Thursday, May 16, 2019

Dr. Mel's Pet Peeves She Edits From First-time Authors

May 13, 2019

I finally arrived home again after spending another great week at the beach. I was able to get a log accomplished; e.g., sit on the balcony watching the waves and listening to the audible version of my book Never Stop Running narrated by Jessie Drumm. She has done a remarkable job narrating this book and in a month that audible book should be making its debut. I am so excited about that. Be sure to sign up to my blog and stay up tonight on my new releases and many things I have going in my life. Here is an excerpt from Never Stop Running.

Speaking of lives, I came across a book written by Barbara Wayman which gives advice about leading an extraordinary life. Barbara Wayman is passionate about living your best life now. She is an award-winning travel writer and public relations professional whose celebrity interviews and international travel stories have appeared in Home & Away magazine since 2001. She has modeled and acted in dozens of TV commercials and two short films and she recently competed in her debut bikini fitness competition. Barbara holds a Master's Degree in Journalism from The Ohio State University. When she's not lifting weights or devouring books, she is probably planning her next adventure. Meet Barbara and her book. Living An Extraordinary Life.



Tell your readers a little about yourself, where you grew up, where you live now, where you went to school etc. Let them get to know the personal you.

I was born and grew up in Ohio. I went to The Ohio State University and I’ve always enjoyed living in the Buckeye State. It’s a convenient home base for travel throughout the United States, and I’ve found Midwestern people to be open, helpful and friendly.

What was the very first book you read?

I remember discovering biographies when I was young. I was so fascinated to realize there were books that detailed a person’s whole life. I’ve always been a big fan of biographies and autobiographies because I learn so much from the decisions others make and the lessons they learn.

What inspired you to author this book?

I’ve learned so many helpful tips and techniques over the years and some of them are not widely known. I wanted to share the concepts with others so that they too could benefit from them.

Where did you get the inspiration for your book’s cover?

It is my first book so I worked with a designer on the cover concepts, which was a really enjoyable and interesting process. In the end, the final design captured the positive energy of the book’s contents and has been well-received.


Who has been the biggest influence on you personally and as a writer?

I’ve always been inspired by Helen Gurley Brown as a writer. She was a best-selling author and highly successful magazine publisher. All of her writing had a clear voice and an unabashed point of view. She really expressed herself freely and in her own style, which is something I’ve always appreciated about her.

What were your struggles or obstacles you had to overcome to get this book written?

As with any creative project, you have to overcome your own resistance to doing the work, and just sitting down to do the writing. After that, I had a lot to learn to get it finished and available online for order 24/7. It was a great experience though, and one I can apply to future books.

Tell your readers about your book.

Living An Extraordinary Life is for anyone who wants to streamline their path to success. It describes key concepts and tells stories that show readers how to take positive steps to improve their daily lives.

What do you hope readers will learn from reading your book?

I hope readers will understand how to apply these lessons to their own lives right away, and that they will greatly reduce any sense of struggle or suffering they may be experiencing. I hope they will gain a greater understanding of themselves and others and feel more supported and peaceful in their day-to-day living.

Who is your target audience and why?

While the lessons apply to anyone, a lot of the stories have a more female-focus because I enjoy supporting women and their success.

If you were going to give one reason for anyone looking at your book to read, why should they buy it?

The top reason is that the concepts in this book are not available anywhere else. They’re powerful but not well-known. This is the only place where they’re gathered together and packaged in an easy-to-apply structure.

What do you consider your greatest success in life?

Gosh that’s a big question. I’d have to say it’s that I care about people and I err on the side of kindness. I treat people with empathy and focus on my own goals rather than judging people.

What one unique thing sets you apart from other writers in your genre?

I have a unique writing style and voice, and my manner of presenting information is very straightforward and open. People might not agree with everything I say but they’re not going to be bored.

How do you overcome writer’s block?

I think it’s important to be disciplined and work from a routine schedule. As long as you’re working you can always edit material later on. If you wait for inspiration to strike you might find yourself waiting a long time and never writing anything!

What one piece of advice do you have for new authors.

