The Ups and Downs of Writing: Round One Edits

June 02 2024 - At last! After seven-hundred-fifty queries. After seven-hundred-forty-nine rejections! Someone finally fell in love with my novel, Upgrades. They wanted to publish it! Hooray!

Now what? What's next?

I wondered that too. Once my ecstatic celebration was over, I discovered that what's next was a lot of detail, a lot of work, and a lot of waiting.

Before anything else, the publisher's editor-in-chief, an assistant editor assigned to my novel, and I met for a meet and greet zoom call.

I'm going out on a limb here and make assumptions. My first assumption is that the publishers wanted to assure themselves that I was a real person, someone with whom they could work, and someone who had at least the faintest glimmering of what was involved in publishing a book. Which as I might have mentioned before, was a lot of work. But fun work.

The meeting also established that there will be a schedule. There will be a contract. And would I like to get started on the first round of edits now?

That last question was a very important one, and thanks to my critique group facilitator, I knew that at this point I had one simple job: to say yes, I would love to get started on the first round of edits.

I began revising Upgrades with my editor who provided editorial notes. Lots of editorial notes. So many in fact that I began to wonder how she saw through the drivel I had originally submitted in order to fall in love with my story in the first place. But I didn't ask her that of course. In case she came to her senses.

Instead I buckled down and revised my chapters. Writing to editorial notes was a little like working with a critique group. One that met every day. And provided copious amounts of critique.

This was where the magic happened. Back when I submitted my first draft to the publisher, I'd already read and revised it so often I no longer saw any of its problems. But a good editor sees through highly trained, grammatically sensitive eyes, and I had a good editor. Armed with her notes I revised, and could see my story improving as I worked my way through the round one edits.

These edits dealt with dialogue, characterization, some sentence structure and setting issues. One major revision was a complete POV change for one character, from close third person to first person.

Another interesting result of this process is that after my editor told me multiple times in multiple chapters about a repeating problem, overuse of he said/she said dialogue tags, I finally saw my unsuspected bad writing habit for what it was--a bad writing habit. Who knew?

This made it a lot easier to avoid in my revisions. And hopefully in my future writing.

Once I finished the first round of edits, we had another zoom meeting. Now we started discussing the schedule in earnest. This included plans for round two revisions, and at last a contract appeared as if by magic in my email in box.

At this point, thanks to the Author's Guild, the contract is in the hands of literary lawyers who will hopefully tell me to sign it. Or at least tell me what needs to change before I do sign it. But we shall see.

And when I have more to report, I'll post again.

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Writing Inspiration Image


March 10 2024 - Why are the grasslands turning into a swamp? Where have all the mammoths gone? And how will Minnow ever earn his true hunter's name? Find out in my short story, Dwindling, published this month in Starship Sofa.

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Europan Dance

August 10 2023 - My latest flash fiction story Europan Dance, about our first contact with the inhabitants of the sea beneath Europa's ice covered ocean, appears this month in Sci-Fi Shorts.

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Icemelt a Finalist

March 09 2023 - My short story, Icemelt, is a finalist in the 2023 Jim Baen Memorial Short Story Award.

Started in 2007, this annual competition celebrates stories focused on near future space exploration.

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My Puff Piece in the North Haven Courier

May 09 2022 - Here is a write-up I received in the North Haven Courier, my local paper, after winning first place in the 2021 Tassy Walden Awards.

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My Books


In Iceteroid, thirteen-year-old Asteroid Belter Jase Bailey has just started to work in his dad's ice mining company. Struggling to keep up with the older ice jocks, he worries that one of his frequent screw-ups will destroy the fragile two kilometer wide iceteroid they are constructing to sell to the lunar colonies.

When a freak explosion ruptures another ice jock's space suit, Jase's quick thinking saves his teammate'slife, but now Jase is suddenly thrust into the middle of spies, sabotage, and an unscrupulous corporation's deadly plot to destroy his family, friends, and the entire independent Belter community.

The first draft of Iceteroid was completed in 2012. After many revisions, it won first place in the Connecticut-wide 2021 Tassy Walden Awards for New Voices in Children's Literature in the middle grade novel category.


Causeway, my second novel, is a young adult science fiction mystery that follows a group of teenagers investigating a mysterious drowning when they work as summer engineering interns aboard the trans-Atlantic causeway project.

Causeway was a Finalist in the 2014 Tassy Walden competition.

Eyes of the Beholder

Eyes of the Beholder, a speculative middle grade adventure, tells how a blind boy rescues a genetically enhanced puppy who lets him see through her eyes, and with help from his friends defeats a villainous security guard who wants to steal the puppy and sell her to the highest bidder.

Eyes of the Beholder was a Finalist in the 2015 Tassy Walden competition.


Upgrades is a young adult speculative adventure. In this tale, a boy who loves exploring the desert around his home discovers that a secretive research facility is performing illegal experiments on imprisoned kids to give them enhanced physical powers, but at a great cost. Now he must help them escape or he could share their fate.

Upgrades was a finalist in the 2016 Tassy Walden competition.

Quantum Ghost

Quantum Ghost is a speculative middle grade tale about a girl who after years of hiding that she can talk to ghosts, finally reveals the truth, only to have the government intervene and a corrupt bureaucrat try to use her abilities for his personal gain.

Quantum Ghost was completed in 2017.


Reentry, a middle grade science fiction adventure, tells how a shy but brilliant eighth grade boy and five other kids in the first Students In Space mission are marooned aboard the crippled International Space Station after surviving a terrorist attack.

With the adult station crew dead and launch facilities on Earth disabled, they must use all their ingenuity and the wrecked stations remaining resources to save themselves before their air runs out.

The first draft of Reentry was completed in 2018.


Stormherd, a middle grade science fiction thriller, tells how three friends who live in the Washington, D.C. area foil an eco-terrorist plot to take over the United States' weather control satellites and crash a giant hurricane into the nation's capitol.

The first draft of Stormherd was completed in 2020.

The Iron Signet

In The Iron Signet, a middle grade fantasy, a woods-smart orphan boy stumbles across a mysterious girl hiding in the forest, nearly hands her over to her villainous pursuers, and ends up helping her escape before the would-be-kidnappers can use her and her magic signet to betray her grandfather, the King.