Thursday, April 30, 2009

Writers’ Podcast for May Offers Something for Everyone

Nashville, TN, April 25, 2009—The series of author podcasts that Writers in the Sky Creative Writing Services (WITS) is offering in May is comprised of an amazing variety both in genre and personal writing styles. No matter your perspective or your place in the field of writing and publishing, Writers in the Sky has an interview that will peak your interest this month.

WITS begins the month by discussing an inspirational story of an immigrant who faced amazing odds in her efforts to reach, and then succeed in, America. Next, podcast hosts will speak with the head of a self-publishing company with which many of our authors are already quite familiar. May continues with an author who shares his vision of a world in which an airborne virus has destroyed much of the earth’s population. As the month progresses toward summer, the spotlight will be on a poet who offers a new collection of his work. Finally, Memorial Day weekend will start with an opportunity to hear about a new children’s book in which two young boys must unlock an ancient secret.

On May 1, Sarah Moore will interview Dao Hyunh about her new book An Unknown Journey. This novel shares the story of a young girl named Dao who flees her war-torn homeland of Vietnam in search for a better life in America. She becomes one of the “boat people” whose travels became known around the world in the 1970s. The readers first learn about Dao’s life with her family in Vietnam, and then follow her during a year-long journey that finally brings her to the United States. Her determination to make a new home for herself and adapt to a new culture despite many roadblocks is a testament to the struggle of all immigrants. Please visit the Outskirts Press Web site to learn more about Dao Hyunh and An Unknown Journey.

The podcast on May 8 will feature Brent Sampson, the CEO of Outskirts Press. This self-publishing company is a frequent choice for the authors who are featured on our podcast. Mr. Sampson has a new book titled Adventures in Publishing. Written in the format of a child’s story, the book takes its readers through the self-publishing process. He addresses many of the fears and misconceptions that new authors may have. Also, Sampson is able to provide an example of the final product that Outskirts Press offers. Mr. Sampson will discuss his reason for writing Adventures in Publishing as well as how interested writers can get started on their own path to publishing. Adventures in Publishing can be purchased at the Amazon Web site. Please visit the Outskirts Press Web site to learn more about the company.

The month of podcasts takes a very different turn on May 15 when Sarah Moore interviews Michael Presutti, author of the new release Last Words. In this novel, a lone man infiltrates a military compound and releases a deadly virus over the skies of the western United States. As the story progresses, readers learn about those throughout the country who are trying to escape the growing number of the “infected ones.” These zombie-like creatures that have been exposed to the virus have mutilated bodies and are driven to kill their own families.

Readers can sense the desperation and the isolation as fewer and fewer people manage to stay a step ahead of the virus. Please go to Outskirts Press to learn more about Michael Presutti and purchase Last Words.

On May 22, Dennis Martin will be the featured guest. He will be discussing his new book of poetry, Rhythmic Notions. This book is intended for anyone who has a fondness for rhythmic, lyrical poetry. Some of the pieces from this collection have been featured over the past few months in the Writers in the Sky newsletter. Dennis creates much of his work with specific artists in mind, usually country artists, and he hopes that someone in the music industry is seriously looking for new, fresh lyrics for recording.

In Dennis’ own words, “There are a few good drinking/honky tonk songs, a number of love songs, love lost songs, far-from-home songs, and a couple of buddy songs. As usual, the tunes are in my head, but I am neither singer nor musician.” All of Dennis' books can be purchased through

We end the month of May by having Barbara Milbourn host a discussion with Fiona Ingram, who will be sharing her new novel The Secret of the Sacred Scarab. In this book, a 5000-year-old mystery comes to life when young cousins Adam and Justin Sinclair receive an old scarab on their very first day in Egypt. The adventure begins when the evil Dr. Khalid shares a strong interest in the scarab and then pursues the boys in what becomes an amazing journey. Ms. Ingram will be share more details concerning the storyline of her book, how she encourages young readers to get involved with the history and culture to be learned, and what further journeys may lay ahead. The Secret of the Sacred Scarab can be purchased at the Amazon Web site and you can learn more about the book at the author’s Web site.

“May is going to be a wonderful month for our author podcasts, as we will be sharing a wide variety of the newly-published material,” shares Yvonne Perry, owner of Writers in the Sky Creative Writing Services, which produces the podcast. “Whether you enjoy history, horror, grand adventures, poetry, or the opportunities to learn more about the publishing field, we offer something for you this month.”

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

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Monday, April 27, 2009

Creative (Right-Brain) People Can Attain their Goals!

Have you ever wondered how creative people attain success—and not only in their artistic field, but in other areas of their lives as well?

So many writers struggle with attaining goals, even after you've taken the time to list them, break them into actions, and set completion dates. You get frustrated with yourself, which powers your negative internal voice, which only leads to less motivation and more failure.

The UPositive Guide to Goal Attainment for Creative People leads you, step by step, through a system for success with writing. It can also be applied to other areas of your life.

The main problem for writers and other creative people in goal attainment is that most of the process of setting, tracking, and timing goals is left-brain (logical), while you're spending your time using the right brain (creative, emotional, etc.).

According to author Batya D. Wininger, LCSW, MSW, KAP, Rev., the best way for you to attain writing goals is to use both sides of your brain, trading off activities that lead to goal attainment.

She explains that even though the right and left hemispheres of your brain have different jobs to do, they actually communicate with each other!

Through The UPositive Guide to Goal Attainment for Creative People, you'll learn how to have your right brain guide your left brain in setting up winning activities for the right brain to accomplish! Sounds like a see-saw? That's exactly right!

With easy-to-understand exercises, step-by-step directions, and plenty of encouragement, you'll be re-inspired to work toward your dreams, creative and otherwise; you'll know exactly what next steps you need to take; you'll be able and ready to take them; and you'll succeed quicker and easier than you ever imagined.

For more information, or to order the eBook, go to:

After ordering the eBook, email Let her know about your order and that you read this article through Writers in the Sky. You'll receive a special, free workbook to accompany The UPositive Guide to Goal Attainment for Creative People.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Warm Up To Writing Folktales

by Karen Pierce Gonzalez

Writers of all levels can jump right into writing family folktales. Because folktales are based upon the people, places, and things of your life, you already know something about whatever you choose to be your writing topic. Understand that they come out of your memories, which include feelings and sensations, and are not necessarily bound by the statistical data that genealogical accounts require. The folktale is the result of your perspective and your relationship to the topic.

In order to get the most out of your writing experience, it’s a good idea to warm up your writing muscles. This is especially true if you are new to writing or haven’t taken up a pen for quite some time.

Here are four simple tips to help you get the writing flowing:

1. Warm up is practice. It is not supposed to result in a finished piece. The goal is to build up your ability to write whatever you want to write.

2. Start by writing longhand. Writing with a pen or pencil and paper allows your mind to slow down so that it can synchronize with your body to get on the same page, so to speak. This reduces the push and pull of trying to rush the remembering and writing process. You become more involved in the writing process itself and in the long run that produces a strong connection between your stories and your ability to recount them.

3. Unlike what can happen when using the tools of modern technology (e.g., computer, laptop), you will not be distracted by spell checks, inserting or deleting changes, or even the way the folktale looks on the page (i.e., monitor). You are less encumbered and that frees you up to spend all of your attention on the writing itself.

• Note: However, if you find using your computer or laptop is easier for you, then do so. At least try to write your first draft by hand, so that you know what that more relaxed process feels like.

