Category Archives: Guest Bloggers

We Are Killing Our Own Organs — 30 Worst Foods, 100 Best.

The key to solving the shortage of transplantable organs is to eliminate the demand for them.

“We have met the enemy and he is us,” has become a trite expression but that doesn’t make it any less true.  We are our own worst enemies.   The numbers are staggering.  We are killing ourselves in four ways:

  1. We drink too much alcohol
  2. We smoke too much
  3. We eat too much of the wrong food

Let’s look at he facts.

  1. 22.5% are current smokers, resulting in significant health problems and associated costs.
  2. 8.5% of Americans abuse alcohol or are alcohol dependent,.
  3.  Approximately 30.4% of adults in the United States are obese,

The estimated annual medical expenditures associated with alcohol abuse total $26.3 billion.  Organs most commonly affected are the lungs, kidneys, pancreas, heart and liver.

Second,  smoking.  Medical costs caused by cigarette smoking exceed $75 billion a year.  According to the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, Georgia, Smoking harms nearly every organ of the body and causes many diseasesCigarette smoking remains the single most-common preventable cause of death in the United States,  The adverse health effects from cigarette smoking account for more than 440,000 deaths, or nearly one of every five deaths, each year in the United States.

Finally obesity combined with eating the wrong foods.  A good number of these people experience some organ failure.  The direct medical costs for obesity have been approximated at $51.6 billion per year. The organs most often affected are the heart, kidneys and pacnreas.

This blog is about preventing organ failure  and one way to do that is to be a little more careful about how much we eat and what we decide to consume.   There are two lists here, 1) the worst foods and 2) the best foods.

Top 30 Worst Foods in America (from Food Matters – Note from Bob’s Newheart.  While Food Matters lists 30 I am only listing ten.  You can click on their link for the rest of the story)

Today’s food marketers have loaded many of their offerings with so much fat, sugar, and sodium that eating any of the foods in this article on a daily basis could destroy all your hard work and best intentions of eating healthy. Beware! This list is brought to you by Eat This Not That and Men’s Health.

1. Worst Meal in America
Carl’s Jr. Six Dollar Guacamole Bacon Burger with Medium Natural Cut Fries and 32-oz Coke

1,810 calories – 92 g fat (29.5 g saturated, 2 g trans) – 3,450 mg sodium

Of all the gut-growing, heart-threatening, life-shortening burgers in the drive-thru world, there is none whose damage to your general well-being is as potentially catastrophic as this. A bit of perspective is in order: This meal has the caloric equivalent of 9 Krispy Kreme Original Glazed doughnuts, the saturated fat equivalent of 30 strips of bacon, and the salt equivalent of 10 large orders of McDonald’s French fries!

2. Worst Drink
Baskin-Robbins Large Chocolate Oreo Shake

2,600 calories – 135 g fat (59 g saturated, 2.5 g trans) – 1,700 mg sodium – 263 g sugars

We didn’t think anything could be worse than Baskin-Robbins’ 2008 bombshell, the Heath Bar Shake. After all, it had more sugar (266 grams) than 20 bowls of Froot Loops, more calories (2,310) than 11 actual Heath Bars, and more ingredients (73) than you’ll find in most chemistry sets. Yet the folks at Baskin-Robbins have shown that when it comes to making America fat, they’re always up to the challenge. The large Chocolate Oreo Shake is soiled with more than a day’s worth of calories and 3 days’ worth of saturated fat. Worst of all, it takes less than 10 minutes to sip through a straw.

3. Worst Ribs
Outback Steakhouse Baby Back Ribs

2,580 calories

Let’s be honest: Ribs are rarely served alone on a plate. When you add a sweet potato and Outback’s Classic Wedge Salad, this meal is a 3,460-calorie blowout. (Consider that it takes only 3,500 calories to add a pound of fat to your body. Better plan for a very, very long “walkabout” when this meal is over!)

