Archive | March 2013


It is interesting that someone not wanting to read or edit gratuitous, unnecessary sex gets that label.  As I have mentioned in comments before, I have read books with graphic sex which was, believe it or not, integral to the plot, and it is exceptionally well written.

(Check out Yvonne Hertzberger’s Earth’s Pendulum Series. Book One is ‘Back from Chaos’, Book Two is ‘Through Kestrel’s Eyes’, and Book Three should be out by year’s end. Links below.)

To decide that someone is a prude for preferring  not to read porn is similar to deciding that someone who wants to watch their health and weight does not like or enjoy food. Poppy cock. It does not compute.

I have been married for almost forty-five years to a testosterone rich, totally masculine trucker. You should not need graphics to read between those lines. And between the lines is the best place for most sex in  literature. You are entitled to read whatever you like, and I am not a fan censorship. Adults with free will make their own choices. Enforcing your preferences on others is wrong.

Just be aware that I am equally free to make my choices, and that does not mean I hate anybody.

The polarizing and hate-filled assumptions proliferating on social media are distressing. To hold a belief is automatically assumed to be hating. I am no hater. I love many people with whom I disagree. And I will adamantly defend their right to their own beliefs and opinions.

Down with labels? I wish, but it won’t happen.

This woman has mastered the art.

This woman has mastered the art.

Back from Chaos on Amazon

Through Kestrel’s Eyes on Amazon

No Sugar Coating

True Crime by Zach Fortier-It's a cesspool out there

True Crime by Zach Fortier-
It’s a cesspool out there

I recently refused to help to promote a book, which was very ’50 Shades of Gray’-esque. I will agree that some sex in books is not always a bad thing. But there was tons and tons in this one. Not negotiable.

But my editing does include crime novels, and yes, there are some nasty things happening in those, too. But I do not read or edit erotica, porn, anything macabre, vampires or things of that nature.

Right now I am actively promoting author Zach Fortier’s books about his real-life experiences working thirty years of night  shifts on city and county police forces. He exposes corruption within these departments, deals with PTSD in ‘first response’ professionals, tells-it-like-it-is in the real world.

These are graphic, gruesome, violent, real events, worthy of Stephen King, uncensored and happening under your nose in your city every day. It would seem some of my connections are deeply offended by this.

Don’t shoot the messenger.

I have not only read the books, I will go on record as admitting to having edited the re-released versions. It is alarming, eye-opening material.

I believe in God and seek to follow Him 24/7. I know we are admonished to discern the signs of the times and ‘watch ye therefore’, as events unfold in this age. Clearly, not everyone can read this kind of thing. Don’t offend your conscience. You must be true to your standards.

The truth is not always appreciated, we all have baggage, most of us have sore points, and we need to respect that. I think it is easier to pray ‘Thy kingdom come’, though, when you know what is happening in your wholesome neighborhood.

At the very least, anybody considering a career in law enforcement should read these books.

Purchase books, read reviews and synopses here:

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“Goodness of Strangers” Launch, March 24, 2013

Author Helga Rechenbach Sarkar

Author Helga Rechenbach Sarkar

Helga Sarkar was not supposed to live. Her mother, in a panic at the end of the second world war, fearing for her safety and the safety of her two year old daughter, left a note for her husband, who would not be able to return home for another ten days, and turned the gas on in the kitchen. Johanna died sitting at her kitchen table.

Helga was in her crib in another room, which is where she was found, alive and well, and wondering where her Mutti was.

Her father, though, in many ways never recovered from years of trauma in the war and the tragic loss of the woman he loved and to whom he was finally returning. His relationship with his eldest daughter was forever strained.

A picture of Helga and her mother not long before her mother died adorns the cover.

A picture of Helga and her mother not long before her mother died adorns the cover.

Helga’s father remarried, but he and his pregnant wife escaped East Germany, leaving Helga with her grand parents. When Helga was able to join her father, he sent her off to boarding school. Cast aside, rejected, unwanted, feeling unloved, Helga faced growing up solo.

Never fitting in and never feeling accepted became the entire fabric of Helga’s life. With one major exception. Her faith in God. Jesus is her all in all.

Helga became a pediatric nurse, and she emigrated to Canada, alone, in 1965. Her relationship with her father never improved.

The years in Canada have been an endless journey with God and His provision through The Goodness of Strangers.

Helga marks a milestone this year. She turns 70 on June 14th. She wanted her memoir written and published by then and she has done it.

This one will warm your heart and inspire you.

More photos below the links.

If you live in Stratford ON you can pick up a copy at Gospel Lighthouse.

