Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Savant Books Announces the Release of Charlotte Hebert's New Coming-of-Age Novel, "Big Heaven"

Charlotte Hebert's "Big Heaven"
HONOLULU - May 10, 2016 - PRLog -- Mo Proctor is the recipient of a prophecy (how cool is that?). She believes the prophecy states that she needs to leave home to become a nun at the age of sixteen (which is now). The only problems are: Her mother recently died, and her father is showing signs of early Alzheimer's disease (which are really significant problems). How can she reconcile it all? And is the prophecy the only thing driving her to want to pack up and leave home?

Charlotte Hebert is the author of the novel, "Numbering Stars" (a finalist in both the Hemingway First Novel Contest and the Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize), and the nonfiction book, "Meditate and Experience God: Saints, Scriptures, and Science Point the Way." Her short fiction has appeared in over half-a-dozen literary journals, and her essays have appeared in the Boston Globe Magazine and the Worcester Telegram and Gazette. She lives with her husband and their son in Northborough, MA.

"I always like to include some mention of both meditation and spirituality in my fiction, because I know how important these are in my own life, and I love the idea of sharing these topics with others," says Hebert. "At the same time, my father had Alzheimer's disease and died of it, and this ended up having a greater impact on me than I realized, which led me to want to write about it. My father, like the father in 'Big Heaven', really was a very sweet, corny man, who was almost too good for this world, and I wanted to pay homage to him. It was by combining the idea of both meditation and of a character like my father that 'Big Heaven' was born."

"Big Heaven"by Charlotte Hebert - 304 pages - 6" x 9" Trade Book - Color Softcover.

ISBN 978-0-9963255-
0-9. Suggested retail price $16.95. Released in February 2016 by Savant Books and Publications, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA.

This book is available directly from the publisher and printer at

from Savant Bookstore Honolulu,

and from at

Savant Books and Publications LLC is a publisher of enduring literature and media for the 21st Century. For more information visit

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Little Things #2: Submission Guidelines

[Disclaimer that none of these are specific to any one writer I've worked with, and in some cases, are based on my own experiences as a writer having my own work edited.]

Little Things #2: Following Submission Guidelines

Here's the tl:dr right upfront:

1. Follow the Submission Guidelines! They are there for a reason. Not following them can make things harder for the agent or publisher you're submitting to, and the thing is, you want them to want you (like the song). Don't make things harder for them. They will not like you for doing so.

Other points:

2. Some agents and publishers will not even bother to look at the rest of a submission packet if they run into things that don't follow the guidelines. It will be an automatic rejection.

3. Some won't automatically reject, but it puts them on notice, so to speak. You have to work even harder to make a good impression.

4. When the submission guidelines include formatting specifications—saving it as a certain file type, using straight quotes over smart quotes, two spaces after a period or one—following these may seem small now, but could have time-consuming consequences later.

5. Following guidelines tells agents and publishers stuff beyond the quality of the writing: how well you research who you're submitting to, how well you follow direction, how willing you are to make changes (someone who thinks, "My story is great, they'll see that and won't mind that it's a different font, or that I included scene/section breaks in a unique way," probably won't be easy to work with, and rejection is more likely).

To sum up:

Following submission guidelines are an important part of the querying process. It might seem time-consuming, especially if you are submitting to a lot of different places with wildly different guidelines, but for agents and publishers, it can be the first line of defense against manuscripts that could be disorganized, badly written, or incomplete, as well as writers who are hard to work with.

Last thought:

Just as it's the publishers' and agents' first line of defense, it's also your first impression. Following submission guidelines shows that you are professional, attentive to detail, and serious about getting published.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Helping the Syrian Refugees

I don’t normally do things like this, but my friend Ariel Ricker is currently in the area where refugees are fleeing. She was first in Turkey, helping out with refugees leaving and is currently in Greece, helping when refugees arrive. She is working with others to put together care packages–food, clothes, shoes, and other necessities. She’s told me the refugees are no longer even allowed to bring one bag of belongings, so they are literally arriving in Greece with nothing.

I’m sure many of you have seen the photos of refugees who have not made it. But for those who have reached the shore, there is still a lot that can be done to help.

If you are in that region, this is the website of an organization she’s working with where you can find out what refugees need and where you can drop items off: Care Packages for Syrian Refugees.

My friend is also personally going into stores, and buying food and supplies, but her financial resources are not limitless. If you are in the US and would still like to help her, you can go to her GoFundMe page. The money donated there will help her with basic housing and necessities so she can stay there as long as possible to help, and the rest will go towards helping the refugees.

