Interview with Wodke Hawkinson.

23 11 2012

Hello, Readers!

This week the dynamic writing duo: Karen Wodke and PJ Hawkinson,  have met with me to discuss their books Zeke and Tangerine. You can read more about these books in my promotional post:

How did the collaboration known as Wodke Hawkinson start?

K & P– We have known each other for years. In high school we wrote some silly stories, but that’s about it. In 2009, we were each laid off from our jobs. It was then we began writing together in a serious way. We decided to put our last names together for our pen name. Since we live in different towns, we do a lot of our collaboration via phone and email.

How does your collaborative writing work? Does each of you have separate tasks in bringing a book to fruition?

K &P– We start off with a plan and then one of us writes the first chapter or so. Then we send it to the other for review and revision. Then we move on to the next chapter. Sometimes we do assign certain parts of the plot, but we both add to what the other has written. We don’t always agree either, which leads to compromise. Sometimes one of us will take a revision we may not especially like in return for getting a revision or element in another part of the book. It works out pretty well most of the time.

In your book, Zeke, the main character, Zeke is dangerous and disturbing was he as difficult to write as he is to read?

K &P– The book started out as an entirely different story and then we chose to make a genre change. Even so, he was very difficult to write, so much so that we often procrastinated and put off working on the book because we disliked him so much. He is truly despicable and maddening. Fortunately, once we finally got going, the writing went much easier and we finished in good time.

 What motivates Zeke to be evil and does he have any redeeming qualities?

K & P– Zeke is purely a sociopath. He has no redeeming qualities. Anything good that he might do is only to advance his own best interests.

 Why does Susan stay in a relationship with Zeke?

K & P– Sue is lacking in self-esteem and Zeke is well aware of the fact. He plays her along slowly, fulfills many of her needs, and gets her hooked before he shows his true colors. She deludes herself a lot, at least until it’s not possible anymore. By that time, she feels she has no choice but to remain with him. It’s a question all people ask about anyone who stays with an abuser. The answers probably vary a bit from one person to the next, but we think at the heart of it is the victim’s continual hope that things will get better. Or they convince themselves that if they leave they’ll be tracked down and killed. Though in a lot of the cases, if they stay they will also be killed. It’s often a no-win situation.

Do you look up to any psychological thriller writers ?

K &P– We appreciate the work of all good writers. Our reading interests stretch across genres.

Your most recent work, Tangerine came out last month! Tell us about it.

K &P– Ava Majestic is a biologist with advanced degrees in the sciences. When her parents are killed, she takes a job analyzing planets for possible habitation. Around the same time, she inherits a mysterious device and in doing so, gains an adversary, a wealthy collector (Agnotico) who intends to get the device from her, one way or another. Since Ava’s job puts her in space, the collector hires someone to tail her, a finder named Needle. The story is about Ava’s struggles with grief, her growing feelings for Needle and the sense of betrayal when she discovers he’s been working for her enemy. She also must learn to use the device she’s inherited, all the while being pursued by Agnotico’s men. Along the way, her job takes her to intriguing places. The fun of writing Tangerine was deciding what the future would look like, coming up with interesting aliens and worlds, and outlining the rules of using the device she inherited.

 What makes Dr. Ava Majestic such a powerful and compelling heroine?

K &P– Ava is pretty much a regular woman to begin with (although she does have an unusual heritage), but life forces her to undergo the transition to a stronger self after having to deal with tragedies in her life and the relentless pursuit of the sinister collector who is determined to obtain her treasure.

Why do you classify Tangerine as light Science Fiction? Is there another genre that you see it as being?

K &P- Tangerine is mainly a character-based story. It doesn’t have the techno-edge of hard sci-fi. It’s a tale that just happens to be set in the future where space travel is an ordinary part of society.

Even though Tangerine is set in a future, fantasy world are there elements of the story that are based on things in your present lives?

