AshEdit—News About Books & Writers

January 13, 2023

Editing the Barralong Adventure—Memoir of a Sailing Ship

Filed under: Uncategorized — ashedit @ 5:55 am
The Barralong sailing ship

A perk that comes with editing your own brother’s memoir is the ability to tell others about the experience. The Barralong Adventure will come in at about 25,000 words with 50 photos and images. The memoir is named after the family sailboat. I plan to run production on a hardcover book with full color photographs.

To start with, Glenn had a good manuscript on the history of the boat and his adventures captaining it on the high seas. He also had detailed info for mariners interested in the technical aspects of the vessel.

Right now, Glenn and I are just finishing the text portion of the story along with photo curation. When this content is complete I’ll follow up with a copyedit and proofreading. Glenn is an excellent writer but even the best writers need fresh eyes on the material to “catch the danglers.”

The Barralong isn’t an ordinary sailboat. She is a steel-hull, twin-masted cutter ketch designed by Van Dam and constructed by Dutch yacht builder S.M. Van Der Meer. She was brought to Nova Scotia from the Mediterranean, and used mainly for business entertaining by our father, Ian Gordon Stott, founder of Stott Aluminium, and Vice Chairman of Canada Ports Corporation.

To play up the family memoir angle, I suggested brother Ian pen an introduction and brother Brean write the dedication. A family friend and former RCAF Squadron Commander, Steve Teatro, was asked to write a foreword. With these additions, the front matter is taking shape.

Because this memoir is primarily for family members—whose knowledge of ships ranges from expert to how do I turn this thing on?—I suggested the technical material be reserved for a chapter titled For Mariners Only. This means the landlubbers can read the memoir through, enjoying the family adventures without interruption. Meanwhile, the separate chapter allows Glenn unlimited scope and detail when speaking directly to readers with advanced seafaring ability.

Glenn and father, Ian, on the Barralong.

As a former search and rescue pilot for the military, Glenn is also excellent at writing action, adventure and danger, and capturing those scenarios on the page. But when I told him there were sentences in a few places where the tense switched from third to first person, he didn’t hear me say, “I’ll do it.” Instead, he dove in to edit himself. I explained that he could labor for days at something I could do in an hour because I do it all day, day in and day out. Professional writers lean heavily on editors to set small details right and make them look good. Ever heard of a million-selling author without an editor? Neither have I. In others words, there’s no shame in grammar and spelling errors in a draft manuscript—the keyboard jockeys of bestsellers make ’em all the time!

Glenn intends to self-publish through Amazon in hardcover format. I’ll be managing that aspect of print production. When the time comes, one of the award-winning graphic designers I work with will create the cover and design the interior. To enhance eye appeal, I’m fond of customized chapter headers that reflect the taste of the author, as well as unique layouts of photos. This kind of fine-tuning is best left to a real artist.

Collaboration and book doctoring isn’t always about creating a whole book from scratch. Many people, like Glenn, get a solid start on a book before they run out of time or ideas on “where to go next.” But does asking for help from a book doctor mean it all has to be redone? No. A good one can take the existing work and edit, tweak, or add to it. A book professional will respect the author’s wishes and work with the material to his satisfaction—even if she’s a sister. 🙂

#memoir #sailing #sailing memoir #writing


December 22, 2019

Highlights of 2019

HIGHLIGHTS OF 2019 Intro (1)

July 10, 2019

A Solution for Los Angeles Homeless

Filed under: Uncategorized — ashedit @ 7:47 am

Where can we put tens of thousands of homeless people living on the streets of Los Angeles? One option is the 162-acre site of the Metropolitan State Hospital, located conveniently close to downtown at 11401 Bloomfield Ave, Norwalk, CA 90650.

I visited the grounds on June 10th, 2019. These pictures show the near-vacant facility where thousands of rooms exist in unused buildings on 162  acres of clear, level land that could handle instant tent lodging, porta-potties, and feeding stations.

The pictures below are free for anyone’s use. Please repost to show this existing resource that could help our homeless crisis. Hopefully, government and social services people can be inspired. They may not know or remember that it exists. Thank you.

Many thanks to Tom Burney for his inspiration and wisdom behind this idea.

