Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Book with a View August 2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Long and Short Reviews Kari Thomas’s Latest Paranormal
Book Title: Her Heart His Soul
Author: Kari Thomas
ISBN: 1-60601-327-0 ebook / Print available through Amazon.com
Publisher: Bookstrand-Siren Publishing, March 2009
Link to purchase: http://ow.ly/h5v8
Reviewer: Vervain http://ow.ly/h5V0

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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