Friday, July 31, 2009

Keep a Personal Touch Online, Social Networking Tips for Writers

By L. Drew Gerber

Have you ever had someone tell you they were slammed with work, only to find their Facebook page full of frequent frivolous activity?

Or maybe you have been surprised by a rude, off-the-cuff remark on Twitter?

Social networking offers boundless potential for authors and writers to promote their works to a wide audience online. Just remember to avoid some common etiquette pitfalls.

Keeping a personalized touch makes all the difference. Let the Golden Rule govern your behavior online and treat people and situations as you would face to face:

Share. Provide valuable information that people can use. When I am networking online, I offer great content for free, whether it be seminars, newsletters, or even articles that I think would be interesting for the community.

Don’t just promote yourself. Engage with people online just as you would if you were building a business relationship in person. If someone comes in and all they want to do is promote, promote, promote, that approach is likely to go nowhere.

Be polite. People have a tendency to say things online they would never say face to face. I have seen instances where people on Twitter have a personal beef or a problem with a person and tweet it out publicly. Don’t say anything you would be embarrassed for your loved ones to read.

Don’t lower yourself. With electronic communication, whether email or social networking, there is no way to read facial expressions or body language. If there is a question about a person’s intentions, give them the benefit of the doubt rather than calling them out for being rude.

Be responsible. Not only for what you say, but for your time and your image. It will hurt your credibility if you tell people how busy you are and they see you taking those "Who am I?" and "5 Favorite" quizzes on Facebook every day. When you are online you should assume everyone is watching and behave accordingly.

Don’t butt in. If you are participating in an online discussion, let other people have a chance to share their ideas and perspectives. Wait your turn and you will get your chance.

Have fun and be creative. Think of ways you can share information about your article, book, writing service or yourself that are fun and make people want to follow you.

These tips work because social networking is all about building community. Just like in the community you live in offline, the people who have credibility online who are those who engage others and provide value for the community.

L. Drew Gerber is CEO of Blue Kangaroo, Inc. and creator of, a no-charge media tool that moves the best interviews to the front of the line for journalists and producers. Gerber's business practices and staffing innovations have been revered by PR Week, Good Morning America and the Christian Science Monitor. His companies handle international PR campaigns and his staff develops online press kits for authors, speakers and companies with PressKit 24/7, a technology he developed ( Contact L. Drew Gerber at or call him at 828-749-3182.

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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Writers in the Sky Podcast Guests Offer Tips on Book Marketing and a Scenario for End of the World! for August 2009

This month on Writers in the Sky Podcast, Yvonne Perry will be interviewing several guests who are experts at book marketing. She and her guests: Lynn Serafinn, Lillian Brummet, and Pam Perry will share tips to help authors who need more information about how to promote their books. Lynn will also give insight on how to find peace within one’s self. That information may come in quite handy in the middle of the month when Sarah Moore hosts Jimmy Root to discuss his end-of-times thriller, Distant Thunder!

Lynn Serafinn will be Yvonne Perry's guest on August 7 to discuss her book about becoming whole The Garden of the Soul: Lessons From Four Flowers That Unearth the Self. Give-Receive-Become-Be are four spiritual principles that provide a model for flow, balance, and deeper connection both within oneself and with others, to restore overall wellbeing and increase our joy. Lynn Serafinn is a personal transformation coach, teacher, motivational speaker, talk radio show host, and Amazon bestselling author, whose power to inspire and help people reconnect to themselves is widely acclaimed. Lynn is also an excellent book marketer and will share tips with our listeners.

On August 14, Sarah Moore will interview Jimmy Root about his book, Distant Thunder, which is part of the Lightning Chronicles Trilogy. What would happen if the entire world turned on Israel? This thriller provides the answer in a fast-paced read, filled with all the action and adventure that usually accompanies the end of the world. Jimmy is a longtime pastor, a student of Bible prophecy, and the host of "The Bible Uncensored," a radio broadcast aired in various regions of the country. See
for more information.

Join Lillian Brummet on August 21 as she is the guest of podcast host Yvonne Perry. These two book marketing experts will discuss Purple Snowflake Marketing - How To Make Your Book Stand Out In A Crowd. This e-book is a reference guide for self-marketing authors who want to design an effective marketing plan and utilize frugal promotional tools with the click of their mouse. Purple Snowflake Marketing provides reassurance and ample advice for avoiding pit-falls and setting a pace for marketing endeavors. Authors of most genres will find this an inspiring essential component for marketing their book in a way that suits their unique situation. See for more information.

We bring the month to a close on August 28 when Pam Perry is interviewed by Yvonne Perry, owner of Writers in the Sky Creative Writing Services. Pam Perry is known as the "PR Guru" and "Marketing Whiz" by the national media and is one of the more high-powered and visible figures in public relations. Perry’s rise in the world of publicity began when she worked in public relations and advertising. She is the owner of Ministry Marketing Solutions. She will be sharing some book marketing tips and letting listeners know how she can help authors formulate a successful marketing plan.

About Writers in the Sky: Writers in the Sky blog, podcast, and newsletter is a three-fold production filled with information about writing, publishing, and book publicity created by Yvonne Perry as part of Writers in the Sky Creative Writing Services (

Listening to Writers in the Sky Podcast on a computer is easy. Go to On the right side bar there is a list of archived shows. Click on the interview you would like to hear and it will open a post that has a link to the audio file.

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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Poetry Corner July 2009

Like Drunken Cowboys

There’s a place inside my head where hurt never filters in,
A place to heal, where I can know I’m my own best friend,
Sometimes find it easier than facing reality,
Like drunken cowboys living without a dream.

Call me crazy; call me a fool, for shutting out the world.
I just need time to contemplate the way my life’s unfurled.
Wouldn’t want to take it out on everyone around
Like drunken cowboys tearing up the town.

