All posts by EilisFlynn

Workshops booked for 2021

Planning ahead, for the Futuristic, Fantasy & Paranormal chapter of Romance Writers of America:

June 7 – July 4, 2021

How to Build a Super-Heroine

Why is building a super-heroine so different from building a super-hero? Depends on the story you want to tell, right? How do we build a super-heroine? Someone specifically female, someone with powers and skills, not just somebody’s girlfriend. This workshop looks at the concept of the super-heroine, its origins, and how you can build your own unique one, not just a super-hero in a bra. 

December 6, 2021 – January 2, 2022

Faeries & Dragons Along the Silk Road and Beyond: The Quiz Show!

Everywhere you look around the world, there’s something about dragons and faeries, all shapes and sizes, different kinds all. The names may change and the situations may change, but whatever you call them, dragons and faeries have been both kind and mischievous, good and evil, sometimes a symbol of order and sometimes of chaos. How much do you know about dragons and faeries? To find out, here’s a sorta-quiz. Check out how much you really know! 

Sensible and Sensitive: Making Your Manuscript More Desirable Through Sensitivity

Today’s writers know at least these two things: Good writing demands creating authentic characters that aren’t versions of the same character with different names, skin tones, and hair color. And there’s money in writing books that appeal beyond a particular group.

One of the services I offer my clients is sensitivity reading. This is a thorough read of their manuscript with an eye and ear out for writing that doesn’t reflect real people beyond the mainstream audience (you know, white people).  Indian women aren’t just suburban white Americans wearing saris; black women aren’t just “tall drinks of chocolate”; Asian women aren’t just 1950s suburban white housewives with “almond” eyes and math skills. (For example, my math skills aren’t great. 😉 )

Given that most people – even writers (and even writers of color) – have few friends outside of their social group, this is a skill that every author needs. While there are many similarities, sensitivity editing approaches manuscripts from a whole different perspective than editing for structure, grammar, style, and dialog. It’s like recasting Pride and Prejudice with Mrs. Bennet as the protagonist instead of Elizabeth. The events are the same, but the viewpoint is wholly unalike. In both cases, you want to ensure the things in your manuscript are correct. For structure, the important elements are the inciting incident, the turning points, and the characters’ motivations. For copyediting and even proofreading, it’s spelling, tenses, subject-verb agreement, looking for changed character names that haven’t been caught, and plot points that weren’t set up.

For sensitivity, it’s whether your characters are authentic to who they are and that you aren’t reducing them to pat and stereotypical descriptions of external features. When you do that, you’ll find your existing readers love your work even more, and you’ll appeal to a whole new group of readers looking for characters like them.

For examples of the differences and the similarities that will help those already working on a manuscript aimed beyond a small audience and to inspire those who are looking for a way to add dimension to their work, I’ll be at the 2019 Emerald City Writers Conference at the Westin Hotel in Bellevue, WA on Sunday, October 20, at 9:00 am. My workshop, Sensitivity reading vs. editing: What’s the difference? will provide authors with the tools they need to create more realistic characters and plots and send them home with a worksheet for avoiding mistakes and getting underway.

Maybe I’ll see you there?

There are ghosts along the Silk Road. And they're fascinating!

I Edit. I Write. I Talk About Ghosts.

Bringing Japanese Ghosts and Death Rituals to Sakura-Con 2019!

When I’m not editing (as E.M.S. Flynn), I’m writing (as Eilis Flynn), and when I’m not writing, I find myself presenting. And so it is this year at Seattle’s Sakura-Con on Saturday, April 20, when I present “Japanese Ghosts and Death Rituals,” complete with a spiffy PowerPoint presentation so attendees can see what I’m talking about! (New! This year! Spiffy!)

Which ghosts have one eye in their butt? Which ghosts are a demon and a fairy? Which ghosts are a lot like one you know from Harry Potter? Come to the panel and you’ll find out! I will be also having a Q&A!

It’s based on presentations for writers that I’ve done for years (with client Jacquie Rogers) in which we discuss all sorts of things that go bump in the night. Editors have to know these things, you know — and so much more!

For instance, for one of my writers I found myself making sure that the boxes into she was putting a million pounds worth of gold were big enough. Turned out they were too big. (Gold is dense.) I had to remind another that the title Ms. wasn’t commonly used until about a half-century ago. And pegging the proper century for the existence of penny dreadfuls — which required both sufficient technology and a critical mass of literate consumers — was important for another recent client. Naturally, there’s also the spelling and the grammar, but you probably expected that.

