Over the last several years as I’ve been a continuity editor for authors, I’ve created several Style Sheets for authors. Normally, I get the book about the Beta Reader stage, ask the author a few questions (You’ve got three different spellings of Bridget, which do you want to use?), make a quick Style Sheet, and the pass that on to the final editor. Then, for the rest of the books in the series, the final editor and I keep building on the series Style Sheet. This is quick, easy, and painless. It only involves the author and two editors. 

But this summer, I began editing for a website overhaul. My church has a very large website with hundreds of resources, articles, and About pages. We are completely rebuilding it and revamping it. “Putting a new coat of paint on it,” as my pastor said. For such a large site, we’ve split the editing work among a team of editors. But, as the lead editor, it’s my job to codify our style. This is so completely different than Style Sheets that I’ve worked on in the past. Besides the fact that I am the one making the decisions, not the author, I’ve also got to manage several different editors, figuring out their strengths, and assigning tasks according to those. 

Oh, did I mention the editing team is made up exclusively of women in my family and my high school English teachers? It feels a bit odd to be the lead on this, telling my mom and one of the associate pastors of the church what grammar rules we will follow. 
It has definitely been an interesting job. But I’ve been having so much fun; I wouldn’t trade this for the world. 
Picture: what I feel like in the presence of people who taught me grammar. Not that they’ve made me feel this way. This is just how I view myself. That’s my rascally son, Monkey, in church.

For those who have made their social media home Google Plus, there are some really great places for geeks to hang out. One of the premier spots is Charlie Hoover’s Geek Question of the Day. Recently, Hoover expanded the Daily Question into a podcast format. You can listen to several of my favorite authors be interviewed by Hoover and the lovely Aalia Khan. But coming up this week, they will be asking me a variety of geeky questions. You can read about the interview and find links to listen here.

No one will be truly shocked to hear me make a blanket statement like, “Life likes to throw curveballs.” We’ve all experienced it to some degree or another. But what are we supposed to do when our carefully laid plans run amok? Make lemonade?

For the last several months, I’ve been taking an inventory of my life with the intent of exploring a more thorough definition of my purpose. I’ve know my personal purpose in life for many years, but I find it necessary that I take an occasional revisitation of my purpose and reevaluation of whether or not my life is accomplishing that. And, as frequently happens, while assessing, many things paused. Editing included. I worked on books that I’d already committed to, but didn’t take on any new ones professionally. I did not advertise for or pursue new customers. 

And, as frequently happens when I do an assessment, I find that a few minor things can go, but the majority of my time and efforts are in line with my life purpose. Or, at least accomplishing a goal in line with it. So, never fear, MrsAWiggins’ Continuity Editing shall continue.

And, as always happens when I take a Life Inventory, something happened that confirmed that I was on the right track. A friend sent me a book to beta read. And I found a continuity issue that was glaring enough I had to inform the author right away. It’s the little conversations like this that constantly remind me that I love and am talented at what I do. Otherwise, this would just be some distraction in my life. But it’s my purpose.  


A Fairy Promise is the second in the Fairy King series by C.J. Brightley. A Fairy King ended with Cadeyrn trying to protect Hannah as a threat came toward his palace.

In this second installment, we explore the political environment of the fairies and what, exactly, the cost of magic is. Hannah, having chose Cadeyrn, must now make some more choices about what kind of queen she will be for Cadeyrn’s people. As a threat in the form of Einion arises, Hannah must evaluate what she is willing to sacrifice for Cadeyrn.

I enjoyed this second story as much as I did A Fairy King. The more I learn about Hannah and Cadeyrn, the more confident I am that they’ll make a good, as well as powerful, ruling family. It’s Hannah’s tenderness, goodness, and will that see the kingdom through one of the greatest dangers it has seen in a long time. I would highly recommend this book to anyone. It’s sure to not disappoint fans of the first.


One of the best parts of editing is coming across a reference that I’m not familiar with. I can get lost in a Google research hole for hours. Editing helps me continually learn new things. 

The thing I love most about editing books for authors that aren’t American and aren’t writing about American culture is how much I learn. I learn new phrases. I learn new words. I learn new meanings to words I already knew. I learn about different people and places. And the more I learn, the more enchanted I become with some place I’ve never been.

And, some times, I get that same pleasure just from meeting people online and having conversations with them. Because, who doesn’t want to answer the question, “That phrase you just used? What does it mean?”

I know several thousand authors prepping for National Novel Writing Month (November) right now. For some, it’s their very first novel, and they’ve challenged themselves to learn the discipline of sitting down and writing every day. For others, it’s a semi-annual event to help them focus on just one book, putting aside their lives’ distractions to zero in on publishing their books. For many long-time authors, this is just one month that they spend helping new authors hone their craft. 

Whatever stage you’re at, there are many resources available to help guide you in your NaNoWriMo journey. I could talk for quite some length about many books, websites, articles, and blogs. But, today, I’d like to give you just one. Mike Reeves-McMillan is an author of over 15 works of various lengths, both fiction and non-fiction. In The Well-Presented Manuscript, he lays out everything you need to know to have a successful book. Whether you’re self-published or traditional published, he will help you find the diamond in your rough draft. 

So, get with it! You’ve got three weeks to read this, and finish planning out your novel.

The Well-Presented Manuscript

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I had a chance to ask Sarah Elle Emm some questions this week. I hope you enjoy her vibrant personality as much as I did.

MrsA: Which author wasn’t your greatest inspiration, but did make you think, “Maybe I could be an author”?