4. Worst Pizza
Uno Chicago Grill Classic Deep Dish Individual Pizza

2,310 calories – 165 g fat (54 g saturated) – 4,920 mg sodium – 120 g carbs

The problem with deep dish pizza (which Uno’s knows a thing or two about, since they invented it back in 1943) is not just the extra empty calories and carbs from the crust, it’s that the thick doughy base provides the structural integrity to house extra heaps of cheese, sauce, and greasy toppings. The result is an individual pizza with more calories than you should eat in a day and more sodium than you would find in 27 small bags of Lays Potato Chips. Oh, did we mention it has nearly 3 days’ worth of saturated fat, too? The key to success at Uno’s lies in their flatbread pizza.

5. Worst Mexican Dish
Chili’s Fajita Quesadillas Beef with Rice and Beans, 4 Flour Tortillas, and Condiments

2,240 calories – 92 g fat (43.5 g saturated) – 6,390 mg sodium – 253 g carbs

Since when has it ever been a smart idea to combine 2 already calorie- and sodium-packed dishes into one monstrous meal? This confounding creation delivers nearly a dozen Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnuts worth of calories, the sodium equivalent of 194 saltine crackers, and the saturated fat equivalent of 44 strips of bacon. Check please.

6. Worst Seafood Dish
Romano’s Macaroni Grill Parmesan Crusted Sole

2,190 calories – 141 g fat (58 g saturated) – 2,980 mg sodium – 145 g carbs

Fish is normally a safe bet, but this entrée proves that it’s all in the preparation. If you fry said fish in a shell of cheese, be prepared to pay the consequences. Here that means meeting your daily calorie, fat, saturated fat, and sodium intake in one sitting.

7. Worst Chinese Dish
P.F. Chang’s Combo Lo Mein

1,968 calories – 96 g fat (12 g saturated) – 5,860 mg sodium

Lo mein is normally looked at as a side dish, a harmless pile of noodles to pad your plate of orange chicken or broccoli beef. This heaping portion (to be fair, Chang’s does suggest diners share an order) comes spiked with chicken, shrimp, beef, and pork, not to mention an Exxon Valdez-size slick of oil. The damage? A day’s worth of calories, 1 ½ days’ worth of fat, and 2 ½ days’ worth of sodium. No meat-based dish beats out the strip.

8. Worst Appetizer
On the Border Firecracker Stuffed Jalapenos with Chili con Queso

1,950 calories – 134 g fat (36 g saturated) – 6,540 mg sodium

Appetizers are the most problematic area of most chain-restaurant menus. That’s because they’re disproportionately reliant on the type of cheesy, greasy ingredients that catch hungry diners’ eyes when they’re most vulnerable—right when they sit down. Seek out lean protein options like grilled shrimp skewers or ahi tuna when available; if not, simple is best—like chips and salsa.

9. Worst Burger
Chili’s Smokehouse Bacon Triple Cheese Big Mouth Burger with Jalapeno Ranch Dressing

1,901 calories – 138 g fat (47 g saturated) – 4,201 mg sodium

Any burger whose name is 21 syllables long is bound to spell trouble for your waistline. This burger packs almost an entire day’s worth of calories and 2 ½ days’ worth of fat. Chili’s burger menu rivals Ruby Tuesday’s for the worst in America, so you’re better off with one of their reasonable Fajita Pitas to silence your hunger.

10. Worst Sandwich
Quizno’s Large Tuna Melt

1,760 calories – 133 g fat (26 g saturated, 1.5 g trans) – 2,120 mg sodium

In almost all other forms, tuna is a nutritional superstar, so how did it end up as the headliner for America’s Worst Sandwich? Blame an absurdly heavy hand with the mayo the tuna is mixed with, along with Quiznos’ larger-than-life portion sizes. Even though they’ve managed to trim this melt down from the original 2,000-plus calorie mark when we first tested it, it still sits squarely at the bottom of the sandwich ladder.

Now you know what to avoid, and we urge you to click on the Food Matters link to read the whole list.  So, if you can’t eat any of the aforementioned items what do you eat?  There’s plenty to choose from.   Health Life lists 100 and you can read them all by clicking on their link. Here are their top ten.



