Writer's Notes

Mentors: My Personal Mentor

CircleFrontCoverPrintKindle (1)By Barbara Bent

Mentor: An experienced and trusted advisor

No matter where you are in your writing career there are people who know more than you do. If you’re fortunate enough to be friendly with one of them who is willing to teach you the ropes, you’re very lucky. Conferences, workshops, contests and online classes are all helpful, but if you want advice that’s tailored to you and your journey in publishing, it’s best to have a mentor to guide you along the way.

I have been writing for many years. In fact, my personal mentor and I were in a critique group together years ago. Still, I run my writing by her before we devise a plan. Certainly, she wants to know that she’s not promoting a bad piece of work

My personal mentor has everything I need. She has written novels, been a reviewer of nationally known books, as well as a contributor to a well-known blog site. She has hundreds of contacts among powerful authors and publishers.

More importantly, she was a member for many years of the Association of Former Intelligence Officers—known as AFIO and regularly attended their meetings in Washington DC. Because of that association she has asked that I not use her name

I just self-published my first book using a freelance editor to help me, and my co-author avoid common mistakes. I know grammar, I know enough not to hand an agent a manuscript under a bathroom stall door, but I need contacts to help me sell my book, get my name out there and establish a presence.

My mentor’s advice is not always easy to hear, but it’s solid and the publishing world is ever-changing and mysterious. Especially now when so many with unedited, self-published books are clogging the internet.

Because of her background, she is a brilliant Strategist.  Faced with any situation I’ve given her, she has provided a solution. Here is where her advice has served me well. Before I attend conferences, I often go over the list of attendees and the sessions with her. She will advise me as to which authors she knows well, which speakers are the best and everyone I should introduce myself to.  By following her advice, I’ve met some lovely authors, agents and publishers who also suggested contacts for me. My network is growing faster than it would have without a personal mentor

In a sense having a good mentor is like having someone introduce you into society. You know who the players are, who will be friendly, who can help you and will be willing to and how to make the most out of the hectic allotment of your time at these jam-packed events.

She has saved me hours of time, by guiding me in the right direction. Eventually, I probably would have figured some of this out but how nice to have a knowledgeable, generous friend, show me the ropes.

I will always be grateful to my personal mentor for opening many doors for me that would have otherwise been closed.


My co-author Paulette Lippman and I first came up with the idea of Circle in a writing workshop almost 40 years ago. We continued to write but not with very much speed until about 5 years ago when we picked up the pace. Since we now live in the same apartment building, it was easy to have meetings.
I live and work in New York. My first published pieces were confessions. I then moved to short stories for The Star magazine when it was a tabloid. This is my first novel. I’m a member of RWA, MWA and The Authors Guild.

CircleFrontCoverPrintKindle (1)

What goes around comes around
The perfect beach read for any season

Two fiftyish women are thrown together in a client broker relationship. Through the ups and downs of single life, online dating with dreadful dates, the two of them influence and change each other until one day they realize they’ve come full circle and have, at last attracted what they wanted
Available on AMAZON in paperback and eBook.

Writer's Notes

August Writer’s Notes: Mentors

WMA plus award
My certificate for With Malice Aforethought as the winner of the Public Safety Writers Association Writing Competition July 15, 2018 in Las Vegas.

By Thonie Hevron

I wonder how I would’ve ever gotten where I am today without mentors. This includes the mom down the street who took me under her wing when my mother struggled with her own demons. Early in my career, there was a motor officer who introduced me to the concept, “badge-heavy” and changed my adversarial attitude with the public while I issued tickets–I didn’t have to be a jerk. Later, Fred, a patrolman, was another crucial association. He invited me to testify to the county grand jury as part of an investigation of our police administration. Standing up for the integrity of the job was a beautiful burden. These people were life-mentors who taught me valuable lessons that extend through my life today.

But let’s talk about mentors for writers.

Pat Tyler
Pat Tyler

In most other industries, colleagues could look upon newbies as competition. While I’ve found that writing teachers aren’t necessarily mentors, I can say I have never seen professional acrimony toward another. My first true writing mentor, Pat Tyler, during her Jumpstart Writing class, encouraged me with provocative prompts. She provided a safe, non-judgmental place to read and hone my stories. Then, she pointed me toward Redwood Writers (a branch of California Writers Club), where I found much more to learn. The motto of the club is “writers helping writers.” It did!

Marilyn Meredith

My second mentor is Marilyn Meredith. She’s a board member of the Public Safety Writers Association who I met in 2014 at the club’s annual conference. Marilyn is an experienced author who helped me navigate small press publishing and writing ethics. She’s a prolific author of over 40 books who gets up in the middle of the night (4 AM) to accomplish her myriad goals. Even with huge family demands, she writes and promotes almost every day. A lady in the most refined sense, she’s also a model of Christianity—not the clichéd version—the true-blue follower of Christ. She’s unpretentious, accepts people the way they are and believes in sharing her gifts—as she has with me. I’ll bet she never even considered herself a mentor. But she is. She continually inspires me to be better.

Speaking of not considering yourself a mentor, I want to talk about being a mentor. Why?

  • It could change someone’s life—really. Think about words of encouragement you heard that motivated you. Be that person.
  • It will take you out of your own world—we create them in our heads, don’t we? Telling another person about your process attaches words to abstract thoughts. Sharing can enlarge thoughts, if you listen. For both of you.
  • You’ll be building a writers’ community based on the positive aspects we’re talking about here.
  • The life you change may be your own. Sometimes, verbalizing the process gives us a clearer picture. Sharing and giving aren’t unique to humans but we’ve refined it through evolution. Let’s keep working on it.

On August 10th, Deborah Shlian shares her thought on being both a mentor and mentee. Cathy Perkins appears on August 17th, Barbara Bent on the 24th and Edith Maxwell winds up the month with “Paying it Forward” on August 31st.

Be sure to join us on Writer’s Notes, Just the Facts, Ma’am every Friday. Sundays, read the exploits of the men and women behind the badge on the main blog.

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