Dan Alatorre’s Word Weaver Writing Contest: 2nd PLACE “Cobalt Point” by Anne Marie Hilse

Dan Alatorre’s Word Weaver Writing Contest

Word Weaver logi FINAL trimmed

* 2nd Place Winner *

2Cobalt Point

by Anne Marie Hilse

This story gripped me right away and had me glued to every page. I loved the feel of the story, the questions, the intrigue – and Anne Marie has a great voice that resonates with me.

The characters are interesting (especially the main character) and the story unfolds in such a way as to make me want to keep turning pages.

All in all, it was a story I liked a lot. This story could easily be – well, I don’t wanna spoil anything. I’ll let you read it first.

I think you’re really gonna like it.

Anne Marie will receive THIS prize package valued at over $150:

RUSSELL J. FELLOWS EDITING

russell j fellows

  • EDITING PACKAGE from Russel J. Fellows Author Services for YOUR book! (www.RusselJFellows.com)

  • PUBLICATION of their winning piece on this website

  • A guest blog post or author profile to appear on this site

  • slightly less massive bragging rights than first place (because that’s only fair)


DON’T FORGET: ALL contestants not winning first, second, or third place will be put into a drawing for other prizes!

HERE are some of the AMAZING AUTHORS whose books will awarded:

renovatio-ebook-v4

Allison MaruskaProject Renovatio. Author of the runaway bestseller The Fourth Descendant, Allison Maruska offers an audio book version of her latest hitProject Renovatio.

With over 550 reviews on Amazon, The Fourth Descendant established Allison as an amazing breakout author. I read Project Renovatio. It is a brilliant, thrilling YA novel that grabs the attention of readers and holds them until the very end.

 

51fiCEiyv-L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_

Hugh RobertsGlimpses

28 short stories that will take your mind on a rollercoaster of a ride into worlds that conceal unexpected twists and turns. You REALLY wanna win that!

dana wayne

Dana WayneMail Order Groom, Secrets of the Heart

Dana Wayne is all about the romance! Mail Order Groom is a historical western romance. Secrets of The Heart is a contemporary romance. Both are amazing!

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000448_00052]

Curtis BaussePerfume Island, One Green Bottle

One Green Bottle, set in Provence, is the first in a series of Magali Rousseau detective stories. Perfume Island is the second book in the amazing series. You’ll love it!

414Z3XL3KBL

T. A. HenryScripting The Truth

Any story that takes place in post-WWII Britain and has the phrase “She’ll try to do it all while trying to keep the seams on her stockings straight” has to be read. You’ll agree.

 

Joanne R LarnerDicken’s Diaries, Richard Liveth Yet

One reviewer called Dicken’s Diaries “a ‘diary’ with lots of amusing stories and indeed it is a cleverly written, humorous book.” Richard Liveth Yet is Richard III as you have never seen him before! Great stories from a great writer.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000039_00014]

Yecheilyah YsraylRenaissance: The Nora White Story

In 1922 Mississippi, Nora White has graduated high school and is college bound, but she is fascinated by the prospect of being a famous writer in The Harlem Renaissance – and decides on a change of plans. Techeilyah will amaze you with this one!

Poggi cover FINAL

and of course, ME

A few folks will be selected to receive a copy of Poggibonsi: an Italian misadventure,my hilarious sexy romp through Italy (definitely a hot commodity, so to speak) as a signed paperback or as an eBook. Don’t even ask me if I’ll sign the eBook. Just. Don’t.

And now, the 2nd Place Winner in Dan Alatorre’s Word Weaver Writing Contest

Word Weaver logi FINAL trimmed


Cobalt Point

by Anne Marie Hilse

 

Holly glared at the GPS screen. The road she was driving on took a vicious left turn and fell off the edge of the map, into green oblivion. This is a cruel joke after a nine-hour drive. The lawyer assured her it was legitimate. Her name really was in the secret will.  I’m hardly the property-owning type, but is a little luck too much to ask?

She dug through her ratty backpack for a real map. Nine freakin’ hours. Shoving aside crystals and beads hanging from the rearview mirror, she spread the paper out on the dashboard. The man at the welcome station gave her attitude when she asked for directions. Even with her worn baseball cap pulled down, spikes of magenta and black hair peeked out. If I had a nickel for every time someone asked if it was Halloween…I wouldn’t be bouncing between dead end boardwalk jobs. 

Pushing her sunglasses back, Holly brought the map close to her eyes. Under the crease, was the dotted line of an unfinished road. She peeked over the paper and down the sandy shoulder. An old mailbox nearly hidden by weeds, dangled from a post.

Seriously?

She inched the old Toyota up, stared through gnarled trees and hit the automatic window button. The scent of salt air wafted in as grimy glass disappeared into the door. That’s one sad looking road. Steering along the dirt path, Holly avoided the obvious potholes and winced when her wheels dropped into craters hidden below branches and leaves. When the forest thinned, dirt became a gravel driveway. Stone lions guarded a faded sign.

Only letter I can read is O…probably says Keep Out.

One more blind bend plunked her in front of a shuttered, stone mansion. Peaked dormers ran along the curved roofline with copper turrets anchoring both ends.

Looks like ivy is devouring the entire place.

            Holly pulled the attorney’s letter from the glove box, grabbed a jacket and climbed out of the car. The front steps creaked under her feet while she searched the official document for a house number. Aside from a carved gargoyle knocker larger than her fist, the door and porch were barren.

Should I?

The rusty iron ring groaned as she lifted it. Not visitor friendly. hen the knocker fell, the impact echoed through the old walls like thunder.

“Who are you?” A voice boomed from behind instead of inside, followed by an unmistakable double-click.

With her jacket hanging off one arm, Holly turned around and raised her hands. “Don’t shoot, please.”

“Answer my question.” The man held the firearm steady. “And lose the hat.”

“I’m Holly Hannon. I inherited this property.” She slowly removed her cap and nodded to the letter in her hand. “Here’s the paperwork.”

The man grabbed the letter and scanned the pages. “Well, you’re in the right place. 4242 Broad Lane.”

“That wagon trail is Broad Lane?”

“It was named long ago.” The man lowered the gun. “Are you a Boston Hannon?”

Holly let her hands sink down. “New Jersey.”

“Well, that explains the get-up.” He nodded to her clunky black boots and Comic Con t-shirt. “Did you know Mrs. Victoire?”

