Re-Reads That Are So Worth Another Visit

I am a re-reader and I cannot lie.

The great thing about books is they never expire. They might go out of print, but in these days of electronic abundance, that’s not such a factor anymore. Talk about heaven!



Today I’m going to re-visit some of my favorite oldies-but-goodies. Books which may not be familiar, but just because they’re from the Netta Vault doesn’t mean they’re not still outstanding. I’m never stuck for something to read, but every once in a while I love to go back and visit my friends in literary form who still mean so much to me.


The reviewers of SARGASSO, by Edwin Corley, have not been kind. However, I found it entertaining. Is it because it weaves true events in with the main narrative? Maybe. Is it because of the wild and crazy theories about the infamous Bermuda Triangle? Perhaps. All-in-all, it’s a fast-paced and exciting read. SARGASSO also encouraged me to dive down the rabbit hole in researching Flight 19. Very fun.


First published in 1980 before Michael Crichton hit the big time, CONGO snagged me from the very first page. The movie made based on the book sucked hot rocks, but the story is amazing. I fell in love with Amy, and the story line had me sitting on the edge of my seat. Couldn’t read it fast enough.


I have eclectic taste in books–but I do admit I have a special place in my heart for fantasy. DEERSKIN is based on an old French fairy tale by Charles Perrault. Robin McKinley took this to a dark place, and I went willingly. Her prose is beautiful, transporting you to a world that is believable and unutterably heartbreaking. Lissa and Ash remain two of my favorite characters.

Soul Rider

Jack Chalker was an award-winning science fiction writer, best known for his Well World series. I became acquainted with his work through the Soul Rider series. I had never read anything like it in my life, which is saying a lot. I loaned out the first copies I had and didn’t get them back for almost a decade–and in the meantime, I just had to buy them again. I lost the third set in a move–and they were among the first books I replaced. You can bet I will never let them out of my sweaty little hands ever again. Unusual and mind-bending.

Red Adams Lady

I’m not a huge romance fan. But I do love history, and if the romance is done right, I can live with that. RED ADAM’S LADY is all that and a bag of chips. I lost my hardcover copy, which I had since the late 70s, in the same move in which I lost the Soul Rider series, and sadly, it is now out of print and a hardcover goes for much more than my budget will allow. I still cry over losing that book. It’s set in the days following William the Conqueror in 1066, where politics could easily get you killed and treachery lurked in every shadow. Grace Ingram’s prose is tight and her historical facts ACCURATE–something many romantic historical novels show a big fat FAIL. Although this books is billed as a romance, it’s much deeper than that, showing a true and brutal picture of what life was like in those days. Julitta and her Adam have a believable relationship without tipping over into the sappy, over-dramatics of many romances. Oh, and Julitta is a redhead. And she kicks ass. Heh.

Thanks for letting me introduce you to some of my best friends. Of course there’s a ton more, but these popped out at me today.

Who are some of your best literary friends? Introduce us!


Fiction, Women, and the Triangle Fire

Growing up in Central New York and in close proximity to Seneca Falls, the women’s suffragette movement was not at all unfamiliar to me. My mother was what most people would call a feminist in the 60s, although I never heard her refer to herself in that way. She lived it, do you dig.

At any rate, in the early 80s I read a book which really opened my eyes to what women went through for basic human rights. It also painted a vivid picture of what life was like for young women in the early 1900s. It’s a story about more than just the suffrage and labor movement–it’s also about America in those years, right before the first World War, and about Jews, class structure, and New York City. It’s about the development of the United States as a country, how the unions contributed to the success of humane working conditions for everyone–men, women, and children. Conditions we EXPECT today, and should. Conditions people died for.

It’s a story of four young women and the tragedy of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, which killed 123 women and 23 men. It was one of the deadliest industrial disasters in New York City’s history.

Today is the 103rd anniversary of the tragedy, and thanks to the words of Meredith Tax, author of Rivington Street, it’s a date I’ll never forget. It’s a rich tapestry weaving historical fact with a compelling story, well-written and totally absorbing. I highly recommend this as a must-read.

My copy. MINE. But you really need your own.

My copy. MINE. But you really need your own.