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Met Empty bldg

A tiny fraction of the hospital site is used to provide mental health care and treatment to mentally issued patients. Patients in need of help and secure environment are welcomed. As of August 2016 Metropolitan State Hospital had 780 patients.


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Met Land

January 6, 2019

2018 Highlights

Filed under: Uncategorized — ashedit @ 7:37 pm

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Click here to read the SleuthSayers blog post.

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December 24, 2018

Happy Hols from Surfin’ Santa

Filed under: Uncategorized — ashedit @ 12:31 pm

Christmas Santa

August 7, 2018

New Technology for Novelists Only

Filed under: Uncategorized — ashedit @ 12:47 pm

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Go directly to ScoreIt! Go directly to ScoreIt!     Go directly to ScoreIt!

June 21, 2018

Elaine’s New Deal

Filed under: Uncategorized — ashedit @ 10:00 am


The ink is drying on my contract. The official announcement will come after PR polishes the wording, but I’m bursting with the news NOW, so here goes. On May 15th, 2018 the good people at The Author Learning Center hosted a webinar with business icon Don Seitz. Mr. Seitz is the former Senior Vice President of Worldwide Sales at Xlibris Corporation, and a driving force with the Princeton Entrepreneurship Council for Princeton University. He holds an MBA from Harvard. He is also CEO of Inkubate, a premier literary tech company. Mr. Seitz was presenting to the ALC’s internet membership via a live webinar. donseitz headshot B&W

I attended that webinar, and when it concluded, sent Mr. Seitz an email saying how intrigued I was with the tech developments of his company. An immediate response came back. Because the cover of my book Bestseller Metrics: How to Win the Novel Writing Game was in my email signature, he saw it and wrote, “BTW… maybe you have other eye-opening ideas that are captured in your book!”

Gentle reader, how long do you think it took me to respond to that note? Before you could say, “Immediately!” Mr. Seitz suggested we schedule a phone meeting. After an hour’s chat he asked if I could send him a copy of Bestseller Metrics. Within a few days he’d read it cover to cover and requested another phone meeting. Again, we had a lively  exchange about the needs of novelists and how technology can simplify concepts and speed up tasks. At the end of that call, we decided to work together.

Princeton Entrepreneurship

Behind the scenes, my ideas and input are being presented to the data scientists and engineers. They are enthusiastically responding and asking even more questions back. This is an incredible opportunity, a dream come true! I will soon start speaking in public about Inkubate’s technology, telling writers how it can help sell self-published books and benefit writers at all stages of development. There’s lots more, too.

I am still getting to know Inkubate and its tech, but I had to write down what I’ve been keeping secret for the last few weeks. More soon.

I would like to thank some friends and supporters, in chronological order. These folks knew what I was doing late into the night, writing down mathematical patterns that I’d started noticing in bestselling novels in 2016: Drew Margolis, Albert Tucher, Tom Burney, Dan Kelly, Dana King, Holly West, Dr. Timothy Allison-Aipa, Barbara Howe, Rochelle Staab, Maxine Nunes, Treacy Colbert, Dianne Emley, Brian Drake, Jack Getze, Lisa Ciarfella, Elizabeth A. White, Sarah and Andrew Pierce, Edward Larkins, Les Edgerton, Sam Weibe, Benoit LeLievre, Steve W. Lauden and Craig Faustus Buck. Thanks for being open minded and listening to me as I scratched and scrambled to organize my thoughts into cogent concepts. I needed your patient ears and eyes more than you’ll ever know.



May 1, 2018

Entrepreneurs Who Inspired Me – Part 1

Filed under: Uncategorized — ashedit @ 8:33 pm

As a freelance book editor and inventor of Bestseller Metrics, I think of myself as an entrepreneur. I wanted to post about the small business pioneers who’ve lit my path, so to speak.