While that means no editing will be involved, you can see the result of my work and Jacquie’s on Saturday, April 20, 2019 at 4pm in 4C-4 at the Washington State Convention Center when I share some basics about Japanese ghosts and death rituals. There’ll also be copies of my book, Ghosts Along the Silk Road…and Beyond for sale (if you haven’t already purchased it from all the usual online sellers). There’s even a giveaway – a copy of Dragons Along the Silk Road!

If you can’t be there, you can check out the Ghosts Along The Silk Road book by clicking the links below. Even better, if you’re writing a book — I’d love to make it perfect. Even if it means there’s a ghost with an eye in its butt.

Nonfiction by Eilis Flynn with Jacquie Rogers:

Ghosts Along The Silk Road… And Beyond: Central Asia (paperback)(eBook) | Dragons Along the Silk Road…And Beyond (paperback)(eBook)|Vampires & Zombies Along the Silk Road…And Beyond (eBook)

Fiction by Eilis Flynn:

Festival of Stars (paperback)(eBook) | The Sleeper Awakes (paperback)(eBook) | His 30-Day Guarantee (paperback)(eBook) | The Riddle of Ryu (eBook)The Sonika Stories (paperback)(eBook) | Dreaming Beauty (World of Sonika) (paperback)(eBook) | Christmas in the Rain (eBook)Halloween for a Heroine (eBook)Static Shock (paperback)(eBook) |

With Heather Hiestand:

Wear Black (paperback)(eBook)| Dancing in Red (a Wear Black novella) (eBook)


I Wrote the Book on Editing

After All These Years, I’ve Got Stories

Editor Elizabeth M.S. Flynn Book on EditingThe proof copies of She Nodded Her Head Up and Down In Agreement: How Just a Second Thought Can Help Your Book have arrived!

After all these years, I’ve got stories. So I wrote a book on editing. Not so much editing as helpful hints that authors should keep in mind as they’re sending their beautiful words and intriguing characters out into the world.

I’ve entitled it She Nodded Her Head Up and Down In Agreement: How Just a Second Thought Can Help Your Book. As you will conclude — because you’re clever enough to draw conclusions or you wouldn’t be a writer reading this blog — I’ve captured decades of work as an editor to share some of the very obvious traps that my otherwise wonderful clients have fallen into. Things like having a character squint her eyes (is she going to squint her foot?), kiss with his mouth (what else is a he going to kiss with, his foot?), showing when you should be telling (yes! it happens!), wetting his appetite (no, just no!), baiting breath (worms? really?) — these are things you couldn’t care less about, but I absolutely could care less about. In fact, I care a great deal about these things. And that’s why my clients continue to hire me.

These little tidbits will soon be for sale in book form at Amazon and all the other places. First, you can win one in a raffle at the Emerald City Writer’s Conference, where I’ll be presenting (I’ll write a separate post about my topic, which is key to the conference). I hope I’ll see you there — and I hope you win!

Heather Redmond’s A Tale of Two Murders Is Two Times Two Elizabeth M.S. Flynn Tales, Too

Editor Elizabeth MS Flynn as author Eilis Flynn with client and co-author Heather Hiestand.

Authors Heather Hiestand and Eilis Flynn at Third Place Books and their book, “Wear Black.” There’s more to this story!

Last night I attended the Third Place Books author event in Lake City Way for Heather Redmond’s A Tale of Two Murders. There’s two things to everything to be said about it!

First, I’m affiliated with Heather two ways — as co-author (on Wear Black, which we’re holding here) and as editor for her independently published works.

Second, Heather writes with at least two pseudonyms — Heather Hiestand (the name on what she’s written with me) and Heather Redmond — the name she’s using for her successfully launched Charles Dickens murder mysteries.

Third, although I edit as Elizabeth M.S. Flynn, my pen name is Eilis Flynn. I’m sure you’ve found some of those books. I hope you’ve found them enjoyable. I’ve just reissued the book of my heart, Festival of Stars, a multicultural romance based on a beloved Japanese folk tale.

Fourth, (although you’ve figured this out) I’m both an editor and a published author. So I have a pretty good idea what authors go through and bring all of that experience to bear on any project I edit.

So that’s four twos. Is that too much?

