Saturday, August 29, 2009

September Podcasts Bring Opportunity to Escape and Improve

Writers in the Sky September Podcasts to Feature New Works of Fiction as Well as Books Which Challenge the Listeners to Better Lives

Nashville, TN, August 26, 2009—The Writers in the Sky podcast will use the first half of the month to feature books that transport their readers to a world of fantasy. September begins with an author who offers an exciting new approach to the vampire novel, in which the main characters are forced into a violent battle that dates back for generations. The next week will bring a new book for young readers that follows the adventures of a spunky parrot named Cisco that simply wants his opportunity to be famous and will try anything to reach his goal. The focus of the podcast will shift for the latter part of September, as Writers in the Sky leaves the world of fiction and looks at two publications that promote self-improvement. First, listeners will learn about a new book that instructs readers to create a fuller and more empowered life through a partnership with The Divine. The month ends with an author who will share his new approach towards breaking the strong and dangerous addiction to nicotine.

The September series of podcasts begins on September 4 when R. L. Sloan will be Sarah Moore’s guest to discuss her new book Embellish. This novel approaches the vampire story with a new twist and takes its readers into the world of the paranormal. When Solis Burkes encounters a handsome vampire while out on the town with a friend, she unlocks a history that involves generations of warfare with a dangerous and powerful family. Solis also learns that she is now the one with the power to bring the violence to an end. R. L. Sloan will be discussing her interest in the paranormal and how she developed the memorable characters in the book. To purchase Embellish, please visit the Amazon website.

The podcasts continue on September 11 with a conversation between Patrick Shannon and Sarah Moore. Mr. Patrick Shannon will be joining the podcast to share his new work of fiction, Viva Cisco, with the Writers in the Sky audience. This book, aimed at younger readers, details a world of fantasy in which a parrot named Cisco is willing to try anything to become famous. After several unsuccessful attempts to develop new talents, Cisco leads his friends on an adventure that may finally be the path to his desired fame. Patrick Shannon will discuss how he created the unique story idea and the message that he hopes to share with readers through Cisco the parrot. Please visit the Amazon website to purchase Viva Cisco.

On September 18, Writers in the Sky team member Sarah Moore leads the podcast interview once again when Barbara Joye joins her to discuss her new book The Light Won: A Tutorial in Co-Creation. In this enlightening book, Barbara shares what keeps us from living a fuller and more empowered life. She explains how to identify and alter your personal beliefs in order to have the life you desire. This life is one that each of us can co-create once we learn to communicate with The Divine/The All. Barbara will be talking about how readers can apply the principles in her book to their own lives, regardless of their age, nationality, or personal experiences. Listeners can purchase The Light Won: A Tutorial in Co-Creation by visiting the Amazon website and learn more about the author at her website.

The month of podcasts ends on September 25 when Barbara Milbourn sits down with author John English. The two will be discussing English’s new book Kill the Addiction. John English battled an addiction to nicotine for fifty years and in Kill the Addiction he lays out in detail his method to stop smoking. Knowing the difficulty that comes when someone tries to quit this difficult habit, John is anxious to share his solution with others. He will be discussing the unique benefits of his method as well as whether or not his method can be used to treat addictions other than smoking. Interested listeners may purchase Kill the Addiction by visiting the Amazon website.

“What a great way to transition from the relaxing days of summer to the new opportunities that come with the turning of the seasons!” shares Yvonne Perry, owner of Writers in the Sky Creative Writing Services, which produces the podcast. “Listeners will enjoy the exposure to new authors with offerings of fiction and then learn about two publications that share new approaches to bettering the mind, body, and spirit.”

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 sidebar 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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Friday, August 28, 2009

Top Ten Problems in File Prep

If you’re a designer, or you have decided to self-publish your book, there is a lot to consider before your book can be printed. So, to help you avoid the common problems that occur when a printing company receives your files, we’ve compiled a list of the top ten problems encountered in electronic prepress production. By following this checklist, you can steer clear of many of these problems.

1. Fonts not embedded in PDF or missing in application files.
2. Incomplete or corrupt files.
3. Colors that are not converted from RGB to four-color CMYK mode.
4. Inadequate bleeds.
5. Image resolution placed too low or too high (always use 300 DPI).
6. B&W images saved in RGB instead of CMYK.
7. Images delivered in wrong file format (JPG, GIF). Use TIFF, PSD.
8. B&W images saved as RGB or CMYK
9. Missing images in applications.
10. Wrong applications use for complex page layouts (Word, Powerpoint). Use publishing programs like Indesign, Quark, or Pagemaker.