Fat/Calorie Breakdown

Body Benefits

(1) Apples 1 medium apple:
81 calories, 0 g fat
An apple’s 3 g of fiber help you meet your fiber goal of 20 g to 30 g daily.  High-fiber diets can lower heart disease risk.
(2) Apricots 3 apricots:
51 calories, 0 g fat
A good source of beta-carotene (which is converted to vitamin A by the body), providing the equivalent of 35% of the RDA for vitamin A
(3) Bananas 1 medium:
105 calories, 0 g fat
Bananas are a great source of potassium, which plays a key role in heart health and muscle function.  Plus each one has 2 g of fiber.
(4) Blackberries 1 cup:
74 calories, 0 g fat
This fruit boasts a whopping 10 g of fiber in a single cup.
(5) Blueberries 1 cup:
81 calories, 0 g fat
Blueberries help prevent and treat bladder infections by making it hard for bacteria to stick to urinary tract walls.
(6) Cantaloupe 1 cup, cubed:
84 calories, 1 g fat
An antioxidant double whammy, with 68 mg of vitamin C and enough beta-carotene to cover 65% of your daily vitamin A quota.
(7) Cherries 1 cup:
84 calories, 1 g fat
A good source of perillyl alcohol, which helps prevent cancer in animals.  Heart-protective anthocyanins give cherries their color.
(8) Cranberry
1 cup:
144 calories, 0 g fat
Fights bladder infections the same way blueberries do.
(9) Grapefruits 1/2 fruit:
39 calories, 0 g fat
A good source of vitamin C and a compound called naringenin, which helps suppress tumors in animals.
(10) Purple grapes
and juice
1 cup seedless:
113 calories, 9 g fat
Offer three heart-guarding compounds:  flavonoids, anthocyanins and resveratrol.  (Green grapes are not rich in them)

If you insist on eating meat there are some good choices you can make…we’ll jump ahead on the list to give you a sneak preview.

74) Beef 3 oz, cooked:
150 to 280 calories,
5 g to 20 g fat
Beef is a good source of both CLA and iron, but since it’s also high in saturated fat, have it no more than three times a week.
(75) Chicken,
without skin
3 oz, cooked:
162 calories, 6 g fat
Remove the skin and you’ve got an excellent, low fat source of protein.  And 3 oz provides 38% of the RDA for the B vitamin niacin.
(76) Lamb 3 oz, cooked, trimmed
of fat:
175 calories, 8 g fat
Lamb, like beef, is also a good source of CLA.  Ditto beef’s saturated fat warning and weekly consumption recommendation.
(77) Lean
3 oz, cooked, trimmed
of fat:
140 calories, 4 g fat
Fat-trimmed pork tenderloin has one-third less fat than even lean beef.  And it boasts 71% of the RDA for thiamine.

If Healthy Life doesn’t offer you enough good food ideas, here are some other excellent resources for you to peruse.

Bob Aronson of Bob’s Newheart is a 2007 heart transplant recipient, the founder of Facebook’s nearly 3,000 member Organ Transplant Initiative and the author of most of these donation/transplantation blogs.

You may comment in the space provided or email your thoughts to me at And – please spread the word about the immediate need for more organ donors. There is nothing you can do that is of greater importance. If you convince one person to be an organ and tissue donor you may save or positively affect over 60 lives. Some of those lives may be people you know and love.

Please view our new music video “Dawn Anita The Gift of Life” on YouTube  This video is free to anyone who wants to use it and no permission is needed. 

If you want to spread the word personally about organ donation, we have another PowerPoint slide show for your use free and without permission. Just go to and click on “Life Pass It On” on the left side of the screen and then just follow the directions. This is NOT a stand-alone show; it needs a presenter but is professionally produced and factually sound. If you decide to use the show I will send you a free copy of my e-book, “How to Get a Standing “O” that will help you with presentation skills. Just write to and usually you will get a copy the same day.

Also…there is more information on this blog site about other donation/transplantation issues. Additionally we would love to have you join our Facebook group, Organ Transplant Initiative The more members we get the greater our clout with decision makers.

En Espanol

Puede comentar en el espacio proporcionado o por correo electrónico sus pensamientos a mí en Y – por favor, difundir la palabra acerca de la necesidad inmediata de más donantes de órganos. No hay nada que puedas hacer lo que es de mayor importancia. Si usted convence a una persona de ser donante de órganos y tejidos puede salvar o afectar positivamente a más de 60 vidas. Algunas de esas vidas pueden ser personas que conoces y amas.

