Monthly Archives: September 2022

Rewrites and Second Drafts: A Necessary Evil.

Story Empire

Greetings, SE’ers! Beem Weeks here with you again. Today, I’d like to talk about rewrites and second drafts.

Side view of Authoress using typewriting

Some writers have all the skills needed to nail their story on the first run. Others may require a second draft—or even a third. I’m a firm believer in the second draft. This doesn’t necessarily mean a complete deconstruction of your manuscript, mind you. It simply means fine-tuning your story. I usually do this after putting the finished story away for a period, then, after I’ve cleared the tale and all its characters from my mind, I approach it with fresh eyes.

During the reading process is where I’ll find bumps in the rug that cause me to stumble. Perhaps there’s a character that needs to be softened if he or she is to be likeable or deserving of a reader’s sympathy. Or maybe a character is too soft, to the point…

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Story Development and Execution Part 11: Mid-Level Self-Editing

More great tips for authors!

Story Empire

Ciao, SEers. Today is part eleven of the series, and we’re continuing with self-editing. We’ve reached the mid-level revision. By now, you should have corrected the biggest issues in your manuscript. It’s time to read it again and look for problems with execution.

Is your dialogue sharp? Are the words you chose appropriate for the speakers? Did you use realistic language? Did you bury dialogue in the middle of a paragraph of exposition, or does it always start or end a paragraph so it doesn’t get lost? Did you use enough attributions (but not too many)?

Have you analyzed your paragraph structure? Is there only one actor per paragraph? Did you head-hop? Is any paragraph suffering from author intrusion?

Have you analyzed your sentence structure? Is your message always clear? Did you vary the sentence style to create a pleasing rhythm? Did you find any awkward structures that need…

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Ambiance and Writing

More fantastic writing tips!

Story Empire

Hey, SE Readers. Joan with you on this September morning. Here in the Northern Hemisphere, we’re only three days away from the beginning of autumn—my favorite time of year. I love the cooler temperatures, the changing leaves, migrating birds, and fall fairs and festivals.

While the stores are already putting out Christmas decorations, and at least one friend has already decorated her house, I like to enjoy the fall. IMO, Christmas decorations don’t belong in a house until after Thanksgiving, but that’s another story.

I do enjoy the Christmas season. I’ve often toyed with the idea of writing a collection of short stories set during that time of year. I think about it each December, which is always a busy month, and by then it’s too late to write the stories, much less publish them. After Christmas, I don’t even like to think about the holiday, so once again, the…

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Celebrating the Release of The Haunting of Chatham Hollow #NewRelease

It is my honor to host a pair of exceptionally gifted authors on The Indie Spot today. Please welcome Mae Clair and Staci Troilo.


Beem, thank you so much for hosting me today. I’m delighted to be here with you and your readers to share The Haunting of Chatham Hollow. I co-authored this novel with Staci Troilo, and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. It was amazing to work with a co-author, especially someone as talented as Staci. She and I found we work great together, so who knows—maybe another down the road.

For now, we hope others will enjoy our supernatural mystery which includes dual timelines, ghostly happenings, a town curse, murder, and rumors of buried gold.  During our short promo tour, you’ll meet several characters who populate the book. Today, I’d like to introduce sisters Irene Chatham and Dorinda Orrman from the 1888 timeline. Spiritualism is a key thread in the book, so Staci and I thought we’d have each character sit down with a medium as a way of introduction.

Let’s listen in.

SPIRTUALIST: Welcome ladies. I understand you’re both avid followers of the Spiritualist movement.

IRENE CHATHAM:  Avid may be too strong a word, but we both certainly enjoy exploring the possibilities an accredited medium brings.

DORINDA ORRMAN: Are you going to do a reading for us?

SPIRTUALIST: If you’d like. But I thought perhaps we could chat first. I understand you’ve already had several sessions.

IRENE: Indeed. I introduced Dorinda to both Victor Rowe and Benedict Fletcher.

DORINDA: Not that I wasn’t already acquainted with the practice of spiritualism. It tends to have a more robust following at home.

SPIRTUALIST: (raising an eyebrow) Then you’re not from these parts?

DORINDA: New York City.

SPIRTUALIST: I imagine Chatham Hollow feels… quaint.

IRENE: (in a low, disgruntled voice) Which she constantly reminds me of.

DORINDA: (turning a sharp gaze on her sister) Did you say something, Irene?

IRENE: Just that I know you miss New York.

DORINDA: True. My girls do, too.


DORINDA: My daughters, Elayne and Shelley. Elayne is the main reason we’re here. It’s a rather embarrassing situation, but I think the change has been good for her. (abruptly sitting straighter) But we needn’t discuss such unpleasantries. Irene has certainly made my visit intriguing. I was most taken with the dinner gathering she held, inviting both Mr. Rowe and Mr. Fletcher.

IRENE: Of course, I would host something upscale, dear. I am the first lady of Chatham Hollow—the mayor’s wife.

DORINDA (in a low, disgruntled voice) A position you seem inordinately taken with.

IRENE: (turning a sharp gaze on her sister) Did you say something, Dorinda?