Provided by NetPublications, Inc.—an award-winning on-demand printing, publishing and fulfillment company with 25 years of experience in the book and manual business. We are an independently owned facility, headquartered in Poughkeepsie, New York. (
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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Poetry Corner August 2009

Until I Meet Myself

Simmering On The Stove Of Consciousness
A Light Flickers Beneath Me
A Flame Filled With Connected Images
Surrounds Me

Caught In Magnetic Movement
A Word
Dangles From A Distorted Belief
Myopic Influences Push Me Through
A Collection Of Filtered Circumstances
Where I Sizzle In My Own Thoughts

Quietly Melting In A Stew Of Learning
A Cryptic Reality Begins To Steam Within Me
A Chaotic Rapture Pounds Relentlessly
On My Memory As I Drip
From A Drop Of My Awareness

Dizziness Frolics Through A Confused Pasturev
Forming Crop Circles Of Particles
Leftover From A Bleed-Through Identity

Tracing My Self In Agelessness
My Energy Drowns In Sweet Harmony
Until I Meet My Self Again
In Another Pot
Of Reality

Hal Manogue
Poet, Author and Essayist
Short Sleeves Insights
Short Sleeves Spirit Songs
Short Sleeves A Book for Friends


There’s a tale told by fools of a fairytale world
Filled with dreams,
Where night never falls and honey flows wild
In the streams.
But when twilight comes crashing, and your waiting here
By the phone.
And it finally hits you, the meaning
Of being alone.

It’s a feeling that settles inside to tell you it’s true.
The one thing you thought was forever is over and through.
It’s a double-edged blade that slices and cuts to the bone.
You just never get use to the silence
Of being alone.

There is no way to describe all the emptiness
That you’re feeling inside.
You look in the mirror but there’s no reflection.
Your heart has gone looking for someplace to hide.
No one to free you.
No one to call but yourself.
You have a choice to rescue your soul
And climb down from your shelf.
Do you swim murky waters
Or let yourself sink like a stone?
It’s all up to you; you don’t have to face it

Dennis S Martin

Midnight Hour

By Gail Livesay

Life can be like
a storm in the midnight hour,

strong winds and rain
knock us about.

But if we look to the Son,
he is like a lighthouse
shining bright and ever faithful.

He will lead us softly
to our journey’s end.

To Celebrate Our Lord In Heaven

A new star shines up above
Nestled in a velvet blue sky
To celebrate our Lord in heaven
For his words will live on forever
He is filled with love and compassion
Spreading his message of joy
For all of his children on earth
They are so inspired by him.
The new star will twinkle for all eternity
Surrounded by the wise man in the moon
And the many planets who wait patiently
For our Lord to share the good news!

By Irene Brodsky, author of Poetry Unplugged (Outskirts Press, 2008)

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Monday, August 24, 2009

Book with a View 2 August 2009

Carolina's Story: Sea Turtles Get Sick Too!
Author: Donna Rathmell; Photography by Barbara J. Bergwerf
ISBN-10: 0976494302
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Sylvan Dell Publishing
Review by Sandra Dutton

A sea turtle with turtle flu washes up on the Carolina shore and is lucky enough to be picked up by the Turtle Rescue Team. Carolina, as she is named, is taken to an animal hospital, where rescuers wash her sores, check her tongue, and hose her down. Kids will enjoy seeing this turtle that, much against her will, is forced to undergo a doctor's examination. She is placed on the X-Ray table, gets some shots, is put in a tank, and then begins to feel better. She plays with the water spout, learns to splash, comes eagerly to her dinner bowl, and makes friends with hospital visitors.

Kids will enjoy the many themes explored in this book: it's normal to be scared in strange places; doctors can make you feel better; you can make yourself at home no matter where you are, but perhaps most significant: we need to care for and protect our wildlife.

Carolina's story is told in on-the-spot photographs by Barbara J. Bergwerf. They capture Carolina's angst and frustration and the Turtle Rescue Team's calm determination. Author Donna Rathmell does not talk down to children. We learn that the turtle's shell is a "carapace," and that Carolina is covered with "barnacles," and that she will be treated with an "antibiotic." The typeface is large and bold, reminiscent of the text across the board of an elementary school classroom.

At the end of the book are turtle facts and math games, and a sea turtle you can trace, cut out, and color. The lessons of "Carolina's Story" will be easily absorbed because children can all identify with Carolina.


Author: Victoria Kann
ISBN: 0061244082
Publisher: HarperCollins, 2009
Hardcover: 40 pages
Reviewer: Madigan McGillicuddy

Pinkilicious returns for a third installment of this very popular uber-girly series. The endpapers feature the titular star, a pure white unicorn with perfect rouged cheeks and flowing golden locks bedecked with flowers sitting amidst gold and white lace doilies. The title page features the author's thanks, with dozens of names of family, friends, editors and other supporters woven into a series of chiaroscuro pink hills.

The magazine collage-style computerized illustrations are heavy on the girly details. Page after page is cluttered with flowers, toys strewn about, tea sets and other such girlish accoutrements.

Her pet unicorn, which only she can see, pales away to a ghostly translucent shade of white whenever her family is nearby. This device somewhat reminded me of Calvin and Hobbes... although this book is a great deal less tongue-in-cheek, keeping things pretty simple and syrupy sweet. Pinkalicios and her brother traipse after Goldilicious through a number of locales: a picnic with screamingly green grass and flowers crowding in at the edges, a kiddie-pool where Goldie has dolled herself up in movie-star sunglasses and a fancy mermaid tail, a ride on a gorgeously swagged orange hot air balloon.

