Friday, July 30, 2010

Fear to Write

I finally write after five valuable years, outshining all the other feats achieved by me since I unloaded my writing passion in a trunk labeled: "LATER.” I have become a procrastinator for my most beloved.

I loved writing. I still love writing. Even as a child, I would make sure there were rough scribbles of my writings living in my small, colorful playhouse. But I would never save my writing pieces—they had to fly free as more were to follow. Later, and as and when my words started growing with my age, I decided to sheath them with perfection. They had to live a professional and sociable life as well like their peers in the books of Stephen King, Agatha Christie, Danielle Steel etc. This inspired me to take a professional Comprehensive Writing. It stirred in me more confidence and lust to write and I couldn't be happier. But not being able to sit to write to offset other responsibilities, I developed a fear—a fear to write!

My fear made me run from my most desirable luxury of writing; it made it impossible for me to assemble the ever pouring gems of my mind. I found myself haunted from this newly conceived cell in one corner of my mind, and soon it took the monstrous form of graphophobia - a writer's analogical term for the fear of writing.

Graphophobia or scriptophobia stems from the fear of disbelief, overexcitement, fear of loneliness amongst other successful writers, fear of rejection and fear of ridicule. But the face of my fear displayed overexcitement towards writing.

We live in our minds and only we can control it. Similarly, the fear of writing or the graphophobia can be well controlled by our minds. And this is how my mind helped me outcast my graphophobia:

Write even if you are writing nothing. I discovered that when I would not write, I would be compelled constantly by an “inner voice” to write; I felt being pushed to write. It scared me and in order to stop all this inside havoc, I silenced my words near death.

No cheating! No cheating when it comes to forming a writing style. I got confused I guess in the difference between observing another writer’s work and trying to imitate his/her style. This confusion led me to lose my own identity and self belief!

Don't think too much when you have to write. Let your creativity flow. By constantly carrying with you the pressure to write something, you will lose yourself in the realm of that pressure. A proper writing schedule is all it takes.

Be proud of you. One’s self esteem is a cactus, but one’s self capability is a strawberry. Read all of your works repeatedly, to remind yourself of what you are capable of and how much more you can achieve.

Hesitation in writing is a friction between your imagination and your words. This friction has to be eliminated.

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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Facing the Tough Stuff

As a published author, I am no stranger to the many ups and downs of the career I am blessed (and sometimes cursed!) to have. When I begin to write, I have a pretty good idea of what’s ahead of me, both good and bad. As someone who has been through thick and thin, I would like to share with you my own thoughts on facing the tough stuff of being a writer. Disappointment, frustration, rejection–we all experience it. My hope is that my perspective will inspire you to keep writing, keep publishing, and keep fighting for your creative passion.

I am one of those strange people who enjoys surrounding herself with murderers, thieves, and the sexually permissive. I enjoy knives, guns, men who misuse women, and women who thrive on the worst guys in the universe. In short, I'm a writer. You'll find me sitting alone in coffee shops muttering dialogue to myself. Or chewing on a bite of sandwich while furiously typing on my computer, indifferent to the diners around me. And it's all worth it... most of the time.

Because there are other aspects to writing. The ever-broadening ass from too many hours of murder, lust, and heartache. And there is, alas, disappointment. Because no matter who you are as a writer, no matter how rich or famous, you still have to smile in the face of criticism. Because everyone's a critic with an impression of your book.

And a book today, well, a book today isn't what a book used to be. In the past, no one would dare go to the beach without at least one paperback. In a doctor's waiting room, at the airport, on a plane, a subway or a bus, the public delved into the wonderful world of books. To this day, I never travel without one. Not to Las Vegas, Hawaii or London. Electronic or paper, I'm a devoted reader as well as a writer.

But times have changed. Ask your hairdresser who won on American Idol, and she has the answer. Ask her about the latest book by her bed, and she may give you a vague look. Today, many Americans are texting, on the phone, staring into space, or passively watching TV.

So I entangle myself with the worst of humanity for my own pleasure. And I hope there are enough readers attracted to the cover of my book to take the plunge and start reading. And maybe they will be inspired to keep reading. And when they've finished my book, perhaps they'll go on to read another. And as both a writer and a reader, that is the hope I keep alive.

Jill Shure is the Benjamin Franklin Award-winning author of Night Jazz, Night Glitter, Night Caps, and the upcoming A Clause for Murder. Learn more about Jill Shure and her books at

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Monday, July 26, 2010

15 Tips for Great Book Cover Design by Book Publicist Scott Lorenz

After their book is written and editors sign off on the final rewrite, authors often turn their attention to what will become one of their most agonizing tasks in the entire process–deciding on a book cover design. One reason the task becomes so daunting and painful is that authors too often wait until the end of the process, instead of nearer the beginning, to think through book cover design.

As a book publicist and book marketer I cannot caution authors enough. Do not underestimate the importance of a book cover’s design. Not only do potential book buyers judge a book by its cover but so do members of the media. I have personally seen a major book reviewer for a large magazine hold a client’s book, run her fingers over the cover and say, “I’ve not heard of this author or publisher, but this book looks very nicely done, tell me more about.” Conversely, I’ve heard a reviewer quickly respond “We don’t review self-published books,” because the cover screamed cheap!

While we often hear, “You can’t judge a book by its cover,” everybody—book buyers, reviewers, media and consumers alike—most certainly do judge a book by its cover.

