ranging from minor tweaks to major re-writes.

You can expect me to ask you hard questions. My questions—about character motivations, incidents, missed opportunities, or any number of other things—are intended to encourage you to consider possibilities, resolve issues, or push your creativity in new directions. My questions may push you out of your comfort zone, but are intended to improve your material.

You can expect not to like every comment or suggestion I make. You don't have to take my suggestions. It's your work, your creativity, and you are the decision-maker.

You can expect to get your feelings hurt. It will be unintentional, but it will probably happen. After all, I’ll be identifying your work’s flaws and dissecting them, which can hurt. Know that my only goal is to make your work shine brighter.

You can expect that I will NOT crush your creativity, step on your rapture, squash your voice, or rewrite your book. I don’t operate that way. I didn’t like it when people tried to do that to me and doing it to you would be pointless. I know that writing is a tough, lonely, frustrating, confidence-sapping occupation, and the very fact that you have spent months or years working on something dear to your heart deserves respect.

You can expect to see every change I make to your manuscript. Whether I’ve fixed a typo, suggested a better word, or deleted a paragraph. All changes will be visible and reversible. Specific comments will be embedded in the manuscript as comments in electronic files or as hand-written notes in a hard copy.

You can expect to receive an editorial letter. This will be similar to the sort an in-house editor would send, and it will contain general impressions, suggestions, recommendations, and resources, as appropriate.

You can expect me to respect your time, your talent, and your work, and to do my best to help you do your best.

You didn’t put so much time and energy into your manuscript just to have it languish in an editor’s slush pile or get buried in the vast electronic graveyard of published, but unread books online. You want to share your words and your vision with your intended audience. Whether that audience is the general public or an editor, you want your book to grab them and not let them go until they have read the last word. I want that, too. While I can’t deliver miracles, I can and will work hard to make your work stand out as a clean, professionally edited, professionally presented manuscript.

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