“I must be related to her somehow, but this was all a surprise to me.”

“Apparently, the will was complicated. She’s been gone for over a year now.” He rattled through a ring full of keys. “I’m the caretaker. Lots of folks came snooping after she passed away. I locked the place down like a vault.”

“I assumed I could stay here overnight, but…” Holly watched him coax a huge key into the lock. Metal tumblers fell one at a time, before the door swung open into a black hole. “Where’s the cheapest motel?”

“Main electric breaker is in the basement. Wait here.” Footsteps echoed long after he disappeared from the dark foyer.

Holly shivered in the dusty rectangle of light from the front door. Eerie shapes of covered furniture loomed on both sides of the center hall.

The caretaker returned and flipped an old switch. A massive chandelier flickered to life. “Lots of bulbs burned out on that thing.”

Crystals chimed in the breeze while the remaining light bulbs illuminated a grand staircase. On the landing where the stairs divided, the shape of tree glowed in the fringe of gloom.

“How big is—”

“Eighteen bedrooms, four parlors, a library and a grand ballroom.”

Holly slumped her shoulders. “I’m more of a beach shack, sleeping bag kind of girl.”

“First bedroom on the right.” He pointed up the dim stairs. “Water’s on. Never closed up that wing.”

Holly grabbed her duffel bag from the Toyota and kicked the car door shut behind her.

“If you want to eat, there’s a diner down the highway a bit.” The caretaker passed her on the porch. “Need anything else, red phone in the kitchen’s a direct line to the carriage house.”

“Thanks.” She watched him disappear into the evening fog. He never mentioned his name. The snacks in her backpack would have to do. I barely found this place in daylight. She shut the mansion door behind her and fumbled with the lock. Left…right? Neither direction sounded secure.

Holly left the chandelier lit for her first trip upstairs. The bannister felt like velvet under her fingertips, the finish worn by the palms of countless visitors. The first flight ended in a landing where cracks between sheets of plywood allowed the setting sun to glint through stained glass. Odd place for a gnarled tree. A peek over the railing revealed more unlit crystal lamps. Searching for those light switches could wait for tomorrow.

Golden sunlight streamed from the first door on the right, drawing her in like a homing beacon. One step into the bedroom confirmed that this area wasn’t mothballed like the rest of the mansion. A four-poster bed anchored the chamber and antique furniture gleamed in the corners. The mattress was bare, but the pillow top pristine. Not a speck of dust.

Drifting white chiffon directed her attention to farthest wall. Brushing the curtains aside uncovered a wall of glass. She nudged the French doors open to the greeting of crashing surf and heavy ocean air. Fog hugged the rocky beach, just low enough to hide the waves.

Holly turned around to explore the room. The queen-sized bed was placed perfectly to take advantage of the breeze and the view. The remaining walls were solid wood paneling with built-in closets. Pretty fancy. The first two were empty, but the one closest to the bed was filled with linen. Fresh lavender and strong cedar wafted from deep inside. She ran her fingers over crisply pressed sheets. Cotton so fine it felt like silk. She placed a set of sheets on the bed but stopped short of making it up.

Sleeping in a dead stranger’s bed…too creepy for tonight.

Digging through her duffel bag she found a foot pump, a folded air mattress and a set of old striped sheets. With the bathroom light on and her bed pushed in front of the French doors, Holly curled up under a quilt stitched from old t-shirts and passed out.

 

***

 

Dazzling morning sun greeted Holly, but banging from downstairs is what woke her up. She tumbled from her half-deflated bed, ran fingers through her hair and pulled on frayed sweatpants. Sure, I look like hell. She avoided the mirror. Hope I don’t scare caretaker-man. The strong aroma of coffee dragged her down the stairs. Maybe he’s not so bad after all.

She rounded the corner to the kitchen. “I didn’t expect you to…”

The refrigerator light reflected off the silver hair of a stranger, standing in front of a wall of open cabinets and a fancy, perking pot.

“Who the hell are you?” Holly backed against the wall. “Where’s—”

“Gomez?” The man’s face crinkled into a smile. “He let me in.”

“Seriously?”

“I’m harmless, I promise.”

“I meant, his name is Gomez?” Holly dropped her voice to a whisper. “Like the Addams family? He never introduced himself. I figured…”

“The gentleman was caught off guard by visitors.” The stranger chose two stone mugs. “You must be Miss Holly.”

“Unless someone else is sleeping in this boarded-up mansion…wait, he called me Miss Holly?”

“Yes, and you were the only overnight guest.” He poured her a cup of coffee, added a drop of cream and pointed to a letter on the marble counter.

“You received this, too?” Holly shuffled across the tiles to read the envelope. “Captain?”

“Retired. Ryan James.” He picked up Holly’s hand and shook it heartily.

“Nice to meet you. The lady who named us in her will…are you her son?”

“No, and I’m pretty sure I’ve never met her.”

“Me, neither.” Holly grabbed the mug, sipped, groaned, and took a gulp. “Pretty bizarre.”

“This place is monstrous.” Ryan nodded to unexplored corners of the kitchen. “I’m sure we can split it and come out ahead.”

“This coffee is…how did you know cream—no sugar?”

“The Air Force taught me coffee brewing long before I saw a plane.”

The next few hours were spent with Gomez, pulling plywood off doors and windows. The entire ocean-facing side of the mansion was glass and balconies.

“You’re pretty impressive with those tools.” Ryan watched Holly work the claw end of a hammer.

“For a girl, you mean?”

“No.” Ryan crossed his arms. “I meant for anyone.”

“Got a little experience.” Holly tossed plywood shrapnel onto a growing pile. “I helped rebuild New Jersey after Superstorm Sandy.”

“I know that was downgraded from a hurricane, and I’ve seen my share of those, but the news coverage was heartbreaking.”

“People lost everything…and then the fire. It’ll never be the same.” Holly closed her eyes and stopped talking. She let her hand fall to the pitted doorknob of the breakfast room door and gave the wooden frame a shove. Autumn morning light and fresh salt air replaced any trace of mustiness in one great gust.

“This was Mrs. Victoire’s favorite room. God rest her soul.” Gomez whisked the sheet from a white painted table, decorated with blue scrolls and flowers. “She sat here for sunrise every morning, rain or shine.”

“Windows are old.” Holly ran her fingers up the wavy glass. “Do we need to replace all this?”