Here are some important items to consider when making decisions on book cover design:
  • Use a subhead to create more description. If you have a 10-word title, you have not properly named the book in the first place.
  • Check with Google on the words that are most searched on your topic. To do this, type in the word that best describes your book in the search box and then see what the next most important or popular words are in that list. That ranking is very relevant marketing- wise so try to use those words in your title or subtitle.
  • Visit book stores and look at the covers of all types of books. What catches your eye? Look at the book face and look at the spines. Which ones are readable and why?
  • Will it play on Amazon? Go to,, and search on competitive books in your space. Notice the book covers that catch your eye and the ones that do not. If your cover does not show up well in an Amazon thumbnail then you are going to lose sales.
  • Contrast. Don’t let your graphic designer get started without keeping contrast in mind. The reason black ink works so well on white paper is because it produces the best contrast possible. Yellow ink on green paper in a small font simply does not work.
  • How does your book look in black and white? Not every publication will be printing it in color.
  • Font size. Many designers are young with great eyesight. But your buyer may not be able to read the tiny font some designers insist upon using. Be practical.
  • The spine. Can you read it from five feet away? If not, neither can browsers in a book store.
  • Blurbs. Keep them relevant and short. The best highway billboards are 5-11 words because motorists are driving by at 70 m.p.h. Guess what? Consumers are driving by your book sitting on a table at the same relevant speed. The human mind cannot comprehend too many words at a glance. So give them short, sweet blurbs. If you are in love with your blurbs, than print them all in full on the last inside pages of the book.
  • Consider including a mention on the cover of a forward written by a famous person. “Forward by Barack Obama” or “Forward by Oprah Winfrey” or “Forward by Best Selling Author John Grisham.”
  • Do not overlook creating content on the back inside flaps because consumers pick up a book after looking at the spine, front cover and back and then open the book to find the price or more information.
  • Print your cover out on a laser printer. Don’t just review your cover on a computer screen which will make it look considerably better. Print it out actual size and make a determination using that printed version.
  • Pictures are worth 1000 words. Use photos and illustrations to describe what would take too long to explain.
  • When choosing a book design ask yourself how the cover will look on your website home page. Consistency and redundancy are important so you’ll want to use the same design elements on your website that you do on your book cover. For this reason, I suggest using the same designer for your book cover and for your website if possible.
  • Show your cover designs to as many people in your target group of potential readers. Get their reactions and opinions. It costs you nothing and you’ll likely find out something you did not realize before.
Bottom line: Get involved early in the entire book publishing design process and get at least three creative concepts for the front cover, back cover, and spine. Don’t let it be the last thing you do.

And finally, the most important rule in book publishing and marketing – Know Your Reader! All books have a target reader and in all genres there are varying degrees of readers. Targeting the reader who is most likely to purchase your book is critical. Authors who know the demographics of their readers are equipped to assemble the fonts and graphics best able to grab the reader’s eye and instantly convey the message that “this book is for you.” When you work with your graphic designer on the book covers and spine, your chances of success are greatly increased. If your designer does not welcome your participation, hire another designer.

Book publicist Scott Lorenz is President of Westwind Communications, a public relations and marketing firm that has a special knack for working with authors to help them get all the publicity they deserve and more. Lorenz works with bestselling authors and self-published authors promoting all types of books, whether it's their first book or their 15th book. He's handled publicity for books by CEOs, CIA Officers, Navy SEALS, homemakers, fitness gurus, doctors, lawyers and adventurers. His clients have been featured by Good Morning America, FOX & Friends, CNN, ABC News, New York Times, Nightline, TIME, PBS, LA Times, USA Today, Washington Post, Woman's World, and Howard Stern to name a few.

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

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Friday, July 23, 2010

Your Book Marketing Plan – How Much Should You Budget to Promote Your Book?

While it's possible to promote your book on a shoestring budget, especially if you focus on online book marketing, you will still need a marketing budget. The amount you should budget depends on your book marketing plan.

Here are some expense categories to consider and some money-saving tips:

Blog/Web site: Web site design and hosting fees. If you build your website on a blogging platform like WordPress or TypePad, you'll minimize the costs for online book marketing. See this page for
blogging resources for authors.

Graphics: Design of web site header and graphics, design of printed materials, purchase of stock images for blog/web site, and a photo shoot for your author photo.

Printing: Business cards, bookmarks, postcards, flyers, and posters for personal appearances. In addition to local printers, check prices for online printers such as Printing for Less.

Copywriting and Editing: You may want to hire a professional copywriter to help you write effective sales copy for your sales flyer, website and other online book marketing materials. It's also a good idea to have an editor or proofreader review your website and other marketing materials.

Email Marketing: You will pay a monthly or per mailing fee to the company that manages your opt-in mailing list. Some services, like Mail Chimp, waive their fees until your list gets to a certain size.

Review Copies: Printing, packaging and postage for review copies sent through the mail.

Publicity: There are a number of free online press release services, such as PRLog and Free Press Release. To get wider distribution for your most important releases, you will need to use a paid service like PRWeb.

Learning: Lots of blogs and newsletters offer helpful book marketing information. But don't forget to budget funds for books, teleclasses and other opportunities to get a more in-depth education about publishing and book marketing, and for dues to writing and publishing organizations. You'll be more effective at promoting your book if you know how to do it properly.

Professional Services: You may need help in implementing your book marketing plan, especially if you have a day job. There are a number of virtual assistants who specialize in working with authors. You may also want to invest in consulting services from a book marketing coach to help you develop your book marketing strategy.

Other Expenses: Additional expenses may include travel, book fairs, book award entry fees, advertising, and administrative expenses such as postage.

The best way to develop a budget is to assign a projected cost to each element in your book marketing plan. Then you can break down your expenses by month, to arrive at a monthly budget.

Dana Lynn Smith is a book marketing coach and author of The Savvy Book Marketer's Guide to Successful Social Marketing and several other book promotion guides. For book promotion tips, visit
The Savvy Book Marketer blog. Get a copy of the Top Book Marketing Tips e-book when you register for her free book marketing newsletter. For more book marketing tips, follow Dana on
Twitter or visit .

