Creating Story:
Many Voices, Many Ways

[cursor over each section to activate colorization . . .
read each author's note about the editorial-process experience
and my editorial notes about each project]

SoulBreaths Blog

SPIRITUAL BLOG: D'VORAH     NOTES

EDITOR'S NOTE: In progress . . . not quite ready for prime time players.

BLOG THEME: SoulBreaths. Soul stories. Frequent flashes of light that pierce the deepest darkness. Split seconds where the soul intersects the natural and encounters divine revelation. Fan the flame of your soul journey, delving deeper, pushing higher. Standing on a bridge between Judaic and messianic thought. Sometimes as a tightrope walker. A trapeze artist. Reflecting. Respecting. Reascending.

AUTHOR'S LINK

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Legacy [Double-Gold Awards]

Prophecy, Revelation, AWOL

[Legacy Series]

YA DYSTOPIAN FICTION: ELLERY A. KANE     NOTES

EDITOR'S NOTE: She was a first-time author with a smart story and gotta-love-'em characters. And so our author-editor partnership began, from developmental editing to book editing (line editing and copyediting). By the end, kick-butt author Ellery A. Kane (foresenic psychologist by day) had knocked it out of the park, going double gold. IPPY Gold Award, YA category, e-book. Gold medal in the Wishing Shelf Independent Book Awards (teenage division).

Legacy—the first book in the three-book series (followed by Prophecy, Revelation, and the prequel, AWOL)— transports readers into a world where rebels, acceptable emotionally-altering drugs, and a Guardian Force collide. Oh, how amazing is Augustus, a deliciously evil character you love to hate.

AUTHOR'S NOTE ON HER EDITORIAL-PROCESS EXPERIENCE: “I’ve been fortunate to receive several awards for Legacy, and I credit Ann for much of that success. Throughout our work together, I’ve come to realize that the best part of working with a great editor is becoming a better writer. And I’ve been fortunate to watch my skills grow with each book.”

STORY LINE: San Francisco is deserted, the Bay Bridge bombed, and the BART subway trains grounded. The Guardians, members of an elite and mysterious government-appointed military police force, are maintaining order at all costs—thanks to emotion-altering drugs like Emovere that suppress fear and anxiety. Lex Knightley, daughter of a prominent forensic psychiatrist, risks entering the devastated city to partner with the Resistance, a group of rebels intent upon exposing the dangers of Emovere. Lex discovers an ally in Quin McAllister, a magnetic Guardian Force recruit with a haunting past that binds them together. As she uncovers the secrets of the Guardian Force and confronts the truth about her family, Lex begins to realize that even those closest to her are not quite who they seem.

AUTHOR'S LINK

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Squat and Cough

FICTION INSPIRED BY A TRUE STORY: JENNIFER PIPER     NOTES

EDITOR'S NOTE: Journeying beside an author is a wondrous adventure—listening to the writer's heart share the story idea and vision, then joining hands to make it come alive, from developmental editing to breathe strength and life into the tensions and characters to other book editing levels for a final polish. Such was this project—Squat and Cough by new author Jennifer Piper—inspired by a true story with an occasional liberty for plot and movement. We not only worked on the manuscript, but the synopsis for a literary agent.

Jennifer's quiet strength and attention to the details in life we take for granted seep through the narrative. She takes us on a revealing and sometimes jolting ride behind the scenes of the female prison system . . . from the eyes of an everyday, law-abiding twenty-something who unknowingly becomes part of her boss's embezzlement scheme.

AUTHOR'S NOTE ON HER EDITORIAL-PROCESS EXPERIENCE: "For ten years I thought about writing this book, but my own demons were too fierce to face. Finally, one NaNoWriMo, I sat down and wrote a SFD (Shitty First Draft). Wrung out from the writing process, I waited until March 2018 to begin the search for an editor.

In an amazing interconnectedness of coincidence, the universe sent Ann Castro, a beautiful soul who quickly became my friend in addition to my editor. We worked together for months to turn my SFD into a novel worthy of readers.

Thank you, Ann, for always being so kind and guiding."

STORY LINE: A lie got her into prison—now only a lie can get her out. Liv Light is a planner, upright, nose-to-the-grindstone young woman. But when a supervisor forges Liv’s name, nothing is the same. Game players at work, a rip-off lawyer, an irresponsible boyfriend, and a judge with an axe to grind push Liv’s life into unchartered territory—prison and pregnant.