 Annie Turnbo Malone (1869-1957) 


Annie Turnbo Malone was born to former African slaves in Metropolis, Illinois. By the age of 20, Annie had formulated a shampoo and scalp treatment, and got her start by pitching the product out of the back of a horse-drawn buggy. Later, she became the first person in Missouri to buy a Rolls Royce.  By 1918, Annie had named her business “Poro Products” and built a four-story, million dollar factory and beauty school complex that employed over 175 people. Chuck Berry, the famous guitarist and songwriter, trained under the Poro system as a young man. In her lifetime,

Annie trained over 75,000 entrepreneurs and gave out diamond rings for five years of service. (This habit of richly rewarding employees was later adopted by Mary Kay Ash.) In 1930 Poro Products was relocated to Chicago, where Annie owned a whole city block. Her genius surpassed product development, extending to a direct distribution and sales agent system. An enthusiastic philanthropist, Annie contributed to educational programs, universities, to the YMCA, and many orphanages. For more, see the State Historical Society of Missouri online:

I admire Annie for overcoming childhood sickness and doubt to become an entrepreneur with her own products and a genius marketing system. In the 1920s there was a 20% luxury tax on hair care products. Due to this (as well as poor management) tax bills mounted after Annie let go of the reins, and the company went under. But Annie’s original genius is remembered, along with all of her fine philanthropic works.

Below: Annie at the entrance of her mansion in St. Louis.

Annie Mansion

Mary Kay Ash (1918 – 2001)

1963, Mary Kay started a cosmetics business in her kitchen, formulating face creams and then selling them door to door.

Her cosmetics made it all the way out to little old Nova Scotia, Canada. When I was 19, I sold Mary Kay products and even won a diamond ring. The sales training was excellent and I could accept credit cards from my customers with a little pink portable card swiper that fit in a purse. That was high-tech when I was a teenager! Mary Kay was innovative and nurturing in a time when business was anything but, and the “Mary Kay way” paid my bills and let me party all the time by selling cosmetics in women’s homes. Soon, it was time to head off to the big city, Toronto, and get a Bachelor of Applied Arts degree in Radio and Television, so I had to leave my cosmetics customers behind. But my Mary Kay sales training came in handy for the rest of my life.

Mary Kay

Mary Kay in her gilded office, 1960s.

Mary Kay adopted the Golden Rule as her guiding philosophy, determining that the best course of action in virtually any situation was to treat others as she’d like to be treated by them. She felt that life had a proper order: faith first, family second and career third. Every year she treated her top sales force to pink Cadillacs and all-expense-paid trips to her home in Texas where they were treated like visiting royalty. There are now 3.5 million Mary Kay Independent Beauty Consultants worldwide.


April 19, 2018

TWENTY-EIGHT MINUTES into the FUTURE with Chrome Oxide

Filed under: Uncategorized — ashedit @ 12:16 pm

Some writers are so ready for the next level that an editor just has to breathe on them and they make the leap. That’s the way I’d describe Chrome Oxide.

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Chrome Oxide and Elaine Ash in Los Angeles, 2018, celebrating his book deal with Superversive Press.

We met at a West Coast Writers Conference in 2017, produced by Tony Todaro. Chrome was sound engineering a panel I was moderating with sci-fi legend Jerry Pournelle, (the last conference Jerry ever did), along with Hugo winners Larry Niven, and Rob Sawyer.

2 Elaine Sawyer Niven Pournelle

A few months later, at a cocktail party hosted by the Taliesin-Nexus group, Chrome walked out of the crowd and asked me to help him polish a collection of short stories. I said, “Sure!” It was obvious that the material had been developed over years. Tremendous work had gone into the clever premises and jokes.

 In Chrome’s view, we would work on 82,000 words-worth of stories and then try to shop the collection. But it came clear in my mind, around the 40,000-word mark, that we had a sellable manuscript. Why wait? I felt Chrome was under-utilizing his writing contest wins and I coached him on how to bump up his bio. He thought I was overconfident, but went along with everything I suggested in his quiet and good-humored way.

 Six months later we readied a query to Superversive Press in Australia. I spent a lot of time getting it focused and boiling the pitch down to the fewest words necessary to sway a busy publisher. We fired it off and it caught Jason Rennie’s eye in a big way. Eleven days later we had a deal. Our major request was a 2018 release. We got it. Jon Eno came on as cover artist, and production ramped up immediately.


 Chrome Oxide Headshot

Elaine Ash: When did you start writing?