“No way.” Ryan flipped his phone open and snapped a picture. “We charge extra for the historical value.”

“Those photos could su—stink. Let me get my I-Phone.” Holly rushed up the dim stairs, checking for texts and emails on the way back down. “Hey Gomez, I want to know why there’s a tree in the—” Sounds of rummaging and coughing stopped her in the kitchen. “Hello?”

“Come on, Holly. You’re missing the before and after.” Ryan burst through the door and froze at her scowl.

Holly pointed at her eyes with two fingers, and back at the library.

Ryan grabbed a heavy flashlight from his canvas bag. The pair crept around the corner to find the intruder on a sliding ladder, wiping dust from a ledger with a lace handkerchief.

“What are you going to do?” The voice had a nasal accent. “Beat me death for looking at a book?”

“Who the hell are you, now?” Ryan straightened up. “Does everyone just waltz in here?”

“Now you know how I feel.” Holly pointed to a familiar paper in the stranger’s pocket. “I’m gonna puke.”

“I assume we’re all here for the same reason.” Hopping down from the ladder, the newcomer flipped chocolate brown hair over his shoulders, offered the crisp letter to Ryan and his hand to Holly. “Decision, decisions.” He crossed his arms and held his hand out for Ryan instead.

Holly plucked the document from his long fingers, flipped it open and rolled her eyes. “Widmarck Lacaze.”

“You Americans pronounce everything like traaash. It’s Laca—zay.” He pinched his fingers to accent the last syllable. “You may need some practice.”

“Holly Hannon.” She slapped the letter back into his outstretched hand. “Spelled exactly like it sounds.”

“Since we’re family, you can call me Marck.”

“There, you’re wrong,” Ryan said. “We have no idea how we’re connected to Mrs. Victoire.”

“Well, then I’m very pleased to meet you Mister…”

Holly intercepted Marck before he could latch onto Ryan’s hand a second time. “Not Mister…Captain James.”

“I think this calls for a celebration.” Marck snapped his fingers and spun around. “Champagne, anyone?”

“Shall I just fetch some from our stocked bar?” Holly patted library furniture, still covered in sheets.

Marck ignored her, strolled out to his car and returned hauling a cooler and an armful of grocery bags. “Never go anywhere without my portable cocktail hour. Where’s the kitchen?”
Ryan pointed down the hall. He and Holly followed behind and watched while bags were unpacked, bottles arranged in the double door refrigerator and crystal flutes lined up on the counter.

“Instant elegance.” Marck popped the champagne cork and poured bubbly like a professional. “A toast to our new partnership?”

“It’s barely eleven in the morning.” Holly hesitated before picking up two sparkling glasses and handing one to Ryan.

“It’s almost six pm in Paris, and with champagne…who cares.” Marck raised his flute. “Bonne chance!”

 


Your humble host.
your humble contest host

It has been my pleasure to showcase these amazing writers. Look for interviews and more on them in the upcoming weeks.

Why did it win? What spoke to me?

There was an air of mystery and suspense right away in this story, and a sense of foreboding. The Main Character feels like someone I can identify with.

But there was also an inner conflict the character was wrestling with. A realistic, what am I doing thought, combined with let’s see what happens.

I wondered along with the character, and I wanted to know what was going to happen! That, for me, is hugely important. Making a reader want to/need to/have to read on to find out what happens, that’s the whole goal of the writerly game. In this story, Anne Marie did it very well.

This story could easily be included in our scary anthology. Let’s see what happens.

For now, join me in celebrating this moment with a very talented author, Anne Marie Hilse.

If you liked this story, please share it on StumbleUpon and other social media so our winners can get the recognition they deserve.

Tomorrow, the 3rd place winner in the Word Weaver Writing Contest:

Mind Games by Heather Hackett

If you would like to sponsor our October 2017 Word Weaver Writing Contest and get this kind of exposure for your product or service, please contact me.

Dan Alatorre’s Word Weaver Writing Contest: FIRST PLACE “Ruby Slips and Poker Chips” by Heather Kindt

Dan Alatorre’s Word Weaver Writing Contest

Word Weaver logi FINAL trimmed 2

* GRAND PRIZE WINNER *

1st

Ruby Slips and Poker Chips

by Heather Kindt

There was a lot to like in this story. It’s  great way to show how an interesting character can grab us right off the bat and immerse us in a story. Readers want a character they can connect with, sympathize with, root for.

In Heather’s story, I got that. Plus, her Main Character (MC) has some flaws.

As you will see, Heather’s MC is easily likable, full of personality, and somewhat driven. We get to see where that takes her.

It is absolutely a well-written piece and it is well-deserving of first prize. It was my privilege to read it and ow it is my honor to present it to you.

This story, for whatever reason, spoke to me. I loved it from the opening lines and stayed with it all the way though. I wanted to know more and wondered what was waiting around every curve. I think it will make an enjoyable book (more on that in a sec).

I hope you enjoy it.

For winning 1st Place, Heather will receive THIS valuable prize package:

Moyhill publishing image

  • Cover Design & Publishing Package from Award Winning Moyhill Publishing (www.Moyhill.com)

    • This insanely great package includes

      • COVER DESIGN and EBOOK FORMATTING for your edited book

      • PROOFREADING and up to two electronic proofs with changes if needed

      • MARKETING COVERS (larger formats) for Amazon and Smashwords.

      • PROMOTION for the book placement on the shelves of the Moyhill virtual bookstore.

      • YOUR BOOK GETS FOUR WEEKS AS A PINNED TWEET to over 20,000 followers from Sally Cronin’s Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstoreaccount.

      A first time author will also be guided through the setting up of social media, author page and other marketing strategies, plus Moyhill can upload the manuscript to Amazon and Smashwords for you!

PLUS!

  • PUBLICATION of Heather’s winning piece on this website (happening now)

  • A GUEST BLOG POST or AUTHOR PROFILE to appear on this site soon (that’s priceless, really)

  • a video interview with me, should they so choose, also to appear on this site**

  • MASSIVE BRAGGING RIGHTS

** requires a quality high speed internet connection and a good camera on your computer or phone. Maybe other stuff. I’m not doing this at 3 A. M., okay?


DON’T FORGET: ALL contestants not winning first, second, or third place will be put into a drawing for other prizes!

HERE are some of the AMAZING AUTHORS whose books will awarded:

renovatio-ebook-v4

Allison MaruskaProject Renovatio. Author of the runaway bestseller The Fourth Descendant, Allison Maruska offers an audio book version of her latest hitProject Renovatio.