AUTHOR'S LINK

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Orphan Dreamer: The Glass Tattoo

[Orphan Dreamer Saga]

YA FANTASY NOVEL: J. NELL BROWN     NOTES

EDITOR'S NOTE: As book editor and Judaic consultant for J. Nell Brown's novel—The Orphan Dreamer: The Glass Tattoo—I journeyed with the author's characters through an amazing story, crossing broad time eras, difficult (and sometimes disturbing) life encounters, cultural divides, and spiritual dimensions. The story is solid; the message impactful. It gets into your heart and causes you to evaluate your thoughts on human relations, race, individual purpose/destiny, and spiritual issues.

AUTHOR'S NOTES ON HER EDITORIAL-PROCESS EXPERIENCE: “I like how you interact with me for the edit. Amazing job! Thanks for agreeing to let me consult with you for all things ancient Hebrew and Judaic.”

“Absolutely perfect as always.”

“Beautiful edits. Thanks so much. I appreciate both you and Emily [our proofer who uses a keen editorial eye].”

STORY LINE: Quirky school girl Danny Rose navigates mean girls in her neighborhood while secretly time—traveling into exotic worlds of the past and future, searching for clues required to solve ancient puzzles that will be the key to saving her enemies from a dark force that seeks to eradicate humans and inhabit Earth.

AUTHOR'S LINK

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Go Face Yourself: A Healing Journey

Reclaiming Your Core: Restoring the Foundations of Faith

NONFICTION/SPIRITUAL: LUKE L. LAFFIN     NOTES

EDITOR'S NOTE: Two spiritually dynamic books. It takes courage to write honestly, transparently. Yet, that's what Luke L. Laffin does. He pulls back the mask and exposes some serious soul-digging.

Go Face Yourself: A Healing Journey is based on his walk with G-d toward a deeper truth within. It was an honor to perform a developmental editing/line editing fusion (with a copyedit) on this important, life-transforming book—as well as on his foundational book, Reclaiming Your Core: Restoring the Foundations of Faith.

AUTHOR'S NOTE ON HIS EDITORIAL-PROCESS EXPERIENCE: “To Ann Castro, my developmental editor and Judaic/creative consultant. Thank you for your support and encouragement through this whole process. Thank you for challenging me to dig deeper . . . Your help in sorting through the content and structure of this manuscript has been indispensable. Without your guidance and direction, this work would not be what it is today. I’m eternally grateful.”

BOOK'S PREMISE: Go Face Yourself: A Healing Journey. A tremendous strength comes from looking beyond pain and adversity into the realm of heaven—seeing God’s hand in the events and circumstances of your life. Yet in today’s culture, most of us do just the opposite. We go to great lengths to avoid pain and discomfort—severing ourselves from whatever drags us down. We count trials as the result of not working hard enough and tragedy as punishment. Sometimes, even undeserved punishment. Hardships become our proof of a failed, unsuccessful life. This book sets out to debunk those cultural lies so you can be freed.

BOOK'S PREMISE: Reclaiming Your Core: Restoring the Foundations of Faith is a good companion book to Go Face Yourself. Why? Because sometimes you need to hit reboot. Working as developmental editor, book editor (line editing and copyediting), and Judaic consultant for Luke L. Laffin's first book was a spiritual drink of fresh water. His passion is evident from the start as he works through the fundamentals, teaching readers how to strip away the excess and get their souls spiritually fit again.

AUTHOR'S LINK

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Blues, Preludes & Feuds:
A Musical Memory

MEMOIR-ALBUM HYBRID: PETER SALTZMAN     NOTES



EDITOR'S NOTE: C-r-e-a-t-i-v-e. Peter Saltzman. Jazz composer, pianist, singer-songwriter—his music hailed as "powerful stuff, richly layered, brilliant, imaginative." His memoir—Blues, Preludes & Feuds.

I loved working on this out-of-the-box project (future segments to do) and hearing the sometimes funny-sometimes thought-provoking backstories that needed to be brought forward. My part started with developmental editing (with intermittent author interviews) to flesh out the narrative with an editorial style that mirrored Peter's poetical mindset. That was followed by book editing and then my writing and/or developmentally editing marketing pieces (a PR, promo content/one-sheets, site pages).

Kudos to Peter—the first segment of his project received “wonderfully unique” reviews.

AUTHOR'S NOTE ON HIS EDITORIAL-PROCESS EXPERIENCE: "Ann, working with you was a great experience for me, and you're always in my head when I'm writing. Always."

STORY LINE: Saltzman traverses his early years in a Jewish-American home during the politically charged times of 1960s Chicago to becoming a budding teenage jazz musician and then a composer whose works are performed and recorded globally.