Or contact Helga directly:

Available in paperback from

Will be out for Kindle in the future.  

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Another winner from Ms. Lamb.

Kristen Lamb's Blog

This week, we’ve talked a lot about some fundamental errors that can weaken the writing. Most all of us make one or more of these errors, especially when we’re new. Hey, that’s called “being NEW.” No one is born with the natural ability to write brilliant, perfect novels coded into their DNA. It takes time and practice, so give yourself permission to make mistakes…then learn, suck it up and back to work.

It writes the words or it gets the hose *pets fluffy white dog*

Today I’m again donning my editor’s hat to give you a peek into what red flags agents (and even readers) see in those first five pages.

Red Flag #1

If Your Novel has More Characters than the Star Wars Prequels, You Might Need Revision

Don’t even get me started about Jar Jar Binks.

Whenever the author takes the time to name a character, that is…

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This entry was posted on March 22, 2013. 4 Comments

First Grade Memories of Failure

school desk

Don’t allow apparent setbacks to prevent you from achieving great things.

How in the world can anyone flunk first grade?

Well. I did.

If a teacher decides that a child is advancing rapidly and should “skip” a grade, there is much consultation in the board room, and discussion with the child’s parents. Many things are considered including the child’s emotional maturity, even physical size. Care is taken ensuring that advancing the child quickly won’t be detrimental. But that’s now.

This was then. When I entered Kindergarten the schools had all of the authority and a teacher’s decision was accepted by parents. Questioning perceived authority was verboten. Society as a whole was  passive.

We small fry were marched, three at a time, to a room in the school with what appeared to us to be a very large, round table, and we were introduced to, and then left alone with, a stranger who explained that we would be given several sheets of pictures. We had to decide how many items we noticed which were different between each set of two superficially identical drawings.

That sounded like fun to me. Uncomfortable in large groups to this day, I found the size of the group in my post-war baby boom class to be overwhelming and intimidating. Sitting in a room with only two others and doing something by myself had appeal.

The other two were out of there in a flash. Two more came in. They left. Two more came in, and so on. I was still concentrating on the drawings. The stranger went out and called my teacher to the door and they conversed in hushed tones. I just kept finding and circling differences.

Perhaps there should have been a time limit.

The stranger looked over my papers. She looked up at me quizzically and then continued to go through the papers. She stood and held out her hand for me, and hand in hand we went back to my class.

The stranger told me to get my things while she talked to my teacher. Then she took me to a classroom with desks. She told the teacher I would be her student now and I was given a desk, pencil, eraser, notebook and a stern admonition to sit still and listen.

I was tired and cranky over Christmas vacation because I was incubating chicken pox. When I should have been returning to my class in the New Year I was in bed smothered with calamine lotion. I missed another two weeks of school. I was back for a week when I caught cold. In those days children stayed home with colds.

That is why I failed. The next year, when I should have been entering a grade one classroom for the first time anyway, I could already print the alphabet and I could read Fun with Dick and Jane.

Remind me to tell you the one about how we moved every year, in the middle of the school year, not just to a new district but to new cities.

Kicking and Screaming about changes to Social Networking

♪ "..It hurts so good..." ♫

♪ “..It hurts so good…” ♫

The human paradox is that we crave change and growth and resist it just as savagely. Cognitive Dissonance: an uncomfortable feeling caused by holding conflicting ideas simultaneously.

I am no psychologist.  I am an introvert, though, and I have a theory that we introverts have more of a struggle with change than do the trail blazers.

It takes me longer to embrace new ideas, methods of operation, and technology. Once on board I am an enthusiastic, even obnoxious, convert.

Why do we resist? Fear of assimilation? Nostalgia?

Beyond “a certain age” every generation longs for the good old days, and this is despite the fact that their good old days were someone else’s scandalous deviation from what was accepted as proper. “If God had wanted us to travel at 30 miles per hour we would have been born with wheels”.

Is resistance futile?

Perhaps not in some respects. Antiques and memorabilia and each generation’s longing for throw backs to simpler times will continue to appeal to many.

In an MP3 generation vinyl is making a comeback. “Retro” is cool in fashion. But whether you call it progress or degeneration humanity shall continue to hurtle itself forward because the human mind must envision and create to remain alive.

Stagnation kills a lot of things.

Facebook was the domain of only the young only a few years ago.

I was at a social media event recently where it was stated that 67% of all Facebook users now are grandparents, many of them doing cyber business there seven days a week.

The young will probably do everything first, but I know that an increasing number of people in my own age group do follow trends almost fanatically and are in the line ups for the newest piece of technology.

I will vehemently defend your right to be a Luddite.

