Friday, September 25, 2009

YouTube- A Powerful Arrow in an Author’s Book Marketing Quiver

By Scott Lorenz

In the history of marketing the hottest marketing spots are the locations where the most people can be found, whether it’s the town square, bazaar, train station, airport, MySpace, YouTube or Twitter.

There are more than 75 million videos on YouTube, for instance, and when these videos go viral they register millions of views per video. And while many authors know how to use YouTube to share videos with family and friends, very few understand how to harness the power of YouTube to earn money, market themselves, connect with customers, grow their business and sell more books.

I am using YouTube in every way possible for all my clients. I truly see opportunities for every type of client I represent including, authors, doctors, lawyers, entrepreneurs and even charities.

In fact, I used YouTube to help Angel Acres Horse Haven Rescue make it to the “Top 10” in a $1 Million shelter makeover contest sponsored by, a web site for animal and pet lovers. As part of their effort, I asked Mike Ball who, along with being an award-winning columnist, is an accomplished musician, if he would be willing to write and record a song that could be used in an online video and for public service announcements. That emotional song with the photos of horses helped Angel Acres in their online voting campaign. View it on YouTube at

Another client, Mr. Duey, a school teacher who uses music to teach kids math, science and history, is also having great success with his video. Called “Mr. Duey Fractions” it’s featured on Teacher Tube which is like YouTube but it’s for teachers, parents and students. The “Fractions” video we promoted is now one of the top ten all time most viewed videos on TeacherTube with 567,000 views. You know you are hot stuff when the kids in your school ask a teacher for an autograph! The exposure has led to CD sales, media coverage and other exciting opportunities Mr. Duey and the label Kaas Records. As I am writing this Mr. Duey is finishing filming a new series of videos which tie in his musical talent with a new “book type” product… cant’ tell you what it is but it came about as direct result of the that video! Check it out at: or visit:

Another very successful application for YouTube videos is through video book trailers as part of a book marketing campaign. In an effort to obtain book publicity for my author clients we’ll create a book trailer about the book. A book trailer is like a movie trailer in that it allows someone to preview a book both visually and via audio. A video book trailer brings the book to life and gives the potential reader a sneak peak at the contents. We’ll then post that book trailer on YouTube and... here’s the best part… we add it to more than 41 additional video sites online for even greater exposure.

One of the big benefits of a book trailer is how is improves search engine ranking for an author’s main web site, providing you carefully select traffic driving key words and titles. An example of book trailers we’ve created can be viewed at Westwind Communications YouTube Channel at:

How can a book trailer help? A couple months ago we landed a terrific article for one of my authors in The Patriot Ledger outside of Boston. First, they ran a photo of the author holding his book. They mentioned the upcoming book signings I asked him to arrange after we had this story confirmed so he could capitalize on the PR.

The Ledger also included a link and screen shot of the book trailer video we produced for YouTube. The best part? ABC-TV CH-7 of Boston then saw the article and book trailer, realized it was a good visual story and came out to the author’s house and shot their own story!

It really proves my point that “PR Begets PR, the More You Get, the More You Get!”

There are a lot of ins and outs when it comes to YouTube. If you are serious about using it then I suggest you buy a new book How to Make Money With YouTube, by Brad and Debra Schepp. In this insightful guide the authors unveil specific steps to harness YouTube’s power to turn a profit. The Schepps offer in-depth, easy to understand instructions on everything from shooting and uploading videos to fundraising and marketing, to building buzz, and how to get your videos noticed.

They also draw on one infamous company’s humorous “Will it Blend?” video that brought thousands of new customers to its website. You’ve probably seen it. A guy in a lab coat blends everything from food to iphones in their blender demonstrating how powerful the blender really is. The book is filled with valuable advice and practical tips to allow readers to maximize their earning potential on YouTube. Check it out at:

One of the most valuable features of How To Make Money With YouTube are real-life success stories from video marketers who used the site to launch successful consulting businesses. A featured success story is from my own firm about Mr. Duey mentioned above. (

The bottom line: Get a book video trailer created and get it on YouTube right away and use it to promote your book online. You can’t go wrong.

About Scott Lorenz

Scott Lorenz is President of Westwind Communications, a public relations and marketing firm. Lorenz works with doctors, lawyers, inventors, authors, start-ups and entrepreneurs. As a book marketing expert Lorenz is consulted by top execs and bestselling authors to promote their books. His clients have been featured by Good Morning America, FOX & Friends, CNN, ABC Nightly News, ESPN, The New York Times, Nightline, TIME, PBS, NPR, USA Today, Woman's World, & Howard Stern to name a few. To discuss how Westwind Communications helps its clients get all the publicity they deserve and more visit: , call 734-667-2090 or email

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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Poetry Corner September 2009

Irene Brodsky, Author of Poetry Unplugged (Outskirts Press.2008) celebrates her 63rd birthday on September 11. She wrote this very special new poem to share her thoughts in memory of the World Trade Center and to commemorate her birthday.

SEPTEMBER 11, _______

On September 11, 2001,
the World Trade Center passed away
on my 55th birthday.
But every year, I say a special prayer
To the new World Trade Center in heaven.
May your lights shine brightly
May you stand tall and proud
May you comfort those who were within you
May you know that I miss you
And may we be together again someday
To share my birthday cake.
And sing a merry song or two!


