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Valentine’s Day e-Book Offer

Happy Valentine’s Day!
Our Labor of Love is One Year Old! To celebrate, our eBook is
 free on Feb 14 and  15, 2020.  Enjoy!

Muse and Ink: Soul Expressions Through Writing offers tips and exercises for creative self-expression. This book is a collaboration by three authors based on their own experiences as writers. The book also includes revision tips by Lillian Nader, author/editor, and activities by workshop facilitators, Dr. Marjorie Miles, and Dr. Heather Rivera. Our mission is to help writers find their creative spark, get their message out into the world, and flourish. We honor and encourage voices that may have been suppressed for years to finally emerge by providing a supportive, heart-centered, intuitive, and playful approach to both writing and publishing.

My Job As a Copyeditor

It all started when a friend referred someone to me, thinking I was an editor because I have a BA in English and a Master’s in education. Actually, I am a retired special education teacher experienced in working with struggling writers. So, I agreed to do the editing and gave the client a huge discount for my first editing job.

I edited my first e-book in 2013 and have enjoyed helping people publish their fiction and nonfiction manuscripts ever since. I use the Chicago Manual of Style along with other resources to verify my edits and comments while striving to maintain the unique voice of each author.

What Does a Copyeditor Do?

Even expert writers need a second pair of eyes to do the editing. Authors often miss errors because they know what they intend to say, and their brains fill in the missing details. The writer’s job is to get their thoughts and creative ideas written; my job as an editor is to fix writing errors and prepare the manuscript for publishing.

Unfortunately, books are being published today with missing words or repeated words in sentences and other annoying errors that interrupt the reader’s focus and enjoyment of the text. These mistakes frequently happen during the first draft of a manuscript, but they should never show up in the published version.

How to Prepare for Copyediting

I recommend writing and revising as much as possible before engaging a professional copyeditor. Write the first draft without editing or censoring the flow of ideas and then go back to fine-tune the pacing and text of the manuscript. Read it aloud or use a read-aloud program to discern potential flaws in the pacing, engagement level, repetitions, and omissions. By doing this prior to editing, the copyediting process goes faster and more smoothly.

Next, engage a few beta readers to offer feedback and revise again based on their observations of your work. Choose people who read the type of book you’ve written and provide them with a short set of open-ended questions to answer as they read. Keep an open mind when receiving constructive criticism and know you are making your book even better with appropriate revisions. With that said, use good judgment and only follow through on suggestions that enhance your work.

The Copyediting Process

I like to think of the editing process as a partnership between the author and me. Communication is key. We begin by exchanging contact information and the best methods and times for reaching one another. The author describes the manuscript regarding genre, potential readers, word count, and overall theme of the book. They send a portion or all of the manuscript to give me an idea of the scope and magnitude of the project. The manuscript must be in Microsoft Word, Times New Roman, and twelve-point font. We discuss payment terms and if both parties agree, I draw up a contract outlining the terms of our agreement.

The contract will list specific areas to be addressed such as punctuation errors, appropriate word choice, correct verb tense, omitted or repeated words, sentence structure, content clarity, consistency, and repetition. I use Track Changes, an editing format in Microsoft Word that allows editing markups within the manuscript and comments in the margin. In the contract, the author agrees to receive one edited document with Track Changes markups and comments in the first pass of edits, consisting of two read-throughs of the manuscript.

Upon receipt of the first pass, the author agrees to accept or reject each of the recommended changes. It is the author’s responsibility to review all marked changes, comments, or questions and to revise the manuscript accordingly. The author also agrees to send revisions to me for a final check as the last step of the editing process.

Some editors do not do more than one pass, but I prefer to take the extra time and effort to do as thorough a job as possible. I take pride in being thorough and accurate in my work and in making myself available to address any questions or concerns communicated by the author to me.