4. You will also need a timer. Set the timer for anywhere between five and fifteen minutes, and before you start writing, take a few deep breaths to clear out thoughts and concerns that may be occupying your attention. This is not the time to be wondering about what to cook for dinner or how to answer a business call. Tell yourself you can address these items after the writing session is over. You’ll be glad you did.

When choosing a warm up topic, consider writing about something that is easy to write about. This could include a magazine image, a postcard, a line from a favorite song. After a few warm up practices you may choose as your topic an heirloom or favorite relative. Keep the pen to paper even if it feels like nothing is happening. Even a laundry list of words or phrases can, over time, be developed into a complete folktale.

Whatever you write, it’s important to remember that the goal is to warm up your writing muscles much like you would do if you were going to an exercise center. Some muscles warm up more quickly than others so allow yourself a chance to get into the habit of using those muscles. After all no one knows your family folktales like you do.

Karen Pierce Gonzalez is the author of the newly released e-book Family Folktales: What Are Yours? and the workbook Family Folktales: Write Your Own Family Stories which will be available this summer from FolkHeart Press (

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Poetry Corner April 2009

The Wind Sings Your Name

The breezes glide free over welcoming trees
Who sway back and forth as if playing a game,
And a song, sweet and gentle, comes soft to my ear,
Ever clear as the wind sings your name.

I walk next to Heaven with your hand in mine,
Let the rest of the world go insane.
We’re here together at the end of the day
Huddled close as the wind sings your name.

Never a question,
Never a doubt,
No need for us to pretend.
Any time we see the end of a road,
We find a way to start over again.

I only know when I walk close to you
We know where we’re going
From the way that we’ve came.
To listen,
To wonder,
To know that it’s true,
It’s you…
And the wind sings your name.

Climb the Stairs

So much to tell you…
So little time…
Longing the sweet taste
Of your lips on mine.
Washing away
All our worries and cares.
Time stands still
As we climb the stairs.

Days last forever
When we are apart,
Counting each second
Til I find my heart.
The glint of your smile,
The scent of your hair,
Life begins
As we climb the stairs.

Life is a highway and you hold the keys
To every dream that I weave.
I would be nothing without loving you,
That’s why I’m wearing my heart on my sleeve.

I count my blessings
And say a brief prayer,
Knowing how wonderful
My life can be.
When we climb the stairs
At the end of the day
Up to Heaven…
Just you and me.

By Dennis S Martin from his new book Rhythmic Notions. Dennis is Yvonne Perry’s cousin and will be her guest on Writers in the Sky Podcast in May.

Kiss A Poet Today

by Irene Brodsky, Author of Poetry Unplugged

In a world filled with woe,
just look around you.
There is someone special
who has a way with words
to make a difference in your life!

Make her welcome in your thoughts
Hold her close to your heart
Pour her a cup of Earl Gray Tea
Offer a croissant or two
and kiss a poet today!

Words are all she has
to brighten up your life.
They are dedicated all to you.
Keep them in a special place.

And when the world seems too much
for you to handle,
read her words meant just for you.
Put your woes away
and Kiss a poet today!

By Irene Brodsky
Poetry Unplugged (Outskirts Press)

Life’s Merry-go-round

They met in prime time
They fell in love fast
Then it crashed and burned
It was too hot to last

He got married
She left town
But she came back by
On life’s merry-go-round

They had a window in time
Or was it a door
Right back to the place
They had been before

He wanted a baby
She was all career
They gave it a try
But they couldn’t go there

She got a promotion
He left town
But he came back by
On life’s merry-go-round

They had a window in time
Or was it a door
Right back to the place
They had been before

They walk and talk and e-mail
Love’s not gone ‘til you look away
Hold the memories and the feelings
Hold the sweetness of that other day

There’s a window in time
There is a door
You can walk right through
To the place you were before

JanBossing©Joelton TN 2009

Friday, April 17, 2009

Using "I" As a Conceit

I don't know when I learned the word "conceited." I was raised in Utah where most of us didn't use "conceit" in the sense of an elaborate or strained metaphor but rather to mean that someone thought they were extra-super special. The little girl across the street who snubbed me because I didn't wear long stockings with garters (which was an immediate tipoff that I was not her kind) was "conceited" rather than prejudiced. The kid who was quick to make a point of how bright he was when I made a mistake was "conceited" rather than arrogant (or insecure). Gawd! I loved the word "conceited." I could apply it to so many situations and avoid learning new vocabulary words.

Of course, in a culture where being extra-super humble was valued, I soon noticed that our English language is, indeed, "conceited."

I'm speaking of the way we capitalize the pronoun "I." None of the other pronouns are capped.

So what about this "I," standing tall no matter where you find it in a sentence?

Recently as I tutored students in accent reduction and American culture I noticed that some languages (like Japanese) seem to do quite well without pronouns of any sort. I did a little research. Some languages like Hebrew and Arabic, don't capitalize any of their letters and some, like German, capitalize every darn noun. So, English—a Germanic language at its roots—just carried on the German proclivity for caps.

But the question remained. Why only the "I?" Why not "them" and "you" and all the others? Caroline Winter, a 2008 Fulbright scholar, says "England was where the capital "I" first reared its dotless head. Apparently someone back then decided that just "i" after it had been diminished from the original Germanic 'ich' was not substantial enough to stand alone." It had to do with an artistic approach to fonts. The story goes that long ago in the days of handset type or even teletype machines little sticks and dots standing all alone looked like broken bits of lead or scrappy orphan letters.

Then there is the idea that religion played a part in capitalizing the "I." Rastafarians (and some others, too) think in terms of humankind as being one with God and therefore—one has to presume—it would be rather blasphemous not to capitalize "I" just as one does "God." Capitals, after all, are a way to honor a word or concept.

Which, of course, brings us back to the idea that we speakers of English are just plain "conceited."

Carolyn Howard-Johnson is an instructor for UCLA Extension's world-renown Writers' Program, and author of the HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers including The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success. It is a USA Book News award-winner as well as the winner of the Reader View's Literary Award and a finalist in the New Generation Book Awards. She is the recipient of both the California Legislature's Woman of the Year in Arts and Entertainment Award and is a popular speaker and actor. Her Web site is

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Book with a View April 2009!

Across The Pond
Author: Storyheart
ISBN: 978-1-4363-7176-6
Publisher: Xlibris Press
Genre and Target Market: young adult; romance; fiction
Publication Date: 2008
Pages: 114
Reviewer: Sarah Moore for WITS (01/2009)

There have been a number of books that have been published over the past decade that are primarily geared towards teenagers but have come to enjoy great appeal with their parents as well. Both the Harry Potter and Twilight series of novels come to mind when I consider works that would fit into such a category. Mothers can claim they waited in long lines at the bookstore for the sake of their young daughters, but I know the truth is they could not wait to get their own hands on the next installment of these popular young adult novels. I think it is wonderful when reading a common book can create conversation and a shared interest between generations. Author Storyheart, who is already an accomplished writer of online romance stories and a previous book for adults, has just published a novel about teenagers that I believe will become one of those special books that can bridge age gaps in a home. Across The Pond is an innocent love story that I thoroughly enjoyed even as a mother in her thirties. It reminded me of the young adult romances I used to swoon over when I was in junior high. A charming boy from a foreign land protects you from bullies, is adored by your friends but completely loyal to you, and meets complete parental approval after proving himself to be an upstanding young man? What could be better?

