Friday, October 30, 2009

How to Write (and Market) a Quality E-book

by Joyce Shafer

An e-book can satisfy your desire to write, act as a business building tool, and provide true value to others in many ways. There are guidelines you should use to guarantee its quality.

Here are several key points you want to use to improve or guarantee value for readers. Consider them before you write or type the first word of your e-book or any other product you intend to sell to or share with readers. While you read these, notice how they apply to how you can market what you offer more effectively, as well.

You’ve decided on your topic. Who are your target readers and where can you find them? Don’t answer “everyone,” because you’ll reach no one with that approach. Who, specifically, is your e-book supposed to serve? You want to speak directly to them. This helps you stay true to your topic, create a title that let’s them know what to expect or gets them to at least consider what you offer, and helps you fine-tune marketing language so the right audience finds you.

What problem do they want to solve that you can assist them with? What about their life or experience will change because of the information you provide to them? What are the benefits they can expect from the content you include? Benefits can be the obvious ones, as well as what your information can help them avoid going forward.

Avoid the temptation to attempt to solve a lot of problems in one e-book. Focus on a core issue and directly-related impacts on readers’ lives; and give them a system to use that helps them move forward. Provide them with a system that is, as much as possible, easy and effortless, and repeatable. Use narrative to explain why the system works and how to use it, and offer examples of your own story and/or experiences that support your information.

Make value more important than length. If you can provide a genuine method to assist them, how long your e-book is won’t matter to your targeted audience, only that you fulfill your promise. If this were an e-book you sought, what would you expect to find in it and how would you hope the information would be presented? What would your ideal outcome be after you read it?

Include a summary chapter. Offer encouragement that supports their Why—why they sought your e-book in the first place, which was a commitment to move something about their life experience forward. Be sure to give them a way to connect with you whether it’s a designated email address, your Web site link, Blog site, or whatever way allows them to have a guarantee that if they need to ask you a question, they can easily reach you.

If you have other products, services, e-books, books, reports, audios, and so forth available, include the titles, formats, and links to where they can find them. Tell them something about yourself; but just enough. You can direct them to your formal bio on your Web site or wherever it’s posted.

Don’t be afraid to be authentic and original. You may follow the basic format used by someone who offers something similar to what you do, but do everything in your own words and with your own flair. Your authenticity (and your authentic commitment to assist them) will come through to readers, and this can create connection. Especially if they feel you get them and the impacts on their lives of the problem they wish to solve. Don’t try to “sound” a certain way, sound the way you are. Write in your voice.

Let your audience hear the real you, and let them know that you hear them.

Joyce Shafer, LEC and author of I Don’t Want to be Your Guru, but I Have Something to Say, and Write, Get Published, and Promote, helps novice writers of self-development e-books move through the self-publishing process: 6 weeks, 7 steps. See reviews of all her books and e-books at Lulu’s online store.
Bookmark and Share

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Overcoming Writers Block

by Heidi Thomas

“You just can’t get there from here.”

How many times have you heard that direction-giving joke? That line can describe a type of writer’s block. You’ve written up to a certain point. You know where you want to go up ahead. But what do you write in between? I have wasted hours, days, even weeks, trying to figure out what to write next, so I can get to that future scene I already have in my head.

But wait. Who says you have to write in a linear fashion? What if you write out of sequence? Aha! Now, you’ve given yourself permission to write the scene from your head and it flows wonderfully. Another Aha! Questions and solutions actually appear about how the character might have arrived here from there. You’re not stuck any more.

As a writing instructor once explained, to build a bridge, one first needs to erect a scaffold. It’s not a lot different in writing. You have several important scaffold scenes in your story or novel that have to take place

1. The Introductory Scene where the reader meets your main character.

2. A Meeting Scene, where the main character meets another character (maybe the love interest or maybe his nemesis).

3. A Conflict Scene where two characters battle it out, physically, verbally, or in a match of wits. Or the character battles himself.

4. A Realization Scene-the moment the character realizes something about herself that is a turning point. Or realizes her “enemy” is really her friend.

5. A Resolution Scene, where a problem is resolved (not necessarily the main one, but a problem nonetheless).

6. A Final Scene, which may not be your actual ending. An interesting exercise is to write a scene where your main character(s) are old and looking back at what happened, what they learned, how they’ve changed, what they would’ve done differently, etc. That can give you an insight to “fill in the blanks.”

Or write a letter from your main character to yourself, as if this person has just learned you are writing a book about her, how she feels, any advice she might have for you, etc. This can be quite revealing. Sometimes you learn that you have a reluctant character, one who doesn’t want her story told. So you have to figure out how to win her over.

Or The Writer magazine suggests:

1. Write a scene where the main character enters a new place.

2. Take a minor character and write a scene where he/she appears later in the story.

3. Choose a character other than the main character-someone you’d like to know more about, and write a monologue in which she explains herself.

4. Write a scene where your main character has a dream that advances the story.

These scenes may or may not appear in your final draft, but they will help you keep writing and develop ideas.

Raised on a ranch in isolated eastern Montana, Heidi Thomas has had a penchant for reading and writing since she was a child. Armed with a degree in journalism from the University of Montana, she worked for the Daily Missoulian newspaper, and has had numerous magazine articles published.

Her grandmother, who rode steers in rodeos during the 1920s, spurred Heidi to write a novel based on that grandmother’s life. Cowgirl Dreams is the first in a series about strong, independent Montana Women.

Heidi is a member of Women Writing the West, Skagit Valley Writers League, Skagit Women in Business, and the Northwest Independent Editors Guild. She is an avid reader of all kinds of books, enjoys hiking the Pacific Northwest, where she writes, edits, and teaches memoir and fiction writing classes.

