Friday, August 31, 2012

Conveying a Character's Journey on the First Page of a Novel

Notes on Good Grief by Lolly Winston
by Bill Johnson
I teach that a story creates movement and the movement transport an audience. In many of the unpublished novels I read, I'm often 40 pages into a manuscript before I have any idea of a main character's journey. In some cases, I have to read to the end of a novel to understand that journey. This puts me (and readers) in the unfortunate position of needing to keep track of all the details about a character while I wait for some sense of purpose to become apparent. This makes reading a novel work.
Lolly Winston's novel Good Grief has a structure that clearly conveys the stages of grief that a young woman goes through when her husband dies and leaves her a widow. This external framework communicates that the novel has a clearly defined beginning, middle, and end. From its opening lines, the story has a destination.
Each stage of the main character's journey is divided into sections. The chapters in Part One are about denial, Oreos, anger, depression, escrow, and ashes. Each chapter that follows is about the main character's journey in dealing with her grief over her husband's death. The title, Good Grief, speaks to the narrator learning that there can be good grief (which revolves around passing through the stages of grief) and bad grief (getting stuck on the journey).
A review of the opening of Good Grief conveys how a main character's journey is set out.
The opening line:
How can I be a Widow?
The answer to this question comes in the opening paragraphs as the narrator sits in a grief support group. In a few paragraphs, the narrator explains why she's in the group.
My name is Sophie and I've joined the grief group because...well, because I sort of did a crazy thing. I drove my Honda through our garage door.
What's important about these lines is they show the narrator is not only in grief, she's being overwhelmed by grief. What set up the garage accident was an irrational thought that she needed to get into the house quickly to tell her husband something. Except he's deceased. She's in denial.
Continuing in a few paragraphs:
Maybe later I'll tell the group how I dream about Ethan every night. That he's still alive in the Eastern Standard Time zone and if I fly to New York, I can see him for another three hours.
The narrator tries to deal with her grief by going back to work, but she quickly finds herself overwhelmed. In the past, when she felt overwhelmed, she called her husband. The chapter ends with these lines.
The cursor on my computer screen pulses impatiently, and the red voice mail light on my phone flashes. My stomach growls and my head throbs. But I can't call my husband. Because, here's the thing: I am a widow.
She has started to come out of her denial about her husband's death. The first chapter is a clearly defined journey on her journey through grief.
Each chapter continues that journey until the narrator has passed through good grief to being whole again.
Highly recommended for writers who want to learn about structure by reading a well-written novel.
A fourth edition of Bill Johnson's writing workbook, A Story is a Promise & the Spirit of Storytelling, is now available for $2.99 for Kindle Reader at

Tune into Our Chat With Author Sherri Starr

Do you ever get tired of searching for "the One"? Constantly updating your online dating profile, or joining that yoga, scuba diving or art class, just so you can meet that special guy or girl? It can be a full-time job and an exercise in frustration. According to author Sherri Starr, much of the agony is also unnecessary (albeit entertaining). Starr's new book, Mia and Jake: Finding the One offers an uplifting and riotous take on some of the things singles do to find their other half.

Mia and Jake would make the perfect couple, but first they have to meet! In this sea of single, smart and funny stick figures, how will they ever find each other? Starr's answer may surprise you, and it will most definitely delight you.
Click here to listen to Sherri discuss the inspiration behind the book, her creative process, and how she met her real life "Jake".

Like what you heard? Contact Sherri to order the book and share your own dating stories.
Like Mia and Jake on Facebook
Follow Mia on Twitter

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Calling for Submissions for September 2012 WITS Ezine!

It's time for us to start putting together the next fantastic and information-filled e-zine for September 2012. That means I need you to send me your articles, poems, contest announcements, and brags to be included in the next issue.

Read our guidelines for submitting. Remember, the better your piece is written, the better attention and credibility it receives.

Poetry and Prose Corner

Welcome, Sunshine

Shadows of the night, be gone.
Your time well-spent in nourishment,
Nurturing the dreams of light,
As dawn brings hope of new beginnings.

Welcome, Sunshine,
Welcome friend,
Smiling down upon my face.
Spread your joy across my brow,
Raise your manna to my lips.

Sadness cannot breach your fortress,
Tragic cause must pass you by as
Every creature great and small
Upward turns to meet your stare.

Faithful watcher,
Silent giver,
Asking nothing in return.
Not in worship, but our kinship,
Bids me pause to offer praise.