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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

July 2010 Book Reviews from WITS Team

How Did She Get There?
Author: Ann Dowd
ISBN: 978-0-615-33530-8
Publisher: White Ink Press 2010
Reviewed by Vonnie Faroqui for WITS

How Did She Get There? is what I almost want to call a modern day cautionary tale. The heroine however does not turn anyone into a golden statue out of greed; or laze all day in the sun, thinking the world owes her a living while others labor. She is as human and self absorbed as we come, with all the classic confused notions found in a folk tale character. The author, Ann Karen Dowd, has certainly written a story that leads her heroine and the reader through a maze of challenges; attitudes to be overcome, confused perceptions about right and wrong, pitfalls of human nature, even exploring the motivational fears and desires which often hide beneath well-meaning intentions.

The story’s thread takes its heroine, poet Caro Barrone, to the very edge of reason, when she becomes obsessed with Livia, a thirteen-year old poet prodigy. How Did She Get There? looks at Caro’s inner turmoil as she struggles to rediscover a sense of identity and deal with the decaying pieces of her changing life; motherhood, the empty nest, fears of growing old, expectations, abandonment, and misdirected desires. She is not the typical heroine and this is not the typical feel-good tale. Instead the author has dug deeply into the places we fear to look, excavating aspects of a woman’s inner experience in ways and situations that are far too near our hearts for comfort. Ann does this with such compassion and understanding that she manages to guide us to the far side of the hedges healthier than we were before entering the labyrinth.

This is a deeply provocative read that will challenge as well as please the reader on many levels. The book offers a well-developed story line and believable characters that feel like people you know and care about. The poetry is exquisite. Ann has, with skill and grace, allowed the reader to travel the winding path of one woman’s second coming of age from beginning to end and turned Caro’s story into one of triumph.

My Dog Tim and Other Stories
Author: Garasamo Maccagnone
ISBN: 978-1-4327-5562-1
Publisher: Outskirts Press, Inc. (2010)
Link to purchase:
Reviewer: Vonnie Faroqui

In spite of its seemingly innocuous title, My Dog Tim and Other Stories is a raw, gritty, poignantly honest, and often humorous collection of short stories that will appeal to an adult audience. Author Garasamo Maccagnone wastes no time in immediately engaging his audience with the longest story in the collection, “St. John of the Midfield.” The author continues, with each narrative taking the reader on a rollercoaster ride touching a variety of themes including: sports, family, relationships, crime, race, religion, faith, and the beloved childhood pet. As a storyteller, Garasamo’s writing talent exhibits a wide range and depth of perspective.

“Goalie Boy” is my favorite story among the nine. The image of an overzealous, underachieving parent, attempting to live life through their child, as seen from the kid’s perspective, makes for a very interesting read. Perhaps everyone will be able to identify with his sexual awkwardness as Goalie Boy comes of age, a comic highpoint. This story ends with an unexpected and disturbing turn as the reader lives through an entire childhood, experiencing both triumph and despair.

The tale of “White Fang” will remind readers of their childhood experiences, when revenge and vendettas among siblings were a source of limitless fun and often painful consequences that become priceless memories.

Regardless of one’s religion, “The Note Giver” illustrates that common figures, personalities, and failings can be found in any belief system. When confronted with uninvited truths, reactions are universal in nature.

From first to last, Garasamo Maccagnone demonstrates a flexibility of wit and realism that makes My Dog Tim and Other Stories a refreshing and captivating read. When one story ends, he leaves you eager for the next.

Memoirs from the Asylum

Author: Kenneth Weene

ISBN: 978-0-9844219-5-4
Publisher: All Things that Matter Press, 2010
Link to purchase:
Reviewer Byline: Vonnie Faroqui for WITS

Memoirs from the Asylum author Kenneth Weene has, with many twists and phobic turns, succeeded in writing a moving and fascinating exploration of the inner workings of the insane mind. Memoirs is set within the confines of a mental health institution and weaves its way through the lives and memories of the asylum’s patients, narrated from the internal perspective of two patients and their psychiatrist. The vision of life depicted within and around these three main characters makes a case for a larger societal madness as the author explores the bureaucracy surrounding and encapsulating the insane and their caregivers. As uncomfortable as some aspects of the book may be, these same passages hold illuminating power.

Well crafted, Memoirs from the Asylum has a developed plot line and believable story progression. The best aspect of the book is how the author has written from the perspective or inner thoughts of the characters. This is done with such realism, understanding and truth that it is easy to relate with the patient’s fears, frustrations, joys and triumphs. It is obvious that the author is writing from a deeper understanding of human motivation and psychosis. His treatment of his characters is compassionate and without judgment allowing the reader to formulate their own opinions and confront their own preconceptions and prejudices. Unlike so many other novels these days, Weene’s writing is not preachy or deliberately educational in tone, with well developed characters and originality that make for compelling reading.

At times the book is disturbing as it addresses and reveals many destructive societal attitudes and inhumanities. The author has skillfully lifted the veil of willful disinterest surrounding the mentally ill and shone a spot light on the role played by the greater culture in perpetuating and growing madness.
Full of memorable characters that are as tragic as they are comedic, this book proves itself in the great tradition of writing. Disturbingly honest and often graphic in nature Memoirs from the Asylum is an entertaining and enlightening read for adults.