For more information about the Triangle Fire, you can use Google and a lot of books will pop up. But this one really personalized the fire for me and painted a complete picture of life in the 1900s. You won’t forget this read.

We should never forget what happened that day.


Story Inspiration~The Glendale Train

It’s no secret I take a lot of inspiration for story ideas from music, and I’m sure I’m not the only writer. It’s not only the lyrics that call to me, but the music and how it fits with the words.

There’s a song I want to talk about today by a band most of you probably don’t know. The band is New Riders of the Purple Sage, and I guess if you have to classify their music, it might be labeled as “cowboy rock”. John Dawson, one of the founders of the group, wrote “Glendale Train” which appeared on their debut album in 1971. He has since retired from the group.

I’m not normally a country-type music fan, but what I love about this group is every one of their songs tells a story. A specific story. The fact Jerry Garcia from the Grateful Dead and Buddy Cage play a stellar steel guitar doesn’t hurt. As a matter of fact, the guitar work on the albums of NRPS is just amazing.

“Glendale Train” is the story of a train robbery. It starts off with the chorus…a man telling the story. When I hear this part, I can just see a man from a nearby town, belly-up to the bar, maybe cadging beers or a shot of liquor for his version of the events. He could be dusty and sweaty from a frantic ride to impart the news. The town sits in the middle of somewhere in the West, deep in the heart of nowhere. There could be tumbleweeds in the streets. The horses are tied up at a post out front and the bartender’s hair is slicked back with oil, and he keeps his handlebar moustache waxed and curled. The townspeople gather around, some gasping and some listening with their mouths wide open.

Somebody robbed the Glendale Train, this morning at half-past nine.
Somebody robbed the Glendale Train and I swear, I ain’t lyin!
They made clean off with sixteen Gs and left two men lying cold.
Somebody robbed the Glendale Train and they made off with the gold!

At this point people are looking at each other, and maybe one of the men swears right out loud because he works for the company waiting on that gold to pay their workers and now he knows he’s not going to get paid. Or a woman cries, wondering who the two dead men could be. The man telling the story tosses back a shot of whiskey courtesy of the bartender and continues:

Charlie Jones was the engineer—he had twenty years on the line.
He kissed his wife at the station gate, this morning at six thirty-five.
Now everything went fine ’til half-past nine then Charlie looked up and he saw—
There was men on horses, men with guns and no sign of the law!

At this point, everyone is hanging on his every word. This is the most exciting and probably terrifying news the town has heard in a dog’s age. Maybe one of them knew Charlie Jones. Someone buys our man a beer, and tells him to get on with it!

Amos White was the baggage man and he dearly loved his job.
The company, they rewarded him with a golden watch and a fob.
Well, Amos he was a’markin’ time when the door blew off his car.
They found Amos White in fifteen pieces fifteen miles apart!

The woman faints, the men look at each other in fear or maybe anger, and the bartender looks out the window, his hands shaking. Maybe one of the men says, “It don’t pay enough to work for the railroad,” and receives a murmur of agreement from his fellows. One man checks his gun to make sure it’s loaded, because Glendale isn’t all that far away. What if the bandits are headed their way?

“Glendale Train” is a fictional account of an actual robbery by Jesse James on a train in Glendale, Missouri in 1881. He got away with reports of $1000 -$6,000, depending on what report you believe, and the crime was termed “The Blue Cut Train Robbery”. It is said he thought there was a lot more money on the train, and it was his last train robbery, marking the beginning of the decline of the gang. No one was killed.

But what really fascinates me is the way this song reflects the oral tradition of history. And the fact there are so many ways you could spin this tidbit into endless story possibilities.

One of which I’m working on right now :)

So what music inspires you? Sound off in the comments!


My Writing Process-Blog Tour

One thing I notice among writers is the absolute obsession with how other writers do their thang. I’m as guilty of this as anyone else. I love reading about how other writers go through the writing process. Everyone is different and some techniques work better for some than others, but there’s always an opportunity to observe something new, try out a new way of doing things. It’s really one of the parts I love about writing the most. You never stop learning.