Storyheart is a native of England who left his country almost a decade ago to be with the woman who would become his wife. He uses his own upbringing to bring to life Fred Squire, the main character in Across the Pond. Fred is sent by his parents, who do not have room for him in their travel plans to Australia, to vacation with family friends in the United States. He is initially unhappy with being cast away to spend a couple of weeks with strangers, but his attitude quickly changes when he is introduced to the teenage daughter of the house, Brittany. The author of Across the Pond perfectly captures the overwhelming series of emotions that only occur during that first blush of young love. Every brush that a hand makes against your crush’s leg, the sideways glances that are given to see what your new boyfriend is doing, and the endless self-doubt over every word spoken are fundamentals of any young romance, and this book has them all. The two adolescents quickly become confidants and what then transpires is a touching, modern … and refreshingly age-appropriate … love story.

The author has a lot of fun throughout the novel playing up the unique cultural features on each side of the Atlantic. Most notable is his inclusion of Fred’s school project, in which the British student must keep a journal of how the Americans and the English use different words for the same object (nappy vs. diapers, trolley vs. cart, etc.). These shorts lists are posted throughout across the pond and should make for a fun point of discussion among readers. The author also creates an entire secondary plot around the sacred American pastime of baseball. After Fred catches the ball which marked the 500th run of a star player, the media and fan chaos that ensues proves utterly confusing for a young man who just minutes before had been discussing the rules of cricket. These storyline components, along with subtle comments made about the large portions of food that Americans eat and the mega malls with every store imaginable, provide interesting insight into how visitors to our country may view their surroundings. Across the pond takes the common tactic of introducing a charming stranger with a romantic accent and goes a step further by creating a smart integration of cultural awareness.

Across the Pond is a new novel for young adults that celebrates the innocence and very real nature of first loves. The author Storyheart shows his obvious background as a writer of romance stories and does a masterful job of adapting the genre to a juvenile audience. However, despite the target age group, I believe that readers of all ages will be drawn to the characters in this book and the strength that they show through a wide range of emotional situations. This is the first effort by Storyheart to join the already crowded offering of teen romance novels that can be found at your neighborhood and online bookstores. The compelling story created by the author will quickly separate across the pond from the pack. If Storyheart chooses to publish more novels that bring back sweet memories from my youth, he can know that I will be reading them.

My Choice—My Life: Realizing Your Ability to Create Balance in Life
Author: Jay Greenfeld
ISBN: 978-1-4327-3331-5
Publisher: (2009)
Genre and Target Market: health; stress management; young adult
Pages: 205 (including appendices and references)
Reviewer: Sarah Moore for WITS (01/2009)

I went through a period in my life when I opened self-help books just looking for an answer. Whatever my current challenge might have been, I just wanted a professional to give me the exact steps to fix it. Somehow, the guaranteed solutions never seemed to provide a perfect remedy to my unique circumstances. How could one single approach ever work for the millions of different personalities that exist in this world? I have since come to appreciate the books that, instead of asserting the only possible answer, provide guidance to the readers as they take control of their own progress and improvement. Jay Greenfeld provides just such a book with his new release My Choice – My Life: Realizing Your Ability to Create Balance in Life. In his first offering as an author, readers will learn concrete steps of action involving all areas of life and the questions to ask when determining appropriate choices.

While any reader can benefit from the self-reflection that is prompted by Greenfeld in his book, his writing and situational examples apply primarily to a teenage and twenty-something crowd. He addresses issues such as choosing healthy relationships, dealing with the pressure of drugs and alcohol use, and handling the stress that comes with a major change in one’s life situation, such as preparing for college or being organized at that first real job. I worked for many years as first a high school teacher and then as a college advisor. While reading My Choice – My Life, I kept thinking about what an important resource this would have been for my students. I can easily see this book finding its place on the syllabus for a health course or perhaps even given to students to read as part of an orientation program. By valuing the personal responses each reader may have to the text and not talking down to his readers like an unreachable authority figure, Greenfeld can be very effective at capturing the attention of an age group that is often difficult to reach.

Greenfeld opens the book with a detailed analogy in which he compares life to a game of Monopoly. Each side of the board is one of the four critical aspects of every person’s life – physical, mental and emotional, social, and academic or professional. We all must decide on the aspect that deserves our time and focus at any particular moment. What about those Chance cards which always make us nervous? These are the uncertainties that get thrown into every person’s life once in a while. Greenfeld also shares his developed symbolism for many other aspects of the popular board game, with the result being a great visual that sticks with the reader as chapters unfold to discuss each piece of the analogy in detail.
Greenfeld uses important reference tools in each section of the book that involve the reader. Each chapter ends with a bulleted list of “Quick Points” which highlight the key pieces of information. If a reader feels drawn to work on an area discussed in a particular chapter, these summary notes can be a good list to copy and keep somewhere nearby. The author also draws in his readers by questioning them about what they are learning. He leaves a notes page to write down thoughts and intended actions. I always appreciate such an inclusion in this genre of books, as I believe that readers must take the material while fresh and apply it to their personal situations. Also, whenever Greenfeld shares a to-do list concerning a particular area in life, he asks the readers to add to the ideas. With all of these pieces, Greenfeld stimulates his readers to brainstorm and take ownership for their own goals.

With the new book My Choice – My Life: Realizing Your Ability to Create Balance in Life, author Jay Greenfeld has created a wonderful reference tool for anyone who is feeling overwhelmed by the many directions and choices we are given in life. Greenfeld does not pretend that all of us fit into the same cookie-cutter mold when it comes to our handling of stress and daily responsibilities. Therefore, he provides general hints and suggestions that can apply to every reader and then encourages us to adapt the ideas to our own situations. With its primary focus on younger generations, I believe that Mr. Greenfeld has taken his great experience as a lecturer and published a work that will be tremendously helpful to those who are encountering some of life’s major changes for the first time. Any young adult, or parent of someone in this age group, will benefit from reading and then discussing the lessons that Greenfeld has to offer.
Little Stories
Author: Jeff Roberts
ISBN: 978-1-4327-2727-7
Genre and Target Market: short stories; fiction; relationships
Publication Date: 2008
Book Length in Pages: 101

When I was growing up, my favorite location in the public library was the Biography section. I enjoyed the experience of diving into another person’s life and viewing relationships and world events using a stranger’s unique lens. Always of particular fascination would be diaries through which readers can witness an evolution in thought or perspective from one stage in life to another. Even in writing that is not as bare and personal as a journal, good writers still let us into their worlds through their chosen subjects and expression of emotion. In his new book Little Stories, Jeff Roberts shares a collection of short stories that he wrote during his undergraduate studies at the University of Iowa. Each piece offers a look into the fragile human psyche and, at least for this reader, provides an intensely personal reaction to situations of social dynamics that are painfully honest. Roberts offers a glimpse into the worlds of his characters at a specific moment in their lives and does so through such engaging prose that his readers will undoubtedly remember a time when they found themselves in such a situation, or at least would have reacted the same way given the circumstances. When you open up Little Stories, be prepared for an emotional connection with the words on the page.
Roberts shares in some of his marketing material for Little Stories that reviewing the stories to compile for the book caused him both moments in which he cringed and others that brought great pride. I can understand the author’s wide range of emotions, as he reveals so much of himself in each story. Some of the pieces he admits are actual moments from his life, like the miracles of birth and death coming together at a local hospital or the feeling of being “dead inside” immediately following his divorce. Other stories appear to be comprised of fictional characters but who still evoke such emotion that the author seems to pull from a very real and personal place. Regardless of the inspiration for each story, Roberts is magnificent at developing a rich storyline and three-dimensional characters over the span of just a few short pages. He also gives us the opportunity to relive similar episodes from a place in our lives that is hopefully now wiser and more mature. To know that we have survived some of the heart-wrenching moments that Roberts details in his stories is quite gratifying.