Bookmark and Share

Friday, October 23, 2009

Ten Easy Ways to Keep Dialogue Sharp

By Carolyn Howard-Johnson

Author of The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success

1. Keep it simple. "He said" and "She said" will usually do. Your reader is trained to accept this repetition.

2. Forget you ever heard of strong verbs. Skip the "He yelped" and the "She sighed." They slow your dialogue down. If you feel need them, look at the words—the actual dialogue— your character used when he was yelping. Maybe it doesn't reflect the way someone would sound if he yelped. Maybe if you strengthen the dialogue, you can ditch the overblown tag.

3. When you can, reveal who is saying something by the voice or tone of the dialogue. That way you may be able to skip tags occasionally, especially when you have only two people speaking to one another. Your dialogue will ring truer, too.

4. Avoid having characters use other characters' names. In real life, we don't use people's names in our speech much. We tend to reserve using names for when we're angry or disapproving or we just met in a room full of people and we're practicing out social skills. Having a character direct her speech to one character or another by using her name is a lazy writer's way of directing dialogue and it will annoy the reader. When a reader is annoyed, she will not be immersed in the story you are trying to tell.

5. Avoid putting internal dialogue in italics. Trust your reader and your own ability to write in a character's point of view. She will know who is thinking the words from the point of view of the narrative.

6. Be cautious about using dialogue to tell something that should be shown. It doesn't help much to transfer telling from the narrator to the dialogue. It just makes the character who is speaking sound long winded. Putting quotation marks around exposition won't draw the reader into the scene or involve him more than if you'd left it part of the narrative.

7. And magic number seven is, don't break up dialogue sequences with long or overly frequent blocks of narrative. One of dialogue's greatest advantages is that it moves a story along. If a writer inserts too much stage direction, it will lose the forward motion and any tension it is building.

8. Avoid having every character answer a question directly. Some people do that (say a sensitive young girl who has been reared to obey her elders) but many don't. Some veer off with an answer that doesn't follow from the question asked. Some are silent. Some characters do any one of these things as a matter of course. Some do them purposefully, say to avoid fibbing or to change the subject or because they are passive aggressive.

9. Avoid dull dialogue that doesn't help draw better characters or move the action forward. Forcing a reader to hear people introduce themselves to one another without a very good reason to do so is cruel and unusual punishment.

10. Use dialogue to unobtrusive plant a seed of intrigue. If a character brings up a concern that isn't solved immediately, you can heighten the page-turning effect.

For more on writing dialogue check out Tom Chiarella's Writing Dialogue (Writers' Digest) and for more on editing in general—from editing query letters to turning unattractive adverbs into metaphoric gold—find The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success (Red Engine Press) on Amazon.

Carolyn Howard-Johnson is an instructor for the UCLA Extension Writer's Program. The first book in her HowToDoItFrugally Series of books, The Frugal Book Promoter, won USA Book News' Best Professional Book Award and Book Publicists of Southern California's Irwin Award. The second, The Frugal Editor, is also a USA Book News winner. It includes many editing tips on dialogue, the use of quotation marks and more. Learn more at .

Bookmark and Share

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Poetry Corner October 2009

Remembering Sara

By Gail Livesay

You Sleep
You were barely three.
I watched you climb the hill
to Grandma’s back yard—
new puppies there.

The puppies tumbled to meet you.

You took them home, whispering,
“I’ll be back tomorrow.”

Still a child, God called you home.
I see you now shaded by a beautiful tree.

I hear your laughter,
delighted with puppy kisses,
gentle leopard’s paw brushing your hair,
lion licking your feet.

My Sara fast asleep.

Walking Backward and Levitating Birds

make way through the dreamscape of life.
Trapped on the escalator, with hearty laugh
and wonder what has happened in the end.
The team has fumbled, which is sad enough
even if there were a game when there is none.
Who painted this momentous landscape here
in which all failures and fortunes disappear?
Beyond the realm of life there lurks only
this, the all too seductive realm of thought.
Gravity holds me in its stead
where all things bend and time reverse.

(c) 2009 by Kenneth Weene

All This Carrying On

by Dennis S Martin

For just one minute I turn my back, and
Walk out of the room.
I come back to a huge disaster
Sounding like a sonic boom.
The whole room’s lost all its sanity
And no one knows just where it’s gone.
Time to put an end to this feuding and fighting,
And all this carrying on.

3 AM is a time for quiet,
A time for reflection and sleep.
Especially for a working man
Who has obligations to keep.
Then some damn fool tries to raise a ruckus
And party til the morning sun.
It’s clear somebody’s got to shut him down,
And all this carrying on.

You and me sometimes disagree,
We let common sense slide.
We say things that we both don’t mean,
Leaving reason aside.
But it’s okay at the end of the day.
It doesn’t matter who won.
We work it out when we finally stop
All this carrying on.

Dennis S Martin


End of Goodbye

He kissed the inside of my wrist; I touched his hair.
Then we just walked away ‘cause we couldn’t go there.

He was getting married, and I was leaving town.
His wedding date was set; I couldn’t hang around.

I had some guy friends before, but he was the best.
We had always been closer than all of the rest.

There were no words, not even a smile.
I took a step, it felt like a mile.
There were no words; there could be no words.
No more tears at the end of goodbye.

Ten little steps; and then I looked back.
He was just standing there, watching me.
Then I raised my hand; he shook his head.
And this was the way it had to be.

There were no words, not even a smile.
No more tears at the end of goodbye.

