Friday, March 4, 2011

The Great WITS World Spins

by Barbara Sharp Milbourn

It’s no secret that giving clients our very best work, honoring their efforts, and seeing them as the fine human beings they are builds relationships that deepen, sweeten, and branch out in time. One day you see a way to connect your clients, one to the other in mutual benefit, and you experience the thrill of the great world spinning perfectly on its axis. I’ve recently enjoyed that day.

In 2008, Yvonne and I were copyediting and proofreading for a number of authors associated with Hal Leonard, a New York publisher. One of my clients was Jeff Rona, a talented musician in Southern California who composes soundtrack music for television and film and other things (see

Out of the blue this year, he contacted me after reading my review on Amazon of WITS’ client Cherie Burbach’s 21 Simple Things You Can Do to Help Someone with Diabetes. His mother had contracted diabetes and there were questions.

Through our e-mail exchange, Jeff shared that he was recently remarried and his wife, a PR executive, was writing a book and might need a little help. I connected directly with her and invited her to share a few pages for evaluation at no charge. She did, and now I will work with her on her completed book proposal before it goes out. (Google Kelly Seal writer and former speed dating host.)

The relationship with the Ronas continued when I asked Jeff to recommend a screenplay writer for one of my non-WITS clients whose poorly ghostwritten book I recently edited and rewrote. (Google Jimmy Eugene On the Journey Back.) Jeff referred an accomplished screenplay writer, complete with bio and list of achievements, which I forwarded to my client’s team. Yesterday I heard things were in forward motion.

As if that were not enough, long-time WITS client, author, adventure travel writer, and nature photographer Linda Ballou (see and I have maintained our author/editor relationship over the years. We began on her historical novel Wainani High Cheifess of Hawaii and met in person after a year or so of working together. We discovered we were soul sisters in our reverence for beauty and the great outdoors. We’ve since completed her Lost Angel Walkabout: One Traveler’s Tales and continue our relationship on day-trip articles she submits regularly to the L.A. Examiner. Recently she dragged from her drawer a novel she wrote years ago for a young adult market. I have read it and we will discuss it when I travel to Southern California in March. On this trip, Linda and the Ronas will meet. Together Jeff, his wife Kelly, Linda, and I will hike Temescal Canyon.

Kelly’s book proposal will fly forth, Linda’s novel will come to fruition, Jimmy Eugene’s (Dr. Jimmy Pollard) book will become of movie, Jeff’s mother will get a handle on her diabetes, and the circle will expand and continue. I extend my special thanks to Yvonne Perry for her early vision of Writers in the Sky.

Barbara Milbourn is a Nashville-based freelance writer and Grammatika-certified editor focused on developmental and copy editing and proofreading. She is a member of Tennessee Writers Alliance, Toastmasters International, Tennessee Native Plants Society, Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Cheekwood, and a local book club. Barbara serves as copy editor, proofreader, or book shepherd to those needing assistance with a preparing a book to be published.

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