With over 550 reviews on Amazon, The Fourth Descendant established Allison as an amazing breakout author. I read Project Renovatio. It is a brilliant, thrilling YA novel that grabs the attention of readers and holds them until the very end.

 

51fiCEiyv-L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_

Hugh RobertsGlimpses

28 short stories that will take your mind on a rollercoaster of a ride into worlds that conceal unexpected twists and turns. You REALLY wanna win that!

dana wayne

Dana WayneMail Order Groom, Secrets of the Heart

Dana Wayne is all about the romance! Mail Order Groom is a historical western romance. Secrets of The Heart is a contemporary romance. Both are amazing!

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000448_00052]

Curtis BaussePerfume Island, One Green Bottle

One Green Bottle, set in Provence, is the first in a series of Magali Rousseau detective stories. Perfume Island is the second book in the amazing series. You’ll love it!

414Z3XL3KBL

T. A. HenryScripting The Truth

Any story that takes place in post-WWII Britain and has the phrase “She’ll try to do it all while trying to keep the seams on her stockings straight” has to be read. You’ll agree.

 

Joanne R LarnerDicken’s Diaries, Richard Liveth Yet

One reviewer called Dicken’s Diaries “a ‘diary’ with lots of amusing stories and indeed it is a cleverly written, humorous book.” Richard Liveth Yet is Richard III as you have never seen him before! Great stories from a great writer.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000039_00014]

Yecheilyah YsraylRenaissance: The Nora White Story

In 1922 Mississippi, Nora White has graduated high school and is college bound, but she is fascinated by the prospect of being a famous writer in The Harlem Renaissance – and decides on a change of plans. Techeilyah will amaze you with this one!

Poggi cover FINAL

and of course, ME

A few folks will be selected to receive a copy of Poggibonsi: an Italian misadventure,my hilarious sexy romp through Italy (definitely a hot commodity, so to speak) as a signed paperback or as an eBook. Don’t even ask me if I’ll sign the eBook. Just. Don’t.

And now, the 1st Place Winner in Dan Alatorre’s Word Weaver Writing Contest

Word Weaver logi FINAL trimmed


Ruby Slips and Poker Chips

by Heather Kindt

“It was Toto that made Dorothy laugh, and saved her from growing as gray as her other surroundings.”

July 1995

Quandary Pond was situated between my house and the tiny one-bedroom shack that sat five minutes down the road. The shack was a rental, and a poorly cared for one at that. Our neighbors didn’t stay there much longer than a barefoot on the pavement outside Price Chopper in July. The house appeared lopsided to me, shingles falling off, and the siding was worn with time. Grass grew as high as my thigh and Uncle Embry often stated his intention to go over there and give the yard the weed whacking it deserved. The last residents had left in the middle of the night. I overheard Aunt Henrietta say something about drug charges.

“I’m going down to the pond!” The screen door shut behind me. Uncle Embry was at work at the air-conditioned post office and Aunt Henrietta reclined in the oversized Lazy boy trying to stay cool in the heat of the Kansas afternoon. The fan that oscillated next to the chair made more of a racket than what it was worth.

I preferred cooling off by the pond. Dressed in cutoffs and a tank from the local thrift store, my braids bounced against my back as I skipped down to my favorite hangout.

Making my way down the path from the house to the pond, I glimpsed a red station wagon sitting in front of the shack. New renters. I never really took the time to get to know anyone who lived there, since they’d probably be gone in a couple of months. Removing my shoes, I dove into the pond, no longer worried about the leeches that some of my girlfriends squealed about. After a short swim, I trudged out, settling on a drip dry as I made my way to the tree where I hid my stash. The hollow in the tree contained a jar for bug catching (usually fireflies at night), a couple bottles of water, a net, a pail and my science journal (which I kept in a plastic bag in case it rained). I picked out the net and started to creep around the reeds looking for Old Bill, the bull frog that was as large as a grapefruit and had so far avoided capture. My goal was to sketch and categorize each frog in the pond, as well as many of the insects. Rounding the bend by a large tree, Bill sat on a rock sunning himself. This was going to be the day. A crop duster flew overhead masking any sounds my feet made in the grass. I lifted my net at the perfect angle for frog catching, ready to pounce.

“Are you trying to catch that frog?”

Old Bill jumped off the rock and back into the depths of the pond. I could almost hear him laughing at me from the murky waters.

I whipped around in anger, ready to attack the big mouth with my words. “I was until you had to open your trap and scare him away!”

“I’m sorry.” The boy was older than me, and definitely not someone from my school. He had dark hair, almost black like the new tar they laid on the main road through town. A smattering of freckles dotted the bridge of his nose, probably the kind that the sun brought out in the summer. “Do you want me to try to catch him?”

“No,” I muttered. “Just go away. This is my pond.”

“The map the realtor gave us said it was called Quandary Pond, I must’ve missed the sign.” He paused and grinned. My fist had knocked that type of grin off a couple of boys’ faces before. “What’s your name anyways?”

“If I tell you, will you go away?” I kept my back to him determined to at least find a tadpole and shake away the annoying fly behind me.

“Maybe,” he said, still following. I reached the shore near the trail and set my net against a tree, refusing to reveal my other treasures.

“I’m Dottie.” I turned to start up the path to go home. “Are your parents renting the shack?”

“My mom and I just moved in yesterday.” He didn’t follow me up the path, but drew some letters in the mud on the bank with a stick. “I’m Corbin.”

“Nice to meet you.” I reached the crest of the hill. “Now stay away from my pond.”

“Hey, Dottie!” Corbin ignored my comment. I turned and rolled my eyes. The other girls at school would find him cute.

“What do you want now? Pond’s not for sale, so don’t even ask.” Corbin pointed to the letters he drew in the mud that read Dottie’s Pond.

“Just in case someone else doesn’t know, thought I’d save them the trouble of having to deal with you.” Corbin threw his stick into the pond and headed back to the rental.

October 2009

The events of the night before failed to break my spirit. When I arrived at work that morning I was in a perky mood thinking about Vegas. My favorite band, Toto, was blaring from the stereo on the counter that ran along one wall of my classroom. I picked up cassette tapes at yard sales and thrift stores because that was the only way I could play music in my jeep, that also happened to be a dinosaur from the eighties. It had over two hundred thousand miles on it, but my mechanic kept it running as consistently as the little noses in my classroom.

