All of the ShortBios writers are part of our StarMemoirs® team of accomplished professional writers and editors, who have, in total, authored, ghost-written, edited, consulted on, or coached for more than 50 book projects and more than 21 public relations projects, with a total of 65 years of experience. Not only is their experience considerable, their interests span almost every discipline.
Steve Berent, our lead biographer, founded StarMemoirs in 2001 after co-authoring celebrity interviewer Skip E. Lowe's memoirs, The Boy With The Betty Grable Legs (Belle Publishing, 2001). Since then, he has successfully gathered a team dedicated to helping people promote themselves or to telling their life stories. His masterful idea has been to match you, our client, with the specialist who can best meet your editing/writing needs. And the endorsements we've received (a few are presented here for short bios and here for larger projects), attest magnificently to our success.
Steve has brought together a team of writers with various writing and research talents and specialties to make StarMemoirs services one of the easiest and most effective (and inexpensive) ways to get your memoirs and other self-promotionals written.
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AUTHOR-CLIENTS AND THEIR ENDORSEMENTS
StarMemoirs editors have guided numerous writers through the process of writing books (as well as articles) that get published.
Here, as an example, is a list of writers whose writing (fiction and non-fiction) has been guided to publication by one of our developmental editors and expert writing coaches, Karen Schaffer (their glowing compliments on Ms. Schaffer's editing are also included):
• Steve Walmsley, Walmsley & Co.:
"My book Stop Selling and Do Something Valuable: Tools and Mindsets That Demystify ‘Value-based' Sales, Service and Business Relationships would not be completed without Karen Schaffer, who has been collaborator, editor, coach, conduit to resources, publisher and creative director. Her good humor and tireless conviction have been an inspiration. She will gladly tell you how much work it took to channel 20 years of experience and many tools and stories into the form this book has taken. Every time I read another business book, I realize how unique and value-added she has made this offering."
• Entrepreneur, Speaker & Business Coach:
"Karen is fun, funny and flexible. She has really helped our business as a ghost writer. She uses our voice and finds new ways to communicate and simplify great depth of material. Anyone writing will enjoy and appreciate working with Karen. I would be happy to provide a verbal recommendation for anyone considering her services."
• Kelly Cowan, The Boost Creative Leadership Group:
"Have you ever really wanted to write and get published but always seem to get in your own way? Or it has seemed too big a goal to really pursue or believe you can do, despite knowing you have the skill in you…somewhere?
I hired Karen, to be my “creative coach”. The goal of our work is to build confidence in my own creative process on the way towards the publishing of some of my own material. In the early stages, Karen would summarize our conversation, and then send back the notes. Sometimes I made sense, sometimes I felt I didn't. Yikes should I keep going?
Regardless of my trepidation, once a month Karen and I would have a session…and slowly some decent material began to emerge. Karen provided good questions for me to think about and a few short assignments in between - as I could manage them. When I got stuck, Karen offered her compassion as well as her extensive writing and publishing experience to keep me on the court.
Karen eventually built me a table of contents for a possible book, then a list of possible articles. Really? I have this much in me? As a result, I am gaining confidence, and writing more on my own. It's been a very collaborative, supportive and energizing process. Karen is helping me articulate my unique voice….and hey it's actually fun!
It's very satisfying to see your creative soul have a safe path to be expressed, and a process that begins expansive and loose for discovery, then solidifies and focuses as the ideas come. Karen helps with the shape and form of the material, and now I have direction, a potential audience I'd like to start with, and a range of material worth pursuing. Momentum has replaced years of being stuck.
I highly recommend Karen's writing services for anybody who has a writer buried inside that wants to get out but doesn't know how."
• Alexis G.:
"I approached Karen...because I was looking to write a memoir based on some of my experiences and needed help. Rather than focusing on the memoir, Karen focused instead on my goals for publication. She taught me about what I would need to get published which – surprisingly to me – was a “query letter” rather than the whole book finished. During the creation of the query letter, Karen was very straight with me about my chances of publication in memoir form, and suggested tackling the subject matter as a non-fiction book instead.
The query letter she wrote for this new project generated over 20 responses from agents requesting my proposal!
I hired Karen to write the proposal and my first chapters. I am very pleased at how my book is shaping up and how easy it was to put together with Karen listening to my information and experiences and then through a couple of drafts, creating the perfect book outline. The writing she's created for me speaks in my voice, and I like how she takes what I say and the notes I give her, and synthesizes it into a compelling and readable chapter. We have already got two agents committed to representing the project and I look forward to working with Karen on the rest of the book!
