Friday, April 29, 2011

Why You Should Blog

by Dianna Calareso

Ok, I know I’m not the most credible source when it comes to discussing social media. I’m not on Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, MySpace … you get the point. I know these are extremely valuable tools for many people, and can be very helpful for writers.

But even more important than social media-ing yourself as a writer is, well, actually writing. And this is why I love blogs – they combine the necessary modern device of online connection with the essential lifeblood of writing … writing.

I claim ownership of 3 blogs, and each of them has served an essential purpose to the pursuit of writing:

1. Publishing your work

In September 2009 I started my blog sea salt ( I was squeamish about making myself a public presence online, but knew that a blog would 1) keep me accountable to putting words on a page and 2) help me easily share writing with an online community. I had strict parameters, however:

• I would never write anything dull

• I would never write anything snarky (for examples of snark, read most blogs by people in their 20s)

• I would never write anything untrue

I have since created a volume of online work, thousands upon thousands of words that have kept me practicing, polishing and publishing my work. In fact, I submit many of these essays for publication, and several have been published (ironically, these published essays are then listed on the blog in my “credits” section).

2. Practicing other genres

In October 2010 I started a cooking blog, Mostly Local ( I started this one because I was lonely, working as a freelance writer in a new city, and because I discovered the Nashville Farmer’s Market. I hadn’t been writing, and my writing funk was starting to stink up my brain. So I challenged myself to cook from Farmer’s Market ingredients, and share my recipes with readers. This blog was fun, successful and useful (I use it to refer to recipes!).

This blog taught me important lessons about working as a writer:

• You should know how to write in at least more than 1 genre

• You should work on projects that energize and excite you

• You should never, never, never stop writing

In January I began a full-time job, and no longer had the time to visit the Farmer’s Market during the week. It saddened me that the blog seemed to be at its end, but I realized that it gave me a writing focus for over 3 months – during those months of figuring out who I’d be in this new place, I discovered I could write about food and cooking. And most importantly, the blog kept me constantly writing while the funk dissipated. I emerged from that time with a new love of cooking, and with the pride that I never allowed myself to stop writing.

3. Playing with words

In February 2011 I purchased a 1950s Smith-Corona typewriter from 8th Avenue Antiques. It cost $50 and I initially purchased it as inspiring decoration. But the typewriter worked! A dear friend (also a writer) has almost the same model, so we decided to start a blog about typing, Smith-Corona Sisters ( What we do sounds simple: we type. But since the typewriters are old and the medium is inherently more challenging than computers, we’ve made some discoveries:

• Typing keeps you honest, showing typos, missed letters, and misjudged space on the page

• Typing makes for an invigorating, tactile writing experience

• Typing can turn the written word into visual art

We type on different media – movie tickets, a Jiffy box, a tea bag, a hunting license – and each medium gives us a new typing experience. It’s playful. It’s fun. And sometimes, it’s really beautiful!

It’s great to be fully engaged with the online world, but it’s pretty useless unless you’re actually doing the work of writing (be it typing or otherwise!). So if you don’t already blog, give it a try. It will hold you accountable to write, click “publish” and show that you’re more than a profile on a site . . you’re a writer.

Dianna Calareso is a writer, editor, and teacher with WITS. Her work has been published online and in print; her most recent publications include Concisely magazine and the anthology Saying Goodbye. Her creative nonfiction essays can be found at, and she can be contacted directly for editing and writing services. With WITS clients, Dianna specializes in developmental editing and proofreading at the final stage of the manuscript. She has a keen eye for small details that can overturn a manuscript, including shifts in POV and spelling/grammar inconsistencies; she also works to guide clients with questions about plot, characters, and tone. As a writer, she can empathize with whatever your struggle is; as an editor she is eager to help you make your writing better.

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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

How I Started My Writing Business

Inn 2003, my friend and I set goals to leave our corporate jobs within six months. We both reached our goal by holding one another accountable on a weekly basis. She was part of my support team who encouraged, uplifted, brainstormed with me, set mini goals together required me to report what I had done to reach my weekly goals, and kept us moving forward in taking the next step to bring us to our end point on target, on time.

This weekend I will be sharing how I started Writers in the Sky Creative Writing Services, and give five clear steps for setting goals and reaching your dreams. See for details.

WHEN: April 30, 2011
TIME: 1:30 to 5:30 p.m.
WHERE: Center of Symmetry
               212 Louise Avenue
              Nashville, TN 37203.
REGISTER: Carol Batey 615-485-4548
COST: the investment for this class is only $25 and includes a copy of Carol's book.

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Friday, April 22, 2011

Blogging to Promote Your Books

by Yvonne Perry

Whenever I begin to write a book and have decided upon its title, one of the first things I do is get a domain name or URL that will serve as the online home address where I will promote the book. I typically chose the title of my book as the URL. For example, my children’s book, The Sid Series ~ A Collection of Holistic Stories for Children, has the domain name: My latest book, Whose Stuff Is This? Finding Freedom from the Thoughts, Feelings, and Energy of Those Around You, has the domain name: I create a blog to promote and offer content about each book I write. The domain names I own are forwarded to my blogs, which shortens the URL considerably. Compare to Which is easier to say and remember?