K &P–  Maybe a few. For one thing, we love cats. So we made Ava’s companion, Pisk, a small feline-like character. The other elements are the questions we probably all have about how we might change our past, if we could, and speculating on the “butterfly effect” and similar dilemmas inherent in time travel.

Your collection of short stories, Blue was my favorite book I read by Wodke Hawkinson because of the hauntingly beautiful setting. Out of all the books you have written together can you tell me which one you each like best and why?

K– I’ve enjoyed writing each one, with the possible exception of Zeke’s character because he’s so twisted. But I would have to say Betrayed is still my favorite. I really like the characters of Lance and Brooklyn.

P– My favorite short story would be Callie’s Fiddle in Catch Her in the Rye. It is a touching story of a family that is being forced from their home in order to create a lake. The family is so believable you feel you are there with them, and the little girl and her fiddle are entrancing.

My favorite novel would have to be Tangerine. All the characters were fun to develop and building a world was awesome.

Can you tell us about any upcoming works from Wodke Hawkinson?

K &P– We are currently writing two books: a fantasy set on another planet and a sequel to Zeke. Many readers have expressed their desire to see Zeke come to a bad end. He certainly deserves it, but as the story is still unwinding, we don’t even know how Zeke will fare.

 Both of you also write solo projects can you tell the readers about recent or upcoming titles?

K– I wrote a book for young readers entitled James Willis Makes a Million. It’s a story for all ages really, about a boy in the 70’s who is tired of being poor and takes matters into his own hands. I have a few other projects started, but none of them are really ready for any kind of reveal just yet. It’s so much better working with a co-author that I tend to concentrate more on the books PJ and I are writing. Someday I’ll get around to finishing my solo projects.

P – Teenager Trudy Purdy, a self-described plain Jane, is ecstatic when football player Tray Farquar asks her to be his girl. Not only is Tray handsome, but his father is the most distinguished man in town. Trudy realizes she’s made a terrible mistake when Tray lures her to a deserted beach where he and three buddies rape and beat her.

When she awakes uninjured in her home, she initially remembers nothing of the horrifying assault. But as days pass , her mind flashes back to the night on the beach, and she begins to feel a new power within herself. Trudy uses her new-found strength-gained by drinking the blood of others-to plot the “accidental” deaths of the boys who brutalized her.

As Trudy exacts revenge, she realizes she is changing in a big way and seeks answers to the unsettling questions about her new powers. She wonders what she is changing into and how it will affect the rest of her life.

I am actually in the process of rewriting this novel and hope to release the new version early in 2013.

 You have a website, a blog, and another website called ‘Find a Good Book to Read’ can you tell the readers what they can expect to find at each website?

K- is a place to showcase not only our books and writing, but those of other indie authors as well. This blog features Our Books, Short Stories, an Online Store, Fiction and Nonfiction Book lists, Poetry Book List,  and Flash Fiction., is strictly for our books and writing and has a link to This blog features Our Books, Flash Fiction and Poetry, Stories and Articles, Rumination on Words, and Fake Phony News.

 Where can my readers buy your books?

K &P– Our books are available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords and other ebook outlets.

If you want to  learn more about Wodke Hawkinson go to their website: or check out their blog:

To read their writing and connect with other indie writers go to:

Find A Good Book To Read:


To buy one of their fabulous books, go to:


Barnes & Noble:




Barnes & Noble

(Coming soon to Amazon & paperback)

Connect with Wodke Hawkinson:

Twitter ID is @WodkeHawkinson:


Many thanks to Karen and PJ for doing this author interview! If you are interested in being interviewed please visit the ‘Other Services’ tab of this blog to learn more about giving an author interview and then email Carolyn Elias at Please note the earliest available week to do an interview is Friday, December 28th.


Promotional: Correction Line, A Book Review

21 11 2012

This Saturday, Charles Henry Editing is launching a weekly book review series! Our first book is Correction Line by Craig Terlson.