I know some folks like to donate through larger organizations, others prefer something more direct. I have seen the posts from my friend, the photos of what she's seen and who she's met, so I know she is there and doing the work.

If you have a few dollars and have been looking for a way to help, I’ll hope you’ll consider donating to my friend. If you can’t, please spread the word.

Related to this, she is also a journalist and writing articles on the situation: 

(This is cross-posted from my main blog: CoffeeQuill)

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Little Things #1: Beta-ing and Critique

So in order to get back into blogging more, and especially blogging more regularly on what ought to be my profile editor's blog, I am going to get into little things that I feel are important when you reach the editing portion of writing a book.

This is, of course, all in my opinion, but I like to think this is some handy advice for folks who are writing or have written a novel and want to get published.

[Disclaimer that none of these are specific to any one writer I've worked with, and in some cases, are based on my own experiences as a writer having my own work edited.]

Without further ado...

Little Things #1: Beta-reading and offering constructive critique

Here's the tl:dr right upfront:

1. It is always a  good idea to get at least a few people to read your story before you start submitting it to agents or publishers. Don't submit a story no one but you has seen. You are almost certain to have missed something.

Other points:

2. Not everyone is good at offering constructive criticism. Some people just don't know how to do it effectively; others get jealous or have something else going on in their own lives/minds that lead to them offering deliberately unkind critiques. Don't let a bad critique squash your passion.

3. Most people probably fall into the "don't know how" category. Therefore, don't let a bad critique squash your passion.

4. Whether you are asking other writers, people who just like to read, or friends and family who are trying to support you--it is super helpful to tell at least a portion of your beta-readers what you want them to do. There's some trial and error to this. I tend to have at least one person, usually another writer, read the story without my asking or pointing out anything beforehand. Seeing what they catch or point out, unprompted, can let me know if I am seeing problems that actually exist or if I'm worrying about something that works just fine. But I have at least a couple people whom I will ask to read a story, and I will give them specific instructions or ask them to read with a particular purpose.

Examples: "Can you read this and let me know if the characters' motivations all work and make sense?" Or, "Read this chapter and tell me if any scene seems unnecessary or boring, please."

5. Politeness is also super helpful, on both sides. Don't assume someone who has beta'ed for you before will do so again, ask and see if they are willing and have time. Thank them for doing it. If you are the one reading someone's story, politeness gets tricky. You want to be honest in your critique, and sometimes a writer needs someone to be blunt about what is NOT WORKING. But sometimes a blunt critique comes across as harsh, and sometimes a harsh critique can kill the passion. In my opinion, it's okay for someone who is reading someone else's work to ask what kind of critique the writer needs.

Examples: "Would you like some general thoughts, or do you want me to get down to the nitty gritty?" (Feel free to use whatever cliches work for you there. ;P ) Or, "Do you just want me to read this and tell you what works?"

The latter is, I feel, a good way of giving a "polite" or "nice" critique without blowing air up someone's butt. Being a beta-reader or giving a critique isn't about saying it's great when it's not. But sometimes it can be about focusing on the things you like, and what works really well. Still true, but softer. And it's still incredibly useful. If someone is writing a story and feeling down, having an honest expression from someone else about what they love in it can be a huge boost. And hearing that a plot thread you weren't certain about is enticing or innovative, can be great confirmation.

To sum up:

For the writer: find a variety of people to read your stuff, be polite, and communicate about what you need in terms of feedback.

For the beta-reader: be polite, be honest, and communicate about what you can provide (are you strong in punctuation but weak in characterization? Or do you not have a lot of time for full-length novels, but can read over a short story?).

Last thought: It's not about telling writers what they want to hear, but telling them what they need to hear in a way that helps them, not stymies them.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Saying Good-bye to the Year

Cross-posted on my CoffeeQuill blog.

I usually try to come up with resolutions when the new year rolls around, but the more I think about it for 2014, the more it seems like a futile endeavor. My resolutions always end up the same: write more, read more, edit this or that, send out queries, focus on my health and try to lose some weight, build better habits and try to get closer to some of my life goals.

All very general in recent years, because the years would pass by without nothing achieved (or not enough) when I had more specific resolutions.

This year, I am not going to worry about resolutions, promises to myself to do X or Y.

This year end, I have spent New Year's Eve day spending time with my aunt, watching "Frozen" with my mother, crafting a gift, listening to music, talking with friends online, and shortly, a bit of writing on a story I began earlier in the year.