Dennis Martin
Lulu Storefront:

Monday, August 27, 2012

The Law of Attraction Manifests Abundance

Esther Hicks is a proponent of something called the Law of Attraction. It is the art of allowing well-being to flow, thereby overcoming resistance and attracting abundance. I have seen this manifesting in my life over the past several years while I have been prolifically writing my series of hilarious books. Two of them are published. Now I am beginning to experience abundance as channels of promotion for my books are flowing my way.
The law of attraction follows an emotional path. When one is feeling “good,” abundance naturally flows. Following a lifetime of challenges which have seemed to impede my progress, I am now experiencing a major shift. If I can do it, anybody can. This means you.

As Esther says, it is not a matter of working hard or taking any courses. It is not a matter of luck. The Source of our being only wants the best for each of us. It is only a matter of getting ourselves into a place of alignment with “good” feelings. When we do that, anything we desire is possible and eventually will manifest.

This is the law of the universe. It is simply a matter of replacing doubt with belief. It only follows the teachings of the great spiritual teachers such as Jesus. It is a simply a matter of faith.

These are lessons that I begin to weave in my books which are about a wayward nun. She teaches what she needs to learn as she affirms what is the truth she has discerned within herself. This is something you can also do for yourself.

This is what I ask you to do as Esther, herself, would encourage you to do. Whenever you recognize something you don't like, you will send forth a rocket of desire that will lead you in the direction you wish to head. It is important not to dwell upon your state of discontent. Rather, look with appreciation at all you already do possess. Gratitude is of utmost importance. It is the stepping stone to manifesting that which you desire.

No matter what, the most important thing is to follow your joy. As you do so, you will continue to attract more of the same. Allow yourself to be all you can be. It is a lesson you all will learn if you only apply yourself to the challenge of feeling good. Practice affirmations. You are worthy. You are beloved. You are deserving of all the goodness that your Source naturally wants for you.

The rewards will be amazing and will come quickly. Abundance is already yours. Simply claim it and it will naturally bring you more. As I have said, this is the great law of the universe which is always expanding just as you are.

Written by Davis Aujourd'hui

This Friday's Podcast Guest: Author Sherri Star

Finding the person with whom you want to spend the rest of your life is very serious business; so why is it so hilarious when Sherri Starr writes about it? Maybe it's the tragically funny tales of what singles will do when they no longer want to be single; maybe it's the fact that the story is told from the viewpoint of smart, funny and highly evolved stick figures. Whatever the reason, this book is a laugh a minute, but also manages to convey a deeper message: that life is ultimately about being happy where you are, and that relaxing into the moment is often the best way to get what we want.

Tune into the podcast this Friday to hear Sherri dish about Mia, Jake, "the creative hour", and of course, finding the one.

To learn more about Sherri's work or to buy the book, visit
Like Mia and Jake at!/miaandjake  or follow them at

Send your own dating stories to

Friday, August 24, 2012

The Secrets to Getting More Book Reviews (even if your book is already out)

We hear it all the time: "the window for reviews is shrinking," and yet we still see reviews appearing everywhere. So how can you capture a share of this market? It's true that often reviews from big-name bloggers go to equally big-name authors. Well, can you blame the blogger? If someone had a choice between reviewing Shades of Grey and one of my recent books, I'm sure Shades would win and I totally get that, but it's hard when you're starting out. You often get reviews when you get reviews, so the old adage of "media draws media" is very true. Then where do you start?