Craig Terlson’s fiction has appeared in Carve, Hobart, Smokelong Quarterly, Bound Off, 3:AM, Slow Trains Literary and many other literary journals in the United States, United Kingdom, and South Africa. Correction Line is Terlson’s first novel,  and it looks like a doozy.

Here is a brief description of Correction Line from

If not for the sharp curves of prairie correction lines, grid roads would converge into one point. When encyclopedia salesman Roy Blake meets Lucy, an ex-palmist living in a secluded house, he hits a different sort of curve. After a failed sales visit, Roy returns to find the house trashed and her dog tied up in the basement. Just as he discovers a shelf of glowing mason jars, two men carrying shotguns arrive and start smashing furniture upstairs. Before the men can flush him out of the basement, a chemically induced explosion levels the house and Roy barely escapes. Lucy pulls Roy into a world of bowling hustlers, Cuba-loving assassins, strange healing liquids, and guys that take baseball way too seriously. Curve balls meet curved roads, and Roy hits a correction line that will drive him toward a man who controls an entirely different salesforce.

If you’d like to read Correction Line go to:

To connect with Craig Terlson go to:

If you would like to have your work reviewed please go to the ‘Other Services’ to read what to send in an email to Carolyn Elias at Please note that the earliest review slot available is December 15th, 2012.

How to Content Edit Like a Pro: Overall Content Checklist

19 11 2012

So, you finally finished writing an amazing novel or academic paper and, after basking in the glory of your finished work,  now what? Editing. Editing polishes a good idea into a great product. It irons out all the little devilish details and can be overwhelming. I am frequently asked by clients how to begin editing. With so many little things to fix it is hard to figure out what things should be fixed first.

I always do content (substantive) editing first. In my opinion you can’t fix how to say an idea until the ideas make sense.

Content Editing Checklist: Overall Content

  1. Does the work clearly focus on one topic?
  2. Does the introduction grab the interest your intended reader and offer a clear purpose for reading?

  3. Throughout the work is there a clear, logical point that is supported in each paragraph

  4. Are the facts accurate?

  5. Does the work follow a logical plan from beginning to end?

  6. Does the body of the work present well-ordered paragraphs of main ideas with relevant, supporting details

  7. Does the conclusion leave readers feeling satisfied, feeling a sense of conclusion now that they have reached the end and know what to do with the information?

  8. Is the necessary background information given?

  9. Does the work moves smoothly from one idea to the next?

  10. Do the transitions make sense and ameliorate the flow of the work?

These are the ten most basic things to go through when beginning content editing. Tomorrow I will teach you how to line by line content edit like a professional.

Do You Want to Have Your Book Reviewed?

17 11 2012

Dear Readers!

Charles Henry Editing is looking for books to review! We were hoping to debut the book review series next Saturday, November 24th, with, Correction Line, by Craig Terlson.

If interested in having your book reviewed please email Carolyn Elias at to schedule a date for your review to be published on the blog.

In the email include:

  • Name
  • Pen Name (if applicable)
  • Book Title
  • Book release date
  • Cover JPEG
  • ISBN
  • Where it can be bought
  • Contact info for our readers to connect with you, such as: FB Page, Twitter, website, blog , etc.

This information will be used in the introduction and conclusion of the review. A promotional reminder will go out to our blog followers, our twitter feed, and on our FB page so people will tune in to see the review.

Please send a copy of your book by kindle or hard copy. Hard copies can be sent to:

Carolyn D. Elias

Charles Henry Editing

4867 Quarton Road

Bloomfield Hills, MI 48301

Please note that just because we are reviewing your book that does NOT guarantee a good/positive review. The review spots are filling up quickly so many will be appearing in December and January.

Thanks for your interest and I look forward to reading your book!

Ask Charles Henry Editing an editing question:

7 11 2012

Interview with fantasy writer, Dyane Forde!

6 11 2012

Welcome, Dyane Forde!