I sang along while I passed out an addition sheet for the students to work on when they got to school. I knew I wouldn’t make it on one of those singing competitions on television, but it helped me get through my morning. As I pulled down the last chair from the top of a desk, Westward walked into the room. She stopped the music, yanked out the tape, and headed for the door.

“Hey! I was listening to that!” I wasn’t sure what her evil, diabolical plan was this time. Taking someone’s Toto cassette was a low blow, even for her.

“I will not allow this trash to be played in the school.” When I protested, she cut me short, “I need to speak to you during your planning time today. Don’t be late.” She left the room carrying my good mood with her.

At ten o’clock, I dropped my students off with Mr. Pellitier, the art teacher. He always had them free draw the first five minutes of class to spark creativity, so he stepped out into the hallway.

“What’s wrong, Dottie?” I should have known my agitated mood was written all over my face.

“I’ve got to go meet with Westward. Does that explain anything?”

He chuckled to himself putting his hands inside his art smock. Stan went to college at some esteemed art school in New York and had dreams of becoming a great artist. But I think somewhere along the line his dream changed from becoming the next great artist to inspiring the next great artist.

“Well, good luck. You know I’m on your side.” He turned back to the class.

Westward sat at her desk, typing away at the computer when I entered the room. Without a word, I sat down in a big, lilac chair and waited for her attention. The office definitely had changed since Rollins was here. Westward got Mike to paint the walls a pale pink color during the summer break. A signed picture of John Mellencamp hung on one wall alongside a gigantic poster of him in some movie. Animal print linens were used as accent pieces throughout the room including some kind of zebra blanket thrown over the lilac chair I sat in.

She continued to type, so I picked up a picture in a pink furry frame sitting on the bookshelf next to me. Westward’s hair was jet black and she had her arm around a woman who looked like her twin.

“Is your sister a principal?” Westward wore her tortoise shell glasses and her red hair was especially bright today. My Toto cassette sat on her desk like a prisoner held in this bizarre zoo. I even felt bad for Mellencamp.

“No, she’s dead and you’re late.” She continued typing away at her computer.

Instead of handing her excuses, I said, “Yep. What happened to your sister?”

She hesitated in her typing for a moment. The tension that filled the room told me she was ready to leap across the desk, strangle me to death, and add me to her collection. “A house landed on her.”

I almost spit out the gum I was chewing. “Did you just say a house landed on her?”

“Yes, I know it must all be highly amusing to you, Miss Gale, but she was my sister and it was a terrible tragedy for our whole family.” She didn’t look up the entire time, letting me know that my words didn’t bother her.

“But . . . how?” Westward almost seemed human for a moment, like a person with a real family and emotions. I didn’t think I could handle this new revelation.

“We live in tornado country, Miss Gale. Use your imagination.” She turned to look at me for the first time. “As you know, the conference starts next Wednesday. If I calculate correctly, you should probably leave this Saturday to give you plenty of time to get there.”

“You want me to drive? But that’s over a thousand miles!” My little dinosaur made it fine around town, but a drive to Vegas would be the death of her.

“How else did you think you were going to get there?” Now I was the one that wanted to leap over the desk to wipe the smirk off Westward’s face.

“Let me see . . .we happen to live in the twenty-first century. I’m sure a plane might be an effective mode of transportation.” I knew she would come up with some way to get back at me for Corbin’s rigged drawing.

“If you drive, that will save the school the money for one plane ticket. I also made arrangements through the conference website for you to carpool.” Westward picked up a piece of paper off her desk moving her finger down the print. “I have two people I want you to pick up on the way to Vegas. They’ll be reimbursing the school for your services. There’s a Mr. Fields and a Mr. Lyons.”

“And who will be reimbursing me for the gas, hotels, and mileage on my car?” My heart was racing. Westward wanted me to pick up strangers on my way to Vegas. It was one step above hitchhikers. Who knew? Maybe they were homicidal maniacs.

“Your passengers, of course.” She turned to open the window behind her and then picked up a manila envelope and handed it to me. “This envelope contains your hotel reservations in Vegas, addresses to pick up your passengers, and the flight information for myself and Mr. Lane so you can pick us up at the airport Tuesday night.”

I grabbed the envelope, slamming the door to her office on the way out. Stan stood outside the art class when I came storming down the hallway.

“Well, I can see that went well,” Stan smiled.

“Just give me the kids,” I muttered.

The alarm went off way too early on Saturday for a normal human being to be coherent, and any ounce of perkiness was out of the question. I had been up late the night before trying to map out a route to pick up the other two teachers on the way to Vegas. To hit the two towns they lived in, I could either take the Interstate or Route 66. Darkness and cold drafts surrounded me as I lay in bed thinking about the day ahead of me. Westward’s paperwork said to pick up Shay Fields in Amarillo and then continue on to New Mexico to get my five hundred miles in for the day. Pushing the covers off I thought about the daylight I was burning even before the sun had come up.

Lugging my suitcase out to the car, I felt relief over the fact that I checked the oil the afternoon before, it was still too dark to see much in front of me even though I had my porch light on. Opening the back door, I threw my luggage in and started to head back to the house to lock up. Something caught my attention, like a white surrender flag, on my driver’s side door. It was a simple mailing envelope with my name scrawled on the front. I took it inside to read in the warmth of the house.

The envelope bulged in the middle, hinting to its contents, and my curiosity level went up two notches. Ripping open the top of the envelope, I pulled out my Toto cassette elated to have it for the thousand-mile journey that loomed right outside my doorstep. A note still lay inside the envelope, so I unfolded it, already knowing who it was from.

Dottie,

            When I was in Westward’s office yesterday afternoon, she told me that you chose to drive to Vegas. I know this has to do with our conversation the other day. I’m sorry I made you uncomfortable, and I hope this tape helps a little. I swiped it off Westward’s desk when she left the room. Maybe you need this road trip to figure some things out, and I hope you find what you’re looking for along the way. I’ll see you on Tuesday.

            Your friend,

            Corbin

I slid the letter into my coat pocket and held the cassette in my hand knowing my need to blast it this morning. I hopped in my jeep, reversed it into my turnaround spot, and started down my driveway just as the first light entered the sky. A strange and new feeling swept over me passing the outskirts of Quandary, a feeling that my life was about to begin.