Fade from Blue
Author: P. J. Thomas
ISBN: 1-4241-6939-9
Publisher: Publish America
Genre and Target Market: fiction; thriller; crime
Publication Date: 2007
Book Length in Pages: 210
Reviewer: Sarah Moore for WITS

In my professional work as part of the publishing world, I usually have one encounter with an author’s work. While most books that I am asked to read are good and are obviously created with the genuine passion of the author, they quickly became another addition to my bookshelf and I move onto the next novel. In some instances, however, I am given the opportunity to really examine the breadth of an author’s work through multiple publications. In the case of P. J. Thomas, the pleasure I have had to read three of his novels have served to increase my respect for his work and make me a bigger fan of the stories he creates. Each book that Thomas writes offers unique characters, formatting, and even writing styles, as every work shares a story different from the others. One aspect of Thomas’ work that does not change, however, is the quality of the writing. His latest novel, Fade from Blue, is a powerful thriller that will grip readers from beginning to end.

Fade from Blue tells the story of Frankie Rizzo, a police officer who must ask for help from some unsavory connections after he is accused in the murders of his wife and her lover. Frankie spends decades living under a false identity and building an entirely new life for himself in Mexico. In all of those years, however, he never stops thinking about the infant son he left behind. Frankie is eventually reunited with his now-grown child through a series of amazing circumstances and the climax which then unfolds is one not to be missed.

As he has so wonderfully done in his other novels, Thomas crafts a set of characters that are believable and honest in their portrayals. Whether the readers are following a high-ranking member of the mob, a corrupt police officer, a wisecracking older woman, or a scared girl with a history of abuse, they will find dialogue and emotion that fits perfectly and comes together to form a captivating storyline. I was particularly drawn to the women in Fade from Blue, each of whom showed both amazing strength and vulnerability. There were no one-dimensional stereotypes of women in the book, which I appreciated and which allowed me to become even more invested in the book’s outcome.

Thomas manages to avoid the predictable “gotcha” moments that are always found in lesser thrillers. He does not need to shock his readers with a ridiculous plot twist in order to grab your attention. (Don’t get me wrong . . . effectively executed plot twists are breathtaking, but I find that they are often forced into a book in an awkward or forced way.) Instead, Thomas slowly develops in Fade from Blue a tightly constructed novel that unfolds naturally. There are surprises, to be sure, but they are presented in a way that shocks but also integrates into the other events of the novel seamlessly.
If you are looking for a quality novel that will keep you turning pages but yet not wanting to reach the back cover, I strongly recommend Fade from Blue. And, once you become a fan of P. J. Thomas, I hope you will seek out his previous books and enjoy all that this author has offered to the literary world. I believe that, like me, you will enjoy the opportunity to explore Thomas’ work thoroughly and await the time you can hold the next work and begin what is certain to be another great reading experience.

Lost Angel Walkabout—One Traveler’s Tales
Author: Linda Ballou
ISBN #978-1449971526
Price $14.95
Pages: 200
Publisher: Winddancer, 2010
Reviewed by Yvonne Perry for WITS

With each story I read in Linda Ballou’s book, Lost Angel Walkabout, I thought, “This is the best story in the book.” Then, I would turn the page and find that the next adventure was even more interesting.

I love the way the author weaves accurate and little known native history into each story. This information isn’t what your typical tour guide might spout from a memorized script. This book and its information comes from roughing it in the wilderness in some remote sites where most of us would not go with a group much less alone, which is Linda’s favorite way to travel. The aloneness is rejuvenating for her as she listens to nature and the spirits that dwell in each mesmerizing place speak to her.

As for aloneness, Linda says, “Much is said of the virtues of connecting with local cultures, but in aloneness you can connect with the forces that shaped them.” Profound wisdom!

Not all of the trips were taken alone, however. I was especially touched by the story titled “Water Dogs” because of the tender way Linda showed grace and understanding to her 75-year-old mother who was along on a snorkeling trip. Linda was so creative in bringing the fish to her mom since Mom couldn’t dive under and hold her breath long enough to see them near the cave entrance below the water. But this story is also a favorite because of the humorous way Ballou depicts the cast of characters. In fact, her sense of humor in telling the story not only made me feel like I was on location with her, it gave me a sense of her lively personality.

What I didn’t expect, but found pleasantly refreshing was the spiritual aspect Linda brought into each tale. Her trips are inspired by her spirit guides, of whom she says, “Guides are simply that—guides. They try to direct you on an ever-changing path to soul-stirring moments, but the responsibility for the journey is ultimately yours.”

So, I guess that’s why Linda doesn’t blame her guides for forgetting to take her silk underwear with her on the trip to Dorothy Lake. She nearly froze to death when the zipper of her sleeping bag broke and exposed her backside to the elements. What’s an adventure without risk, right? And a little aroma from being wrapped in damp horse blankets to survive that night.

Tim Cahill’s interview was a very special treat and served as an interlude to gear the reader up for more action and adventure. Having taken the time to chat with one of her favorite travel writers shows that this author had credibility in both the writing and traveling world.

Another thing that makes this book intriguing and sets it apart from other travel/adventure books is the eco alert at the end of many chapters. It’s sad to know that many of the places Linda recounts in her stories are no longer the quaint, rural, peaceful spiritual nests they were at the time of her visit. They have been ruined by greedy deforestation, over-fishing, and toxic waste. This was an unexpected call to action in our effort to care for the beauty of our Mother Earth.

Throughout the book, the author’s storytelling style is a great blend of travel journalism and real life experiences and spiritual insight that entertain and inform. Highly recommended reading.

Kids Who See Ghosts, Guide Them Through Their Fear
Dr. Caron Goode
Weiser Books, 2010
ISBN: 978-1-57863-472-9
Reviewed by Yvonne Perry

This book was a very enlightening read. I learned a lot—not only about kids who see ghosts, but about how and why it is possible to see spirits in another dimension. The electromagnetic spectrum of wavelengths of radiation is huge, but the narrow band (between 380 and 760 nanometers) that we call light and that most humans can see is a very small fraction of what actually exists. Typically, what we humans can’t see with our naked eye or what our brains can’t understand is thought to be nonexistent, but other species can see these wavelengths. For example, a rattlesnake can see the whole infrared spectrum and ultraviolet ranges. A microscope reveals a world within our world. A telescope shows us things in space that 100 years ago we would never thought existed. You can’t see radio waves, gamma rays, X-rays, or microwaves, but they are very real. Just because you can’t see something, does not mean it doesn’t exist. It is possible that the eyes of a child have the ability to see in more ranges and spectrums than an adult.