Years ago, when I was first in the industry, it was pretty simple. You could find a reviewer, send him or her a copy and that was that. Now, it's a lot different. Bloggers get hundreds of books mailed to them by publishers on a monthly basis, while book review departments in newspapers have either shrunk or been removed entirely. It's a whole new world. The good news is that there are still great opportunities to get reviewed, but you need to understand the new rules of exposure.
Blogger reviews: Blogger reviews are still great (even though bloggers are busier than ever) but in order to get your fair share, I recommend networking with the bloggers. How do you do that? By following their blogs and posting authentic and helpful comments on their posts - or by retweeting a review of a book that you particularly loved. Get to know the bloggers you'll be pitching to. They will also appreciate that you took the time to read their blog, instead of just pitching them. It's true with any kind of networking. You tend to go to the front of the line when you know someone, right? So get to know the bloggers.
If you have a series of bloggers you are following who are influential but don't necessarily review books, you could ask them if they might let you guest blog or perhaps run an excerpt of your book on their website or you might coordinate a book giveaway with them. As a blogger myself, I love it when someone writes me for an interview and has actually read our blog. How do I know they've done this? Often they'll weave that into their pitch. For example, "Dear Penny, I saw that you wrote about mobile marketing in January and interviewed Gillian Muessig in May, I think my topic would be a nice addition to your blog because -" See? Now that's much better than: "Dear Penny, I have an idea for your blog I think you might like." There's a chance I will love it, but a far greater chance I won't because the person pitching just spotted our website and thought: "They might like this." It takes a bit more work to do it the other way, but your returns will be greater and you're also building relationships as you go, making the tradeoff worth it.
Review other books: In order to get reviews, you might need to become a reviewer. I know this might sound crazy. Who has time to review books? Well, that's how we got here in the first place, remember? Reviewing other people's books (who write about similar topics to you) is not only a great thing to do for your industry but a great way to network. I review every book that's appropriate to my market (on Amazon). People love peer reviews, trust me. Imagine if the person you're reviewing reviewed you? See how that works? Make sure to send them the review when you're done. It's a boatload of great Karma that could help you get some reviews, too.
Media connections: With newspapers eliminating review departments, how on earth can you get some traction for your book? How about articles and write ups? And even when newspapers do reviews, it can still be a hard road to get them. Especially if your book is self-published, POD or eBook. With 1,500 books published each day, it's tough to weave through the maze of authors out there trying to get attention for their book, too. Here's what I recommend. Get to know the media in your market. Pick a series of newspapers in your immediate area or state. You can find a pretty good listing here: You can also select other areas, depending on your book, the reach of your topic or your business. Often smaller regions of the US will still have active review departments so be sure to check all appropriate papers for both reporters who write about your topic, and review department criteria (where they want you to send the book, etc.). By getting to know the reporters who write about your topic, you can network with them early (pre-release) by commenting on articles they've written, or offering them ideas or statistics for future pieces. Remember the networking piece for bloggers? That works here, too and it's a great way to gain attention for your book and get a mention or review in a local or national paper.
Media Leads: I wrote an article on media leads, how to get them and how to respond to them. You can see it here ( and suffice it to say that the sooner you start with this (yes, long before the book is out), the better. It's another great way to network with a reporter.
Amazon Reviews: We've all heard of the big, top ten Amazon reviewers, but like any big-name reviewers they get inundated, too. Amazon is a great portal to expand upon and you should do whatever you can to populate your page with reviews because rarely do readers buy books "naked" (this refers to the book page, not the state of dress). I highly encourage you to review the Amazon list of top reviewers (folks who do post reviews on Amazon) and then pitch the ones that are right for your market. The lure of the top reviewers is that they possess a certain clout, but because of that, the other folks who are solid, faithful reviewers tend to get overlooked. Consider your options with Amazon, and definitely do your research and find some reviewers:
Social sites: Websites like Library Thing and Goodreads offer another great opportunity. First, these communities have millions of very active members and are a great place to garner reader reviews. Both sites have a great Reader Giveaway program that we love and use often; in exchange for handing over a free copy members (winners) are encouraged to post a review of the book. Very win-win if you're looking to get the word out there about your book.
While the world has changed a lot in regards to reviews, there are still a lot of opportunities out there for getting to the right people and getting those people to talk about your book. Not only that, but building a strong community of media and blogger contacts will help you not just for your current book, but for future titles as well.
Reprinted from "The Book Marketing Expert newsletter," a free ezine offering book promotion and publicity tips and techniques.

Tune in for a Converation with Award-Winning Novelist Michael Loyd Gray

It’s 1966. The Beatles have taken over the airways, Star Trek is in its first season on NBC, and 389,000 American troops are stationed in Vietnam.  This is the setting of Michael Loyd Gray's latest novel, King Biscuit.

A war is going on Argus, Illinois as well, between sixteen-year-old Billy Ray Fleener and his father.  While his father dreams of Billy Ray joining the family business,  Billy Ray dreams of moving to California, becoming a surfer, and getting into Margie Heinrich’s pants—not necessarily in that order. Instead, he gets a summer job laying pipe and the dubious distinction of town hero after saving Purdy Boy, the mayor’s wife’s dachshund.
When his beloved uncle and role model Mitch is killed in combat, Billy Ray feels like he must leave Argus or be stuck there forever. With little more than the clothes on his back, he hops a bus for Helena, Arkansas to visit Mitch’s grave.  Along the way he meets up with a cast of characters as varied and polarized as America itself, from a marine captain home on leave to a band of hippies bound for Graceland. Each teaches him something about love, loyalty, and the true meaning of freedom, but what Billy Ray really learns is that everyone has the power to define who they are. He may have left Argus a boy, but he returns a man. 

Click here to listen to the interview

Like what you heard? Order King Biscuit here.

