Friday, July 18, 2014

Embracing Change

In 2008 I was having apocalyptic visions of floods resulting from global warming. I have since realized that along with preventive action, I have to accept and embrace the change. Essence of Wife is a song about evolution, love, and hope in the time of climate change. I’ve always wanted to be a mermaid! Contact me for the chords - deb@perfectmemoirs.com

Essence of Wife c.2010 Deborah Wilbrink BMI

The world spins in your hazel eyes
Polar twilight, tropic sunrise
Seven known seas rearrange, part
Albatross leaves, hurricanes start

And I . . . Must swim into your arms
And I . . . Must rest upon your chest’s reef
Inhaling the scent of your life
Unveiling: Essence of Wife

Souls new, and souls old return
Watch together wells of black gold burn
Earth’s fever rises, oxygen falls,
With the fury of a full moon tide, your heart calls,

And I . . . Must swim into your arms
And I . . . Must rest upon your chest’s reef
Inhaling the scent of your life
Unveiling: Essence of Wife

Glaciers calf into our warming sea
Mermaids rise, to ancient melody
Sirens unchain the sailors
Winged victory flies in the face of failure

And I . . . Must swim into your arms
And I . . . Must rest upon your chest’s reef
Inhaling the scent of your life
Unveiling: Essence of Wife

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Poetry and Prose Corner July 2014

Just Because You Are You

Splendor bides to celebrate
The magic that is only you, and
Wonder wanders commonplace
When cradled, nestled by your side.

Moonlight pales as constellations
Ride your wave of endless sky, and
Ocean overflows her bounty,
Tranquil in your evening tide.

Not because the world stops spinning.
Not because time takes a pause.
Not that logic dictates that
What once was false is somehow true.

Words can never be a profit
To predict your story’s end.
You fulfill your destiny
… Just because you are you.


Dennis S. Martin
Lulu Storefront: http://www.lulu.com/dsmartin
Plays: http://sites.google.com/site/playsbydennissmartin/


Nostalgia

Sweet whipped cream memories, Ghosts from the past
Sleep soft on my shoulder, a whisper away,
Come calling, revisiting simpler moments of
Moon Pies and Mary James back in the day.

Skate keys and Bobbie socks,
Pigtails and poodle skirts,
Pin curls and Bobbie pins,
Raggedy Ann.
Bosco and Mickey Mouse,
Jukebox and saddle shoes,
Flying with Peter Pan through Neverland.

Baseball cards slapping on bicycle spokes,
Eight tracks and Betamax, bad knock-knock jokes.
Viewmasters, Lincoln logs, erector sets,
Lone Ranger’s sidekick… As good as it gets.

Old wringer washers and rotary phones,
Listening on party lines, waiting your turn.
Lost on the day that the music fell silent.
Peace symbols, love beads and incense to burn.

Dark drive-in movies and black high-top sneakers,
Jiffy pop, rabbit ears, spats and D As.
Pick-up-sticks, Polaroids, tears for Old Yeller,
Time capsule mem’ries tucked safely away.

Dennis S. Martin
Lulu Storefront: http://www.lulu.com/dsmartin
Plays: http://sites.google.com/site/playsbydennissmartin/

Friday, July 11, 2014

Creating Bestselling Book Ideas That Amazon Will Love

It’s one thing to write a book; it’s quite another to write a book that will sell. We all want to follow our passion, write our dream and dance creatively with our muse, but wouldn't it be fantastic if, amidst all of this creation, we also managed to produce a bestselling book? That is, after all, the dream.

Specifically we’d all like a high ranking on Amazon and though I've addressed that and reviews in other pieces, I thought it might be a good idea to take a step back to the beginning.

Finding Bestselling Book Ideas

I know this gal who fraternizes with a lot of SEO people; for those of you not familiar with the term, SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. These are the folks who spend their life trying to get on the first page of Google. One day several years back, she and I were talking about how to create ideas that sell. She told me that many of her SEO buddies would write books literally just based on keywords. It had nothing to do with their passion or what they really wanted to write about; instead, they focused on saleable terms, meaning phrases that were getting a huge bounce in Google. Now this may not be how you would ever consider writing a book, but there are merits to this methodology:

Book focus: Where will you focus your book? Don’t get too caught up in a set plan. Leave some room for flexibility and consider what’s “hot” to write about right now. What is an immediate need? You may still stick with your original plan, but slant it a bit more towards seeing what’s hot in search or in the media. Keep in mind that the speed of book production often allows us to jump on a trend or hot topic so take advantage of that when you can.

Book title: If you have identified your best keywords for this market, then you can and should use them here. Keywords in a title can really help to boost your exposure, not just on Amazon but on Google as well.

Book subtitle: If you already have your title set in stone, consider using keywords in your subtitle to help boost your exposure in search.

Book topic: Let’s say you know your market, but you aren't sure what to write about. Sure, you could align this with “book focus", but consider that you’re an expert in consumer finance and want to write a book on this topic. Knowing what consumers are searching on (as it relates to finance) could be a great way to address the immediate needs of your reader. This is where keywords come into play but the research I share further in this article will help with this, too.

The other element here is to create a topic that’s narrower. Instead of focusing on one broad area, focus in more granularly. For example, I recently taught a class about this very topic and we brainstormed ideas on creating segmented topics within one broader umbrella. Consider the real estate gal who has a book on buying or selling your first home. I suggested that instead of trying to reach a big, broad and cluttered market, that she instead focus on isolated industries.

The ideas we brainstormed were: Buying Your First Home for Singles, Buying Your First Home for Seniors, Buying Your First Home for Domestic Partners. You get the idea, right? Create a series of books that sits under a broader market. This will net you better sales. Consumers like specialized topics that help solve a specific problem. And the books don’t have to be long, but we’ll cover that in more depth later. Once you find this market or niche, you’ll want to publish regularly to it. Amazon and the associated algorithms tend to trigger quicker when an author has multiple titles so consider that as well.