The fact that children see things adults don’t is also explained by brain development and whether or not the culture in which the child lives accepts seeing spirit walkers as the norm. Children have not been conditioned like adults have and therefore do not know that they are not “supposed” to see spirit walkers.

Through reading this book I also learned that many things can trigger a ghostly experience by activating the temporal lobe, the part of the brain associated with psychic activity. When in a meditative, altered, or dissociated state of awareness, it is possible to see into these “hidden” spectrums even if only momentarily. Any person under stress or trauma can phase in and out of the brain states that are open to seeing apparitions. Younger children’s brain waves tend to linger in the dreamy states. Psychiatrist Carl Jung believed that ghosts and hauntings were universal occurrences. I believe that as society begins to accept paranormal experiences as scientifically and physically possible and more people are free to talk about their psychic vision, these gifts will be used in a positive and productive manner.

Caron affirms that children (and adults) who see ghosts are not crazy. Children should be allowed to talk about seeing spirit walkers without fear of being judged or reprimanded. Therefore, traditional parenting and teaching styles do not work with intuitive kids who see ghosts. Regardless of whether they believe in ghosts, parents of these psychic kids can learn to integrate spirit communication as a matter-of-fact part of life. When a child speaks about seeing a ghost, casually remind the child that he or she can set boundaries and is in control. Since the intention of some ghosts is not the best or of the light, it is wise for a parent to be discerning about whether to allow a ghost to remain. Kids can exert their power over spirits in much the same way they would if a bully was bothering them. It is fine to tell a spirit to “Go to the light” or “Leave me alone.” Teach the child to call upon his or her guardian angels for protection.

My next paragraph is excerpted from the book because I feel it is important for readers to know that you or your child are not at the mercy of intruding ghosts. Children can defend themselves spiritually.

“Any child can insist on and demand to experience only that which is for his or her highest good and the highest good of all concerned. And learning how to tell the difference in the voices is very easy to do. Learning those differences puts you on the high road to work with, study from, and expose yourself to only those beings, voices, and energies that are truly for your highest good. You don’t have to put up with the other stuff.”

In Section 6, Dr. Goode gives useful tips for parents with various thinking styles to help children according to their individual temperaments cope with fear and incorporate an empowered approach to life—not just for managing their fear of ghosts, but for dealing with anything they may be afraid of. This chapter is worth the read even if your child doesn’t report seeing ghosts. Healthy interaction with the invisible worlds can give us the information, support, and caring we need to become healthy human beings.

The only thing I did not like about the book was the section in which Joe Nickell suggested telling children that ghosts do not exist except in our minds. This entire chapter seems to contradict and undo the comfort and encouragement provided by the other experts in the book.

As the author states, it’s much easier to give a child a pill than to educate yourself and adopt a new parenting method. It takes courage to teach or raise intuitive children. I’m thankful for Dr. Goode’s book because it gives parents the information they need to feel more confident in helping a child overcome fear and put any event into perspective. I think it is about time we begin to let go of our preconceived ideas about what is “normal” and begin to use the wisdom and principles in this book to help guide kids who see ghosts through their fear. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn more about this topic--especially those who work with children in any capacity.

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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Book Reviews for July 2010

Follow the Money: A collection of interconnected short stories
Ross Cavins
RCG Publishing (2010)
ISBN 9780982772003
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views

Follow the Moneyis a hysterical collection of short stories that share a connection about a cache of stolen money. The stories begin with two bumbling brothers who get outwitted by their kidnapped victim. The adventure escalates when she takes off with their money. Well, it really is her money, since her dad paid it for her ransom. As she embarks on her new life, she encounters some scammers who manage to talk her into letting them invest it for her. In spite of her worldliness, especially for a teen, she learns a hard lesson about something being too good to be true.

Each story tells a quirky, hysterical tale about where the money goes. The author, Ross Cavins, gets an A+ for creativity. How he manages to connect all of his ideas into one book, I will never figure out. The only thing that comes to mind is that he randomly opens a dictionary and chooses topics from the words that are on the pages that fall open. I love this aspect of the stories, because nothing is predictable, except that the money will soon end up in someone else’s hands. As the stories progress, things seem to come around full circle, demonstrating the interconnection of all things in life. This of course is not always a good thing though.

I am truly glad that I didn’t read Follow the Moneyin a public place because my inability to hold in my laughter would have strangers assuming that I am in serious need of some kind of psychotropic medication. I highly recommend this novel to people who enjoy a good, laugh out loud adventure, and who are not offended easily!


Tales of Addiction and Inspiration for Recovery: Twenty True Stories from the Soul
Barbara Sinor, PhD
Modern History Press (2010) - Amazon
ISBN 9781615990375
Reviewed by Carol Hoyer, PhD, for Reader Views

This is the second book of Barbara Sinor’s that I have had the privilege to read. As a psychologist I am a firm believer in letting others share their stories in the hope that it may spark recovery in others. Many of those who are attempting recovery, or are in recovery, don’t like being told what to do or be lectured to. Stories like these are gut-wrenching, sad and hopeful, with many ups and downs.

Recovery, for whatever the reason, is not an easy process. Many think that just stopping the negative behavior will lead them to be happy and as you read these stories that the author has collected, you will see this is not so.