Simply Complex

The Nectar Of Unity Is Dripping
From The Stars
And Bottled In My Dreams

I Pop The Cork And
Take A Sip Of Appreciation
Calling It A Glowing Reality
A Moment Paints Me In

Birth Races Towards
A Second As I Color
One Self In Shades Of Timelessness
Another Self In Photosensitivity

It’s The Sun’s Birthday
I Swing From A Ray
And Somersault Into Being
From Nothing But Consciousness

I Sit On A Branch Of Awareness
Drenched In Blue Green Democracy
And Turquoise Responsibility
Expressing Emotions
In Metaphors

Candidly looking For Another Bottle
A Root Of Magnetic Energy
Lifts Me Vibrationally To The Celebration
Of My Simply Complex Realities

Hal Manogue, poet and author
Short Sleeves A Book For Friends
Short Sleeves Insights

Granny Was a Dancer

Granny was a dancer; something she was born to do.
Mama danced in her time; and I’m a dancer too.

Every fancy frontier city had its dancing girls.
Granny was not one of them; she lived in a different world.
World of stained glass and steeples; world of hard-wood pews.
World of do-si-do and allemande; world of waltzes too.

Granny was a dancer; something she was born to do.
Mama danced in her time; and I’m a dancer too.

Granny’s world went wild; the Twenties came roaring in.
World of votes for women; world of bathtub gin.
Mama was a flapper; bobbed hair, short skirts, high-heeled shoes.
World of Charleston and schottische; world of polka too.

Mama was a dancer; something she was born to do.
Granny danced in her time; and I’m a dancer too.

I was a sixties hippie; love and peace and ban the bomb.
We wanted them to stop the war, and bring our boys back home.
We were all tie-dye and love beads; we wanted a world that was new.
World of jitterbug and disco; and country line dance too.

I am a dancer; something I was born to do.
Granny danced in her time; Mama was a dancer too.

They called to tell me Granny was gone; she danced the night she died.
I folded my phone and shook my head; I smiled and then I cried.

I want to be like Granny, go dancing all the way.
If I’m gonna dance ‘til the day I die, I have to dance every day.

Granny was a dancer; something she was born to do.
Mama danced in her time; and I’m a dancer too.

Jan Bossing © 2009 Joelton, Tennessee

Stockpiled Sagas
Undercover; hard and soft
Knowledge, history, romance,
Travel through tome
See a new place

Luscious, lazy literature
Some disheveled
Heavy-eyed and sleeping on the job
while others play
London Bridge falling down

Bargain bins
Mounds of mysteries
Piles of prose
Half off how-to’s
Neatly arranged and
some tossed upside facedown

Cover to cover
atop one another
Stacks and stacks of paperbacks
Zigzag towers
Cornered chronicles
Just looking for some space to rent

Lavender Rose is the pen name sometimes used by Yvonne Perry.
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Friday, September 18, 2009

Murder Mysteries and Romatic Histories Flavored with Herbal Lore

By Beth Trissel

Time out of mind, herbs have figured prominently in mystery and romance. Shakespeare is probably the most famous author to incorporate the juice of monkshood as the deadly elixir in Hamlet. Mandrake, the screaming roots in Harry Potter, made up the sleeping potion that sent Juliette into a death-like slumber. Poor Romeo, if only he’d known before he drank belladonna, a member of the deadly nightshade family, or wolf’s bane. It seems no one is quite certain what the ill-fated lover knocked back.

Many whimsical fancies sprang up around the shape of plants. The bell-like flowers of foxglove were thought to be the minute gloves that fairies wore, especially as foxglove bloomed in shady woodlands where everyone knows the little folk dwell. Commonly called digitalis, this now-famous plant is widely used to treat heart disease. But too strong a dose and bang––you have a murder mystery. In Pocketful of Rye, Agatha Christie favored a poisonous concoction made of yew disguised in marmalade. The author hid deadly hemlock in a bottle of cold beer in Five Little Pigs.

Many herbs also had romantic uses. The love potion in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream has been analyzed by a fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry in England. Doctor Sell thinks it was made up of heart’s ease (violas) blended with the sweetness of musk roses. In the play, Oberon drops the flowery decoction onto the eyelids of the sleeping Titinia, but the good doctor cautions against trying this at home. Rather, opt for the nape of the neck or the décolleté. Men just love the décolleté––breasts pushed up by a tightly drawn corset for those of you who didn’t realize.

Speaking of romance, it was thought that a young maiden could toss a sprig of St. John’s Wort over her shoulder and soon learn the name of the man she was to marry. Leafy branches of this herb were also hung in windows to ward off evil spirits and burnt to protect against devils, goblins and witches. Bear this in mind, if you’re troubled by them.Legend has it that angelica was revealed in a dream by an angel to cure the bubonic plague. All parts of the plant were deemed of great value against enchantment. And don’t forget boughs of the sacred rowan tree to ward off evil spells.

Feeling timid? Anoint your feet with catnip tea to embolden yourself. Fennel seed is said to boost desire. Lavender is “of ‘especiall good use for all griefes and paines of the head.” For those of you who would be true, rosemary is the symbol of fidelity between lovers. Traditionally, a wreath of the aromatic herb was worn by brides. Rosemary is also the herb of remembrance left at the grave of loved ones.

