Some time ago a group of writer friends have been wondering aloud about ghostwriting, debating and speculating. Author friend Karen Cole kindly shares her life as a ghost author in this blog.


What’s it like to be a Ghost Writer? ©

By Karen Cole


Well, it can be hard to talk about, for one thing. When I work with famous people, they generally want all the credit for their work, so I can’t really discuss their names with other people. Recently, however, I have worked with a Holocaust survivor of ten different internment camps, who is going on a national book tour to sell his book, and the daughter of the FBI agent who caught Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassin, James Earl Ray.

One of the figures in that book, known as “the Dallas Duplicator,” was possibly the infamous Blonde Man of Dealey Plaza, who picked up one of the bullets that killed President Kennedy – he was also the FBI agent who arrested Lee Harvey Oswald in the Dallas movie theater. The Duplicator, however, refuses to admit that he was the Blonde Man, although he was in Dallas at the time. I’ve worked on projects involving the Mafia, which I can’t go on about at length, and the CIA – involving murders. And I worked on a book project concerning the infamous murder case where Amber Frey testified against the killer.

So I have dealt with some interesting people, such as a real life Nazi from the original party, some film stars (Nicholas Cage, Prince, Fabio) several makers of motion pictures, some famous book authors, and lots of book publishers and literary agents, as well as music industry moguls and top recording executives. But I can’t talk a lot about any of these people – I’m supposed to be purely a background figure, and to not release a lot of information about my clients or even about my business contacts – just enough about them to let the public know that I deal with them.

Anyway, I only work on commission for select book authors and screenwriters. They have to have a publisher literally all lined up, or a movie studio or producer ready to film their project for me to work only on commission. Sometimes, however, I run a deal when I think a book is likely to be published or a script is likely to be produced, where we take 5-15% of net sales and also a substantial upfront payment during the completion of the project. This deal is not our usual practice, which is to take solely upfront payments during the course of completion of the book or script project.

We also do other work as it comes in; but usually we don’t write articles unless it’s part of an overall greater project. And we never do academic writing for students, only editing and proofreading. We also always write and ask for permission for usage of other’s work, and we never plagiarize. As for how it feels not owning all of my own hard work, well, nowadays I mostly send out the incoming projects to other ghost writers on our team, and I only do some of the editing work that comes in. But in the past, I guess I have no real regrets. I’ve been paid well enough, and I’ve not had to deal with any of the problems or infamy that a book on a tender subject might bring.

As to advice for other writers: write, write and write some more, practice your editing of spelling, grammar and syntax, and become as expert as you can at “Show not Tell” writing and developmental or content editing. You will find that as a ghost writer, you will need thorough editing and rewriting skills. Also, get some of your own work with your name on it published, so that you can show it to clients, and build up a decent portfolio of your published work. You can get articles published on various sites on the Internet for free.

Once you’re ready, you should begin to take on those “interesting” clients for some terrific pay. But don’t be afraid to take on “first time” author ghost writing clients, if they are willing to pay you decently for your services. You don’t always have to work for famous people to get your name recognized (if that’s what you want) or to make a great living.


Karen Cole runs Ghost Writer, Inc., on the Internet since 2003 and working on all sorts of writing and editing projects, mainly for book manuscripts and screenplays. GWI now consists of a team of over 100 writers, editors and other workers, and has partners who do all types of book and script marketing, promotions and sales assistance – all for some extremely reasonable prices.


Dust to dust we trudge, Lisa Rikand says. Until we’ll all be blown away like dust in the wind.

I teased my kids, “You know, those who are born on Fridays are going to die.”  Yeah. Sure. Yet it was a hard blow when I lost a healthy brother without warning recently. Ever wonder how we and those we love will end? My friend Summertime Rose share a poignant loss with us in this issue.                            



By Rosemarie Benintend of Summertime Rose

Last night, I dreamed that I’d taken my father to the Emergency Room–again, and was getting him admitted.

In his final years, I took him as frequently as twice a week (once, twice in one day) but, occasionally, we could go months without storming the ER.