I trust Karen completely - she's guided me faithfully through each step of this process and she's a lot of fun to work with too. I highly recommend her services and I'd be happy to provide a direct reference if you request my contact information from Karen."
• Sheila M. Kelly, Certified Professional Management Coach, Aegis Coaching Services and Integra Leadership, Inc.:
"Karen has been working with me on finalizing my book, Love Lessons from My Son ... Our Journey Through His Cancer. Karen's understanding of book writing coupled with her support of my process have been invaluable in helping me see the strengths of my undertaking as well as how to further strengthen not only its content, but its form. Karen knows her stuff! Her insights are based on practical experience as well as a practiced sense of what works and what doesn't. I especially appreciate her ability to grasp the personal challenges of writing about a powerful and challenging experience in my life without going into 'therapist mode.'
I highly recommend Karen for anyone who is at any stage of the writing process."
• Bruce Powell, Managing Partner, IQ PARTNERS Inc.:
"IQ PARTNERS Inc. is an Executive Search and HR Services firm and over the past 5 years we've had several occasions to utilize Karen's professional writing skills. Her biggest writing project with us was a detailed 40-page booklet called “Top Resumes the IQ Way”. It included substantial content and needed to reflect our IQ PARTNERS mission of being warm, helpful and friendly, while also being highly professional. Feedback has been highly positive, with readers being very engaged with what could easily have been dry material, and able to improve their resumes with what they've learned. Even our own office staff uses this booklet when they are first learning how to coach others on improving their resume.
Karen also regularly supports us with newsletter articles, website writing, and the penning of our professional bios. She is extraordinarily able at interviewing a subject and then creating succinct bios that capture the interesting quirks and professional capabilities of each person.
I would add that in considering writing a book of my own, Karen Schaffer is one of the few people I'd trust to write it other than myself."
• Martha McGrath, screenwriter:
"Karen has a way of making me feel great about my material while inspiring better ideas.
I've given Karen query letters and the related finished script when I've not been getting any response. It can be a very annihilating experience when you've put your heart and soul into something, endless months and in some cases, years…and yet it's like a dead fish on the water. So in these humbling times, I've worked with Karen, left her with my letters and/or script, and she's gone in like a missionary, letting me know where what I think I'm expressing is coming out muddied or confusing, how it's “landing”, where the great idea got lost, or sometimes as simple as a new way to pitch it.
Karen is also incredible at the very beginning of projects, on script treatments or a few paragraphs of a new idea in development. Karen, such an amazing reader, with a great take on what's hot and what's hidden, has been an invaluable boost to me to get back on the go with a new script or other writing project.
For rewrite help, Karen is brilliant. Karen has the gift of walking in, reading some of my work and capturing the message when I've lost the plot, literally. She sees what I'm trying to do, even though I'm failing to execute it winningly and then she gives just clear, simple ideas that might achieve what I'm after that I've either used or I've felt so buoyed by her supportive and boldly honest critique that I surge forward with my vision restored and energized."
• Andrew Long, Chief Pathfinder, Critical Pathfinders Adventure Training Inc.:
"I required tricky web content in a short time frame. When I hired Karen, she quickly assessed the project scope and gave me clear pricing and delivery. She interviewed me to both capture correctly the parameters of the project and some insights into my business. Within the time frame, she returned with excellent writing pieces, some that were brand new and some that were upgraded edits of previous writing. All of them incorporated challenging website optimization words while still being entertaining and informative and many of the pieces worked interchangeably as requested.
Karen understood my business, the writing tone and voice I wanted and produced first-rate work that described Critical Pathfinders' offerings in a compelling way.
I also hired Karen to ghost-write some articles for me. She helped me with two articles and did an awesome job. Karen is a true professional with a talent for writing."
Many of the StarMemoirs editors are also, themselves, accomplished authors of published books and articles. Skip Press, for example, has written The Complete Idiot's Guide to Screenwriting (alpha books, now in its third edition, 2008), The Writer's Guide to Hollywood Producers, Directors and Screenwriters' Agents (Prima Lifestyles/Random House, three editions), The Ultimate Writer's Guide to Hollywood (Barnes & Noble Books, 2004), and How to Write What You Want and Sell What You Write: A Complete Guide to Writing and Selling Everything from Ads to Zingers... (Barnes & Noble Books, 2005, fourth printing 2009).