I loved the way the author decided to get her information to include for this book, “A Call for Stories,” what a great way to get others to share. As I read some of these stories I thought to myself, “I know this. Have I read this book before?” No I had not; some of the contributors are authors I have read and done reviews for.

The other part of the book which I really loved was the author sharing her own experiences about her son Richard. She wasn’t asking for pity; she was letting the readers know of her own experiences with trying to save someone we love from falling into the depths of substance addiction. In her own thoughts and those of her husband, she discusses enabling, begging, pleading and making threats to finally cutting her son off. Mothers are supposed to take care of their kids till the day they pass; they are supposed to protect them from the evil world, yet as the author says, “You can only change yourself.” I certainly can relate to what she speaks of as my own brother drank himself to death. My family expected me the “therapist” to save him and couldn’t understand why I wouldn’t.

Dr. Sinor also discusses the dreaded “system” that really didn’t seem to care. There were so many hurdles to pass through that one just gave up. For those who are in recovery, or thinking about going into recovery, it will not be easy; you will fight, stay clean of your addiction and fall into it again. This might happen time after time.

Tales of Addiction and Inspiration for Recovery: Twenty True Stories from the Soul is another great book that I have recommended to my college students who are going into the field of psychology. We learn more by listening to others experiences.

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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Editor’s Corner July 2010

It's hard to believe that half of 2010 is already over! But, I am excited about the success of the projects I've been working on this year. I’ve had a great response to We Are One in Spirit Blog and We Are One in Spirit Podcast. Shows are booked (some have two guests per week) through the middle of October. We’ve consistently received over 200 hits per week on this “revived” blog (it had been dormant for nearly a year).

I encourage authors to find a partner to work with on book promotion. My Facebook page with Dr. Caron Goode, the author of Kids Who See Ghosts, Guide Them Through Their Fear, is a public forum that assists people in working with children who exhibit supernatural gifts. Our partnership ’s a perfect fit for cross-promoting her book and mine: The Sid Series ~ A Collection of Holistic Stories for Children. Together, we get our similar message out to a larger number of people in both our networks and build our own platform in the process. Win-win for all!
I met Mark Scrivner for coffee the week after he contacted me online. He found me through a search for Nashville resume writers. We’ve become good friends and I truly believe in Mark and the terrific video products he has to offer authors through his company, SnapShot Interactive. When WITS writes a resume for a Nashville client, we will send you to Mark, who will invite you come to his studio and record a video resume like the one he did for me: Our written resumes are $175 and includes two pages and a cover letter. A video resume that shows your style, voice, and personality to potential employers is $200. SnapShot Interactive Recruiting has partnered with Writers in the Sky Creative Writing Services to offer resume clients the ability to have both a written and video resume for one low price of $350.

It started out that Mark was only going to do video resumes. That’s a great service to help put Nashville back to work, but after being in business for just a few short months, he decided to expand his video production to include author bios and book promotion. Rather than just having a written bio on your Web page or blog, you can shine your face, voice, and personality to let your visitors know who you are and what you have to offer. There are a lot of companies doing movie trailer-type videos for books and many of them do those very well. But Mark’s idea is to involve and feature the author as he or she enthusiastically represents the book’s content and gives personal background on what brought the book to life. Here is Stephanie Huffman's book promo video:

This e-zine is proofread by Sarah Moore or Barbara Milbourn. I appreciate your contributions and thank Sarah and Barbara for their hard work.

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Sunday, July 11, 2010

Calling for Submissions for August 2010 Ezine

It's time for me to start putting together the next fantastic and information-filled e-zine for August 2010. 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 submitting 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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Friday, July 9, 2010

The Power of Networking

“There is a power and unity and strength in networking. I think networking is always relevant. And I think it is particularly relevant for Blacks because of our feeling of isolation.” ~ Alvin Pouissant, M.D. (Success Runs in Our Race, 2004, p. 60 by George Fraser)

Years ago, women had their quilting bees and sewing circles in order to form communities of support. This was the old way we networked. Somewhere along the line, though, women lost those connections. All types of problems from alcoholism to substance abuse to broken lives replaced the old quilting bees. However, given the rise of the Internet, networking has taken on a renewed surge of energy.

Traditionally, networking has helped many people of color make business contacts, develop relationships and meet their professional goals. Now, networking is more important than ever. With our present economy, networking can help your business survive and thrive.

Can you join a group which supports your passion? Or even join a women’s or men's group or a book club?

One Sunday I went to a book signing at Milligan Books ( where I found out about the Red Hat Society, which is a national organization ( for women. This chapter, founded by Ruthie Hopkins (co-publisher of Pasadena Journal with her husband, Attorney Joe Hopkins) of, hails from Pasadena. The women sported red hats and purple outfits and they came in and modeled for those present at the book signing. As a group, they were on their way to a play.

The prerequisite to joining the group was that the women had to be over fifty. The reason they wear purple and red is because after fifty you don’t care what people think. They say that the younger women can join the group, but those that join wear lavender and pink.

Anyhow, the women looked so excited as they modeled their outfits. What I saw in each eye was a gleam of satisfaction, a look of triumph—a stride that said that they had arrived. Childbirth, child rearing and sometimes marriages were behind them. Now they could deal with life on their own terms. And most of all, they were networking.

Networking is very important to building a business or helping you reach your dreams.

Personally, as a writer, I’ve been in a writer’s group since 1992. I also participate in Black Writers on Tour, Recycling Black Dollars, and many online communities such as Black Now I'm a member in a multi-racial group, the Greater Los Angeles Writers' Society (GLAWS) as well.

As a race of people, we have always used networking. This is that special something which has helped get around the Old Boy System during Jim Crow, and even up to this day. Just look back at the Black Church, the Masons, the fraternities, the sororities, the NAACP, and other groups and see how they broke down the doors of separatism.

