Saturday, July 23, 2016

Editor, ghost writer Laura Anne Ewald helps writers release better books

     The writing process begins with the writer but will include others as the work progresses. Choosing the appropriate editor can mean the difference between a ho-hum volume and a successful book. 

Ewald working at her desk
      Editor and ghost writer Laura Anne Ewald knows how important the editor’s role becomes in the birth of a book. She is a published author herself. When a writer entrusts a manuscript to the former academic librarian, the resulting book or story delivers a more polished version, but true to the author’s vision.

     In 2011, Ewald left academia to pursue a full-time freelance career. She began with book indexing, the process of creating those handy indices at the back of books to help readers locate references within the volume. From there, she moved into abstracting, including work as a subcontractor to a big publishing house. By 2013, she was referred to Elance*, an online employment service, as a place to find more indexing jobs.

     “I didn’t find indexing jobs but I did find editing jobs,” she says. Her subject matter has included short stories, children’s stories, science fiction novels and personal memoirs. She finds her clients all over the country and in her own neighborhood.

     “Fiction, I think, I like best,” she responds when asked about her favorite genre to edit. “Nonfiction is easier, in the sense that you’re just looking at grammar and syntax.” But Ewald enjoys working in other people’s characters and universes, a joy which shows as she discusses assignments. Fiction poses the extra challenge of staying in the authors voice, one of Ewald’s strengths. Another strong point is her ability to follow the thread of the stories through the volume and recognize bumps or weak spots which need work.

     “I know a lot of authors are afraid of using editors,” she notes, fearing their work will be “swallowed up” or changed beyond recognition by the editor. Ewald’s strength in preserving the author’s voice provides her a special place in the editing world. 

     While editing involves polishing another author’s work, ghostwriting means writing from scratch as someone else. As a ghostwriter, Ewald receives assignments of particular subject matter, time frames and length. Some jobs include detailed instructions as to the theme of the finished piece while others are more general. An aspect of her ghost writing is the research required to complete the assignments.

     “The reason I became a librarian in the first place is, I love research,” Ewald admits. Her ghostwriting jobs give her the direction to follow with the research and the target of the finished article or book. Her clients get a completed work for whatever use they wish.

     Ewald prefers to work on short assignments, such as articles, short stories or novellas. Her work includes Old Order Amish romance stories, children’s books and historical fiction. Some of the jobs are for publication by the person who contracted the job. Others are destined for a family member or special group.

     She bases her fees on a per-word basis for both editing and ghostwriting. Contact Ewald through her website or by email ( for quotes on assignments. Her availability varies according to her workload, but she welcomes hearing from new authors about their needs.

*Author’s note: Elance has since merged with Upwork.

This article originally appeared on Also available on Reviews and Opinions and the Writing World blog.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Art contest to celebrate anniversary of Bad Wolf Bar and Grill

When two scifi-loving people purchase a neighbor bar and grill, a name change may be in the stars. For Timothy and Alicia Dardar of Marrero, LA, the choice of a new name took time. They put together a list of potential nerd-related names and finally settled on Bad Wolf Bar and Grill.

The name creates an instant connection with Doctor Who fans - an “oh, THAT Bad Wolf” reaction, says Alicia Dardar - but it doesn’t exclude people who aren’t Whovians. The Dardars liked the accessibility inherent in the name.

They will celebrate two years as proprietors of the restaurant and bar on July 1, 2016. As a part of the anniversary celebration, the Dardars have announced a contest to design a new logo for the business. The deadline has been extended to June 13. The couple will choose a group of finalists and put the designs on Facebook for the final selection. They will adopt the design with the most “Likes” as the logo going forward.

More than simply a neighborhood bar and grill, Bad Wolf offers a place where nerds and jocks can coexist, according to Alicia. A group in one corner may be discussing the latest Star Wars news while another group is debating the Saints’ upcoming season. The d├ęcor features both worlds as well, with an array of nerdy and sports art and decorations.

Another feature of the establishment is the frequent special events put on in conjunction with Nerd Love NOLA, a local event planner specializing in parties with a science fiction flavor. Game nights and mini-cons appear on the calendar regularly. During “down” times, the restaurant offers the use of three pool tables, two dart boards and video poker.

