Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Writing { and reading and publishing } ~

Tag Archives: editor

Author Interview ~ E. Rachael Hardcastle


Two days ago, I promoted the skill of Ms Hardcastle in garnering author interviews (50+ in 2016).

Today, she published an interview I did with her and I’m publishing this interview—we’re simulcasting :-)

So let’s get to it and enjoy an interview with Author, Editor, and Literary-Innovator, E. Rachael Hardcastle. E. Rachael Hardcastle - Author, Editor

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Let’s begin with the tools of your trade—pen or typewriter or computer?

I write most of my ideas down by hand. I have a progress journal where I document my daily writing activity, and they generally get scribbled in there. When I’m writing an outline or the actual book, I type this up on my PC. I’m a very fast typist so it makes sense to get as much as I can down.

Do you write alone or in public?

I write at home and usually when I am alone, though my partner is sometimes in the room with me. I like to surround myself with personal items, play some music, have some snacks and a cup of coffee with all my tools and reference books close by. I can’t achieve the same results in a busy public place.

Music or silence?

I prefer not to write in total silence but I can if I have to. I like to have some music on in the background or a podcast to keep my mind in the writing zone. I have a YouTube music playlist with my favourites on, and I sometimes opt for instrumental music if I’m writing a fight scene or something emotional.

Do you set goals of a certain number of words a week or work only when inspiration strikes?

I don’t use word counts because I then feel pressured to hit them. If I’m not doing so well, I end up writing 1000 words of poor prose, which then require editing the next day which wastes time. So, I tend to write scene by scene. What needs to happen next? I write that part of the story until I’m happy and then consider writing the next scene, but I’ll stop when I lose interest or hit a block.

 What are your books about?

Finding Pandora - High Fantasy My Finding Pandora young adult, high fantasy series is about a woman named Arriette Monroe and her search for Pandora’s Box. She is a human at first who is turned into a ‘Supe’ (supernatural being) with special powers given to her when a group called the Recruit save her life. She must then fight the evils of the world, which appear as orcs, demons and vampyrs, amongst other enemies, to gain control of the box and protect the future of the human race. It was inspired by William Blake’s poem Auguries of Innocence and begins on the premise that Earth is no longer able to sustain life, so the religions of the world agree to pray for a new world (created in seven days, following the Bible’s story, etc.), and a God I refer to as Zinnyi in the book responds. The U.S. President sacrifices himself to prove human beings can change, and Haeylo is created as their new sanctuary.

My post-apocalyptic book (which will be part of a trilogy eventually) Aeon Infinitum: Run For Your Life is about the survivors of an apocalypse who live in the underground ark, Titan. The man in charge is selfish and challenges them all to a run across the wasteland to a new sanctuary, but he is keeping a lot of very dangerous secrets that the protagonist and her friends must survive.

Do your books have a lesson? A moral?

Not intentionally, though a lot of my books explore futuristic scenarios for Earth (destruction, apocalypse, ruin, and illness). I suppose you could say I want to encourage people to change for the better. I have also been told my books have a very spiritual theme that explores the meaning of life, the human race’s purpose etc., though again this is not intentional or particularly obvious. I think it’s because of who I am as a person—I am hoping we can all be better people and kinder to one another, so I inject my morals and values into my novels.

Do you ever outsource editing and cover design?

I think it’s important that I learn as much as I can about the entire publishing process, so at the moment (with the exception of Beta readers and volunteers) I do everything myself. I enjoy self-publishing/Indie Publishing for this reason. I’m a control freak so it’s nice to have the final say over everything. However, in future I will no doubt outsource some of these jobs to others.

Do you have a favourite genre to read?

I prefer to read fantasy, dystopian, and post-apocalyptic fiction but if it looks good, has been recommended, or is free to try, then I’ll give it a go. I write in the genres I prefer to read as this is where most of my knowledge sits.

Do you visit authors’ websites? If so, what do you look for?

Yes I do because I like to see the website’s design, how they have presented their books and how professional it looks. I designed my own website so this is genuinely interesting for me, but I will also visit to find their social media links. I believe a website should be a hub for fans of that author, so when I visit a website I like to see links and images and pages etc. That screams professional and active to me.

So, a final question, where can we download your free book? E. Rachael Hardcastle - Author, Editor

You can find a free copy of the first book of Finding Pandora at www.books2read.com/findingpandora. You will be given various options for your favourite distributor, including Amazon and Barnes & Noble. If you’re in another Amazon territory, just visit your country’s Amazon website and type in Finding Pandora. It’s free in US, UK, ES, DE and FR.