Now with the Internet, we have the power of global social networking groups we can join such as Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, Ning groups, Black Planet, and others. We are all stronger when we unite.

"I am because We are, and since We are, therefore, I am." ~ John Mbuti

By Dr. Maxine Thompson
Author of Hostage of Lies
Voted a Best Book of 2009

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Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Poetry Corner July 2010

My Online Best Friend

Today I found a friend,
Who knew everything I felt.
He knew my every weakness,
And the problems I've been dealt.
He understood my visions,
And listened to my dreams.
He listened to how I felt about life and love,
And knew what it all means.
Not once did He try to change me,
Or tell me I was wrong.
He understood what I was going through,
And promised he’d stay long
I reached out to this friend,
To show him that I care
To pull him close and let him know
How much I need him there

And now I realized that this perfect friend I found
was nothing but my mirror.

Jackie Paulson is a qualified paralegal who holds a two-year degree from Kaplan University in Chicago, Illinois. Her 20 years in the hair care industry as a barber, manager, and entrepreneur taught her the importance of customer service. While possessing an underlying intuitive, psychological and spiritual approach to life and relationships, Jackie helps clients manage their time, energy, money and environment.

By Paul Barnett

A pile of discarded dreams lies on the side of a sidewalk
Next to a busy street
An old birdhouse stands, worn and empty
Testimony to a former life from a time
When music swung and pictures were hung, dusted on the wall
The spark which had shown brightly
So many years ago
Faded ever so slightly as the leaves of time
Fell quietly, unnoticed
The bird having long since
Flown free

Go Get the Pliers

Is that blasted thing broken again?
It seems we just fixed it a short time ago.
Go get the pliers, the hammer and wrench.
Oh heck! Just bring the whole toolbox this time.
We’ll see what we missed on the last repair.
Tweak it and tune it up just like a pro.
Clean it and glean it til it shines like gold
With nary a hint or a speckle of grime.
Worst case scenario, we fall short,
Our futile efforts fail to convert.
Then we need look for an alternate means
For achieving the goal to which we aspire.
But you and I are a crafty lot,
Not afraid to go diving in dirt.
Fearless, undaunted we rake through the muck,
Knowing the prize that can rise from the mire.
We never know the tools we possess
Til challenge steps up and we call him a liar.

Website: Lulu

Stealing Time

The picture on the nightstand
Reminds me how it used to be
Before fate came calling
And silently took you from me.
Those last days were precious,
Though hard to get through.
I treasured each moment
That I spent with you

Stealing time…
Hope for tomorrow.
Stealing time…
Live for today.
In my mind I block out the sorrow.
To savor the days we have left is like
Stealing time.

Time is a treasure,
A measure of the love that we earn,
And memory the jewels to be found
In the lessons we learn.
But keepsakes don’t matter
When rules start to bend.
And all that’s worth keeping are
The days that we spend

Stealing time…
Hope for tomorrow.
Stealing time…
Live for today.
In my mind I block out the sorrow.
To savor the days we have left is like
Stealing time.

~ Dennis S Martin

Ballad of Big Man

Big ole boy I used to love; he died.
His Mama called to tell me; we cried.

The last time I saw him was on T.V.
And he was as big as big could be.
He was on one of those strong man shows.
What made him do it, no one knows.

He was benching stacks of the iron bars.
The crowd was screaming; he was the star.
He was pressing a ton of weight.
The crowd was hungry; he was the bait.

They say he was taking lots of that shit.
The stuff the boys take to make them get big.
The stuff the girls take to make them run fast.
And they don’t care that the glory won’t last.

So they do what they do, find their place in the sun.
And their names are in lights, when the sun is done.
So they do what they do, and then they are gone.
And they leave us to mourn, and to try to move on.

Big ole boy I used to love; he died.
His mama called to tell me; we cried.
We cried for his beauty; we cried for his youth.
We cried for his searches for meaning and truth.
And the longer we live, the more we know.
It was never the arrival; it was always just the road.

Jan Bossing © 2010
Joelton, Tennessee

It’s the Life

It's not the tear, it's the howl
It's not the pain, it's the wound
It's not the destiny, it's the road
What is first decreed and evident?
What wraps you first in its belt?
What stirs more and what is felt?

The sky is clear
Its strip untouched
The clouds are not the barrier…
...even their haze is long wrenched!
The rays are still beaming
Isn’t their task much bound?

Eyes are witness, captured is the soul
Intent is inclined, trust is the core
Clogged is not my Merry
Death is not for my love
It's not the color, it's the fauna
It's not the return, it's the life!

~ Naima Saleem

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Saturday, July 3, 2010

Network with Us July 2010

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

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 is worth telling everyone! And to all who have the ability to dream... Write a poem, 30 lines or fewer on any subject or write 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.

Poetry Prizes: $250, $125, $50.
Writing Prizes: $500, $250, $100.

Entry fees: $5 per poem, $10 per story.
More info:

Janet Riehl is both on the cover and between the covers of the anthology, The Spirit of a Woman: Stories to Empower & Inspire.  Janet
also wrote a foreword for Margaret Norton's just-published book, When Ties Break: A Memoir about How to Thrive After Loss.

2010 Summer Writing Retreat
July 26-30, 2010
Sul Ross State University
Alpine, TX

Ever want to get away from it all and spend a week immersed in writing? Here's your chance with the 2010 Summer Writing Retreat at Sul Ross State University in scenic Alpine, deep in the heart of West Texas.
There’s something about the stunning landscape of mountainous West Texas—not to mention the refreshing afternoon showers and cool summer evenings—that inspire writers to simply write.
Intensive writing workshops will be taught by five of Texas’ premier authors. Whichever class you select, it will feature:
• Intimate classes (20 students maximum)
• Personalized instruction
• Time dedicated for writing

Close the week at the 2010 Way Out West Texas Book Festival in Alpine July 29–31. The Summer Writing Retreat instructors will join other authors for readings and book signings and a whole lot of literary fun.

