Writing as Therapy: Sci-Fi Romance TICEES (Book 2 of RIBUS 7) Now Available

Ribus Shae MillsI shared my excitement last fall over a sci-fi/romance manuscript I was lucky enough to proofread. RIBUS 7 by Shae Mills was a dream project from an editor’s point of view—a compelling story that had been revised and professionally edited, revised again, edited again, and was ready for proofreading before publication.

You can imagine my excitement when Shae wrote to tell me Book 2, TICEES, would soon be ready for proofreading. Like the rest of Shae’s fans, I was dying to know what happened next to Chelan and her alien men!

RIBUS 7 and TICEES were originally one huge manuscript (written to stave off postpartum depression; more on that below), so TICEES picks up right where RIBUS 7 left off. It continues with Chelan pitted against the Iceanean culture—her values and desires versus theirs. Where RIBUS 7 explored Chelan’s internal struggles and touched subtly on such topics as abuse, PTSD, and Stockholm syndrome,  Continue reading “Writing as Therapy: Sci-Fi Romance TICEES (Book 2 of RIBUS 7) Now Available”

Writing Through Postpartum Depression: Interview with Shae Mills, Author of Sci-Fi/Romance RIBUS 7

Shae Mills Writing through postpartum depressionIn my last post, I shared my excitement over a sci-fi/romance manuscript I was lucky enough to proofread a few months ago. RIBUS 7 by Shae Mills was a dream project from an editor’s point of view—a compelling story that has been revised and professionally edited, revised again, edited again, and was ready for proofreading before publication.

(Learn more about RIBUS 7 here)

In her first email to me, the author explained that she’d been working on her story for many years. That got me to thinking about everything a writer goes through to turn the spark of an idea into a concept for a book series, which got me to wondering about Shae Mills in particular: where did the idea for RIBUS 7 come from? How did she create the world her characters inhabit? Is her main character, Chelan, autobiographical in any way?

I decided to ask Shae Mills some of those questions; her answers may surprise you.


Candace: Thank you for agreeing to share some behind-the-scenes info with us, Shae. Where did the idea for this book and the series come from?

Shae: I have no idea to this day. I was an only child raised in remote locations, so I only had myself for company. I therefore developed a fertile imagination from a very young age.

Fast forward to my late twenties when my life was changed drastically by the birth of my first son. At some point as I mentioned above, I was sucked into the depths of crippling postpartum depression, and I had no idea what was happening to me. All I knew was that the world I had built for myself was crumpling around me, and I was powerless. But I told no one of my mental decline. I didn’t want to appear weak. No one had any idea of the distress I was in.

When my days began to revolve around planning a permanent way out, I knew I needed help. I finally confided in a dear friend and university colleague that I was losing it. He shocked me by admitting to also having issues with depression, and he told me that I should try writing. At that suggestion, I laughed for the first time in nearly a year. I had almost failed my first year English course—why would I write? Continue reading “Writing Through Postpartum Depression: Interview with Shae Mills, Author of Sci-Fi/Romance RIBUS 7”

Join Me at "Her Headache" for a Guest Post About Becoming a Freelance Editor

Becoming a Freelance EditorI recently met author Kerry Kijewski when she visited my Facebook page, and she was kind enough to invite me to guest blog at Her Headache. I invite you to join me there to learn a few never-before-shared tidbits about becoming a freelance editor and my personal philosophies. You’ll read about my involvement with the Chicken Soup for the Soul franchise, how I began working in the editing field, why I left traditional publishing, and how I’ve dealt with, er, “difficult” authors.

How I began working in the editing field and why I left traditional publishing. #editing… Click To Tweet

Here’s a preview:

Most of the posts on my own blog are for writers about the writing and publishing, so I was pleasantly surprised when Kerry invited me to guest blog and answer some personal questions. While I’ve written about myself in terms of my work as a professional editor (as in this post), I haven’t written too much about my background or my personal philosophies. Kerry asked some great questions, so here goes:  

“I read something on your website about your involvement with the Chicken Soup for the Soul books. I used to love those when I was a kid and always dreamed of writing something and having it published in those. What was your role?”