Thanks a heap for taking time out of your busy schedule to share with my readers :-)

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Go to Rachael’s blog on her official website.
Follow her on
Twitter. Find her on Facebook.
Visit her on 
Goodreads.
Subscribe to her channel on YouTube.
Do check out her work with children in writing workshops (her segment begins at the 4:50 mark…)
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Take the opportunity to ask Rachael a few questions in the comments…

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Two Publishing Options ~ Two Editing Options . . .


This is the 35th post on this blog that will mention FastPencil publishing-aid company.

editing and publishing

Image Courtesy of Ivan Soares Ferrer ~ http://www.freeimages.com/photographer/ivanferrer-35808

In the past post, FastPencil ~ Funny Name, Dynamite Publishing-Aid Company. I shared this info:

I’ve summarized the FastPencil experience this way:

*Write a book on their site,
while inviting BetaReaders or editors to work with you
—> Free

*Revise, edit, check multiple proofs,
upload a cover, work-out front and back matter, etc.
—> Free

*Publish and have the book distributed to
Amazon, Barnes&Noble, iBooks, Kobo, and Ingram

(Print & E-book editions)
—> $300

As a matter of fact, if you want to sell your book only on the FastPencil Site (with a very cool sales widget you can use on your own WebSite or Blog) it costs just $9.99.

I’ve used FastPencil and I’m very happy with their services; speaking of which, if you don’t have an editor and can’t self-edit, you can pay them more money for that and other services

Or, you could consider other editing options (always making sure you receive samples of the editing anyone does...).

One option is the editing and publishing consultancy, Prosevue Edición.

You can check out their Terms, Conditions, and Policies.

They have Editing Services for Self-Published Books and Articles, Academic and Professional Documents, and International University Applications.

Just to give you an idea of their fees, Fiction Manuscripts of 50,000 words cost $500; but, 100,000 words are only $600

And, if you want another option for publishing, you can consider submitting to  Coffee House Press.

From their Site:

“The mission of Coffee House Press is to publish exciting, vital, and enduring authors of our time; to delight and inspire readers; to contribute to the cultural life of our community; and to enrich our literary heritage. By building on the best traditions of publishing and the book arts, we produce books that celebrate imagination, innovation in the craft of writing, and the many authentic voices of the American experience.”

Coffee House Press is also a good place to look for books that “celebrate imagination, innovation in the craft of writing, and the many authentic voices of the American experience.”; and, if you feel you’ve written such a book, you can contact them:

For general inquiries, you can reach us by email at info@coffeehousepress.org, by phone at (612) 338-0125, or by mail at the following address:

Coffee House Press
79 Thirteenth Avenue NE, Suite 110
Minneapolis, MN 55413

Naturally, there are a huge number of options for editing and publishing (I just thought my readers might find these three interesting…); and, you can begin exploring other options right here

Edit after publication:

Received this tweet from Prosevue Edición:

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If you don’t see a way to comment (or, “reply”) after this post, try up there at the top right…
Read Some Strange Fantasies
Grab A Free Novel…
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Google Author Page
For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com

” In times of dread, artists must never choose to remain silent.”


The quote in the title of this post is from Toni Morrison, Nobel Prize- and Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist, playwright, literary critic, editor, and Professor Emeritus at Princeton University.

Toni Morrison

Image Courtesy of Entheta https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Entheta/gallery Under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

In the disturbing political and social climate throughout the U.S.A.’s recent Presidential Campaign, much dread was spread…

It seems to be still spreading—disturbing many, engulfing some, inflaming a few…

The Nation had an article by Toni (that, to me, speaks eloquently to the dread) entitled, No Place for Self-Pity, No Room for Fear.

I encourage anyone even faintly artistic, from any country, to read that article…

I’ll share just a few excerpts.

Concerning dictators and tyrants, she says:

“Their plan is simple:

“1. Select a useful enemy—an ‘Other’—to convert rage into conflict, even war.

“2. Limit or erase the imagination that art provides, as well as the critical thinking of scholars and journalists.

“3. Distract with toys, dreams of loot, and themes of superior religion or defiant national pride that enshrine past hurts and humiliations.”

