Crystal Watanabe – A Testimonial to my Editor

I work with the philosophy that the reader is right. Not everything I write—not every word, phrase, or reference—makes the journey to the reader in the first draft, a test being that if I need to explain or justify my clause, then I have failed. As a teller of tales, my task is to convey a story in the clearest possible way, and Crystal Watanabe is an excellent partner in reaching that goal. Her technical prowess alone is a benefit to any manuscript, correcting the commas or those pesky sound alike words the word processors never catch. What I find surpasses her technical skill is her ability to ‘be the audience,’ the beta-reader, my litmus test for what works and what simply does not. Too many hours tapping keys in a void creates a world that is not always clear. Crystal brought polish to my work to ensure that I not only meant what I wrote, but that I wrote what I meant, and that I did so in a way that my intended audience would understand and enjoy. She did not alter my work, instead she asked questions, suggested phrasing, and offered alternative words more appropriate to my target audience, all while treating my work with the greatest respect.

She communicates easily and openly, pairs professionalism with a quirky frankness, and brings enthusiasm along with criticism. She is a true author’s friend.

I initially asked Crystal to leverage her skills to assist me in improving flow, clarity, and pacing, moving toward as polished and professional a work as possible. She has succeeded on multiple projects and I greatly anticipate working with her in the future.

If you’re interested in learning about Crystal and her work with other authors, as well as the fansites and, check out her portfolio, or to pick up a copy of her fabulous cookbook, Yum-Yum Bento Box, head to her site Adventures in Bento Making.

Reaching Best Seller Status

Reaching Best Seller Status or  is an online resource founded by author Melissa VanDover.  The site is composed of a highly informative blog that has tons of tips on successfully navigating the world of writing and publishing, whether through the traditional route or indie.  The site also has interviews with featured authors where they discuss what has worked (and not) on their path.
Recently Melissa interviewed me as a featured author on Reaching Best Seller Status (Author Interview: Daniel Arthur Smith).  The interview was a lot of fun.  She picked my brain and pulled out some great tidbits.  One of the themes she latched onto was the technique of writing weekly serials, expanding them to novels, and then in turn, continuing the series in further novels. She found the path to success so interesting she invited me to write a guest post to elaborate.  (Guest Post: Weekly Serial to Episodic Novel to Series).  As some Cameron Kincaid readers are aware, he first appeared at in a weekly serial before the novel was published and before appearing in The Somali Deception (and the upcoming Templar Force), so this is a topic close to my heart.  I was happy to put a guest post together and was doubly pleased to receive an extended comment from David VanDyke, author of the best selling Plague Wars series (and all around nice guy).

A note about my rapid speech in the interview. Here is what happened.  The interview came after a long day of driving back to Manhattan in bumper to bumper traffic with my 4 and 6 year old in the back seat.  I was exhausted, so I slammed a few coffee before she Skyped me from Denver – maybe not the best choice.