Jan Bossing © 2009, Joelton, TN

Energetic Words

Words Are Energy
They Vacillate In Formlessness

Singed Words Dangle On Participles
Of Linear Time
Then Manifest As Emotions

Historic Words Hide
In A Grain Of Sand
As Sea Water’s Memory Drips Into
Forgotten Footprints

A Fearful Sentence Becomes An Iceberg
Locked In A Frozen Paragraph
Of Thoughts

Sliding Off A Cliff Of Senseless Words
A Crack Of Thunder Signals
Its Distortion In An Energetic Display
Of Consciousness

Satellite’s Signal Emptiness
As A Galaxy Trips On Static Sentences
Filled With Slippery Intrusive Words
In A Comet Made Of Metaphors

Another Planetary Gear Disengages
In Hyphenated Splendor
As A Word Tastes A Black Hole Of Silence
While Trapping Light In A Display
Of Solar Gases

Words Become Vibrations
When A Self Meets Psychological Time
In Another Reality

by Irene Brodsky, author of Poetry Unplugged (Outkirts Press)
Twenty years ago, we said, “I do”
My wedding ring still fits
I still wake up next to you
with your arms around me
My hair is still blonde
thanks to Clairol #37
You still warm up my heart
when I gaze into your eyes of blue
Twenty years ago, on our wedding day
you said you loved me
I said I loved you
We meant it then We still do!

Bookmark and Share

Friday, October 16, 2009

Contacts Are Essential

By Lillian Brumett

Developing a strong networking system with reliable contacts is the key to any marketing plan – yet one of the most difficult and time consuming tasks that an author will face. While it is true that a contact list can take years to develop, if done correctly you will have a team of individuals across the globe who are hungry for news about you and who volunteer to share information about your work through their circles.

How does one go about creating a contact list?

First you must decide whom you wish to work with and that requires much thought on key words to use in your searches and feeling out the industry to see where your work fits in. Once you have these initial steps done, you can begin approaching people that have a similar audience. But don’t just start sending query letters in a willy-nilly fashion. Really think about how this particular outlet could help you, who their audience is and how you can provide interesting tools or material for them. This will get the attention of the owner/editor of the outlet, however to really build a relationship you need to offer something – usually something greater or equal to what you are hoping to get from them.

When I approach a media outlet of any kind or an organization I want to network with I consider what their audience will get out of it AND let them know how I intend to drive traffic their way. For instance, I would mention that I will promote the event to my contacts via social networking sites, the Brummet’s monthly newsletter, our Conscious Discussions Blog, our radio shows, websites, forums, Book Tour site, etc.

Remember to keep your initial query email as brief as possible and don’t send along attachments. Write a paragraph or two and close with your signature and website address. Most magazine editors, for instance, give a letter less than ten seconds perusal and if it doesn’t catch their attention it is trashed. So be brief, concise and make sure that you offer your main website address where ALL your information should be available. This way, all they have to do is click to find out more about you – rather than reading a huge email with pages attached.

Contact lists can be used again and again…

My contact list did not get as strong as it is without a lot of effort, patience and time. You see, simply getting exposure with an organization’s newsletter (as an example) is not enough. That is just one little achievement. In my experience, the real bonus comes in over the next few years as you continually touch base with your list of contacts offering them new articles, new content, new resources, and so on. As the years go by I might use their websites or publications as resources in upcoming articles, I might mention their achievements or help promote their events through my blog or radio show.

Yet, just mentioning them is not enough–you have to let them know about your efforts to promote their work too. So send a little note via email notifying them of the exposure you have given them with a closing comment about how much you appreciate their work, or their support of you. This creates a working relationship with your contacts and pretty soon they are recommending guests for your radio show, resources for your blog, sending you websites that might increase publicity for your work and so on. Perhaps the contacts you have will suggest exchanging promotional materials, they may invite you to a variety of events or ask you to supply an article… (like the one you are reading today) - the opportunities here are endless.

NOW you have a working relationship with your contact list that you can continually refer to for the rest of your career. The key to any marketing plan is developing relationships – a strong support system like this can be relied on for the duration of your career. People you met 10 years ago will be there for you in the future… and this is an encouraging feeling for an author who’s trying to stand out like a purple snowflake in a snowstorm of other authors.

~ Lillian Brummet: book reviewer – Author of the books Trash Talk, Purple Snowflake Marketing, and Towards Understanding; Host of both the Conscious Discussions talk radio show and Authors Read radio program (
Bookmark and Share

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Book with a View October 2009

The Rendering
Leann Marshall
ISBN: 143274318X
Publisher: Outskirts Press, 2009
Reviewed by Barbara Milbourn for Writers in the Sky

Move over Southern writers, there’s someone new among you, and she’s good—really good.

I’m not sure Leann Marshall wants to be called a Southern writer, but her first book, The Starfish People and now her second, The Rendering, both take place there, and she lives there as well. She’s a whiz at writing stunning Southern dialogue and getting her readers into the heads, hearts, and laps of her Southern characters.

Don’t think for an instant though that you’ll feel stifled by or anchored to a specific region. She has supplied both books with big wings that transport the reader from the flars (flowers) down home to lofty and deep-reaching themes.

In The Rendering, Mike Lot is released from 29 years in prison for the murder of the one he “loved more than anything.” He’d never talked of her to anyone the whole time there and he’d done well to keep his thoughts of her sequestered in a place he called the Dream Safe. But he feels her around him; it’s almost as if she were not dead, and when the prison gates close behind him, the one thing he wants to do is to see her again.