Por favor, consulte nuestro nuevo video musical “Dawn Anita The Gift of Life” en YouTube. Este video es libre para cualquier persona que quiera usarlo y no se necesita permiso.

Si quieres correr la voz acerca de la donación de órganos personalmente, tenemos otra presentación de PowerPoint para su uso libre y sin permiso. Sólo tienes que ir a y haga clic en “Life Pass It On” en el lado izquierdo de la pantalla y luego sólo tienes que seguir las instrucciones. Esto no es un espectáculo independiente, sino que necesita un presentador pero es profesionalmente producida y sonido hechos. Si usted decide usar el programa le enviaré una copia gratuita de mi libro electrónico, “Cómo obtener un pie” O “que le ayudará con habilidades de presentación. Sólo tiene que escribir a y por lo general usted recibirá una copia del mismo día.

Además … hay más información sobre este sitio de blogs sobre otros donación / trasplante temas. Además nos encantaría que te unas a nuestro grupo de Facebook, la Iniciativa de Trasplante de Órganos Cuantos más miembros que obtenemos mayor será nuestra influencia con los tomadores de decisiones.

Scattergun Promotions (Guest Blog with Bev. Cooke)

…Not the best choice

Everybody tells you to promote – you have to get your name out there, make sure the entire world knows who you are, that you’ve got zillions of followers on Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook and a Klout number in the high 80s.

If you’re not careful, you can spend all your time promoting and have nothing to show for it, including new and better writing. What most experts propose is a “scattergun” approach: throw a lot of stuff around all over the place and you’re bound to hit something. But is that the best way to get your name out there? Probably not, especially when you’re writing for kids.

You have to be careful about how and where and what you promote. Targeting carefully, planning ahead and looking to the long term are probably better strategies than simply putting yourself all over the place.

Ask yourself why you write, and why you write for kids. Lots of money and fame? Your books in print for generations? Awards and recognition for your quality? Movie and TV deals? All of those are legitimate goals, but each of them needs a specific marketing strategy. Take some time and define what success means to you. Once you know that, you’re in a much better position to adjust your promotion to fit your writing goals.

For whom do you write? There’s a big difference between writing board books for toddlers, picture books for kindergarteners and novels for young adults. Your readers are the people you promote to. If you write young adults, why aren’t you on teen sites, teen forums and teen places on the net? Do you do volunteer work with teens? Why not? If you’re writing picture books and books for younger kids, then why aren’t you on parenting sites, writing for parenting and grandparenting magazines, hooking up with parenting groups and grandparenting groups? And why aren’t you, whichever group you write for, hooking up with librarians, schools and bookstore owners? Promoting to other writers can help you broaden your audience reach, as they promote you to their readers, but promoting only to other writers is a bad mistake.

A lot of marketing strategies are designed for and by extroverts – people who love people and can talk easily and well with strangers about just about anything. Their twitter posts are always funny, pointed and brilliant. Status updates are layered, elegant and erudite. They stand in front of a room full of kids wearing silly costumes, make a fool out of themselves and love every minute of it. Introverts can’t do that.

One thing that comes through clearly whether you’re in person or on the web is how relaxed and genuine you are when you’re talking to strangers, acting a role you may not be used to or taking risks with your personality type. If you’re not the kind of person who can wear a lamp shade and do the fandango on the dining room table while sober, chances are you’re not going to be able to don a costume, act silly and make a fool out of yourself to promote your book. So don’t try. Find ways that let you be you when you promote your book and yourself. It’s the same on the web. If you have a knack for coming up with pithy phrases, great puns or plays on words and fantastic one liners, then twitter is probably a good venue. If not, don’t go there.

If all you’re doing is following the advice of experts without thinking about who you are, what you want to accomplish with promotion and how long it’s going to take you to reach your writing goals, then you’re not doing yourself any favours, and you may even be doing yourself harm. In all the frenzy of getting your name and your books out there, you’re forgetting why you’re promoting. As a writer friend of mine pointed out: we are writers. If we don’t deliver the content after all the hype, no amount of promotion or marketing is going to sustain us for the long term.