Among the most prolific writers on our editorial team is Irwin Berent. Mr. Berent is the author of Weird Words (Berkley Books, mass market paperback; Rod L. Evans, co-author), More Weird Words (Berkley Books, mass market paperback; Rod L. Evans, co-author), Dictionary of Highly Unusual Words (Berkley Books, mass market paperback; Rod L. Evans, co-author), The Right Words (Warner Books, mass market paperback; Rod L. Evans, co-author), Getting Your Words' Worth (Warner Books; Rod L. Evans, co-author), Fundamentalism (Open Court Publishing; Rod L. Evans, co-author; introduction by Isaac Asimov, foreword by Steve Allen), Drug Legalization: For and Against (Open Court Publishing; Rod L. Evans, co-author; introduction by Hugh Downs, foreword by Linus Pauling), ABC of Cat Trivia (St. Martin's Press; Rod L. Evans, co-author; foreword by Betty White), Quotable Conservative (Adams Publishing; Rod L. Evans, co-compiler; foreword by William F. Buckley, Jr.), Norfolk, Virginia: A Jewish History (JewishHistoryUSA), and Jewish Genealogy: A Sourcebook of Family Histories and Genealogies (Garland Publishing; Avotaynu Publishing, revised and enlarged edition; David S. Zubatsky, co-compiler).
Our splendid writing coach Karen Schaffer is the author of The Job of Your Life: Four Groundbreaking Steps for Getting the Work You Want (Prentice Hall, 1998) and The Complete Book of Resumes (Sourcebooks Inc.) as well as the Canadian bestseller, Hire Power: The Ultimate Job Guide for Young Canadians (Prentice Hall, 1997).
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EXAMPLES OF SOME OF OUR PROJECTS
From editing articles, books, and other writings of individuals, to editing the most complex projects of major corporations, the StarMemoirs team has done it all. StarMemoirs editors have edited, advised, and/or managed projects for numerous individuals, organizations, corporations, high schools, universities, and government agencies. While some of the biggest clients of, for instance, just one of our editors, Joy A. Jones, have included Microsoft, Lucent Technologies, Hewlett-Packard, FedEx, Mobile Oil Corporation, Lockheed Martin, NASDAQ Stock Market, Stanford Hospital & Clinics, Meade Johnson and Company, American Pharmacists Association, Kaiser Permanente and Schering Key, Ms. Jones and all the rest of StarMemoirs' capable team handle little individual everyday projects as well as giant highly charged business-development projects.
Following are some endorsements from Ms. Jones' impressively diverse clients providing details of just a few of the projects she's handled to show the depth and breadth of Ms. Jones' skills and capabilities:
• Gail D. Street, Director, External Communications, American Pharmacists Association (APhA) :
"Having hired Joy A. Jones to write, edit and proofread a variety of APhA publications, I know she provides excellent service. Founded in 1852, APhA is the national professional society of pharmacists and is the first-established and largest professional association of pharmacists in the United States.
Since I first contacted Joy … after seeing her Internet ad, she has been assisting my colleagues and me to develop, edit, strengthen, streamline, clarify, unify and improve many of APhA's marketing, educational and internal communications. She is always willing to take on assignments with little or no warning and turn them around quickly and expertly. When proofreading, Joy pays close attention to detail and finds errors and inconsistencies that probably would go unnoticed by most reviewers or readers. As an editor, she makes others' thoughts and words flow. And, she's an exceptional writer who effectively customizes the voice and tone of a message according to its audience. Joy is not only a well-qualified copyeditor, but she is an exceptional and well-rounded editorial resource for any organization.
Considering her ability to multi-task, juggling several clients and projects simultaneously, Joy has proven organizational and management skills. She has a positive outlook and a “can-do” attitude. She is also personable, witty, savvy and committed to her craft and her clients. I recommend her highly without reservation."
• Kelly DeMaria, Director of Quality, Renown Health:
"It is with great pleasure and enthusiasm that I offer a recommendation for Joy A. Jones. I had the opportunity to work with Joy at Stanford Hospital and Clinics where I employed her as a technical/grant writer. I was very impressed with Joy's writing skills and dedication to her craft.
She developed our first Quality newsletter, which received praise and accolades from the organization regarding its content and structure. In addition, Joy designed and developed SHC's Quality Improvement and Patient Safety web portal, which educates consumers, patients and their families to make informed and better healthcare decisions…. It is a comprehensive and well-organized resource that promotes and improves patient safety.
Joy has extensive verbal and written communication skills and delivers a polished product each and every time she puts pen to paper. She is a leader and team player with a diligent work ethic. Her approach to a task or situation is professional yet personable. She is charming, magnetic, caring, witty and sincere. I believe Joy would be a huge asset to any organization ..."