So, let’s assume that you've done some keyword research or are at least familiar with the keywords in your market. Let’s see how these searches relate to popular topics on Amazon.

Step-by-step, here is what you’ll need to do:

• On the Amazon page, search in the Kindle store tab. I want you to isolate your searches there for now.

• Plug in your search term and see what comes up. You’ll generally get 5-10 suggestions. Click on one of them.

• Look at the books that come up in search and click on the “customers also bought” section.

• Your focus should be on books that have a low sales rank. Depending on the category, it could be as low as 20,000 or as high as 50,000.

• You want to make sure there’s a variety of books in this segment, preferably more than five and they should all have this range of sales volume. If it’s lower than 20,000 that’s great, but when you get into the super saturated or unpopular categories, neither of those will help you.

• Some Amazon experts say that a 20,000 rank indicates that the book is selling five copies a day, but I find this hard to prove either way. Just know that given Amazon’s volume, it’s definitely not languishing. Regardless, this research will really help to expose hot topics and market segments within your area of expertise that are selling well.

Staying on the Short and Narrow

While full-length books will never go away, there’s a surge towards shorter, niche books—books that “own” a narrow market segment. When I first published How to Sell Books by the Truckload on Amazon, I was surprised at how the sales out-paced my other books. While I know the title had a lot to do with this, it was also the fact that the book was shorter and focused on one particular area.

If you decide to do this (write shorter books), I wouldn't suggest just keeping the book short. While short is the new long, there’s still plenty of room for full-length books, too. So, in other words, if you can mix it up, that’s the best track for success. How short can short be? Ten thousand to seventeen thousand words is generally acceptable. Keep in mind that if you do short, you don’t have room for fluff. You’ll want to be as crystal clear as you can be on specific instructions, maybe even include step-by-step instructions or checklists, which readers love.

Other Ways to Develop Book Ideas

There’s an element of research that goes into every book you create, and I’m not just talking about the topic research, but content, too. When you’re developing your book idea and trying to decide what to include and exclude from the book, consider spending a bit of time doing a comparison with other, similar books in your market. Take a look at their book pages on Amazon, read through their reviews. In particular, the negative reviews that give constructive feedback about what the reader thought was missing, or things they wished had been expanded upon, will be particularly helpful. Readers will tell you what they want, and they’ll often do it in a review.

One Final Note on Shorter Books

On Amazon there is the “look inside the book” feature. This covers just a short section of your book, so be cautious when you’re preparing your final content. If your book is too short, the “look inside” feature will reveal most of the book, or enough of it that readers may glean what they want and not buy it. You want to fill the book with sufficient content so that you don’t end up with this problem. If you've finished the book and it seems a bit too short, consider adding things like checklists, free resources or bonus chapters from other books you've written that relate to this topic.

Keep in mind that this isn't meant to pump up your book page count just for the sake of doing that, but if the book looks too much like a white paper or report instead of a book, you may end up with a lot of window-shoppers who don’t end up buying. How short is too short? Anything under 50 pages is too short. Generally I’d recommend that you sit somewhere over 55 pages, ideally 65 pages to be safe. And again, don’t stuff your book with useless content. Make sure that if you need to add pages, you are adding helpful, useful information.

Doing some book research is not just a great idea to help develop some high-selling product, but a great idea overall. We invest so much of our time and effort into our books that the more we can make sure we’re on target, the less time we’ll spend languishing in obscurity. Given that there are 3,500 books published every day in the US, whatever you can do to stand out above the crowd can make all the difference.

Reprinted from "The Book Marketing Expert newsletter," a free ezine offering book promotion and publicity tips and techniques. http://www.amarketingexpert.com

Thursday, July 3, 2014

WITS Announcements July 2014

As a subscriber to Writers in the Sky Newsletter, you are entitled to share your announcements with our readers. See guidelines at http://writersinthesky.blogspot.com/p/submit-your-material.html and send your material to us before the 24th of each month to make the next month’s issue. Anything posted in the WITS Newsletter is also shared with our blog readers at http://writersinthesky.blogspot.com.
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Graphic Design Internship offered fall semester in Nashville with Perfect Memoirs. Must be enrolled in an educational program and have basic knowledge of InDesign. Contact Deborah Wilbrink deb@perfectmemoirs.com for more info.
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CALL FOR ENTRIES!

The Dream Quest One Poetry & Writing Contest is open to anyone who loves expressing their innermost thoughts and feelings into the beautiful literary art of poetry and/or writing a great story that is worth telling everyone. Write a poem or a short story for a chance to win cash prizes totaling $1275! All works must be original. Postmark deadline: July 31, 2014. Visit our website for details on how to enter: http://www.dreamquestone.com
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Read the first chapter for free and then decide if you want to download the 3-hour-long MP3 audio book of More Than Meets the Eye ~ True Stories about Death, Dying, and Afterlife for only $7.00. http://tinyurl.com/bd7qhy8
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Do you have a great idea for a book but don't have the time or skills needed to complete the project? Our team will use your notes or rough draft, conduct author interviews, and/or transcribe your audio files to write your book. And the best part is, your name will be on the cover! Learn more: http://tinyurl.com/4dygat
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Each story in The Sid Series ~ A Collection of Holistic Stories for Children focuses on life skills such as environmental awareness, helping others, being true to one’s self, overcoming fear, and following inner guidance. http://TheSidSeries.com
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Writers in the Sky offers three different levels of editing--developmental, copy editing, and proofreading for books, articles, and other documents. WITS has edited many books for publishers, several of which became bestsellers in their category. We offer full or partial edits, as well as the opportunity to work with an editor as much or as little as you like. http://bit.ly/1pS092G
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Whose Stuff Is This? Finding Freedom from the Thoughts, Feelings, and Energy of Those Around You is a guidebook for empathic people who have been unknowingly carrying energetic burdens that belong to someone else. See all purchasing options at http://whosestuffisthis.blogspot.com/p/purchase-book.html.
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Are you losing money by doing your own work? Hire a Virtual Assistant(VA)! Having a VA lets you focus on higher level objectives as your VA takes part of your workload.