Finally, the contract stipulates the fee based on the word count of the original manuscript. I charge by the word rather than an hourly rate. Payment plans are available, and the dates of payment are also stipulated in the contract so that everyone knows their responsibilities in advance.

Perks of Being a Copyeditor

I enjoy my job as a freelance copyeditor for many reasons. First, I meet and work with interesting and talented creative writers. As a writer myself, I learn more about my craft by editing the works of others. Because I work from home, I can choose my work schedule and due dates. Most of my clients are repeat authors of books I’ve previously edited or referrals from those who know me or my work.

I can balance my time between editing and working on my creative writing projects. I provide a professionally polished manuscript an author is proud to publish, and I receive reasonable compensation to do so. It’s a mutually beneficial arrangement that I love!

Dreams and Premonitions By Lillian Nader, M.Ed.

I’ve always had vivid dreams. My mom says I inherited her gift of dreams. Once when I was visiting a married couple, the wife tried to commit suicide with an overdose of drugs. The night she did this, I dreamed that a police officer approached me outside of their home and said, “Ginny is going to be all right.” When I work up, her husband, who was extremely upset, told me what Ginny had done. He seemed utterly helpless and useless in this situation. His anger at her had overtaken his sense of responsibility and rendered him ineffective, whereas people usually looked to him for assistance.

Seeing the urgency of the situation, I immediately gave Ginny some very strong coffee and refused to allow her to sit or lie down. I walked with her while telling her I knew she would snap out of this because of my dream. She had faith in me and felt that my dream was an omen that she would, indeed, recover from her suicide attempt, which is exactly what did happen.

I believe the dream was given to me because I would remember and act upon it. I knew enough about dream symbols to know the policeman represented authority. Therefore, I had it “on authority” that Ginny would be okay.

On another occasion, I was employed in a very difficult teaching position at a special education developmental center for severely disabled children. One case in particular was beyond my power to improve, and the student’s mother blamed me for his condition, which was severe brain damage. During summer break, while pondering whether to resign my position or continue working there, I had a significant dream. In my dream, I saw someone’s hand writing on a wall. Although, I couldn’t read the words, I realized the dream was helping me with my decision. I know that dream messages often appear in puns, and this was “the handwriting on the wall,” telling me to move on to another form of employment more suited to my sensitive nature.

Another premonition dream was one of someone else dreaming about my car. A friend was supposed to meet me at my church for the first time. The night before we were to meet, she dreamed of a red car and a lady with black hair standing by it, shaking her head no. The next morning, my car wouldn’t start. It had a dead battery. I called my friend to tell her about my car, and she asked if it was red. I said, “Yes, why?” She told me about her dream. The person she described sounded like a dear friend who had passed on.

Later, I had a paranormal experience with the same friend who had passed on. I woke up with the sense of her standing at the foot of my bed with a worried look on her face. She was holding some papers and seemed very distressed about them. It startled me to see her standing there, and the dream/vision or whatever it was, ended. Later that day, I was in an automobile accident while driving home from mailing some papers at the local mail station. The papers were an unusually large amount of information requested by a potential dentist. I later decided not to do business with that dentist.

I truly believe that dreams speak to us in puns, metaphors, and myriad symbols as well as feelings from the dream experience. Although I don’t remember all my dreams, the really important messages are usually very vivid and easy to remember. Maybe I  did inherit Mother’s gift of dreams.

If you have precognitive dreams, please leave a comment and tell me all about it.


Lillian Nader

Lillian Nader, M.Ed. is an author, playwright, copyeditor, and educator. Her book for upper middle grade readers, Theep and Thorpe: Adventures in Space, is available at


Even the best writers need a second pair of eyes for editing. Authors usually miss errors because they know what they intend to say, and their brains fill in the details.

Errors in English are easy to make, and everybody makes them. Some common ones are the following:

  1. Use of one word or two?

Use all right instead of alright; a lot rather than alot.  EXAMPLES: It’s not all right to write alright or alot although people make these errors a lot.