 Chrome Oxide: In November 2009 I was finally fed up with all the corruption I saw in both political parties. I started a blog, commenting on the insanity. I only ever had one reader, but she loved my humorous take on the world.

 EA: When did the short stories start?

 CO: When I read a novel that I hated. While I had read and liked previous stories by this author, I hated the book and the main character—hated it all so much I decided I could do better. I wrote a flash fiction piece and emailed it to an ex-girlfriend. Her response was that while I had talent, I needed skill. At her encouragement, I joined her writing group which provided excellent critiques. The best was from my ex-girlfriend who critiqued my stories, one word at a time.

 One of the first stories I wrote was “Cop For A Day.” I rewrote it too many times to count and submitted it to the Writers of the Future contest for the quarter ending September 2012. My story was selected as published finalist in their annual book, volume 29. It also qualified as a professional sale by the Science Fiction Writers Association. The following year, and after much editing and countless rewrites, “I Was A Teenage Redneck Zombie From Outer Space” also received an honorable mention.

 EA: Why is the Writers of the Future contest so important to sci-fi writers? Isn’t it sponsored by the Scientologists?

 CO: Scientology does NOT sponsor Writers of the Future.Writers of the Future is dedicated to encouraging beginning science fiction and fantasy writers. Before L. Ron Hubbard started Scientology, he supported himself by writing short stories for just about every genre magazine on the market from the 1930s –  1950s as well as novels. In his will, he funded a contest for aspiring writers. While there may be scientologists in the organization that keeps L. Ron’s books in print and the contest going, they are VERY careful to NEVER mention Scientology.

The contest is important because there is no cost to enter, the judges are professionals (some of the biggest names) in the field of science fiction and fantasy, and there are substantial payments to the winners of the quarterly and annual contest.


Artwork by Jon Eno “Cop for a Day”

 EA: How did you get to be in Forbidden Thoughts, the highly controversial anthology with a forward written by Milo, the gay scourge of politics?

 CO: Sheer luck and timing. I continued writing and collecting rejections until I sent a story called “Graduation Day” to a couple of friends in late 2017. One of them told Jason Rennie, the editor of Superversive Press, about it and I was invited to submit. Two months later it got published alongside Larry Correia, Nick Cole, Brad Torgerson and Sarah Hoyt—these writers are famous and sell a ton. Now it’s available as an eBook, Print On Demand and audio book. I get regular royalties.

 EA: That must have given you a lot of confidence. What’s next?

 CO: Not as much confidence as you might think. At a writers’ group level, my material bombs regularly. It’s the buying public that seems to appreciate it more. When you [Elaine Ash] saw the merit in my collection, that was encouraging. Right now I’m finishing edits on the second draft of a high fantasy novel about a couple of California dopers into the music scene who travel to an alternative universe where magic works. It’s titled High Fantasy. The title is a double entendre.  My second short story collection will be started as soon as that’s finished and out being shopped.

 EA: How did the pen name Chrome Oxide come about?

 CO: I have always LOVED music. I attended a John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers reunion show at the Roxy in 1982. At that point I decided that I would record bands. I started investigating cassettes. Chromium dioxide was the most cost effective for the best quality sound at the time. When I built my web site I wanted a name that flowed, so I modified it to ‘Chrome Oxide.’

 EA: Thank you.

C&E3 Sharp

March 29, 2018

John Gwinner – Bestseller Metrics Chief Technology Officer

Filed under: Uncategorized — ashedit @ 1:00 pm

john.gwinner Headshot           

I am pleased to announce that possibly the best candidate in the universe has partnered with me to develop Bestseller Metrics software/hardware technology.

   John Gwinner is a CTO/VP of Engineering with 15+ years of experience delivering new technical innovations to start-ups as well as Fortune 500 companies. He is the author of Getting Started with React VR, a user-friendly guide to creating virtual reality games, published by Packt Publishing.

   John is an accomplished writer, novelist, screenwriter and educator for the Greater Los Angeles Writers Society and West Coast Writers Conferences. With his experience and higher education in both creative writing and technology, he is well positioned to understand the needs of aspiring authors and adapt Bestseller Metrics to best advantage.

   Welcome John, I am so lucky to have you!

BM Front cover
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