Katie Perry serves as the virtual administrative assistant to the WITS team. She is responsible for much of the online distribution of articles, media releases, podcast guest info, blog posts, blog tours and social marketing pieces written by our network members. She also is in charge of putting together each issue of the WITS Newsletter.

Katie is available to work with clients who need a virtual assistant on a per-project basis. You can contact her at katie [at] writersinthesky [dot] com.
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State of Appreciation is a free weekly online newsletter that blends practical and spiritual approaches to enhance personal power and self-realization. This publication offers empowering articles, gifts, and free contemporary and classic empowerment downloads at http://stateofappreciation.weebly.com.
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If you are looking for someone to create an original piece for your book cover, you might want to connect with Diane Daversa on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Diane-Daversa-Fine-Art/109782219119036.
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Shifting into Purer Consciousness ~ Integrating Spiritual Transformation with the Human Experience is about how to embrace multidimensional frequencies, lessen physical and emotional symptoms of rapid spiritual ascension, and offers tips to make the ascension process easier and quicker. http://shiftingintopurerconsciousness.com.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

WAO and WITS Podcast Schedules July 2014

We Are One in Spirit Podcast allows for people from all walks of life to discuss their spiritual journey and life—transforming experiences that remind us that we are all one in spirit. Uplifting, enlightening, and insightful topics include healing, empathy, intuition, spiritual/psychic gifts, metaphysics, soul development, afterlife, spirit communication, and more. The metaphysical shows are archived at feed://nashvillewriter.audioacrobat.com. You will also find us on iTunes. Please subscribe to the We Are One in Spirit mailing list to receive the call log-in information: http://weare1inspirit.com/blog/

This month’s interactive calls include group coaching for empaths on July 8th and for walk-ins on July 24th. Both webinar conference calls are at 2 p.m., central time.

Learn more about the group coaching calls at http://weare1inspirit.com/wao-podcast/


WITS Podcast Schedule
 
Writers in the Sky Podcast is a Nashville-based talk show about writing, publishing, and book marketing. An educational tool for people who want to learn more about the craft and business of writing, this show offers interviews with authors and writers, as well as the latest news about books currently on the market. You will also learn about publishing methods and marketing techniques as we interview publishers and publicists. Listen to archived shows via RSS Feed. Download WITS Podcast on iTunes for your iPod or iPad.

On July 11, tune in to the Writers in the Sky podcast to hear Zaheen Nanji discuss her new groundbreaking book,‎ Attract Your Ideal Weight: 8 Secrets of People Who Lose Weight and Keep it Off.‎

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Editor's Corner July 2014

Welcome to the July edition of the Writers in the Sky newsletter!

It's hard to believe that it's already July--seems like just yesterday, we were donning scarves and hats to brave the cold. Yet here we are, getting ready to fire up the grills and watch the fireworks in celebration of Independence Day. And while we certainly deserve a break from those long hours in front of the computer, I cannot help but point out all the wonderful inspiration we might find over the holiday. In our interactions with family, friends and the new people we meet lie the seeds of our next scene, chapter--even an entire book! So, while enjoying the sun and sand, I encourage everyone to use their writer's eyes and ears to take it all in and store it up for the next time they're looking for the right words to tell their story.

Happy Fourth of July, and happy writing!

Dana Micheli
Writer and editor, Writers in the Sky Creative Writing Services
http://writersinthesky.com
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LinkedIn

Writers in the Sky is a team of ghostwriters, editors, and book marketing specialists committed to the craft and business of writing. We work with our clients on all levels of the publishing process from editing and manuscript assessments to book formatting and marketing. So whether you are a first-time author or a veteran of the craft, let Writers in the Sky help you get your book out into the world. We also provide assistance with résumés, business documents, and academic essays. For more information, visit www.writersinthesky.com.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Join Us on the Blog Tour For Leslie D. Soule's Forgetting Fallenwood

I have always been fascinated by what makes authors tick--the process by which they develop their stories and characters. It is almost as interesting to me as the book itself! Novelist Leslie D. Soule was kind enough to give us this peek into the creative inspiration for Forgetting Fallenwood. 

Building A Fantasy World
By Leslie D. Soule
        So when I was a child, I adored the movie Labyrinth. In the movie, we’re introduced to teenager Sara, and her room is filled with things that later show up in the actual fantasy-world labyrinth she enters with the help of Jareth, the goblin king. There’s a book, the board game, a statue of Jareth, stuffed animal goblins, etc. Personally, I’ve found that fantasy writing is a bit like that. In my own fantasy world, called Fallenwood (the old name is Terra Illumina), I’ve taken the things I like – the things that littered the walls of my room when I was a teenager – dragons and the wolf king, crystals and unicorns and the things of 80s fantasy. To me, the original Fallenwood novel has a very 80s feel to it.
            As for my main character, I based her on myself because writing has always been a source of therapy for me, and for working out my own issues, on paper. It seems to me that nowadays, people are so eager to escape the past, forget their own histories, and always be wiping the slate clean. But as a writer, that feels so cheap – because there’s a lot to be gained from seeing how far you’ve come on your journey, even if it hasn’t been a particularly pleasant one. I guess that would really be the underlying message of the series.
            But back to Fallenwood. I wanted to add some danger to this world, and what could be more dangerous to a human than a dragon? Much of fantasy has dealt with dragon-slaying or befriending dragons, but I feel like if I were transported back to a fantasy land, I would probably try and stay as far away from them as possible, because as the saying goes, “I am crunchy, and good with ketchup”.
            Basically, I added the things I like, into Fallenwood – I like unicorns, but I feel like they’ve been made into overly-cute things. So I created the black unicorn. That, I can handle. Of course there is magic, and according to Orson Scott Card, you’ve got to have a price every time it’s used, to keep your characters believable and to keep them from becoming uber-powerful. That’s how/why I created the Curse that the magic-users have.
            And…I should have thought of direwolves, and snatched up that bit of fantasy before George R.R. Martin could put his signature stamp all over it. Hrmph! Oh well. What would YOUR fantasy world look like and/or include?