  1. Different from versus different than.

Different from is better when comparing two things, but different than is used with clauses. EXAMPLES: Your book is different from mine. The movie is different than I thought it would be.


2017 Spring News From Lillian

Happy Spring Everyone and happy birthday to all those born in the month of May!

My Next Book

I have an idea for my next book. The working title is Time Travel with Theep & Thorpe. The protagonist is Hazel, a girl who befriended Jonathan, narrator of the first book, Theep and Thorpe: Adventures in Space. I’ve been doing research on time travel and posting fun quotes on the Theep and Thorpe Facebook Page. Here’s the link to it if you’re interested in seeing the quotes and other posts there:

One of the challenges of writing this book is dealing with two time periods—the years 2161 and 1910. I have to use my imagination for the future world of 2161, where and when Hazel lives, while striving for accuracy for past events of 1910. I won’t be churning out this book with the speed of light, but I’m excited about the ideas I’ve come up with so far. It’s a WIP—Work in Progress!

Recent Accomplishments

As many of you know, I work at three different jobs. I am a freelance copyeditor, an Indie Author (independently published author), and a tutor for Professional Tutors of America.

I recently edited the third young readers’ book in the Prism Walker Trilogy by Heather Rivera. In the third book of the Prism Walker series, Sara and Molly wish they could cross realms from Earth to Exaltia to visit their elven friends, but they know from experience the portal only opens if they’re needed for a mission. Imagine their surprise when Thorn and Sael show up in their California neighborhood! Even more surprising is the mysterious crystal the elves use rather than a prism to cross realms, causing the Prism Walkers to expect all kinds of trouble to follow. Trouble is indeed what happens when the crystal accidentally transports the elves and the Prism Walkers not to Exaltia but to Mandriland, a land unlike anything they have ever seen.

Fun at the Street Fair with Kathy Bouchard



A new book marketing opportunity came with an invitation to participate in the Spring Street Fair in Encinitas on Sunday, April 30th. I signed up for a two hour time slot and had a lot of fun handing out bookmarks and interacting with delightful young readers.



Although the traditional school year is winding down, I am tutoring one fifth grade student to the end of June and another fifth grader through the end of September. I enjoy working one-to-one with these young students, which helps them make academic progress and also builds confidence. They think it’s cool that I’m an author.

What’s Happening Now

This time last year, I was fortunate to have a book launch hosted by my hometown library in Marshall, Texas. This year on Saturday, May 13, my California hometown library of Yorba Linda is hosting a Read Locally festival for several Orange County authors, including yours truly. I share the event with dear friends, Marjorie Miles, Flora Brown, Lynette M. Smith, and Don Westerhaven along with a few others I look forward to meeting. The main focus is on adult books, but they accepted my application as an author for young readers. If you’re in the neighborhood, do stop by.

To hone my writing and book marketing skills, I attend meetings with excellent speakers at SCWA (Southern California Writer’s Association) and PWOC (Publishers and Writers of Orange County) and for fun and inspiration, I attend “Writing with Your Muse” class by the amazing Marjorie Miles. In addition, I’ve enrolled in “The Plotting Workshop” online in hopes of becoming a plotter, but alas, I remain a pantser, just flying by the seat of my pants.

I currently have the pleasure of editing an adorable illustrated children’s book by Martha Ramsey: Mazy and Snub.

Mazy and Snub are delightful beings of light, traveling unencumbered by bodies, time, space, and gravity until an innocent ride on the arms of the Milky Way spins them into Earth’s atmosphere and changes everything. Both overwhelmed and amazed by their cumbersome bodies, emotions, and pesky gravity, they set out on adventures equally comical and dangerous. Readers of all ages will appreciate the metaphorical conundrums of these delightful and endearing creatures as they evolve into earthlings.


Custom Book Cover Lillian 2 Official Ebook(1)Click here to purchase for summer reading!