When Goldilicious goes missing, the hunt is on. Clouds shaped like unicorns and huge equine constellations are overlooked, till Pinkilicious finally finds Goldie right where her parents hoped she would... in bed, as bedtime approaches. The message is clear. Goldilicious might be imaginary... but Pinkilicious and her invisible friend aren't going to be parted anytime soon.

Defenders of the Scroll: In Some Places You Should be Afraid of Shadows
Author: Shiraz
R. M. Productions Ltd (2008)
ISBN 9780981013503
Reviewed by Ben Weldon (age 11) for Reader Views Kids

“Defenders of the Scroll” by Shiraz is the action-packed adventure story of fifteen-year-old Alex, a guitarist, who is sucked into a strange and troubled world. The realm of Mythos has problems. A Shadow Lord has risen and is taking over. Possibly worse, the king has been imprisoned, leaving the princess in danger of capture.

When nine-year-old Dara’s father Mornak was abducted by the Shadow Lord, he managed to send all of his power to a magic scroll that Dara now possesses. The Scroll has a massive amount of power that the Shadow Lord wants. While Askar has distinct orders from the Shadow Lord to capture Dara and the Scroll, he would rather just destroy everything in his path including the Scroll. If the Shadow Lord can get the Scroll, he can drain its magic and become invincible, and a mythical world apocalypse would ensue.

Soon after Alex appears in Mythos, he meets Dara, the princess of the realm. Seconds later, a giant, evil two-headed monster (an ettin) tries to viciously club them. As he is being attacked, Alex recalls a character from his history book and wishes he were present. Amazingly, a Roman legionary named Scorpius (the character that Alex had wished for) appears and slices the monster to bits. Alex learns that he can summon other characters from his history book: Tenzin, a very likable Shaolin monk; Bantu, a giant African warrior; Maya, an Amazon archer; and Genjuro, a fierce young samurai. All are youthful like Alex, and very skilled with their preferred weapons. This will come in very handy seeing that this is only the first of numerable monster attacks. Can they defeat the Shadow Lord and protect the Scroll? Will Mythos fall into the hands of the evil Shadow Lord?

The story is very riveting on its own, but the color illustrations that occasionally appear make it even better. The illustrations look like they are out of a graphic novel. I think that they are computer generated, but they are still really cool and look like paintings. The pictures were really exiting and gave me and even better feel for the characters.

This is Shiraz’s first book, and has understandably won several awards. If you have questions about the book you can go to his website and contact him. This book ended with a cliffhanger and I can’t wait for the next one. I would recommend this book to people who like action, adventure, and fantasy. I think that kids age nine to fourteen or so would especially like this book. “Defenders of the Scroll” by Shiraz was an awesome book and I think that most everyone who reads it will like it.

It’s Just My Imagination
Rick Keeling
Black Rose Writing (2009)
ISBN 9780982101292
Reviewed by Madeline McElroy (8) & Sophia McElroy (6.5) for Reader Views Kids

Madeline: I think this book is a really good tool for parents or teachers to tell children about using their imaginations. My favorite part was when the boy was pretending the mud in the backyard was flour for baking cakes. My sister and I use play-doh to make pizza and mini cookies pretending we are Girl Scouts and pizza makers.

I really enjoyed the colorful swirly painted pictures. But, some of the words I couldn't read because the paint was too dark.

Sophia: This book has some great ideas for using my imagination. My favorite part of the book was when the little boy was signing autographs for his book at the bookstore. I love going to the bookstore and I think it would be fun to write and draw a book for kids. I liked the part when the boy was baking. I also like to pretend that I am a chef! I liked the paintings because they were pretty.

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Friday, August 21, 2009

Novel to Screenplay: The Challenges of Adaptation

by Lynne Pembroke and Jim Kalergis


Brimming with confidence, you've just signed the check purchasing the rights to adapt John Doe's fabulous, but little known novel, Lawrence of Monrovia, to screenplay form. Suddenly, panic sets in. "What was I thinking? How the devil am I going to convert this 400-page novel to a 110-page screenplay?"

In this article, we'll take a look at this challenge and a few others that a writer may encounter when adapting a novel to screenplay form.


Screenplays rarely run longer than 120 pages. Figuring one page of a screenplay equals one minute of film, a 120-page screenplay translates into a two-hour motion picture. Much longer than that and exhibitors lose a showing, which translates to fewer six-cent boxes of popcorn sold for $5.99 at the refreshment stand. It took the author of your source material 400 pages to tell the story. How can you possibly tell the same story in 110 pages, the ideal length for a screenplay by today's industry standards?

You can't! Don't even try!

Instead, look to capture the essence and spirit of the story. Determine the through-line and major sub-plot of the story and viciously cut everything else.

By "through-line" I mean, WHO (protagonist) wants WHAT (goal), and WHO (antagonist) or WHAT (some other force) opposes him or her? It helps to pose the through-line as a question.

"Will Dorothy find her way back to Kansas despite the evil Wicked Witch of the West's efforts to stop her?"

The same needs to be done for the major sub-plot.

"Will Dorothy's allies achieve their goals despite the danger they face as a result of their alliance?"

One workable technique is to read the book, set it aside for a few weeks, and then see what you still remember of the story's through-line. After all, your goal is to excerpt the most memorable parts of the novel, and what you remember best certainly meets that criterion.