Michael Loyd Gray is an award-winning author, journalist and college professor. Born in Arkansas, he has lived and worked all over the country, including Illinois, New York and Arizona, Texas, and Michigan. He has a MFA from Western Michigan University and a Journalism degree from the University of Illinois. His novels have earned several awards, including the 2008 Sol Books Prose Series Award, the 2005 Alligator Juniper Fiction Prize and the 2005 The Writers Place Award for Fiction. Not Famous Anymore was awarded a grant by the Elizabeth George Foundation.  King Biscuit was originally written under the title December’s Children and was a finalist for the 2006 Sol Books Prose Series Prize. To learn more about Michael Loyd Gray's work, visit

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Book with a View August 2012

  Title: Created to Live a Balanced Life: 8 Steps to Holistic Transformation
Author: Reverend Dieuner Joseph
Publisher: CreateSpace (June 20, 2012)
ISBN-13: 978-1470085483
Reviewer: Dana Micheli
It’s a constant challenge to achieve balance in our fast-paced society. Our days fly by in a blur of obligations, a depressing 24-hour news cycle, and an increasing demand for immediate gratification. When we are pulled in so many different directions, it is hard to give our all to anything, and every aspect of our life suffers. We are out of balance. In his new book, Created to Live a Balanced Life: 8 Steps to Holistic Transformation, Reverend Dieuner Joseph shows us how to restore balance and recalibrate our lives for health, love and success.
There is no shortage of self-help books out there, or books on connecting with God. What makes Created to Live a Balanced Life stand out among them is its unique approach to healing. With the same skill and compassion he shares through his newsletter and radio show, Reverend Joseph brilliantly weaves theology with no-nonsense guidance on how to change each area of our lives, day by day and step by step. Whether you are struggling with a troubled marriage, a health concern, or a problem with your boss, this book has the answer. Reverend Joseph’s advice is simple, but not a free ride. Each method in the book involves soul-searching and hard work, and while he doesn’t promise instant gratification, he certainly promises positive change for those who stick with it. In short, Created to Live a Balanced Life is an answer to our prayers.
Reverend Dieuner Joseph is the CEO of the Holistic Transformation Center, as well as the founder of Imani Temple Baptist Church and Disciple Maker Ministry. He is the author of “Restoring Honor to an Honorable Vocation” and the writer and editor of the blog, “A Pastor’s Reflection”. He also produces an online weekly devotional called “The Wednesday Word” and hosts Reverend Dieuner’s Community Call, an interactive radio show on Reverend Joseph holds a Bachelor’s degree from Manhattan College, as well as Master’s Degrees in Divinity and Theology from Princeton Theological Seminary. He has also studied at the University of Strasbourg in France.
Title: The Sum of Random Chance
Author: Lee Chambers
Publisher: MISFP (July 12, 2012)
ISBN-13: 978-0986494352
Reviewer: Dana Micheli

After reading a great book, I often wonder whether the author will be able to pull it off again. I admit to feeling this way after reading Lee Chamber’s Pineville Heist. With his new novel, The Sum of Random Chance, Chambers proves he has not only the talent, but the longevity, to succeed in a business where one is only as good his latest idea.
Cole Wilkes is an inexperienced but ambitious young reporter trying to prove his worth, but the stars seemed aligned against him at every turn--not to mention a materialistic girlfriend and a backstabbing colleague. Cole finds himself relegated to covering the most mundane stories in a mundane town, and despite his efforts, is unable to make anyone happy, least of all himself. Then, one day, fate lands him at the right place at the right time: he is in the local Super Mart when it is held up by two men armed with a baseball bat and a hunting knife. While everyone else cowers in fear, Cole notices a petite blond woman with a peculiar smile on her face. He watches in disbelief as she stops the thieves in their tracks, all without laying a hand on them. It is as if she has some sort of mystical gift. With a reporter’s eye and opportunist’s heart, Cole knows he has found his story, and her name is Sara Mackay. Determined to learn about—and exploit-- her secret powers, Cole begins following her around town. But instead of a sorcerer, he finds a woman with rare gifts and an even rarer empathy for those around her.
The Sum of Random Chance is a deeply personal story of two people whose “accidental” meeting changes their lives forever. It is also, however, a social commentary on our modern society. We have become a people of instant gratification, whether it’s a Google search or an instant promotion. Nowhere do we see this more in the twenty-something generation, and Cole Wilkes personifies his generation’s self-centeredness, as well as its capacity for evolution and growth. At the beginning of the book you may think Chamber a cynic; by the end you realize he is quite the opposite. Either way, he is an excellent storyteller.  

Friday's Podcast Guest: Novelist Michael Loyd Gray

Anyone who listens to our podcast knows that I'm a huge fan of Michael Loyd Gray's work. A few months ago he joined me to discuss Not Famous Anymore, the story of a Hollywood movie star who escapes to the rural Midwestern town of his boyhood.  It was such as pleasure, not only to hear Michael's thoughts on the book, but on his creative process in developing plot and character.

