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EXPERTISE: Unblocking communications is the main focus here, so all questions are answered publicly. I will answer questions from adults who are struggling with a book, a major report for an employer, a dissertation, or something equally hefty in business, science, or academics. I can help if you absolutely have to write something and can't get started, or if you've started writing and don't know what to do next. If you need help beyond individual questions, I also offer personal coaching, book doctoring, or critiques and analysis. I can answer questions about your novel, your journal, or your poem if you are under the gun because of a contract deadline or some other legal or workplace pressure. Unblocking communications is the main focus here, so I don't accept questions marked private.

Experience in the area

Independent book doctor, author coach. Author of "Only Angels Can Wing It: Write a Eulogy Quickly and Present It Compassionately" and "101 Telephone Interview Tips for Speakers of English as a Second Language". Other titles in progress. Director of Publications at MENC: The National Association for Music Education, the largest nonprofit arts education association in the world. 1997–2008. Recruited experienced authors and developed novice authors. Their names are listed below in “Past and Current Clients,” and their books can be viewed on At conventions, gave presentations to nonprofessional writers: “How to Get an Article Published,” “How to Write a Book,” “The Publications Process,” “Working with Your Editor,” and similar subjects. Coached book authors and taught staff editors to coach authors. Ghost-wrote forewords for books, endorsements, speeches, marketing materials, presentations, proposals, technical writing, executive summaries, press releases, and other projects. Co-owner, Edge City Press. The Logic of Microspace, a collection of essays on rocket science used as a textbook at the U.S. Air Force Academy (2000). Senior Technical Writer/Marketing Support Specialist, Unisys Corporation, Publications and Engineering departments, 1984–93. S and TS clearances. Designed and taught classes in administrative, business, and technical writing. Wrote and rewrote all types of technical documentation, including proposals. Senior Technical Writer, Informatics General, Rockville, Maryland, 1982–83. Sole writer to thirty-five member Federal Marketing Organization. Conceived and created, wrote and edited numerous marketing brochures, commercial and government proposals. Designed document formats, provided hands-on assistance to technical personnel with documentation assignments, and edited their completed work.


National Speakers Association, Asian-American Chamber of Commerce


Some of these include: Contributor, The Dictionary of Literary Biography, Vol. 282: New Formalist Poets. (New York: Gale, 2003). Entries on Dick Allen, pp. 3–15; Jared Carter, pp. 31–40; Frederick Feirstein, pp. 83–90; and Bruce Meyer, pp. 223–32. Writer for major area HMO, responding to 300 client complaint/comment letters, 1995, 1997. Managing and poetry editor, The Edge City Review, a quarterly literary magazine, 1991–2005. Arts critic for the Times-Mirror Newspapers, a community newspaper chain with a circulation of 120,000. Reviewed galleries, music, fine arts, poetry/fiction, and profiled personalities. Arts reviewer for the Connection newspapers.


MNM (Master in NonProfit Management; coursework) Regis University, Denver, CO. M.A., American Literature, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC. B.A., English Literature, Cleveland State University, Cleveland, OH. P-ESL Certificate (Pronouncing English as a Second Language), IPL (Institute of Language & Phonology) Attendance at seminars and similar learning opportunities about twice a year.

Awards and Honors

American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) Deems Taylor Award for excellence, Music Educators Journal, 2004. Two First Prizes, Poetry Society of Virginia, 1999. Best Small Business of the Year Award, Reston Chamber of Commerce, 1997–98. Washington Dateline Award, Washington DC Professional Chapter, Society of Professional Journalists, Sigma Delta Chi (National Press Club), First Place for 1993 Arts Criticism, 1994. Award for Writing Excellence, DCI Publications Group, Alexandria, VA, 1992. Achievement Award, Independent Research and Development (IRAD) Brochures, Unisys Corporation, 1990. Exemplary Action Award, for proposal writing skills and for developing a data base of corporate capabilities to support proposal efforts, Unisys Corporation, 1989. Exemplary Action Award, for setting up and publishing a monthly project newsletter with sole responsibility for reporting, writing, and coordinating word processing, graphics, reproduction, and distribution while completing other duties as project editor, Unisys Corporation, 1989. Exemplary Action Award, for writing, editing and coordinating production for over 300 resumes within a one-month period for GSA STRIDE proposal delivered January, 1988. Commendation from Comptroller, U.S. Department of State, for designing, developing, writing, and producing the Budget Reporting System used by over 156 embassies worldwide, 1980. Honorable Mention, American Academy of Poets, 1975. University Research/Teaching Fellowships, University of South Carolina, 1972–75. Phi Sigma Iota Romance Languages Honor Society, 1975.

Past/Present Clients

Most recently, Selected authors include Bennett Reimer; Maureen Harris, Jody L. Kerchner, Carlos R. Abril, Charlene Ryan, Zachary B. Poulter; Natalie Sarrazin, Victor V. Bobetsky; Patrick K. Freer Karin K. Nolan, Elise S. Sobol, Michael Mark, Lois Veenhoven Guderian, William Gradante, Margaret Schmidt, Steve Eckels, Rebecca E. Hamik and Catherine M. Wilson, Janet Barrett, Michele Kaschub and Janice Smith, Charlene Ryan, William J. Dawson, Tony Bancroft, Susan L. Haugland, Kevin Mixon, Chris Tanner, David Doerksen, Carol Frierson-Campbell, Debra Kay Robinson Lindsay. Their books can be viewed at Also Rick Fleeter, Ph.D.; Kaiser Permanente; Unisys Corporation, and many, many other individuals and companies over the past 35 years.

What do you like about this subject?

For some people, writing creates panic; the ideas don't flow; they're in brain-lock. I love locating the key, picking the lock, and finding whatever it takes to help them get unstuck. I especially love that many of the authors I've worked with resolve their issues so well during the writing of their first book that they need me much less, or even not at all, for their future books.

What do you still hope to achieve/learn in this field?

My greatest achievement would be for everyone to know that anyone who wants to can publish a good book, even a great book, with the right resources. Part of my job is to stay current with the right resources. As long as the technology keeps developing, I'll go on learning it. As long as people have knotty writing problems to solve, I'll be learning and achieving right along with them.

Something interesting about this subject that others may not know:

With the current technology, anyone can publish. Waiting and hoping for a bug-guns publisher can be another form of approval-seeking. If you're confident that your book is as good it can possibly be, there's no point letting others decide your fate.

Something controversial or provocative about this subject

The term “writer’s block” is used as a catch-all. Granted, the feeling evoked may be similar from person to person, but the causes of writer's block are unique to each individual. Don't get too psychoanalytical. Sometimes you have writer's block because you don't know enough about your subject. Sometimes you know too much. And sometimes the cause is neither of those.

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Recent Answers from Frances S. Ponick

2015-05-12 Ideas about Blog Name:

Dear Martin,    I imagine that you daughters have been born at this point, and I congratulate you!    Providing you with a title for your blog is outside the scope of my work at AllExperts, where I provide

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2015-02-09 Structuring a novel, first-time publishing:

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Dear Robert,    I make no claim to knowledge about self-defense, but I do understand the problems of explaining concepts, ideas, and abstract thoughts.    I think the beginning of your explanation is already

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Dear Jamel,    First: the questions I receive are not just about the person who asks them, and the problems my readers have aren’t unique to them. As a result, I don’t answer questions privately because


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