In most cases, everything off the through-line or not essential to the major sub-plot has to go. Develop your outline, treatment or "beat sheet" accordingly.


Many novels are written in the first person. The temptation to adapt such, using tons of voiceovers, should be resisted. While limited voiceovers can be effective when properly done, remember that audiences pay the price of admission to watch a MOTION (things moving about) PICTURE (stuff you can SEE). If they wanted to HEAR a story they'd visit their Uncle Elmer who drones on for hour upon hour about the adventures of slogging through the snow, uphill, both ways, to get to and from school when he was a kid, or perhaps they'd buy a book on tape.

The old screenwriting adage, "Show, don't tell!" applies more than ever when writing an adaptation.


Some tribes of American Indians had a word to describe those of their brethren who sat around thinking deep thoughts. Literally the word translated to, "THE DISEASE OF LONG-THINKING". Quite often, lead characters in novels suffer from this disease.

"Mike knew in his heart that Judith was no good. Yet she caused such a stirring in his loins, he could think of nothing else. He feared someday he would give in to this temptation named Judith, and his surrender would surely bring about the end of his marriage!"

If adapted directly, how on Earth would a director film the above? All we would SEE is Mike sitting there, "long-thinking". That is not very exciting to say the least. And as mentioned previously, voiceovers are rarely the best solution.

When essential plot information is presented only in a character's thought or in the character's internal world, one solution is to give this character a sounding board, another character, to which his thoughts can be voiced aloud. Either adapt an existing character from the novel or create a new one. Of course as always, you should avoid overly obvious exposition by cloaking such dialogue in conflict, or through some other technique. Even better, figure out a way to express the character's dilemma or internal world through action in the external world.


Mark Twain is quoted as saying about Oakland, California, "There's no there, there". Similarly, some novels, even successful ones, are very shy on story and rely for the most part on style and character to create an effect. Some prose writers are so good at what they do, that their artful command of the language alone is enough to maintain reader interest. Such is never the case in screenwriting.

Successfully adapting a "no-story-there" novel to screenplay form is a daunting task. One approach is to move away from direct adaptation toward, "story based upon". Use the brilliant background and characters created by the original author as a platform from which to launch a screen story. In fact, if for any reason a screenplay doesn't lend itself to screenplay form, consider moving toward a "based upon" approach, rather than attempting a direct adaptation.

Congratulations! You're now an expert on adapting novels to screenplay form! Well maybe not an expert, but hopefully you have a better understanding of how to approach the subject than you did ten minutes ago. And if the subject still seems too daunting, you can always get professional help as outlined on our web page

Lynne Pembroke is a writer, poet, screenwriter, and owner of, with over 18 years of experience in screenwriting and screenplay analysis helping individual writers, screenwriting competitions, agents, studios, producers, and script consulting companies. Services include screenplay, TV script and treatment analysis, ghostwriting, rewriting and adaptation of novel to screenplay. Jim Kalergis is a working screenwriter experienced in the art of adaptation. Visit for details. Article Source:
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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Book with a View August 2009

A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-store Promotion
Carolyn Howard-Johnson
ISBN: 978-1441467249
HowToDoItFrugally Publishing, 2009
Pages: 120
Reviewed by Yvonne Perry, Owner of Writers in the Sky Creative Writing Services

While copyediting Carolyn’s book, A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-store Promotion, I enjoyed her sharing of experience and information regarding promoting a retail business. Even though the majority of my freelance writing business transactions and promotion is conducted on the Internet, I still found the advice given in this book useful because some of the ideas translate to any type of business. The events that a bricks and mortar store conducts are meant to attract customers to a particular location, at a certain time, for the purpose of making a purchase.

The bottom line of any business is to make a profit and to do so as frugally as possible—an art Carolyn has perfected and shared in all her books. Ms. Howard-Johnson liberally gives tips for:

• Getting clear on the basics of event planning
• Branding a store identity
• Planning for success by setting goals to bring greater results from promotional efforts
• Treating customers right
• Promoting and cross-promoting in every square inch of space available

From tried and true promotional events such as windshield flyers, phone calls, and old-fashioned thank you notes, to newer technology such as blogging, showcasing products on a Web site, or using social marketing, A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-store Promotion contains up-to-date information for today’s retail business owner.

Do you know how to turn leftover stock and unsold items into money makers? You will once you’ve read this book! The plain and simple conversational text will make you feel like Carolyn is sitting across the room from you sharing her experience and wisdom. The appendix includes a sample of a media release and a blog entry. How’s that for easy?

Regardless of the size of your event or business, you’ll glean helpful tips for creating signs and displays, categorizing merchandize, partnering with local stores, and networking online. If you own a retail business, you will be doing yourself a favor and saving time and money by reading A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-store Promotion before your next event.

