Ghostwriting Certificate Registration Finally Open

Part 1 of CSULB’s live, online Ghostwriting Professional Designation Program begins in just six weeks. Seating is limited, but with our new web interface, we can finally have more than six seats available.

For full details including dates, fees, and module descriptions, go to

I really hope to see you in class at t he end of next month!

Switch Gender

There you are, a man trying to write female characters or a woman trying to write men. How do you make them believable?

You can fall back on stereotypes. You can lift from your favorite book, TV, or movie characters. Or you can connect to the “other” in your own spirit.

Now, don’t get discouraged; I’m not going “airy-fairy” on you. I’m talking about reaching into the depths of your writer’s psyche and recognizing that you can, if you allow yourself to, get in touch with the opposite gender that resides in us all.

Very few people are all male or all female. Except for those few creatures who live on the extreme ends of the male-female spectrum that ranges from Sweet Young Thing to Manly Man, all women have at least some male sensibilities, just as all men have at least some female sensibilities. It’s only our fear of acknowledging and accepting those attributes that prevent us from having full access to our internal opposites.

Try it! Change your protagonist’s gender. See where it takes you. Don’t default to how you think the opposite gender would view the circumstances. Give yourself permission–as an artist, as a right-brained creator–to be the other gender, to experience the situation as someone with different sexual organs, thought processes, agendas, perspectives, and motivations, someone devoid of your own gender’s stereotypes, prejudices, and preconceptions.

Let me know what happens. Bet it nudges your creativity in ways you never thought possible…

MS Word for Writers

We all know it’s true: the book business defaults to Chicago Manual of Style and Microsoft Word. Isn’t it time you learned how to manipulate and master this most powerful and confounding word-processing program?

By popular demand, I’m teaching Microsoft Word for Writers twice next month: on the 9th and on the 23rd. Two  hours of step-by-step live instruction on the phone and via a web interface that works much better than anything I’ve tried before–two different services, but together they’re wonderful. Easy login, easy call-in, easy learning process to make your manuscript formatting, coding, and decoding…easy.

  • Prepare your manuscript for hard copy submissions
  • Prepare your manuscript for POD or offset printers
  • Prepare your manuscript for ebook conversion

I’m having trouble getting the registration button to appear here, so please sign up on my other blog:

Looking forward to seeing you in class!

What’s Going On

It occurred to me that an awful lot of things are going on around here in the background, and I haven’t shared any of it on my blog, which is, theoretically, where I’m suppose to share these sorts of things. So here I go, sharing.

In January, I stopped being a freelance ghostwriter and became the Founder/Creative Director of Wambtac Communications LLC, a one-stop literary shop. We ghostwrite, we educate, we publish. Sounds succinct, doesn’t it? It’s actually a bit more elaborate than that.

We–meaning myself, my partner (aka daughter) Lona Nicholle, our teachers Liv Haugland and JD Moore, and our current intern Teri Stevens–ghostwrite books for people who have wonderful ideas. We are implementing a rather elaborate (read “time consuming and costly”) marketing/advertising campaign to let literary agents, publishers, CEOs, and one-percenters know that we have a growing cadre of professional Certified Ghostwriters who will do an excellent job on their or their clients’ books. Our intention is to spread those clients among the members of the Ghostwriter Guild, which is still in development but will be comprise our graduates from Ghostwriter Certification Training.

We’re expanding GCT to a three-semester program: Nonfiction, Fiction, and Business, which includes the politics we cover in the class now plus a strong grounding in the book industry itself. Until then, we’re offering Level II classes in Line Editing, A&Rs, Book Proposals, and The Industry.

The idea of taking GCT into Cal State U Long Beach Extension Education is still being bantered around between the parties (them and us), but has not yet come to fruition. Obviously, eh?

Our consumer-ed classes (The Story in Your Head, What You Know, Writing Your Life, Before Copy Editing, etc.) are also in development. Discussions are ongoing with for some of those, but most are going to come from us at

The publishing part is semi-new. We’ve always been the ones to put out the four editions of This Business of Books (5th edition in the works) and Secrets of a Ghostwriter. Now we’re expanding to also publish other titles for writers, editors, and educators via On The List Publishing and general trade titles via Iridescent Orange Press. Our ebooks and multi-media products, such as MS Word for Writers, will be produced by Bad Walnut Media.

Sounds kinda ambitious, doesn’t i? It’s a great work-in-progress with a three-way mission: to help raise the literacy bar of the industry, one author at a time; to train/retrain displaced writers for lucrative ghostwriting careers; and to publish the good works they create if those authors cannot land a traditional New York publisher. We’ve got a fantastic operations director, Kata Schuyler, a great bookkeeper, Nyx Goldstone, a wonderful go-to assistant, Ben Picker, a good publicist, Devon Blaine, and an in-the-wings marketing guy who’s waiting for us to get our act (read $$) together. Which brings me to the logical wrap-up of this piece.

Every pitch session I’ve gone to lately insists one should always end on what one needs, so I’m sharing that, too. We’re a small, literacy-oriented organization, so of course we could use some seed money to launch these programs and products a bit faster. We’re also looking for a location so we can hold workshops and classes, and we could use a few extra pairs of volunteer’s hands around the office for our marketing campaigns.

Should I be putting all this in a blog post? Let’s be real: if I was the kind of person who worried about what I should and shouldn’t do, I wouldn’t be the kind of person of thought up such an elaborate scheme, brought three strangers into my house and made them family and now staff, or taught more than thirty people how to make a living ghostwriting for the absurd cost of approximately $8/hour for my time!

MS Word for Writers

I usually only teach this class to Ghostwriter Certification Training students, but with ebook conversions becoming more and more important, I’ve been asked to open it to the public.

Learn the difference between Microsoft Word formatting and coding, how to code your manuscript for professional-looking submissions, and how to decode your manuscript for easy conversion to ebooks.

Saturday, March 3, 2012
3-6 pm Pacific time
Online and on the phone

Limited space; first come, first served. Appropriate for all MS Word versions, PC or Mac.
Full disclosure: this teleclass/webinar is offered by Wambtac Communications, which is my company.