I don’t want to think about forever,
Trying hard to make it through the storm.
Toughening my feelings into leather
Til it just doesn’t matter anymore.

Take a step back to a time when
Life was a free-for-all,
Where disagreements could always be settled in a barroom brawl,
Where consequences and concerns were not a high priority,
Like drunken cowboys living wild and free.

Dennis S Martin

Like a Canvas

The canvas stands bare
waiting to be given life.

Calming pastel colors,
soft clouds floating in
a happy sky of blue.

Silver moon leading
stars though the night,
hope for tomorrow,

or a dark, raging sea,
tossing waves about,
no peace to find.

Life is like a canvas.
You the artist hold the brush.

Gail Livesay's passion is writing poetry but she also writes plays, fiction and non-fiction short stories and is currently revising her autobiography about growing up with bipolar disorder, which was neither recognized nor diagnosed. Gail has been published by Poetry as Prayer, Appalachian Women Speak, Breath and Shadow, a selection of her work was used as part of a production by New Mummers Group, USAdeepsouth, Oncology Times Applachian Women's Journal, Women on Earth, Appalachian Connection, Helium, Writers in the Sky E-zine, and LaChance publishing.

One Morning Prayer

My goal today is to treat all life with respect and love.
To appreciate all the contrast I create;
it is my gift of awareness.
I will offer my service freely and graciously without hesitation or fear.
Find humor and laughter in my daily expressions and experiences.
Follow my impulses and make conscious choices.
Be spontaneous, energetic and enjoy each moment of the now.
Be grateful for the opportunity to expand my awareness.
Love myself as I love my source
as I inhale abundance and exhale appreciation.

Hal Manogue
From the 2009 Collection of Short Sleeves Spirit Songs: Echoes of Silence


Part of the Promise

I was her friend before she was his wife.
They had a little baby; they had a great life.
We used to go line-dancing; we played golf.
We used to go to movies; we hung out.

Part of her promise to him was not running with me.
But sometimes here was where she wanted to be.

Then he got a little problem, getting stoned and getting high.
We had to get him in re-hab. At least we had to try.
I cashed a pay check; handed the money to him.
Take it, dude. Do you want to owe me or them?

Part of his promise was to understand her and me.
He wanted to be well, he wanted to be clean.

It worked; he’s better. One day at a time.
Some days are good; some, not-so; mostly, he’s fine.
We can start to stop worrying; we’ll get it back some day.
When I see their baby smile, I know we’re okay.

Part of his promise to me was being back in their life.
He knows I’ll always be her friend; he knows she’ll always be his wife.

Janice Bossing
Joelton, Tennessee


I Read the Last Page First
by Irene Brodsky, Poetry Unplugged

I was lost
Couldn't find my way
Then I opened the Good Book
I read the last page first
and knew I would be found.

No need to fret and worry
The answer was there
for all to see.
I read the last page first
and knew God would help me.

So when you are unsure
which way to turn,
take the short cut back home.
It's on the last page
and he'll be there for you, too!

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Friday, July 24, 2009

How to Write Tight - Self-Editing Tips to Make Your Manuscript Ready for Publication

By Suzanne Lieurance

As writers, we hear it all the time. We need to "write tight," which just means we need to trim all the flab from our manuscripts and make every word count.

Here are some self-editing tips that will help you "write tight" and take your manuscripts from flabby to fit for publication in no time!

1. Avoid a lot of back story - information about the POV character's history and background. Weave all this into the story instead of loading the manuscript down with too many sentences or paragraphs of straight narrative before the action begins.

2. Simplify your sentences wherever possible. Watch for redundant or unnecessary phrases. As writers, we need to "show, not tell" as often as possible. Yet, some writers tend to show and then tell the same information, which is redundant. Watch out for this in your manuscripts. Also, look for the redundant phrases below and others like them.

Stand up = stand
Sit down = sit
Turned back = turned
Turned around = turned
He thought to himself = He thought.
She shrugged her shoulders = she shrugged
She whispered softly = she whispered
He nodded his head = he nodded

3. Avoid adverbs for the most part. Use strong, descriptive verbs instead.

Flabby: She smiled slightly at the photographer.

Fit: She grinned at the photographer.

4. Avoid using the same word over and over in a paragraph. Go back and reread each sentence. Have you repeated the same word several times within a single sentence or paragraph? If so, substitute another word with the same meaning.

5. Don't overuse names. Beginning writers tend to have the characters address each other by name too often. When you speak to a friend, you don't constantly say his name. Don't have your characters do this either. It doesn't ring true, and it draws the reader OUT of the story.

6. Limit the description in a dialogue tag. Again, beginning writers tend to load down the dialogue tags (the "he said, she said," part of the dialogue) with too many details. If you must describe what a character is doing AS he says something, put that information in a separate sentence, not in the dialogue tag. And keep it short.

7. Avoid participle phrases, particularly at the beginning of sentences. Participle phrases end in the letters “-ing.” Go back over every page of your manuscript and circle the places where you've started a sentence with a participle phrase. If your manuscript is loaded down with participle phrases it tends to distract the reader and pull him out of the story.

8. No idle chit-chat. Be sure the dialogue advances the storyline. Readers don't need to hear the characters talking about anything that doesn't somehow relate directly to what's happened so far or what will happen next or later in the story.

9. Minimize use of the passive voice. Here's an example of passive voice: The ball was hit by Susan.

Here's the same information in active voice: Susan hit the ball.

10. Use active, descriptive verbs.

Flabby: I was the one who made the decision to go home.

Fit: I decided to go home.

Strengthen weak verbs. You usually can eliminate was and were by replacing them with stronger, more descriptive verbs. Usually, was and were precede an “-ing” word, and you can change the “-ing” word to make it stronger.

Flabby: He was talking to my brother.

Fit: He talked to my brother.

11. Minimize use of the verb "to be" to keep the word count down.

Flabby: She is a graceful dancer.

Fit: She dances gracefully.