When it comes to creative projects you’ll find that many people have ideas to share with you. My advice is to be selective about whose ideas you agree to listen to. Sometimes it’s best if you just put your head down and create the work you have in mind, and then get feedback from sources you trust.

Do you have another book planned in the future? If so, tell me about that one too.

Right now I am deciding on a few options for my next book and I look forward to getting underway with the writing phase soon. When it’s finished it will be available on Amazon along with the first one, so everyone will know where to find it.

Tell your readers anything else you want to share.

Thank you for reading my interview, and I hope you enjoy the book! I invite all readers to reach out to me on Twitter at @barbarawayman to speak more or ask further questions.



Most of you know who follow this blog also know that I am not only an author, but I am also one of the senior editors with Absolute Author Publishing House. As a result, I see first-time authors make many of the same mistakes that drive readers and editors crazy. I am going to list a couple of my pet peeves below in the hope when I edit your manuscript, you will have corrected them before you send it to me or any other editor. Subscribe to my blog and keep this post handy because I will be adding to it.

1. Spell and Grammar Check - Sometimes I think because you hired an editor you don't spell check or grammar check your documents before you send it. If you did, there wouldn't be so many that I find. Yes, an editor does check for those things, but so much more. If we have to spend our time getting rid of misspelled words and punctuation that could have been caught by spellcheck or a free program called Grammarly, the time we spend on other items is less. As an author, take pride in what you do and send the best version possible to your editor. Please spell check your document.

2. The use of the word "OWN." As good as the word "Own" has become for Oprah, nine times out of ten that word is misused in a novel manuscript. Here are a couple of examples.

Example 1: I went to my own bedroom to get my purse.

The use of the word own is not necessary. The identifier before it, "My" takes care of that situation for you. The sentence is more clear without the word "Own" in it.

I went to my bedroom to get my purse. Now that sentence is clear.

Example 2: I have to make up my own mind as to whether I want to go on a date with him.

Again, it is your mind that you are making up and the word my in from of own is all you need.

 I have to make up my mind as to whether I want to go on a date with him.

3. My next pet peeve really drives me crazy - bolding everything to make a point, then using an exclamation point. Whew! This one is bad because when you write, your words should stand on their merit. Please notice I did not write, "Stand on their own merit!" Wow, that last sentence has three of my pet peeves in it. First, I didn't need to write own, I didn't need to bold the word merit, and I didn't have to use an exclamation point. It is badly written in all kinds of ways.  I forgot who said it, but there is a famous author who wrote that if you use three exclamation marks in your novel, that is three too many.  Personally, I think if you use two throughout an entire novel, that is a lot, but I can take that. The reason is that your writing style and dialogue between your characters carry the momentum of the sentence, not the bold words and exclamation points. If you feel you need them, rewrite your sentence until it is clear and bold without it. Look at this sentence below.

"George really made me mad; I was foaming like a rabid dog!!"

Wow, the above sentence is written so poorly I am embarrassed to have written it. Thank goodness it was for an example. First, I don't need to bold really and I don't need to end the sentence with two exclamation points. However, I read this structuring all the time from authors who are trying to make the point that a character was extremely angry. Then, why not write what you mean with clarity? Take a look at this one below for the clarity.

"When George said I resembled a fat pig, I felt my face turn red, clenched my jaw and felt as if I was about to foam from the mouth like a rabid dog. He's lucky I didn't pour hot fondue over his face."

By the way I reconstructed the sentence, I accomplished several things. First, it is much stronger as it now shows and not tell s that George mad me mad. Without using the word mad, I let my reader know that I was because my face turned red, I clenched my jaw and felt as if I was about to foam from the mouth like a rabid dog. As a reader, they can tell that character is mad. I didn't have bold a thing and I surely didn't need to end my statement with an exclamation point.

4. This pet peeve might be an oversight of not understanding the rules when writing novels, but do not italicize words to make a point. When you italicize words there are rules for that. If you wrote a character's inner thought, that gets italicized and please do not put quotation marks around those. I see this mistake hundreds of times. Learn the rules of when to italicize a word, for instance, a foreign word like, vamos.

Writer's also will italicize or bold words, again to make a point, but that method backfires as it confuses the readers.