While there are hamburgers, hot sausage and chicken sandwiches on the menu, other selections have themed names, such as The Bad Wolf (a burger with hot sausage, egg and cheese) and C-3PO (chicken, bacon and Swiss cheese). Tacos come as Chocobo Tacos (chicken and bacon tacos with housemade ranch) and Anorith Tacos (shrimp tacos with horseradish aioli).

Because the establishment serves alcohol, the staff enforces an Over-21 Only rule. The bar offers specialty mixed drinks (with fanciful names like Serenity and DHARMA Initiative) as well as a long list of available beers. The full menu can be found on their Facebook page.

With the contest entry extended through June 13, artists over 21 years of age have a chance to win a nice prize as well as have their work highlighted throughout the business’s signage and print materials. Check out the rules and submit your design to Bad Wolf Bar and Grill.

Bad Wolf Bar and Grill
(504) 265-0738

Originally appeared 05/31/2016 at

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Ingenious solution to a deadly problem for beekeepers: Haynes Haselmaier and the Beetle Baffle(TM)

When Time Magazine put out an issue dealing with the modern plight of bees, one of the topics discussed was hive collapse due to beetles. The problem is international and intensifying as weather events provide favorable conditions for the little invaders in places that were less hospitable in the past. In south Mississippi, a beekeeper with an inventive mind has created a solution which is both creative in its approach and elegant in its simplicity.

For Haynes Haselmaier, the problem became personal. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, he saw Mississippi hives suffer with incursions of small hive beetles (Aethina tumida). His own hives showed telltale signs. With a century of beekeeping experience in his family, Haselmaier didn’t want to give up on his hives. He tried many of the commercially available remedies at the time. As he points out, no three of the available methods combined kept him from losing hives.

Read more about this amazing invention here.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

From the Ashes of Sorrow Come the Seeds of Comfort

"Spend any time with Australian businessman Bruce Hultgren and you're likely to find yourself in possession of a business card-sized piece of poetry with a gold-colored coin attached. The coin holds the raised image of a seated angel holding a dove.

Those cards and the messages they carry evolved from a moment of great sorrow in Hultgren's life. In 1999, his sister died unexpectedly, killed in an airplane crash. He realized that many people wanted to offer comfort but just didn't know what to say and as the bereaved, he might not have been ready to hear it yet. That understanding led to the beginnings of Pocket Angels, a lasting message of comfort to share with a bereaved individual."

Read more here.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Bob and Kathy Rawleigh - Making a New Path with a Song in Their Hearts

"Some new careers take special education, others take years of research. For Bob and Kathy Rawleigh, the road to a new career requires them to use the years of music ministry experience they've gained individually as well as together. This couple is moving their music out into the mainstream, even as they continue to minister in the sanctuary.

Bob has five CDs under his belt, recorded over the past decade. The first two offered contemporary Christian music. The third, "Filled with Love This Christmas," combined Christian and secular Christmas songs. "My Hope is Jesus," the fourth album, brought classic hymns into focus with new arrangements. The most recent, "Classic Songs for the Love of My Life," began as an anniversary gift to Kathy with a selection of American songs celebrating the joys of married love."

To read more about Bob and Kathy Rawleigh, click here.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Mike Owen of Crystal Basin Cellars, Camino, CA

"As founder, president and 'el jefe' of Crystal Basin Cellars, Mike Owen already wears many hats. He's not afraid to put on a few more as the need arises.

Located in Camino, CA in the Apple Hill region, CBC is a bit of an oddity. Think of it as a co-op gone public. A bunch of friends got together and started making wine for fun. They soon realized that they had more than they could drink themselves so they started sharing it and then selling it."

Click here to join the party at Crystal Basin Cellars.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Entrepreneur Aaron Snyder Shines the Light of Knowledge on the World of Information Technology

"By day, Aaron Snyder works full-time for an El Dorado County electronics manufacturing company. After hours, though, he becomes an entrepreneurial hero, riding to the rescue of computer users with problems."

Meet this enterprising young here.