One of the most powerful features of Roberts’ writing is the way that he examines the loneliness and insecurity that we often experience even in the most intimate of relationships. This study ranges from a young boy who feels desperately alone as he ponders the consequences of a failing mark on his report card to a husband determined to make his marriage work but instead returns home to a wife who is utterly distant and finding her romantic fulfillment through a computer screen. Whether literally through the text (such as “I never felt so alone” or “alone in this world”) or through the feelings he evokes by more subtle means, Roberts brings us to the conclusion of each story with a reminder that we really are individual entities who may be left alone at any moment. This feeling of isolation is most often not caused by a physical separation, but instead an emotional, sexual, or other manifested divide.
Often times, I will keep a collection of short stories on my nightstand with the intention of reading one selection each evening and therefore progressing slowly through the author’s work. In the case of Little Stories by Jeff Roberts, I ended up reading the entire book in one sitting. Since then, I have reopened the book many times to read certain stories that really spoke to me and I experienced a new detail each time. Little Stories contains raw emotions that never seem contrived or melodramatic, which can often occur in books through which the author is hoping to evoke a certain reaction from the reader. Instead, Roberts displays a great talent for capturing a real sense of human weakness and longing with the respect that these emotions deserve. I know that I am not done reading Little Stories, as it is a collection that can be read again and again. But, I also hope that Jeff Roberts chooses to publish another work that lets us into another stage in his life’s journey. I have no doubt that the result will be just as fascinating.

More Than Meets the Eye, True Stories About Death, Dying, and Afterlife
Author: Yvonne Perry
ISBN: 0-9753870-6-5
Price $13.99 US
Publisher: Booksurge (2005)
Pages: 166 pgs.
Genre: Spirituality/Metaphysics
Reviewer: Andrea Mai (a student in WITS newbie mentoring class)

When I first got the book, I was under the impression that More Than Meets the Eye by author Yvonne Perry was going to be primarily about near-death experiences (NDE) and the spiritual aspects involved with such an experience. While there are certainly chapters devoted to the NDE, I am happy to report the book is about so much more than that. It was an intriguing combination of analysis, personal experience, collected and collective stories. Perry graduated from the American Institute of Holistic Theology with a degree in Metaphysics which allowed her a solid background to explore the subject. This book is filled with well-researched details about everything you might want to know about death, dying, and afterlife.
One of the chapters I especially enjoyed was called Souls and Ceremonies. It was filled with information about burial, embalming, and cremation with historical and modern citations about laws surrounding each of these processes. I’ve often thought a funeral pyre would be a great way to say goodbye if our society could handle it. Instead, I’ll probably just be cremated behind closed doors and handed over to my loved ones in a tidy little urn. My grandmother always wanted to be buried in a plain pine box but apparently, in Minnesota, there are laws for how well the box must be constructed. After reading this chapter, I want to find out more for her.

I was intrigued by the chapters discussing the afterlife and NDEs. The author, Yvonne Perry, grew up in a fundamentalist Christian church and that’s where she spent her time until she was forty years old. Then she began to explore other spiritualities. I found it interesting because my history is almost the opposite of hers. I spent years studying Taoism, Buddhism, and Paganism then spent time in Christianity, then left for more Buddhism and have returned fully to a liberal Christianity but not in order to follow by rote what others tell me to believe. I believe in the Christ. I also believe whole-heartedly in reincarnation. As a student of Christian theology, my beliefs about God are wider than the little box many to which many ascribe for the Divine, starting with my Christian brothers and sisters. And, Perry does a fine job of exploring the afterlife from both her own understanding of metaphysics and religion as well as the understanding within different spiritual/faith communities.
The only real problem I had with the book was the personal stories that were in italics. Some only had a brief mention of the storyteller which made it hard to keep up with who was telling the story. This was primarily an issue of how it was formatted for these sequences. The stories were good, just a little vague about who was telling them. Of course, I read quickly with a tendency to skim until something jumps out at me. So, it may be my own method of reading that triggered the problem.

With chapters on Hospice care, suicide, euthanasia as well as ceremonies, near-death and out of body experiences this 166-page book lives up to its title. I think the book works because Perry takes a thoughtful approach to these subjects, neither forcing her views onto the reader but also not shying away from subjects that many readers might not know about or understand. I had never heard of walk-in souls as she described in Chapter Seven: I Don’t Like it Here (Dealing With Suicide). It was a completely new idea to me and one I’ll read more about.
The book didn’t have time to get dull with the very approachable blend of statistics, facts, other people’s stories and Perry’s own story. It was a quick-read but one you can go back to again and again to go a little deeper. There were some helpful items found at the end of the book. A copy of a Living Will and Warning Signs of Suicide were included as well as a Bibliography listing her many resources.

Overall, I would recommend this book to any person who is either curious or struggling with any of these issues. It was enjoyable, thought-provoking, and I know I will return to it when I meditate on these topics.
My Dirty Little Secrets - Steroids, Alcohol and God: The Tony Mandarich Story
Tony Mandarich and Sharon Shaw Elrod
Modern History Press (2009)
ISBN 9781932690781
Reviewed by Olivera Jackson-Baumgartner for Reader Views
Tony Mandarich’s book My Dirty Little Secrets – Steroids, Alcohol and God is heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time. The reader gets to follow Tony through the best and the worst of college football and his NFL career, as well as his “career” as husband and a father. Everything that readers love is there: humble beginnings, working-class parents, older brother to look up to, promising start to a brilliant career, dedication and hard work, grueling workouts, drugs, invitation to NFL and… a big crash. What follows this first, promise-filled part is heart-wrenching. Tony’s descent into the addiction hell is surprising on one hand and all too understandable on the other. Readers can’t help but be astonished that somebody, who on one hand has trained so hard and turned his body into such a temple to strength, can so viciously destroy it with drugs and alcohol on the other hand. We have to give it to Mr. Mandarich— he is nothing but brutally candid and honest, and he never blames anybody else for his troubles, not even in the cases where some blame could have been shared, if not clearly laid on others. Tony Mandarich’s shoulders are wide, and he bravely decided to take the full load of guilt on himself.

Even if you are not a sports fan, I am convinced that you will find Tony Mandarich’s account of his two NFL careers fascinating. The crystal clear difference in his attitude during his days with the Green Bay Packers and sharply contrasting days with the Indianapolis Colts is elucidating. What a difference an attitude adjustment can – and does! – make. This should be required reading for anybody in the public eye, but most importantly for many athletes who have trouble understanding that they are responsible for their actions on and off the athletic fields. As illuminating as I found the chapters of Tony Mandarich’s years on the football field, they pale in comparison with his insight into his own addiction and his path to recovery and healing, both his own and healing of those around him. Some of my favorite pages are those where he describes his newly rediscovered joy of playing football, and playing it well. And the romantic in me rejoiced when Tony met and reconnected with his college sweetheart, Char. By the looks of it, Tony really learned his hard lessons, and both his second NFL career and his second marriage to Char were and are so much more successful than either of his first attempts.

Brutally honest at times, and always straightforward, Tony Mandarich’s My Dirty Little Secrets is in my opinion first and foremost a great book about the power we all hold within ourselves and everything we can achieve if we only decide to do the right thing. Unfailingly optimistic, but never preachy, this book should find a wide audience of those who are curious enough to reserve judgment until they learn all of the facts. I am not qualified to say how good of a football player Tony Mandarich ever was, but he is certainly a brave man and one who can walk with his head held high anywhere in this world.

