All posts by EilisFlynn

About EilisFlynn

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

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

https://www.amazon.com/His-30-Day-Guarantee-Eilis-Flynn-ebook/dp/B06X1BPL89/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=his+30-day+guarantee&qid=1607206982&s=books&sr=1-1

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 emsflynn.com (if you’re looking for an editor) or at eilisflynn.com (if you’re looking for a good read). Her latest novel is The Unnamed World, a futuristic romance. 

Digital: https://www.amazon.com/His-30-Day-Guarantee-Eilis-Flynn-ebook/dp/B06X1BPL89/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=his+30-day+guarantee&qid=1607206982&s=books&sr=1-1

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/726669

Print: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1542486947?ie=UTF8&n=133140011

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
TURKEY TURKEY TURKEY DAY

TURKEY TURKEY TURKEY DAY

TURKEY TURKEY TURKEY DAY
LOVE MY TURKEY YES I DO

LOVE MY YAMS, MARSHMALLOWS TOO
TURKEY TURKEY TURKEY DAY

TURKEY TURKEY TURKEY DAY
LOVE MY TURKEY YES I DO

LOVE MY MASHED POTATO TOO
TURKEY TURKEY TURKEY DAY

TURKEY TURKEY TURKEY DAY
LOVE MY TURKEY YES I DO

LOVE MY GREEN BEAN CASSEROO
TURKEY TURKEY TURKEY DAY

TURKEY TURKEY TURKEY DAY
LOVE MY TURKEY YES I DO

LOVE THOSE TASTY BISCUITS TOO
Or
LOVE MY PARKER ROLLS I DO

SOFT AND FLUFFY, CHEWY TOO
TURKEY TURKEY TURKEY DAY

TURKEY TURKEY TURKEY DAY
LOVE MY TURKEY YES I DO

LOVE MY DRESSING CHESTNUTS TOO
TURKEY TURKEY TURKEY DAY

TURKEY TURKEY TURKEY DAY
LOVE MY PUMPKIN PIE I DO

LOVE MY APPLE CHERRY TOO
TURKEY TURKEY TURKEY DAY

TURKEY TURKEY TURKEY DAY
LOVE MY TURKEY YES I DO

BUT MOSTLY THANKFUL FOR YOU AND YOU
TURKEY TURKEY TURKEY DAY

TURKEY TURKEY TURKEY DAY

TURKEY TURKEY TURKEY DAYTURKEY TURKEY TURKEY DAY

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?

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: https://www.evergreenrwa.org/upcoming-meetings/

Lombardi’s Italian Restaurant Everett: http://www.lombardisitalian.com/home/

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