Tuition is $299 for WLT members / $359 nonmembers plus room and board. To register online with credit card, PayPal or Google checkout, visit the
Summer Writing Retreat registration page.

Expert Corporate Writing
Writers in the Sky Creative Writing Services now offers a way for businesses
to outsource their corporate writing. ContactMartin Smith for resumes, portfolios, press kits, executive summaries, and other white papers andbusiness documents.

Write Press Newsletter, launched in December 2009, is a wonderful and exciting way for non-fiction authors to introduce their book to an entire community of online and offline readers. This newsletter, available in print form only, is designed to provide authors with an opportunity to share insightful information about the creation and inspiration of their book. The first issue of Write Press News, delivered direct to the front door of readers and distributed all of our live events, has been well received and the books we recommend are selling!

The upcoming issue of Write Press News will feature authors such as Joel Comm, Sarah Young and a personal interview with John Porter, Sr. The Write Press Newsletter is a valuable resource for readers and authors alike. Readers can subscribe and authors can learn more about how they can have their book featured in Write Press News by visiting our website at

Barbara Techel, proud mom of Frankie the Walk ‘N Roll Dog, as well as bestselling author of
Frankie the Walk ‘N Roll Dog book series is thrilled to announce that Frankie’s story will appear in the July 12th issue of one of the top-selling woman’s magazine, Woman’s World. For more information about Barbara and Frankie visit

Barbara’s passion is bringing a positive face and voice to all animals with disabilities! Invite Frankie to visit your classroom, library or book club via Skype an Author

Job Hunting in Nashville? 
If you've been sending out resumes and haven't gotten the response from employers you've been hoping for, then maybe it's time to put your best face forward. Stand out in a crowded and competitive job market with an HD Video Resume. To learn more about how you could be just one minute away from your dream job. Go and check out our Video Resumes page. It's also a great resource from employers looking for the perfect person to fill an opening.

Nancy Kelly Allen's latest picture book, Trouble in Troublesome Creek [Red Rock Press, 2010], has been selected as the book to represent Kentucky at the National Book Festival in Washington, DC in September. One children's book from each state is selected for this event.

The San Francisco Book Festival awarded Janet Riehl's audio book, Sightlines: A Family Love Story in Poetry & Music

Want to learn how to get your book on the shelves at libraries? See  The Savvy Book
Marketer's Guide to Selling Your Book to Libraries

Get a FREE 30-day trial of Allison Maslan’s life coaching software for personal development and goal setting at

Need help with using Twitter? Check out Dana Lynn Smith'sTwitter Guide for Authors.

Writers! Would you like to know how your manuscript reads (and not by a family member or best friend) before you consider it "final"? Visit to see if this objective feedback reader
service fits your needs. You can also contact Joyce Shafer at

Need a Personal Writing Instructor?

Adjunct professorDianna Calareso is available for one-on-one or group sessions by phone,email, and online conferences.

Get your pens out (or keyboard) and turn your story into a winner!
If you’ve been following Claudia Del Balso's blog:, then you’ve read her posts regarding writing. It’s time to put your knowledge to the test. If you are currently working on a short story that needs tweaking or major editing then you’ve come to the right place. There’s NO entry or reading fee, so what are you waiting for?

The guidelines for submission are simple:

1) Length must not exceed 2,500 words (Word count is strictly enforced).
2) Manuscripts must be typed, double-spaced, and in Word.
3) Font should be either Arial or Times New Roman, size 12. (This will make it easier on our panel of readers’ eyes)
4) You must be an aspiring or emerging writer.
5) You must be working on this story (not published before).
6) Only one story per participant.
7) You must register to follow Claudia's blog by clicking on the icon "Follow" on the right-hand side at
8) Deadline to enter July 31, 2010. Winner will be announced in my blog on August 18th.
9) Send your entry via e-mail to:
10) In the e-mail subject line, please write: Writing Contest: (Title of your story)

The prize: You’ll get to work with a Canadian author, editor, and poet. He’ll give you feedback on this story in order to make it better. You’ll have the opportunity to revise it twice and ask him questions. He’ll give you overall comments on POV, dialogue, and characterization. I am giving this opportunity to aspiring writers because I know how difficult it is to make it into this business. I bet you’re asking, so what’s the catch? An easy one! Join my blog. Click on the icon “FOLLOW”. You have nothing to lose but everything to gain by reading my tips and advice on everything there is to know about writing, editing, and publishing. Is that so bad? If you have any questions regarding this contest contact me to the e-mail address above. Keep your pen moving and your eyes on the prize! Good luck to all participants!

Learn more at

Announcing Creative Writing Classes with author Roberta Allen
Multi-published author Roberta Allen has taught private workshops since 1991 and is offering creative writing classes designed to help writers overcome blocks, build confidence, feel safe taking risks, recognize what works and what doesn’t, and learn to trust their intuition.

These creative writing classes are conducted in a group setting to those who can meet in-person in the New York, NY area. For those outside New York, Roberta has a special introductory offer on one-on-one mentoring tele-classes by phone and email.

Roberta’s supportive, constructive critiques give specific suggestions for improvement as she teaches students to recognize their individual writing process and what can be done to improve it. Learn how to write micro fiction, micro memoirs, short stories, memoirs, novels, experimental forms. Instruction on point of view, structure, voice, style, language, character, conflict, plot, theme, dialogue, and rhythm.

Ms. Allen has been on the faculty of The New School for 18 years and has taught in the writing program at Columbia University. Check out the classes or sign up at

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

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