Enter to win one of two $25 Amazon GCs! A Rafflecopter Giveaway!





Thursday, June 12, 2014

Join Us on the TWIST OF FATE Blog Tour

I


Welcome to the first stop on the Twist of Fate blog  tour! A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of interviewing Shawna C. Smith on our podcast, and I thought our readers could benefit from learning more about her writing process.   


My Writing Process
By Shawna C. Jones
I like to start a story by writing with paper and pen. When I hold a pen and jot down words in a notebook, my creativity opens up. It’s a freeing experience to be able to write something down, and eventually get into a flow with it. At times it seems to be an altered experience. Words start flowing, and sometimes after reading, I wonder if I actually wrote it, or if it came from somewhere else.

At any time, if I’m not sure what I want to say, I just start writing, and eventually the pen glides easily over the paper. At least for me, this seems to help “prime the pump.” Then later, finding a different way of saying something, or adding more to the picture, can give me an “aha” moment. I was once told in a writing class to not cross anything out while writing a first draft. They also advised us not to write longer than two hours, because you need to process the information you’ve written and let it percolate. Ideas for improvements could show up later that day, or in the following days.

It took several tries for me to write Twist of Fate. It started out as a memoir, but that didn’t work. Because I had so much travel in it, I felt like I was giving readers a tour. And that’s not my story, although journeying to foreign countries was an important part of it. So I decided to focus the story on the characters, and go into less detail about the landscape. I realize this way of writing doesn’t appeal to everyone. And that’s okay. It’s my story.

While reviewing my second try with the memoir style, an editor told me that certain events had to happen before this and that. She said it was a great story, but needed refining. By this time, I’d written over one hundred pages (twice), and I decided to rethink the whole process, and approach it from a different angle. I took out a lot of the travel, or used it as backstory. I removed several characters that didn’t add to the story, and weren’t really necessary. Who needs all those extras?

This new approach took another two tries by long hand before I was happy with it. Then I went to the computer and started typing. Now as I typed, other ways of making a sentence better would appear. Sometimes I would continue typing it as it was, and other times I would stop and use long hand again. Since this book is a memoir, I didn’t want to change a lot of it, but I had two separate journeys going on at the same time. I didn’t know if I could reconcile them without the story appearing disjointed. Somehow, I managed to pull it off, but don’t ask me how I did it. I just went with my soul. In fact, I would say my soul wrote a lot of this book. And sometimes in writing that’s all that’s supposed to happen.
When we get too caught up in the words, we miss something. Too much detail, for me, is distracting. I know some people prefer to have every little detail, rather than using their imagination. I’m not one of those. It will either bore me or put me to sleep.

So all in all, I wrote out my book at least four times. I had it edited three times, and proofread twice, by some terrific people. It took longer than I thought it would take: about ten months. All I know is everyone’s writing is going to be different because we’re all different. We come from various backgrounds and experiences. And guess what? It’s okay. My advice for aspiring writers is to not stop writing. Write even when you don’t feel like it. Write even if the only thing you write is about is the weather, or nonsense stuff. Deep inside you is a story dying to get out. And millions of us want to read it.
Best of luck to all of you writing. Please don’t quit.

Shawna will be awarding the winner's choice of a  $50 Amazon GC, a $50 Starbucks GC, or a crystal from Middle Earth Store in Mt. Shasta  to a randomly drawn commenter during this tour and a $25 Amazon  or  Starbucks GC to a randomly drawn host.

Enter to win a $50 Amazon GC, a $50 Starbucks GC, or a crystal from Middle Earth Store in Mt. Shasta. They will dowse for the right one for you. Value up to $60.00.(winner's choice)—a Rafflecopter giveaway)



Monday, June 9, 2014

Yvonne Perry’s latest book: Light Language Emerging

Humanity attempts to settle on an answer to the question of “reality”. Philosophy and religion attempt to encapsulate thoughts on the matter into an idea, the oldest idea known to man: That being is one, identical with God the Creator. In every age and in every corner of the world that idea is rediscovered. Humanity finds that idea fulfilling. And humankind can rest comfortably on the fact that it will never perish. Assuredly, nothing will ever finally replace it in human consciousness. There remains only the problem of communication: A language is needed to communicate in an “all being as one reality”. Thus, Yvonne Perry’s Light Language Emerging beacons and fires the imagination with sounds, movements, and images that arouse joy, exhilaration, and the anticipation of a new day on the earth.

Perry speaks to the possible human experience with fresh, new words and images that render imaginings fitting to the present moment in evolution. Light Language Emerging is captivating and nearly impossible to put it down, hypnotically leading into an immediate second reading. While the Church limits light language to church services and prayers, without reservation, Perry blows the doors off that stifling prison of thoughts about its purpose and potential by using varied candid stories of speaking, signing, drawing, and dancing in light language. In so doing, she catapults readers into a world of galactic portals and dimensions where communication does not necessarily depend on reason, understanding, and context. Simultaneously, Perry plants readers into deep communication with the unknown world of infinite mystery while appealing to all the senses, both spiritual and physical. I conclude light language can lead to personal discovery and an entirely new human experience for many individuals.