Tomorrow, I will spend more time with family, rest and relax, grade, and edit.

I want 2014 to reflect these two days, full of obligations and enjoyment, and balancing between the two. A year where I have time to rest, but also to have fun, and to get projects done that are just for me, as well as complete projects with and for others.

Happy New Year, and happy writing.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

A Year in the Life

Up until this past year, I have edited numerous manuscripts. Some I have seen nearly from beginning to end, others only in fits and starts, some only a few pages. Such is the life of a writing group member.

Writing groups are a great way to gain experience as an editor, seeing how different people write, and different people to react to being edited. But it is a far cry from editing a manuscript from first read to final release.

Purple Haze took about a year from when I first received the manuscript until it was released into the wild. It's the first book I've edited with Savant Books and Publications, so in part, I wanted to take my time and see that I did it right. But I also needed to find the balance between writing my own work, teaching college-level English and Psychology, and editing nonfiction freelance (along with some weekly volunteer work, a vague semblance of a social life, and a year full of a number of health issues).

The first step, after an initial read-through, was to decide whether to edit a chunk of chapters and send those to the author, then do another chunk, and so on; or to edit the whole manuscript and send that. We opted for the former, running on enthusiasm and a desire to jump into it.

As I made edits and suggestions, I sent those out, and George edited them and sent them. I held off on my second round of edits, though, until I had gone through the whole manuscript. Then we started the process again.

At first, the focus was bigger ideas--content, plot, characterization. As those were edited, our focus narrowed to smaller issues, until it was line edits: grammar, punctuation, sentence structure.

It took about three or four rounds of "edit, send to author" before we felt comfortable passing it on to the proofreaders. At that point, we also starting working with the cover artist on the cover.

Now we are in the post-release marketing stage. So below is the press release of Purple Haze. Please read, and I hope you get the book, and pass along the description. Happy reading!

Savant Books Announces the Release of George Hudson's New Novel, "Purple Haze"
Savant Books and Publications LLC, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA, announces the release of George Hudson's novel of past and present murder and intrigue, "Purple Haze."

Savant Books and Publications LLC, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA, announces the release of George Hudson's novel of past and present murder and intrigue, "Purple Haze."


George Hudson's "Purple Haze"
George Hudson's "Purple Haze"
PRLog (Press Release) - Jul. 26, 2013 - HONOLULU --
A skull discovered in a lake leads FBI investigators Bryan Langston and Joe Mallory on a dangerous search for answers to a thirty-year-old unsolved murder. What they don't know is that there is someone still alive who will do whatever it takes to keep the truth buried, even if that
means killing again.

George Hudson was born in East Tennessee in 1947, into a family of seven other siblings. His life was deeply impacted by the Tennessee Valley Authority and by the lakes throughout the area in which he was raised. He has been a lifetime educator, teaching history in the public schools in Tennessee for thirty years. George also taught as an adjunct professor of history and is presently teaching at the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga. In his writing, he intersperses bits of history about the area to add local color and sentiment. He and his wife, Gail, live in Chattanooga.

"It's exciting to finally have this book available for all to read," says Hudson. "'It has been an untold story in my imagination for a long time."

"Purple Haze" by George Hudson - 274 pages - 6" x 9" Trade Book - Color Softcover. ISBN 9780988664050. Suggested retail price $16.95. Released in July 2013 by Savant Books and Publications, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA.

This book is available from the publisher, printer and at

from Savant Bookstore Honolulu at

and directly from at

Savant Books and Publications LLC is a publisher of enduring literature and media for the 21st Century. For more information visit

Friday, July 26, 2013

First Book Release as Editor: Purple Haze by George Hudson

Cross-posted to CoffeeQuill:

I've mentioned a few times that I have been editing for a local publisher. It's been about a year since I first met with the senior editor and founder of Savant Books and Publications. I've gone through the interview, the training, the waiting for a manuscript, and the lengthy process of editing an unfamiliar story and working with a new author (in the midst of teaching, and for a time, editing someone else's psych dissertation).
Well, I am stoked to announce (though I am keeping the squeeing to a minimum), that today marks the release of my first edited work with Savant: Purple Haze by George Hudson. You'll be hearing more about it over the next few months, but I hope you'll take some time to check out the description. You can buy it directly from Savant, or through Amazon.

Purple Haze is about a murder investigation set in Tennessee. A skull is found in a lake, and a thirty-year-old mystery is brought to the surface...