Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Introducing Debora Holmes

We are thrilled to introduce one of our newer editors, Debora Holmes. Deb has joined us during the past year and works mainly with technical, educational, and Christian nonfiction.

Editor and writer Debora Holmes, Minneapolis, has been helping authors refine and publish their works for over a decade and a half. After graduating with English and music degrees from Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minnesota, Debora also obtained a degree in pre-vet med (chemical, biological, and animal sciences) from the University of Minnesota before obtaining her Masters in Environmental Studies from The Evergreen State College, Olympia, Washington. Her many strengths include ongoing experience with a diverse set of authors and publications (from devotionals to technical government documents to all sorts of scientific papers), skill working with different levels of writing (including much experience with ESL authors), and the ability to switch effortlessly between topics and styles, including between American, British, and Canadian English; she is also a member of the Editors’ Association of Canada.

For close to a decade Debora was the full-time editor of Environmental Practice, the professional and ethics-centered journal of the National Association of Environmental Professionals (NAEP), for which she received the NAEP President’s Award among many other accolades. Besides the journal, she has ghostwritten, ghost-edited, copyedited, and proofread vast numbers of documents. Large projects before joining the IFW team have included, for example, listed editor (print and e-books) of The State of Sustainability Initiatives Review 2010 and 2014 (available HERE and HERE), books/reports for the Canadian Council of Academies, and hundreds of research articles; favorite projects include inspirational books for women and in the environmental sciences (a list of selected projects is available upon request). Debora comes from a line of Lutheran ministers (occasionally having the privilege to edit her father’s homilies) and is also employed as pianist/organist and vocalist at her church.

Deb is the mother of very different twin boys in the second grade, both of whom fascinate her and inspire a great deal of her writing, including writing on and for children with autism.

Her favorite thing to do when not penning and editing is to grab the family’s energetic Jack Russell mix and experience the love of God through nature with her children. 

Friday, December 11, 2015

Gifts for Writers

by Sandy Tritt 

It's that time of year when we're scrambling to find gifts for those we love, so we've come up with a few ideas for the writers you love--or, if you are the said writer, some suggestions you can email or forward to those who love you. Here are our suggestions, from the mundane to the unique to the interesting. And, if we missed anything (which I'm sure we have), be sure to leave a comment with your suggestions to win something that isn't chocolate (because I think I ate it all).

Office Supplies: printer ink, printer paper, pens, a set of highlighters of various colors, post-it notes and flags, spiral notebooks to capture middle-of-the-night ideas, a wireless mouse, envelopes, postage, paper clips, journals, colored pencils, or plastic manuscript boxes (yes, many of us still print out our work for safe-keeping, sharing, mailing, or taking with us on the train).

Reference materials: a style guide in both electronic and paperback forms (hint: Chicago Manual of Style is recommended for memoir and fiction writers); "cheat sheets" for your favorite style guide; the Emotion Thesaurus (Ackerman/Puglisi) for help in giving descriptions of ways to show and not tell various emotions; a good dictionary, such as the American Heritage Dictionary; Self-Editing for Fiction Writers (Browne/King); Roget's Super Thesaurus; any of the hundreds of books on the writing craft (including my personal favorite, the Inspiration for Writers Tips and Techniques Workbook II, shown below).


The Inspiration for Writers Tips and Techniques Workbook II: You asked for it, and we now have a limited number of copies of the new and greatly expanded Workbook II, available in hard copy for $45 (discounted from regular price of $60; includes shipping within the US; email for rates outside the US). This updated version has over 50% more content than our first edition, and, instead of the five worksheets, it has nine worksheets. We also have the Tips and Techniques Workbook II ebook for $15 (discounted from the regular price of $20). These are both hot off the press and not yet on our website, so to order, email me at

The Gift of Confidence: Give the writer you love something truly special this year--a gift certificate for writing, editing, evaluation or coaching services. This is one way you can show your support--and confidence in--the dreams of the writer in your life. Gift certificates are available for any dollar amount, and, if you order before December 21, we'll give you a 10% discount. For example, if you order a $50 gift certificate, we will invoice you for $45. To purchase a gift certificate good for any of our services, email me at with your name, the name of the recipient, and the total dollar amount you want. I'll send you out an invoice for the discounted amount. We can email these certificates, so there's no shipping time involved (If you want a paper copy, we can do that, too).

Something fun: like this Warning Sign found at, or "Novel Teas," containing 25 teabags individually tagged with literary quotes from the world over, made with the finest English Breakfast tea. Or a fun pendant, found at Or a glossy copy of The Writer's Prayer (Free! Just email me and ask for one). Or my favorite gift for any occasion--chocolate. Or wine. Or chocolate and wine. *sigh* Is it Friday yet?