SEE: I wanted to be an author from the time I was seven-years-old. My mom was always writing short stories, and she inspired me so much. I often wrote poems and wrote in journals Mom gave to me. Off and on while I was growing up, I talked to her about how I really wanted to write a book. I remember revisiting the book conversation with her when I was twenty-two-years-old, and she told me how she had heard Stephen King penned the novel Carrie when he was in his early twenties. (By the way, while Mom was pregnant with yours truly, she read The Stand by Stephen King, which she attributes some of my weirdness to, ha ha ha). Anyhow, I don’t know if it was because I was around the same age at the time as he had been when he wrote his first novel, but I remember thinking, wow maybe I really can write a book. I tried to write one then, by the way, but I didn’t make it too far. I actually wrote my first novel when I was twenty-eight. Meanwhile, my mom wrote a middle grade children’s book when I was in college, which also inspired me. I guess my mom has always been my first inspiration. She’s always made me believe I could write if that’s what I wanted to do.

MrsA: Tell me about the first time you thought, “Wow. I’m a real author!”

SEE: Well, the e-book version of my first novel, Marrying Missy, had been up online for a few days, and that was incredible. But the WOW-I’m-a-real-author- feeling didn’t quite hit me until I held the paperback book in my hands for the first time.

MrsA: What are you currently reading?

SEE: Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey

MrsA: What’s the oddest part about your routine that you simply must do in order to sit down and write?

SEE: I must have on cozy sweatpants, socks, and a t-shirt-hoodie combination. Of course, my favorite robe works too. It is just absolutely necessary that I am totally comfortable.

MrsA: What is your biggest writing obstacle? 

SEE: My biggest obstacle is making time to write. I exercise every morning, and I spend a lot of time prepping healthy meals for the meal plan I follow for my autoimmune disease, (SLE Lupus). I also do laundry, clean up around the house, take the kids to all of their activities, help with their homework, volunteer at their school, and I like to garden. So, I easily get caught up in all of those activities. I feel like I have to get everything on my list done before I can write. But I think about writing all of the time, and each day I can’t wait to get to the part where I write.

MrsA: How do you prefer to network, and what impact do you think those avenues have had on your sales?

SEE: I think using Facebook to promote books on sale and other relevant information has been very helpful to reach a broader audience and generate sales. Of course, I am on many social media sites…Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads, Tumblr, LinkedIn, and I also have a website.

MrsA: Have any super fans found you yet, and if so, what sort of things have they done that seem surreal to you!

SEE: I have had lots of thirteen-year-old and up girls email me. They love the series. One girl wanted to name some characters for me to write about in other books. Most of them ask when the books will be made into movies, which definitely feels surreal to me. I’d be so flattered if the Harmony Run Series became a movie series.

MrsA: When people read your books, what do you want their greatest take-away to be?

SEE: I want them to feel inspired to have hope, even in dark times. I want them to recognize, if they don’t already, that we are all just humans, regardless of our outward differences, and we should try to live in harmony.

MrsA: What is one mistake you’ve made in your publishing career that you’d like to warn other authors off of?

SEE: Make sure you are very thorough about checking into companies before purchasing marketing materials, like ads and blog tours, before you send them your money. I learned the hard way. Even when I thought it seemed like a legit site, the organizer just disappeared from the Internet. I won’t be seeing that money again.

MrsA: Is there any advice you’d like to give to a new writer?

SEE: Work with more than one editor. Listen to their feedback and really think about what they have to say. And just keep writing.


Sarah Elle Emm is the author of the HARMONY RUN SERIES, a young-adult fantasy and dystopian series, released in May 2012 by Winter Goose Publishing. (PRISMATIC, May 2012, OPALESCENT, February 2013, CHATOYANT, September 2014, NACREOUS, August 2015) Her debut fiction novel, MARRYING MISSY, was published by Bird Brain Publishing in October 2011. Sarah is a graduate of The University of Evansville, she has lived and worked in Mexico, Germany, England, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and has traveled extensively beyond. Sarah lives in Naples, Florida with her family. When she’s not walking the plank of her daughters’ imaginary pirate ship or snapping photos of Southwest Florida scenery, she is writing.

To follow Sarah, find her at:






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**I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.**

Opalescent is the second book in the Harmony Run series by Sarah Elle Emm. It continues the story of a distopian America, changed politically into a tyranny cut off from the rest of the world. 

This book is where the series really picked up for me and became truly interesting. As we discover more special abilities of people, and how they use them for both good and bad, the conflict rages more with each page. The pacing is much better in Opalescent than it was in Prismatic, and that pulled me into the story more fully.

There are some continuity issues in the series, and they seemed to be most prevalent in this book. At least one of the sub-conflicts seemed completely unnecessary and fabricated more for tension than anything else.

Despite these flaws, Opalescent was truly the beginning of this series for me. This is where I began losing sleep in order to read, catapulting the Harmony Run series into an elite group of series. 


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**I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.**

Prismatic by Sarah Elle Emm is the introduction to a dystopian America in 2050. In 2046, a new president is elected and immediately changes the structure of American government, politics, social life, and classes. The results are more devastating for some people than others, however.

Emm lays a lot of groundwork in this book, putting a setting and a conflict into place. The book as a whole seemed a little slow, but that’s because Emm did a lot of explaining of the history of the changes in America.

The characters are admirable, and their personalities are believable. Emm has added the fantastical element of super powers genetically dispersed to certain people. Although this is a bit hard to swallow at first due to the incompatibility with our current reality, which the book is supposed to be based on, it was easy to accept and even enjoy once the realization that it’s a fantasy sets in.

Although I loved the Harmony Run series as a whole, Prismatic was not my favorite in the series. Once I was past it, I was soon sleep deprived from reading all night long several nights in a row. But Prismatic was a slow introduction to what is ultimately a great series.