Blues, Preludes & Feuds—is a dynamic hybrid, an album-ebook concept with Peter's solo piano compositions seamlessly blending with the narrative for an innovative reader-listener experience (customized app or online). The reader can listen to the music while reading, turn off the music, or simply listen to the music.

READ A TEASER: First segment released but app part paused. Read online, listen to the music, or buy it. Follow link, click "read teaser," click bottom-right arrows. My favorite excerpt—Middle C is Not.

AUTHOR'S LINK

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Daddy Darkest

[Doctors of Darkness Series]

PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLER: ELLERY A. KANE     NOTES

EDITOR'S NOTE: After developmental editing and book editing (line editing and copyediting) several of author Ellery A. Kane's YA books, I was excited about where she was headed next: adult psychological thrillers. It made sense, given her day job as a forensic psychologist (evaluating violent crimes and treating victims) and the fact she was one of ten semifinalists in the MasterClass James Patterson Co-Author Competition.

Empathy for the human condition is entrenched in Kane—along with the understanding that "hearing a person's story is different from reading their headlines." The first in the Doctors of Darkness series—Daddy Darkest—eerily opens a window into the mind while touching on sensitive and uncomfortable issues inundating our culture.

AUTHOR'S NOTE ON HER EDITORIAL-PROCESS EXPERIENCE: "Daddy Darkest would not be so deliciously dark without the talents of the amazing AnnCastroStudio team: Ann Castro [developmental editing, line editing, copyediting, manuscript evaluation] and Emily Dings [proofing via an editorial lens].”

STORY LINE: Small-town-girl Samantha "Sam" Bronwyn boards a plane with her best friend, Ginny. Destination: San Francisco. But when Ginny disappears inside an airport bathroom wearing Sam's letterman jacket, it doesn't take Sam long to figure out she was the intended target. Now she's drawn into a dark past she never knew existed—where secrets aren't all that's buried and revenge comes at the highest price.

AUTHOR'S LINK

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The Hanging Tree

[Doctors of Darkness Series]

PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLER: ELLERY A. KANE     NOTES

EDITOR'S NOTE: People's lives are fractured—and their minds can get caught in the cross fire. That's what makes developmental editing and book editing (line editing with copyediting) for author-forensic psychologist Ellery A. Kane's latest series a wild ride. Her day job? Evaluating violent crime and treating trauma victims. No wonder her stories stir your head and cause you to reflect on the human psyche. Kane became one of ten semifinalists in the MasterClass James Patterson Co-Author Competition.

The Hanging Tree—book two of her adult psychological thriller series, Doctors of Darkness—is written with two POVs to keep the momentum going for a gripping, page-turning read.

AUTHOR'S NOTE ON HER EDITORIAL-PROCESS EXPERIENCE: "Once again, I owe an immense debt of gratitude to the AnnCastro Studio team—Ann Castro [developmental editing, line editing, copyediting, manuscript evaluation] and Emily Dings [proofing via an editorial eye]. Ladies, your work is invaluable!"

STORY LINE: On her thirteenth birthday, newly orphaned Evie witnesses a brutal attack at the hanging tree. Her best friend died that night—she's sure of it. But there's no body, no crime scene, no witnesses. Twenty-three years later, the whole night is still a blur. The murderer, a faceless, nameless man. When another body turns up at the hanging tree—a girl, strangled—Evie is certain her lost memory holds the key.

AUTHOR'S LINK

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The First Cut

[Doctors of Darkness Series]

PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLER: ELLERY A. KANE     NOTES

EDITOR'S NOTE: Just how far off the ethical trail can a psychologist go? Pretty far, apparently. Author-forensic psychologist Ellery A. Kane's latest creative work pulls back the curtain on one such doc who falls down the proverbial rabbit hole, taking a slew of people with her. Editorially, this was a great project to do, from the developmental edit evaluation to the line edit and copyedit/proof. Kane reached a new writing plateau with this book—it was original and sharp with a new voice and style. Via her previous work, she'd become one of ten semifinalists in the MasterClass James Patterson Co-Author Competition.

The First Cut—book three of her adult psychological thriller series, Doctors of Darkness—is written with a first-person present tense and a third-person limited past tense, which bolsters the storytelling.

AUTHOR'S NOTE ON HER EDITORIAL-PROCESS EXPERIENCE: "AnnCastro Studio provided all editing services for The First Cut, including Ann Castro's developmental editing, line editing, and manuscript evaluation and Emily Ding's proofing. Their work has contributed immensely to my growth as a writer, and I am tremendously grateful."