The Last Paradise: A Novel
Michael Kasenow
iUniverse (2009)
ISBN 9781440120015
Reviewed by Richard R. Blake for Reader Views

Michael Kasenow resourcefully tracks the plight of the oppressed and exploited “alley people” of Galveston, Texas in the post Civil War era. The Last Paradise is a stirring story of the strength and endurance of these unwavering men and women fighting to keep their dignity through the trials of injustice and bigotry in the age of Jim Crow.

In an environment where hypocrisy and corporate corruption are intent on spawning racism, prejudice, and poverty, Michael Kasenow weaves a powerful story of the courage, strength and survival of downtrodden men and their families. The alley people reflect an inner strength of character lacking in the affluent, town “bullies,” the bigoted police officers, and the unscrupulous civic leaders in an atmosphere of political tension.

The story moves forward with well-chosen words that begin at a lazy pace, casual, yet compelling a nonchalance in keeping with the era and locale, which is Galveston in the early 1900s. Kasenow uses friendly, moving banter among friends mixed with cutting barbs, sarcasm, and prejudice to develop his characters. His descriptive word pictures draw the reader into his narrative as he describes the “crooked ambiance of Tin Can Alley” or how “the docks bustled with organized chaos.”

Vivid and detailed descriptions bring to life the architecture and commerce of downtown Galveston, the harbor, St. Mary’s Orphanage, the salt marshes, and the wetlands.

A master at character development, Kasenow’s colorful cast include the regulars a Bleach’s Bar, the “working girls” upstairs, Boss Conner and his wharf crew, the nuns and children at St. Mary’s orphanage, Bishop and his family, Jenny and Sara Conner, Newt, and Maxwell and young Cody.

Kasenow writes with such realism I felt the shame and humiliation of Bishop and his family as they were intimidated and harassed brutally before their friends by representatives of the law. In his account of the after effects of the Great Hurricane of 1900, Kasenow engaged the reader in all five senses: the stench of fear and death, the tenderness of touch in providing comfort, and the seeing of loved ones – thought dead. I felt the cooling water on a parched throat, heard the thrashing of hurricane force winds, and was left with the haunting memory of devastation left behind after the storm.

The Last Paradise contrasts the emptiness of greed and the lust for power with the hopefulness and moral fiber of the alley people of the Galveston wharf. The novel is brutally forthright as it portrays an honest look at the brutality of evil men. On a lighter note, Kasenow includes both rollicking and subtle humor and a thread of romance throughout the story.

As in his poetic writings, Kasenow reveals the strength and triumph over despair, which produces healing through kindness with the reward of hope during harsh and chaotic times. The Last Paradise, an editor’s choice book, is destined to establish Michael Kasenow as a serious historical fiction author.

Zoe Lucky and the Green Gables’ Mystery
Author: M. Carol Coffey
ISBN Number: 978-1-4327-3190-8
Genre and Target Market: fiction; mystery; teen
Publication Date: 2009
Book Length in Pages: 148

When I was in elementary school, I formed a kids’ detective agency with a couple of close friends. After the other students had gone home, we would revisit the ground on which we had all enjoyed recess just a few hours before. We searched through the sand for artifacts, read the graffiti on the brick walls, and created probing questions that only we could answer. When I took to my room in the evening, the Nancy Drew mysteries and “choose your own adventure” books were always among my favorite reading choices. I supposed I enjoyed the idea of a young hero, particularly a female one, solving a crime that had stumped even the most experienced adults. Therefore, I am excited to have discovered a young modern-day heroine by the name of Zoe Lucky. She is the creation of author M. Carol Coffey and in her new book, Zoe Lucky and the Green Gables’ Mystery, she carries on the tradition of Nancy Drew fans and playground sleuths everywhere. Except, in Zoe’s case, the crimes and the consequences are much more serious.

Zoe is a thirteen-year-old girl who recently moved to a new apartment with her mom following the tragic death of her father, a police officer who was shot in the line of duty. Zoe doesn’t even have time to adjust to her surroundings before she finds herself amongst a cast of fascinating characters, some of whom with motives more sinister than they first seem. As the story unfolds, Zoe befriends a wise neighbor, draws close in puppy love to the cute boy from the pet shop, and finds herself in a position to uncover crimes ranging from burglary to arson to murder. Although the mystery that develops is frightening and quite serious, the author always manages to keep the perspective of a young teenage girl in her writing. Zoe is a girl who pieces together her clues through skilled work on her Blackberry and by the art of instant messaging … she is smart and prepared to unlock criminal mysteries with a uniquely adolescent and 21st century style.

One of the most engaging aspects of this new novel is the great importance of birds to the development of Coffey’s storyline. Zoe’s pet African Gray parrot, Paki, specifically and all feathered friends in general play pivotal roles in ways that the humans involved in the situation could never manage. Paki is able to sense the true character of people who walk into the Luckys’ apartment and tries to warn his young friend through less-than-subtle name calling. The crows that congregate outside of Zoe’s apartment building maintain a long memory concerning those who have harmed them, and use their great abilities as guides to lead authorities to the man who had been the sources of so many wide-awake nightmares for Zoe and her family. With this aspect of the book, the author beautifully incorporates her love for birds and other animals. Coffey is a member of the Audubon Society and the National Wildlife Federation, and her knowledge of animals and their capabilities adds a unique dynamic that readers will not find in other books of this genre.

The fast-paced format and starring cast of characters in Zoe Lucky and the Green Gables Mystery come together to create a book that will be a popular choice in the Young Adult section of the bookstore. M. Carol Coffey does a magnificent job in appealing to an age group of readers who we all know can be difficult to please, but who are the most loyal fans once a relationship is established. I certainly can see Zoe Lucky emerging as a favorite heroine of young girls everywhere. However, I think this book will rightfully find an audience in readers of all ages. Coffey’s writing is smart and complex without being painfully obvious about the process. She slowly reveals details about her characters that will keep readers turning the page to discover more. Also a talented illustrator, Coffey adds sketches throughout the book which add a great visual element. Her ability to create suspense will have readers guessing and perhaps sitting with their mouths dropped open in shock (as mine did) as the story reaches its climax and reveals some amazing twists. M. Carol Coffey has promised that more adventures are in store for Zoe Lucky, and I am looking forward to reading them with my daughter. Perhaps she will be inspired by Zoe to set upon her own mystery adventure, just as I was prompted by Nancy Drew!

Reviews and podcasts of children's books are available at Just One More Book. We have chosen to recommend these two books this month:

Captivating Conservation: Animals at the EDGE (Saving the World’s Rarest Creatures) Fabulous photos of scarce, strange and, often, sweet-looking animals and intimate glimpses of the young scientists who are working to save them make this exciting look at work of the Zoological Society of London’s EDGE of Existence Program an engaging introduction to the science of conservation.

An Adorable Adventure: Duck Tents Sweet and spunky with a tingling hint of backyard camp-out scariness, this irresistibly upbeat rhyming adventure breathes a long-awaited summer breeze.

Friday, April 10, 2009

The Craft

For every writer, there are two prisms through which writing our words will be viewed. Readers expect us to be craftsmen. They trust we will have a fundamental grasp of the elements that constitute good writing. Researchers, for example, have found that sentences which exceed the ratio of one preposition for every eleven words are poorly written.

They sound first-grade-ish. (“Syntactically immature” is what the experts call such writing.)

The reader cannot flow through the sentence without encountering a verbal hiccup every few words.

Researchers have also found that sentences that contain more than fifteen words cause the reader to go back and read the sentence again to be sure they have understood the meaning.

Think about it—some of the most persuasive sentences of our time are short: “Just do it!” “Yes, we can!” “It’s the economy, stupid!”