While he makes that journey, the reader’s attention turns to an art studio in which something speaks in first person of becoming, of being created, of seeking to see and understand itself. It discovers its power to not only think and to feel emotions of love, loneliness, fear and desire, but its power to move things, to break things, to transfer its self into people and stuffed animals. It observes and comes to question and then conclude which is greater in this “round world”—good or evil, love or anger.

Mike returns to the time and place he first met his love and there encounters and old dowser woman who dowses for more than water. She knows things and wishes to teach him so he can find his love again, save her, and send her home. There’s a spirit tree, an artist, a terrific storm, a lightning strike, and events that change things forever. There is a private eye that sets Mike upon a road and a townsperson from Ash Creek who discovers a secret. There is opposition in many forms and another surprise near the end that makes the book even greater than the sum of so many already wonderful parts.

As Long As He Needs Me
Author: Mary Verdick
ISBN Number: 978-1-4327-2427-6
Publisher:, 2009
Genre and Target Market: fiction; romance; family
Pages: 215
Reviewed by Sarah Moore for WITS

There are times when I want to dive into a completely fantastical novel that transports me to a life or a place that could never be my own. Maybe it’s a sci-fi adventure in which an alien life form threatens the existence of everyone on our planet. Or, it could be a historical piece that takes place in the royal courts of Victorian England. Sometimes books can provide that perfect escape that a reader needs from her everyday existence. However, other times I prefer to settle in with a story that is completely familiar, one that portrays the challenges and comforts that come with human relationships and exposes the emotional frailties that exist in all of us. As Long as He Needs Me, the new release by author Mary Verdick, beautifully fits into the latter category. This fictional work does not necessarily allow the reader to escape, but certainly provides an opportunity to be challenged with very real emotions.

As Long as He Needs Me tells the story of Kitty and Clem Johanssen, a couple that has just embarked upon a cruise to celebrate their thirty-fifth wedding anniversary. However, the ship does not even leave the port before events change the course of their vacation. Both husband and wife are forced to confront their own feelings of guilt, self-doubt, and loneliness. Along the way, Verdick does a beautiful job of slowly revealing details of the history of Johanssen’s lives through flashbacks and conversations. We learn about their children, their parents, and other relationships that all contributed to the current dynamic of the marital bond. I imagine every reader will be able to identify with at least one of the supporting characters in the novel, if not with the husband or wife directly, making the emotions all the more piercing and convicting. You cannot help but become invested in the success of Kitty and Clem’s marriage once their entire story is told.

One of the great strengths of Mary Verdick’s writing throughout As Long as He Needs Me is her ability to capture a genuine sense of human frailty. She does this without creating a sense of pity for her characters and without making them exaggerated in their weakness. Instead, Verdick illustrates the delicate nature of an intimate relationship that has weathered heartache, devastating losses, and old-fashioned jealousy all while being comprised of two unique individuals. No one is completely evil or saintly in As Long as He Needs Me. Just as the reader is about to condemn a character for a despicable act, a detail will be revealed to show the situation is more complex than originally assumed. When writing a story about human nature, that is about as realistic as it comes!

As Long as He Needs Me is a book that I read from cover to cover in one day. This is not because the writing was overly simple, but because Mary Verdick managed to create characters in which I took an interest. I wanted to see the story of the Johanssen’s relationship through to the end. And, along the way, I took the time to do some self-reflection on the weaknesses that exist in my own relationships and the way in which I may be contributing to the current dynamic. If you enjoy works of fiction that force you to examine some personal truths, As Long as He Needs Me is a book for you.

The Light Won: A Tutorial in Co-Creation
Author: Barbara Joye
ISBN: 978-1-4392-4417-3
Genre and Target Market: spirituality, philosophy, self-improvement
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 206
Reviewed by Sarah Moore for WITS

I will admit to experiencing some hesitation when presented with the new release The Light Won: A Tutorial in Co-Creation. I hardly consider myself well-versed in the areas of spirit guides, angels, and other concepts involving a connection with another realm. Would I be able to understand a genre with which I was so unfamiliar? Would I find these ideas so foreign to my beliefs and the way that I operated in my own attempts at self-improvement? I always have had an academic interest in the study of philosophy and how it brings people a sense of self and their place in our greater society. So, I decided to approach my reading of The Light Won with the same intellectual curiosity. As I progressed through the book, I found that my comfort level with the material increased and I was making the connections that the author stated as her hope for her readers.

The Light Won: A Tutorial in Co-Creation is written from the perspective of The Angelic Realm and all of the elements and energies that exist within it. The purpose of the book is to encourage those of us in the physical realm to push ourselves out of our comfort zones and open our minds to a new set of beliefs. Author Barbara Joye, who is a Soul Connection therapist and Intuitive Re-invention Life Coach, explains that most of us live in a world that focuses on false divisions that comprise “The Game of Duality.” Examples of these earthly splits include good and evil, right and wrong, and even the supposed state of alienation between the Light of the Creator and the Darkness put forth by Lucifer. Joye lets her readers know that the Light has already won and that these labels of opposition we place on the entities within our safe, controlled environment are unnecessary restrictions on our potential. This idea resonated with me immediately. I clearly see how we allow our creativity and potential for joy to be limited by our fears of anything different.

As Joye guides her readers through the five steps of shifting life beliefs, which lead to the confidence in our ability to participate in co-creation and the acceptance of ourselves as unique and exceptional beings, she does so with a writing style and layout of content that makes the information accessible to every reader. She leaves physical space after each point of reflection or moment of emphasis as a way of letting her readers know that they need to stop and allow themselves to sit with their thoughts. Joye also uses conversational language to develop a sense of relationship with those who are holding the book. She asks each of us such questions as, “Can you even imagine?” and “Would it be better to truly co-create the life you desire?” Her writing requires full engagement from the reader. Each person will feel as if The Light Won had been written specifically to address their own desires and fears.