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Meet our guest:

Bev. Cooke is a young adult writer and writing coach whose books appeal to both teens and adults. Her marketing strategies are tailored for her audiences – writers, teens and adults. She’s published “Feral” from Orca Book Publishers, about street life seen through a cat’s eyes, “Royal Monastic” the first book length biography of Princess Ileana of Romania, and Keeper of the Light, an historical fiction for midgrade and young adults about an early Christian saint, both published by Conciliar Press. Bev and her family converted to the Eastern Orthodox Christian faith in 2003, and she’s been active in that writing and religious world ever since. She blogs at Bevnal Abbey Scriptorium and is on Facebook at Bev. Cooke, writer.

One Mountain at a Time (Guest Blog: Thomas Wilson)

I was asked if I would write a post explaining about overcoming obstacles and finding my “Happy Place.”

Let me preface this post with the fact that I’m one of those people who can pick up a book and teach myself almost anything I want to learn. Two major failures in this category have been English and Calculus. These two subjects make it apparent that I’ll have to go back to the basics with the care of a good and patient instructor to make any new headway.

If I never learn how to do calculus before I die, it will be all right. It falls into the category of things I’d like to learn, along with playing the piano. I taught myself about music and can read sheet music; I just can’t keep a beat to save my life. I have to put my hands in my pockets at church in order to keep from falling in with the crowd if they start clapping. I’d rather not advertise to the entire church how challenged I actually am because I have no rhythm.

English, I am probably going to have to figure out a solution to learning. I never dreamed I would become an author!

What obstacles?

Let’s start with writing every day. It takes time, that one thing that we all never have enough of. Secondly, my old computer was antiquated to say the least, and the version of Word I had didn’t interface with anything on new machines. Thirdly, why would you expend all this effort and time with no guarantee it will even sell, or that I have any talent at writing whatsoever.

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As I started this quest, something strange and unexpected happened.

My biggest hang up at first were my horrid English skills. The ladies of my book club said they could help edit my work as a group in order to help me get started. This was good and bad. Good, because I was forced to start writing more of the story down in order to stay ahead of where they were reading, this got me writing from month to month as we only meet once a month. Bad, because to use this method one book would take three years to get edited–once!

I shelved the book they were helping me with and picked my worst and least developed story to begin writing with the goal of finishing one story. In 2010, I finished the rough draft of “Whisper,” my first book. I’d picked that book because I knew it would always be my first and worst book of all time. The other story can wait until my skill as an author rises to meet the caliber of story it is in order to do it justice. From what I’ve read of authors whose work I admire, that will be a million words published or ten books whichever comes first. They say it takes that long to find your style and niche. I didn’t believe them then, but I do now. Elements of my writing style are just now emerging as I endeavor to write my third and fourth books.

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That still left editing! I found a friend of a friend many states away that was retired and used to be an English teacher who agreed to edit my first book for free. While she worked on it, I started and finished the rough draft of my second book, “No Rules Of Engagement.” By December of 2010, I’d written two novels, and was almost done editing the first one. For Christmas my wife bought me a new laptop. Next, I installed Microsoft Office 2010 with the new Word. One by one, I was knocking my way through the obstacles.

I spent a considerable amount of time researching the publishing industry, types of publishing, the terminology, reading what authors had to say about writing, and publishing, learning about writers’ rights, and the plethora of horror stories about authors, agents, and trying to get published. I decided with myself being an unknown quantity, no following, no money to invest, and being impatient, I decided to join the revolution which was just getting under way known as self-publishing. “Whisper” could have been edited better, much better, but ready or not, I self published it for no other reason than to just see if I could.

After publishing “Whisper,” I found a new editor and started making corrections to “No Rules Of Engagement.” It became apparent, very quickly, that the entire book needed to be re-written. That’s the last thing I wanted to do. I’d already been doing nothing but editing since October on my first book. I’m so grateful to my editor for dragging me around the corner toward the light, and that I re-wrote and edited the entire book. It took me until the end of August 2011. The sad part is, I still missed a lot of mistakes, though not through a lack of effort.