Historical writers, especially, can incorporate the use of herbs to flavor their stories, as do I. But anyone can mix in a love potion or fatal elixir to spice up the usual suspects in a suspense or murder mystery.

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Book with a View September 2009

New Vintage Type
By Steven Heller & Gail Anderson
Watson Guptill Publications, New York
ISBN: 9780823099597, 2007
Contact Reviewer:
Publisher's Site:
Rating: five of five
Reviews for Riters ™

Book from the Bible of Publishers

Reviewed by Carolyn Howard-Johnson, award-winning author of This Is the Place. Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered, Tracings, a chapbook of poetry, and the How To Do It Frugally Series of book for writers.

If you will, imagine a Bible for publishers, self-publishers, book cover designers and formatters. It might well be as fat at the King James version of the real thing. A book on fonts and typefaces -- if taken by itself much as you might read the book of Genesis on its own -- would be pretty hefty.

Even then that book -- an essential part of a tome for the publishing world to live by -- would probably not be as crammed full of great fonts and logo designs and book cover designs as this one, Watson-Guptill Publication's New Vintage Type by Steven Heller & Gail Anderson. The subtitle is "Classic Fonts for the Digital Age." A subtitle like that expands the reader's take on what might be inside but still comes up short as a description of this expansive book.

I don't think one has to have been raised up, as I was, on the near-spiteful smell of printers ink, the clatter of a linotype, the click-clacking of a teletype and the experience of making Times New Roman fit into a one-column headline to appreciate this book. Most writers are grateful for fine paper, exquisite letterform, good design and a finely-honed serif. This book will not disappoint.

Further, it seems publishers are selecting typefaces more carefully than they once did. It probably costs little more to be more daring or a good bit more artistic with the fonts they choose than many other upgrades they might consider. I've seen Ramdom House dedicate a page describing the font they selected for a book. I'm referring to Lisa See's Peony in Love. It was set in "an old-style Roman face that was used for Cardinal Bembo's tract De Aetna in 1495" and has a slightly oriental cast -- like fragile brushwork -- to the columns and pedestals of each letter.

I'm hoping I've convinced anyone in the publishing world that they will benefit from this book. It includes faces that look like wood (Old New Wood), faces like a sign painter's scrawl (Sign Painter Upright), and ones you will recognize in a moment like Las Vegas Nugget. You'll be inspired by full color posters, old labels for Hershey's candy, engravings, record albums, and, yes, book covers.

The pictures are kitschy and nostalgic but many could easily inspire something elegant as well. See p. 149 for the chic Austrian-inspired example of the font called Progressiv Regular (yes, the spelling is German and correct).

If you, in any capacity, are pondering a book, this one calls for more than a browse. Give copies of the example that inspires you to your graphics woman or your designing man and let their artistic minds play with it a bit. You won't be sorry.

I won't be lending this book out; it will stay in my library so I know where it is when I need it.

Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s first novel, This is the Place, has won eight awards. Her book of creative nonfiction Harkening, won three. A UCLA Writers' Program instructor, she also is the author of another book essential for writers, USA Book News' Best Professional Book of 2004, The Frugal Book Promoter: How to Do What Your Publisher Won't ( The second in the HowToDoItFrugally series, The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success ( covers writing successful query letters and includes helpful hints from twenty of the nation's top agents. It, too, won USA Book News top award in its category and Reader Views Literary award. Learn more at her site

Author: R. L. Sloan
ISBN: 978-1-4327-4032-0
Publisher:, 2009
Genre and Target Market: fiction, paranormal, romance
Pages: 237

In the past decade, the literary world has seen an explosion in books that have a focus on the paranormal and feature otherworldly entities as main characters. These novels often seem to incorporate a spark of romance that adds a deeper element to humanize the storytelling. The Harry Potter series has created a whole new generation of children and adults alike who are fascinated with magic, wizardry, and evil spirits. More recently, the Twilight novels have portrayed vampires in an entirely new light and sent young girls rushing to the book stores and, subsequently, the movie theaters. In an attempt to take advantage of this phenomenon, many authors have quickly published similar vampire novels that lack any real originality. I was pleased to discover that the new book Embellish by R. L. Sloan is far from an attempt to join the vampire craze. Instead, Sloan offers her readers an exciting and sexy novel with an entirely new approach towards the vampire phenomenon.

Embellish tells the story of Solis Burkes, a young woman with a painful past and amazing powers that she has yet to recognize, and Nacio, a handsome stranger who first intrigues Solis at a local club in San Antonio and turns out to be a vampire with centuries of history behind him. Their relationship immediately develops into a passionate romance that has been set in place by destiny. With her new love by her side, Solis is confronted once again by the group of children who sexually assaulted her many years ago, now all adults and more violent than ever. As the novel unfolds, the action accelerates and a family feud that Solis discovers has been brewing for generations comes to a terrifying and bloody finale.

Author R. L. Sloan uses vivid language to engage her readers in this fascinating tale of true love, vampires, voodoo, and family loyalty. I particularly enjoyed the expressive dialogue that forms the catalyst for the forward movement of the story. Sloan has tremendous skill for selecting words and phrases that express emotion and the sense of urgency that is present throughout Embellish. Every sentence skillfully moves her reader to the next twist in the plot. Her evil characters effectively use harsh, emphatic words to wound and command, while her protagonists evoke a sense of compassion and genuine relationship with their words.