My challenge to you is for you to search your document for the word "Own" and remove it and see how your sentence reads. Then do a find for every exclamation mark you used and get rid of them. If you really are trying to make a hard point, if the sentence doesn't read that way, rewrite the sentence until it is strong. Lastly, look up the rules for italicization in novel writing and learn them.

5. When authors misuse words or don't hyphenate words correctly, it drives me insane. I have expanded on my top three below.

Cover up versus Cover-up

Cover up versus Cover-up - I can't begin to tell you how many authors make this mistake. The two words are not the same at all. One is a verb and the other is a noun. Read these sentences.

The government cover-up conspiracy on aliens is absurd. We all know they exist. (This is the noun form sentence.)

When I cover up my dog in his blanket, he pokes his nose deep beneath it. (This is the verb form sentence.)

Notice how I use the word 'cover up' as a verb and cover-up as a noun. 

Stainless Steel vs. Stainless-steel

Here we go again. To correctly use either stainless steel or stainless-steel is how the word is being used in a sentence.  When a name for a material such as "stainless steel" is used with a word for a thing made of that material, a hyphen is used, as in "stainless-steel knife." Read these sentences.

Michael chopped onions with a stainless-steel knife. (Describes a thing.)

Stainless steel is a material that most kitchen utensils are made. (Describes the material the thing is made from.)

Toward vs. Towards

I can't even tell you that one of the first things I do when I edit is to find and replace the word towards or toward. Depending on the country of the author, I have to be careful with this one because both words are spelled correctly, I have to have them match. Authors often use both no matter the country they live and as a result, the manuscript is full of inconsistencies. You must stick with one rule and not intermix. According to the Chicago Manual of Style, the preferred form in American English is toward without the -s, while the preferred British English form is towards with the -s. This general rule works with other directional words, including forward, backward, upward, and downward, along with afterward. Look at these examples.

I strode toward the archway headed for her door to wake her up. (USA Version)

I strode towards the hallway to knock her up. (United Kingdom version)

Challenge: Do a search and replace in your document for the word 'toward.' When you do, it will also find the word 'towards.' Make sure that you are consistent throughout your manuscript and perform the same action for other directionals words of forward, backward, upward, downward, and afterward.

                         Order All of my Books From my Website

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Superhero Grandmothers as a Source of Writing Inspiration

May 14, 2019

I woke up this morning with a smile on my face because I realized that the day held the potential of untapped resources for happiness. After I stumbled out of bed, I poured myself a cup of ambition, coffee, and made my way to the balcony and watched the waves splash onto the sugar white sand beach. Three pelicans flew over just as a dolphin jumped out the water. Yep, I am a person who loves the beach and I love to write at the beach.

I came up here for Mother's Day weekend with my mother to relax and spend time with her. We have done absolutely nothing but eat, sleep, read, and rest which was exactly what we came to do. I will always cherish this time with her.

Speaking of Mothers and grandmothers, the author who I am going to introduce you to has written an interesting book about a grandmother. It's not what you are thinking at all because according to Lewis, "This book is a tribute to all grandmothers." You'll see why. "Madam Rhino: Troubled Waters" by Chris Lewis is about a grandmother, but not just any grandmother. This grandmother is a superhero crime-fighting granny who has developed superpowers. This book has all the potential in the world for a very interesting read. You can find out more about Chris Lewis and her book in the following interview. The best part is that starting on May 19th - May 31, 2019, the book will be on sale for .99. You can't beat that price for a quick guilty read.


BUY NOW - link:

GOES ON SALE MAY 19 - 31, 2019 FOR .99`

What was the very first romance novel you read? The last one I wrote was my mother’s; in general, I don’t.

What inspired you to author this book? There were no older superheroes of color during the time I wrote this book. Think about it, this was the time before "Black Panther,:

Where did you get the inspiration for your book’s cover? It is a standalone book, but there is a theme of the heroine with a background relating to the subject matter - ish.

Who has been the biggest influence on you personally and as a writer? I enjoy Ronald Dahl, and Stephen King

What were your struggles or obstacles you had to overcome to get this book written? Credibility and sensitivity when writing about an older lady, I wanted to be respectful. The fight scenes were difficult at first and also wanted to give science credibility.