That's why I'm so pleased to announce that Michael will be back this Friday to discuss his latest novel, King Biscuit. King Biscuit is the poignant story of Billy Ray Fleener, a sixteen-year-old boy growing up in the Vietnam Era. Torn between his overbearing, ultra-conservative father and the ghost of his "cool" uncle, Billy Ray sneaks out of town, determined to see the world and, hopefully, find his place in it. 

Join us on Friday as Michael talks about the book, as well as what inspired him to write about this defining moment in American history.

Friday, August 17, 2012

How Book Shepherds Can Help Authors

By Scott Lorenz Westwind Communications

I recommend authors look into hiring a book shepherd for a current or upcoming writing and publishing project. A book shepherd is someone whose expertise in books and publishing will help you throughout the entire book process. From cover art, editing, dealing with Amazon to locating a printer, a book shepherd will assist you from start to finish.

I am a proponent of using a book shepherd because there are so many things to know about the book publishing process, and it all changes so swiftly that it’s extremely difficult to keep up with it all. It takes a person with experience to guide you along the way and that’s what a book shepherd does. Hiring a guide is a concept that’s been working for humankind for thousands of years. If you were going to a foreign land and wanted to see and do as much as you could, wouldn’t you rather hire a flesh and blood guide to show you, rather than a guide book? Consider yourself fortunate if you can afford a book shepherd, as it is well worth the money.
Dan Poynter recently compiled a comprehensive list of book shepherds. At the top of his list is Shel Horowitz, who explains his role this way: “Basically, I walk unpublished writers through the process of becoming well-published authors. I start by helping them determine if they should publish traditionally, self-publish, or subsidy publish--and then help them complete all the steps for their choice, then work with them on the marketing as the book nears completion.”
Tanya Hall is a unique book shepherd in that she works for a national publisher/distributor. “So instead of working in a vacuum,” Tanya says, “without any up-to-the-minute feedback on trends, pitches, etc like most book shepherds operate, I have the luxury of a sales force and team of experts behind me to guide the direction I give to my clients. Most of our clients ‘in development’ go through an editorial project development phase, followed by any number of services ranging from design to printing to (if accepted for publication/distribution by our review committee) distribution and marketing.” For more information, visit her website
Bobbie Christmas explains that her book shepherding style is rooted in an editing background. “After twenty years of editing magazines, newspapers, and corporate communications, I opened Zebra Communications in 1992 and specialized in editing books. As self-publishing grew and became an excellent way for consultants and other entrepreneurs to promote themselves and their businesses, I heard horror stories about otherwise intelligent people who made terrible decisions that cost them money and time and in the end often embarrassed them, rather than helping them get their books out to the public. I realized my clients needed more than editorial services, so I added book shepherding to my offerings.” Bobbie’s website is
Mike Ball, award winning syndicated columnist and author of three books, offers unique assistance to new authors from his position on the front lines of the publishing wars. “Hey, it can be complicated, time consuming and downright confusing,” says Ball. “I just helped out an elderly author who got completely flummoxed by the forms Amazon threw at him. I understand it can be a daunting task for anyone. That’s why I am happy to assist for a reasonable hourly fee.” Find Mike at or call him at 313-405-7664.
Simon Warwick-Smith of says, “We are a one-stop shop, from cover and interior design to physical printing, and eBooks, to sales, marketing and publicity. Been in business for 20 years with a long list of satisfied clients”

Rita Mills says, “I don’t much care for the term ‘book shepherd’, as I feel what I do is more like herding cats than docile sheep. People come to me with either an idea or a manuscript and I project manage the process and assign a freelancer for an ala carte service as needed. Some just come to me with a manuscript that needs editing so they can take it to a traditional publisher, and some want me to take on the whole project from manuscript to marketing. I work with 30+ freelancers (some of whom I have worked with over 20 years) who do all kinds of editing, design, PR, marketing, indexing, ghostwriting, grant writing, etc. I know my people’s skill set and can assign the individual with the specific genre/skills needed. For instance, someone who might be good at editing a nonfiction title might not be good with a fiction title or a children’s book. I also specialize in children’s picture books and I have portfolios on upwards of 300 illustrators. I have packaged roughly 450 titles since my years as the managing editor of an academic press at the University of Houston. I left there in 1997 to start my company, The Book Connection. My projects have ranged from back-of-the-room sales to high-end coffee table books. I am also a print broker, and print worldwide depending upon the need and goals involved in a project” For further information on Rita and her services, please visit her website