Thanks to the lovely and amazing Eden Baylee for inviting me to participate. Eden is a mad talented writer and a fabulous person. I love her stories, and I highly recommend you discover your next favorite writer.

Awesome, emotional, and mesmerizing stories. It doesn't get better than this.

Awesome, emotional, and mesmerizing stories. It doesn’t get better than this.

Check out Eden’s work here. You won’t be disappointed.

Now, for what y’all are dying to know. No, not the color of my underwear. FOCUS, PEOPLE.

My writing process.

Meet my lovers - Pen and Paper. Aren't they HAWT?

Meet my lovers – Pen and Paper. Aren’t they HAWT?

1) What am I working on?

Right now I am working on Athena’s Chains, the sequel to Athena’s Promise. I have other irons in the fire, but I’m concentrating on getting Pallas through her journey right now.

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

You know, it’s difficult for a writer to be objective about their work. But if I had to choose one thing that sets the Aegean Trilogy apart from other urban fantasy, I’d say “voice”. I’d also have to say although using Greek mythology as inspiration isn’t new, I believe the twist I’ve put on it is unique.

3) Why do I write what I do?

I’ve written stories in a variety of genres. I will admit freely I have issues with labeling, because to me, a good story is a good story and genre is just a marketing tool. I write what I write because that’s what comes out. Sometimes it’s humorous, sometimes it’s dark, sometimes it’s literary. My goal is for it to be entertaining and to move people.

4) How does your writing process work?

I open a blank document or take out a yellow legal pad. I start writing.

I used to be a dedicated pantser, and I still am in many ways. However, I’ve come to realize I’m much more productive when I’m writing longer works to have a plan in place. Usually, I have an idea and an end story goal. Once I’ve got the first third of the book under my belt and I know where the story is going, I’ll plot out by chapter how to get there. In that manner, I’ve been Larsenized. My great friend Patti Larsen is an outliner, and she’s converted me to a certain extent :) I’ll label a yellow legal pad with WHAT NEEDS TO HAPPEN and then chapter by chapter, I’ll generally sketch out the steps I need to take to reach the end story goal. It works for me, because I have a structure but still leave enough room to pants it. Because I love that part.

I try not to worry too much about the niggling details–that’s for the edit. I will make notes in the margin about things I need to revisit and adjust, but I just keep going until I get to the end.

In shorter pieces, I just let it rip and see what happens. Because for me, that’s the fun part. If it’s not fun, what the hell am I doing it for? Then I’ll go back and edit and revise.

I have ideas for stories scribbled everywhere, and many times I’ll experience a bolt of inspiration in the shower. Someday I’ll get to them all.

So that’s how it works for me. Check out some of my friends who will be posting next Monday, March 3, to share their writing process. And thanks for stopping by! Don’t forget to sign up for the monthly newsletter for valuable editing tips and new releases from outstanding writers you need to know.


Patti Larsen~ Now with multiple series in happy publication, Patti lives in beautiful Prince Edward Island, Canada with her patient husband and six massive cats.

Kris Austen Radcliffe~ It’s not a good love story until something explodes.

Stacy Green ~ Stacy Green writes twisted psychological thrillers with a dash of romance.


What’s Going On

Well, you know. The usual. Busy is BUSY, but that’s nothing unusual for not only me, but most everyone I know. And while busy is good, it can also be frazzling sometimes. Especially when you share space with a judgmental and obnoxious cat who is all up in your business 24/7. Not mentioning any names.

The bitchiest cat face on the planet. Judging. Always judging.

The bitchiest cat face on the planet. Judging. Always judging.

I’m not the most dedicated of bloggers on the planet, that’s for sure. And when I do decide to post, I have ten million ideas but when I open up a blank document, do you think I can find a brain cell? Hell, no. They scatter like rats deserting the Black Pearl sucked into a black, watery vortex. Please tell me I’m not the only one.

Since I’ve wanted to impart some editing tips and tricks for the longest time, I figured the easiest way was to create a monthly newsletter. You can sign up at the top of this page–and it will be information you won’t see posted on the blog. I’ll also include a shout-out to the writers I know who are releasing some outstanding work.