Tell your readers about your book.

Angela is elegant and brilliant, on the surface she has it all, but in reality, her world is complex, but one she would never give up – a secret agent, a grandmother, and a superhero. She is elegant, feisty, in her eighties and works hard to keep her crime-fighting alter egos from her family. On the outside, she may look like a frail old woman, but on the inside, Angela is a skilled fighter with a brilliant scientific mind and… Madam Rhino powers.
In this second book, her family thinks she is on one of her frequent cruise holidays', but in reality, she is on a secret mission for the 'The Bridge Club'.
In this high sea adventure, an unexpected development puts her family in danger. Find out how she juggles to keep her family safe and complete her mission.
Madam Rhino, a no-nonsense older superhero, who likes to get the job done without fuss.

Who is your target audience and why? An inspiration read, popular among the older lady.

If you were going to give one reason for anyone looking at your book to read, why should they buy it?

A guilty pleasurable quick read.

What do you consider your greatest success in life?

I am honored that someone outside my family and friends has purchased my book!

How do you overcome writer’s block?
Take time out with friends and come back later.

What one piece of advice do you have for new authors. At the end of the day, it is your story to make sure you are proud of it.



Here is a new book to watch out for by Micahela James that will be available June 7, 2019.  Have some fun and watch the trailer below and then purchase the book. This is great summertime reading. Now here is the best part, for a limited time the author is looking for Beta Focus group members who want to read her book for free, in exchange for an honest review on Amazon. If you are interested contact the author: . This link will take you to the Book Funnel and you will be able to download the book for free in a variety of formats. Thank you Micahela for this opportunity for my readers to start their summer reading with a freebie.



Mead’s new detective, Craig Monroe, discovers idyllic cottages, stunning countryside, and quintessential garden parties are a facade for something dark and sinister. Solving a local doctor’s murder intensifies when Mead’s inhabitants, prove to be complex, quirky and cantankerous. A veteran detective, Monroe’s unsurprised by motives of revenge, lust, and betrayal, but … There’s something bigger. Something buried so deep Craig may never uncover the truth. One thing is certain, the village is harboring many secrets. Some sad, some sordid and some decades in the making. What are the residents of Mead hiding, and how is it possible for one small village to have so many secrets? Can Detective Craig Monroe determine who killed Doctor Jude Ryland and in doing so will he discover the Secrets of Mead? The story is reminiscent of the British tv drama. 'Midsomer Murders.' A very small village with lots of suspects.


Monday, May 13, 2019


May 13, 2019

Yesterday was Mother's Day and I had a fabulous time spending mine with my mother in Orange Beach, Alabama and will continue to for a couple of more days. My mother, Helen V. Ray, is the beautiful woman who graces the cover of my book Never Stop Running. The picture of her was taken in 1954. It was one of my ways to honor my mother because at 85 she was diagnosed with small cell lung cancer, which is now in remission, and then later breast cancer, which is also in remission. I can praise God for His healing mercy on her and granting this special weekend for us. Today, my sister Robby will be joining us to add to the fun. 


I have assisted hundreds of authors over the years in publishing their books. When I say publish, I mean I edit the rough drafts, walk them through the beta reader process, help them get their covers created, design the interiors of their books, assign them their ISBN's from Absolute Author Publishing House and so much more. Because of this, I have seen the mistakes they make, albeit, most came on the heels of lack of experience on their part with the publication process or due to their overzealous nature wanting to get the book published as quickly as possible which either makes the process more difficult than it needs to be or the end product, their book, isn't in the shape it needs to before it is published. Below I am going to go over some of the top mistakes I see new authors make when publishing their books.

1. Write your book in the correct format. To me writing the book is the easy part; editing it is the most difficult. I often receive manuscripts to Absolute Author Publishing House for consideration for us to publish their book. When I receive them, I make an assessment of whether the book is ready. I look at the book's cover, the copyright page, the interior formatting first to determine if the book is formatted correctly. Nine out of ten, they are not and do not meet industry standards. Here is the mistake. An author will write the manuscript in Word and will not set the page margins, sizes, headers etc. They give me a copy in the size of a letter, 8.5 by 11 inches. Hold the horses! Wait! When you write, write in the format and size you want for the final book that way you get used to looking at it as a book. Otherwise, it appears as a senior creative writing project.