Additionally, the successful writer knows her craft so well that grammatical errors don’t appear in it. Nor do clumsy phrases or a limited vocabulary.

But the successful writer knows both the technical matter and the techniques, has knowledge of the content but can also place it in the right context, has a message, and can find the perfect medium in which to place it. That’s where the art of writing comes into play.

The Art

Our language has a million words, and is growing daily. Contrast that number to the number of words in the native tongue of Arubans, Papiamento, which has only 500 words. We English-speakers have so many choices with which to hook our readers. We have infinite combinations that can intrigue our fiction readers and can persuade our non-fiction readers.

Your artistry is even more important when you are sending out query letters. After all, if you can’t persuade an editor to read your letter, let alone buy your submission, your readers will never get the chance to enjoy your artistry. Here are some Do’s and Dont’s to consider before you send off your inquiry.


Regard life as an experiment. Write that cover letter in three different ways and solicit input as to which is most effective.

Use audience awareness to convince your reader. Consider what elements will be most appealing to your various readers. Use words that matter to them.

Remove barriers that may stand between you and others. One barrier might be your unfamiliarity with the publication in which you want to be featured. Spend some time learning about its uniqueness. Another barrier might be the editor’s “I’ve-heard-it-all-before” syndrome.

Find ways to truly stand out from your competition.


Confuse persuasion with manipulation. Your efforts should yield mutually beneficial purposes.
Forget to consider the editor’s position. Editors are busy people. Make your query letters worthy of their time.

Neglect the questions that might arise in the editor’s head. Have answers incorporated within your query.

Your Love, Your Life, Your Lexicon

I often tell audiences I would rather write than do anything else in the world. (This may explain why I haven’t had a date since 1985!) If your passion matches mine, you are no doubt eager to expand your persuasive communications. Contact me about an e-book (Principled Persuasion) that will make your verbal expansion a pleasurable pursuit.

Dr. Marlene Caroselli ( is an author, keynoter, and corporate trainer. You can learn more about her via Google.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Calling for Submissions for Writers in the Sky Newsletter May 2009!

It's time to submit your book reviews, articles, poems, and announcements about anything related to writing, editing, publishing, and book promotion.

If you wish to contribute anything to Writers in the Sky Newsletter for May 2009, please review the guidelines on our Web site:

Hurry, the deadline is April 24, 2009!!

To help us improve our newsletter, please select your favorite WITS feature at

I also want to let you know that my new eBook Book Marketing in the Digital Age Online Promotion Made Easy is available at
. You will find many free tips for book marketing on the site as well.

Yvonne Perry
Owner of Writers in the Sky Creative Writing Services

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Editor's Corner April 2009!

by Yvonne Perry

This column, which was called Author's Corner, is now called Editor's Corner. It is part of Writers in the Sky Newsletter, which comes out tomorrow. While I am both an author and an editor, most magazines and newsletter have an editor in charge of publication, so I’m catching up with the times and christening this new name. Champagne, please!

As spring is budding so are my four pregnant daughters! The first baby is due by C-section on April 10. Please keep Katie and her baby boy in your thoughts and prayers as she is a high-risk case due to health concerns. I’m making quilts for each grandbaby and you can see photos of my handiwork here:

I have two more to go: one for Ryah and Fred's baby due in October, and one for Sarah and Nathan's baby due in September.

WITS has been busy with a lot of great new and returning clients and I have personally been doing interviews. I’m especially thankful for Book Marketing Maven Dana Lynn Smith and the Q&A she posted on her blog. It’s all about authors working with editors, and I think you will find it informative and beneficial—especially if you are trying to decide whether or not your book should be edited before going to print.

On that same thought, I have written an article about the literacy rate being affected by authors who send poorly-written material to be published where it will be read by the public market. I'm not talking about a few typos; everyone makes mistakes. I'm referring to material that is below an acceptable level when it comes to grammar, spelling, punctuation, and overall development. I've seen plenty of those kind. I certainly intend no hard feelings to my POD friends, but in the article, I have given everyone something to think about. Feedback is welcome.

That leads me to introduce my POD friend, Tracy Lucas, who is the editor at
Published by Westview. Tracy believes in publishing quality books at a reasonable price and getting them into mainstream circulation through Ingram. Tracy is also a columnist (Writing Careers) for the Nashville Examiner and she interviewed me about WITS. You may read the article here:

Speaking of partnerships, Irene Watson and I have been in strategic alliance and have networked on several projects for the past three years. Irene’s company Reader Views hosts an annual Literary Awards event for which WITS is a sponsor. The 2008 winner of WITS’ $100 cash prize for best creative writing is James Earle McCracken for his book general fiction book, Rue de la Pompe: A Satiric Urban Fantasy (ISBN 9780595485055).
Three WITS clients: Carl David, author of Bader Field (Nightengale Press); Dawn Menge, author of Queen Vernita's Visitors (Outskirts Press); and Linda Ballou Wai-nani: High Chiefess of Hawai'i (Star Publish), won honorable mention in Reader Views Literary Awards this season.

Another strategic alliance I want to mention is our affiliation with Full Circle Admin. Owner Mindy Schwartz is able to assist clients with administrative needs such as calendar management, data entry, Excel spreadsheets, job search services, letter writing, typing, and transcribing. Other specialties include: coaching and mentoring to set up and maintain a high-traffic and sales-effective blog; stock, event, and product photography; link building; SEO writing; social networking and creating/posting trailers for books and businesses. Mindy and Sarah Moore work together as part of the WITS to give authors excellent customer service and a strong online presence.

Lately, clients have been coming to me asking me to serve as their writing mentor or developmental editor. I am delighted to be working with six writers on an hourly basis. Whenever one gets an article or chapter completed and is ready for me to look over it, I am able to offer a constructive critique either by phone or email about how to improve the piece. I would be glad to help you, too! You can hire me to work as few or as many hours per month as you wish, so why not invest in yourself and improve your writing skills with personalized instruction?

I’m co-writing a book with an author who needs teen or adult children of military parents to take her survey about being raised in a military family. Typical questions include: How many times did you move as a child of military parents? Did you live on a military base as a child? What was the highest rank achieved? Were you/your parent injured in conflict? If your parent was in the armed services, or if you are a parent serving in any branch of the military for any country, please go to and answer a few questions. Thank you for helping provide stories for this book.

WITS Web site:
WITS Blog:
Phone: (615) 884-1224

Join WITS online:

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Writing Across the Curriculum

Do you have a topic that is or can be used in the classroom to supplement a specific course of study? If so, how do you get that one topic to be multi-faceted and reach more than one subject?

Teacher's guides. It may take a bit of research to get to the point of being cross curriculum, but it can be done.

My series, the Junior Geography Detective Squad (JGDS) 50-state, mystery, trivia series, is just that. Although my initial intentions were to supplement 4th and 5th grade social studies classes by creating a story that gives the readers more information about the states they never really learn about in the classroom, I found that when writing the teacher's guides I went beyond the social studies curriculum and ended up including science, arts and English Language Arts (ELA).

The teacher's guides don't have to be long to cover a lot of ground. For example, mine are about thirteen pages long and that is with the cover, copyright page, index, and bibliography. So how did I get from just a social studies supplement to include arts, ELA, and science in so few pages? Easy. I added discussion/research questions all taken from some of the more historical clues and expanded them out so that the students actually will have to do a little bit of work and write a report or work in groups to come with a display or other creative item on the project. ELA is all about researching, writing, and reporting. This also adds the creative outlet for art projects. Next, I found that one of my clues actually has a science experiment that is widely used in schools across the United States. So, that clue became a science experiment with an explanation of how the experiment works. For fun, I added a puzzle and an end-of-book quiz that can be used for extra credit or can be graded as part of the curriculum. By doing these steps, I have just created a short, across the curriculum teacher's guide.

