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MILLLICENT G. DILLON, represented by Harold Ober Associates, is the world’s expert on authors Jane and Paul Bowles. She has won five O. Henry Awards and been nominated for the PEN/Faulkner. I worked with Dillon on her memoir, The Absolute Elsewhere, in which she describes in luminous prose her private meeting with Albert Einstein to discuss the ethics of the atomic bomb. Read more. . .

SASHA TROYAN is a Professor of English at Montclair University and author of the critically-acclaimed novels Angels in the Morning and The Forgotten Island, both Booksense Selections, beautiful stories based upon her childhood in France. I worked with Troyan to develop her new novels, Marriage A Trois and Semester. Read more. . .

LUCIA ORTH is the author of the debut novel, Baby Jesus Pawn Shop, which received critical acclaim from Publisher’s Weekly, NPR, Booklist, Library Journal and Small Press Reviews. I have edited a number of essays and articles for Orth. Read more. . .

BHAICHAND PATEL, retired after an illustrious career with the United Nations, is now a journalist based out of New Dehli and Bombay, an expert on Bollywood, and author of three non-fiction books published by Penguin. I edited Patel’s best-selling debut novel, Mothers, Lovers, and Other Strangers, published by Pan Macmillan. Read more. . .

SCOTT WILBANKS, represented by Barbara Poelle of the Irene Goodman Literary Agency, is the author of the debut novel, The Lemoncholy Life of Annie Aster, published by Sourcebooks in August, 2015. I’m working with Wilbanks on his sophomore novel, Easy Pickens, the story of the world’s only medically-diagnosed case of chronic naiveté. Read more. . .

SCOTT WARRENDER is a professional musician and Annie Award-nominated lyricist specializing in musical theater. I work with Warrender regularly on his short stories and debut novel, Putaway. Read more. . .

M. TERRY GREEN enjoys a successful self-publishing career with multiple sci-fi/fantasy series set in the Multiverse, based upon her expertise in anthropology and technology. I worked with Green to develop a new speculative fiction series. Read more. . .

DARREN D. BEYER is an ex-NASA experiment engineer who has worked on every Space Shuttle orbiter but Challenger. In his sci-fi Anghazi Series, Beyer uses his scientific expertise to create a galaxy in which “space bridges” allow interstellar travel based upon the latest in real theoretical physics. Read more. . .

ANIA VESENNY, represented by Beverly Slopen Literary Agency, is a recipient of the Evelyn Sullivan Gilbertson Award for Emerging Artist in Literature and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. I edited Vesenny’s debut novel, Swearing in Russian at the Northern Lights, and her second novel, Sandara. Read more. . .

STUART WAKEFIELD is the #1 Kindle Best Selling author of Body of Water, the first novel in his Orcadian Trilogy. Body of Water was 1 of 10 books long-listed for the Polari First Book Prize. I edited Wakefield’s second novel, Memory of Water, and look forward to editing the final novel of his Orcadian Trilogy, Spirit of Water. Read more. . .

GERALDINE EVANS is a best-selling British author. Her historical novel, Reluctant Queen, is a Category No 1 Best Seller on Amazon UK. I edited Death Dues, #11 in Evans’ fifteen popular Rafferty and Llewellyn cozy police procedurals, which received a glowing review from the Midwest Book Review. Read more. . .

JUDY LEE DUNN is an award-winning marketing blogger. I am working with Dunn to develop and line edit her memoir of reconciling liberal activism with her emotional difficulty accepting the lesbianism of her beloved daughter, Tonight Show comedienne Kellye Rowland. Read more. . .

LISA MERCADO-FERNANDEZ writes literary novels of love, loss, and friendship set in the small coastal towns of New England. I edited Mercado-Fernandez’ debut novel The Shoebox and second novel The Eighth Summer. Read more. . .

JEFF RUSSELL is the author of the debut novel, The Rules of Love and Law, based upon Jeff’s abiding passions for legal history and justice. Read more. . .