Bad Money for Good, Bad Bills for Good
Author: Bradford Metge
ISBN: 978-1-4327-4059-7
Publisher: Outskirts Press, 2009
Genre and Target Market: fiction; crime
Reviewer: Sarah Moore for WITS

When I decide to sit down with a new piece of fiction, there are two distinctly different styles that I most often find myself enjoying. First, there is the novel that requires you to use your patience and a strong attention to detail as the plotline takes anywhere from fifty to one hundred pages to trap you with its subtle progression. Once you are at the point at which each new page guides you deeper into the story and its characters, you look back and silently thank the author for the extended introduction that provided the perfect hook.

On the other hand, I also love a work of fiction that starts off with immediate intrigue and then takes the reader on an amazing literary adventure that runs nonstop from cover to cover. It is this latter type of book that will keep you sitting in your favorite reading chair without interruption until the conclusion is reached. I discovered a wonderful example of such a novel with Bad Money for Good, Bad Bills for Good by Bradford Metge. While a short book of only forty-three pages, Metge offers his readers a story with enough fascinating characters and plot twists that no further type space was needed.

On the opening page of Bad Money for Good, Bad Bills for Good, we meet Mason Brooks, who is grieving the recent loss of his beloved grandmother. While going through her belongings, Mason and his fiancée discover a journal left by the grandfather he never knew. The contents of this private, written confessional start Mason on a mission to uncover family secrets, meet relatives he never knew existed, and eventually hatch a plan to capture the man who is responsible for death of his grandmother. Throw in a fortune made from counterfeiting money, con artists who are seeking revenge, and an ancient Japanese delicacy that has the potential to cause death and you have a story that rivals any other thriller that you will find on your bookshelf or television screens.

Metge’s writing quickly creates a vivid moving illustration for his readers through his carefully selected language. I could picture the ambience of Benny’s Bar, which Mason entered to find his previously unknown sister and some answers to his grandfather’s past, through Metge’s description of the clientele and their leisurely activities. I developed complete images of both the protagonists and villains in the story, as the author provided just enough detail to offer an initial character sketch but left enough to the imagination to allow his readers to create the personalities as they saw them. The fast pace of the storytelling meant that there was a new twist or fact to be revealed on nearly every page.

I am always excited to discover a new author who brings a unique style to already crowded world of fiction writing. In the instance of Bad Money for Good, Bad Bills for Good, I was particularly impressed by Bradford Metge’s ability to create such a rich story with all of the needed background in such a concise novel. This published product shows a real talent for effectively developing imagery and plot details with a moment that grabs you on every page. I highly recommend Bad Money for Good, Bad Bills for Good by Bradford Metge to any reader who is a fan of action, crime stories, or human drama. I hope that Mr. Metge will provide us with more exciting offerings in the future.

21 Simple Things You Can Do To Help Someone with Diabets
Author: Cherie Burbach
ISBN: Paperback 978-0-9789747-7-0
Publisher: Bonjour Publishing, 2009
Pages: 80
Reviewed by Barbara Milbourn for Writers in the Sky

Often writers say if they can touch just one life or change one person for the better by telling their story, that their mission is accomplished. Cherie Burbach hasn’t used those precise words; instead she says that “21 Simple Things You Can Do To Help Someone with Diabetes will point you in the right direction so you can truly support your diabetic friend.” Her book has pointed me in the direction and I suspect has changed my life too—at least part of it.

I was a prime target for this book; one of the guilty uneducated and judgmental non-diabetics with a friend who has diabetes. In easy-to-understand and well-organized words that don’t drip with sentimentality, Ms. Burbach has awakened me to my thus far careless attitude and informed me of what I can do. I had no idea my support plays an important role in how healthy my friend is.

Ms. Burbach writes, “This book is a source of encouragement, a prompt for education, and a starting guide to diabetic etiquette.” Check.

Source of encouragement? Yes. I’m looking forward to first apologizing to my friend for being missing in action in this regard, and then to talking with her and taking an active interest in this huge aspect of her life. How did I miss its hugeness—this thing she thinks about and manages every hour of every day of her life?

A prompt for education? Yes. Ms. Burbach says, “The people in my life who really care about me understand things like an A1c test.” I had no idea what an A1c test was, but I do now—thank you Ms. Burbach and Google—and that’s just scratching the surface. I’ll know now to stock both sugar-free and sugar drinks and juice. I’ll ask about testing equipment and where she keeps it, I’ll try to know the signs of low blood sugar, I’ll get to know her diabetic numbers, I won’t view insulin as the cure it isn’t, I will be cognizant of meal times.

Etiquette, you say in chronic disease? Yes, and I’m guilty of saying inadvertent hurtful things, being a member of the diabetic police force, holding certain judgments, and thinking I’m above the disease. We are reminded that diabetes can strike anyone at any time.

This little book packs an informative punch to those who know little to nothing about diabetes. I highly recommend it.

The Long and Short Reviews Kari Thomas’s Latest Paranormal
Book Title: Her Heart His Soul
Author: Kari Thomas
ISBN: 1-60601-327-0 ebook / Print available through
Publisher: Bookstrand-Siren Publishing, March 2009
Link to purchase:
Reviewer: Vervain

Antique Book Dealer Sara Winters has been searching for a rare book that may not even exist, her obsession taking her all over the world. When her father mysteriously dies, she returns home and immediately is involved in a battle between good and evil, with the fabled book the main catalyst to win for either side.