12. Cut the verb preceding an infinitive if it's not needed.

Flabby: She was able to fix the bicycle.

Fit: She fixed the bicycle.

13. Avoid using the word “that” when you don't need it. Reread each sentence that includes “that”, then read the sentence without “that”. If it sounds all right without it, cut it.

Also, avoid other crutch words we tend to rely on yet don't add much to the story. Other crutch words include “just” and “really”. The word “suddenly” should be used as infrequently as possible. Otherwise, it tends to sound as if your characters are constantly jumping around.

14. Watch for pet words or phrases you tend to favor without even realizing it. Common words like “then”, “as”, and “when” tend to get overused often.

15. Avoid stall phrases that slow down the action for no good reason. Phrases such as “tried to”, “began to” and “started to” can be changed to the simple paste tense of the verb.

Keep this list of self-editing tips handy for awhile as you're writing and rewriting until using these tips becomes automatic.

And for more writing and self-editing tips, subscribe to Build Your Business Write, a twice-a-week newsletter for freelance writers at

Suzanne Lieurance is a full time freelance writer, the author of 22 books (at last count) and the Working Writer's Coach. Article Source:
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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Book with a View July 2009

New and Selected Poems
Author: John Yamrus
ISBN: 978-1-929878-00-0
Publisher: Lummox Press, 2009
Genre and Target
Market: poetry
Pages: 138
Reviewed by Sarah Moore for WITS (06-09)

I did not approach the latest collection by John Yamrus, titled New and Selected Poems, with any pretense of providing a critical and academic perspective on his rhythmic flow or line structure. I certainly am no expert on poetry, but instead I am simply a lifelong admirer of anyone who can weave together language and create beautiful art. Besides, I always felt that deconstructing a poem and writing a five-page essay on its symbolism or a specific word choice removed some of the unfiltered emotion I could experience from a well-written poem. Despite already learning that works by Yamrus have been studied by both high school and college students, I was able to open his book without viewing it through the lens of academia. I knew that my approach towards the work of John Yamrus would simply be to open the pages of his book and share my personal reaction.

In his poetry, much to my delight, Yamrus himself challenges the notion of academic poetry. In fact, he shares an automatic suspicion of those poets who are embraced by the ivory tower community. The poem “The Academic Poet” describes such a writer as one who
has been included in
countless anthologies
he’s received fellowships
and grants
however his poetry shows that
there is no soul
no guts
it’s so much empty air.

This sentiment, repeated in several of the pieces in New and Selected Poems, resonated with me as I often felt frustrated by professors telling me which writers should be studied and honored and even how I should react to their words. I was thrilled to meet, at least through his words, a poet who displayed a true passion for the purity of the craft.

Most of Yamrus’ work focuses on everyday observations made as he sits with his loyal dog, responds to letters and emails written by those who have read some of his previous work, or makes a trip to the neighborhood drug store. While the circumstances may seem ordinary, Yamrus’ wry perspective and sharp use of language make each poem a piece to be read over and over again. With the risk of sounding trite or simply offering the expected praise, I will freely admit that I found a connection, or at least a personal understanding, with each selection. I appreciate Yamrus’ matter-of-fact approach to each topic that he addresses and the self-awareness that he holds for his place in the world of poets.

The new collection by John Yamrus, New and Selected Poems, includes pieces that he has written over the past twenty-four years as well as sixteen new offerings. Whether is he railing against “poets” who are
saying nice things
only to get the same nice things
said about their own
mindless crap
(my personal favorite) or sharing his tiresome reaction to television news with lines such as
bored with it all,
i turn it off
and walk down the hall…
stumbling toward/eternity.
film at 11

Yamrus employs humor, irritation, reverence, and resignation to engage the reader in the various subjects that demand his response. New and Selected Poems was my introduction to John Yamrus, and offered a greeting that guarantees I will reach back to discover what he has written in the past and wait with anticipation to see what he produces in the future.

Audio Book Review
Author: Janet Riehl
Genre and Target Market: audio book, poetry, folk music
Publication Date: 2009
Reviewed by Sarah Moore for WITS (06-09)

When we diligently read our history books as part of our school’s curriculum, we learn about the famous men and women who earned their spot in print as world leaders, great businessmen, explorers, military heroes, or even criminals. While all aspects of history fascinate me, I must confess that my interest has always been more with the everyday folks who loved their families, took pride in their work, and, although they may never be studied in a classroom, made a lasting impact on the people who knew them. My ninety-eight-year-old grandmother has an amazing memory and can recount in detail an incident that happened with a playmate in 1917. She is also a musician who shares songs and piano melodies that remind her of being a teenager or raising her children during a war. I know from her that the retelling of family history and traditions is the best way to capture a picture of a bygone era. I have discovered a treasure that beautifully captures this appreciation for the warmth of family and home. The new audio book Sightlines: A Family Love Story in Poetry & Music by Janet Riehl is a compilation of very personal music and poetry that is not to be missed.

Riehl’s audio book developed from her written text, Sightlines: A Poet’s Diary, which was published in 2006. With the new release, Riehl adds the elements of down-home music and her own voice bringing life to the poems she created. The musical component features her father’s singing and fiddle playing as he is joined by other musicians for recordings that took place in his living room. The fact that the music was not performed in a high-tech professional studio makes its inclusion even more appealing and appropriate. As you listen to old friends gather to play music, you feel so fortunate to be let into the intimate gathering. I felt that I should be sitting in a rocking chair with my eyes closed as I let the simple beauty fill my soul. Each piece provides a seamless transition for the subjects of the poems it connects.