The strange thing that happened during the last year was that I’d been worried about burning the candle at both ends. In the evenings, after my two boys went to bed, I’d write or edit from 8:00 p.m. or so for four to five hours almost every night of the week. I worked harder than I’ve ever worked in my life with no end in sight. Instead of my life coming apart at the seams, the opposite happened. I had the best year ever at my day job. I became a better father and husband. My body adjusted to the long hours. I found out that most of the time I was happier than I’d ever been in my life.

I realized the source of this phenomenon was that I was doing what I loved. This made all the difference in the world. Everything else was a means to get back to my writing. The writing, and even the editing, became my passion, my release, a daily mini vacation. It was still work, but I wanted to do it.

You grow up hearing about how God has a special gift for everybody, that we all have a purpose, and I’d found mine. At first I got upset that it had taken me forty-five years to find it. Then I realized that if I’d discovered this at age twenty-one there’s no way I’d be as good as I am now. It took forty-five years of seasoning, wearing different hats, massive amounts of reading, and life experiences to make me who I am now.

Last year at this time I didn’t know if I’d really be able to publish my first book, or if it would be any good. In the last year, I discovered I could do it and I did. I’m a good author and my books are selling more each month with no advertising and very little promotion. I published my second book. I’ve arranged to make both books available in paperback and have actually been asked to sign copies of for family, friends, and fans. I’ll only be as good as my editor. With a great editor, I have the potential to be a great author.

I implore anybody who is reading this, that if you haven’t found your special gift or passion in life, keep searching. I’ll give you a hint: It’ll be something you enjoy doing. Something you’ll do whether you get paid or not. It’ll transform your life. New vistas of opportunities you didn’t even know were there will open before you. There won’t be enough hours in the day to do all you want to do. You’ll jump out of bed in the morning with drive, direction, and purpose to get on with the things you want to do. You’ll be more serene and happier than you can imagine. Success is the journey, not a destination!

There is no obstacle that should keep us from our Happy Place!

Thomas D. Wilson

Author of  “Whisper” and “No Rules Of Engagement

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Who Wants to be a Brain Surgeon? (Guest Blog: Ella Grey)

When I was little I wanted to be a brain surgeon, or a gardener. Only when I turned fifteen did I start thinking about being a writer.

The author, Christopher Pike, inspired me. I remember reading his Last Vampire series and falling in love with the character he created. It was the first time I’d read a vampire story and it wasn’t all doom and gloom. Sati is content about being a vampire, she kills to survive and she doesn’t really let it bother her, and she’s funny. Not funny ha-ha, but witty.

I want my characters to be like that. Even if I write a supernatural character like Molly O’Brien, giving her a sense of humour makes her more human. Easier to identify with.

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My character Rachel is human (mostly) who’s caught up in a supernatural situation.

A Difficult Decision (Rachel’s story) is available in multiple eBook formats from Quake’s Electric Shorts line. The first five of six installments are currently online for sale.

She came to London to find her brother. She ended up finding trouble.

Rachel Valentine isn’t the world’s most conventional girl. She ran away from a boarding school run by nuns to find her missing brother. The daughter to a government spy, she’s learnt a few of the tricks of the trade, but even she isn’t prepared for the story she’s about to hear.

It seems Rachel has a secret she didn’t even know she had and her brother has been dragged into a turf war. The only person she can trust is someone she doesn’t even know

Thanks to Karen for hosting me.

You can read my first post on this tour at

Editorial Superheros (Guest Blog: Heather Cashman)

I would like to compare the editorial process to X-men’s Wolverine. I know it’s a strange leap, but my mind often makes obscure analogies. I have learned to run with it rather than fight with myself. And now for the question you’re all asking: Wolverine?

I don’t know if all of you have seen the X-men movies, so I will enlighten you.

Wolverine was a boy born with mutations. He could heal himself, and when he needed protection, spikes of bone would grow out of his knuckles. He used them to defend himself through wars as well as small incidences of violence, and was soon noticed by the government, who (to our great surprise) took him and experimented on him. In the most painful transformation of his life, his bones were plated with Adamantium (the strongest metal fiction can buy), and he became indestructible.

Perhaps you are seeing a correlation with editing a manuscript, but I will amuse myself by expounding the details.

