All posts by EilisFlynn

About EilisFlynn

Elizabeth Flynn, who writes as Eilis Flynn, is an editor and writer. Find her on social media.

Story Behind the Story: Wild About Rand by Joleen James

Here’s Joleen James, whose A Wilding Point Romance series covers the lives and loves of people in a small town in the Puget Sound region. Her Story Behind The Story has a basis in her own emotional journey. (I was the copy editor for this story, so I had a first look!)

Wild About Rand by Joleen James!

What’s the theme behind the story?

Love heals all? I know this sounds so basic, but when you put two wounded people together, and their love helps them move forward again, toward happiness—Love Heals All—works.

What’s the log line?

Secret Summer Romance.

What were you thinking about or what was happening when the idea occurred to you? 

I had the idea for the Wilding Point Romance series a while before I wrote WILD ABOUT RAND. My idea for the series centered on the area I grew up in, a town on Puget Sound in Washington State. In the book, I call the town Wilding Point. The core of the story centers around the three Wilding siblings, with each sibling featured in their own book. Their internal conflicts stem from the relationship they have with their toxic father, a hard, unloving man. The father’s illness and subsequent death brings these three estranged siblings home to Wilding Point over the course of the three books (the series has since evolved into five books). Of course, each sibling will find love, and have a happy ending.

How did the original idea change as you went along? 

At that time, prior to when I starting writing WILD ABOUT RAND, my mother got very sick and passed away. As her main caregiver and advocate, I went through her end-of-life journey with her. Helping someone die is a life-changing experience—at least it was for me. I felt honored to be with her at the end, and treasure those memories now. Those memories became a driving force in WILD ABOUT RAND. 

I always planned for the father in WILD ABOUT RAND to become sick and pass away. However, my own life shaped this story. In the book, the father’s illness and death mirrored what I went through with my mom. I poured my heart out and walked through my grief while writing the book. Writing the end of life for Lucas Wilding through the lens of my own grief was definitely not planned! However, WILD ABOUT RAND is not a book about death. In fact, it’s about living! The story centers on the secret, summer romance between Kristine Wilding and Rand Bell, two people who are both moving on from different, emotional pasts. Their relationship is about bringing romance and joy back into their lives!

How did you conceive of your characters for this story and how did they change?

I knew I wanted three Wilding siblings: Kristine, a struggling single mom, who is in the first book; Lucky, her brother, a man with a dark past who feels unworthy of love; and a secret sibling, Cam, a local boy, who suddenly finds himself part of the twisted Wilding family. I’m not sure how the stories changed. I always start my books by writing the back-cover copy (a super-short synopsis). I’m always surprised by how I stick to my original story. The synopsis usually follows the book pretty closely when I’m finished.

Are you pleased with the results, or would you have done anything differently in the story? Why or why not?

I love this series and all the characters that populate Wilding Point. I am pleased with WILD ABOUT RAND. I think most of us have suffered loss, and I hope we’ve managed to move forward and find happiness. This is a story of hope we can all identify with.

Who would play the leads in the movie if (when) you make the deal?

I think the couple on the cover of WILD ABOUT RAND would be great!

What else do you want readers to know?

I want readers to know that this series is an ongoing labor of love. I feel more connected to this series than any other I have written before. Some of my strong connection has to do with the location, some to the personal tragedy I suffered, which made its way into WILD ABOUT RAND. If you like secret, summer romance (WILD ABOUT RAND), a wounded bad boy (WILD ABOUT LUCKY), secret babies and first lovers reunited (WILD ABOUT CAM), a little mystery mixed in with your romance (ONE WILD CHRISTMAS), this series is for you! Wait, I forgot about book 5…ONE WILD KISS—a story of forbidden love, coming soon! 


Joleen James is the author of The Wilding Point Romance series, The Hometown Alaska Men series, and several stand-alone contemporary romances, including the award-winning UNDER A HARVEST MOON. Currently, she’s working on ONE WILD KISS, book 5 in the Wilding Point Romance series. LOVE UNEXPECTED is her first romance short story set in Wilding Point and the story is included in the SUMMER VIBES ROMANCE ANTHOLOGY. Visit Joleen at, or look for her on Facebook and Twitter.

Buy link:  Wild About Rand (A Wilding Point Romance Book 1) – Kindle edition by James, Joleen. Contemporary Romance Kindle eBooks @

Story Behind the Story: Space Tripping with the Shredded Orphans by Sonya Rhen

Space Tripping with the Shredded Orphans!

Here’s Sonya Rhen, whose Shredded Orphans combines a bit of David and Goliath and a bit of Red Dwarf, explains what happens when you watch sci-fi TV—and then have a very vivid dream. 

What’s the theme behind your story?

The little guy can go up against big corporations and still win. Even the smallest actions can have bigger consequences.

What’s the logline?

In a world where Corporates rule everything, the Shredded Orphans seismic rock band are literally slaves to their jobs: playing music by night and saving the Universe by day.

What were you thinking about or what was happening when the idea occurred to you?