Linda F. Radke of Five Star Publications explains, “At Five Star Publications we have specialized in producing and marketing books since 1985. Our talented staff of editors, writers, illustrators, graphic designers, and publicity specialists is available to help with every aspect of publishing and promoting your book. Utilizing a network of experts in every aspect of publishing and publicity, Five Star Publications works closely with you every step of the way. Call us as soon as you start writing your book or at any point during the process of producing and promoting your book. We provide all the services, guidance, and ongoing support you need to successfully master every aspect of the publishing process. Once you contact us, we'll be pleased to provide a proposal tailored to your specific project. Since every project is different in scope and needs, your timeframes and costs will be handled on an individual basis.”
The Bottom Line: If you can afford to spend a few hundred to a few thousand dollars on a book shepherd, I highly suggest you do, and help save your sanity! There are so many exciting changes in the book publishing business, it’s practically impossible to keep up with them all. The book shepherd will help you through the entire process or just a piece of the process where you need it.
Check out this audio interview about book shepherds I did with Clark Covington at this link:
Be sure to check out Dan Poynter’s list of book shepherds below and get in touch with the book shepherd of your choice.
Zip Code/Country, Name, Email, Website
01035 Shel Horowitz;
06001 Brian Jud;
07930 Barbara Kimmel;
20191 Sam Horn;
22314 Mike Vezo;
30188 Bobbie Christmas;
45701 Janice Phelps;
68137 Lisa Pelto;
77041 Rita Mills;
78704 Tanya Hall;
80015 Judith Briles, PhD;
85226 Linda Radke;
87505 Ellen Kleiner;
89509 Jacqueline Simonds;
90212 Ellen Reid;
90245 Jan King;
91304 Alan Gadney;
92111 Lindee Rochelle
92653 Sharon Goldinger;
93103 Gail Kearns;
94304 John Eggen and
94801 Peter Beren;
95437 Cynthia Frank;
95476 Simon Warwick-Smith;
Canada Barbara Florio Graham;
Canada Serena Williamson Andrew Ph.D and
Malaysia Shum F.P. and
New Zealand/Australia Maria Carlton and
Singapore Patrick Ang and
South Africa Val Waldeck and
UK Mindy Gibbins-Klein;
About Book Publicist Scott Lorenz
Book publicist Scott Lorenz is President of Westwind Communications, a public relations and marketing firm that has a special knack for working with authors to help them get all the publicity they deserve and more. Lorenz works with bestselling authors and self-published authors to promote all types of books, whether it's their first book or their 15th. He's handled publicity for books by CEOs, CIA Officers, Navy SEALS, Homemakers, Fitness Gurus, Doctors, Lawyers and Adventurers. His clients have been featured by Good Morning America, FOX & Friends, CNN, ABC News, New York Times, Nightline, TIME, PBS, LA Times, USA Today, Washington Post, Woman's World, & Howard Stern, to name a few.

Learn more about Westwind Communications’ book marketing approach at or contact Lorenz at or by phone at 734-667-2090. Follow Lorenz on Twitter

Join Us for a Conversation with Reverend Dieuner Joseph

Reverend Dieuner Joseph is well-aware of the importance of living a balanced life. He has spoken about it in his sermons and on his radio show; he has written about it in his weekly devotional and on his blog. But best of all, he lives it every day, and now he is sharing his guidance in his new book, Created to Live a Balanced Life: 8 Holistic Steps to Transformation.

Created to Live a Balance Life teaches us how to heal our spiritual wounds and become the best version of ourselves. It focuses on discipline, self-esteem, and faith as the necessary ingredients for success, and offers real-world advice on everything from diet and exercise to our relationships with our spouses and children. But the most important relationship, however, is the one each of us has with God, and Reverend Joseph helps us cultivate that as well.  

Reverend Dieuner Joseph is the CEO of the Holistic Transformation Center, as well as the founder of Imani Temple Baptist Church and Disciple Maker Ministry. He is the author of “Restoring Honor to an Honorable Vocation” and the writer and editor of the blog, “A Pastor’s Reflection”. He also produces an online weekly devotional called “The Wednesday Word” and hosts Reverend Dieuner’s Community Call, an interactive radio show on Reverend Joseph holds a Bachelor’s degree from Manhattan College, as well as Master’s Degrees in Divinity and Theology from Princeton Theological Seminary. He has also studied at the University of Strasbourg in France.

Click here to listen to the interview
Like what you heard? Visit Reverend Joseph's website to buy the book and learn more about his speaking tour.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Need a Video Trailer for Your Book?

Recently I had the privilege of working with Daniel Harker in the creation of a video trailer for my latest book, Shifting into Purer Consciousness ~ Integrating Spiritual Transformation with the Human Experience. Not only did Daniel do an excellent job as you will see in the video below, he was great to work with—very conscientious about the message as well as the audio-video component. He was also prompt in responding to my emails. I would like to share this resource with other authors, so I’ll let Daniel describe his work to you.

Dear Author,

If you are in need of a video book trailer to help market your book / books, you should consider contracting Dharkerwv Multimedia Productions. My services are skilled, creative, and, when compared to the fees of similar companies, quite affordable. 