Every manuscript created is immortal. For me, writing is god-like, the art of creating worlds and people, something as unique as a child (and just as time-consuming). Do not take that for granted. Cherish the fact that you finished it. Also realize that a little bit of cutting and dicing and even a shot to the head now and then is not going to completely destroy it.

Every manuscript is also born with mutations. Some of these mutations are what make the book as unique as Wolverine’s super-powers. Others are like moles and sixth toes. Every manuscript should be taken to the book doctor—the editor(s). You might be tempted to say that your novel looks perfect from the outside, but I guarantee that you would be sorry if you avoided seeing the doctor only to have your book die a miserable death and then discover in the autopsy report that there were internal maladies of the acutest kind.

The first step to getting rid of that sixth toe or mending the hole in your book’s heart is to accept the fact that book doctors know more about surgery than you do. This isn’t to say that you don’t know your own child, but sometimes we can be in denial about the seriousness of the imperfections. Even small defects are best taken care of rather than left alone.

The super-powers of your book, the aspects that set it apart, are what lay the foundation. My first trilogy, The Tigers’ Eye Trilogy, is set in a world where animals can communicate with their human counterparts. That is something I would never allow my editor to change. The integrity of your characters is also something worth protecting. As the author-creator, you should know your characters well enough to avoid shifting personality traits or inconsistencies in behavior. But beware, your own mood while writing can rub off. This happened during my first draft of Perception. Toward the end, my protagonist became whiny. My editor picked up on it, and I rewrote the scene when I was at a better place personally. I would also make one careful comment about being an author: sometimes gut instinct about certain aspects of your novel must be taken into account. This does not give us license to shun any editorial comment we do not like, but must take careful consideration about how each particular edit will affect the entire outcome.

While it is a terrible thing to be experimented on, Wolverine was made indestructible in the process. As authors writing on our own, we can be great; we start out with the bone that can be covered in metal and polished by others. The unique aspects of your novel, that foundation on which you build, can help you fight the wars and small skirmishes of the editing process. Make no mistake, the editor will poke and prod, but as long as the integrity of your novel remains in tact, you can rest assured that the product will be better once you stitch it back up. The process is painful. Sometimes it makes you question your abilities. It can make you angry and frustrated. You may disagree with what they are saying entirely. In these cases, consider the source. Is it the suggestion of a thirteen-year-old, your ninety-year-old grandmother, or an editor who has read thousands of manuscripts and knows the industry?

I hope I didn’t take the X-men analogy too far, but I wanted to have fun as I illustrated my point, because taking constructive criticism (that wasn’t always constructive) was one of the most difficult aspects for me as an emerging writer. Every comment made me feel like a failure when, in reality, I was just inexperienced. As we study the craft of writing, we can use the experiences of having our work edited to make us better writers. It’s always difficult to accept change, but give it time and look at the suggestions of your editor objectively. I did, and it made all the difference.

Perception by Heather Cashman

$.99 at Kindle

Perception by Heather Cashman

Your perception will sharpen once you see through a tiger’s eyes.

More than five hundred years after the apocalypse, the survivors of off-grid genetic experimentation have refined their mixed DNA to the point that humans and their animal counterparts share physical and mental links. Varying species have divided into districts, living in a tenuous peace under the President of Calem.

Ardana and her tiger ingenium Rijan leave their life of exile and abuse in the Outskirts, setting out with their twin brothers to redeem themselves and become citizens of the Center. But shedding their past isn’t as easy as they had hoped. When the system that shunned them becomes embroiled in political conflict and treachery, their unique abilities and experiences from the Outskirts make them invaluable to every faction. The runaways become pawns to friends as well as enemies, and with every step it becomes more difficult to tell which is which.

Heather Cashman author of PerceptionHeather Cashman graduated from the University of Arizona with a Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry but has always loved to write, winning her first contest in the second grade. Married since 1992, she has three unique children and has moved from Arizona to New York to Kansas. She loves to kayak and canoe down the windiest rivers she can find. She welcomes opportunities to visit schools, libraries, and book groups in person or via Skype. Born in Tucson, Arizona, Heather currently lives near Wichita, Kansas with her husband and three children.