DORINDA: Just that I know how pleased you were with the way that evening turned out. (shifts her attention to the spiritualist) Mr. Fletcher summoned our dear departed mother to speak with Irene. Afterward, Mr. Rowe—well, it was simply amazing what he did.

SPIRTUALIST: I’m intrigued. What exactly did he do?

DORINDA: An automatic writing in which he channeled my husband, Harold, deceased for the last six years. The words “green valise” were penned over and over.

SPIRTUALIST: What does that mean?

DORINDA: I’m sorry. Even thinking about it makes me weep. (growing teary-eyed and standing). Perhaps we should do this another time.

SPIRTUALIST: But I wanted to ask you about the Founder’s Day séance.

DORINDA: I wasn’t even there. I had to return to New York, but from what I’ve heard… (she shoots a glance at Irene). I think that séance will be something people in Chatham Hollow talk about for centuries to come.



One founding father.
One deathbed curse.
A town haunted for generations.

Ward Chatham, founder of Chatham Hollow, is infamous for two things—hidden treasure and a curse upon anyone bold enough to seek it. Since his passing in 1793, no one has discovered his riches, though his legend has only grown stronger.

In 1888, charlatan Benedict Fletcher holds a séance to determine the location of Chatham’s fortune. It’s all a hoax so he can search for the gold, but he doesn’t count on two things—Victor Rowe, a true spiritualist who sees through his ruse, and Chatham’s ghost wreaking havoc on the town.

More than a century later, the citizens of the Hollow gather for the annual Founder’s Day celebration. A paranormal research team intends to film a special at Chatham Manor, where the original séance will be reenacted. Reporter and skeptic Aiden Hale resents being assigned the story, but even he can’t deny the sudden outbreak of strange happenings. When he sets out to discover who or what is threatening the Hollow—supernatural or not— his investigation uncovers decades-old conflicts, bitter rivalries, and ruthless murders.

This time, solving the mystery isn’t about meeting his deadline. It’s about not ending up dead.

Thanks again for hosting me today, Beem. It was a pleasure to drop by—along with my unnamed spiritualist and Irene and Dorinda. (Please excuse the sisters. They love each other but experience their share of friction). I invite your readers to pick up a copy of The Haunting of Chatham Hollow at the link below. Staci and I both appreciate the support and wish everyone happy reading!


Connect with Mae Clair at BOOKBUB and the following haunts:

Amazon| BookBub| Newsletter Sign-Up
Website | Blog| Twitter| Goodreads| All Social Media

Connect with Staci Troilo at the following haunts:

Website | Blog | Social Media | Newsletter
Amazon ​| BookBub ​| Goodreads

Write What You’re Passionate About

Another fantastic Story Empire piece!

Story Empire

Hi, SEers. You’re with Mae today. I hope you’ll forgive me while I ramble. As writers we’re lucky we get to do something we enjoy—creating stories. No one makes us sit down at a keyboard and pour our heart into a world we populate with twists and turns for characters who live in our heads.

Okay, so maybe your muse spurs you on, but your museisyour creativity. The voice inside you that won’t be silenced, that insists on expressing himself or herself with every click of the keyboard or stroke of the pen. Writing is your passion but is it your only intense interest?

Writers often find ways to combine the elements they love. Some are obvious—you could say Stephen King likes creepy stuff. Not a stretch, right? Others are more subtle. Many romance authors admit to having fallen in love with fairy tales as a child. The…

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When a Plotter and a Panster Co-Author a Novel

An exceptional piece for those considering writing with another author!

Story Empire

Hi, SEers! Welcome to a Mae Day on SE. It’s also a Staci Troilo day because she and I wroteThe Haunting of Chatham Hollowtogether, and that’s what I’d like to discuss today—writing with a co-author. It’s definitely a rewarding experience.

But what happens when one of you is a plotter and the other is a pantser? If you’re thinking Felix and Oscar fromThe Odd Couple, it’s not that extreme, but there are adjustments to be made on both ends.

Before I start, I’d like to mention SE members, John Howell and Gwen Plano who co-authored The Contract: between Heaven and Earth wrote an excellent four part series on co-authoriship, which will give you another perspective on the process. You can find their posts here: Part One, Part Two, Part Three, and Part Four.

Staci and I have been online friends for a…

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The Necromancer’s Daughter

A wonderful review!


Diana Wallace Peach has done it again. She has written a novel that you won’t be able to put down.

All the emotions of human nature play their part in this exciting novel. Love, adventure, and intrigue, with just enough of a touch of magic to be believable, all feature in this page turner.

A healer and dabbler in the dark arts of life and death, Barus is as gnarled as an ancient tree. Forgotten in the chaos of the dying queen’s chamber, he spirits away her stillborn infant, and in a hovel at the meadow’s edge, he breathes life into the wisp of a child. He names her Aster for the lea’s white flowers. Raised as his daughter, she learns to heal death.

Then the day arrives when the widowed king, his own life nearing its end, defies the Red Order’s warning. He summons the necromancer’s daughter, his only…

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