The first newsletter launched January 31st, and included five important editing tips when starting the editing process. On February 28th, the newsletter will continue on this editing journey with what you should look for in your First Read. Tell you what–sign up today and I’ll make sure you get the first five tips, too. :)

Now to get this feline out of my face so I can work. Wish me luck. Heh.


MeiLin Miranda Reads VISTA BRIDGE At ComicCon!

Yes! It’s true! Here’s our own MeiLin Miranda reading her story based on the Wheel of Fortune card from Allegories of the Tarot
at ComicCon:

What a fabulous job :)

Two quick things: If you purchase the paperback copy of Allegories you get the KINDLE version FOR FREE. Yes. You do.

AND…the first monthly Word Webber newsletter will be coming out January 31st. Sign up now so you don’t miss anything! Like new releases, some editing tips, and a SPECIAL SURPRISE. Heh.

Go on, now. Go kick Monday in the taco!


Preditors and Editors Reader’s Awards of 2013


While you’re here, don’t forget to sign up for the new monthly newsletter! It will include new release news, tasty tidbits, and probably some shenanigans. Because that’s how I roll.

So the results of the Preditor and Editors Readers Poll of 2013 are in. Congratulations to all the participants and to the winners!

As you may be able to tell from the nifty new badges on the sidebar, Allegories of the Tarot placed in the top ten, and I also placed in the top ten. What those badges don’t tell you is Allegories placed at number five out of a field of sixty fabulous anthologies, and I placed at number two.




I’m thrilled because each and every one of the contributors to the anthology worked their asses off, and every single one brought their A game. I’m so incredibly proud of the volume we put together I can hardly stand it. I know I might be biased, but I really feel this is the best group of stories I’ve ever read. Working on the anthology with this group of writers was AMAZING. It was fun, wild, crazy, and one of the best experiences of my life, not just my editing career. Just…man. Thank you, guys. You are wonderful to work with, and I am honored you came along with me on this ride. MAD LOVE.

I’d also like to thank all the backers from the Indiegogo campaign who helped make this happen. We couldn’t have done it without you, so this is your victory as much as it is ours. THANK YOU, for believing in this project and helping us realize our vision.

As for the editor award–I’m gobsmacked and yes, very happy. An editor’s job is to make the work the best it can be, and for it to look like an editor was never there. We’re the shadow people :) So to be honored with an award like this is really validating, although if I’m to be completely honest, it feels a little weird, too. The editor/writer relationship is between two people, and it’s special. I’d like to thank my absolutely stellar clients who keep me on my toes, total involvement in the editing process, and most of all, for the trust they have in me. I’m grateful and feel so honored.




Vote For Your Favorite Editor and Anthology!

Yes, it’s that time of year–the Annual Preditors and Editors Reading Poll. I’m really thrilled and honored to be nominated for the Best Editor award this year–and today is the last day to vote.


I can’t even tell you how much I appreciate being nominated in the first place. I work with some amazing authors and I absolutely love what I do. Allegories of the Tarot was a major project in 2013, and I’m beyond proud at the teamwork producing an outstanding collection.

If you feel the same way and would like to show your support, you can vote for the anthology here and if you happen to have a favorite editor *cough cough* you can vote for Best Editor here.

While you’re at it, take a look at the categories–you may find some favorite authors, books, and artists you can support. The site loads a little slow at times, but this kind of endorsement and affirmation means a lot to the indies who work hard to publish quality books for your reading pleasure.

Please take a minute to cast your vote for your favorites. We all appreciate it so much!

Good luck to all the nominees!



It’s The Year of No Fear–Happy 2014!

Yep, another year has come and gone. Is it just me, or does that seem to happen faster and faster every year?

It’s probably just me.

I’m really over the making resolutions thing. I was never good at it anyway, and it just seemed to stress me out. However, I’m a bit of an organizational freak about certain areas of my life, so I decided to extend it to other parts. I analyzed 2013, noted what seemed to work well for me and what didn’t, and shall be implementing some changes. After all, life is really the Great Experiment, right?

So for me personally, 2014 shall be the year of No Fear.

Okay, maybe a little fear because fear does have its function, but I’m not going to let that stop me.