 


Your humble host.
your humble contest host

It has been my pleasure to showcase these amazing writers. Look for interviews and more on them in the upcoming weeks.

Why did it win? What spoke to me?

I loved the folksy feel to the beginning; the personality of the main character, being young but also smart – good stuff.

I felt I was in for something special and I sensed it right away.

As the story moved on, I was totally immersed. I wanted to know more and understand why people were doing what they did. Then comes a mystery, and a journey . . . Maybe you figured it out before me, but I LOVED the humor and I especially enjoyed the way this story parallels and parodies (with respect) the story on which it’s based. That’s not necessarily new; some would say there are no new stories – but finding ways to have fun and keep us reading while we know what’s coming – that’s a rare talent.

This story, for me, completely worked. I was hooked early on and stayed with it all the way through.

And I am going to work VERY HARD to make sure this story gets published – a special treat that nobody knew about until right now, not even Heather. I wanna help steer this thing to where I believe it is destined: PUBLICATION. SoonMore on that as we go.

For now, join me in celebrating this moment with a very talented author, Heather Kindt.

If you liked this story, please share it on StumbleUpon and other social media so our winners can get the recognition they deserve.

Tomorrow, the 2nd place winner in the Word Weaver Writing Contest:

Cobalt Point by Anne Marie Hilse

If you would like to sponsor our October 2017 Word Weaver Writing Contest and get this kind of exposure for your product or service, please contact me.

 

HERE ARE YOUR WINNERS! Dan Alatorre’s Word Weaver Writing Contest (Oct 2017)

Are you excited to see who won our July 2017 writing contest? You should be. It was CRAZY hard to determine the best story out of so many amazing entries.

Word Weaver logi FINAL trimmed 2

 

These were GOOD stories, gang.

Really good.

And the fact is, on a different day or in a different contest, ANY of these finalists stories could have taken the top slot.

I know you wanna get right to who won, and some of you are gonna scroll down to peek (I would), so I’ll go ahead and say the stuff that ought to be said – for when you scroll back up.

dan
your humble (and very tired) host

How difficult is it to look at tons of stories and figure out which one is THE BEST?

I spent hours and hours looking over the stories, seeing which one stuck out from the crowd, which one took the #1 spot – until a better one came along… and critiquing quite a few, to help you guys get to the next level.

And guess what?

  • TWO of our contestants from the prior contest have published their stories!

  • Some of the contestants from this contest were invited to be in our “scary anthology.”

  • One contestant was so good I asked to find a way for us to work together on a project down the road.

Yep, they are living the dream. And  LOT of people who got critiques replied to tell me how helpful the information was.

So…

If you don’t enter, you are missing out.

Can you afford to miss out? I don’t think so. Lesson learned, you non-enterers.

NEXT:

A big THANK YOU to our sponsors. Gang, writing is a business but it doesn’t have to be a solitary one. Great partners make the work easier.

  • The fine folks at Moyhill are stepping up to fulfill a dream for somebody today – seeing their writing baby become a real live published book.

  • Russell J. Fellows Editing will be helping a lucky winner take their story to the next level.

  • WriteMind is gonna help you stay organized.

  • Molli Nickoll, The Publishing Wizard and former Time-Life acquisitions editor, is offering you discounts to her “land an agent” consultation.

And a bunch of amazing author types are gonna give away their books to people.

This is the kind of help you asked for, so I delivered. Contests are a lot of work, but terrific sponsors make it a lot of fun, too.

Once again, the feedback I gave on the stories was extremely helpful to our contestants!

“Wow, thank you so much for the critique. Amazing job, thank you.”

“Hey Dan, you really know how to make my day! I’m so grateful for your detailed critique of my story. It’s wonderful to get this kind of feedback, and totally validates all the hours we put in, alone at our desks, writing our hearts out. To be honest, I jumped up and down and cheered so much, my dog thought I had gone completely berserk…

“I want to thank you for the effort you have put in and let you know that I found this feedback very valuable.

“Hi Dan, thank you for all of the helpful critiques on my writing.” 
“Your critique was spot on and helpful.”
“Dan- thank you for taking the time to give me so much feedback- I will have a great time studying the comments and learning from them.” 

To all of your: I am humbled by your praise. Thank you.

IF YOU DID NOT WIN: Please consider this like the Olympics. The winning stories simply spoke to me that particular day. Many of the entries could have won on a different day with a different judge. If I said your story was good in my note to you, it was. Work hard and come back – and win next time. We’ll be here cheering for all of you.

Have I rambled on long enough?

I have? Okay.

So now

without further ado

rising to the challenge with a theme of “family,”

HERE ARE YOUR WINNERS.


downloadIn 5th place, created just because we had so many darned good entries

  • One Last Goodbye by Juliet Nubel

I’m gonna have to think up a better prize for the 5th place winner. Right now it’s a $10 gift card, bragging rights and being showcased later in the week on the blog. CONGRATULATIONS!!

This was an amazing story. You’re gonna wanna read it, trust me. It’ll be featured soon.

Juliet will receive a $10 gift card, compliments of author and sponsor Annette Robinson, who donated this prize to our contest. Also, Juliet gets serious bragging rights.


Honorable Mentions:

also because these stories just spoke to me and needed to be recognized. They’re reeeeeeally good.

  • Interlock by Barbara Anne Helberg

  • Sparkles In Time by Carrie Ann Alexis*

  • The Stainless Steel Coffin by Scott Skipper

These stories and their authors will be featured on the blog. The are really good, and you’ll see why I selected them.

CONGRATULATIONS!

* Yeah, Carrie Ann is thinking, hey, I got an honorable mention last time, too. This sucks. Well, it really means your writing is so consistently good that I always find myself putting it near the top. Somebody else might edge you out but you are always a contender – and that means your stories need to be seen by the world, lady. Soon.

Special Honorable Mention:

I loved this story.

  • An Encounter With A Suit Of Armour by Robbie Cheadle

It didn’t take the top spot but it’s cute as hell and you’ll see why it deserves special notice. Can’t give too much away right now, though. Be sure to come back and read it when we feature it soon here on the blog.


downloadIn 4th place, a TIE

Two brilliant pieces

  • Last Time She Saw Her Brother by Maribel C. Pagan

  • Dancing To The Silence by Leta McCurry

You might assume by the title that Maribel’s story is a bit on the sad side. You’d be right. I’m a sucker for a well-written tearjerker. Leta’s piece is extraordinary, too. You’ll see why when we showcase it later in the week on the blog. CONGRATULATIONS to both of you!!