My dad wanted to live forever.

It took me three years, of end-stage renal failure, to convince him that there WOULD be a right time to die. I got him to make a living will, delineating his wishes, and to grant me his legal power of attorney for healthcare, so I could make sure his wishes were honored. Then, I kept him alive, by hook or by crook, or by hemodialysis, or by transfusions, until he was ready.

I took him to hemodialysis, every other day, and picked him up five or six hours later, whenever he was done, every other day. I spent dozens of hours waiting for him to go in, or to come out, so HE never had to wait for me. And, dialysis day, not infrequently, ended with a trip to the ER.

My whole family had come with us to the ER, in my dream, and was milling around in the background. They almost never came for the real thing; it was always just the two of us. I’d convince him, or trick him, if urgent enough, to let me bring him in, either walking, or in a wheelchair, or I’d convince him to let an ambulance take him, and I’d follow right behind it, to admit him.

If the Intake Nurse didn’t take him right away, I’d set him up in a semi-comfortable place, and haunt the Intake Nurse, one time having to convince her that he was having a stroke in the waiting room. Eventually they got to know him, and to respect my judgment. From then on, we sailed right in, and said hello to our friends.

I’d immediately get him changed into a gown, make sure he kept his socks on, got him bundled up, with heated blankets, if necessary, and dimmed the lights and found something like his beloved wrestling to watch on the TV, while I sat beside him and let him watch and doze. It was pretty much a five-hour wait, each time, before I’d gotten him settled into an actual room for the night.

Only the by-the-rules newbies would ever make me wait outside, because everyone else knew I would care for him properly, stay out of their way, monitor his vitals with them, and keep him comfortable, distracted, and cooperating with whatever they needed to do. I would also spot when he was in an “altered” state much faster than strangers could, and knew the usual reason, which allowed treatment to begin much faster. The only time they ever saw his ridiculous temper was when he first started losing his ability to understand, fully, and was just learning to trust me to steer him right.

Since dialysis is, in actuality, “life-support” patients can be “kept alive” after they’re dead, or wished they were. The POA gave me a legal “out” to unplug him, when he was ready.

I tried to get him to look forward, and to get excited about finally meeting his father, who’d died when my dad was two weeks old. I asked his father, and his family and friends, many, many, many times, to be there to meet him. I’m sure he squealed with delight when he saw that I was so nutty I’d asked all my cats to meet him, too.

When the right time came, I rolled his DNR into FULL ON, took him off dialysis, made sure he was pain-free, and, simultaneously, got everyone concerned to agree with it.

He died peacefully within a few days—on Valentine’s Day. I could almost hear him laughing, for having pulled off that prank-of-a-lifetime, successfully.

I didn’t do too much right in his eyes; but I did that right. My mother tried to convince me, and others, that, not only did he not appreciate what I was doing, but that he didn’t like me. I know she just thinks nobody could love me, if my own mother never did.

I called him Fatboy because he’d always called me Fatgirl as a child and, no, I wasn’t anything more than chubby. He was a crazy, abusive man, and he beat me silly a thousand times, but the crazy little thing loved me, in the way that he could. And he realized that I might be the only person in his life who’d stood toe to toe with his screaming, swearing, threatening, madman persona, and made him calm down enough to see reason. I think that amazed him, more than anything, when he realized we weren’t “fighting” anymore.

He’s been dead for five years.

I often dream of those strange days, I think it was too much a part of my life to just go away.


About the contributhor

Summertime Rose, novelist, Columbia University

I was disabled at 41, which I have forever after referred to as my eightieth year.
I always describe it like the inertia trick your science teacher probably showed you in grade school.
You know, the one in which a tablecloth is pulled from under a fully loaded table, without spilling the contents of the table?
Catastrophic illness/injury is like that. All of a sudden, EVERYTHING is like it was, but your life has been pulled out from under you. You don’t know your place in the world, so you have to find a new one. Eventually, you patch your life back together, but it’s in pieces, with tears, and holes, and patched over worn spots, and will never be the same.