The poems by Janet Riehl are divided into five groupings that are spread over four CDs. The first section is devoted to her sister Julia (also known as Skeeter), who was tragically killed in a car crash several years ago. The emotional images Riehl creates through her words examine Julia’s work, her love of life, the moment of her death, and the longing of those she left behind. Riehl goes on to share equally captivating poetry about her father, her mother, and two places that have special meaning to her— the family home in Evergreen Heights and her later residence of Clear Lake in Northern California. In addition to the poems themselves, Riehl provides emotional commentary that fills in the missing pieces and develops a more complete memory for the listeners to enjoy. Her words are straightforward, beautifully crafted, and offer a wonderful piece of storytelling.

From beginning to end, the new audio book Sightlines: A Family Love Story in Poetry & Music is a delight for its listeners. The passion that Janet Riehl has for her family, her history, and the beauty that surrounds her is obvious. Even if you already read the printed version of Sightlines: A Poet’s Diary when it was released several years ago, you will want to enjoy the extra features and meaning that are offered through this listening experience as well. The audio segments have been expertly compiled and edited to create the comfortable atmosphere of someone’s home while also displaying professional detail to recording quality and content progression. Each moment of the CDs is filled with warmth, humor, and a deep connection to those who have come before us. Sightlines is a must-have audio book for anyone who appreciates a good love story with the perfect musical accompaniment!


Talk Radio Wants You, An Intimate Guide to 700 Shows and How to Get Invited
Author: Francine Silverman McFarland and Company Publishers (2009)
ISBN: 0786440333
315 pages, perfect-bound $75.00 Order this book on Amazon .
Reviewed by Patricia Fry

You probably know Fran Silverman from the Book Promotion Newsletter. What you may not know about Fran is that she is also a publicist and a radio host. She has done an enormous amount of research to bring authors a new book to help them locate appropriate radio programs where they can promote their books. But this is not just a list of shows, each listing includes the theme of the show and a description, bios for the show hosts, the contact information, a detailed guest profile and even a description of their "guest from hell."

I especially appreciate that Fran has gone to the trouble of listing each show in categories in the Table of Contents and she has a detailed and complete Index.
Do you have a book related to animals? Fran lists 16 radio shows in this category. There are 50 related to business, finance and marketing, around 75 shows seeking guests who can speak on New Age topics, as well as shows about technology, health and fitness, traveling, parenting, self-help, relationships and more. There are also a number of shows focusing specifically on authors.
Some of the 700 shows listed will be familiar. But there are hundreds of others that you were not aware of and that could, conceivably, give your book incredible exposure.
Not only are Fran's listings informative, some of them are also humorous. In her listing for The JPEG Show, a Christian show with JP and Peg (Peuster), she asked them to profile their Guests from Hell. They responded, "We would never interview someone from hell." Others responded to this question by saying, "A person who refuses to stay in sync with the host," "Someone who is talking about a good idea that has not been tested," "Someone who plugs what they have to sell relentlessly," "One who tries to sell their products or services instead of educating my audience," and "A guest who gives one-word answers."
If you are considering going on the air with your book, you really must refer to this book in order to locate the right show with the right attitude and style. But also read the chapters by experts Scott Lorenz, public relations and marketing expert and president of Westwind Communications, and Joe Sabbah, author of How to Get on Talk Radio All Over America Without Leaving Your Home.
A priceless tip from Lorenz is this: "Don't just answer questions. Tell listeners something you want them to know, something they wouldn't know unless they were tuned in, with the promise of more of the same when they buy the product or come see you."

Joe Sabbah suggests, "Stand while speaking. Pretend you're presenting a seminar. Your voice will carry further. And you'll sound more animated."
This is a substantial book (7" by 10" and 315 pages) and it has a hefty price ($75) but, if you have a book to promote, this book could be the difference between weak sales and tremendous sales.
Here's an idea. Consider going in with other authors to purchase a copy. Or buy it through your writers' club and make it available to all members on a loan basis. However you manage it, if you are promoting a book on any topic, Talk Radio Wants You is a good investment in your success as a published author.
101 Tips For Survivors of Sexual Abuse: A Pocket Book of Wisdom
Amy Barth
Loving Healing Press (2009)
ISBN 9781932690941
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (5/09)
101 Tips for Survivors of Sexual Abuse is a twenty-three page book that does not waste one word. Small enough to be carried around in a purse or briefcase, this book touches on the subject of sexual abuse. Each tip addresses a different issue with which a victim might be dealing or have dealt. By reading the tips, I felt that survivors of sexual abuse will be easily be able to relate to most of them and, in doing so, they will also know that they are not alone with whatever feelings they are experiencing. This especially would apply to the painful areas of feeling guilt and shame.
Each tip has a paragraph space underneath it which also will allow the reader to make personal notes for themselves. This will be helpful because as they go through their recovery, they will probably be experiencing a myriad of emotions at different times. By taking notes, they will be able to address the feeling that they are experiencing at that moment in time, and they will also be able to look back and reflect on how far they have come with their recovery.

At the end of the book is a list of suggestions and exercises for people to do when they are having bad moments. There is a suggested reading list. I think that all of these will make excellent tools for people who need some guidance when they are dealing with their painful thoughts and negative emotions. It will give them something practical to do to help with their healing.
I think that 101 Tips for Survivors of Sexual Abuse by Amy Barth will be perfect for individuals, family members, and for people in group therapy. The information within is highly personal, however, it would make great discussion material for both family members in recovery and for group counseling sessions.
Shooting an Albatross
Steven R. Lundin
BookSurge (2009)
ISBN 9781439228005
Reviewed by Richard R. Blake for Reader Views (3/09)
In the year 1943 the United States was deeply involved in World War II on the European front. As a result of the war effort, this was also a unique year in the game of golf. It was the only year in the history of professional golf that games were canceled for the entire season.