Maribel and Leta will each receive a $10 gift card, compliments of author and sponsor Annette Robinson, who donated this prize to our contest. Also, both 4th place winners get serious bragging rights.


3In 3rd place, a really amazing story

  • Mind Games by Heather Hackett

A terrific story you’re gonna love. It’s intense.

Heather will receive THIS prize package valued at over $50:

productpic

  • WriteMind author’s idea management and project organizing system ($19.99 Digital Printable Version) from Perry Elisabeth Design

  • PUBLICATION of their winning piece on this website

  • An author profile to appear on this site

Plus she gets major league bragging rights.


2In 2nd place,

and if the first place winner is unable to carry out the duties, the second place winner will step in and assume the role…

  • Cobalt Point by Anne Marie Hilse

Anne Marie will receive THIS prize package valued at over $150:

RUSSELL J. FELLOWS EDITING

russell j fellows

  • EDITING PACKAGE from Russel J. Fellows Author Services for YOUR book! (www.RusselJFellows.com)

  • PUBLICATION of their winning piece on this website

  • A guest blog post or author profile to appear on this site

  • slightly less massive bragging rights than first place (because that’s only fair)


And now…

drumroll please…

1st

Dan Alatorre’s Word Weaver Writing Contest

* GRAND PRIZE WINNER *

1st Place

Ruby Slips and Poker Chips

by Heather Kindt

(applause)

Heather will receive THIS valuable prize package:

Moyhill publishing image

  • Cover Design & Publishing Package from Award Winning Moyhill Publishing (www.Moyhill.com)

    • This insanely great package includes

      • COVER DESIGN and EBOOK FORMATTING for your edited book

      • PROOFREADING and up to two electronic proofs with changes if needed

      • MARKETING COVERS (larger formats) for Amazon and Smashwords.

      • PROMOTION for the book placement on the shelves of the Moyhill virtual bookstore.

      • YOUR BOOK GETS FOUR WEEKS AS A PINNED TWEET to over 20,000 followers from Sally Cronin’s Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstoreaccount.

      A first time author will also be guided through the setting up of social media, author page and other marketing strategies, plus Moyhill can upload the manuscript to Amazon and Smashwords for you!

PLUS!

  • PUBLICATION of Heather’s winning piece on this website TOMORROW

  • A GUEST BLOG POST or AUTHOR PROFILE to appear on this site soon (that’s priceless, really)

  • a video interview with me, should they so choose, also to appear on this site**

  • MASSIVE BRAGGING RIGHTS

** requires a quality high speed internet connection and a good camera on your computer or phone. Maybe other stuff. I’m not doing this at 3 A. M., okay?


THANK YOU ALL. Today, we celebrate writing.

A round of applause for our winners.

REMEMBER: ALL contestants not winning first, second, or third place will be put into a drawing for other prizes!

How awesome is that? And we have more stuff for you! For example…

EACH OF THE FIRST 50 ENTRANTS will save $60 (20% discount) on a “land an agent” consultation with author, publisher, and former Time-Life acquisitions editor, MOLLI NICKELL!

(www.GetPublishedNOW.biz)

MOLLI survived 35 years in the publishing biz as a publisher, motivational speaker, acquisitions editor, UCLA writing instructor, and eight-times published author. She mentors writers as a story doc and helps them prepare submission documents (query, synopsis, and first pages) that grab and hold agent attention. Molli’s expertise helps writers achieve the ultimate goals of agent/publisher/shelf space at Barnes and Noble.

Molli

I will notify the first 50 entrants of my October 2017 by email later this week/early next week. They will each receive a 20% discount ($60) on a $300 written evaluation and consultation with Molli. She’ll evaluate (in writing) your query, synopsis, or first page, then schedule a 30-minute phone or video consultation to respond to your questions.

Molli is the real deal, gang. This huge.


ALSO!

“DOOR” PRIZES just for entering!

ALL contestants not winning first, second, or third place will be put into a drawing for other prizes!

More awesome stuff. You really get your money’s worth in this contest.

  • IMG_2351 (1)Several contestants will receive ONE month FREE membership in my PRIVATE CRITIQUE GROUP.

    Receive up to 3,000 words of your story per week critiqued BY ME in my private critique group. Get The Dan Treatment. This $50.00 value will be awarded to several contestants.

  • 3 audio book copies of Project Renovatio will be awarded from Amazon Bestselling author Allison Maruska (audio books are not autographed)

  • autographed books from one of several generous authors listed below, in your choice of paperback or eBook (but the e-Books aren’t signed, either, okay?)

  • a few signed copies of Poggibonsi: an Italian misadventure, my funny and sexy romantic comedy (unless you choose an eBook, right? Let that signed eBook thing go. Just let it go!)

  • Amazon gift cards, compliments of author and sponsor Annette Robinson. Check out Annette’s entry in our last Word Weaver contest HERE, and her website HERE.

  • Starbucks $10 gift card, compliments of me. Even though I personally HATE Starbucks, you might like it.

HERE are some of the AMAZING AUTHORS whose books will awarded:

renovatio-ebook-v4

Allison MaruskaProject Renovatio. Author of the runaway bestseller The Fourth Descendant, Allison Maruska offers an audio book version of her latest hitProject Renovatio.

With over 550 reviews on Amazon, The Fourth Descendant established Allison as an amazing breakout author. I read Project Renovatio. It is a brilliant, thrilling YA novel that grabs the attention of readers and holds them until the very end.

 

51fiCEiyv-L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_

Hugh RobertsGlimpses

28 short stories that will take your mind on a rollercoaster of a ride into worlds that conceal unexpected twists and turns. You REALLY wanna win that!

dana wayne

Dana WayneMail Order Groom, Secrets of the Heart

Dana Wayne is all about the romance! Mail Order Groom is a historical western romance. Secrets of The Heart is a contemporary romance. Both are amazing!

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000448_00052]

Curtis BaussePerfume Island, One Green Bottle

One Green Bottle, set in Provence, is the first in a series of Magali Rousseau detective stories. Perfume Island is the second book in the amazing series. You’ll love it!

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T. A. HenryScripting The Truth

Any story that takes place in post-WWII Britain and has the phrase “She’ll try to do it all while trying to keep the seams on her stockings straight” has to be read. You’ll agree.

