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Welcome to My Wordy Life

For as long as I can remember, I've been besotted by words, in love with the English language. My parents read to me (as I read to my son) practically from the moment of my birth, and when I learned to read, I always received books for Christmas and my birthday and had finished reading them within the week. I still have some of my childhood books: old editions of Little Women, Grimms' Fairy Tales, Andrew Lang's fairy books, Hans Brinker, The Wizard of Oz, all the Nancy Drew and Cherry Ames books. My mother was a member of the Literary Guild and because she never got around to sending the post cards back, I got to read her books, too. (I learned early on how to climb up and get the ones on the top shelves.) She gave me her official permission to read Gone With the Wind when I was eleven. Boy, was that an eye-opener for a naïve little girl! My parents also bought my brother and me The Book of Knowledge; I read straight through all twenty volumes. 

Yeah. I have been, as they say, bookish all my life. Today, of course, I spend most of my time editing and writing.

To read my blog, please scroll down.


  Secret Lives is now available at the on-line bookstores. Buy Secret Lives today!  And then write a review. And tell all your friends how much you enjoyed the book.

You can also go to my Facebook Secret Lives page and Like the book. Tell all your friends again! Ask them to Like the book, too. Leave comments and questions. Wouldn't it be nifty if Secret Lives turned into a sort of interactive book via Facebook and the FREE READER'S GUIDE on this site?

Notice the little witch! Because I didn’t want to rip off anyone’s art and just use one of my 330 witches, I asked my brilliant daughter-in-law to make me a witch. She—the witch, not Phish—is now sitting on the shelf in my living room where you see her in the photo.

Let Me Be Your Editor

Are you writing a book? Thinking about writing a book? Let me be your editor. I've edited more than 250 books (both fiction and nonfiction), academic documents (theses and dissertations), web site copy, articles, technical proposals, screenplays, poetry, and things I don't even remember anymore. As you explore this site, you can read excerpts from my nonfiction books and some of my articles and poems. If you're thinking about writing, send me an email and we can talk about how I can help you. I never charge for email conversations.

Note: if you like my work and want to use it, please do not just copy and paste. As I have to explain from time to time to an author whose work I'm editing, copying and pasting someone else's copyrighted work without their permission is plagiarism. Which is against the law. Which can get you an F in your class. Which can get you prosecuted. It's usually easy to get permission to reproduce someone else's copyrighted work: just ask. If you want to reproduce anything on my site anywhere else, please send me an email and ask. I'll no doubt tell you I'm honored that you like what I've written and then tell you how to give me proper credit.

This is not a real book review

Posted on October 24, 2014 | Read full article

A few months ago, a magazine editor sent me a novel,  The Thinking Woman’s Guide to Real Magic by Emily Croy Barker, to review for her magazine. The blurb on the back of the book tells us that a graduate student named Nora goes to a friend’s wedding, wanders off, and “somehow finds herself in another realm.” She meets the “glamorous and endlessly charming Ilissa, who introduces Nora to a decadent new world—and to her gorgeous son. … It’s almost too good to be true.” But then Nora wanders away from a party and comes into another realm in which she meets two men who tell her that Ilissa’s realm is evil and Ilissa just kidnapped her to breed an heir. Sure enough, she gets pregnant. The handsome prince, having done his duty, takes up with other glamorous (but evil) women. But Nora’s baby dies and—

I got as far as page 48. At which point I wrote to the magazine editor and told her the book is not only poorly written but its plot is awful. It’s a clichéd, Disneyfied, dark fairy tale/romance novel. “Ditch it,” the magazine editor wrote back.

But, hey—I’m a novelist, too, and I like fairy tales a lot, and I have a good imagination. So here goes.