I hate to even mention this, but it started with a dream I had of this group of people traveling through the desert. They were stranded, but they were still bantering with each other as if they were going to the mall or something. I had this dream years before I wrote the book and I think it was heavily influenced by a short-lived sci-fi show called Space Rangers. I think there were only five episodes ever shown on TV, but I was still fascinated with the camaraderie of the characters.

How did the original idea change as you went along?

I was originally thinking that they were a band of mercenaries, because it seemed that all sci-fi shows with spaceships were either mercenaries or military. Then the idea for a band started taking shape. My husband and sister were both in several bands and I had been to many of their concerts as well as a lot of other local band concerts in small venues around the Seattle area, so I felt I could get a lot of inspiration from that. I really had fun merging the sci-fi and rock star story elements.

How did you conceive of your characters for this story and how did they change?

I started with the image I had of the band of (and at the time didn’t realize how terribly cliche it was) four men and one woman walking along under the hot desert sun. I gave them all roles in the band. As I started writing, I had watched the TV show Firefly, another short-lived, but better-known TV show, and Farscape, so I think the characters were heavily influenced by both of those shows. I also really love Red Dwarf, but I don’t think I’ve achieved that level of funny.

I hope that my characters fleshed out to be more of their own personalities, with their own quirks by the time I finished writing the book. The lead singer, Lix, probably has a lot of my sensibilities, but is modeled a lot on my husband and some of the stories that he’s told me about band practice. I wanted Ophelia, the backup singer and trapeze artist (because what self-respecting band doesn’t have their own trapeze artist?), to be a tough, athletic, no-nonsense kind of woman. And while she is, a kind of softer, motherly side of her seemed to emerge throughout the book. I actually quite like that change. Chitto was supposed to be the calm meditative one, which he still is, but then he developed into a bit of comic relief for the book. Or does a humor book not have a comic relief? Anyhow, he’s a lot funnier than I had planned on.

Are you pleased with the results, or do you wish you had done anything differently in the story? Why or why not?

I’m very pleased with the way the book turned out. As a first novel I think it feels like a complete story and when I read it, I forget what I’ve written and it still makes me laugh. Probably, there are some words I would tweak now and maybe move some punctuation around, but on the whole I’m quite happy with it.

Who would play your leads in the movie if (when!) you make a deal? 

I would so love to make a movie deal for Space Tripping! I modeled Lix’s mohawk after Jared Leto’s, but I think Lix’s personality is more in line with Keanu Reeves. I could see Gillian Anderson as the tough Ophelia, but perhaps someone younger like Molly C. Quinn from TV’s Castlewould be better for the red-headed trapeze artist.

What else do you want readers to know?

If you like light and funny with a touch of sci-fi, then Space Tripping with the Shredded Orphans is the perfect book for you.

Bio: Sonya Rhen is the author of the humorous Space Tripping series. She lives east of Seattle with her husband, two children, grumpy old cat, and two manic dogs. When she’s not writing, you might find her dancing.

To check it out:

Buy link:    (This is a link to my website book page with all the buy links on it.)

Story Behind The Story: A Christmas Carol Murder by Heather Redmond

Meet Heather Redmond and the story behind her story, A Christmas Carol Murder. This is the third novel in her series of cozy murder mysteries featuring Charles Dickens as the protagonist. As Heather explains, it’s just a natural to use A Christmas Carol if you’re writing about Dickens and his fictional sleuthing. Especially at Christmastime! So meet the spirit of Christmas murders to be, Heather Redmond.

What’s the theme behind your story?

Christmas is a season of renewal.

Cover to A Christmas Carol Murder by Heather Redmond

What’s the logline?

Bah. Humbug. Murder…

What were you thinking about or what was happening when the idea occurred to you?

I was planning the first three books of the A Dickens of a Crime series with my editor. The series stars Charles Dickens as an amateur sleuth and takes inspiration from his novels. We knew one of the books had to feature Dickens’s A Christmas Carol since it is his most famous work.

How did the original idea change as you went along?

I learned that Dickens had done some great reporting on the Hatfield fire that happened a few weeks before Christmas, so I started the book there. It gave me a great chance to include a Christmas child that I could keep a secret from his fiancée Kate. The problem became how to keep her integrated into the story when she didn’t know what was going on. My editor also wanted to be sure there was no paranormal element to the book, so I had to solve any ghostly encounters with real life explanations.

How did you conceive of your characters for this story and how did they change?

My two main characters, Charles and Kate, were real people and as much as I can, I keep them true to life. The biggest change in my characters in this book was to finish the process of moving my mudlark characters off of the Thames foreshore and into the next phases of their lives. The girl, Lucy Fair, has entered service and most of the boys went to school. Dickens himself believed that some boys were simply natural, unredeemable criminals so I did leave one or two of the boys behind.

Are you pleased with the results, or do you wish you had done anything differently in the story? Why or why not?

I’m quite happy with this one as it worked out. As a writer I still tend to have to re-solve the mystery for myself at the end and make sure that the reason for the murders is truly justified. As I recall, I didn’t know what had happened to the missing corpse for quite a while.