Anyone who has been searching for how they fit in with the greater energy and entities of our universe, or who simply want to find more meaning and fulfillment in their own lives, will find The Light Won: A Tutorial in Co-Creation a wonderful guide through the process of discovery. Barbara Joye is known by her clients as The Shift Guru, as she assists them in shifting their beliefs. The author’s desire to see her fellow travelers find deeper connections and relationships with one another and the spirit world made for a wonderful and stirring book.

Kill the Addiction
Author: John English
ISBN: 978-1-4327-3944-7
Publisher: Outskirts Press, Inc.
Pages: 72
Reviewed by Barbara Milbourn for Writers in the Sky

“What’s in a word?” we ask.

Sometimes everything; or, more specifically in John English’s book Kill the Addiction, whether you choose to continue being addicted to smoking cigarettes or not.

English ought to know. At age 20, the Britt was swept into compulsory military service and supervised the weekly cigarette ration at the officers’ mess. In those circumstances (and assuredly in circumstances of your own), try avoiding being caught in the smoking web in the first place, and when you see you haven’t, try escaping it.

Over the next fifty years, English tried to do just that, and he’ll tell you he quit “many, many times. The shortest was for several hours. The longest for eight months . . .” Then he found a way—or rather made his own way—to stop smoking, and he shares that method with you in his book.

Kill the Addiction is a slim book with a dynamite cover guaranteed to grab attention. The author tells you a little about himself, how to use the book, how it is structured, and what the essential first step is if one seriously wants to stop smoking. In short, snappy paragraphs, he’ll tell you what the method is not, and he’ll cover popular smoking myths. As a former smoker with a handful of friends who still smoke, all of the myths rang true with me. He’ll hit you between the eyes with smoking facts; not pretty—not pretty at all. The author primes the reader’s pump a little further with information about overall physical and emotional health, provides a brief review, and then delivers you to the method’s starting line and on into the battleground.

I appreciated the book’s directness, and how when the author knew he would never smoke again, he set out to test the method with others. Toward the end of Kill the Addiction, he shares the statistics and the comments from some of those in his control group and provides numerous resources on where smokers can get additional information.

Each of us finds our own way, and most often it is with a helpful point in the right direction. John English delivers one such direction.

How to Fight for Your Goals: Social Combat Theory

Avi Schneider
Lulu (2009)
ISBN 9781409283362
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (8/09)

In How to Fight for Your Goals, author Avi Schneider teaches you how to apply your martial arts skills to more than combat situations. You can also use these skills to help you achieve goals in your personal and professional life. According to the author, “Social Combat arises any time an entity attempts to exert influence over another entity, which will not readily accept that influence.”

By reading this book, I am learning how to apply these strategies to go beyond the physical and actually work with behavioral responses to situations. I also enjoyed the discussions about how this theory applies to psychological theories. The author states, “Martial Arts is a discipline that teaches effective strategies and techniques to combat opposition to ones goals. Any opposition.” Learning how to apply the strategies to other areas of our lives makes the training much more meaningful.

Physical attacks are discussed, and demonstrated in photos, to show how they can also be applied to social situations. The three main types of opponents and strategies for best handling them are also covered. These three types are the Brawler, the Bluffer and the Boxer. In relating to social interaction, these opponents are viewed as aggressive, passive or in-between.

As an individual with a second-degree black belt in karate and a Master of Science degree in Counseling, I found “How to Fight for Your Goals” to be incredibly informative, presenting information that can apply to my everyday life. I also realized that in some areas of my life, I had been subconsciously applying these strategies. By reading this book, I have a much better understanding of how best to use them. One of the reasons I began training in martial arts was with the hope that it would give me the confidence that I would need so that I would not actually ever have to fight. But if I ever do, I am prepared. The knowledge gained from reading this will definitely help me continue to avoid violence in confrontation situations.

I believe that utilizing the information presented in this book will assist me with achieving my goals outside of the dojo very effectively. I highly recommend How to Fight for Your Goals by Avi Schneider to martial artists.

Christyna Hunter
Wasteland Press (2009)
ISBN 9781600473241
Reviewed by Olivera Baumgartner-Jackson for Reader Views (8/09)< /p>

Joanna Webb is no stranger to brute male force. She grew up with a father whose cruelty to animals was overpowering and who never failed to remind her that men were far superior to women. So she decided to dedicate her life to protecting wildlife and to forget about anything else, including dating. Her plan works pretty well until the day she runs into the hunky Ryan Stewart. The mutual attraction is immediate and clearly palpable. But any chance of further developments is quickly squashed when Joanna identifies Ryan as an enemy, due to the fact that he is utterly dedicated to his family’s construction business, whose current project is the erection of a commercial building very close to Joanna’s place of work, the Animal Conservation Trust.

While both Joanna and Ryan fight the lust and the loathing they feel for each other, they can’t seem to stay apart for long. Their affair escalates quickly and virtually erupts in flames - just not the kind one would expect. Can they find a solution that would enable them to build a life together or are their differences insurmountable?

Christyna Hunter’s “Wildfire” is a contemporary romance with a very relevant side-theme of preservation of nature. Although slim, this book packs quite a powerful punch. Transcending the mere romance, it discusses much graver matters as well, such as blaming oneself for things one could not have prevented, sibling rivalry, forgiveness, compatibility and many ways humans impact the nature with oftentimes mindless urban overdevelopment.