S. L. Brannon
Author of The Two Agreements: A Good News Story for Our Time

Friday, June 6, 2014

WAO Coaching Podcast for June

We Are One in Spirit Podcast allows for people from all walks of life to discuss their spiritual journey and life—transforming experiences that remind us that we are all one in spirit. Uplifting, enlightening, and insightful topics include healing, empathy, intuition, spiritual/psychic gifts, metaphysics, soul development, afterlife, spirit communication, and more. The metaphysical shows are archived at feed://nashvillewriter.audioacrobat.com. You will also find us on iTunes. Please subscribe to the We Are One in Spirit mailing list to receive the call log-in information: http://weare1inspirit.com/blog/

This month’s interactive calls include group coaching for empaths on June 10th and for walk-ins on June 26th. Both webinar conference calls are at 2 p.m., central time.

Learn more about the group coaching calls at http://weare1inspirit.com/wao-podcast/

WITS Announcements June 2014

As a subscriber to Writers in the Sky Newsletter, you are entitled to share your announcements with our readers. See guidelines at http://writersinthesky.blogspot.com/p/submit-your-material.html and send your material to us before the 24th of each month to make the next month’s issue. Anything posted in the WITS Newsletter is also shared with our blog readers at http://writersinthesky.blogspot.com.

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Writers in the Sky’s Deborah Wilbrink has been chosen competitively to present a workshop at the annual conference of the Association of Personal Historians. Print on Demand? Your EZ Guide to Online Publishing will explore the different online publishing platforms and sites, and teach what questions to ask and where to look for answers before you choose a site for your project. Perfect for those lost in the maze of internet publishing options, and those new to online publishing. Deborah's presentation is October 25 in St. Louis, Missouri. She is a consultant editor, ghostwriter and personal historian. Contact Deborah to give workshops to your group or for private coaching. See events at perfectmemoirs.com

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Read the first chapter for free and then decide if you want to download the 3-hour-long MP3 audio book of More Than Meets the Eye ~ True Stories about Death, Dying, and Afterlife for only $7.00. http://tinyurl.com/bd7qhy8
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From June 12- September 4, Goddess Fish Promotions is organizing a Virtual Name Before the Masses Tour for Twist of Fate by Shawna C. Jones, a Romance book available now.

The tour will run every Thursday for 12 weeks, starting on June 12, 2014, and Shawna is available for guest post and interviews. A PDF, Mobi and ePub copy of the book is available for review in conjunction with a guest post or interview.

PRIZE INFORMATION: Shawna will be awarding the winner's choice of 1) A $50.00 Amazon gift card 2) A $50.00 Starbucks gift card 3) A crystal from Middle Earth Store in Mt. Shasta (they will dowse for the right one for you. Value up to $60.00) to a randomly drawn commenter during this tour. A $25 Amazon GC or a $25 Starbucks GC (winner's choice) to a randomly drawn host.
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Do you have a great idea for a book but don't have the time or skills needed to complete the project? Our team will use your notes or rough draft, conduct author interviews, and/or transcribe your audio files to write your book. And the best part is, your name will be on the cover! Learn more: http://tinyurl.com/4dygat

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Jumpstart Your Memoir! with Deborah Wilbrink

June 28, Saturday 10AM-1PM FREE with advance registration

615 Church Street, Nashville, TN
Contact elizabeth.coleman@nashville.gov or Liz at 862-5804 x6092 to Register

Start writing the book you’ve been carrying in your head for years: your life story! We’ll begin by defining and comparing styles of memoir. Then you’ll engage in activities that will generate many ideas for developing your narrative. Learn how characters, settings, plot, theme and morals can be used to steer your story, give it form, and deepen the experience of your readers.

Deborah Wilbrink is a nationally certified teacher of English; a published journalist; and editor, ghostwriter and proprietor of Perfect Memoirs, a personal and family history publishing business. Most recently she taught That's Your Life, Writing Memoir, for Vanderbilt University's Osher Institute. She is proud to be associated with Writers in the Sky.
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Each story in The Sid Series ~ A Collection of Holistic Stories for Children focuses on life skills such as environmental awareness, helping others, being true to one’s self, overcoming fear, and following inner guidance. http://TheSidSeries.com
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Writers in the Sky offers three different levels of editing--developmental, copy editing, and proofreading for books, articles, and other documents. WITS has edited many books for publishers, several of which became bestsellers in their category. We offer full or partial edits, as well as the opportunity to work with an editor as much or as little as you like. http://bit.ly/1pS092G
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Whose Stuff Is This? Finding Freedom from the Thoughts, Feelings, and Energy of Those around You is a guidebook for empathic people who have been unknowingly carrying energetic burdens that belong to someone else. See all purchasing options at http://whosestuffisthis.blogspot.com/p/purchase-book.html.

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CALL FOR ENTRIES!

The Dream Quest One Poetry & Writing Contest is open to anyone who loves expressing their innermost thoughts and feelings into the beautiful literary art of poetry and/or writing a great story that is worth telling everyone. Write a poem or a short story for a chance to win cash prizes totaling $1275! All works must be original. Postmark deadline: July 31, 2014. Visit our website for details on how to enter: http://www.dreamquestone.com
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You've poured your blood, sweat and tears into your book, and now, after countless rounds of writing, rewriting and editing, it is finally ready for market. Think your work is over? Think again. These days, whether you are a self-published or traditionally published author, you are responsible for the lion's share of the marketing. That's why Writers in the Sky offers a full menu of services to assist you in promoting your book. Visit our website for more information! http://bit.ly/1jZWTVI
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State of Appreciation is a free weekly online newsletter that blends practical and spiritual approaches to enhance personal power and self-realization. This publication offers empowering articles, gifts, and free contemporary and classic empowerment downloads at http://stateofappreciation.weebly.com.
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If you are looking for someone to create an original piece for your book cover, you might want to connect with Diane Daversa on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Diane-Daversa-Fine-Art/109782219119036.
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Shifting into Purer Consciousness ~ Integrating Spiritual Transformation with the Human Experience is about how to embrace multidimensional frequencies, lessen physical and emotional symptoms of rapid spiritual ascension, and offers tips to make the ascension process easier and quicker. http://shiftingintopurerconsciousness.com.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Editor's Corner June 2014

Welcome to the June, 2014 Edition of the Writers in the Sky Newsletter!