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Special Request
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 The Editor’s Corner

Did you know? Lillian is an editor as well as an author.

If you have questions for the editor regarding grammar or punctuation, send me an email and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible. If I don’t know the answer, I’ll look it up for you. It’s better to be corrected privately by your editor than publicly in a review!


That Pesky Apostrophe

RULE: Form the possessive singular of nouns by adding ‘s.

Follow the above rule regardless of the word’s ending.


Charles’s friend

Burns’s poems (note: Word Doc marks this as misspelled, so be aware that spellcheck has limits)

The witch’s wand

RULE FOR POSSESSIVE PLURAL NOUNS: If the plural ends in s, just add an apostrophe. If the plural does not end in s, add an apostrophe and an s.


The boys’ jackets

My parents’ car

Your bosses’ hats

The women’s dresses

The children’s toys

Lillian can be reached here for all your copyediting needs.

The Joys of Being an Indie Author

Proud Author Shows Off Her Book in Library


The Joys of Being an Indie Author

What is meant by the popular term, indie author? The term refers to an author who publishes independently rather than going with a traditional publishing house. An indie author is someone who self-publishes or publishes with the aid of an independent publishing company. IngramSpark and CreateSpace are two of several such companies.

I went with CreateSpace based on the success of two of my trusted author friends who had pleasant publishing experiences with them. I, too, enjoyed working with CreateSpace, a subsidiary of Amazon. Once my manuscript had undergone numerous revisions and edits by a professional editor, I felt it was ready to publish. I submitted it without having to be accepted by an agent or a publisher. CreateSpace offers several options to fit the publishing needs of different authors. You can either set up the pages, including margins, page numbers, headings, etc. yourself, or use CreateSpace publishing services at an additional cost to help you create a professional look and layout. The site does offer templates for those with the patience and skill to do it themselves. .I chose to have them format the book interior design and connect me with and Print on Demand. They also formatted my book for Kindle. Once I made the decision to pay them a nominal fee for formatting, they provided me with a team and a phone number to use whenever I need assistance. Everyone on my team is extremely courteous, professional, and helpful.

Because my book was based on specific artwork by Angelo Divino, he worked with Laura Moyer at The Book Cover Machine and me to create an awesome cover. CreateSpace would have worked with me on a cover, but I chose to go with my own design. Opting for a professionally designed cover is highly recommended in order to create the best possible first impression of your book. Many people are attracted to the cover of my book, Theep and Thorpe: Adventures in Space, due to the colorful and unusual images of the space beings, Theep and Thorpe.

I was able to choose my own prices and in about six weeks, my book was available for purchase online. A few weeks later, the Kindle version was ready and is now sold alongside the paperback version on The percentage for royalties is also higher than it would be with a traditional publisher. If I had chosen to seek a traditional publisher or agent, it might have taken months or years before my book was available to the public.

Nowadays, whether you are an independently published author or not, you are required to have an author platform and followers who might buy your book. While writing my book, I became active on social media via Facebook, Goodreads, LinkedIn, Author Central on CreateSpace, and numerous online groups for writers. I even started my own Facebook group called Writers. ( These groups provide links to author blogs and informative articles about writing, publishing, and marketing.

I am also a member of author organizations such as Publishers and Writers of San Diego and Orange County, Southern California Writers Association, and Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA). The first two are local groups that provide monthly meetings with speakers of excellent quality for the latest tips on being a successful author, indie or traditional. At one of these meetings, I met a rep from IBPA and decided to join in order to have my book presented to 5,000 school libraries. This was done on September 29, and I am awaiting the results to see which school libraries are interested in placing my book.