While I found the story overall appealing and nicely written, there were oftentimes huge time gaps that I felt needed more explanation or more backstory. At 144 pages, the book would not be overly long-winded even if the author added another 50 or 100 pages, and if they were written as compellingly as the original 144, I would have enjoyed reading them for sure.

I would recommend “Wildfire” by Christyna Hunter to lovers of contemporary romance, who will certainly not be disappointed by Ms. Hunter’s latest offering. Endearingly infuriating hero and heroine, interesting supporting characters, fiery twists and satisfying ending make for a fun read anytime.

USA Anytime Anyplace
Author: Ercell Hoffman
ISBN: 978-1-4327-4344-4
Genre and Target Market: fiction; psychology
Publication Date: 2009
Book Length in Pages: 323

Sometimes I am simply in the mood for a light read that allows me to escape from my ordinary circumstances. Give me a simple romance or a fun adventure in which the good guy always comes out ahead. These novels pass the time and do not result in much lingering thought after the last pages are closed. In other instances, when my psyche is in a place of introspection, I enjoy books that challenge me to think and reflect on the circumstances that I face in my own life. With the new release USA Anytime Anyplace by Ercell Hoffman, the latter type of experience is the one that readers should expect. Hoffman offers us a psychological profile of a woman who is struggling with a series of hardships that seem to compound without a moment of respite.

Readers likely will not be able to relate to every hurdle that the main character, Kithira, must handle, but almost certainly will find at least one area of her life that resonates. As a woman, I connected with Kithira’s struggle to receive respect in the workplace, her difficulty in finding a healthy relationship with a man, and the insecurities that comes from being a woman living alone. Others who pick up USA Anytime Anyplace may find themselves connecting with Kithira’s legal battles stemming from racial discrimination she faces from employers. Or, perhaps you will recognize a bit of your own situation in the frustration that Kithira experiences in her neighborhood. You may never have purchased a shotgun and fired it into the ground as a way of silencing some troublesome people on your street, but you may be able to relate to the sentiment. When all of these situations come together, they weave a story of one woman’s struggles and successes as she moves forward with a determination to excel in her life.

Author Ercell Hoffman does a wonderful job of taking her reading audience into the mind of Kithira Manoff and making us see the world through this character’s perspective. By allowing us to be present not only for the major events in Kithira’s life, such as the death of loved ones and her brave battles to defend her professional honor in federal courts, but also those everyday moments like dealing with an office nemesis or chatting with a girlfriend, we are given a complete portrait of the woman. Hoffman skillfully blends well-written dialogue, including a captivating scene in the latter half of the book in which Kithira faces lengthy questioning from attorneys concerning her claims of prejudice against her employers, with great descriptions of her protagonist’s inner conflicts and feelings of self-doubt. We come to know Kithira Manoff as a woman who simply wants the recognition, respect, and peace of mind that she deserves.

Ercell Hoffman is an accomplished author who brings her strong writing background, as well as an education in counseling, to her new release USA Anytime Anyplace. With this expertise, she develops Kithira Manoff and a novel that reads almost like an intensely personal memoir. Anyone who wants to cheer for a woman who makes the decision to be strong despite the odds of the world being stacked against her will be glad that they decided to read USA Anytime Anyplace. And, just maybe you will find some way in which you can apply this indomitable spirit to overcome to your own lives as well.

Bookmark and Share

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Calling for Submissions for November 2009 E-zine

It's time for me to start putting together the next fantastic and information-filled e-zine for November 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.

Bookmark and Share

Friday, October 9, 2009

The Writing Life Book Review: Field Guide to Wildlife Habitats of the Eastern United States

“Imagine diving headfirst into the water from a height of 50 feet and, at the precise moment, intersecting a fish that is desperately trying to evade you. Imagine repeating this every 20 minutes from 4 A.M. to 11 P.M. Parent kingfishers are on this schedule for weeks at a time . . .”

Janine Benyus’s field guide, organized by habitat, is interwoven with essay style descriptions that make identification of the plants, animals, geology and ecosystems easier to use than standard field guides.

I’ve spent a lot of time reading field guides this year. Some, like this book, are meant to be studied at home or in the classroom before heading out to explore a specific habitat. Knowing not only what a plant, fungus or animal looks like, but how it behaves increases your ability to correctly identify what you observe.

While field guides that feature comparisons of look-alikes provide important information, often plants, fungi and wildlife that look alike do not live in the same habitat.

Benyus provides easy-to-follow information on 38 distinct habitats without overloading the senses. You are much more likely to remember the information in her subheading “What’s in it for Wildlife,” with writing that shows, rather than tells what the wildlife is doing.

The book begins by showing readers how to use the guide and defining habitat. Benyus also offers tips on observing and getting closer to wildlife. Each chapter provides geological and ecological histories in Benyus’s essay style and a closer look at the lives of a representative mammal, bird and reptile or amphibian inhabitant.

Sidebar information includes a map and sampling list of locations where the habitat exists, a list of characteristic plants, a two-page illustration of the habitat and an interactive Wildlife Locator Chart that lets readers pinpoint the nesting and feeding sites of over 40 residents of each habitat.

This guide and its companion The Field Guide to Wildlife Habitats of the Western United States, belong on every teacher’s desk, in every public and home library, not just for the information, but for the pleasure of reading an engaging nature writer.

JJ Murphy is a freelance nature writer, photographer, forager, and aspiring mycologist giving nature a voice at””.

Bookmark and Share

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Network with Us October 2009

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 writing 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. Postmark deadline: December 31, 2009. All works must be original. Visit for more info.