Her savior from a demon attack is a rare, unique being himself. Drake Domitaine is a warrior. Half angel, half demon, he battles the demons and fights constantly against his soul becoming completely evil in the end. If the battle between good and evil is lost to the demon side, Drake's angel soul is forfeit.

Sara is his only hope for salvation. But Sara isn't willing to risk her life and her heart to a being who is not human and can never be with her in the end.

Racing against time and a Prophecy that has an uncertain end, Sara and Drake find themselves falling in love and wondering what will happen when the battle for good and evil is finished, and the battle for her heart, his soul, is finally decided.

Psychic and antiquities dealer Sara Winters has been gifted with visions, but there are times when she wonders if they more of a curse than a gift. In her quest to solver her father’s murder Sara is plunged even further into the world of the unknown. Drake Domitaine is more than he appears. He’s the shadowy figure that appears to Sara in her dreams, tempting her more than any flesh and blood man ever has before. Little does she realize that he’s something more than human, one of the few remaining of his race, a cross between an angel and a demon, feeding off the lives of evil humans. He is one of the remaining Knights of the Night, long thought gone.

As Sara and Drake work together to solve the enigma of her father’s murder, the two fight an attraction to one another. Drake knows he can’t get involved with Sara, but her scent drives him crazy, making him to do nothing more than make love to her. He must fight against his urges, scared that to claim Sara as his own would doom her soul for eternity.

Murder, mystery, mayhem, battles, and much, much more… this book will keep you turning the pages, one after the other, until you’ve devoured the book. With fantastical characters, different than anything you’ve ever imagined before, and a storyline that will keep you on the edge of your seat, Ms. Thomas had created an extraordinary tale. The battle between good and evil has never before been depicted in quite this way; be prepared to enter a whole new world, where all of the rules have changed.

Ms. Thomas is a literary mastermind. Prepare yourself for the ride, or read, of your life!

Wai-nani, High Chiefess of Hawai’i, Her Epic Journey
Author: Linda Ballou
ISBN: 978-1-932993-88-2
Star Publish LLC

I met Linda Ballou at the 2009 Los Angeles Times Book Festival. Later, in an e-mail, she told me it took her twenty years to do the research for this historical fiction and to get it out of the drawer and into the streets. The time Ballou spent on this work shows in the rich details that flow like lava from two of the earth’s largest volcanoes found on the island of Hawaii.

Wai-nani is rich with ancient Hawaiian culture and lore. The main character may be fictional but she is a reflection of Ka’ahumanu, King Kamehameha’s favorite wife, at one time the most powerful person in the Hawaiian Islands.

Today, the Hawaiian Islands may be an incredible tourist destination, but in the 18th century, they weren’t. When the islands were more or less isolated from the rest of the world, the Hawaiian people were often at war with each other and women were second-class citizens who could be executed for daring to eat a meal on the same mat or in the same room as a man. Men could take more than one wife and the rules were strict with death often being the punishment for breaking them.

Ka’ahumanu, as represented by Wai-nani in Ballou’s novel, was an early feminist and helped bring about changes that elevated women to be equal with men.

Do not be surprised when you find Wai-nani making friends with a family of dolphins. Some readers may have trouble believing this part of the novel, but I didn’t. Before Christ, the Greeks recorded incidents of dolphins helping and befriending sailors lost at sea when their ships sunk. There are recoded incidents of dolphins still doing this in modern times. There have been stories of dolphins driving fish onto beaches to help feed starving African natives. Therefore, it was easy reading about Wai-nani swimming with her dolphin friends in the ocean.

Wai-nani also chronicles the clash between cultures when Captain Cook arrives in 1779, along with the same European diseases that devastated and killed so many North and South American Indians. When Europeans started to spread across the globe, their viruses and germs went with them and did most of the killing making it easier for the land grabs that happened later. That tragedy is part of this story too.

The Hawaiian culture, the characters and the setting are richly detailed. I have never visited Hawaii. It would be nice one day if I had that chance, but if that doesn’t happen, at least I have had the pleasure of being taken to this Polynesian paradise by reading this heavily detailed story.

See Also: Linda Ballou's Website
Linda Ballou's Authors Den Page
Linda Ballou-Adventure travel writer and author of Wai-nani-High Chiefess of Hawai`I North American Travel Journalist Association

Friday, August 14, 2009

Editing is Marketing: Boning Up on First Impressions

by Carolyn Howard-Johnson

First impressions are important. We all are aware of that as we brush our teeth and try to unknot the rat's nests from the back of our hair each morning. In fact, first impressions are part of our marketing efforts, whether we are marketing ourselves (say, an interview or a TV appearance) or marketing our books. And, yes, editing is an essential part of that first-impression effort, thus an integral part of marketing and promotion.