The domain name is the first thing search engines scope out when someone types in a keyword. So, why would I use the title of my book as the URL for my blog? Because my promotion of the book is putting the title in the heads of people who are reading my blog posts, finding my articles in directories, and listening to my radio interviews. If they Google my book title, it will come up on the first page of the search. Example: Notice that my blog is not on that page, probably because it is new and doesn’t yet have the traffic that the others do. That’s why I did a blog tour for my book. It put my book on blogs that are more established, have more followers, and rank higher in search engines, plus it gave me all kinds of links back to my blog. So, virtual blog tours are effective for bringing traffic to your site regardless of how many books you sell.

The second thing search engines look for is the title or header of the Web page. For my Sid Series book I use “Intuitive and Spiritually-gifted Children” as the title of the blog. For Whose Stuff Is This? I use “Empathy and Intuition.” If you Google empathy and intuition (even without the quotation marks) my blog comes up on the first page of the search. That’s because there are a lot of people searching for this type of information and not many pages that fit the criterion. How do I know this? I researched keywords using Google Keyword Tool located at This is a free service to show you how people are searching the Web for your product.

Next comes labels/categories and keywords in the text. has a relatively new feature known as “pages.” These function similar to navigational tabs on a Web site and make locating information easier—especially info you need to access frequently or your visitors may need such as your purchase page. For example, if you hope to get speaking engagements from your book marketing efforts, I suggest creating separate pages for your media kit, contact info, testimonials, articles, audios, videos, etc.

Take a look at the pages or nav tabs on the blogs I listed below. I have a page just for those who want to follow the blog. This takes the clutter out of the sidebar and makes it unnecessary to scroll down the page to find a way to subscribe.

There is a limit of ten pages, but if you need more, you can create a list of links and put them at the top of your sidebar. These might include “read an excerpt from my book” or “see reviews for this book.” To me, these are better than widgets that cause your page to load slower and look cluttered.

Must have items on your blog include:

• About the book facts (ISBN, price, page count, genre, pub date, etc.)

• Purchase link directly to your book’s page, not Amazon’s home page

• Book cover

• Book synopsis

Use my blogs as an example of what you might add to your blog to help your book sell: – this blog features a stationary video in the header of the navbar. Anything you put in the upper portion above the blog posts will stay at the top as you publish new posts. – has more nav tabs across the top because I am offering a lot of supportive resources to my visitors. Many are coming to this site for more information after they purchase my book. The blog is conducive to sales, invites the media to snoop around, and gives enough information for anyone to make a decision about asking me to speak for their event. – promotes twelve stories in a series. Since the stories are for sale as e-books, they are listed and linked in the sidebar as well as in the About the Book tab. – this one is not for a book, but I’ve included it because it has a podcast associated with it. Some of you may want to do a podcast on the topic of your non-fiction book. I use Audio Acrobat ( for both of my podcasts.

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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

I’m A Mother, But Who Am I Really?

By Tina M. Games
When Betty, a good friend of my father’s, asked me at a family wedding, “So what are you doing these days?” I completely froze. I had no clue what to say. I was six months pregnant with my second child and had been out of the workforce for two years. I had chosen, for better or worse, to be a stay-at-home mom.

Fortunately for me, Betty sensed my discomfort and chose to rephrase her question, “What would you like to be doing?” Much to my surprise, bells went off in my head and I started rattling off a “to do” list.

After that encounter, it became clear to me that my identity had always been tied into my career. Without it, I didn’t know who I was. I was a mother, but who was I really?

Society puts a lot of pressure on a woman to do what’s right for the family. This pressure often comes from well-intentioned individuals who don’t fully understand that in order for a mother to be at her best, she needs to fulfill her own needs and desires. And the best way to do this is to live with authenticity.

That is why I became a life purpose coach for women who are challenged with the loss of personal identity. It is also why I am hosting a very special FREE online event discussing this very subject…

Please join me and 10 other amazing creative writing mothers and grandmothers for a special 3-day telesummit:

I’m a Mom… But Who Am I Really?
April 26th, 27th and 28th
10am PDT, 1pm EDT, 6pm UK
Register FREE at

If you cannot make the live event,
register anyway so you can download the audio.