Not all seekers are writers, but all writers are seekers. We seek understanding of human behavior, of spirituality, law, politics, and anything else that happens to catch our eye. It is this curiosity that drives us to first pursue knowledge, then share it with others.

This past Saturday, I attended an event, “Meet the Writers of Bay Ridge”, held at the local branch of the Brooklyn Public Library. Bay Ridge, Brooklyn—where I have lived for the past several years—is best known to non-New Yorkers as Tony Manero’s neighborhood in Saturday Night Fever, and more recently, the sight of Reagans’ Sunday dinner on Blue Bloods. Within the Five Boroughs, it is known for its lovely, tree-lined streets and great eateries; but, as I was so pleasantly surprised to learn, it also has a rich literary history that includes Hubert Selby’s iconic Last Exit to Brooklyn and a thriving writers’ community.

As writers we are always seeking a balance between solitude and community. We get plenty of the former, but sometimes the latter is harder to find. But as I was recently reminded, what we are looking for is usually right under our noses.
Happy networking, and as always, happy writing!

Dana Micheli
Writer and editor, Writers in the Sky Creative Writing Services
http://writersinthesky.com
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Writers in the Sky is a team of ghostwriters, editors, and book marketing specialists committed to the craft and business of writing. We work with our clients on all levels of the publishing process from editing and manuscript assessments to book formatting and marketing. So whether you are a first-time author or a veteran of the craft, let Writers in the Sky help you get your book out into the world. We also provide assistance with résumés, business documents, and academic essays. For more information, visit www.writersinthesky.com.
 

Friday, May 30, 2014

This Week's Podcast Guest: Social Media Guru Melonie Dodaro

This week, I had the pleasure of interviewing author and social media guru, Melonie Dodaro. Melonie's company, Top Dog Social Media, helps businesses make the most of their marketing and branding efforts. Her blog has been listed by the Social Media Examiner as one of the Top 10 Social Media blogs of 2014. Now she reveals some of her most important trade secrets in her new book, The Linkedin Code.

Many people consider Facebook and Twitter the best tools to build an online community. But as Melonie points out, Linkedin is an excellent way for everyone--including writers--to reach their target audience. We just need to know how to use it!  

Click here to listen to the podcast. Then on June 3, order The Linkedin Code and unlock the largest business social network!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Join Us for the Twist of Fate Book Tour!



My Spirituality

By Shawna C. Jones,
Author of Twist of Fate
Thank you for allowing me to blog on this topic today.
Spirituality to me is connecting with something greater than myself. I know there are many definitions, and I won’t even get into the specific religious ones. I believe spirituality and religion can blend, but I don’t consider myself a religious person.

I grew up with no religious beliefs, and I am grateful for that. It allowed me to choose what worked for me, and I didn’t get brain washed at a young age. I didn’t believe in God one way or the other. Perhaps God was invented by humans? If there was no God, would I be okay with that? The journey to finding your own truth may be a long one. But it’s yours and no one else’s.

Like most things in life, spirituality has to be experienced. It can’t be learned from a book or church service. In my book, I had a spiritual experience. It surprised me, since I didn’t expect it and, I don’t know if my mentor knew it would happen or not, but he must have felt I was ready to experience it. 

I would say that my search for my True Home became my spiritual journey. When I describe my home to anyone, they tell me it sounds like Heaven. And yet, I know it’s not Heaven. I don’t even believe in Heaven or Hell, but I do know there exists other dimensions and planets/stars, and even other states of consciousness. My home is a Star system of high frequency. It is called Astellerone (I’m not sure of the spelling). I get homesick just thinking about it. The good news is, I can travel there mentally at any time to be with my family and the wonderful beings that live there. Do I think I can advance even higher than that place? Quite possibly, but I don’t even know if I want to. It’s just too beautiful. And I belong there, which is huge for me.

That doesn’t diminish anyone else’s experience or place of origin. If you’re from Pleiades, Venus, Sirius, or other dimensions, you still shine a bright light on Earth, and help to uplift the planet. Most of us came here with a mission. We want to complete it regardless of what’s on our path. It relates to doing something for the planet or others here, whether to serve (help) others, anchor more light into Earth, honor all creatures (especially animals), or plant more trees. Whatever we do, we are careful to not cause more harm to a planet already in crisis.

I didn’t find my home until I had Chi Nei Tsang massages. We are carrying issues, blockages, and everything else from many, many past lives. We need to get rid of it. As Steve, my masseuse, used to say, “We’re putting more Christ light (Buddha light) into your body.”

I know this is my last life here, and I intend to complete my mission. I will resign from being a planetary healer, as I’ve done this too many times already. It’s someone else’s turn. As for this life, I intend to continue traveling, meditating, healing, and making this planet as bright as it can be. Mother Earth needs all the help she can get.

I hope everyone finds their connection to the Divine, whatever that may be. As Pierre Teilhard de Chardin said, “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience, we are spiritual beings having a human experience.”

Thank you for reading,
Shawna


As part of the Twist of Fate Tour, Shawna is offering the following prizes to a random commentator:
A  $50.00 Amazon Gift certificate.
A half hour psychic reading of your choice of readers. (up to $60.00)
A $50.00 Starbucks gift card.

Enter to win your choice of prizes – a Rafflecopter Giveaway


Here is the full tour schedule--make sure to leave a comment!
May 26: The Reading Addict
May 27: Our Wolves Den
May 28: Writers in the Sky Podcast, Ezine and Blog
May 29: Deal Sharing Aunt
May 30: You Gotta Read Reviews
June 2: Sexy Adventures Passionate Tales
June 3: Welcome to My World of Dreams
June 4: Long and Short Reviews
June 5: Kinky Vanilla Romance
June 6: It's Raining Books

 

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

WITS Book Reviews

Title: Before (B4: Book I)
Author: Mia Zabrisky
ASIN: B00IT7QP2I
Publisher: Mia Zabrisky Books
Genre: Thriller
Publication date: (March 4, 2014)
Book Length in Pages: 71
Reviewer: Dana Micheli


Well, she has done it again! Mia Zabrisky, who, is in my opinion one of the best kept literary secrets out there, has written another un-put-downable thriller.