You can find Heather at:

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Heather Cashman © 2011

Same Feeling of Being Right at Home (Bookstore Spotlight by Carolyn J. Rose)

Readers and writers in and around Cover to Cover Books in Vancouver, Washington, are so fond of the store that many of them pitched in to help owner Mel Sanders unpack, reshelve, and alphabetize 450 boxes of books rescued from a fire in the fall of 2010.

They turned out to pay back favors given. Over the years Mel has gone the extra mile to support area authors, providing a venue for the Vancouver Writers Mixers and the Ghost Town Poetry Open Microphone evenings.

 They turned out because so many small businesses—and so many bookstores—are closing and they wanted to insure that Cover to Cover would have a good start in its post-fire location. (6300 NE Saint James Road, Suite 104B, Vancouver, WA, 98663)

They turned out in solidarity because Mel is also a writer. She’s been published in Under the Rose, a Norilana Books anthology of the fantastic, and in various e-books.

They turned out because Mel brews up some terrific espresso, because Smedley the bookstore cat loves company, and because Cover to Cover has comfortable chairs, and a cheerful ambiance, even on cold and rainy days.

Finally, they turned out because it was another opportunity to get together and talk about books, to browse through books, to breathe in the scent of books.

Cover to Cover has about 20,000 books—new and used—on the shelves. Every time I visit I find books I haven’t seen before—books Mel bought at estate sales, books brought in by book scouts, books taken in trade from customers. Every time I visit, no matter how high my to-be-read pile, I buy books.

Mel displays books by area authors, including all nine of mine. She also provides opportunities for writers to discuss writing craft and launch their latest projects. I plan to be there soon with copies of my tenth work, a suspense novel called An Uncertain Refuge, and the eleventh, a love story set in 1966 called A Place of Forgetting, and due out this fall.



Phone: 360-993-7777


Carolyn J. Rose is the author of ten novels. She grew up in New York’s Catskill Mountains, graduated from the University of Arizona, logged two years in Arkansas with Volunteers in Service to America, and spent 25 years as a television news researcher, writer, producer, and assignment editor in Arkansas, New Mexico, Oregon, and Washington. She lives in Vancouver, Washington, and her hobbies are reading, gardening, and not cooking. Surf to to learn more.


The Test of Time (Bookstore spotlight by Nancy Lynn Jarvis)

I live in Santa Cruz, a small county with arguably the greatest per-capita number of independent bookstores in California. We take our indies seriously here, so seriously we have no chain bookstores in the county.

The brightest jewel of all our indies is Bookshop Santa Cruz. Bookshop, as it is affectionately known by locals, opened in 1966. It stayed open after the Loma Prieta Earthquake in 1989 destroyed its brick and mortar building by operating out of a gigantic tent while rebuilding. Bookshop thrived even after Borders opened a death-star of a store a block away. In the economic downturn, Bookshop Santa Cruz innovated; Borders closed last year. There are over twenty full time employees working for Bookshop and the store hosts over a dozen active book clubs. “Let’s meet at Bookshop,” is an often heard refrain throughout Santa Cruz County.

Big names like Jonathan Franzen, Amy and David Sedaris, and Jane Fonda have had book signings sponsored by Bookshop Santa Cruz. If the name is really big, Bookshop rents the civic auditorium for them–crowds over a thousand strong don’t fit into Bookshop Santa Cruz.

I’ve always been a fan of Bookshop Santa Cruz so you can imagine how excited I am that I’ll be introducing my latest book, The Widow’s Walk League on July 26th at their Local Authors Night. Giving local writers a chance to interact with their community in another of the things Bookshop Santa Cruz is known for doing right.



Twitter: @BookshopSC

Nancy Lynn Jarvis has been a Santa Cruz, California, Realtor® for more than twenty years. She owns a real estate company with her husband, Craig. 

After earning a BA in behavioral science from San Jose State University, she worked in the advertising department of the San Jose Mercury News. A move to Santa Cruz meant a new job as a librarian and later a stint as the business manager of Shakespeare/Santa Cruz. 

Nancy’s work history reflects her philosophy: people should try something radically different every few years. Writing is her newest adventure. 

She invites you to take a peek into the real estate world through the stories that form the backdrop of her Regan McHenry mysteries. Details and ideas come from Nancy’s own experiences.