2. Not editing their manuscripts or allowing friends, family, and peers edit. I am here to tell you that I have yet to receive a book manuscript that is edited professionally sent to me. Yes, I am a professional editor too, so that could be the reason, however, I get a lot of books people send me to review or want to be advertised. The first thing I do is go to Amazon and read the reviews and open the Look Inside feature and read what I can so that I can get a good feel for the book. Wow! I find typos, grammatical mistakes, poorly constructed sentences and more. These books are published that way which tells me the author did not edit the book or have it edited by a professional. No matter how good of a writer you are, you need a professional editor. I am working with an author at the moment that had his book edited three times before he sent it to me. He couldn't believe the mistakes the other editors missed. When I asked him, who the other three were, he informed me one was a friend, one was a colleague and one was a relative. I am here to tell you unless one of those three is a professional editor, you are wasting your time. They do not understand industry standards and are not as likely to be honest with you about your book. A book will not sell if it is poorly edited or poorly written.

3. Not using Beta Readers or Focus Group Members. Authors like to bypass this phase because to them, they have written the perfect book and want to get the book published as quickly as possible. This is a huge mistake. A book's publication process cannot be rushed. Slow down and give your book time to breath. My new book, A.D.A.M. that is in the pre-sale stage took six months to edit although it only took me six weeks to write it. Then, after the Focus group sessions, which I use four rounds of four different people each, I let the book simmer before I re-read it and made the changes suggested by them. Their input and insight are valuable.

 A.D.A.M. could have been published last December, that is if I wanted to rush the process. I finished writing it, I had my copy and line editors proofread it, and my focus groups were done. However, I sat on it because I wanted time between my rereads to make sure it was perfect. I also took the time and began the audiobook narration process so that both could come out around the same time.


4. Publishing, self-publishing, with a Free ISBN. This is a serious mistake for authors because when a publishing platform issues you the Free ISBN your book is not eligible for the most part to become on the USA Today's or New York Times Best-seller list. They don't take self-published books. Also, when you do that the world knows. Trust, I made that mistake and found out the hard way. Also, there are what I call ISBN issue fast lane places that will sell you an ISBN, with their imprint because they purchased the ISBNs in bulk. They can sell them to you fairly cheap. However, with those, they don't have credibility or a publishing company behind them and it gives an impression of being unprofessional. If you want to be taken seriously as a professional author and not a writer, purchase your ISBN through a publishing company. I use Absolute Author Publishing House because I get the best of both worlds. I get published under a publishing company, but I maintain all of my copyrights and I am free to distribute my book on any format I want. Better still, Absolute Author Publishing House doesn't take any royalties from the author and they help to promote their authors. It is a win, win situation.

5. Rushing the design of the book before it is edited. This is a huge mistake and a waste of money for new authors. Avoid your final interior design until your book is completely edited. Once an interior designer gets your book, if it is not edited, it is difficult to make changes and it is likely to cost you more money. Don't rush the process.

Isabella Skyy

Today I am introducing to my readers a new author, Isabella Skyy, who has two books, "Pleasing Sarah: Sexy Adult Stories Of Explicit Oral Pleasure" (SteamyRomance Novel) and "The Forbidden Affairs Of Eva: What would you do if your one-night stand turned out to be your boss?" which are available on

Isabella Skye has been an avid romance reader since the age of ten. Even then, she knew she wanted to pen her own romantic stories; becoming an author soon jumped to the top of her bucket list. Her vivid imagination and voracious reading habits have led to the release of her first novel 'Pleasing Sarah" and having her dreams come true. As she checks “romance author” off her list, she hopes her stories bring as much enjoyment to her readers as other writers have always done for her. When she isn’t spinning erotica stories, she can be found traveling, going on nature walks and, of course, reading. Keep an eye out for more romance titles by Isabella Skye—she’s just getting started.