Indie Author Day

Speaking of libraries, I received a pleasant surprise when I learned about Indie Author Day, held on October 8 of this year. Libraries nationwide hosted unique events featuring indie writing and publishing. I applied and was accepted to participate locally at the Anaheim Central Public Library in Orange County, California. Twenty-five authors were invited to participate in a book fair to sell and sign their books. To be eligible, authors were required to live in Orange County with titles that were self or small press published within the past five years (2011-2016). We donated one copy of each book to be promoted at the Indie Author Day Fair and added to the library’s collection. What a thrill to have Theep and Thorpe: Adventures in Space available for check-out at a local library! In addition, it is on display with twenty-four other local indie authors.

At this event, I was given a packet of goodies, which included information about with an opportunity to pursue placing my e-book in public libraries in my state of residence. I am in process of submitting to them. More about this to be revealed as it happen. Meanwhile, I look for more opportunities to offer my book to young readers and adults who are young at heart. As the exciting adventures of an indie author continue, I will keep you posted.

My BIG Announcement

Custom Book Cover Lillian 2 Official Ebook(1)Theep and Thorpe: Adventures in Space

I am so happy to announce the release of my book, Theep and Thorpe: Adventures in Space, March 25, 2016. It is available now at the Createspace eStore and It’s a paperback book for young readers and for those who are young at heart. The kindle version will be available soon.

The Story Behind the Story

The concept of Theep and Thorpe began many years ago when my artist friend, Angelo Divino, created images of two space beings and asked if I wanted to write about them. Of course, I said yes! Their names came to me first as I pondered the idea of how space beings might communicate. I decided they would know one another by their sound frequencies rather than names. Each sound frequency would be as distinguishable as a human’s voice or fingerprints. Since we can’t pronounce these frequencies, the names Theep and Thorpe are used as a close facsimile.

It was many years later after retiring from full time teaching that I began to focus on writing about these characters in a novel. Thanks to Marjorie Miles’s “Writing with Your Dream Muse” class, the voices of Theep and Thorpe came to me loud and clear. Marjorie leads a guided meditation to invite the mind to relax and be receptive to one’s “muse.” We are encouraged to open our eyes and write whatever comes to us following this very relaxed state. Here is what I wrote:

“Where have you been for so long? Great to have you back where you belong. We’ve missed you, Lillian. Now, within the twinkling of an eye, everything shifts . . .back to where we were before, yet at the point of new beginnings. “

I knew Theep and Thorpe were speaking to me. I had tried to write their story before, but nothing seemed to flow. Now, with the support and encouragement of a writers’ group, the time was right to write my science fiction novel.


Jonathon is a fourteen year old protagonist of the story who ends up in a reform school in outer space in the year 2160. He and other inmates are required to grow their own food. While trying to figure out what farming in the future would be like, I got an email from my friend, Lucy Martin. Her husband, Jerry, had purchased a Freight Farm. I had no clue what that was, but my research and the information they sent me led me to writing about hydroponic farming as part of my book. Thank you, Lucy and Jerry!

More Research

When I needed to write a courtroom scene, I consulted my friend Kathy Bouchard, a retired paralegal. She accompanied me on a field trip to a courthouse where we witnessed ongoing trials. I took copious notes and included those findings in writing the ending of the book. I also watched a lot of TV shows like “Law and Order” and “The Good Wife.”

Additional research was needed to know what kind of weapons might be used in the future. I came up with the term, “flip-phaser,” the type of gun used on Star Trek. It’s a laser gun with a nozzle to flip for different settings such as stun or Kill! Early in the story, Jonathon gets into trouble when he’s caught in possession of a flip-phaser. Later in the book, rail guns are used in a spaceship battle. Rail guns are projectile weapons that can reach vast distances to shoot through walls of naval ships and spacecraft.

Book Promotion

I plan to do an online book launch at the Theep and Thorpe Facebook page soon. I will be announcing the date of the launch in another email and on my FB timeline. A trivia game will be played for fun and the chance to win a free copy of the book. HINT: most of the answers to the questions can be found on Facebook at

Special Request

If you read and like the book, kindly write a favorable review to post on Amazon and Goodreads.

Click here to purchase: :

Which Writers’ Archetype Are You?