My production services offer the added feature of being able to digitally manipulate images, if needed or desired, to make them more individualized for my clients. I can also create portions that are “morphs” that transition from one image to another—a very effective addition.

A new service is to make a presentation version of your trailer, with transition slides at the beginning and end, to make a continuously playing loop for you to burn to DVD and use on your laptop at book signings, etc.

Fees, of course, are based on the length of the presentation required, as well as the necessary time involved. I can assure you, though, that you will not find a better match for your needs at a better price. I understand the expenses that authors incur for promoting their work, and I strive to create high-quality book trailers at a low price.

 If you are interested in querying Dharkerwv Multimedia Productions, please contact me at Place "Query for Book Trailer" in the subject line. When you query regarding my services, I will send you a brief questionnaire to complete that will give me an idea about your book, the kind of trailer you want, your concept or vision for your trailer, and help me to assess an estimation of the fee.

 Daniel Harker
Dharkerwv Multimedia Productions (please put “Query for Book Trailer” in the subject line)

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Live from Las Vegas...It's the Aspects of Writing Radio Show

Earlier today I had the pleasure of being a guest on the Aspects of Writing Radio Show, hosted by James Kelly. Today's show focused on importance of securing the right public relations specialist to market your book. The other guests were veteran PR gurus Travis Shortt and Shelley Bruner. Travis Shortt is a former radio personality and co-founder of Aspyr Communications, and Shelley is a former Fox 5 news anchor and currently the Director of Advertising and Public Relations at David Saxe Productions. With their years of experience, they have forgotten more than most of us will ever learn about wooing the media. They provided a wealth of inside tips on what authors need to do, not only to sell their current book, but to brand themselves, and it was indeed a pleasure to speak with them.

This is my second time on the show, and it was even more enjoyable than the first. James Kelly is a wonderful host. With his "round table" platform and conversational interviewing style, he allows for a true exchange of ideas. A number of WITS clients, including comedian Melanie Vare and mystic Dr. Steve Brannon, have been guests, as well as award-winning novelist Michael Loyd Gray. You can listen today's show, as well as archived episodes, by clicking on the link above. Aspects of Writing airs live, every other Tuesday, at 2pm PDT.

In addition, to hosting several radio shows, James Kelly is also the author of two novels. The second, Alien Transcripts: Creating God, is now available for download on Amazon.

Editor's Corner August 2012

Welcome to the August 2012 WITS Newsletter!
By all accounts, it’s been a fairly brutal summer. Even I, a fan of humidity (and long regarded by others as peculiar) have been running my air-conditioner (long regarded by me as a necessary evil) nearly ‘round the clock. Most days, I’m outdoors only long enough to walk to Duncan Donuts for an iced coffee, which has given me extra time to bring you these interesting tidbits.
The first is the Aspects of Writing radio show, hosted by writing guru and all around nice guy, James Kelly. I recently had the pleasure of being James’ guest to discuss book marketing, and I highly recommend his show for writers and book lovers alike. Not only is it a great source of valuable information, it also provides a nurturing environment for those new to the writing business.
The second is an event that will help you beat the heat and enjoy a good laugh at the same time. On Sunday, August 12, Nashville-area residents should head on over to Bongo Java to catch That Time of the Month, a hilarious show of female storytelling. The show’s creator, writer and performer Melanie Vare, is currently compiling a collection of these outrageous stories for a book of the same name. I caught a sneak peak at the manuscript and laughed the whole way through.
Happy August, everyone, and may your writing projects be as hot as asphalt in the summer.

Dana Micheli
Writer and editor, Writers in the Sky Creative Writing Services

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Maxine Thompson on Writers in the Sky Podcast

Hello, everyone! I know it’s been a while since I’ve hosted Writers in the Sky Podcast, but today is a special day because my friend Maxine Thompson has launched another wonderful novel. You may remember her first book, L.A. Blues, and the well-written scenes and well-developed characters she created for us to enjoy in that read. Now, we have the privilege of reading L.A. Blues II, in which many of those beloved characters return to take us on another adventure. Here is a synopsis of the sequel.

Running her private detective agency, staying off the sauce, and coming to the rescue of her trouble-prone family members keeps former LAPD cop Zipporah “Z” Saldano very busy. And now, just as she’s on the verge of tracking down the notorious serial killer known as the Grim Sleeper—and just as things are getting hot and heavy with hard-bodied detective Romero Gonzalez—word comes that Z’s brother, Mayhem, has been kidnapped. The name should be a dead giveaway; but Z is shocked when the Feds inform her of Mayhem’s long rap sheet, and his new role as a snitch, which seriously threatens to shorten his lifespan. Shuttling between LA and Brazil, Z desperately tries to free her brother…but what she learns will shake her to the core.