I did conquer a lot of mountains in 2013, I’ll say that much. Like, speaking in public, traveling, conducting a class on editing. (Love you, PEI!) Attempting and succeeding at a major project–hello, Allegories of the Tarot!. Embarking on a more personal journey of healing old wounds. All-in-all, 2013 really set the foundation for what I hope will be an amazing 2014.

Because to conquer fear, you must have hope.

I’ve said it probably a million times. Change is the only constant. As we all know, change is seldom easy, but it’s not like you can ignore it. So instead, I’m going to try to embrace it. To not be afraid. To stay in the present moment and cherish it for what it is, then move along to the next one.

The takeaway? You’re never too old to learn; you’re never too entrenched to improve.

I want to thank all the people in my life who made 2013 so much fun, interesting, and challenging. Thank you to my friends and family for their patience and love; thank you to my clients who work with me on one of the greatest loves of my life–fiction. I am really looking forward to what we all can accomplish in the coming year. I LOVE YOU.

No fear. That’s my mantra.

I am instituting a monthly newsletter for new releases from my clients, and I also have plans for my own. Look for ATHENA’S CHAINS, the sequel to ATHENA’S PROMISE to appear in late spring this year. If you’d like to keep abreast of the news and other shenanigans, please sign up at the top of the page. No spam, only info, and only once a month.


DON’T GIVE AN UGLY SWEATER! Gift Certificates Now Available!

WOW. November was one busy month and it FLEW. Once ALLEGORIES OF THE TAROT released it was one huge blur until the end of the amazing blog tour sponsored by Badass Marketing. And let me tell you, it was BADASS. The contest was a resounding success, and the winners announced here and will be contacted later today with their prizes or arrangements to deliver their prizes.

I have nothing but wonderful things to say about Badass Marketing. They were on top of EVERYTHING which relieved a huge amount of pressure from me. Organized, accessible, friendly, and tons of fun. If you’re looking for a marketing ninja, I can’t recommend this company highly enough.

Allegories of the Tarot was a special project straight from my heart. I wrote about what it meant to me here. It really was one of the best experiences of my life, and I’m thrilled with its reception, although I’m feeling the sadz that’s it’s all over. I loved every minute of putting this together, and I had the best team in the history of teams. Make sure to look up the authors included in this volume of outstanding talent–you will not be disappointed.

Please leave a review if you’ve read Allegories–I’d love to hear your opinion. Reviews and word of mouth is so important to indies, and we appreciate every single review, no matter your opinion. And remember, if you buy the print version, you’ll get the Kindle version for free. A great Christmas present!



Speaking of great Christmas presents, it can be quite a conundrum to decide what to give to the writer in your life. I can help you with that. This year, for the first time, I am offering a limited number of gift certificates for editing services.

Manuscript Evaluation: An overall manuscript evaluation is available. A manuscript evaluation includes an assessment of the overall plot, story arc, characterization, and story flow. It does not include line edits, copy edits, or in-line comments. A complete document will be provided with an honest opinion of strengths and weaknesses and where improvements can be made, up to a 50k word count. Additional charges will be assessed for longer material. Normally, this service runs for $250, but for the holiday season only the purchase price is $199. You will be provided with a printable gift certificate to present to your beloved writer.

Three Chapter Evaluation: A three-chapter evaluation includes suggestions on improving the opening chapters to draw in the reader, establishment of character and inciting incident. It does not include line edits, copy edits, or in-line comments. A complete document will be provided with an honest opinion of strengths, weaknesses, and where improvements can be made. For the holiday season, this service is only $50. This also comes with a printable gift certificate to slip into your favorite writer’s stocking.

Both services are in limited number, so get ‘em while you can!

Contact me at annetta(dot)ribken(at) for more information and details.

Hey, it beats another ugly sweater, doesn't it?

Hey, it beats another ugly sweater, doesn’t it?

And finally, I just want to remind you that you can keep up with the new releases on my Editing Work page. I try to keep it updated, but if you want great reading, that’s the place to find it.

In the meantime, thanks to everyone for all their support for ALLEGORIES. Go forth and READ ALL THE WORDS! <3



Editing and writing – Spinning words and forging threads