LEN JOY is the author of the debut novel, American Past Time. I worked with Len to develop his novel from its core: a short story about the self-destructive ambitions of a Minor League baseball star. Read more. . .

ALEX KENDZIORSKI is an American physician working in South Africa on community health education and wildlife conservation. I edited Kendziorski’s debut novel Wait a Season for Their Names about the endangered African painted wolf, for which he is donating the profits to wildlife conservation. Read more. . .

ALEXANDRA GODFREY blogs for the New England Journal of Medicine. I work with Godfrey on her short fiction and narrative nonfiction, including a profile of the doctor who helped save her son’s life, “Mending Broken Hearts.” Read more. . .

In addition, I work with scores of aspiring writers in their apprenticeship to this wonderful literary art and craft.

  • By Victoria Mixon

    Steam rose from the surface of Gina’s latte.

    “What’s wrong?” I asked. “Your face. You look—”

    “I was jogging. I ran here.” Gina dumped a packet of sugar into her cup.

    “Not that. You look a little—spent.”

    “I am spent. I’m single-parenting while Todd’s out of town.”

    “He’s still out of town? It’s going on, what, two weeks?”

    Gina took a sip of her coffee. “He’s not coming back.”

    I covered my mouth with my hand and waited for her to say something, but she was silent.

    “Where is he now?”

    She looked up. “In San Jose. That’s where his brother lives—”

    “And his mistress?”

    She snorted. “If only it were his mistress.”

    “You don’t mean—”

    “I mean, he has a mister.”
    —Amy Carey

    Developmental Edit

    This is great—it throws us back and forth between stress, out-of-town husband, lover, and switch in sexual orientation so fast it’s like a tennis match!

    Tense? check
    Specific? check
    Raises a question? check What’s Gina going to do about being abandoned by her husband?
    Drop-kicks us off the end? check He’s turned gay?

    What does this paragraph tell us about the book we’re starting? A female character named Gina is stressed out because she’s been left with one or more children by a husband who’s turned out to be gay. The first-person protagonist is shocked at the news.

    Do I want to follow this character through a whole novel? I don’t know much about Gina except her situation, but her situation is GRIPPING. So, yes, I’m going to turn the page!

    Genre? Contemporary fiction, unless something else crops up to place it in a more specific genre.

    Do we need to know who the character is, how they got here, where they were before? We know Gina’s married with kids and has a friend to confide in. That’s enough!

    Does this paragraph drop us right smack in a specific moment in this character’s story? Point-blank. We get the news as the protagonist gets the news, and we’re just as shocked as they are. Not bad for no backstory.

    So let’s talk about the structure of it. This is almost entirely dialog. It’s a technique that’s served writers like Amistead Maupin well—crisp, clean, fast-paced, it leapfrogs right over such concerns as whether or not you’re using too much exposition or description. It also seems well-suited to both the light, witty tone and surprise-packed story. I’d trim maybe a word here or there, but other than that we’re fully engaged by the time we’re sprung off that last word like a spring bug. Excellent work!

    Copy & Line Edit

    Steam rose from the surface of Gina’s latte.

    “What’s wrong?” I asked. “Your face—”

    “I jogged here.” Gina dumped a packet of sugar into her cup.

    “Not that. You look a little—spent.”

    “I am spent. I’m single-parenting while Todd’s out of town.”

    “It’s going on, what, two weeks?”

    Gina took a sip. “He’s not coming back.”

    I covered my mouth and waited, but she was silent.

    “Where is he?”

    She looked up. “In San Jose. Where his brother lives—”

    “And his mistress?”

    She snorted. “If only.”

    “You don’t mean—”

    “He has a mister.”


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No Responses to “Free HOOK Edit: Steam rose from the surface—”

  1. I like this! It looks like it would be an interesting read.

  2. Stephanie St.Clair said on

    Love it! You definitely got me on the final line. Great job. 🙂

  3. Oh, boy (no pun intended!)…you’ve definitely picked an interesting twist to work with! Great work on the dialogue; I would definitely read on.