• Roylene Rhodes, Vice President Business Development, Emergency Medical Services Corporation (EMSC) d/b/a American Medical Response (AMR) :
"Joy A. Jones has worked as a freelance proposal writer for AMR—the nation's largest ambulance provider—since November 2003. At that time, AMR entered into a contract with Ms. Jones to assist our in-house proposal-development team with overflow work when Requests for Proposals superseded our team's bandwidth.
Ms. Jones came to AMR with some public safety experience, but once she gained adequate knowledge of AMR's business practices and the company's provision of Emergency Medical Services, we confidently gave her more responsibility developing proposals with our executive teams. By April 2004, she was drafting several award-winning proposals as the sole writer, which enabled AMR to respond to and acquire many business opportunities.
As exemplified by her consistent performance, Ms. Jones' dedication to completing an assignment, combined with her professionalism, her understanding of the proposal process, and her writing and editing abilities make her a proposal specialist. She is a hard worker who enjoys challenge. Even in the fury of deadline-driven tasks, she is dependable, intelligent, insightful, articulate and charming. Her experience working in various industries in several capacities is indicative of her adaptability and her ability to multitask. Several of my colleagues with whom Ms. Jones worked tirelessly on numerous projects have commented on her exceptional management and organizational skills, and many have specifically requested her to work with them on proposals.
In January 2006, when we disbanded AMR's proposal-development department in Livermore, California, Ms. Jones proved to be an invaluable resource by helping the company meet our business- and proposal-development goals, she, along with a few others, worked extremely long hours, sometimes seven days a week, to assume the proposal-development responsibilities of a much larger team until a new proposal team could be recruited, trained and positioned in Pensacola, Florida."
• Peter Koziol, CEO, Actus Lend Lease:
"Joy A. Jones was hired as a contract proposal analyst assist in the start-up of Actus Lend Lease's Proposal Center. The full range of proposal-development skills that Ms. Jones provided our company has been instrumental in our efforts to win military housing contract awards.
Ms. Jones is a natural leader and a team player who performed her job in whatever capacity she was needed. She set high standards for writing effective marketing strategies by developing a style guide and a policies and procedures manual for Actus' Proposal Center team members during her first month on the job. In addition to bringing excellent skills to her tasks, Ms. Jones had a positive attitude, a witty sense of humor, and a great deal of patience under the pressure of meeting deadlines, which frequently required her to work around the clock for a number of days or weeks. Her dedication to her responsibilities and the team was tested repeatedly in the storm of a highly charged proposal-development environment. She did not waiver.
Not only was Ms. Jones committed, creative, and motivated in her approach to Actus' proposal-development process, she encouraged others and recruited additional talented individuals to join our team. She was adept in finding answers and getting middle- and senior-management personnel to respond to critical questions and situations whether they were local, abroad, or somewhere in between."
• Gloria Wheatley, Senior Project Manager, Mason Tillman Associates, Ltd. :
"Mason Tillman Associates is a nationally known public policy and public relations research firm with clients throughout the United States…. Joy Jones was hired by Mason Tillman as a writer/editor for our public relations business unit. Ms. Jones distinguished herself during her tenure with Mason Tillman by synthesizing complex policy documents, formulating creative marketing strategies for projects, and assisting with the research and writing of public policy reports. She was instrumental in writing social marketing proposals which were successful.
Ms. Jones' exceptional writing and editing skills were assets to our company, and she performed her job with energy, enthusiasm, commitment, and intellectual curiosity. I recommend her without reservation."
• Nancy Vandenberg, Assistant Director, Upward Bound, Stanford University, Haas Center for Public Service:
"In her work with Stanford Upward Bound, Joy A. Jones has demonstrated that she is an enthusiastic, energetic, creative, and self-motivated individual with a love for the written word. In her teaching efforts, she is a passionate and inspirational advocate of literature and the English language. She is able to teach students, through example and instruction, how to express themselves so that they can become better thinkers and communicators.
In addition to her writing and communication skills, Joy is a person of exceptional character. Her dedication to her colleagues and her work make her a stellar member of any organization. Joy Jones is one those rare individuals with whom people are simply happy to work because she goes above and beyond what is required of her to achieve excellence…. Her writing skills and dedication to her work would undoubtedly benefit your organization."
• Kaiser Aziz, U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Division of Clinical Laboratory Devices, Editor:
"… Ms. Jones has provided me with exceptional editorial services and support in the preparation of a number of journal articles. Ms. Jones' ability to comprehend scientific and technical terminologies is remarkable. I value her editorial and writing services rendered to me during the preparation of my articles…. I recommend her as a reliable communicator, who strives to provide quality work within certain deadlines."