Pattern Interrupt

“Where your comfort zone ends, your authentic, abundant life begins.” Panache Desai

Do you ever feel that you’re in a rut? Are you experiencing writer’s block? Do you compare yourself to other writers and fail to write at all?

I was recently engaged in an online class called Creative Un-Bootcamp for Writers by Jacob Nordby, author of The Divine Arsonist. One of the recommended books for the course is The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. Both authors recommend morning pages for stream of consciousness writing from the soul level and artist’s dates.

What is an artist date? Anything that interrupts one’s daily pattern to honor the artistic senses is an artist’s date. It can be anything from a nature walk to a visit to a museum to a weekend retreat for spiritual renewal. The key is to listen to your intuition and follow it.

I also consider taking classes that resonate with my artistic goals a pattern interrupt. Assignments and connections with like-minded participants in the class take me out of the ordinary daily routine and demand stretching to the outer limits of expression.

A huge pattern interrupt for me in Un-bootcamp was the exploration of writers’ archetypes. I learned that there are four different archetypes, and although I resonant with all of them, one is more dominant than the others.

Writers’ Archetypes

  1. Story Teller: Comes from the heart with atmospheric details, dialog, and story arc. The story evolves sequentially with a beginning, middle and end. Lessons about life and relationships are taught through stories. The story teller is also called the Shaman. The Shaman sits by the campfire to tell stories that teach to a tribe, usually one main message.
  2. Professor: Comes from the mind and is linear and detail oriented. The professor makes outlines, analyzes data and teaches “how to” with concrete, factual material. When the professor combines teachings with a story to illustrate the given facts, the teaching becomes more effective and reaches a greater audience.
  3. Herald: Comes from the mind or heart to tell somewhat random events in short articles such as news stories, videos, and blogs. Passion for a particular issue or current event combines mental concepts with heart felt communication. Many bloggers write about emotional issues dealing with relationships, death, illness, bullying, etc.
  4. Poet/Troubadour: Comes from the heart to present abstract, holistic, centralized and romanticized ideas and feelings. The poet communicates through feelings, themes and symbols. One “understands” the message without being able to say why.

Which one of these is most dominant to you? Which one feels right for you as a writer? If you aren’t a writer, perhaps one of these archetypes would work for you now that you know what they are.

I have written nonfiction workbooks on cooperative learning for children (the Professor) Co-authored a musical, and I am currently writing a science fiction novel for young adults (Story Teller) I often write poetry, mostly as a creative outlet to post on Facebook, and I write blog articles about writing.

Which of these is my dominant archetype? After contemplating each one, to my surprise, I found I resonate most strongly to Poet/Troubadour. This is because I am an emotional, touchy-feely type person. So, I am a Poet/Troubadour and a Storyteller.  As a blogger, I am the Herald, and I’ve always been a Professor/teacher. I find it best to try to find balance between the mind and the heart rather than coming strictly from one or the other.

What good does it do to know about the archetypes? Instead of comparing yourself to others, be content to realize you are uniquely talented in your own realm without needing to be like anyone else. For me, knowing my archetype encourages me to write more poetry while continuing to write my novel.

Writers’ Style: Plotter or Pantser?

It is also important for me to realize that although many successful authors are Plotters with story boards and a plot all mapped out before beginning to write, it is OK to be a Pantser and fly by the seat of my pants. I am writing a story with a vague idea of setting and characters and the plot developes as I write….Key words: As I write, not before writing. Some people call this channeling or automatic writing. I call it my style of writing. When not writing, I am thinking about the story, but I don’t know what is going to happen next in the story until I write it.

Here are some quotes from famous authors to further illustrate my point:

Don’t try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say. It’s the one and only thing you have to offer.
– Barbara Kingsolver

A word is dead
When it is said,
Some say.
I say it just begins
to live that day.
– Emily Dickinson

Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.
– E. L. Doctorow