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: Author Interview with writing duo, Wodke Hawkinson.

19 11 2012

This Friday, November 23rd, Charles Henry editing is interviewing writing duo: Karen Wodke and PJ Hawkinson! This writing duo has produced twelve works together and several solo works. We will be asking them about their writing process; their two newest books: Zeke, and, Tangerine.

‘Zeke is a dark novel of sexual obsession, psychological manipulation, and looming peril.

A naive college student falls for the new clerk at a local store. Captivated by his brooding good looks and menacing but irresistible charisma, she leaves herself wide open for exploitation and agrees to leave town with him. As they travel, his behavior grows more deviant and increasingly volatile.

Her parents’ concern leads them to hire a small-town PI, who begins his inquiry with only two objectives: first, to verify that her departure is voluntary, and second to ascertain her whereabouts. A simple case; however, he soon finds himself locked into a chase to save her life. Will he find her in time or will she become another victim of a cunning sociopath?’

Sounds good, right? If you would like to read Zeke 

You can buy it on Amazon for kindle here:

Or Smashwords here:

Or at b& here:

A description of  Tangerine by Wodke Hawkinson

Tangerine is a novel set in a future time where long distance space travel is commonplace and aliens are a natural part of society. A story of an interstellar biologist who explores the wild orange beauty of the planet, Tangerine, and discovers she is the heir to a device of great power. As she and her furry companion take to the stars, she is pursued not only by an evil collector but also by a romantic rogue!

To learn about Zeke, Tangerine, and the rest of their books visit their website If you need more reading suggestions make sure to check out where they discuss good books to read with their readers.

Still can’t get enough Wodke Hawkinson?

Friend them on twitter @WodkeHawkinson or on Facebook

Make sure to check out their interview on Friday, November 23rd to learn even more about the dynamic writing duo.

If you would like to participate in an Author Interview go to our ‘Other Services’ page and then email Carolyn Elias at Please note the earliest available interview date is December 21st, 2012.

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!

Query Letters: Top 10 Checklist

7 11 2012

One of my favorite things to write and edit are query letters. A query letter is equivalent to a cover letter in the business world however, it also should exemplify you as a writer. All the effort you put into your work needs to be encapsulated in your query letter. Perfecting the balance between business and beauty is difficult but here are ten things to make sure you have in your query letter:

1. Know the audience that will eventually read your book.

Knowing the genre of the book should give you an inkling as to who will be interested in your book but try to narrow it down to specific demographics.

2. State a marketing plan.

A sentence or two about how you are going to help sell your book will show that you are invested in the future of your book.

3. Confidence.

Most writers tear themselves down in their query letters. Be proud of your work, your accomplishments, and detail how you are going to achieve your future goals. Timidity and fraity have no place in publishing.

4. Your biography should describe you as a writer.

The biography section is neither an autobiography or the listing of you CV accomplishments. It is supposed to describe your journey as a writer-where you began, to how you got to where you are now. State publishing credits and how they have helped you.

5. Strong, conscise prose.

6. The letter should only be one page, double spaced.

7. Make sure you are pitching to the right agent.

Pitch query letters to a few agencies that SELL WORK LIKE YOURS. Read a few of the books that the agent recently sold and state how the books are complimentary. Craft each query letter- don’t send out a generic one and just change the name. Research the agent and learn a few things about them.

8.  State the genre.

9. State the word count.

10.  Proofread and fix:  grammar, syntax, and typography.

Want help with your query letters? Contact to set up an appointment to edit your query letters.

Substantive Editing: Fleshing out Your Story

3 11 2012

In substantive editing (also known as developmental editing and comprehensive editing), the editor considers a document’s concept and intended use, content, organization, design, and style. The purpose is to make the document functional for its readers, not just to make it correct and consistent.

substantive edit deals with the overall structure of the publication:

  • Does it all fit together into a coherent whole?
  • Is the order of presentation logical (from the target audience’s point of view)?
  • Is all the necessary information included, and unnecessary information deleted?

Contrast this work with copy editing, most of which is rules-based and concerned with grammar, spelling, punctuation, and other mechanics of style and the internal consistency of facts and presentation. Both types of edit are essential; they just focus on different issues. See my post Copy editing: What It Is and Why It is Important.

Why You Should Use a Professional Substantive Editor

Manuscripts need in-depth, comprehensive, substantive editing — the kind that deals with the nuts and bolts of organization and structure, of plotting and pacing, of characterization, of voice and tone, along with all of the stylistic elements and overall substance that go into creating a great read. Whether fiction or nonfiction, every book (or short story or article) needs the type of thorough going over that only a developmental editor can provide.

What Substantive Editors Go Over

  • Are the characters real, flesh-and-bone, multi-sided people? Does the reader know them once the story has taken off? Or simply know about them? Do they interact in believable ways. Does the main character grow and evolve?
  • Does the pacing fit the storyline? Different genres require different pacing, and it helps to work with an editor who understands the market and the genre in which you’re writing. Does one chapter flow into the next, building to a climax, making for a satisfying read? Does the book “fit” together? Does it have a cohesive beginning, middle, and end? Or does the plotline fizzle and sag, or leave huge holes that are never bridged?
  • Is there a point to the book?
  • Does the language sing? Is the writer telling the story, or creating, showing, evoking for the reader?

The very best substantive editors can not only pinpoint the problems, in all areas, but most importantly, be able to show you how to fix those short falls. An editor’s job is to help a writer to fashion the very best book it can be and create a great read.

Substantive editing is $199.99.  Contact us at

NaNoWriMo Special

1 11 2012

Happy first day of National Novel Writing Month! What are you all writing about? Well, whatever it is good luck! To celebrate National Novel Writing Month we are having a 1/2 off sale on all editing services. What sort of services does Charles Henry Editing offer? Quite a few! We specialize in content editing, copy editing, proofreading and manuscript evaluations for individual authors and publishers. We polish query letters and synopses. If you are writing a book we want to take it to the next level. Our slogan is: Where Good Books Become Great.

What if I’m not writing a book? That’s fine with us we also edit academic papers, business communications and student work.

We like to say: You Write, We Edit.

Check us out at

or email Carolyn Elias at

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