Tuesday, February 14, 2012

My Angel Story

Beyond Customer Service

One widow gets some unexpected comfort from a routine phone call.

By Patricia A. Punt Forest Hill, Maryland

Larry and I had been in love since 11th grade. “I’ll love you forever,” he said when we were married. Forever for us turned out to be 30 wonderful years. Now that Larry had passed away I was left spending my Valentine’s Day alone. I tried to keep myself busy with chores around the house, and called the utility company, where Larry had worked, to clear up an error on my bill. The customer service rep was efficient, and the problem was corrected in no time.“Mrs. Punt?” the rep said. “Are you related to Larry Punt?”“He was my husband.”“What a great guy. I’m sorry about your loss.” Hearing Larry’s name from this stranger was so unexpected I didn’t know what to say.“Larry always talked about you,” the man said, “and I’m glad you were sent to me when you called. It gave me a chance to remember an old friend.”The utility company had thousands of employees. What were the chances of being connected with someone who knew my husband? “Your words mean a lot,” I said. “Especially today.”“Today? Oh, of course. Happy Valentine’s Day!”I guess God wanted to make sure I knew that, on my special day, my husband wasn’t the only one who had promised to love me forever.

This article first appeared in Angels on Earth magazine.
To post a comment you need to be a member. ("Please enter your name.")

Beyond Customer ServiceJust read the story, and it reminded me of when I was working as a Home Health Aide. I sat with this lady nights, and on the way to her house this one night, I stopped at a Seven Eleven to pick up something, and happened to notice real roses being sold, so I bought one. When I knocked on the her door, this lady burst out in tears when I handed her the rose. She said, "I have been missing Charles so much today, and praying for a sign from him. He used to bring me red roses." How humbling to know that the Lord used me to bring comfort and encouragement to this dear lady.Posted By: Mary Stromnes2008-11-30 5:09 PM
Widow - ChristianIt means a great deal to hear your loved ones name - refreshes ones soul. It has been such a comfort to hear him ( my late husband ) mentioned at church by his former co-workers and Sunday school class. I love to hear his name. SPosted By: Shirley Ison2008-10-23 12:57 PM

Monday, March 9, 2009

Sole Proprietorship

I operate my business as a sole proprietorship and my speciality is developmental editing. My job is to provide guidance and guidelines for the beginning writer. I take the author's idea and help turn it into an interesting, well-written book, novel or memoir.

Before - Some authors come to me before they begin work on their first draft. I help them design a writing plan that will keep rewrites and revisions to a minium.

During - Other authors contact me during the writing process, often they're in the middle of the book and unsure which direction to take. I look at the idea and the organization of the events and I offer solutions on how to fix the problems.

After - Many authors have a rough first draft and no idea how to polish their prose. I'll read the book looking for holes and gaps and create a comprehensive plan for revision.

Unlike most developmental editors I edit on the page and prepare a multi-page Style Sheet. My speciality is the memoir.

Thursday, March 5, 2009


Ever read the acknowledgement page of a book or novel. Books do not belong to one person. Authors routinely thank their writing buddies, critique group members, agents, editors and family members for supporting their efforts on the road to publication.

Monday, March 2, 2009

"Boil It Down"

A good editor is endlessly curious ... isn't afraid to ask questions ... cares deeply about readers and writers ... deplores mediocrities ...
loves words ... is opinionated ... can be stubborn ... knows how to listen ... knows when to revise ... is reasonable ... and knows how to make good stock.

A couple of years into my writing career I was sitting across the desk from an older woman editor who was considering my magazine article. "You need to boil this down," she said glancing up. I'm fairly certain that my reply was swift and professional and something along the lines of, "huh?"

Before I left her office that afternoon I had a better understanding of how and why I needed to edit better. Using cooking as the analogy she explained that writing well was a lot like making good stock. Stock is an essential ingredient in many dishes and is made by reducing the liquid (usually water) that meat, seafood, or veg tables are cooked in. What is left is a flavorful broth or stock that can be used for making sauces, gravy, soups or stews. The better the stock, the better the dish. I also had a copy of the poem "Boil It Down."

Boil It Down
(Anonymous )

If you've got a thought that's happy,

Boil it down.

Make it short and crisp and snappy,

Boil it down.

When your brain its coin has minted,

Down the page your pen has sprinted,

If you want your effort printed,

Boil it down.

Take out every surplus letter,

Boil it down.

Fewer syllables the better,

Boil it down.

Make your meaning plain.

Express it so we'll know not merely guess it;

then my friend ere you address it,

Boil it down.

Cut out all the extra trimmings,

Boil it down.

Skim it well, then skim the skimmings,

Boil it down.

When you're sure 'twould be a sin to

Cut another sentence into, send it on, and we'll begin to,


Retrieved from "http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Boil_it_down"

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Writers have an obligation to write for readers. Readers have no obligation to read a poorly written book.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

What We Do

  • Writers write.

  • Editors review, rewrite, and offer comments and suggestions designed to improve the manuscript.

  • Readers read.

  • Editors love to read.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Write Now ... Edit Later

Writing and editing are two different skills and they require two different mind-sets. Don't try to do both at the same time.