If you have a topic that can be used in the classrooms and think you are only able to reach one course of study, think about a teacher's guide to supplement the book. See how many subjects you can cover with a short, simple teacher's guide.

With a childhood spent traveling the globe, it's no wonder that writer Elysabeth Eldering has a passion for geography! Growing up in a military family, Elysabeth lived in Japan, Germany, New York, Kentucky, and Texas before her family finally settled in a small town in South Carolina. Elysabeth, who lives in Honea Path, SC, has put her globetrotting skills to work in the Junior Geography Detective Squad's 50-state mystery trivia series. Published by 4RV Publishing, the series made its debut in summer 2008 with State of Wilderness. The Junior Geography Detective Squad will continue to put their mystery-solving talents to work in each state to challenge young readers on their knowledge of the nation's geography and interesting facts. State of Quarries is next in the line-up. For more info contact Elysabeth at and check out her blog -

Saturday, April 4, 2009

The Writing Life Word Game: What Do the Following Words Have in Common?

A fellow writer sent this list to see who could figure out the puzzle. The bolded first letter is a clue to the figuring out the puzzle.


I confess, I stared at this list for several minutes, gave up, and came back to look at it later.

Once you get the answer, I expect your response will be, “Oh, how obvious.” But until then it’s a bit of a brainteaser.

I’ve been contemplating the amazing flexibility and resulting confusion of the English language as a response to cabin fever this past winter. It has been impossible to cross country ski or snowshoe on ice, so I’ve spent a good deal more time indoors than I normally would.

I enjoy word games and puzzles, especially when I learn new words or new ways to use words.
So, have fun, take your time and see if this little puzzle suddenly reveals itself.

I finally gave up and peeked at the answer, so you’re ahead of me if you can figure this out for yourself.

Give up? Here’s the answer:
Take the first letter in each word and place it at the end of the word and then spell the word backwards – you’ll have the same word.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Network with Us April 2009

Add your announcement or brag about your writing accomplishment. Tell us about your book or business. Share information and ideas or send articles or advertorial for the next issue by contacting us on our Web site Here are some announcements from our readers this month:

Linda Ballou is proud to announce that Wai-nani, High Chiefess of Hawai’i has been selected by Reader Views as a finalist in their Literary Awards in their historical fiction category. Click here for complete review.

Pamme Boutselis recently joined the management team of a brand new poetry Web site, and invites writers to check out

Friday, March 6, Steve Ouch may have made Twistory (Twitter History) by selling 200 copies of SteamPotVille, enough to reach #208 in Amazon’s ranking system, just behind one of Rick Steves’ travel books. What inspired the push? Steve’s banker had promised him a book tour loan if he could sell200 copies today. So that’s just what he did.

SteamPotVille is at the heart of the eclectic and magical world, with its costumed animals and bright swirling landscapes. Preparing for his publishing debut in May, Steve used March 6 to get the word out. He remained on Twitter for fifteen hours and made hundreds of posts pushing his book. With over 10,000 followers, he only needed 2 percent of them to buy. And they did. He Tweeted when someone made a purchase and promoted that person. He excerpted lines from the book. Suggested adults would love it as much as kids. Offered it as a St. Patrick’s Day gift idea. There wasn’t a sales angle he missed.

If you want to learn something about marketing and self-promotion, follow Steve Ouch on Twitter. Or feel free to ask him, he's always accessible.

Frankie, the partially-paralyzed dachshund of author Barbara Techel, was inducted into the Wisconsin Pet Hall of Fame on February 28, 2009. Barbara wrote Frankie’s story, Frankie, the Walk ‘N Roll Dog after realizing the powerful lessons Frankie taught her about overcoming challenges. Frankie was recognized for bringing a positive face to all animals with disabilities and proving that they can live a happy, fulfilling life if given the chance.

Frankie continues to share her upbeat message by visiting areas schools, nursing homes, hospice and hospitals. For more information, or to watch Frankie's inspirational video visit Kids will especially enjoy

Author Fiona Ingram has just completed The Secret of the Sacred Scarab, the first in her exciting children’s adventure series—Chronicles of the Stone. A 5,000-year-old mystery comes to life when a scruffy peddler gives Adam and Justin Sinclair an old Egyptian scarab on their very first day in Egypt. Justin and Adam embark upon the adventure of a lifetime, taking them down the Nile and across the harsh desert in their search for the legendary tomb of the Scarab King, an ancient Egyptian ruler. They are plunged into a whirlpool of hazardous and mysterious events, pursued by enemies in their quest to solve the secret of the sacred scarab. With just their wits, courage, and each other, the boys manage to survive … only to find that the end of one journey is the beginning of another! Young explorers will enjoy an interactive journey through Egypt, following Justin and Adam’s exciting adventure on

Readers can also browse the first chapter of the book. Those who survive the journey and manage to translate the Curse of Thoth will be able to read the first chapter in Adam and Justin’s next adventure—The Search for the Stone of Excalibur—as they hunt for the Scroll of the Ancients.

T-shirts, mugs, and Stones of Power are available as well. Readers can purchase The Secret of the Sacred Scarab on, B& or Barnes & Noble Bookstores, as well as many online stores. Find out more about Fiona on

Dawn Menge’s book, Queen Vernita’s Visitors, made the finalist list for the EVVY award! The book is also one of the three semi-finalists in the 2008 literary awards for Reader Reviews. See the book video or listen to this author’s interview with Sarah Moore on WITS Podcast. Yvonne Perry has edited Dawn's second book to be published by Outskirts Press in 2009.

Virtual Assistant to Businesses and Authors

Mindy Schwartz is able to assist with administrative needs such as calendar management, data entry, Excel spreadsheets, job search services, letter writing, typing, and transcribing. Other specialties include coaching and mentoring to set up and maintain a high-traffic andsales-effective blog; stock, event, and product photography; link building; SEO writing; social networking and creating/posting trailers for books and businesses.

On the Letters from 2030 series, my book ZERO Greenhouse Emissions - The Day the Lights Went Out - Our Future World is non-fiction. It contains many facts that the general public doesn't know or understand about finite resource depletion and climate change. It was writtento alert the general public to these issues and written in plain language that is easy to understand. It simplifies the science and I believe inspires the reader to become involved in being part of a solution to the many urgent challenges we face.

Trouble is if you haven't got a person’s attention (with many issues facing people today ; economic, jobs, U.S. recession, etc) you haven't got the audience. How the Letters from 2030 came about was to use many of the facts about now and the immediate future, but to fictionalize it as how it will be in 2030. By then, and I won't scare you with the details here, the world will be well past the point of no return and we will leave a legacy of our present actions for those who come after us to deal with. They won't find it very pleasant.

So, what I'm looking to do is to connect with writers who wish to become involved with the ongoing series Letters from 2030. It can be viewed at Along with a number of other contributors, I see those wishing to be involved fictionally positioning themselves as a character in a location in 2030 that still supports population / outposts. Have a look at the blog and read the initial post first. It is proposed that the blog will become both a book and submission for a TV series.

Interested writers should write a letter as a fictional character and email it to me. I'll slip in some facts if appropriate then post it to the blog as if it were happening in 2030.

Bob Williamson,
Founder & Chair
Greenhouse Neutral Foundation

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.