Whereas Zabrisky’s earlier books spent time in the past, Before (“B4: Book I”) explores a dark, totalitarian future. A man wakes up in a strange hotel room with no memory of how he got there, or even who he is. He also doesn’t know the identity of the beautiful and very dead woman lying next to him. He is soon chased from the room by men who clearly want to capture him…or worse. Now, slinking around the back alleys of a dismal, unfamiliar city, he tries to figure out what has happened to him. The only clue he has is the strange “B4” tattoo on his wrist, which he discovers has branded him a violent patient of a nearby mental hospital. He is also the number one suspect in the woman’s murder; his face is posted everywhere and he is being hunted by the drones patrolling the city.

Not far away, in another dilapidated motel room, another amnesiac commits a brutal murder for hire. This young woman is not paid with money, however, but with a few precious moments in which she is given access to her memories.

Is this Zabrisky’s commentary on where our society is headed, or simply the product of an incredible imagination and a cynical view of runaway technology? We don’t know, and it really doesn’t matter. We will have the nightmares either way.

One of my favorite things about Zabrisky is that she is a serial series writer. It allows me to savor each book, waiting for the delicious cliffhanger that will undoubtedly be waiting for me and knowing that the next installment will still manage to up the ante.




Title: Pinkslipped
Author: Romina Wilcox
ISBN-10: 1493627333
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Genre: Fiction
Publication date: (February 12, 2014)
Book Length in Pages: 290
Reviewer: Dana Micheli


I have always loved Romina Wilcox’s work; her cybercrime novels kept me on the edge of my seat and gave me a peek into the world of Silicon Valley. I am equally impressed with her departure from cybercrime. Her new novel, Pinkslipped, is the all too realistic story of one family dealing with the loss of employment, as well as financial and emotional security, during the Great Recession.

By all accounts, Jennifer and Ed Tesler lived an enviable life, with three children, a beautiful home in an upscale California neighborhood and luxury cars. Jennifer had climbed the corporate ladder in a male-dominated field and, after fifteen years at Tri-Tech, was probably on her way to breaking the glass ceiling as well. Her office was her second home, and she felt like she was part of a corporate family, indispensible. That illusion was shattered after the global economy went into freefall, resulting in huge layoffs at Tri-Tech. Jennifer is shocked to learn that she is one of the casualties. She will spend the next two years not only trying to get another job, but trying to recover her sense of self-worth and stop her family from losing everything they’ve worked for.

Pinkslipped also takes an honest look at the nature of the American Dream. The economic meltdown of 2008 was terrifying, not only for those directly affected by it, but by all Americans. We all felt as if the rug had been ripped out from under us, with no idea of how far we’d fall.

Ultimately, however, Pinkslipped is about the resiliency of that dream. It reminds us that it not only survived the Great Depression, but came back stronger than ever, and it will do so again. The book is also about the power of faith—in God, in family, and in one’s self –in helping us overcome even the scariest of circumstances.
 

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Join Us for a Conversation with Novelist Shawna C. Jones

Shawna C. Jones has always considered herself to be a seeker, both geographically and spiritually. Now she has added author to that list with her recently released first novel, Twist of Fate. It is the gripping story of a young woman's year-long trek through Europe and is based on Shawna's own adventures. Next week, Shawna will embark on a new kind of journey--traveling  the blog-o-sphere with the first of two virtual book tours.  We're thrilled to be a host site for both, so check back on May 28 to read more about Shawna's work. In the meantime, tune into our podcast to hear her dish about spirituality, wanderlust, and the inspiration to live the writer's life.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Poetry and Prose Corner May 2014

Enter Singing

Quiet little lotus blossom
Nestling in silent waters,
Would you disallow the world
The wonder of your rainbow smile?
The softened sigh of your sweet voice,
The Heaven fragrance that you breathe,
The pleasure of your company
If only for a little while.

Tapping softly at my door,
Your angel voice a welcome song.
Come share with us the lilting joy
Of all that life is meant to be.
Just one chorus, then one more,
Sweet manna to a grateful throng,
The Merlin magic you employ
To set a wistful spirit free.

Bright lights fill to every corner
Casting shadows wide and long,
And happiness surrounds you when
You enter singing love’s sweet song.

Dennis S. Martin
Lulu Storefront: http://www.lulu.com/dsmartin
Plays: http://sites.google.com/site/playsbydennissmartin/


The Graduate

Handshakes and hugs
And broad smiling tears,
Confident speeches to
Veil silent fears,
And time pauses briefly
Recalling the years
As the graduate
Glides ‘cross the stage.

Backslapping well-wishers
Seem to abound as the
Honorees hover
Five feet off the ground
And nowhere for miles
Can a dry eye be found
As each book
Opens a new page.

Glittering hope casts
Her sparkling beams
And offers her bosoms
To nurture new dreams,
To fill with a prospect
That bursts at the seams
And the clock cannot wither
With age.

Dennis S. Martin
Lulu Storefront: http://www.lulu.com/dsmartin
Plays: http://sites.google.com/site/playsbydennissmartin/

Friday, May 16, 2014

Show and Tells Celebrate Personal History Awareness Month in May

“I made this T-shirt,” begins Beverly, “after the Northridge Earthquake of 1994. I had an arm in a cast but was pulling others out of the debris. It says, “California: Fire, Flood, Shake and Bake!”

“Here’s the footstool I made for my mother at Central High School in Murfreesboro. This is the medal I won for Best Student in the manual program there. I still have the dresser that I made, shown in this picture,” beams 98-year-old Thomas.