Your Indie Editor and You: Presentation June 2, 2018 at the White Center LIbrary

Indie Editor

Tools of the indie editor trade

Indie editors are an essential part of indie publishing. It’s not just about writing your story. (Still, hurray! You did it!) But, before you publish it, you need to have it edited. This is not optional! You will need a developmental edit as you’re blocking it out. You will need line edits for content, style, and language. You will certainly need copy edits to ensure your beautiful manuscript is clear and error-free. At all stages, format is important — first, so your manuscript can be professionally edited; then so your manuscript can be published cleanly by the online publishing platforms. You’re up to the task, but it does require taking a hard look at your work. Again. Here’s how to work with your editor to polish your story into a gem. And — there’s even a handy checklist! See you there!

Saturday, June 2, 2018 10:30 am at the White Center Library
1409 SW 107th Street | Seattle WA 98146

Greater Seattle Romance Writers of America

Can’t be there? Send me an email and I’ll send you the checklist!

There Will Be Dragons — In Everett!

I’ll be bringing the Silk Road to Everett on Saturday, May 19! I’ll be discussing the Dragons of Asia (no, it’s not a band name — but maybe it should be!) when I present to their regular Saturday meeting at Lombardi’s of Everett. The Silk Road…And Beyond is a series of workshops I’ve been giving over the years (often with the assistance of the award-winning western romance writer Jacquie Rogers) that show how familiar ghosties and ghoulies have counterparts around the world, traveling the same paths as we humans.

Evergreen RWA meetings:

Lombardi’s Italian Restaurant Everett:

Interested in the book? Check it out at Amazon: Dragons Along The Silk Road…And Beyond

First books in the series (Ghosts Along the Silk Road…And Beyond):
Paperback | Kindle Edition

Why You Should Hire An Editor #1,248: Speech-Recognition Software

One of the tools now available to writers is speech recognition software, and it is a boon. It also turns out to be faster: a study by Stanford University, the University of Washington and Baidu, the Chinese Internet company, showed that for handheld devices the spoken word was three times faster than entering on a small keyboard.

Franck Dernoncourt, a research scientist at Adobe Research, has said that the average typist works from 50 to 80 words per minute, but that the speech recognition rate is more than 100 words per minute. If you consider that a TED talk averages 163 words per minute, you can see why writers are turning to speech recognition software like Dragon or LilySpeech. I have clients who use this and are very pleased how quickly they can move through their manuscripts.

But… just as anybody who has picked a fight with Apple’s Siri knows, speech recognition isn’t perfect.

And the software errors I catch can be very amusing.

For instance, one writer whose manuscript I edited wanted to describe how one character was mimicking another. The speech-recognition software, however, tripped up on the word emulate. Having one character immolate another would have certainly heated the story up. The software meant well – but didn’t capture the meaning.

More recently, a writer was describing a scene with brandy. Brandy is a lovely beverage. It is smooth, provides welcome warmth, and, depending upon the fruit from which it’s distilled, generates a lovely bouquet. It’s often served in distinctive glassware meant to convey that aroma.

Alas, the speech-recognition software my client used substituted the verb “sniffer” (which the character certainly could have been, inhaling the rich fragrance of the spirit) for the noun “snifter” – the correct name of the stemware containing the auburn liquid in question.

My favorite may be how speech-recognition software mangled a word common primarily to romance writers. The task for the software was further complicated by the author’s regionally specific accent – and possibly the Old West setting of the novel. That’s the only explanation I have for why “bustier” escaped the author’s lips – and wound up as “buzzard beak” in the manuscript I was editing.

Or maybe some cowboy in the Old West is actually excited when he sees buzzard beaks coming at him.

Writers – use whatever tool makes you do the work best and fastest. But remember that your editor is every bit a part of your finished product as is its cover, its copyright page, its binding, and its placement in your local bookstore or on

Learn About Super-Hero Prose At Emerald City Comic Convention

Super-heroes don’t just fly on the big screen, hurl lightning bolts on your flatscreen, or leap giant buildings in a single bound in the panels of a comic book. I know; I’ve edited and written novels about them. (Did you know I was a proofreader at DC Comics back in the day? Or that I sold Superman stories — to Julius Schwartz, the editor who was Ray Bradbury’s agent — when I was in college?)

On March 1, I’ll be sharing that knowledge with attendees of the Emerald City Comic Convention in Seattle. I’ll be joined by other experts as we present Panel to Prose: Translating Super-Heroes from Four-Color Staple to Literary Trope.

Super-heroes have long been the near-exclusive purview of comics when it comes to print. With the recent massive success of movies adapted from the comics, super-heroes are enjoying wider appeal than ever before. Can body-suit clad heroes make the leap from glossy graphics-laden pages to prose novels? Is there a difference between the approach of the writer and editor? Are the readers different? Come to the panel and find out!