Embellish is a novel that demands attention from its readers. Sloan introduces us to many characters and beautifully weaves their stories together into a plotline that brings new surprises right up until the final pages of the book. In many instances, the connections between characters are not revealed until a new revelation in the story takes place and then the hints that Sloan had been including throughout the novel are finally understood. I always enjoy books that go beyond the one-dimensional, linear storyline and Sloan manages to do this with skill and fluidity.

While there certainly are plenty of questions answered by the end of Embellish, the final moments of the story leave the reader wishing that there were more pages to turn. I am happy to report that the end of Embellish leaves the readers with a preview of what we can expect from R. L. Sloan’s next installment in the series. I look forward to reading what R. L. Sloan, through her characters Solis and Nacio, has in store for us next!

Title: Celestial Desire
Author: Sandy Sams
ISBN: Paperback 978-1-4327-3466-4
Publisher: Outskirts Press, Inc.
Pages: 276
Reviewed by: Barbara Milbourn for Writers in the Sky

A generous peppering of French [sometimes translated, sometimes not] transports the reader directly to France and locks them in step with the two main characters—a woman of the night and a woman of the light.

A waif had been plucked from street urchin status and tutored to most-prized courtesan at Madame Simonet’s. Celeste is acquainted with the touristy streets of French cities and the world of the rich, cultured, and powerful. In Paris, on solitary walks, she seeks the quiet grace and architectural beauty of the older city, and the sanctity in the stained glass of Sainte-Chapelle. Here she meets Gilles, a promising artist who first saw her and painted her bathed in the light and looking like an angel.

In time, love blooms, hearts are given, and the confession comes as it must: she is no angel—she is putain. When her exquisite honesty and intuition and his poor business sense and tattered self-esteem mix with mutual love, pain and trouble erupts.

That eruption—or one of several later—results in an unlikely friendship between Celeste and Desiree: a nun, a reader of Rumi, and doer of good deeds. While Desiree is in residence at the Abbeye des Soeurs Carmelite and contemplating the rebirth of spring flowers in the garden, the growing unrest in her heart and mind are far from rosy. She is agitated to distraction; she has become complacent; the joy has leached from her duties and ministrations. She longs to discover what’s missing in her quest for a deeper love and walk with Christ. And she does.

Through the most unexpected circumstances each woman embarks upon a personal pilgrimage of huge proportion that will surprise and satisfy you until the book’s last phrase.

Celestial Desires is a love story—moving and layered with beautiful parallels of the human and divine. Notice the structure: the title, characters’ names, what they represent; the parts so aptly presented as sacraments; the successful maneuvering between chapters and characters. Sandy Sams has delivered an intelligent and engaging work that reveals her as a woman who thinks, feels, and believes deeply.

Alzheimer’s A Caretaker’s Journal
Marie Fostino
Seaboard Press, 2007
ISBN: 978-1-59663-562-3
Reviewed by Yvonne Perry

As the title implies, Alzheimer’s A Caretaker’s Journal, is about dealing with a family member who has Alzheimer’s. The book truly is a caretakers journal. There is little commentary from the author to cloud our opinion. Instead, we get to see into the personal lives of Jim and Marie as they take on the daunting task of caring for Jim’s father, Joe. As Joe’s dementia worsens, Marie rises to the call of a saint.

The passion of the author was noted throughout the book and my emotions were stirred as I read Marie’s account of her time spent with Dad—a man who didn’t even know her once he had progressed into the advanced stages of Alzheimer’s. “Lady” is what he called his own daughter-in-law.

“Show, not tell” is what I often repeat to my authors when I am editing their books. Marie instinctively did this in Alzheimer’s A Caretaker’s Journal. She shows us who she is, what she is capable of, and how she managed day by day. Never once did she brag on herself. Using a chronological diary format, she showed us her human frailty and gave us a true picture of what it is like to watch a loved one’s mental and physical demise.

I was especially touched that both of the author’s daughters gave a short commentary about what it was like to live in the house with their grandfather in his impaired condition. The author’s husband, Jim, also shared his thoughts. Therefore, we get to see how this disease affected the entire family. I hope I never have to go through something like this, but if I do, I pray I have the strength and wherewithal to endure and persevere the way Marie did.

Check out Marie’s book website at

Distant Thunder
Author: Jimmy Root, Jr.
ISBN: 978-1-58982-553-6
Publisher: American Book Publishing, 2009
Genre and Target Market: fiction, thriller, Christian
Pages: 326

As in so many instances, life’s realities make for more interesting storytelling than the most imaginative piece of fiction ever could. I always have enjoyed literature that incorporates actual events into a storyline that shares the moment through the eyes of everyday individuals. Whether I am reading historical pieces about soldiers on the battlefield during the Civil War or the retelling of one family’s struggle on the frontier, I appreciate the research and creativity that goes into such writing. The events that are making headlines today also provide an endless supply of material on which authors can expand. We certainly can admit to a variety of perspectives on the root causes behind the current geopolitical situation in the world. However, regardless of who we choose to blame or victimize, most of us will agree that we are living in fascinating and dangerous times. In his new book Distant Thunder, which is the first release in a trilogy called “The Lightning Chronicles,” author Jimmy Root Jr. shares his perspective on the major events that are unfolding across the globe and how he believes that Biblical prophecy has predicted what we are now seeing on the nightly news.