You learn to keep moving forward.

No matter how frail we may seem, don’t EVER think we aren’t tougher than healthy people.



Hello readers. I asked a young friend about what did he fear the most. What’s his biggest worry? And here’s his answer in this issue of Chapters of Life. Please share your thoughts with him.


By Leonardo Dreoni,  student of University of Florence

“A spectre is haunting Europe”. With this words in 1848 Marx began his “Communist Manifesto”, referring to something that had no previous records, an event that was spreading all around the Old Continent and was destined—according to Marx—to change the world. Today the Europe has changed deeply in its features and the Marx hypotesis hasn’t taken place as a whole. But intense worries still touch our existences and, in the last years, have link contexts in all the continents including America and Oceania.

Assuming the point of view I’m writing from—a 20-year-old Italian student with an unrealized but still-living hope for the future—one of the main worries comes from the economic crysis we hear everyday in the media. My country is included in the so-called PIGS list, pointing to the nations seriously involved in the problems. We are all facing the economical sufferings, but, also thanks to a technical government I have faith in, we are not forced to get into debts with the Troika as drammaticaly happened in Greece. In Italy the situation is improving, laboriously and with great effort. But the social problems linked to these events and the choices of austerity  for going out from the abyss remain.

Especially social problems: one of the most insidious and heavy is youth unemployment. In many parts of the world, today young people are facingthe absence of employment prospective. Let’s try to leave a technical and macroeconomical prospective, looking at the concrete elements of this fact I will write down some personal opinion.

Young people today normally attend university courses. But I think  high school should help to orientate students’ choices better, combining their personal preference with work opportunities. And, on the other hand, young people must set out finding their own way, with a sense of courage and responsibility. Many politicians talk about this fact, but the main initiative should come from within us, with a possibility of confrontation with family that sometimes is missing. These are some ideas that maybe not so original but need to be discussed. The facts and solutions are often present in the everyday life, and a short text of Chapter of Life like this could be a nice start for a deeper reflection about this “spectre” of our time.


JOKE OF THE DAY   © Contributing Authors


Initial post: May 5, 2012 11:20:06 AM PDT  David Smullen says: .

Ia SydneysSong says:  🙂  Knew it was you! ‘S up?

L. Jefferson says: !

Donald A. Shinn says: ?

Alexandra Davidoff says:   :O

Will Belacqua says:  M.

Alexandra Davidoff says:  M.?

Will Belacqua says:  N.

David Smullen says:  k

Will Belacqua says:  5

May 6, 2012 8:46:32 AM PDT Ia SydneysSong says: hahahahahah

L. Jefferson says: ~~

Khoti Sarque says: ****!/****?

Cate Peace says: *(^)I*U(&^&*^

L. Jefferson says: (!@#!)

Khoti Sarque says: e=mc^2 (yyur yyub icur yy4me)

Will Belacqua says: {

Alexandra Davidoff says: Is this all some sort of secret code? 🙂

L. Jefferson says: …., . ,._.., ._ _. _ _, .

Will Belacqua says: %

ErinLM says: ~*~*~*~

J. M. Kreft says:

.\ /.

Alexandra Davidoff says:

<.  .>

{ 0 }

Will Belacqua says:  2?

ErinLM says: 4?

Will Belacqua says: Q.

Alexandra Davidoff says: 6?

Alexandra Davidoff says:

{o}   {o}

ErinLM says: 8?

(Wow, I’m tired. I couldn’t find the question mark button…)

Alexandra Davidoff says: 10?

Will Belacqua says: o

May 7, 2012 6:49:50 AM PDT Ia SydneysSong says: Very clever Jennifer and Alexandra!

J. M. Kreft says: My evil twin posted the exact same thing. Neither of us could center the mouth.
/.  .\

L. Jefferson says: 35?
{O}  {O}


J. M. Kreft says: Has anyone else noticed it’s tough to click on this post?

L. Jefferson says: Yup and yet …

J. M. Kreft says: …after seven cups of coffee it’s even worse. Then again, you’re right I like a challenge.

Donald A. Shinn says: When all you’ve got is a period for a target, it gets more challenging. Leave it to Smullen, he’s either posting mile long titles, or single punctuation marks.