Dyane Forde is the author of Eagle’s Gift, a children’s fantasy book and The Purple Morrow which is the first book in her epic fantasy series.
From Dyane: 

Writing has been a passion of mine since I wrote my first story in the first grade. At the time, I was amazed by the fact that by combining everyday words, I could create something new or generate a reaction from a reader. Most of my writing background is in short stories and poetry, so The Eagle’s Gift and The Purple Morrow are my first books. Regarding my work in general, what people tend to appreciate the most is my ability to craft realistic, memorable and multi-faceted characters as well as in creating a ‘sensual’ reading experience, meaning that readers often feel that they are ‘in’ the story. One of the greatest compliments a reader could give me, would be that they were ‘moved’ or ‘transported’ to another world by something I wrote.

1. Where did the inspiration came for using eagles as the narrators for The Eagle’s Gift?
Charlotte’s world in The Eagle’s Gift is made up of humans and a lordly race of eagle protectors, or Ancients, as they are referred to in the story. Basically, I was looking for a creature that naturally invoked a sense of stateliness, wisdom, and beauty as well as a certain wildness, and eagles fit the bill. I also loved the idea of depicting flight in a book. Thinking of Charlotte being ‘lifted up’ by the eagles so that she soared above the horrors occurring in the world below also seemed a perfect metaphor for the story.

2. Do you see The Eagle’s Gift as a children’s story or as an adult fantasy novel?
That was always a tough question for me to answer. Originally, I intended to write an ‘adult’ fairy tale. I’ve always loved fairy tales and children’s stories and still get lost in stories like The Chronicles of Narnia, The Hobbit or tales like Arabian Nights. I suppose I just couldn’t believe I was the only adult in the whole world who wanted that sort of escape from reality, and figured there must be others like me who wanted to be immersed into the whimsical world of a fairy tale, but with a different slant than the traditional stories we’ve heard all our lives. That said, despite the slightly advanced language and rich descriptions, I like to think that young people could still love the story. I was 12 when I read the Lord of the Rings trilogy for the first time and loved the challenge of getting through it. I like to think there are other advanced younger readers who also crave a similar challenge and that they might gravitate to a book like The Eagle’s Gift.

3. Why do you think Charlotte is such an engaging heroine for readers?
Charlotte’s world is in the verge of crumbling because it has been invaded by an evil spirit, and she battles feelings of helplessness and frustration since she believes she can’t do anything about it. That is until she discovers she has been chosen by Terryl, the eagle king, to stop the evil. At its root, The Eagle’s Gift is a story about Charlotte’s journey from self-doubt and despair towards hope and finally towards action. In the process she ends up discovering things about herself she didn’t know were there. Despite how dark things appear, she chooses hope over despair, which is a message I think many people could be encouraged by.

4. What is your the favorite part of the Purple Morrow?
There are so many! First, I enjoyed creating an entire world with different people groups, like the Northmen and the Southernmen, as well as developing cultures for each of them. It forced me to stretch my imagination and my skills as a writer. In terms of storylines, though, I think one of my favorite parts was moving Jeru from his outright refusal to remarry after the death of his wife to unexpectedly falling in love with Nyssa. He’s actually surprised when it happens! Both of them have to overcome such difficult personal issues as well as situational ones that it was so satisfying when he finally expresses his feelings to her. Writing that scene actually made me smile. A lot.

5. What makes the Rover’s so evil?
The Northern Rover army, led by their commander Kelen, are the epitome of an evil army: ruthless, merciless, and driven. Whether it’s enslaving their enemies, razing villages to the ground, or slaughtering whomever crosses their path, they do not hesitate for a moment. In chapter 4, Nyssa’s village is attacked, which gives the reader the first glimpse of the evil they are capable of. On the other hand, one of the things I enjoyed about writing the book was letting the reader in on their side of the story, revealing what is at stake for them and what it is that drives them to do the terrible things they believe they must do.