Don't suffer with book proposals. You can be a pro withan investment of only twenty minutes and 49 cents with CarolynHoward-Johnson's Great First Impression Book Proposal Short on

Susan M. Heim is pleased to announce the publication of her new book,Chicken Soup for the Soul: Twins and More. This is Chicken Soup’s first book about the growing world of twins and multiples.

Twins and More provides stories that highlight the special bond shared by twins, the joys and challenges of raising multiples, the unique circumstances of their arrival, the "double trouble" that twins get into, the "multiple blessings" of being a twin or having them in the family, and adventures in raising triplets, too! Twins, parents of multiples, relatives of twins, or anyone interested in twins, triplets, and more will enjoy these inspirational, humorous, and touching stories.

Ever since I started giving talks and workshops around the country about Sitelines, people have told me how my reading the poems adds so much to their experience and that they'd love to have it in audio. So, Daddy and I have been working hard to make that dream come true. Tell you more about that one, later.

In the meantime, you can read my most recent Creative Catalyst post on the Story Circle Network blog (Telling HerStories: The Broad View) by clicking this link. Catch up on the entire Creative Catalyst archive here. This column is written in collaboration with my dear friend Stephanie Farrow of Albuquerque. We're assembling them in themes written in cycles of three posts. Later, these will be available in an e-book and a printed book as well. Love for you to comment on the new post; also, if you have questions or suggestions for a topic, please write me at mailto:janet.riehl@gmail.come

Janet Riehl

Multi-published romance author Kari Thomas is happy to announce two new releases for March 2009! Seducing The Hero, from Eternal Press is a romantic humor with a touch of paranormal. It is available at the publisher site or can be purchased in

print at the end of April on Her Heart, His Soul, from Bookstrand-Siren is available in e-book March 17 and in print late August 2009. It is a darker paranormal romance.

Free pages from any of her books are available by request. Visit her Web site for more info. Free PDF:

I'm forever grateful to Yvonne Perry for pointing me towards her son-in-law, Scott Kidd, as my sound engineer. He's not only a thoroughly competent professional, but he also intuitively understood what this project needed and did it brilliantly. He made thisfive-month process of making the audio book as pleasant as possible, even in the dips. And, often a highlight of the best collaborations I've ever had.

I've gotten great feedback at my poetry readings and talks of Sightlines: A Poet's Diary. Many folks say that the sound of my voice reading the poems added so much. Thus, we introduced our new audio book. If we haven't had the pleasure of meeting at one of these readings in person, perhaps you'll enjoy this audio clip of eight tracks from disc three. Click on this link or copy and paste this into your browser address bar. Once there, you can play the audio or RIGHT-CLICK to download it to your computer (CTRL-CLICK if you are on a Mac). The three poems I read are: Window Frame," "Knick-Knacks," and "Crazy Sewing Box, Sorting." Disc three roughly corresponds to section four called "Homeplace" in the poetry book.

If you already have the book, you can even read along as you listen. The ten-minute clip includes four songs as interludes between the poems. We recorded this music in my father's parlor on the homeplace. Daddy's music group is affectionately known as The Thompson Quartet.

Janet Grace Riehl

Jack Woodville London's debut novelFrench Letters -- Virginia's War: Tierra, Texas 1944 made the local bestseller list in Austin, Texas last month.

Dennis Martin’s books (except for Love and Passions) can be purchased at Books purchased here are about $4.00 cheaper than when purchased from one of the online bookstores like Amazon, B & N or Borders. The links on his Web site will take you to my storefront on Lulu. Much of my work can be viewed on my blog Visitors can leave comments and posts.

His latest book is intended for anyone who has a fondness for rhythmic, lyrical poetry. You've already seen some pieces from this collection over the past few months in this newsletter. Since many of the pieces in this work were done with specific artists in mind, usually country artists, he hopes that someone in the music industry is seriously looking for new, fresh lyrics for recording. Dennis says, "There are a few good drinking/honky tonk songs, a number of love songs, love lost songs, far-from-home songs, and a couple of buddy songs. As usual, the tunes are in my head, but I am neither singer nor musician."

What he needs is a collaborator. Any musician interested? Contact Dennis.

Need to convert technical information into content for the general public? I can do just that! I have developed technical manuals, sales literature, training guides, online help menus, and other documentation for businesses and organizations. Cohesive, consistent, and concise content is essential for delivering your desired message to your target audience!

Marichelle Rocha, Business Writer,

Need a ghostwriter for your fiction book or screenplay? Contact Taryn Simpson.

Do you know what your publishing options are? Do you have a publishing plan? You will when you follow the simple steps in this user-friendly action guide. Publishing Possibilities: 8 Steps to Understanding Your Options & Choosing the Best Path for Your Book by Cheryl Pickett can help.

Linda Ballou is proud to announce that Wai-nani, High Chiefess of Hawai’i has been selected by Reader Views as a finalist in their Literary Awards in their historical fiction category. Click here for complete review.

National Hispanic Cultural Center is hosting the 2009 7th Annual National Latino Writer’s Conference at the NHCC campus May 20-24. At BronzeWord’s Blog, interviews with the faculty are up every Saturday. Visit NHCC register for the conference.

Your announcement could be here. Check out the submission guidelines and send us your blurb.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Writers in the Sky Podcast Schedule April 2009!

On April 3, Sarah Moore will be interviewing Jeff Roberts about his new book entitled Little Stories, a collection of short stories written during Jeff’s days as an undergraduate at the University of Iowa. The author will be discussing the inspiration he used to capture such raw emotion, his decision to place his student work into a published collection, and why he enjoys the short story format. Please visit the Outskirts Press Web site to learn more about Jeff Roberts and Little Stories.

April 10 Jay Greenfeld will be discussing his new book, My Choice, My Life, which shares methods readers can use to develop a greater sense of balance in key areas of their lives. The content is geared primarily towards a younger audience, with topics such as choosing healthy relationships, making smart decisions concerning alcohol and drugs, and succeeding in school or at that first job. Instead of providing a set of absolute answers, Greenfeld encourages readers to reflect on their individual situations and use his advice as a springboard to determine solutions that make sense for them. Purchase on Amazon.

April 17 Storyheart talks about his new release, Across the Pond, a story about the innocence and excitement accompanies first loves. When teenager Fred Squire is sent by his parents to visit friends in America, he never imagined that he would meet the girl of his dreams in the very house in which he was staying. Storyheart allows their romance to unfold with a refreshing level of appropriateness for the age of his characters, but always in a way that is respectful of their genuine emotions. He has fun playing up the cultural and language differences. Purchase on Amazon.

April 24 M. Carol Coffey author discusses her new novel, Zoe Lucky and the Green Gables Mystery. The young heroine of this book has recently moved into a new apartment complex where frightening events keep occurring. She uses strong will and determination to pull together clues in her surroundings and bring the lurking criminals to justice. Coffey uses her love of animals and personal affiliation with organizations that educate about birds to integrate the winged creatures into her plotline. Purchase at Outskirts Press.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

April 2009 WITS E-zine is now Online!

Welcome to spring and another issue of Writers in the Sky Newsletter/E-zine. If you are subscribed, you will automatically get your copy delivered to your inbox today. If you are not subscribed, you may join the list now!

Some folks ask why our publication is called both a newsletter and an e-zine. Well, it’s really too long to be a newsletter, and it isn’t laid out as a magazine; however, it has characteristics of both. It’s delivered electronically, it has news, articles, and announcements from our readers, and it has its own place on the Web ( So, it’s both an e-zine and a newsletter. What do you think of the idea of changing the name to Writers in the Sky News-zine?

Regardless of what we call it, the April issue is ready for your reading pleasure at