Her books are perfect for those hot steamy nights in the summer because they are hot and steamy filled with fantasy that some might call with a tinge of erotica. So, readers, be warned that we are talking about adult content. Let's get to know Isabella Sky and her books. Here is her interview below.

Tell your readers a little about yourself, where you grew up, where you live now, where you went to school etc. Let them get to know the personal you.

Hello, everyone, my name is Isabella Skye, and I grew up in NYC and still live there. I love to travel, and I love going on nature's walk.

What was the very first romance novel you read?

I was ten year's old when I started to read a romance book, so my memory of my favorite book is blurry.

What inspired you to author this book?

I wanted to write books for so long and I, when I decided to be celibate, let's say instead of a man, I had too much sexual idea's. I don't think I was meant to be celibate.

Where did you get the inspiration for your book’s cover?

I placed myself in my reader’s position and asked, “What if I were them, would I stop and look at the book’s cover or would I skip over it?” I also asked my kids what they thought about them.

Who has been the biggest influence on you personally and as a writer?

As a first time writer, I love romance and self-help books, but my favorite writer is Dean Koontz.

What were your struggles or obstacles you had to overcome to get this book written?

Overcoming my self-doubt and fear. I was tired of doubting my self and decided to take a chance and jumped.

Tell your readers about your book.

My First book is called “Pleasing Sarah: Sexy Adult Stories Of Oral Pleasure (SteamyRomanceNovel). This book is about Andrew who had a bad sexual experience with his ex-girlfriend. He couldn't please her orally, and he's left with low confidence and not sure if he could please his new girlfriend. After having a conversation with Sarah, his new girlfriend, he told her his pain of not fulfilling his ex-girlfriend orally. Sarah listened and decided to teach him how to please her. My readers will go through the sexual pleasure of Sarah and Andrew until the end.


My next book is called The Forbidden Affairs Of Eva.” Eva, a pretty, hardworking woman is out to give dating a second chance after discovering her long-time boyfriend is cheating on her with another woman. Eva Tatum finds shelter in the hustle and bustle of her prestigious job at a renowned tech development company. In spite of her mother and best friend Jessica's constant attempts, she refuses to give dating another chance. Eva thinks she is content succeeding in her work life, but on a very silent and quiet night, her beliefs are put to the test when she meets a pair of mysterious handsome looking men at a Christmas party. After spending a steamy night full of fun with both, she is certain they will never see each other again – but will the many twists and turns of life prove her wrong? What will you do if your one night romance eventually turns out to be your boss? If you are looking for a romantic thriller that will keep you spellbound, then look no further: you have just found it. The Forbidden Affairs of Eva will hold you enthralled until you get to the end of the story.


When you tell your family members and friends that you write erotica stories, what are their reactions?

For now, I only told my kids and I will tell my family later. I think why I haven't told them yet is because I want to enjoy my books for now and unfortunately, some will judge, but nothing will stop me from doing what I love.

What’s the best part about writing erotica?

The best part is having your fantasy written down for people to read. How great is that?

How do you find your focus group or beta group members for erotica romance?

I haven't done that yet.

Who is your target audience and why?

My target audience is for anyone who's not afraid of their sexuality or their fantasy. 

If you were going to give one reason for anyone looking at your book to read, why should they buy it?

My book is about the liberation of your sexuality. It's about what most people have in their mind sexually. My readers can download and show their boyfriend or girlfriend what they desire in the bedroom. 

What do you consider your greatest success in life?

Besides my kid’s, I would say finally having the guts to upload my book.

What one unique thing sets you apart from other writers in your genre?

What set me apart I think is this is my fantasy some sexual things I went through; however, I won't tell you which is real or not. Lol

How do you overcome writer’s block?

I go outside for a walk and take a break.

What one piece of advice do you have for new authors?

I have to say if you think that you can write a book and relax and think the readers are going to buy your books without marketing,  they are in for a surprise. If you don't market, then nothing is going to happen with your book. Also, have patience because Rome wasn't built in a day.

Tell your readers anything else you want to share.

Don't be afraid to take a chance in life because time goes by very quickly. Do it now.