Root, whose has spent his life in ministry, shares with his readers the lives of Pastor Ty Dempsey, who lives in Missouri, and Moshe Eldan, a pilot with the Israeli military. He skillfully presents these two men as everyday characters whose struggles with love, faith, family, and work can be understood by anyone who decides to sit down and open the book’s pages. By telling his story through the perspective of two such relatable personalities, Root makes the events in Distant Thunder even more startling. Through Root’s expert storytelling, readers are brought to the point at which they can see themselves as participants in the world’s most cataclysmic events.

Distant Thunder opens with an ancient scene in which the prophet Ezekiel foretells of the destruction of Israel’s enemies. The book then brings us to modern times as we see the prophecy of the Old Testament coming to fruition in a terrifying way. Root brings his readers through the plot development in short segments, switching between key locations around the world. Just as a scene reaches the moment of climax and you wonder if destruction is about to occur or one of our protagonists is headed for personal disaster, Root directs your attention elsewhere. These quick scenes give the readers the feel of the 24-hour news channels to which we have become accustomed in our post-9/11 world. Our global society is moving at a pace that is unprecedented, and Root powerfully argues that this progression is bringing us closer to the end times that were foretold in Biblical prophecy many centuries ago.

If you are a Christian who believes in the literal interpretation of the Bible, you will embrace Distant Thunder as an affirmation of your faith and a way to share the coming prophecies with others. Or, perhaps you have heard discussions about how current events are aligning with the messages shared in the Bible, but you have never studied the prophecy of end times or understood how it relates to what we see on the news every evening. In this case, Distant Thunder will serve as a wonderful book through which to experience through the eyes of “ordinary” characters the events which many Christians believe are soon to come. Whatever your motivation, I believe that you will find Distant Thunder to be a book that will make you think and desire to learn more.

My Splendid Concubine
Lloyd Lofthouse
ISBN: 0981955304
Reviewed by Linda Ballou, author of Wai-nani, High Chiefess of Hawaii

Having two, delicate as a flower, sisters fighting over which one gets your sun instrument for the night, is probably an unrealized fantasy of most men walking the planet. But, for Robert Hart, a randy, runaway from his puritanical Irish background, it is a dream that comes true. Inspired by a man who arrived in China in 1854 who rose to great respected heights, this character has just that problem. The sensual descriptions to bring home how wonderful this dilemma was for him, was for me a bit overdone, but overall I enjoyed learning the nuances of the Chinese culture. I admit to not knowing much about ancient China other than that I believe acupuncture, tai chi and Fung Shui are all practices with great benefits. The fact that women were chattels sold to the highest bidder and that girl babies were routinely slaughtered was news. The warring, poverty, and harsh realities for commoners comes as no surprise. I found the book fascinating, but wanted more details of the culture revealed, details of how this man grew into his role, what he accomplished and less focus on the sexual ecstasy of a man torn between two enchanting lovers. I understand that my yearning for more knowledge will be addressed in the sequel to this book coming soon.

Wally the Walking Fish Meets Madison and Cooper
Gary Lamit
BookSurge (2009)
ISBN 9781439225417
Reviewed by Sophia McElroy (age 6.5) for Reader Views (7/09)

This is a great story about a walking fish named Wally. Madison and Wally meet when Madison catches Wally in the pond. Of course, she let Wally go because she believes in “catch and release.” Madison and her dog Cooper discover that Wally can walk and talk! Wally is my favorite.

I never knew that Catfish could walk! They are called “Walking Catfish.” They put their tail in like a puddle or something and can stay out of the water for several days as long as they stay moist.

The three friends have fun singing songs in the forest and swimming to meet the beaver family. Wally, Madison and Cooper met a flying fish named Frankie. They don’t really have wings!

The artwork is beautiful. My favorite picture is of Wally walking. My favorite funny part of the book is when Cooper, the yellow Labrador, jumps into the air trying to fly. This really made me laugh!

Shakespeare Ashes: A Novel
Chris DeBrie
Infinity Publishing (2009)
ISBN 9780741454492
Reviewed by Carol Hoyer, PhD, for Reader Views (8/09)

Chris DeBrie has written a highly-entertaining, fast-paced book for readers. We follow the lives of four individuals through trials and tribulations of finding the right love; addressing gender issues and the all-encompassing racial issues.

The book is somewhat like letters and conversations exchanged between friends. With the elaborate descriptions of the characters readers will feel they know each one individually. The language is completely today’s language that you would hear anyone speak. In his writing he starts each sentence with small letters instead of the usual capital letters, which I found intriguing. I might even compare this to a journal one would write.

Readers will find themselves rooting for each of the characters and disliking other minor characters in the book. From the very first page readers will be captivated by the writing style and language. This book is everything we experience in our daily lives, right down to the elderly lady with an open umbrella and cane trying to maneuver getting on public transportation.

The author has written two other books, neither of which I have had the pleasure of reading. If they are anything like “Shakespeare Ashes”- they are a must read for all.