Here are a scattering of helps gleaned from my HowToDoItFrugally Series of books (

Five Editing Myths Waiting To Trip Up Your Campaign to Market Your Work
  • If your English teacher told you something is OK, it is. (No! Language rules and style guidelines have changed since you were a sophomore.)
  • If a manuscript or query is grammar-perfect, you'll make a great first impression. (No! Lots of things that are absolutely grammatically correct will annoy publishers, agents, and others.)
  • Always use your Spell and Grammar Checker. (Maybe. Some well-known editors suggest you don't use it at all but The Frugal Editor gives you dozens of ways to make it your partner instead of your enemy.)
  • Your publisher will assign a top-flight editor so you don't need to worry about your manuscript. (Maybe, but don't count on it. Besides you can be a better partner for an editor if you know something about the process—and you'll also know better when to nix her suggestions! In any case, I suggest hiring an editor of your own before you submit your manuscript.)
  • Formatters and editors will take care of the hyphens, ellipses, and all the other grungy little punctuation marks that English teachers avoided teaching because they didn't know how to use them either. (Chances are, you'll catch even great formatters and editors in an error or two if you know your stuff!)

Five Things to Avoid for a Pristine Query Letter

We are selling our work when we approach any gatekeeper: an editor, an agent, or a contest judge. Here are five little things to avoid so you'll look like the professional you are.

  • Don't tell the gatekeeper you always wanted to write. You can think of something more pertinent to your cause (and something more original!) than that.
  • Don't use the verb "quote" when you want the noun "quotation." Some stylebooks will tell you that it's okay, but agents can be a picky lot. Use zero-tolerance grammar rules for your queries.
  • Don't pitch more than one book at time. You want to give that one your best shot.
  • Don't call your novel a "fictional novel." By definition, a novel is fiction.
  • Don't overdo exclamation marks, question marks, the use of sentence fragments. (Yes, fragments are acceptable when they're used for a good reason.).

Here's one last suggestion for fiction writers 'cause they're so often neglected when it comes to marketing. Avoid using italics for internal thought. Yes, it's being done more and more but it is often a crutch that fiction writers use to avoid writing great transitions and point-of-view; the best agents will recognize it as such.

Carolyn Howard-Johnson is award-winning author of both fiction and nonfiction, a former publicist for a New York PR firm and an instructor for the UCLA Extension renowned Writers' Program. She is an editor with years of publishing and editing experience including national magazines, newspapers and her own poetry and fiction. Learn more about the author at The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success ( is the top publishing book for USA Book News and Reader Views Literary Award.
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Monday, August 10, 2009

Calling for Submissions for September 2009 E-zine

It's time for me to start putting together the next fantastic and information-filled e-zine for September 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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Friday, August 7, 2009

The Writing Life: Say What?

By JJ Murphy
When I was a graduate student at the William Allen White School of Journalism in Lawrence, Kansas, information considered news was checked and checked again before it was published. Edward R. Murrow and Walter Cronkite represented broadcast journalism’s gold standard.

One of my fundamental lessons was to read copy out loud, uncover and eliminate weak writing before going on the air. I read articles intended for newspaper and magazine publication out loud for the same reason.

Twenty-first-century TV and online journalism has too much entertainment for me to take the content seriously. Many newspapers have stopped print distribution, but I know that bad writing will continue to make it into print, since so many publications appear to have no editors and no proofreaders.

Consider the following:
Miners Refuse to Work After Death – (I wasn’t planning to, either.)
Panda Mating Fails; Veterinarian Takes Over – (Is that legal?)
Police Begin Campaign to Run Down Jaywalkers – (With horses, motorcycles, or cruisers?) Juvenile Court to Try Shooting Defendant – (Before or after everything else fails?)
Red Tape Holds Up New Bridges – (Is that like duct tape?)
Man Struck By Lightning Faces Battery Charge – (You mean he IS the battery charge?)
Kids Make Nutritious Snacks – (Do they taste like pizza?)
Local High School Dropouts Cut in Half – (With chainsaws? Yikes!)
Typhoon Rips Through Cemetery; Hundreds Dead – (Weren’t they already dead?)
Idioms, colloquialisms, and the sheer malleability of the English language make it more difficult to write clearly and concisely. Bad journalistic content only becomes dangerous when the viewers stop laughing and start taking those misleading words seriously.

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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Thursday, August 6, 2009

Network with Us August 2009

Greetings From the TLA Network! Yvonne, we love your site and what you do with your ideas and creativity! We would be honored if you would post information about our conference, which would speak to many who read your site. Here's some details, and we're happy to offer more information, and also to list you as a link on our site:
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.
If you have any questions or need more information about the conference, simply contact me with an e-mail or phone call.
Thanks so much,
Daniel Lassman
Outreach Services

Every writer wants reader feedback, whether before or after they work with an editor. They usually turn to family and friends who may or may not be familiar with the writer's genre. They may even post ads for free or paid feedback reads. Announcing a new site where writers (especially new writers) and feedback readers (active or retired teachers, empty-nesters, etc.) can connect! Please visit to learn more. Host: Joyce Shafer, LEC and Writer, NYC.

Carolyn Howard-Johnson will teach “Creating a Promotion Campaign for Your Fiction or Nonfiction Book.” This one-day seminar will meet on the UCLA campus’ School of Public Affairs Building (Room 2317) Saturday, August 1, 9:30 am to 4:30 pm. Reg# U9836B Request a UCLA Extension catalog at Learn more about the class (only $125!) at

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.