Multi-published paranormal romance author Kari Thomas somehow (grin) managed to have two books coming out in November 2009! Book #5 is a paranormal romance novella titled Prey For The Wolf, with a Wolf Shapeshifter as the hero. It's release date is Nov. 7, with Eternal Press, in Print and e-book. Also! On Nov.1, her book #6, a full length paranormal romance titled Under A Shifters Moon is being Released in Print and e-book by Black Lyon Publishing. See her website for more info:

Adventure Travel Writer Linda Ballou shares the Secret of Youth and what she learned on her Healing Hawaiian Holiday on the Big Island on Conversations with Renée

Linda Ballou is an adventure travel writer disguised as a realtor. "I’ve been living a double life for the last decade. When I published my historical novel, Wai-nani: High Chiefess of Hawai'i - Her Epic Journey , it became imperative that I come out of the drawer and into the streets to spread the good news. Writing is more fun and satisfying than profitable, and real estate is more profitable than fun. I love both worlds.

Blessed with a double dose of genetic wanderlust, I love to explore. When I was thirteen, my pioneering parents took me to Alaska, where I became firmly grounded in nature. From there I journeyed to proud California, where I obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature and a Doctorate in urban savvy. My debut novel, Wai-nani, High Chiefess of Hawaii is the culmination of a long-standing love affair with the Hawaiian Islands. A free-lance writer, based in Los Angeles, I’m having a great deal of fun collecting stories for my soon to be published travel collection Lost Angel Walkabout.

Take a look inside the children's e-books in The Sid Series written by Yvonne Perry. An excerpt of each holistic story may be viewed as a flip book thanks to a feature available at

Carolyn Howard-Johnson will be a host for one day at the Green Book Pavilion with the Green New Media Life Expo at the convention center in Ontario, CA. She'll be interviewing authors for their videos and speaking on green, green e-book publishing for fiction, nonfiction and for promotion. The expo offers a $290 expo package to help authors promote themselves and their books both onsite and with New Media (meaning video, interview, CD, booth, etc), but they can also take a table (no new media extras) for a mere $89.

Interested authors may contact Gerry Fisher at mailto:GeFisher39@aol.comor at 702 467 9411 or 760 961 2728. He has other Expos coming up, too.

Free Teleseminar — Allison Maslan Offers Her Expert Advice to Twitter Followers!

New Twitter followers of @AllisonMaslan get a free download of a teleseminar on “Creating Your Own Financial Freedom, The Steps to Becoming a Winning Entrepreneur.”

In this audio, Allison offers practical advice, leads you through one of her amazing exercises of self discovery, explains some of her innovative processes, and provides many how to tips and advice in this jam packed 60-minute free teleseminar recording.

Here are a few questions she answers:

  • What makes this a good time to start a business venture?
  • Tips to figure out what kind of business to start
  • How to start a new business while working in your old job
  • The cardinal rule of business success (can you guess this one?)
  • How to stay motivated and positive when naysayers, doubting relatives, and environmental negativity surround you

  • What kind of "ducks" need to be "put in a row" when you launch a business (legal, accounting, Web support, vision statement, and more)?

Follow Allison on Twitter and get a link to download her "Creating Financial Freedom" Teleseminar.

MousePrints Publishing wishes to announce the release of the Sixth Annual Antelope Valley Anthology, October 28, 2009. This anthology is made up strictly of writers and poets from the local area of Southern California called The Antelope Valley. The anthology, this year titled The Raven & the Writing Desk after the riddle asked of Alice by the Mad Hatter at his tea party, contains the work of such authors as G. Lloyd Helm, author of the fantasy novel Other Doors, the science fiction novel Design, and the soon-to-be-released speculative fiction novel World Without End, Joan Fry, author of Back Yard Horse Keeping and the culinary biography How to Cook a Tapir, and short stories and poetry by such authors as Rod Williams, Alice Berryman, Cindy Dempsay-Sleman and Ulrica Bell-Perkins.

The Raven and the Writing Desk is dedicated to the Rev. Charles Ludwidge Dodgson, better known as Lewis Carroll, but past issues have been dedicated to such luminaries as Kurt Vonnegut, and Kay Ryan, the Poet Laureate of the United States and former resident of the Antelope Valley. The release gala for The Raven and the Writing Desk is open to any who wish to come and celebrate with us. The party will begin at 6:00 PM, 28 August, 2009 at the Larry Chimbole Cultural Center in Palmdale, California.

For further information as to the release gala or MousePrints Publishing please feel free to email or call (661) 951 6306.

If you are a blogger with blog about children, parenting, grandparenting, book writing, or book publishing, I would like to send you an article, interview, or excerpt from The Sid Series.

Let me know if you would like to post my free material on your blog.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Editors Corner October 2009

Have you had your flu shot? That seems to be the question of the month. After waiting in line for three and a half hours, I learned that the vaccine is not fully effective for two weeks after injection. Well, I got mine just days before boarding a crowded airplane headed for the Caribbean. We traded our Florida RCI timeshare week for an all-inclusive one-week stay in Punta Cana Dominican Republic. Our vacation was fabulous, and I highly recommend the Paradisus Palma Real.

Boy, do I have a story about my Sid book's ISBN. I'm using Lightning Source (LS) to print the book and the ISBN I gave them was available on my list/log at After ordering my proof, I went to Amazon to see if my Sid book had been submitted, and guess what? The Sid book ISBN brings up my book on death and afterlife. In fact, my death and afterlife book has two ISBNs! I've emailed LS, Booksurge (who published my first book), Bowker, and Amazon. If Booksurge will release the ISBN, I can still use it on the Sid book and not have to pay $80 to upload new files to LS. I’ll let you know how it turns out. By the way, I’m looking for bloggers who are interested in posting an article, interview, or excerpt from the Sid Series. Let me know if you need free material for your book, publishing, or children-themed blog.

