Writing, Editing & Consulting

Those who write clearly have readers; those who write obscurely have commentators.
– Albert Camus

Crime fiction, personal essay, op-ed, and memoir writer; writing consultant; speaker; instructor; blogger; book reviewer; editor; and sometime actor.

Writing Services

Alien_Space_Alien_-_WritingYou can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.
– Jack London

Imagine you are sitting in front of your computer. All you can see is a blank screen. You wait for an idea to fall into your mind, but nothing hits you. Don’t give up. Instead, start writing about anything – the bad date from last evening, your mother-in-law, your precarious financial situation. Keep writing; do not stop. You will pick up some emotion, often anger. Go with the emotion and keep writing until you feel you have no more to write on the subject now. Then stop. Or set a timer for 15 minutes and write until the timer dings. Then stop.

You might just have something there for a future story – fiction or non-fiction. You will also have loosened up your creative juices and should be able to write without the blank screen problem.

I used to start with this freefall writing exercise at the beginning of my East End Writers’ Group gatherings. Sometimes I’d use a sound, sometimes a visual, sometimes a sentence such as “When I opened my front door, I saw…” After 10 or 15 minutes of writing, we would stop and some of the writers would read out their scribbles.

One  author was inspired to expand a free-fall writing exercise from a visual – an ugly witch’s head – into a short story. Then he wrote several more short stories, which became a book published by a small trade publisher.

You never know where it will lead. All because you took your momentary writer’s block beyond a blank screen.

Specialize in

Writing op-ed essays focusing on current social and  health issues, and the writing world. Writing personal essays or short memoir based on my childhood and personal life learning with a universal appeal, sometimes combining op-ed and personal essay. Blogs that are personal or career-based, often focusing on advice and tips. Book reviews for authors, and for print and online publications (novels, short story collections, memoir and biographies, self-help, new age, health, business). Writing crime fiction – the Beyond mystery series – short stories and novels.

A few examples of published writing

Coping and communicating through music

 by Sharon Crawford

copyright 2019 Sharon Crawford

There we sat, Mom and I, side by side on the piano bench. A mirror on the panel above the keyboard reflected our fingers, perched to perform. Deadly piano-playing duo? Not quite. You see, I had decided to teach Mom to play the piano. She was in her mid-50s; I was 13.

Perhaps a grade eight history-teaching project had infected me with the teaching bug. More likely it was connected to Dad’s second bout with cancer. At the hospital, the radiation had zapped his tumor. Now he was back home and had returned to work, but Mom and I were left with the aftermath of his life/death ordeal. We needed a diversion to keep us sane in this sudden change to supposedly safe routine. Besides, my music credentials were impeccable — five years of learning Bach, Beethoven, and Chopin on our pink Roxatone-coated piano.

Read the rest at Smart Set

Book Review for a publication

Really Dead, by J. B. Forman. Quill & Quire, December 2013

Book Review for the author

In the Shadow of the Conquistador, by Shane Joseph on Goodreads, October 2015

My blogs

Career-oriented (writing fiction and marketing books)

Editing & Consulting Services

11949839942140777322scissors.svg.thumbEditing your own work is like removing your own tonsils – possible, but very painful
– Anonymous

All of us who write need a good editor. That is someone other than yourself, your sibling, your mother, your spouse or partner, your friends, your dog. Think about this for a minute. You are too close to your writing to be objective. Compare it to being in a tunnel because often you have tunnel-vision about your work. To you it appears as great or dreadful, whether the whole or in part. Or sometimes you have the insight to realize something isn’t working. So you have to call in the expert – another pair of eyes, preferably someone you don’t know and who doesn’t know you, preferably someone who has editing skills. Familiarity breeds contempt, but it can also breed praise no matter what the state of the writing.

True, I sit on both sides of the fence – writing and editing. Maybe some of you do, too. The key here is to compartmentalize. When you are writing, put your editor to sleep, and get someone else to do the editing. When you are editing, it better be someone else’s  manuscript. This doesn’t mean you never rewrite your own manuscript.

And that’s how I operate.

Specialize in

Working one-on-one with authors including: tutoring, manuscript evaluation of book-length or novella-length manuscripts, short stories (including collections), personal essays and opinion pieces, newsletters, blogs, book proposals, query letters, providing marketing advice.  Copy editing for the shorter pieces listed above. Welcome new clients.

Areas covered

Fiction – mystery, science fiction, fantasy, horror, suspense, romance, commercial, literary, young adult.

Non-fiction – biographies, memoirs, essays, health (alternative and mainstream), crime, business, and humour.

A few samples of clients published writing

Copy editing  – Fiction:

Rene Natan  aka Irene Gargantini Strybosch –

The Blackpox Threat (Old Line Publishing, 2010)

Manuscript Evaluation

Klaus Jakelski

Dead Wrong (Blue Denim Press, 2014)

Copy editing – Non-fiction

Lynda Freeman

Heartbeats: true stories of love (print copy January, 2015)

Claudette Alexander

Memoir: Sunrise from an Icy Heart (Sabu Press, 2014)

What Some Clients and Colleagues Say

Thank you for your editing and guidance with my story “Sajida’s Judgment.” And not least, thank you for suggesting I enter it in the Toronto Star’s Short Story Contest 2007. The story took third place. That’s really gratifying.
Kurt D. Lynn
Toronto, Canada

The articles, which you wrote for the Newsletter, were enjoyed by all, especially the interviews of club members, which were a new feature which you introduced. You did an excellent job of both editing and redesigning our Club Newsletter.
Sheila Middleton, Past President
Aurora-Newmarket University Women’s Club


Charge by the page, hourly, or by the project. Package deals available as well as individual jobs.

Method of Payment

Cash, cheque, Interac email transfer, PayPal (note with PayPal there is a 10% surcharge to cover PayPal’s fee for transferring money to my account).

Bob with Sharon Crawford
Sharon at a networking event