I shall also attempt to master the new technologies and realities that will drive business and yes, the arts, into the future.

I am spotting another paradox.

In times past, the most highly educated were the enlightened ones who wanted to forge ahead. Ironically, it seems to be most educated people I know, the ones who insist on creative license and freedom to improvise, who are spearheading the passive resistance. Interesting.

Life Is A Roller Coaster.


Get back in line and keep riding.

When I was a child there used to be amusement companies with small versions of midway rides and they travelled from mall to mall, setting up in the parking lots.  At the risk of giving away my generational category I will admit that, at age 9, I was permitted to go to these venues alone.

I stared at the roller coaster. It was definitely small, but so was I. Never more than ten feet from the ground it still loomed large and powerful in my eyes. I don’t know what made me get in line to ride it, and I was shaking when I climbed in. I clung to the bar in my first white knuckle experience and scarcely breathed.

Grateful to be back on solid ground, I got in line again. I didn’t know why. I remember consciously asking myself the question and not receiving an answer.

The second ride mirrored the first.  Again I felt gratitude when I walked through the exit, and again I got in line. Nine year olds cannot be aware enough to question their very sanity, but I did wonder why on earth I was going to put myself through this again.

The third round was different. Still clinging to the bar, I flew over the first rise in the track and began to laugh. Right out loud; all by myself.  The experience was exhilarating. I got in line a fourth time, smiling and excited. The fear was gone.

The serenity prayer says this: God give me the strength to accept those things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Life is a roller coaster.

This one is phenomenal!
In ALL walks of life you will encounter these emotional blood suckers.

Kristen Lamb's Blog

In the beginning of my Enemies of the Art series, we discussed Psychic Vampires. Psychic Vampires are all around us, and likely, we will never be rid of them. PVs are most likely to show up at a number of critical junctures. They sense the energy shift, and since that energy is no longer all about them, they will fight tooth-and-nail to bring balance to The Force (of Manipulation).

While many of my posts are directed toward writers, most people have these same issues. If we don’t learn how to guard against and handle PVs, we will always be their victims. Psychic Vampires will always feel renewed and refreshed, namely because they just sucked the life out of their victims (us).

Psychic Vampires abound in the arts, and they’re also prevalent in many writing groups. They are vamps dressed in writer clothing. Often they are so self-absorbed they can’t even…

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M.J. added a ‘ping back’ to my article “Editing: Expense or Investment” and I thank her for that. She covers things which I didn’t, and this is an informative read.

M. J. Kane

Editors. In the world of writing, we all need one. The question is when.

During my writing journey, I’ve heard various tales, feedback, and opinions.

No, don’t hire an editor to read your work before submitting. You’ll be wasting money. Let the publisher pay for it.

Yes, hire an editor; it could increase your quality of your product and give you an opportunity to actually find and agent and/or publisher.

Decisions, decisions, decisions.

When it all comes down to it, the true question is: how much money do you want to invest?

Two years ago, the thought of an editor reviewing my work scared me. The idea of someone ripping it to shreds, and spitting it back at me, demanding that it be re-written because it wasn’t good enough, had me cursing the profession. I pushed that thought aside and focused on writing a story I wanted to…

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This entry was posted on March 11, 2013. 2 Comments

Tarnished Testimony- When Religion Becomes god

Can you walk with God and still rarely go to church?

This is not a news flash – more damage is done in the name of religion than by global pandemics.

That which kills the body is nothing when compared to that which kills the soul. We’re all God’s children, but some siblings have done such a thorough job of sullying the family name that millions of others have disowned it.

It isn’t easy to remain part of organized religion after watching so many halos slip or fall right off. Financial embezzling, adulterous affairs, incest. People who are adored as pillars with  global followers slipping on the banana peels of life and slaughtering not only their own credibility, but in the minds of the people whom they have “lead to the Lord”, destroying God’s as well.

I have reached a point where I finally know that God is the centre of my belief and the leaves on the vine are to be respected for the office they hold, but nothing more. Not blindly followed.

Nothing that happens in the lives of those in leadership must be permitted to rattle your confidence in The Almighty. If it does, you are at risk of idolatry. Church leaders are all mere mortals with no power to save or sustain you. Don’t give them the power to destroy you.

There is a book out there that has done so very much for my peace and joy in my walk with God. And please, don’t blast it until you read it.

Recommended by Malcolm Smith, international Bible teacher and author of THE POWER OF THE BLOOD COVENANT

Recommended by Malcolm Smith, international Bible teacher and author of THE POWER OF THE BLOOD COVENANT

This entry was posted on March 10, 2013. 1 Comment