Like most people, I’d heard of the Chicken Soup for the Soul franchise, so when I applied for an internship with their book publisher, I looked forward to learning more about anthologies in general and those books in particular. You can imagine my thrill when I was invited by to try my hand at writing back cover copy and catalog copy for several of the books in production that season—and my greater thrill when most of my copy was used!

During my internship, I tried my hand at many publishing tasks and found I was a pretty good proofreader. At first, I only did second proofs; a more experienced proofreader did the first proof pass, and I was the “clean-up” proofreader. After I finished my internship and graduated, I continued to work as a freelance proofreader for a year before I was offered a position with the same publisher as assistant to the managing editor. Over the course of those several seasons, I proofread several more Chicken Soup books as well as many others.

Several years later, the franchise was sold, and the publisher I worked for was no longer involved, but the editorial director recognized the popularity of anthologies (A Cup of Comfort was a popular, competing series) and lobbied for creating a series to replace Chicken Soup. That series became the Ultimate Books, and I was tapped to be the project manager for one of the first titles in the series, The Ultimate Teacher. Working on that first project was the epitome of trial by fire; I learned so much from putting that anthology together.

I continued to build on those skills over the next few years as I worked on several more titles in the Ultimate series and later began acquiring my own nonfiction list. The variety of jobs I handled and the skills I learned is quite varied, so I’ll save that discussion for another post, but suffice it to say I had quite an in-depth education.

“When did you start your own editing business and what made you want to try going out on your own?”

My passion has always been working with writers and their words, and sadly, the economics of traditional publishing caused my job to morph into something that left me little time to do that. My days were spent on many things other than editing, and I grew more and more frustrated.

I finally realized that if things were going to change, I would have to be the one to change them.

So I did, and I’ve never looked back. Was it scary? Yes, it was. But in hindsight, I only have one regret: I wish I’d done it sooner. Becoming a freelance editor and writer is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

Finish reading the full interview here.

If you enjoyed reading this, please subscribe to my blog and never miss a post! It’s easy: Just enter your email address on the right side of this page. And please know that I’ll never sell, share, or rent your contact information—that’s a promise!

Candace Johnson is a professional freelance editor, proofreader, writer, ghostwriter, and writing coach who has worked with traditional publishers, self-published authors, and independent book packagers on nonfiction subjects ranging from memoirs to alternative medical treatments to self-help, and on fiction ranging from romance to paranormal. As an editorial specialist, Candace is passionate about offering her clients the opportunity to take their work to the next level. She believes in maintaining an author’s unique voice while helping him or her create and polish every sentence to make it the best it can be. Learn more here.



Manuscript Editing Demystified

I was invited by Shonda Brock, author of the paranormal romance Eternal Traces, to help demystify the editing process for new authors as well as to share some tips on how to edit your book and how to find the right professional editor.

Shonda asked some great questions; here’s one with my answer as a sneak peek, and then I invite you to jump over to The Paranormal Blog and read the rest.

What do you find are the most common mistakes writers make? Most writers fall into a pattern of error that they aren’t even aware of. When we don’t know we are doing something incorrectly, we just keep repeating the same mistake. If you have a tendency to use dangling modifiers, for example, you probably use them quite frequently. The same can be said for comma splices, run-on sentences, and of course, punctuation, which is almost everyone’s Achilles heel. I was the queen of semicolons before I learned how to use them correctly!

Shonda asked some great questions, including “What are your thoughts on authors using beta readers before sending a manuscript to a professional editor?” and “How much can a writer expect to spend to have an average length novel professionally edited?”, so please head over to The Paranormal Blog to learn more, and don’t forget to check out Shonda’s paranormal romance Eternal Traces!

Thanks for stopping by, and happy writing!


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5 Reasons Why You MUST Hire a Proofreader: My Guest Blog at The Life of a Thinker

Today you’ll find my guest blog, “5 Reasons Why You MUST Hire a Proofreader,” at The Life of a Thinker. I hope you’ll check it out here. A huge thank you to Liam for inviting me to guest post on his site, and I encourage you to read some of his other blog posts—he writes on an eclectic mix of topics.


There is an ongoing debate in the world of independent publishing about the need (or not) to hire a professional proofreader before approving your book for print. Some authors wouldn’t consider pushing “send” without first hiring at least one set of professional eyes, but it seems like many more still have a difficult time justifying the expense. I’m going to show you five reasons why the second group is wrong. Read more . . .