STORY LINE: When “Love Doctors” Ian and Kate Culpepper are brutally murdered in their Carmel mansion on Valentine’s Day, Ava knows it’s karma. Because Ian’s leaving her for perfect Kate four years ago had cut her bone deep. And then they had the nerve to show up here, on her turf. With their perfect house and their perfect daughter and their matching perfect smiles. It’s no wonder Ava can’t stop watching. It’s no wonder she can’t let go.

AUTHOR'S LINK

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HouseGuest

[Prequel to Orphan Dreamer Saga]

YA FANTASY SHORT STORY: J. NELL BROWN     NOTES

EDITOR'S NOTE: Weaving the historic within spiritual fantasy makes for a fun yet thoughtful read. What makes it better? Having the privilege of working with the author, J. Nell Brown. Performing developmental editing, book editing (line edit with a copyedit), and Judaic consulting on this short story—"HouseGuest"—was a b-l-a-s-t. I mean, a dark force involved in an intricate plan for world domination, making deals with a middle-schooler—that's interesting stuff. It's the prequel to the author's compelling Orphan Dreamer saga.

AUTHOR'S NOTES ON HER EDITORIAL-PROCESS EXPERIENCE: “I like how you interact with me for the edit. Amazing job! Thanks for agreeing to let me consult with you for all things ancient Hebrew and Judaic.”

“Absolutely perfect as always.”

“Beautiful edits. Thanks so much. I appreciate both you and Emily [our proofer who uses a keen editorial eye].”

STORY LINE: Only a year ago, a Jewish family, the Bushcrofts, escaped Nazi Germany. The date is December 11, 1941. Asher Bushcroft is twelve-years-old, short, and a social outcast. His sister, Natalia, is sixteen, breathtaking, a gifted violinist, and dancer. They are inseparable, or so it seems. But every villain has a beginning, and Asher's villainous beginning starts on the same day that the US enters World War II. Asher barters with a dark force named Nomed to win the affections of a popular girl at school.

AUTHOR'S LINK

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Orphan Dreamer and the Missing Arrowhead [novelette]

She Laughs Last [short story]

[Orphan Dreamer Saga]

YA FANTASY NOVEL: J. NELL BROWN     NOTES

EDITOR'S NOTE: J. Nell Brown widens her Orphan Dream saga with this insightful novelette and short story. Her storytelling weaves a rich fabric of human angst and real spiritual forces. Although the novelette is written for a YA audience, readers of all ages will be pulled into the characters and story. Her "She Laughs Last" short story will especially resonate with young women, mothers, and grandmothers. I was thrilled to once again work with J. Nell and lend an editorial hand with these, whether developmental editing. line editing, or copyediting.

AUTHOR'S NOTES ON HER EDITORIAL-PROCESS EXPERIENCES: “I like how you interact with me for the edit. Amazing job! Thanks for agreeing to let me consult with you for all things ancient Hebrew and Judaic.”

“Absolutely perfect as always.”

“Beautiful edits. Thanks so much. I appreciate both you and Emily [our proofer who uses a keen editorial eye].”

STORY LINES: Orphan Dreamer and the Missing Arrowhead. Daniela Rose Cavanaugh is a naive, awkward girl born into a close-knit African-American family in the South. She longs to overcome the poverty, isolation, self-doubt, and prejudice in her life, find her kindred spirit, and become the youngest medical doctor in America. But while Danny struggles with the mean girls at school and a sick father at home, Earth sits in the crosshairs of a sinister force. But God has chosen Danny as the one who must warn humanity of the impending apocalypse.

"She Laughs Last" reveals the backstory of Daniel's birth—and her strong lineage. North Carolina farm owner Gertrude Smith had dreamed of leaving a legacy—raise hardworking and socially conscious children that would parent her grandchildren to grow up into young people that could change the world for the better. But hope faded when her unmarried son died tragically in the racially charged 1960s—then completely vanished when her only surviving child, a daughter, remained childless for twenty years. That is, until Gertrude received a phone call from her forty-year-old daughter.

AUTHOR'S LINK

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A Generation of Lighted Evergreens

[Companion to Orphan Dreamer Saga]

YA FANTASY SHORT STORY: J. NELL BROWN     NOTES



EDITOR'S NOTE:Once again, I worked as developmental editor and book editor (line editing with copyediting) for J. Nell Brown—anesthesiologist by day, author the rest of the time. Her sweet, close-to-the-bone short story, "A Generation of Lighted Evergreens," is a companion to her powerful Orphan Dreamer saga.

AUTHOR'S NOTES ON HER EDITORIAL-PROCESS EXPERIENCE: “I like how you interact with me for the edit. Amazing job! Thanks for agreeing to let me consult with you for all things ancient Hebrew and Judaic.”