The 170th Field Artillery Battalion of the Army took over and occupied the El Rancho Golf Course in Hollywood, California. Recently discovered facts of history give substance to this fictional account of Shooting an Albatross written by Steven R. Lundin.
An army General and a naval Admiral arranged to play an unauthorized round of golf in a match which would give prestige to both branches of the military. Knowing their own limitations in the game, they each selected a man from their ranks to fill out the foursome to represent their branch of service. The Admiral chose SN. Bentley Knudson, the General chose Pvt. Evan Wilkins. Athletic, handsome, quiet, and confident Wilkins is relieved from artillery duty to concentrate on preparing for the big game on the prestigious empty golf course.
Mansions bordering the back of the golf course were owned by Hollywood film industry moguls. John Nichols, father of Amanda Nichols, owned one of these. Answering Amanda’s startled scream Evan rushed in to rescue her from an unidentified spy. This effort resulted in a dinner invitation in Evan’s honor at the Nichols home. Amanda introduced Evan to a world of affluence and sumptuous living. She secretly joins Evan’s daily training on the golf course. The young couple’s relationship develops into a wartime romance.
Evan’s commanding officer, Major Floyd Akerly, became annoyed with Evan’s golf privileges. He was soon obsessed with the thought of revenge as the flicker of frustration fanned the flames into fiery passion. He also begrudged the fact that he no longer had any jurisdiction over Evan.
After the dinner party at the Nichols, where Floyd falsely thought he would monopolize Amanda for the evening, he became possessed as his resentment toward Evan grew. His animosity exploded into jealousy and exposed his dark evil side, which produces an anger and rage which ultimately destroyed his sanity.
The golf competition was set for the last day of August. The spectators included newsmen, film industry executives, members of the UCLA golf team, Hollywood celebrities, men from all branches of the military and other golf enthusiasts.
In an attempt to discredit Evan, Floyd was caught in a despicable act. He was beaten, demoted in rank and taken into custody by the Military Police. Left alone in his cell he continued to plan his revenge.
Following the golf tournament, Evan and Amanda made plans to marry as soon as he returned from Europe. The action that follows moves quickly, as Lundin creatively weaves a fast-moving plot of deception, murder, intrigue, suspense, and romance.
The book begins and ends relating a series of visits by a distinguished guest in the home of 94-year-old Floyd Akerly. Floyd narrates the story of the golf game, Evan Wilkins, the European battlefield and of his part in the story. The final scenes lead to a climactic, unexpected, dramatic conclusion.
Golf enthusiasts will know that to shoot an albatross is rare, a double eagle. It may mean shooting a seabird, or shooting an individual that holds back a man’s achievement. Steve R. Lundin has masterfully crafted Shooting an Albatross around this theme.

This is a book for anyone enjoying the genre of intrigue, suspense, or romance. Lundin includes the use of comedy and the game of golf to draw the reader into a look into the past, a heartwarming story, and a madman’s psyche. Shooting an Albatross by Steven R. Lundin is a great read.

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Friday, July 17, 2009

The Dream of Writing for Children

By Dawn Menge

I’ve always had the dream of writing children’s books about my travels. But as we all know, life gets in the way. I was busy raising three children, teaching special education, and going to school to work on my credential and masters. It was during one of my credentialing classes that I learned how to write a children’s book. Our assignment for the class was to write a children’s picture book based on math. So, I wrote a book based on the calendar, days of the weeks, months of the year and seasons. After the assignment was over, I put the book away and got on with my life.

Several years later, I took the book out again and decided it was time to work on my dream. I researched several self-publishing sites on the Internet. I chose Outskirts Press ( based on the authors’ comments about their products. It took a year to feel comfortable enough with the edits to let it go to publishing.

They say you should write about what you know. What do I know best? My family! All of the characters in my books are members of my family. Queen Vernita, who is the main character of Queen Vernita’s Visitors, is my 89-year-old grandmother. The other characters include my children, grandchildren, nieces, and nephews. In Queen Vernita’s second adventure Queen Vernita Visits the Blue Ice Mountains, I have expanded her friends’ characters to include other family members and friends. This second adventure is based on the flora and fauna of Alaska.

In Queen Vernita’s third adventure I have teamed up with my brother who works at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. I have dubbed him Sir Heathybean the Astronomer. Yes, this was his nickname as a child. He chose the outfit, though, which is a white lab coat, silly hair, and his favorite bunny slippers. He and his wife, Cora the Teacher, travel through the year with Queen Vernita teaching their friends about the solar system.

In Queen Vernita’s fourth book she will be visiting her Enchanted Islands. She will be diving with the sharks and mantra rays, snorkeling in the coral reef, learning about lava and the growth of the islands, and the native culture. I will be combining my experiences in Tahiti and Hawaii for the research on her adventure.

Yvonne Perry is very right about entering your books into literary contests. Queen Vernita has won two awards already. She won first place in the EVVY awards and an honorable mention in the Readers Views awards.

My advice to all who are contemplating following their dreams, whatever they may be, is to do it, but do what you know. This brings the passion into what you are doing. If you are following your passions and your heart, the journey is the reward, not the end result.

(See photos of Dawn presenting her books to children at and

I have been blessed with the quality of my life and the family that I have. Otherwise, Queen Vernita would not be able to educate all of the young readers that she has been able to reach.

Dawn Menge holds a clear credential and masters in Special Education in mod/severe disabilities. She is a BTSA support provider, educational presenter, and previous lead teacher. She is also a candidate at Capella for her PHD in Curriculum and Instruction. She is a mother of three and a grandmother of three. Her books are available on and Barnes and Noble.
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Friday, July 10, 2009

E-Book Karma~ What Goes Around Comes Around

“To write what is worth publishing, to find honest people to publish it, and get sensible people to read it, are the three great difficulties in being an author.”
~Charles Caleb Colton quotes

By Erin Chavez

That quote sums it all up, doesn’t it? The hope, the fear, the feelings that well up inside of you… if only there was a crystal ball to help us all out— to show us how to obtain what we really want for the life of our books. Unfortunately, there is no such thing. You have to pull up your bootstraps and start shoveling through the piles of information that we, as authors, need to sift through to make our most informed decisions.