Who would play your leads in the movie if (when!) you make a deal?

The main characters are very young so even though the series is less than three years old, I think the actors I might have envisioned have already aged out of the roles! I suspect unknowns would have to play roles, with a 23-year-old hero and a 20-year-old heroine. Maybe these roles would make stars!

What else do you want readers to know?

Dickens’s original novella A Christmas Carol is an amazing mix of comedy and horror and brilliant storytelling. I can’t account for the brilliant storytelling, but I did my best to include comedy and horror in my homage, while still being focused on telling a great mystery story.

The Heather Redmond Bio

Heather Redmond is an author of commercial fiction and also writes as Heather Hiestand. First published in mystery, she took a long detour through romance before returning. Though her last British-born ancestor departed London in the 1920s, she is a committed anglophile, Dickens devotee, and lover of all things nineteenth century.

She has lived in Illinois, California, and Texas, and now resides in a small town in Washington State with her husband and son. The author of many novels, novellas, and short stories, she has achieved best-seller status at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Apple Books. Her 2018 Heather Redmond debut, A Tale of Two Murders, reached #1 in Historical Mysteries at Amazon as well as being in the Top 100 on Amazon, Barnes & Noble (Top 20), and Apple Books (Top 40). It is also a multi-week Barnes & Noble Hardcover Mystery Bestseller and a Historical Mystery bestseller on Kobo Books.

Her two current mystery series are A Dickens of a Crime and the Journaling mysteries. She writes for Kensington and Severn House.

She is the 2020-21 President of the Columbia River Chapter of Sisters in Crime (SinC).

To buy A Christmas Carol Murder, click here.
For more about Heather Redmond, visit

The Story Behind the Story Behind the Story (and no, that’s not redundant)

Haven’t you wondered how a particular author came up with the story they did? We all know about Mary Shelley and her inspiration on a stormy night, coming up with Frankenstein. I woke up one night wondering what the source of a story is in an author’s mind, whether it’s sweet or horror or mystifying, and how long the idea had to germinate before at last that story bloomed into being. So I asked authors to tell me.

There’s always a story about how the story that you like so much got started. Here are glimpses at what fuels the imagination of the authors. I’ll be offering one author’s story or two a week. The Story Behind the Story starts for real in January, but until then, this is sort of what it’ll be:

His 30-Day Guarantee

It was the mid-1980s — so yeah, we’re talking about a long time ago. Ronald Reagan was president, I was living in New York City, and occasionally doing freelance as a break from my regular full-time job as a financial editor. My husband was working at DC Comics at that point, and I met their proofreader and learned she was a copy editor away from comics. One of her freelance gigs was copy editing romances for a Major Publisher, and she suggested I check it out. I did, and ended up copy editing a couple. 

It was interesting, and I enjoyed it, despite it being very different from what I was used to. But more than that, it inspired me to write my own romance. 

After a couple of fits and starts (you know how that goes), I came up with a fun idea after noticing a very distinctive sales pitch that occurs in so many offers: impulsive tech tycoon type falls for a recently divorced linguistical anthropology professor at the University of Washington and offers her a deal: go out with him for one month. If they don’t mesh well, she can step away, no harm, no foul. But he’s not telling her everything.

After I finished it and submitted it (using paper and everything, because this was an earlier time), I got a revise and resubmit letter. I didn’t know that was good (because I had no experience with such a thing), so I had to think about how to do those revisions. But then life got in the way (it was 1987 and there was a Wall Street crash, causing many people to lose their jobs, including me), and by the time I got back to it, it was 1989 and we had moved across the country. And by the time I actually revised and resubmitted, years had gone by and the publisher wasn’t interested anymore.

So the novel got slipped into an envelope and slipped under the bed (or a box or whatever; it’s been a while). I joined Romance Writers of America, wrote other things, and then, thirty years after I wrote that first book, I was asked by a digital publisher if I were interested in pitching a story for a graphic novella (I wrote some comic stories while I was in college, so I understood the medium). I said sure and adapted that novel into a script. They bought it, it got done, and a few years after that, they asked if I were interested in writing a novella based on the graphic novella based on the original manuscript (whew!). I said sure, I wrote it, and they liked it, but this time, we couldn’t come to terms, so the newly updated story was back in my hands again—and it was time. So at long last, the novel-turned-into-a-novella was published. His 30-Day Guarantee, originally titled 30-Day Guarantee, is available in digital form and in print, and it only took thirty years after I originally wrote it.

What’s the moral of this (long-winded) story? Never throw anything away. You just never know.

Elizabeth Flynn, who writes as Eilis Flynn, has written fiction in the form of comic book stories, fantasies, and contemporary romances. She’s also a professional editor and has been for more than 40 years, working with genre fiction, academia, technology, finance, and comic books. She can be reached at (if you’re looking for an editor) or at (if you’re looking for a good read). Her latest novel is The Unnamed World, a futuristic romance. 



It’s Time for Turkey

The result of a very short commute to a job a number of years ago, I present to you once again:
Turkey Day Song

by Elizabeth MS Flynn



















Happy Thanksgiving!

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?