My step-daughter, Ryah, and her fiancé, Fred, are the caboose in the four-boy train of newborns being delivered to our family this year. Their son, Payton, is due in a matter of weeks. By the way, did you see the Chicago Bears quilt I made for him? While we’re sharing photos, you might like to see who the stork has brought us so far in 2009.

I’ve been mentoring Michelle McPeters in my writing class on starting a freelance writing business. The first assignment was to write her own bio using a list of questions I gave her to work from. Check out her bio. She did a great job, don’t you think? If you would like more information about the classes I teach, please let me know.

If you need a professional eye to review your term paper or English essay before submitting it to your professor, WITS team member Sarah Moore is offering academic editing and one-on-one tutoring for college and high school students. Sarah is a former high school and college teacher who has taught courses in research and writing. While she can help you make your college or graduate school application essay as strong as possible, she will not write the paper for you. She will mark all spelling and grammar errors as well as offer extensive comments and suggestions concerning the structure and overall quality of your writing.

I’ve been working with Allison Maslan on her January book launch for Blast Off! The Surefire Success Plan to Launch Your Dreams into Reality. The book outlines a clear-cut guide to infuse prosperity into your own career or business, finances, relationships, health, personal fulfillment, and spiritual life. Anyone who purchases Allison’s book on January 19, 2010 will get some awesome thank you gifts. If you would like a reminder to know when the book is available, you may register your interest and see a list of the gifts at Feel free to let others know how they can participate and get these great prizes.

This issue of Writers in the Sky E-zine has some informative articles that I think you will enjoy. Thank you, Barbara Milbourn for proofreading this issue.
If someone forwarded this issue to you or if you stumbled upon this Web page, you may get your own subscription for free!

Bookmark and Share

Friday, October 2, 2009

October Podcasts Offer Series of Podcasts with Personal Reflections and Connections

Writers in the Sky October Podcasts to Feature Several New Works of Fiction and a Thesis on Our Political System

Nashville, TN, September 29, 2009—The Writers in the Sky podcast this month offers five Friday interviews that cover a diverse series of topics. October begins with a novel that delves into the complex psychological issues that surround a long-term marriage. The next week features a coming-of-age story of a boy who escapes his emotionally distant family through poetry. The month of interviews will offer a break from the world of fiction as Writers in the Sky shares a book that outlines a new approach to many aspects of our government. The following week will see a return to fiction with a novel about a woman who rises above the many forms of discrimination she faces in her life. The month comes to an end when our youngest ever podcast guest shares some information about his series of children’s books.

The October series of podcasts begins on October 2 when Mary Verdick will be Sarah Moore’s guest to discuss her novel As Long As He Needs Me. In this novel, main characters Clem and Kitty face a crisis in their marriage while on a cruise to celebrate their thirty-fifth wedding anniversary. The storyline examines the psychological dynamic present in long-term relationships and the importance of family structure. Mary Verdick will be discussing her personal reasons for creating such a story, what impact she hopes the book will have on its readers, and her extensive background in writing. To purchase As Long As He Needs Me, please visit the Amazon website.

On October 9, the novel Let’s Find You by first-time author Jeffrey Barbieri will be the subject of a podcast interview. This book tells the story of a boy named Benjamin whose father is absent and whose mother moves the family often to avoid her past. Let’s Find You includes the familiar stories of love and war between siblings as well as the personal introspection of a boy who is becoming a man. Mr. Barbieri will tell our listeners about the unique format of his book, how he developed the featured personalities, and what his plans are for future publications. Please visit the Amazon website to purchase Let’s Find You.

The podcasts continue on October 16 with a conversation between Don Quigg and Sarah Moore. Mr. Quigg has released a new work of non-fiction entitled Runaway Debt, Flat Taxes, and Voter Apathy. In this book, he shares his proposed solutions for a variety of problems that currently face our federal government from taxes to immigration to transparency from our elected officials. During the interview, Mr. Quigg will discuss the reason for his interest in government reform and how he is working to share his ideas with those in power. Please visit the Amazon website to purchase Runaway Debt, Flat Taxes, and Voter Apathy.

The focus returns to fiction on October 23 with the new novel USA Anytime Anyplace by Ercell Hoffman. This book details the struggles of a black woman in the United States who faces both racial and gender discrimination in her workplace and personal life. Despite the odds being stacked against her, she is determined not only to survive but to excel. Ms. Hoffman will be discussing how her own life experiences contributed to the storyline of her book, her extensive writing background, and who she believes will be most drawn to her novel. To learn more about Ercell Hoffman and purchase USA Anytime Anyplace, please visit the Amazon website.

Writers in the Sky concludes its month of podcast interviews with a very special visit from Sidney McCurley, the inspiration behind the series of children’s books written by Writers in the Sky owner Yvonne Perry. Sidney is the grandson of Yvonne Perry and the two of them enjoyed adventures which led to The Sid Series of stories. Through these books, children can learn wonderful lessons about love, acceptance, using spiritual gifts, and much more. Sidney will be discussing how he served as Yvonne’s muse, the spiritual gifts that he shares with his grandmother, and what other children can get from reading these stories that bear his name. Please visit The Sid Series webpage to learn more about these books.

“This month offers five Fridays and therefore an opportunity for five wonderful podcast interviews!” shares Yvonne Perry, owner of Writers in the Sky Creative Writing Services, which produces the podcast. “I am excited about the great new authors we will be introducing to our listening audience, and very proud that I will be sharing the microphone with my young grandson to finish out the 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 file.
Bookmark and Share