I am sure you have at least looked into your publishing options . . . traditional publishing, self-publishing, publishing and maybe you have even thought about starting your own website to sell your books on your own. It’s a crazy business, isn’t it? You have so many choices—how do you know what the best choice for you will be? That is a decision that is completely up to you. You have to choose how you are going to get your book out to the world, how you are going to get people to actually purchase your book, and ultimately how you are going to profit from your book—your blood, sweat and tears.

I am here to tell you about one option that you may not have heard of yet. I am owner of a spankin’ new online publishing business called, “ebooKarma”. It is designed to allow writers the chance to get their books out to the world with no cost to them, and earn a 50% royalty. Plain and simple—that is all there is to ebooKarma. The process is quite simple:

· You send in the first five pages of your book for approval.
· After approved, you will receive an agreement via USPS to sign. (This agreement is much more for the author’s sake than ebooKarma’s sake.)
· Included with the agreement will be a checklist that I use to make sure all steps are completed. You will even see what steps take place “behind the scenes,” including what emails you will receive after publication, and what efforts ebooKarma makes to market your book for you. (This sheet is purely FYI, so you can check off the requirements for which you are responsible.)
· Next, you send a cover in JPEG (if you don’t have one, we have a graphic designer that can create one for you at a discount price), your book in PDF, keywords, a short description, a long description, and a bio of yourself.

Done. That is all there is to it. Sure, there may be questions and clarifications along the way, but we get those ironed out quickly. When you start selling your books on ebooKarma, you will receive a 50% royalty that is deposited directly into your PayPal account. (You can choose an actual check if you wish.) You can even sign up to be an affiliate with ebooKarma, so if while promoting your own book, somebody goes to the site and buys another book… you earn 20% on that sale.

See, I told you this was simple! You can even still publish your books on other websites (including and kindle). All I ask is that you don’t sell your book any cheaper on another site.

There are no hidden agendas here. No surprises. It is a straightforward process where everybody wins in the end! The slogan for ebooKarma is, “What goes around comes around.” It is my goal to provide the best service for you and to help you succeed… and in turn, I hope the same will happen for ebooKarma.

Here are some links you might find useful:

· Sell an Ebook
· Agreement
· ebooKarma (where the magic happens…)
· News & Updates (Check out the stat on ebook sales!)

I truly hope you will find the value that ebooKarma can offer you. You can even call me on my cell at 469-360-6918 if you want. I am an “open book” available to answer any questions and take all comments and suggestions.

Erin Chavez
Writing Contest with $500 grand prize. Other prizes too! (All entries eligible for publication.)

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Calling for Submissions for August 2009 E-zine

It's time for me to start putting together the next fantastic and information-filled e-zine for August 2009. That means I need you to send me your articles, contest announcements, and brags to be included in the next issue. We have more than enough book reviews, but if I have room for them, I'll include them.

Read our guidelines for submittal here. Remember, the better your piece is written, the better attention and credibility it receives--and the less editing I have to do.

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Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Editor's Corner July 2009

My daughter, Sareya, gave birth to her baby at 12:24 a.m. on June 24, 2009. He weighed in at 9 pounds and 11.8 ounces and measured 21.5 inches long. Baby Liam and his mommy are doing well. Scott is the proud father. Here’s a photo. Amanda, my son’s wife, is due to give birth to Jonas next week! We are a growing and happy family.

I promised you an update on my research about short discounts for printing color books. Thanks to the information I have gathered from Aaron Shepard, Morris Rosenthal, and Dana Lynn Smith, I have discovered that Ingram will not deal with publishers who have fewer than ten books in print, and even then it may be difficult. So, I have opened an account at Lightning Source to make my book The Sid Series of holistic children’s stories available for printing there. They charge about $100 to upload the file and prepare it for printing. The whole process takes several weeks: you upload file, they process it, you approve it, Ingram adds it to their database, and Amazon eventually lists the book. Then, it will automatically become available through B&, libraries, and anyone else who orders through Ingram.

Even though my book will be listed in Ingram’s catalogue, I probably won’t get many sales in bricks and mortar stores because I am not offering the typical “no return” policy and I am only offering a 25% discount to book retailers. Retail bookstores don’t take too kindly to that because they normally ask for publishers to sell a book to them for 55% discount and they want their money back if the book doesn’t sell within a short time period. However, bookstores could place special orders at the request of customers, which is the same deal you get with most POD publishers.
My color-printed, 48-page book will be available on for about 10 percent off the retail price. Since my publicity and 90% of the sales for all my books are transacted online, I will focus on selling the book through my own Web site. I’m still waiting for my illustrators to get finished with the artwork. Once they are done, I’ll compile all twelve stories into one printed book. Target pub date is September 2009.

I hope you enjoy this issue of WITS E-zine. There is a lot of great information from our subscribers.
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Saturday, July 4, 2009

The Writing Life: Thinking Outside the Box

The universe is still laughing at my plan to spend the lengthening days of June outdoors under the stars. It has rained for all but two days in June.

Since I typically do my best writing after a hike in the woods, the weather has cramped my style on several levels. Even if I were lucky, I’m not immune to writer’s block, which is why I keep several books, like Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones on my bookshelf.

One of my favorite exercises is the one Goldberg calls “The Action of a Sentence.” Here are the rules:

1. Fold a sheet of paper in half the long way
2. On the left side of the page, list any ten nouns
3. Turn the paper over to the right column
4. Think of any occupation (teacher, plumber, mechanic, scientist)
5. List fifteen verbs that relate to that occupation
6. Open the page - you will see nouns listed on the left and verbs listed on the right

Now, create sentences using one noun and one verb (you can change the tense) from each column. Here is what I came up with:




Pillows planed the bed sheets until they were flat.
Brochures drilled holes into the desk.
An old shoe chiseled a place for itself on the rack.
A maple leaf hammered at the window.