And so the stories start. To increase awareness of the importance of preserving and sharing personal history, the Association of Personal Historians (APH) members are hosting “Show & Tell” events. A grown-up version of grade school’s Show & Tell, people bring an old photo, letter, memento, a treasured personal item or even an ancient artifact to “show and tell” the stories behind the items.

Show and Tells in the Nashville, Tennessee area can be found on the Events page at PerfectMemoirs.com. For other locations use the national website personalhistorians.org, event page, and check Show & Tells.

APHers aim to spread the conviction that every person, family, community, and organization has a story worthy of being recorded and preserved. The APH’s motto is
“Yes, it’s time – Time to tell the story of your life.”

Submitted by Deborah Wilbrink, a personal historian and a Writer In the Sky. Contact Deborah: deb@perfectmemoirs.com





Friday, May 9, 2014

How to Research Keywords to Help You Create the Perfect Book

Last month we talked about how to create bestselling book ideas (http://thefutureofink.com/create-bestselling-book-ideas/) and use keywords to help identify the right market, focus, and direction for your book. Now, let’s dig a bit deeper into the topic of keywords and focus on the strategy for identifying the exact right words for your market.

These days, just about everything we talk about in regards to social media comes down to using the right keywords. But the topic of keywords actually goes deeper than that. Keywords affect all areas of promotion: from creating the right copy on your website, to placing ads on Facebook that get attention, to developing an irresistible book idea. But more than that, you want to create a book idea that Amazon will love. The keyword strategies I discuss here can be used for anything: blog post topics, verbiage on your website, and book topics. Once you learn the how-tos of this, you’ll find yourself digging through keywords, not only because they are good strategy, but because without them your message may get lost in the ether.

Getting Started:

The first step to generating good keywords is to use sites that offer keyword data. Though a lot of folks default to Google’s AdWords tool, you do need to have a Google AdWords or Gmail account to use it. If the AdWords tool will work for you, you can reach it here: https://adwords.google.com. If you haven’t used this tool in a while, be warned that some of the functionality has been stripped away. I typically don’t just stick with one tool; I’ll use several, then compare results.

If using Google is not your preference, consider these alternative keyword solutions:

Free keyword tools

• Wordtracker – https://freekeywords.wordtracker.com
• Ubersuggest – http://ubersuggest.org/
• SEO Book – http://tools.seobook.com/keyword-tools/seobook/
• WordPot – http://www.wordpot.com

My personal favorite is Ubersuggest, and I’ll explain in a minute why.

Cast the Net Wide

The idea of this keyword exercise is to guide you and help you focus on specific keywords and current trending topics. We’ll talk about the latter in a minute. For now, let’s say you searched on AdWords for the term “book sales”.

Plugging in that keyword will show you suggestions, as well as the keyword’s average monthly searches. The “Competition” column is related to the AdWords rate, as you’ll see off to the right. The suggested bids will often reflect this. Typically, I’ll look for keywords that are getting 500 monthly searches or above. Unless your topic is super niche, anything less than that may not get you the kind of results you want.

As you review the wide range of related phrases, you’re looking for two things: phrases that more specifically relate to your topic and completely new phrases that have a similar meaning, especially those with high search volume. Add these phrases to your list.

Other Ways to Find Keywords

If you’re reading through this article thinking, “Well, this is fine, but I’m not even sure what my keywords are,” then let’s look at some ways to help define these for you.

Google Analytics: This is a great tool to help you find phrases and topics that are already driving traffic. If you have Google Analytics installed on your website you can farm all sorts of data. If you don’t have it, it’s easy to do. Ask your web person to install it asap. It’s a free system from Google and a fantastic source for anything you need to know about how your website is doing (traffic), how people are accessing your site (site data) and what’s bringing them there (keywords). So, let’s assume you have Google Analytics, from the backend of the site click: Acquisition, then click Keywords, and then click Organic.

This will show you how folks are finding your site, which is really handy. I often find some great keywords there that I use in blog posts, social media updates, or any ads that we run.

• Google Suggest: Just begin entering relevant keywords into Google and see what phrases Google suggests. You may also want to use a question, so, type “how to” or “what” and add in your topic. The top searches that come up typically have high volume and this should give you a good sense of what consumers are looking for.

Now for one of the best kept secrets in keywords: Ubersuggest. I love Ubersuggest because every day it scrapes all the searches on Google and when you pop in keywords it’ll show you a treasure trove of recent searches, word combos, keyword suggestions, everything. I adore this site. It’s the best keyword search tool I’ve seen in a while, and it does the same thing as the Google search bar but on a larger scale.

Now What?

So now that you’ve done this work and become a keyword pro, build a list of ten to fifteen keywords or keyword strings. This is now the data that you can use to sift through Amazon and see what other competing titles there are on the site. Check out the other article I wrote on this (in the link mentioned above) and get some tips for incorporating keywords into your book creation process. Ideally, you want whole strings of words, like what Ubersuggest offered when I plugged in the term “book marketing”. Keep this list; you’ll use it over and over again during this process.

Good keywords will benefit you in dozens of ways. We use them in blog post titles, social media updates, copy on our website. Absolutely everything. Knowing how your consumer searches and what verbiage they plug into the search bar is crucial to getting found and getting your book noticed. Some years ago, a friend who is knee-deep in SEO told me that many of her friends were doing books based solely on keyword searches or what was hot in searches. While I don’t recommend this practice, it goes to my point that if your book isn’t somehow aligned with your consumer’s mindset, it could languish in obscurity. But what happens if your book is already out there? Well, then consider pulling these keywords into your book description on Amazon and when adding keywords to your book (which you do when you upload it to the Amazon site). You can also use these on the copy on your book webpage.

Keywords, in a sense, are like a GPS, taking you and your book on the right path. Finding the right ones, and using them, can really help expedite your journey and book success.

Reprinted from "The Book Marketing Expert newsletter," a free ezine offering book promotion and publicity tips and techniques. http://www.amarketingexpert.com