• Mellen Candage, Founder and The Boss, Grammarians, Inc. :
"Grammarians is an editorial services firm, offering research, writing, editing, proofreading, indexing, and publications management services. We have been in business [since 1988] and work with a network of [more than 200 professionals].
Ms. Jones did an excellent job on our editing and proofreading tests. Only 7 percent of those who take the test do well enough to be considered for assignments. Ms. Jones has also worked exceptionally hard during the last month for one our clients, Coopers & Lybrand, a demanding customer. According to several C&L managers, Ms. Jones performed willingly and well at all tasks assigned her, conducted herself in a professional manner, and far exceeded the expectations of several staff members. This was a highly charged ‘proposal frenzy' atmosphere in which she was called upon to work around the clock in an unfamiliar environment.
Based on my client's feedback, I can recommend Ms. Jones as a technical worker…. I can vouch for the high quality of her editing skills, her reliability in fulfilling assignments, and her perseverance at all tasks assigned her."
• Melissa Bradley, President, The Entrepreneurial Development Institute (TEDI) :
"As a strong supporter of TEDI's initial operations, Ms. Jones came to the rescue to assist in whatever capacity she was needed. Her work has included providing marketing assistance, editing student handbooks, writing proposals and training students. The latter, I believe, has been the most important for TEDI as there is a strong need for our clients, at-risk youth ages 7-21, to have access to positive role models, someone to talk about personal and professional issues, as well as someone who can assist them in their personal and academic development, particularly in the area of communications (verbal and written). Joy has been able to bring a “special touch” to the TEDI students through her intellectual capacity, compassion for others and commitment to excellence.
In addition, Ms. Jones has volunteered with numerous other organizations that currently sit on the board of through referral. Her time allotted for editing and writing assistance has proven invaluable in these organizations' quest for resources from both the public and private sector. Moreover, the time she has been able to dedicate to these groups, as well as serve on the faculty at Montgomery College, speaks to her outstanding organizational skills and her ability to balance numerous tasks and commitments at one time."
• Catherine A. Smith, Editorial Director, Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation:
"I have known Joy for almost a year, having hired her to do writing, editing and proofreading on a variety of print products. She brings excellent skills to these tasks, as well as a positive attitude, a sense of humor and an abundance of patience…"
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StarMemoirs editor Kenneth Brosky views the editing process as requiring enormous flexibility:
"The editing process differs for each writer. If I feel a writer would benefit from a line-by-line edit, then I recommend that. If a writer would benefit more from a more general critique, then that works, too. I work on grammar, narration, plot, characters, setting and anything else that I possibly can. My bachelor's and master's degree focused not just on creative writing, but also literature and linguistics, providing me with a broad education in the art of writing. As such, I can adjust my editing style to each individual writer to make sure I'm paying attention to what needs to be fixed and encourage things I see that are working.
I am absolutely not a 'copy editor' like most freelance editors. I'm an 'Editor,' and as such my job has more responsibility. Copy editors go through a manuscript and make suggestions for that manuscript. Editors go through manuscripts and provide suggestions for the manuscript and for the writer's technique. My goal is to help writers become better writers, not just help a single manuscript. I want to provide writers with tools they can use on future manuscripts, ideas to help them improve their writing, and suggestions for improving their self-editing processes so they can become better in every way possible."
StarMemoirs editor Joy A. Jones presents her view of what makes a great editor:
"What makes a great editor? In my case, it is one who is knowledgeable of various editorial style guides, especially those including nuances of the English language such as grammar, spelling and punctuation, as well as one who is experienced at writing and editing according to those styles and rules, in addition to having a natural ability to communicate ideas effectively in a particular voice that reaches the target audience. I write, edit, and/or proofread a variety of publications and communications—freelance, part-time, full-time, or overtime—to meet my clients' goals and objectives, on time, every time, to forge a mutually beneficial working relationship with the client and, where applicable, the client's organization. To accomplish this, I've become a multitalented and seasoned editorial virtuoso with writing/editing experience encompassing a broad range of disciplines and directives in the production of print and online communications. I am a communications specialist with ample project management experience, who is able to research, extrapolate, translate, and condense technical jargon into compelling, clear, concise, conceptual copy. It also helps to have teacher/trainer experience, including curriculum development and instructional design. This wordsmith is a dedicated and highly recommended professional; I am energetic, creative, self-motivated, and deadline-driven. No job is too big or too small. Every project receives a high priority and is fine-tuned with the utmost eye for detail and craftsmanship."
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