The idea is not to “make sense” in conventional terms, but to open up creative channels and stimulate new ideas. Try it!
JJ Murphy is a freelance nature writer, photographer, blogging hiker, forager, locavore, and tree-hugger with more than 50 years of eco-centric living experience. Visit if you need relevant content that captures your personal style and tone.
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Friday, July 3, 2009

Network with Us July 2009

Put your writing career in motion with the yahoo marketing group VBT - Writers on the Move. Promote your platform, yourself, and your books with cross-promotion! We utilize ONGOING tours, Viewpoint segments, mystery site give aways, blog radio spots, and much more to increase visibility and readership. To learn more contact Karen at Please put VBT- WITS in the subject box.

"Always be positive and keep on rolling!"Frankie further expands on her message above in her NEW 28-page activity book that overcoming a challenge can be done by having a positive attitude. This book is filled with activities such as word searches, crossword puzzles, coloring pages, and mazes to teach children that challenges are given to help us learn and grow. $11.95 For a limited time, you can receive FREE shipping on Frankie's Activity Book. Hurry! Expires July 15th, 2009!
Another Frankie book is expected out early 2010! Frankie, the Walk 'N Roll Therapy Dog Visits Libby's House is about Frankie's volunteer therapy work at an elderly home where many of the residents have dementia and Alzheimer's.

Have you ever thought of taking classes to improve your writing? Are you a self-publishing author who wants to work personally with an editor on your book manuscript? Yvonne Perry’s writing mentoring program may be exactly what you are looking for

The Dream Quest One Poetry & Writing Contest is open to anyone who loves expressing innermost thoughts and feelings into the beautiful art of poetry or to write a short story that is worth telling everyone! And, to all who have the ability to dream. Write a poem or short story for a chance to win cash prizes. All works must be original.

For over 20 years, NABE has honored some of the finest independently published books on the market today. NABE is now accepting books for its 2009 Pinnacle Book Achievement Awards. Get your Entry Form and complete details at
Winners of the 2008 Awards are in the current issue of Book Dealers World which is now available online You can check it out at
While you are there, you can also sign up to sell your book in PDF Format at this site as well. You keep 80% of the profits. Or, you can even give away a free chapter to garner interest in your printed book. All the details can be found at the link above.
Al Galasso

Sharing Books Online Children's Library-- is a wonderful online library dedicated to promoting literacy for children all over the world. Sharing Books now has 184 e-books available FREE for any child to download & enjoy. Sharing Books also provides Reading Rooms in countries that do not have traditional schools and libraries. Special thanks to donations from Abe's Books, Alibris Books, librarians, and parents. I am honored to be a member of Sharing Books.
Irene Brodsky

Sightlines Internet Tour Offers Free Audio Book at Each Stop

Janet Grace Riehl's four-disc audio book Sightlines: A Family Love Story in Poetry and Music ( is reviewed on Story Circle Network's book reviews.
The top post on the Riehlife blog-magazine ( lists the calendar for that week's posts in the nine-week internet tour for Janet's audio book. You'll also see the featured video of the week in her series on how to produce an audio book. These videos feature key players on the audio book production team and guests at the Nashville audio book launch dinner including Suzy Bogguss, Nashville music star.

Follow the Sightlines blog tour in June and July by signing up for updates at where you'll find a 10-minute sample audio clip. As part of the internet tour, Janet offers a free audio book for the right answers to the Treasure Chest contest clues presented at each stop in the tour. Often these answers can be found in the featured video of the week.


Win a FREE VIRTUAL TOUR for your latest nonfiction or historical fiction title. Eligible titles will have release dates between 9/15/08 & 7/15/09 and be available in print format. To enter, email information below to no later than 7/15/09:

- Author’s name, address, phone # & URL
- Book’s title, release date, genre, publisher, editor, # pages, & price/format
- Name of site or newsletter from which you learned of this contest
Winner will be notified on 7/16/09 by Stephanie Barko, Literary Publicist.

Winning title will be toured Fall ’09. Entrant information will not be sold or shared.

TC McClenning's recently released book, All in a Day's Work for Real Estate Agents: Humorous & Heartwarming Stories (Work Like A Dog Books, 4/09 copyright, softcover, $14.95) was named a finalist in the Humor/Comedy category of the 2009 Next Generation Indie Book Awards. The book contains more than 100 real-life stories of Realtors in 44 states and Canada about the many hilarious, odd, and touching things that have happened in the course of selling real estate. It also received a recent positive review from Midwest Book Review, which called it "hilarious and much worth the read, even for those with little interest in real estate, just for the human story that is laid out."To check out excerpts of the book, see the media section of the publisher's website,

Cherie Burbach is doing author interviews on her writing blog Any writer who would like to be interviewed may email her at

The second edition of Cold Coffee Magazine, showcasing some of the finest writers and poets around. My article “A Testament To Poets” is now available at

My novellas Behind the Red Door and Thorns of an Innocent Soul are now available in hardback through the publisher, My collection of selected short stories, Nightmares & Daydreams is due for release from Mythica Publishing in July. Until then, you can visit and learn more about my work, and the work of some other extremely talented writers.
Thanks to everyone who has voted for my book video trailer, Nightmares & Daydreams and if you have not voted yet, I would greatly appreciate your support. Voting ends July 19. The link to vote is, and my book is #5 on the voting poll.
Barbara Watkins

Last November, Masomeh Fritz and Ray Brennan were interviewed on WITS Podcast regarding their non-fiction book, The Legacy of the Chosen One, which is the true story of a spirit transfer (walk-in). Ray and Masomeh entered their book in the Book Expo of America where more than 30,000 publishers, agents, writers, librarians, and book lovers attended the event held at the Javits Center in New York City between May 29 and 31. On June 8, 2009, the Book Expo of America awarded its Silver Prize for the Best New Release to Ray Brennan and Masomeh Fritz The Legacy of the Chosen One.