Will Belacqua says: Whadda card.

May 7, 2012 8:49:25 AM PDT  Alexandra Davidoff says: Thanks Ia! 🙂

J. M. Kreft says: *swallows smile–picture the cat who has gulped down a canary* A card, Will? (SERIOUSLY, Amazon, I NEED italics.)

Will Belacqua says: Ask me no questions and I’ll tell you no lies, J.M.

Alexandra Davidoff says:

(o) (o)
WWW               LOL!

Will Belacqua says:  MONSTER!!!! 😀

Alexandra Davidoff says:

(o) (o)

ErinLM says: *screams, runs away*

L. Jefferson says:

    | ^ ^ |
    | O o |

Will Belacqua says: Pfft.

Alexandra Davidoff says:

(*)  (*)

Posted on May 7, 2012 12:34:43 PM PDT David Smullen says: This is silly.

Ari says: #!bin/usr/girl

Ia SydneysSong says:  *Who* started it???

Alexandra Davidoff says:

^ ^
VVV  (yep!)

David Smullen says:    Mmph






Yesterday morning I walked fast from Gordon Station to my daughter’s school, a 25-minute brisk walk down the hills along the near-empty footpaths of beautiful streets shaded by towering gumtrees. She herself took the school bus, because it’s not cool to be seen walking with your mum. Hey, I’d said, my friends crossed the oceans to be with me. Yeah yeah, she said, but I still don’t want to walk with you. Bummer. I failed to convince her. So we hugged each other and went our separate ways. To the same destination!

What is it with kids? I thought, as on my day off I did my morning workout by walking to her school to not-have-a-day-off. At seven kids love it so much when you help with school activities, then at fifteen they’re embarrassed when you do. Thinking of my daughter my mind took a turn down the memory lane. Events long forgotten flooded back. Of me, standing alone at dusk near a humongous football stadium, watching my friends being picked up by their parents after our marching-band practice, wishing—or yearning, rather—I had parents too. Year after year my friends’ parents watched our performances and cheered during the annual marching-band championship, yet nobody came to watch me. And we always won too. What was so great about winning when to others your very existence didn’t matter? I studied languages, four nights a week, because home was such a cold, cold place to be. I wrote my first novel in silence. I wrote because I had nobody to speak with. And what was so cool about having a bestseller when you didn’t have anybody to brag to? Ha! I was a kid, then, and I wanted my parents.

If only my dear darling daughter could imagine what pain was like having no parents, perhaps she’d join me walking to her school. And grin-and-bear it when friends saw her? Dream on. Where’d her self esteem be?

Or perhaps it was me. Because I annoy her a lot.



Yes Will Belacqua! You put that thought into my head. You disagree with your mom for limiting your freedom. And you are a Slytherin just like my daughter. (Do you know that I skirt around the snake exhibit at the zoo? While she adores them?)

Freedom, my dear Will? Methinks freedom is often overrated.  One fine morning during a holiday at a friend’s home, I discovered a very beautiful, majestic mountain, looming blue into the sky, practically at their backyard – but my friend’s father forbade us to climb it. To my utter shock, other kids needed parental permission to do things. But if I could, if I only could, I would trade all the freedom I then had to have a pair of concerned eyes looking at me, truly worried if I was hurt—or died.

See how we all dream about what we can’t have?

So, can we talk please. What is it that you kids think important?  Open book management, please. We’ve all come from different paths, a regular dialogue is needed to understand each other.

I hug my kids and tell them I’m sorry for being a mean parent.  I did pay for my daughter’s Slytherin tee (yikes!), didn’t I?  Unfortunately it is a parent’s job description to be annoying. Like, I tell her everyday to stop smiling to her computer.

Over to you, Will. Can we talk about bitter? We’ve all come from different paths, please help us understand.