Viva Cisco
Author: Patrick Shannon
ISBN: 978-1-4327-3037-6
Publisher:, 2009
Genre and Target Market: children; fiction; fantasy
Pages: 249

I grew up with a great passion for reading. On many sunny afternoons, you would be able to find me perched in some tree branches in my front yard reading Little House on the Prairie or Anne of Green Gables. The places that my imagination would go as the result of the words on a page formed some of my favorite childhood memories. Now that I am a mother of a young son and daughter, I am hoping that they will find the same happiness in books that I continue to experience to this day. I sometimes worry that, in the age of constant television viewing and video game playing, kids do not get the chance to develop a real passion for books. Therefore, when a book comes along that I believe will engage a child’s imagination, I take heart that the written word might actually win out over the latest Wii game or social website. I have found such a book in Viva Cisco by author Patrick Shannon. In this three-part fantasy tale, Shannon creates a vivid world through which young readers can stretch their imaginations, maybe even while spending the afternoon sitting in a tree.

Viva Cisco shares the adventures of Cisco the Parrot, who lives in the land of Topopootl surrounded by a colorful cast of characters from every imaginable species … except humans! Shannon provides his readers with three separate tales detailing Cisco’s efforts to become famous, from trying to learn Flamenco dancing and becoming a professional wrestler to starting a detective agency and leading a dangerous mission to discover the story behind the founding of his homeland. Along the way, Cisco seeks the advice of the elder animals and various skilled professionals in Topopootl, who approach his wild ideas with both sympathy and doubt. However, we quickly learn that Cisco is a bird who is not easily deterred from his dreams.

Patrick Shannon creates a fantasy world that offers amazing imagery for his readers. While there are no illustrations in Viva Cisco other than the front cover, I quickly began to picture bold colors and exaggerated backdrops as I turned the pages of this engaging book. Of course, when you start with the premise of talking animals, you already set the stage for an interesting mental picture! The personalities in Viva Cisco also are over-the-top caricatures, which is perfect for a children’s book. The running movie that developed in my head as I was reading Viva Cisco is directly attributable to the strength of Shannon’s writing. He uses animated language during conversations and employs sarcasm, humor, and outlandish scenarios to keep readers both young and old engaged with every page.

Viva Cisco offers young readers a story and a set of characters that they will not have encountered before. Instead of simply being another book that attempts to copy an already successful format in hopes of attracting the loyal readers of another author, Shannon brings us something completely original. The starring personality of Cisco the parrot, the outlandish ideas that he attempts with amusing results in his efforts to be famous and the final adventure that finally brings him the accolades he craves will keep children and their parents turning the pages. With the impressive ambitions and energy of Cisco, I believe that more stories of this memorable parrot may be in our future.

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Friday, September 11, 2009

Of Gods, Angels, and the Lives of Characters

By Kenneth Weene

Our visitors were a bit unusual, three Chassidic yeshiva students. One is the nephew of a dear friend; he and his two companions were driving a van, what they termed a “mitzvah tank,” across the country. Their goal: to reawaken the religious awareness of Jews who had become secular, who had given up the practices of Jewish life.

My friend had asked us to host them – provide some vodka, “perhaps a little nosh,” and some friendly conversation. I’m sure that he was also hoping that their visit would also stir my own “Jewish soul.” I’m sure that was his hope no matter how strongly I had assured him it would not happen.

Their visit did, however, stir something else. It was a time trip. I was transported back to college – back to those great, late night, drink-fueled bull sessions during which we discussed the great issues, the ones most of us would ignore as we grappled with life, career, and family.

“Only God car create a being capable of making his own decisions,” one of them opined. I nodded wanly – to much the host to raise the issues that immediately came to mind.

But, inside my head, I could hear the voices of protest – the voices of characters, characters from my novels, short stories, and plays. “We are alive, and we choose,” they yelled. “For good or ill, we choose.”

I thought about the writing process. Each work has started out with a plan in my mind – a plot leading from situation and premise, to conflict and development, to denouement and resolution, and finally to conclusion. Then I have begun peopling that world, and inevitably the problems have started. Characters refuse to simply go along, to conform with my directions and expectations. They become willful, refusing to say or do what is not consistent with their personalities and more importantly with their souls.

In my soon to be released novel, “Widow’s Walk,” a major character dies. When I had originally plotted the story, she was to live happily, a woman who had grown through adversity. But, instead, she dies.

As I wrote that section of “Widow’s Walk,” I was in mourning for that charming character for whom I felt deep affection. “Why?” I asked, “Why?”

Another character answered my question. "There's pains of the body, and there's pains of the soul. This poor lady died of the pains in her soul. They say that God don’t give no one more than they can carry, but He sure done give her too much … way, way too much."

As I thought about that explanation and the pain with which I had expected the character to cope, the truth of that explanation became obvious. I, playing god, had overburdened her soul.

Our visitors went on their way. I wondered why God had sent them into my life. I have always believed that every guest should be considered a possible angel sent by The All Mighty. Perhaps I am a character in one of God’s novels. Perhaps I could have sent an angel to give my character the strength she needed, but that would have felt contrived.

There are so many questions and so few answers.

As a writer I can set worlds into motion, but I cannot control them. I can care about my characters, but I have to allow them to live just as God has to allow us the freedom of our wills and most importantly of our souls.

A New Englander by birth and both a psychologist and minister by training, Ken Weene has worked as an educator and psychotherapist. His poetry has appeared in numerous publications – most recently being featured in Sol, and an anthology of his writings, Songs for my Father, was published by Inkwell Productions. Two of his short stories are soon appearing in Legendary.

Ken’s novel, Widow’s Walk, is slated for publication in Sept., 2009, by All Things That Matter Press.