6. How many books will be in The Purple Morrow Series and can you journey in each of them?
There are three books planned. The second, Wolf’s Bane, is in the process of being completed and I’m very excited about that. It follows Jeru’s journey as he continues to discover his role as the savior of the Southernlands, and as he searches for Kelen, whom the reader learns has an unexpected role to play in Jeru’s life. Kelen himself realizes that he has been wronged by the very people who raised him and so sets off on a mission of revenge. We also get to see more of the Northmen’s way of life and of their endgame. Book three is yet unnamed and is still in the development stage but it concludes the story of the clash between the Northmen and the Southernmen, and all mysteries are revealed. Big surprises await the faithful reader!

7. The settings are described vividly in both your books are they based on real places or purely imagined?
All the locations are fictional, but certain details are inspired by real places or things I‘ve seen in movies. For example, Erne’s Drop, Nyssa’s Water clan home in The Purple Morrow, was inspired by a scene from a movie. As soon as I saw the village built into the cliff and the ocean crashing against its base, I knew I wanted to recreate my version of that. In general, I don’t tend to write long descriptive passages, but I try to maximize what I do write so that the end result packs the greatest punch. Words are tools, and I like to use them to build images that evoke an emotional reaction so that whatever I’m describing has meaning to the reader that is beyond the intellectual.

8.Which character in any of your books has been your favorite to write and why?
That’s an unfair question! I am so passionate about each and every one of them, and I spend so much time crafting them that I am loyal to each! In regards to Eagle, I love Enian, the eagle prince. He’s like the perfect man only in eagle form: brave, caring, and full of integrity. In Morrow, I loved writing Jeru’s transition from a state of melancholy and his stubborn, martyr-like resistance to change to a man of substance and determination, committed to doing what is right regardless of the cost to himself. I also loved that he got blindsided by love. Lastly, I have to say that I fell in love with Kelen from the moment I conceived of the character. He can be vicious and cruel but he guards a sensitive heart. It was a challenge to write such a complex character since I had to walk a fine line between making readers hate him or love him. Hopefully, the result will make the reader squirm a little.

9. What is the most challenging aspect about writing for you?
On a practical note, not having as much time to commit to writing as I would like. I do have a full time job as well as a husband and family, so as much as I would love to spend 12 hours writing and improving my craft, sadly I can’t. On writing itself, I would have to say planning out the story. I wrote Morrow with a loose mental outline, focusing first on defining my characters and setting specific goals for what I wanted to say in each chapter. As the story progressed and as the characters matured, the story took on a life of its own and the results are so satisfying. But this method of writing makes writing a series difficult because now I have to write a coherent story that spans three books! So I’ve been working on keeping better notes, following my outline more carefully but also trying to be flexible enough to ‘go with the flow’. It’s not an easy balance at all!

10. Tell us about any upcoming projects or publications.
Right now I am working hard to get The Purple Morrow into the hands of agents and publishers. I’m also working hard to complete Wolf’s Bane, the sequel to Morrow, as well as preparing to outline the third and final book. As stated above, my journey as a writer started with short stories and this is something I would love to get back to. However, Jeru’s story won’t let me rest until it’s all told, so it looks like I’ll be involved with this project for a while. Lastly, I’ve been approached to co-author a book, which is something I have never done, but which presents a really interesting challenge. I am really looking forward to that project when the time comes.

Finally, I love to hear from readers, so I invite anyone to message me on Twitter @PurpleMorrow or on Facebook at Support and encouragement are important, so if you like what you read or want to know more about the books, let me know!
My greatest thanks go out to Carolyn and Charles Henry Editing for the chance to do this interview. It was a real pleasure.

You can read her work at:

Read more about her on Facebook

Or friend her on Twitter @PurpleMorrow

Would you like to do an author interview or do you need an editor? Email Charles Henry Editing at Check out our website for services and fees

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