Monday, December 1, 2008

Meet Lea Schizas Author and Editor

Lea Schizas is a mother of five and tenderly referred as ‘Mother Hen’ by many writers.

Many have asked me where I find the time to do all that I do. Easy, when you have a deep passion for your work, you will always find time to complete your projects.

Lea Schizas is the founder of The MuseItUp Club, an online critique community, the Muse Online Writers Conference, and co-founder of Apollo’s Lyre. Each of these venues has consistently been in Writer’s Digest 100 Top Writing Sites since 2005.

For more information on her blogs, upcoming books, zines/newsletters, go here:

Lea is an editor as well as a talented writer.

In a previous interview, Donna Mc Dine asked her: What do you find to be more challenging: editing other writers’ manuscripts or developing your own?

I don’t have a hard time developing my ideas into penned words, nor the editing stage. I do have a hard time figuring out if I’m objective enough and deleted inconsequential passages to the fullest extend. That is why a critique partner or an editor comes in handy. We need another pair of eyes to catch things we are too involved with to see.

I have absolutely no difficulty editing other manuscripts because I am totally objective to this work and can spot plot holes, passive writing, weak dialogue easier than its creator.

. . . . .

Since Lea is editor in chief of Red Rose Publishing and edits for several other publishers including 4RV, a publisher of children's as well as adult books, it seemed like a good opportunity to get her views on what an editor looks for in a submission. She also gives me gives me a plug for Summer's Story, a mainstream romance novel being released by Red Rose Publishing on December 18th. Lea is a wonderful promoter for other people. Thank you, Lea.

As an editor, what do you look for in a book that you might consider for publication?

That’s easy. I’m looking for a twist in a story. Reading so many submissions after a while you can predict the ending. If a writer can surprise me along the way and throw me off track, then they’ve done their job. This doesn’t mean they can have a passive voice, or tell a story – a book needs to draw a reader into that make-believe world using an active voice, a showing mode, and strong characters with dilemmas that keep a reader hooked.

Do you look for different things in a children's book, as opposed to an adult romance novel for example?

Most definitely. First off I look at the age appropriate content for the author’s intended audience. The topic matter must be something that particular age group can relate to and understand. As in adult books, strong characters (and in kids books the main character should be either the same age or 2-4 years older – kids love reading books where the characters are slightly older than them), interesting situations, and a fully fleshed ending are important aspects in kids books. Mysteries, spooky horror and fantasy continue to be two strong genres for kids books – the 8 and over crowd.

In adult romance, I want to read more than the Cinderella/Pretty Woman theme. That’s been done, over and over again. HEA (Happily Ever After) are still strong, but writers need to add new twists. Let’s take your romance novel for example. I liked Summer’s Story because you gave your character a unique career: a horse breeder. You bring your reader into the horsing world, giving them a glimpse of the behind the scene action in horseracing. That competition between one horse owner and another, the sneakiness and underhandedness in others…these were just some of the qualities that drew me into your story and why you got the contract. A novel must maintain a reader’s interest throughout. That’s the quality I’m looking for as submissions editor.


  1. Great post, Nancy. Lea, you are just phenomenal. I am so glad to know you!

  2. Thanks for dropping by, Kim. I loved answering Nancy's different interview questions.

  3. Great to be part of the act!! What a neat time I had. Glad you like the post, Kim!! Lea, is really ROUGH to interview:)


  4. The more I know Lea and the more I know about her, the more admire her.

    Thanks, Nancy, for the interview.


  5. I hosted Lea during our last tour and thought I knew her pretty well. I just learned so much more! I love the questions on editing. Lea, when considering concept books (teaching books)like my new book, "Moving Through All Seven Days" are you criteria any different than a regular children's story book? Thanks.

  6. Great interview, Lea! Thanks for posting it, Nancy.

    I second what Kim Smith said!

  7. That was a great interview, Nancy. I always enjoy reading about other writers and I especially enjoyed this one because it was clear, concise and to the point!

  8. Just have to jump in here and remind people that Lea does her darndest to help people know more about novel writing and every other aspect of writing at the annual Muse Online Conference, too. It is every October and draws way over a thousant participants. Hope you'll join us.
    Carolyn Howard-Johnson
    Lea's Cosponsor for the conference and
    Author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers

  9. Nice interview, Lea! I learn something new with each interview you give. Good job, Nancy!

    All the best,

  10. I too want to ask where you find the time. Great interview, Lea.

  11. Nancy...great interview...glad to be of help without even knowing it! I always enjoy reading about Lea...enough kissing up...LOL.

    Warm regards,

  12. Great post, Nancy. The questions about being an editor were so interesting.

    Lea, you get me tired just reading about all you do - I don't know how you do it. What a woman!

    Karen Cioffi

  13. Great interview, Lea and Nancy!

    I didn't know you were editor in chief at Red Rose, Lea. Congrats! And also on your upcoming children's picture book!


  14. Hi Nancy and Lea,
    Great interview.Very informative.
    Thanks. You obviously wear many hats Lea and with five children. where do you find the time?

  15. Thanks Nancy for posting this great interview. Thanks, too, to Lea for sharing so much information. It was nice to hear details of what you are looking for as an editor in chief of Red Rose Publishing.

  16. I didn't think Lea could impress me more, but I was wrong. She's a role model, for sure and I'm so happy to know least virtually. :)