 

Joanne R LarnerDicken’s Diaries, Richard Liveth Yet

One reviewer called Dicken’s Diaries “a ‘diary’ with lots of amusing stories and indeed it is a cleverly written, humorous book.” Richard Liveth Yet is Richard III as you have never seen him before! Great stories from a great writer.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000039_00014]

Yecheilyah YsraylRenaissance: The Nora White Story

In 1922 Mississippi, Nora White has graduated high school and is college bound, but she is fascinated by the prospect of being a famous writer in The Harlem Renaissance – and decides on a change of plans. Techeilyah will amaze you with this one!

Poggi cover FINAL

and of course, ME

A few folks will be selected to receive a copy of Poggibonsi: an Italian misadventure,my hilarious sexy romp through Italy (definitely a hot commodity, so to speak) as a signed paperback or as an eBook. Don’t even ask me if I’ll sign the eBook. Just. Don’t.


When I post the winning stories, I will tell you a little about why they won, and more about how tough the decision process was.

KEEP READING! WE’RE NOT DONE YET!

AL of the above-named winning selections will be featured here on the blog every day starting Wednesday:

  • 1st place winner Ruby Slips And poker Chips by Heather Kindt will run WEDNESDAY

  • 2nd place winner Cobalt Point by Anne Marie Hilse will run Thursday

  • 3rd place winner Mind Games by Heather Hackett will run Friday

  • The tying 4th place winners, Last Time She Saw Her Brother by Maribel C. Pagan, and Dancing To The Silence by Leta McCurry, will run Saturday and Sunday, respectively

  • 5th place winner, One Last Goodbye by Juliet Nubel, will run Monday

  • ALL the Honorable Mention stories will run daily starting Tuesday the 22nd:

    • Interlock by Barbara Anne Helberg, Tuesday August 22nd

    • Sparkles In Time by Carrie Ann Alexis, Wednesday August 23rd

    • The Stainless Steel Coffin by Scott Skipper, Thursday August 24th

    • An Encounter With A Suit Of Armour by Robbie Cheadle, Friday August 25th

The winners have not yet been notified (other than this post) so after contacting them we will arrange for their prizes to be sent and their interviews/profiles/etc., to be scheduled here on the blog. If you won and are reading this, you have my email so feel free to contact me. I’ll be in a coma for the next few days, so no rush.

THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS

You will get an email tomorrow or Wednesday letting you know how to deliver your prizes to the winners.

CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR WINNERS

The next Word Weaver Writing Contest is tentatively scheduled for October 2017, so if you have ideas for it, post them below in the comments section.

What will the next grand prize be? Who knows. But there’ll be

MORE prizes

MORE feedback

and BIGGER BRAGGING RIGHTS

 

I can’t express my appreciation to all of you for trusting me with your amazing stories. You are amazing talents, each and every one, and you inspire me.

IF PUBLICATION OF YOUR COMPLETED BOOK IS YOUR DREAM,

my Word Weaver Writing Contest is a big step towards fulfilling that dream.

Look at the number of people who published a book after entering the contest. This is where you wanna be.

If you would like to congratulate our winners, please do so now and also when their post runs in a few days.

If you would like to be a sponsoring author for the next Word Weaver Writing Contest, contact meThis was great exposure for our major advertisers as well as getting authors’ books in front of tens of thousands of eyeballs.

This thing was a blast.

THANK YOU, EVERYONE WHO ENTERED!

Your humble host.
your humble host

You guys ROCK!

Dan Alatorre is the author of several bestsellers and the paranromal thriller “An Angel On Her Shoulder.”

Get your copy HERE.

Free on Kindle unlimited!

 

Any thoughts on a TITLE for the scary anthology?

dan
your humble host

I had one but then I forgot it.

Recently we discussed images for the cover art for our Scary Anthology.

 

Oh, now I remember:

 

The Unquiet Earth

 

That’s it. That’s all I’ve got so far.

I toyed around the thought of naming it after synonyms for graveyard:

  • necropolis

  • bone yard (I think S. King took that already)

  • charnel house

  • God’s acre

Charnel house, or just charnel, had some intrigue to it. Mr. Charnel’s Collection,

or The Box Under Mr. Charnel’s Bed. Maybe just The Box Under The Bed.

 

What about you? Any ideas?

Proofreding and Editing Rates (not mine; I don’t do that)

danWe’re getting close to the announcement of the Word Weaver Writing Contest Winners, so I’m distracting you with this post.

And yes, I misspelled proofreading in the title on purpose.

Probably.

You guys always ask me what stuff like editing costs, so I looked up a few editors’ rates. This is not unusual for editing, and a clean MS (manuscript) costs much less to edit.

No that’s not a shameless plug for my Private Critique Group.

Check out these rates. You can decide for yourself if they’re worth it – oh, and by the way, this isn’t fixing your story so it’s a page turner, it’s mostly finding typos and missing commas and stuff. Maybe a little story doctoring but that’s not usually what regular editors excel at.

Person A

SAMPLE EDIT RATE

75,000 (300 pages) $405.00 – $675.00

100,000 (400 pages) $540.00 – $900.00

Person B

PROOFREADING

Dollars: $0.004 p/word (approx $300 per 75K word manuscript)

COPY/LINE EDITING:

Dollars: $0.004 – 0.007 p/word, depending on manuscript (between $300 – $525 per 75K word manuscript)

Definitions:

Copy editing is a process that ensures that text is correct in terms of spelling, grammar, jargon, punctuation, terminology, semantics and formatting. … They make sure any factual data in the text is accurate and that any potential legal issues are brought to the publisher’s attention.

Line editing refers to prose. It’s about the craft of writing, and that means paragraph structure, sentence flow, word choice, and language-related techniques. That also means voice, style, readability, and forward movement. And in fiction it means the difference between scenes and exposition.

Proofreaders read copy and transcripts and check to make sure there are no spelling, grammatical or typographical errors.

Do you see any of the descriptions that say they’ll help you trim your story so it reads at a terrific pace?

Or with emotion?

Or that’ll make it a page turner?

Kinda sorta but not really?

Shop carefully, my friends. There are good editors and bad editors out there, and you have to do your homework before hiring them. Look for referrals from the editors you’re considering and ask author friends who they used.

But usually the editor isn’t making your story read well, so don’t expect them to do that.

 

Have YOU had an experience, good or bad, with an editor? (No names, please.)