“Absolutely perfect as always.”

“Beautiful edits. Thanks so much. I appreciate both you and Emily [our proofer who uses a keen editorial eye].”

STORY LINE: "If love’s a fish, she must be a pink salmon, swimmin’ up a cold water creek—troubled, tryin’ somethin’ mighty to find her intended." Austin’s journey for love begins. It’s 1967; Austin is a simple American man—hardworking, loving, and faithful. Hands calloused, he works a cutlass in sugar cane fields in Belle Glade Florida. Mind elsewhere, he’s lost in dream world as he desires to discover his life’s purpose and find his pink salmon swimmin’ up a cold water creek, troubled, tryin' somethin' mighty to find her intended—a metaphor that Austin equates with love.

AUTHOR'S LINK

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The Search for Macadamia [YA portal fantasy]

Madi's Story [YA action thriller, 16+]

YA PORTAL FANTASY & YA ACTION THRILLER: STEVEN M. JOHNSON     NOTES



EDITOR'S NOTE: I'm in the throes of developmental editing both novels . . . and it's totally a f-u-n ride. Steven M. Johnson has created a unique mashup: diversity, exotic locations, and a young boy's altered state of reality. On the flip side, his YA novel for more mature YA readers on up reveals the chillingly real inside scoop of that youngster's tale.

AUTHOR'S NOTES ON HIS EDITORIAL-PROCESS EXPERIENCE: “Your assessment [manuscript evaluations] is amazing and I'm totally in your hands going forward. I loved reading your thoughtful, insightful expertise. I found the [manuscript] evaluation energizing. A lot of work to do, but I'm excited to do it."

Regarding developmental edits/line edits on his horror short story: "Our back-and-forth in the comments has been enlightening in many areas—character development, show don't tell, grammar, etc."

STORY LINES: Mum's the word for now. Once we're through with all editorial and proofing phases and the author gives the green light, we'll fill you in.

WAIT FOR AUTHOR'S LINK

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THE AMERICAN WAY [video script & e-book]

THE INSTRUMENT OF YOUR HAPPINESS [self-help]

VIDEO SCRIPT/E-BOOK & a SELF-HELP BOOK: CINCINNATUS HIBBARD     NOTES



EDITOR'S NOTE: Cincinnatus Hibbard makes me smile. His creative freedom and passion for his causes are admirable. I've had the joy of developmental editing/line editing some of his creative work: a video script with its companion e-book—as well as his self-help manuscript (still in editorial process) that helps readers get refocused and energized, discovering their instrument of happiness.

AUTHOR'S NOTE ON HIS EDITORIAL-PROCESS EXPERIENCE: "Ann, I always encounter the warmth of your approach as of a zephyr. Admirably straightforward."

SCRIPT'S & SELF-HELP BOOK'S PREMISES: The American Way strikes a political chord for national unity. Its authority is democratic, derived from the people—specifically from forty interviews with forty Americans representing forty different Americas.

The Instrument of Your Happiness is a blend of narrative and a script—giving the reader a journey into the mental and perceptual discipline of emotional control.

AUTHOR'S LINK

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My Lemonade Life: A Memoir of Living with Love, Laughter, and Now . . . Cancer

MEMOIR: PAUL S. BODNER     NOTES



EDITOR'S NOTE: I'm grateful for having had this special mission, developmentally editing, book editing, and substantive editing (writing some parts of) a memoir project for my colleague, author-client, and friend, Paul Bodner, aka "Mr. Lemonade."

The joy was getting this book completed, printed, and in his hands (and to others) before Paul's heavenly departure. Memories of our project lunches, phone calls, emails to flesh out his story—all with Paul's signature laugh-out-loud moments—remain a treasure.

AUTHOR'S NOTE ON HIS EDITORIAL-PROCESS EXPERIENCE: "To my developmental editor, Ann Castro: Her spirit and talent are mixed into a wonderful combination that made this project happen and become so special."

STORY LINE: Refreshing, soul-quenching, poignant. Bodner walks us through his life with thoughtful, sometimes-tender-sometimes-funny stories—from growing up in Teaneck, New Jersey to youth counselor at the Jewish Community Center in Washington, DC, military service, acting gig on Archie Bunker’s Place, his Las Vegas move, and reconnecting with his first love, Ellen. His stories offer us a new lens on this path we call life as he battles his own giant, stage 4 non-smoker's lung cancer. His life motto? "We all have lemons in our lives . . . it's up to us to squeeze them into lemonade."

AUTHOR'S LINK

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