Now in semi-retirement, Ken and his wife live in Arizona. There Ken has been able to indulge his passion for writing.

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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Calling for Submissions for October 2009 E-zine

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

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

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Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Editor's Corner September 2009

My older grandchildren have gone back to school and we are fast approaching the end of summer. It makes me sad to see the warm weather that I love so much go away.

But I'm sure this fall will be beautiful here in Nashville since we've had ample rainfall this year to brighten the leaves before they fall from the trees. At this time last year, the leaves were falling off the trees due to drought.

One more baby to go in our special delivery of boys this year. As you my know, three of my children have given birth this year, and one more is expecting in October. With WITS team member Sarah Moore giving birth last month, that makes five precious newborns in my world.

Plus, my kids from South Carolina brought our three grandkids to see us and I spent a few days stealing baby hugs and kisses and coloring with the older two. Having a celebration while having the whole family (except for the one expectant daughter who lives in SC) together, how can my life get any better?

Speaking of kids, I have made a great deal of progress toward finishing the Sid Series ~ A Collection of Holistic Stories for Children. I have all twelve individual e-books formatted and uploaded to my Web site where I am selling them for $3 each. I have compiled all twelve stories into one e-book. It has 142 pages and I’m selling it for $20 during my initial promotion period. Why not email one to your grandchild? I plan to create audios of me reading the stories and make these available as an MP3 to go along with each book. Click here to listen to a sample.

Due to being away on a much-needed vacation, I didn’t get the formatting done for the print version in time to make the cut off for receiving Lightning Source’s fall promotion. I will still publish it this year in time for the winter holidays, so please keep this in mind as a gift for your little ones.

If you would like to write a review for any of my books, please let me know the title you’d like to read and I will send you a free copy.

Vacation? Did someone say vacation? I'm looking forward to taking a trip to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic September 26 through October 2. That means the newsletter may be a little late being published next month. You may want to go ahead and send your material now so I can get started before I leave.

This e-zine is proofread a by Sarah Moore or Barbara Milbourn. I appreciate your contributions and thank Sarah and Barbara for their hard work. I hope you enjoy this publication and will tell your friends how to find us online.

If someone forwarded this e-zine to you or if you happened to have stumbled upon this Web page, you may get your own subscription delivered to your inbox once per month for free!

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Sunday, September 6, 2009

Do You Know About Freado?

If you are an author, you will want to know about It’s the world's No. 1, free online book-marketing technology for authors. I met Freya, the author community manager for BookBuzzr and Freado, on Twitter and boy am I glad I did! I love their features so much, I’ve had all my books made into flip-books.

All books that use BookBuzzr can be read on When you sign-up for a free account, you also get listed on where readers can interact with you. Further, you can link from fReado to your own author-site or blog thus helping your search engine rankings. Because is optimized for search engines and because is regularly crawled all over by the major search engines, the information about your book will soon be noticed and your pages should be listed in response to Web searches.

When you send me a book review to include in WITS monthly e-zine, I would appreciate it if you provide an image of your book or the code for your BookBuzzr flip page. I won’t be able to include it in the newsletter, but I will use it when posting on our e-zine blog. It would greatly enrich the visitor’s experience.

Good luck with this awesome tool!

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Friday, September 4, 2009

The Writing Life: Musing with Authors

I just finished reading The Outermost House by Henry Beston. I would never have heard of this book, which was popular from 1928 through 1988, if nature writer Jim Capossela had not told me about it.

Capossela, the Rachel Ray of the streams and woods, is witty and clever. So far, I’ve read Camp and Trail Cooking Techniques and dipped into Good Fishing Close to New York City.

With the advent of the Internet, e-books and the Kindle reader, it appears that we tend to ignore valuable existing books in our pursuit of the next new thing. There’s something special about nature and field guides, but there’s not a wide audience for these books. The information in the classic field guides remains accurate, which makes naturalist writers something of an oddity. Even the most chatty field guides do not read like a good novel. Writing a field guide takes the mind of a scientist and the soul of an artist.

When it comes to hanging out with respected nature writers, I’m twice blessed. Gary Lincoff, author of the Amazon Field Guide to Mushrooms, is that rare combination of scientific mind and compelling storyteller. I’d rather hang out with Gary than any rock star I can name. You don’t even realize you’re learning when you attend a lecture or workshop. When Gary arrived dressed as Charles Darwin, I was so captivated by his presentation, I didn’t realize I had taken notes, until I looked in my notebook several days later.

Writing in a narrow field for a niche market can be isolating at times. There’s nothing better to motivate me than to hang out with respected, published naturalists. This may not be the most financially lucrative field in writing, but getting to know the rock stars of the field guide world is worth much more to me.

JJ Murphy is a freelance nature writer, photographer, blogging hiker, forager, locavore, and tree-hugger with more than 50 years of eco-centric living experience. Visit if you need relevant content that captures your personal style and tone.
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Thursday, September 3, 2009

Network with Us September 2009

Attorney Ruth Rymer released her second book, Susannah, A Lawyer: From Tragedy to Triumph (Langdon Street Press, 9/1/09). It is a historical fiction about the Midwest's first female lawyers. The book is endorsed by a Christy Award Winner & a California Supreme Court Judge, among other legal & literary luminaries. Register to win free paperbacks throughout the book's blog tour. For tour itinerary, visit

Okay all of you cool people with Amazon Kindle readers, you may now purchase Wai-nani, High Chiefess of Hawai’i at the Kindle store on Amazon.