I hope you will enjoy this interview with Maxine as she shares how she got started as a writer, what inspired her to write this book, and the message/legacy she hopes readers will gain; and, if you haven’t met Zipporah Saldano and her circle of friends and family, you will get a personal introduction to them.

Dr. Maxine Thompson is a novelist, poet, columnist, short story writer, book reviewer, book blogger, an editor, a ghostwriter, an Internet Radio Show Host for past 10 years, and a Literary Agent. She is the author of novels, The Ebony Tree, Hostage of Lies, and LA Blues and LA Blues II, Short story Collection, A Place Called Home (Kindle Bestseller) , (Non fiction) The Hush Hush Secrets of Writing Fiction That Sell, The Hush Hush Secrets of Making Money as a writer, a contributor to bestselling anthologies Secret Lovers, All in The Family, and Never Knew Love Like This Before, (Also a Kindle Bestseller), Proverbs for the People, Saturday Morning (Contributor, and Edited Anthology for Saturday Morning Literary Workshop.) She was included in Heather Covington's book, Literary Divas; The Top 100+ Most Admired African-American Women in Literature. ( Released April 2006).

You can contact Maxine Thompson on the web at: or She is @MaxineEThompson on Twitter and Maxine-Thompson on Facebook. Both books in my series are available on line, and on Black Expressions.

Yvonne Perry,
Owner of Writers in the Sky Creative Writing Services and the author of SHIFTING INTO PURER CONSCIOUSNESS ~ Integrating Spiritual Transformation with the Human Experience and WHOSE STUFF IS THIS? ~Finding Freedom from the Thoughts, Feelings, and Energy of Those Around You.

WITS Announcements

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

Len Edgerly, who blogs and hosts a weekly podcast about the Kindle and eBooks at, is doing an informal survey comparing the Kindle Fire and E Ink Kindles as platforms for reading. If you have both devices and would be willing to describe briefly what sorts of book or publication reading you do on each, please email the info to Len: PodChronicles @Gmail DOT Com.
Read the first chapter for free and then decide if you want to download the 3-hour-long mp3 audio book of More Than Meets the Eye ~ True Stories about Death, Dying, and Afterlife for only $7.00
Each story in The Sid Series ~ A Collection of Holistic Stories for Children focuses on life skills such as environmental awareness, helping others, being true to one’s self, overcoming fear, and following inner guidance.
Whose Stuff Is This? Finding Freedom from the Thoughts, Feelings, and Energy of Those around You is a guidebook for empathic people who have been unknowingly carrying energetic burdens that belong to someone else. See all purchasing options at
State of Appreciation is a free weekly online newsletter that blends practical & spiritual approaches to enhance personal power and self-realization. Offers empowering articles, gifts, and free contemporary and classic empowerment downloads free at
While taking a metaphysical class, WITS team member Dana Micheli met an amazing illustrator. If you are looking for someone to create an original piece for your book cover, you may want to connect with Diane Daversa on Facebook:!/pages/Diane-Daversa-Fine-Art/109782219119036
Shifting into Purer Consciousness ~ Integrating Spiritual Transformation with the Human Experience is about how to embrace multidimensional frequencies, lessen physical and emotional symptoms of rapid spiritual ascension, and offers tips to make the ascension process easier and quicker.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

WITS & WAO Podcast Schedules August 2012

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

August 17: Reverend Dieuner Joseph will speak with Dana Micheli about his new book, Created to Live a Balanced Life: 8 Steps to Holistic Transformation. Reverend Joseph will discuss his inspiration for writing the book and how he uses his trademark combination of empathy, scripture, and a dash of common sense to help heal a wounded soul.

August 31: Award-winning author Michael Loyd Gray returns to discuss King Biscuit, the story of a young man's coming of age during the turbulent 1960s. Like his previous novel, Not Famous Anymore, King Biscuit takes us on a physical and spiritual journey across the nation and into the hearts of men. It is also yet another example of Gray's undeniable talent and his dedication to crafting the quintessential American novel.

We Are One in Spirit Podcast

We Are One in Spirit Podcast allows people of all walks of life to discuss their spiritual journey and life-transforming experiences that remind us that we are all ONE IN SPIRIT. Uplifting, enlightening, and insightful topics include healing, empathy, intuition, spiritual/psychic gifts, metaphysics, soul development, afterlife, spirit communication, and more. This interactive teleconference offers listeners a chance to chat directly with Yvonne Perry about spiritual matters of soul development. See for details
If you missed Shifting into Purer Consciousness Ascension Training Telesummit and would like to listen to the replays, the collection of audios is now available for purchase at