Something exotic: Like original cover art by IFW editor and ghostwriter Charlotte Firbank-King. (See more of her art at that link.) Besides being a prolific author of 14 books, she's an acclaimed South African wildlife artist. Her paintings have been sold and exhibited throughout the world and have been commissioned by the Johannesburg Zoo, the Witwatersrand National Botanical Gardens and the Zulu Schools Trust, among others. See her available prints and note cards at, or email her to inquire about how she can illustrate your book or cover for you.

One (or more) of these excellent books written by our editors and writers:  

The Savage Murder of Skylar Neese by Daleen Berry and Geoffrey Cameron Fuller This New York Times bestseller is a true crime nonfiction about the 2012 stabbing murder of high school honors student Skylar Neese by her two “best friends.” Kindle: $7.99

Pretty Little Killers by Daleen Berry and Geoffrey Cameron Fuller. A new and expanded account of the 2012 stabbing murder of high school honors student Skylar Neese by her two “best friends,” with fascinating new details and accounts of their trials. Paperback $13.40 and Kindle $9.99 at Audiobook also available from Audible, Inc.

Full Bone Moon by Geoffrey Cameron Fuller A killer is loose in West Virginia. This crime thriller was inspired by the 1970 coed murders in the Morgantown, WV area. Available at for $21.99.


Broken Umbrellas by Emma Broch Stuart. The author shares her passion for seeing women and men released from bondage and healed from relational wounds in this new nonfiction. $13.63 at

The Windkeeper by Emma Broch Stuart. Turn the pages of this children's book and discover Wendall Windkeeper’s purpose as he trains the four winds of heaven for their role in fulfilling God’s greatest rescue mission—the birth of His Son. Available for $8.99 at


Blood Kin and Other Strangers by Patsy Pittman is a collection of short stories that deals with family dynamics in all its complexities. The book is $20, and may be purchased at or directly from Patsy at
Pocket Change is Patsy Pittman's collection of true inspirational articles about her life experiences, people she has known, and the lessons she's learned from them. The book's theme is "Our days on earth--days, months, years--is but pocket change. Yet, spend it well, because no one owns tomorrow." Pocket Change sells for $15 at or directly from Patsy.

A Consternation of Monsters, stories by Eric Fritzius.  This is a collection of chilling modern fantasy stories in the tradition of the Twilight Zone.  It's only $12.99 for print and $2.99 for ebook, available at a number of online retailers including Amazon.  Want a taste?  You can hear free podcast adaptations of some of the stories at Eric's website and via iTunes.

That's our list. What gifts do you, as a writer, want most? What gifts do you suggest for other writers? Leave a comment below, and we'll give a complimentary copy of our brand new Inspiration for Writers Tips and Techniques Workbook II ebook to one lucky commenter. I'd offer chocolate, but I can't find it. Go figure. Thanks for visiting our blog!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Writing, Not Writing

Jessica Nelson

It’s that time of the year when everything gets hectic beyond belief. There’s barely a moment to catch your breath, let alone sit down and get some good writing done. It gets harder and harder to follow that timeless advice that all writers get:

Write every day.

Every time I hear that, I feel guilty, because I don’t write every day. The guilt gets even worse during November when other people are kicking out entire novels for NaNoWriMo.

So today I’m pulling a page out of Rhonda Browning White’s book. Last week she wrote a blog entitled “The Hiatus: Taking a Break from Writing” on her personal blog. That post inspired this one, because she made an excellent point: writers are always writing.

This idea that a writer is always writing in their heads is what I have deemed “writing, not writing.” It’s a little like “sorry, not sorry” which is what you say/feel when you should be sorry for something but you really aren’t.

“Writing, not writing” is two-fold. On the one hand, it describes when we should be writing, but we aren’t. On the other, it describes when a writer is writing, though they may not be physically typing on a computer or putting pen to paper.

I am notorious for “writing, not writing.” It feels like I rarely get anything written down. But I find there’s a certain freedom in “writing, not writing.” I’m the kind of writer who likes to get it right the first time I put it on paper. I get attached to my words, and it pains me to do deletions and rewrites. So when I write something that I don’t really like, I feel as if I’ve wasted valuable writing time, which isn’t something I get very often.

But when I’m “writing, not writing” in my head, I can redo the scene a hundred times over, trying every permutation of action and dialogue, perfecting every little detail—and I’m not wasting time. Well, okay, so maybe I waste a little time. But it is totally worth it.

I’d like to say something really important—especially to all the writers who get crazy busy: it’s okay if you don’t write every day.

Let me say that again.

It’s okay if you don’t write every day.

Do a little “writing, not writing” instead. It’s still productive, and it still exercises those creative muscles. You can do it anytime, anywhere. Even while you’re fixing a holiday meal. (Just be careful not to burn anything.)

Tell us your favorite way/place to do “writing, not writing” in the comments!