For a metaphysical book to win 2nd place was quite an accomplishment. It was up against hundreds of books by large publishers, which had a great amount of publicity and promotion behind them. The Legacy of the Chosen One was called, “Inspirational.”
Ray Brennan and Masomeh Fritz operate the Spiritual Science Center of the Mountains in Shawnee on Delaware, Pennsylvania. You may purchase The Legacy of the Chosen One on

Read free books and best-selling excerpts in page turning format, just like a real book! Authors may upload an excerpt from their books at and get free exposure at

BookBuzzr is a page-flipping application that is well suited for marketing books online.
BookBuzzr comes with the built-in ability to share book-extracts on over 60 social networking and bookmarking sites such as Facebook, Orkut, MySpace, Digg, Delicious, etc.
BookBuzzr also carries a lot of details regarding your book (media mentions, videos, praise and reviews, sales Web sites, etc.) in a compact form. This means that no matter where you place the widget on the Internet, readers can get all information about you and the book from this small widget.
We are in beta right now and are gearing up for a new release. Hence, we'd like authors to use our tool so they can give us feedback for the new release.

Barbara Watkins is an author from Southeast Missouri. Her genre includes, but not limited to, paranormal/thrillers. She has two novellas in publication Behind the Red Door and Thorns of an Innocent Soul, available at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and other retailers.

Mythica Publishing has accepted her manuscript selection of short stories titled, Nightmares & Daydreams, and it is due to be released in e-book form June 30, 2009 with the print edition to follow. In addition, Mythica Publishing accepted her short story “Mortal Abomination” for their anthology titled, Another Time, Another Place due to be released 2009 in e-book and print edition. For more info, visit

Cold Coffee Magazine accepted her article, “A Testament To Poets,” for their second issue released in print and available online. She is also proud to announce that the Linda Chester Literary Agency requested a sample of her manuscript novel titled, Hollowing Screams for their review.
For more information you can visit her website at

The Power of Words Conference, Sept. 3-7, Goddard College, Plainfield, VT. – Explore how we can use our words — written, spoken or sung — to make community, deepen healing, witness one another, wake ourselves up, and foster empowerment and transformation. Organized by the Transformative Language Network, and founded by Goddard College, this conference features experiential workshops with over 20 presenters, including John Fox, Lewis Mehl Medrona, Dovie Thomason, Kyahan Irani; performances, open readings, and celebrations, plus special tracks in Narrative Medicine, Right Livelihood and Social Change.Beautiful setting, reasonable conference fees, room and board available on campus, work-study positions and scholarships available, including the Roxanne-Florence Scholarship for people of color. See for more information.

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Thursday, July 2, 2009

Podcast Schedule for July 2009

July 3

WITS owner Yvonne Perry will be interviewing Janet Riehl about her audio book Sightlines: A Family Love Story in Poetry & Music. This four-CD compilation is a follow-up to her book Sightlines: A Poet’s Diary, which was published in 2006. Through these new CDs, Janet shares her works of poetry in her own voice. Intertwined with the poetry are musical selections performed by her father and others. The components of Sightlines: A Family Love Story in Poetry & Music come together to form a beautiful testimony to the love of family. Janet will be discussing the inspirations behind her work as well as the reason that she decided to create this audio book. For more information about Janet Riehl or to purchase Sightlines: A Family Love Story in Poetry & Music, please visit CD Baby.

July 10

Yvonne Perry interviews Marlive Harris—the owner of GRITS.COM Literary Service, which is a company that offers online promotional campaigns for authors. Her website also features reading communities for adults and children. As a former teacher and school librarian, Marlive brings a wonderful perspective to the literary world. Over the six years in which GRITS.COM has been in existence, Marlive has helped many authors through book clubs, podcasts, virtual book tours, and other outlets. During this interview, Marlive will discuss what her company can offer to authors, bookstores, and small presses. To learn more about Marlive Harris and her services, please visit

July 17

Yvonne Perry will be conducting an interview with Dana Smith. Dana is the “Book Marketing Maven” who specializes in book marketing for nonfiction publications. She has published a series of e-books that form the Savvy Book Marketer Guides. The featured topics are Selling Your Book to Libraries, Successful Social Marketing, and Promoting Your Book Launch. Dana brings fifteen years in the publishing industry and a degree in marketing to her writing and consulting. Therefore, she has the experience to help authors cater a book marketing plan to their specific publishing, marketing, and distributing. To learn more about Dana Smith and her business, please visit her website.

On July 24

Sarah Moore will discuss the book New and Selected Poems with poet John Yamrus. This collection includes work that dates back to 1985, as well as sixteen pieces that are being published for the first time. Over his forty year career as a poet, John Yamrus has had over 1000 poems published. He also has produced sixteen books of poetry and two novels prior to the release of New and Selected Poems. This year marks his second consecutive nomination for the Pushcart Prize for Poetry. His poetry has been discussed in classrooms at both the high school and college level. Please join this conversation as John Yamrus shares some insight into his poetry, which takes an honest look at the world in which we live and challenges other writers to think outside their comfort zone. To learn more about New and Selected Poems, please visit the Amazon website.

July 31

Join a conversation between Sarah Moore and author Aaron Taylor, who will be sharing information about his book Alone with a Jihadist: A Biblical Response to Holy War. This book stems from a meeting Aaron had in London with a jihadist named Khalid. For Aaron, who had been raised in charismatic church and was already an experienced missionary, this one encounter transformed his perspective on religion and world affairs. Aaron uses Alone with a Jihadist: A Biblical Response to Holy War to share his belief that Christians are taught by Christ to follow a path of pacifism when dealing with earthly disputes. During the interview, Aaron will discuss his ideas in more details as well as share the work he is doing to put this theory into practice. Alone with a Jihadist: A Biblical Response to Holy War will be available for purchase in August 2009. Please visit Aaron’s website at to learn more.

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