She asks the question:

“In this contemporary world of violent protests, internecine war, cries for food and peace, in which whole desert cities are thrown up to shelter the dispossessed, abandoned, terrified populations running for their lives and the breath of their children, what are we (the so-called civilized) to do?”

More insight and another question:

“The solutions gravitate toward military intervention and/or internment—killing or jailing. Any gesture other than those two in this debased political climate is understood to be a sign of weakness. One wonders why the label ‘weak’ has become the ultimate and unforgivable sin. Is it because we have become a nation so frightened of others, itself and its citizens that it does not recognize true weakness: the cowardice in the insistence on guns everywhere, war anywhere?”

And, her rallying cry:

“This is precisely the time when artists go to work. There is no time for despair, no place for self-pity, no need for silence, no room for fear. We speak, we write, we do language. That is how civilizations heal.”

Her final statement (though, there is much more wisdom in the full article…):

“I know the world is bruised and bleeding, and though it is important not to ignore its pain, it is also critical to refuse to succumb to its malevolence. Like failure, chaos contains information that can lead to knowledge—even wisdom. Like art.”

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If you don’t see a way to comment (or, “reply”) after this post, try up there at the top right…
Read Some Strange Fantasies
Grab A Free Novel…
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Google Author Page
For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com

Editors Are People, Too ~ Really :-)


I’ve talked about editors before in the posts, Should Writers Fear Editors? and Does Every Writer Need An Editor?.

I had one for my novel that came out last May and I’ll have two for it’s sequel

If you look at the etymology of editor, you’ll find one of those slippery spots on the path of language:

“1640s, ‘publisher’, from L. editor ‘one who puts forth’…”

Without delving into the depths of publishing history, I assume that many years ago “publisher” and “editor” were pretty much one person.

Can “writer” and “editor” be one person, too?

I don’t mean that rare individual who can successfully write then edit their own work.

I suppose there could be people who are writer/editor/cover designer/publicist/marketer but I mean a writer who also edits for other writers.

Publetariat recently featured a post from Cheri Lasota called Working with an Editor: Got My Edits Back. Now What?.

Cheri is a writer who edits other writers’ work and gives her own work to another editor.

To encourage you to read the post, here are her topic headings:

Give your­self some peace and quiet.
Don’t scan or skip.
Sit on the manuscript.
Mull over your options.
Make a copy.
Turn your Track Changes ON!
Choose your direction.
Don’t just make changes. Learn!
Incorporate only what you feel will serve your story.
Overhauling? Then get out of your MS.
Take another vacation.

Do read Cheri’s full post :-)

Have any of your own tips about how to incorporate an editor’s guidance into your writing?

How about warnings for writers who feel the editor always knows best?

Or, your experiences with not following an editor’s cues and regretting it?
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Our Comment Link Is At The Top of The Post :-)
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Does Every Writer Need An Editor?


There’s been much to-do about the roaring stream of poorly edited books produced by “self-published” authors.

And, even though there can be valid reasons for not following the “rules” when writing, typos and fractured sentences will appear in any writer’s manuscript.

Can they find these mistakes themselves?

I do suppose there are a precious few who could

For the rest of us, there are editors.

While writing my novel, Notes from An Alien, I went to the Owner of Book Island, Selina Greene (former publisher), and let her know how poor I was and my concern about not being able to afford an editor.

She told me to contact my local universities and solicit the English Grad students.

After three phone calls and as many emails, I had found my editor and she only wanted an acknowledgement of her efforts in the book :-)

In a previous post, Should Writers Fear Editors?, I shared some of the common misperceptions of editors from an article by Alan Rinzler.

And, for those not challenged by near-abject poverty, I recently found some wonderful editorial information.

Eva van Emden is a full-time freelance editor with, of all things, her own editing blog :-)

And, though her full site is, justifiably, focused on offering a writer her own services, she provides much more, like these clear points of the purpose of an editor:

  • suggest improvements to strengthen the flow of your story or argument,
  • identify places where the phrasing is unclear and suggest an alternative,
  • catch embarrassing typos and spelling mistakes,
  • edit spelling, capitalization, hyphenation, punctuation, and layout to be consistent within the document and to conform to the appropriate style.

There’s also a page of Editing Resources that includes the following topics:

Help with hiring a freelance editor
Editors’ organizations
Dictionaries
Style guides and editing references
Writing resources
Editing Fiction
Book news
Free software

You might also want to visit her page describing the various types of editing :-)
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Our Comment Link Is At The Top of The Post :-)
For Private Comments, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com