In August, BronzeWord Latino Virtual Book Tour will host Raul Ramos y Sanchez with his new book "American Libre". Visit BronzeWord Latino Authors for the list of visit to Raul's book tour. Visit and learn more about the author and his book. Thank you.

Because poetry can be so important in our lives, I am running a contest to remind people to slow down a bit and read a poem (or write one). I will select a winner from those who send me an email with TOWARDS UNDERSTANDING in the subject line. The prize is an e-copy of Lillian Brummet's Towards Understanding with a new cover by her husband, Dave, who is also her writing partner. I'll randomly pick a winner on Sept. 30. The winner will also have an opportunity to publish one of their poems or a short excerpt from their prose in this corner of my newsletter—a piece that fits with the theme Towards Understanding. Send your entries to .

Dana Lynn Smith, the Book Marketing Maven, and author of The Savvy Book Marketer Guides has some free book marketing resources at Book Marketing Maven Blog and The Savvy Book Marketer Newsletter. She has just released Texas Book Marketing Handbook that features contact information for Texas bookstores, libraries, media, book fairs, and more, and includes tips for getting publicity and marketing to retailers and libraries. This e-book a valuable resource for Texas authors and anyone who wants to sell books in Texas. There's nothing else like it on the market!

Also check out Dana’s books about writing and publishing at You may find her on Facebook and Twitter.

I just recently got involved with a brand new startup company called Track Ahead. We have a site that will launch in just a few weeks, but basically it's an education/social network which will enable its members to move forward to achieve their higher ed and career goals.
I am on the lookout for contributors from the educational sphere (high school guidance/admission counselors/college faculty) to write articles, blog, and become members to interact in the groups, forums and discussions. I am also interested in interviewing people from diverse career fields for the site as well. This may be a good opportunity for some of the folks that you work with, and I'd be glad to tell you more than this simplest of snippets if you'd like to know more.
We are also actively looking for non-profit organizations that work with young adults and of course, high school and college students to get involved as well. E-mail me at

Pamme Cotter Boutselis

Join Author Steven Clark Bradley and Frank Fiore for the Back Story Radio program. The first show will be on August 1, 2009 at 9:30 PT. Our guest will be Author Donna Sunblad who will discuss the back story of her fantasy novel Beyond The Fifth Gate. If you enjoy learning about what drives an author to write and excellent story and what makes it so real and powerful, join us for the Back Story Radio Show at the link listed here.
Author Steven Clark Bradley

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Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Editor's Corner August 2009

Fifteen days after my daughter gave birth to her son, my daughter-in-law, Amanda, gave birth to her baby at 4:58 p.m. on July 9, 2009. He weighed seven pounds and seven ounces. Baby Jonas and his mommy are doing well. My son, Zeb, is the proud father; my 8-year-old grandson, Sidney (for whom the Sid Series of holistic children’s stories is written), is the loving big brother. Here’s a photo of both families, and here is a photo of both boys side by side. Our family will continue to grow as my step-daughter is due to deliver her son in October.

WITS team member and author's assistant Sarah Moore had her baby about five weeks earlier than expected, which means 6-pound-8-ounce Ian Charles has joined our WITS team! (See photo.) Sarah, being the tech-savvy businesswoman that she is, was texting and posting progress reports during her labor and was sending emails checking on clients the day after delivery! I was impressed, to say the least.

Speaking of the Sid Series, I have my account at Lightning Source set up and ready to print the book containing all twelve stories once the illustrations are complete and I get the formatting finished for upload. Nine of the individual e-books are already available as e-books on my Web site. They are only $3 each. The entire collection of stories will soon be available as a single e-book. Erin Chavez with has agreed to be an outlet for the e-books.

From time to time, I like to update folks on the projects I’m working on. In July, I’ve been editing a 100,000-word memoir and whittling it down to size, proofreading a book about quadriplegia, rewriting text for the Web site of an author’s metaphysical book, writing articles for a stem cell company, writing articles and Web text for a medical equipment company, writing a foreword for a friend's book, writing a proposal for Angela Grett's second book (on military families), editing articles for a chiropractor in Atlanta, writing text for a real estate brochure, writing a introductory letter for Bernice Burns (RE/Max realtor), evaluating a business book for a new client, conducting podcast interviews, and editing an e- book for Dana Lynn Smith titled Texas Book Marketing Handbook. How may I help you with your writing, editing, or book marketing project?

Thank you for being part of our writing community. Remember to send me your writing-related announcements to be included in next month’s issue of Writers in the Sky E-zine. I appreciate your contributions.

Here's thanking Sarah Moore and Barbara Milbourn for proofreading and editing the text. Also thanks to Katie Perry, my step-daughter-in-law and virtual administrative assistant, for her help. Without these talented girls, I would be lost!

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Sunday, August 2, 2009

Podcast Schedule August 2009

August 7

Lynn Serafinn will be Yvonne Perry's guest to discuss The Garden of the Soul: Lessons From Four Flowers That Unearth the Self -- a book about becoming whole. 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.


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.


August 21

Lillian Brummet will be the guest of podcast host Yvonne Perry as these two book marketers 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.


August 28

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.

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