Want to travel light, save the trees, and store hundreds of books without losing a room? Then think Kindle. A Kindle reader allows you download books, newspapers, magazines and blogs into a device you can fit in the palm of your hand.. Check it out on Amazon.

Wai-nani is also available in paperback on Amazon.
And at

The previous Summer 2009 Writing Contest is now in its reading/judging phase. The Dream Quest One Poetry & Writing Contest is open to anyone who loves arranging words into the beautiful art of poetry or writing a story that's worth telling everyone! And to all who have the ability to dream... Write poem 30 lines or fewer on any subject or a short story, 5 pages maximum on any theme for a chance to win up to $500.00 in cash prizes. All works must be original.

Free paperbacks and audio books will be given away during Inheriting the Trade's virtual tour in September. Publisher's Weekly named the MP3 version of this book one of 2008's finest releases, and the PBS documentary based on the book was just nominated for an Emmy.

Inheriting the Trade: A Northern Family Confronts its Legacy as the Largest Slave-Trading Dynasty in U.S. History by award-winning journalist Thomas DeWolf (Beacon Press)

View the tour itinerary for where to register for free copies at

Submitted by Stephanie Barko, Literary Publicist

Ginosko Literary Journal is accepting short fiction & poetry, audio recordings, creative non-fiction, interviews, social justice concerns for the 9th issue of the literary journal ginosko, the summer issue.

Editorial lead time 1-2 months; accept simultaneous submissions and reprints; length flexible, accept excerpts. Receives postal submissions & email—prefer email submissions as attachments in Microsoft Works Word Processor or Rich Text Format. Copyright reverts to author.

Publishing as semiannual ezine, winter and summer. Selecting material from ezine for printed anthology. Check downloadable issues on website for style & tone:

Use latest version of Adobe Reader.

ezine circulation 4500+. Website traffic 750-1000 hits/month.

Also looking for artwork, photography, to post on website and links to exchange.

Ginosko (ghin-océ-koe) ~ To perceive, understand, realize, come to know; knowledge that has an inception, a progress, an attainment. The recognition of truth by experience.

Member CLMP. Listed in Best of the Web 2008.

Ginosko Literary Journal
Robert Paul Cesaretti, Editor
PO Box 246
Fairfax, CA 94978

Frankie, the Walk 'N Roll Dog has been bestowed the prestigious honor of official mascot for National Disabled Pets Day, founded by Colleen Paige, author and animal behaviorist of Animal Miracle Network. Frankie's mom, author, Barbara Techel wrote Frankie's true, inspirational story which takes you through Frankie's spinal injury, therapy, healing, and perseverance, to give anyone facing a challenge hope and inspiration that they too can overcome their own challenges. Frankie continues to bring a positive face to animals with disabilities, while her Mom, Barbara joyfully cheers her on, and shares her story. To read more about Barbara and Frankie visit,

Individual copies of Janet Grace Riehl's audio book Sightlines: A Family Love Story in Poetry and Music is available on CD Baby (link) at $25.00. But you can get a handsome discount (20 to 5O percent) if you: 1) have a bookstore and would like to stock 5 copies of the audio book ($12.50 per copy = 50 percent discount); 2) sell "Sightlines" audio book to friends or give copies as gifts ( $20/copy = 20 per cent discount for 5 copies); 3) donate copies to your historical society, library, nursing home, or hospice. ( $20/copy = 20 percent discount). Contact Janet via email via the contact button at

Contest to win a free book marketing consultation

Whether you are traditionally or independently published, as an author you have the primary responsibility for promoting your book. Wouldn't it be great to have some personal coaching to help you develop or refine your book marketing plan?

To celebrate the launch of her newest book, Texas Book Marketing Handbook, book marketing coach Dana Lynn Smith is sponsoring a contest to win a free book marketing consultation.

Everyone who enters gets a free copy of Dana’s ebook, Top Book Marketing Tips, and a free subscription to her monthly ezine, The Savvy Book Marketer. Go to by September 15 to enter the contest.

Don't suffer with book proposals. You can be a pro with an investment of only 20 minutes and 49 cents with Carolyn Howard-Johnson's Great First Impression Book Proposal Short on

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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Writers in the Sky Podcast Schedule September 2009

September 4

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

September 11

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

September 18

Barbara Joye will be sitting down with Sarah Moore to discuss her new book The Light Won: A Tutorial in Co-Creation. In this enlightening book, Barbara shares what keeps us from living a fuller and more empowered life. She explains how to identify and alter your personal beliefs in order to have the life you desire. This life is one that each of us can co-create once we learn to communicate with The Divine/The All. Barbara will be talking about how readers can apply the principles in her book to their own lives, regardless of their age, nationality, or personal experiences.

September 25

Author John English will end the month of podcasts by discussing his new book Kill the Addiction with Barbara Milbourn. John English battled an addiction to nicotine for fifty years and in Kill the Addiction he lays out in detail his method to stop smoking. Knowing the difficulty that comes when someone tries to quit this difficult habit, John is anxious to share his solution with others. He will be discussing the unique benefits of his method as well as whether or not his method can be used to treat addictions other than smoking.

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