Here's the guest line up:

• Tina M Games - Author of Journaling by the Moonlight
• Lynn Serafinn - Transformation coach, author, humanity-based marketer
• Marney Makridakis - Founder of and the ARTbundance™ Philosophy
• Paula Scardamalia - Story Muse and Dream Coach
• Cari Vollmer - Passion into Profit Mentor
• Tamara Gold - Life Stylist
• Linda Joy Myers - Author, therapist, writing coach, entrepreneur
• Ruth Folit - Software designer, Founder International Association for Journal Writing
• Beverly Down - Creativity coach, author
• Laura West - business coach, author, speaker
• Lorraine Harrell - Author, poet, playwright, radio host, creativity coach

On each of our 90 minute broadcasts, we’ll be discussing motherhood, intuition, journal writing and creativity – and how they all can weave together to help a woman better understand her divine purpose and how to create a meaningful life that reflects it.
This telesummit is being held in celebration of the re-release of my book Journaling by the Moonlight: a Mother's Path to Self Discovery, which is celebrating its 1-year anniversary on May 3rd, just in time for Mother’s Day. We're holding a big online birthday party for the book, where you can receive a complete collection of free gifts when you buy the book (or the beautifully illustrated accompanying Journaling by the Moonlight card deck) on May 3rd. When you register for the telesummit, you'll receive information on how to buy the book so you can receive these gifts.
I hope to "see" you on the "I'm a Mom… but who am I REALLY?" telesummit on April 26th through 28th. Again, you can register for FREE at
I believe when a mother is happy and fulfilled, it's like dropping a pebble being into a pond; the ripples from her happiness make happier families, happier communities, and spread happiness throughout the world.

Here’s to celebrating a life filled with passion and purpose and creating BIG ripples!

Tina M Games
Author, Journaling by the Moonlight

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Book with a View April 2011

Book Title: That Certain Summer

Author: Mary Verdick
ISBN: 978-1-4250-4744-7
Publisher: AuthorHouse
Genre and Target Market: fiction; romance; mystery
Publication Date: 2011
Book Length in Pages: 164
Reviewed by Sarah Moore for WITS

Once again, my beloved work in the field of writing and publishing has allowed me the opportunity to review another novel by an author whose previous creation I deeply enjoyed and respected. It is always great to anticipate a new release by a talented writer and even better when the story does not disappoint. This satisfaction certainly came to pass as I read through the pages of That Certain Summer by Mary Verdick. As she accomplished with genuine emotion and compassion in her previous offering, As Long As He Needs Me, Verdick returns with another novel that captures the vulnerability that comes with love, betrayal, and the need to find meaning in one’s life.

That Certain Summer introduces Verdick’s readers to Sally Grimes, a young woman who seems to land the career opportunity of a lifetime when invited to write the biography of famous actress Diane Fenwick. Sally moves to Connecticut to live with the subject of her writing and soon falls in love with the handyman Ricardo, who tends to the estate just next door. Over the next several weeks, Sally begins to suspect that people are not as they first seem when items are disturbed in their home, illegal activity appears to be taking place on the docks near the estate, and the stories of those who have become closest to her just don’t match up. Sally finds herself unable to trust anyone and wonders if even her very life may be in danger.

The focal point of That Certain Summer is the patient and sometimes na├»ve desire we all have to think the best about the people we love. Sally idealized Diane Fenwick as glamorous and sophisticated and wanted to believe that Ricardo felt real passion for her and meant every sweet word he spoke, but the evidence was not supporting what she desperately wanted to be real. Haven’t we all been in a position in which someone for whom we cared deeply let us down in a way that challenged our very strength? This aspect of Verdick’s work makes the characters and story personal to every reader, even if we aren’t living on a New England beach next to a reclusive millionaire.

Verdick also demonstrates her strength in using language and careful plot development that builds suspense and never becomes predictable or far-fetched in its twists and turns. There are several moments of true fear throughout That Certain Summer, with both the subtle details and the violence slowly escalating to create a thrilling conclusion to the novel. I suspect that readers will be shocked, as I was, at the revelations that are not unfolded until the last pages of the book. Once these mysteries were known, I enjoyed going back through the text to discover the little clues that Verdick had been offering all along.

I already counted myself a fan of Mary Verdick’s work following the release of As Long As He Needs Me, and that determination has been reinforced by this new book. Verdick is an author who obviously has a passion for the craft of storytelling and, through her work, for making readers examine their confidence in self and others. She offers us men and women who are real in both their endearing qualities and their flaws and gives them a great story to tell. If you ready to be taken in by a novel filled with emotion and intrigue, That Certain Summer is one that I recommend highly.

Book Title: Sudden Moves
Author: Kelli Sue Landon
ISBN: 978-1426945847
Publisher: Outskirts Press
Link to purchase:
Reviewer: Vonnie Faroqui for WITS

Michelle Martin is worried. Her friend Katie went to Florida for spring break and never came back. It isn’t just that Katie left without saying good bye. That was bad enough, but Katie never returned the book she borrowed and Michelle is going to be in serious trouble if her mom finds out she loaned it out. Author Kelli Sue Landon takes this simple turn of events in a teen’s life and weaves a mystery that is sure to please her young adult audience.

The dramas surrounding friendships, infatuations, academics, family difficulties, and the teen culture depicted in Sudden Moves are all believable and set the stage well for the mystery that Landon unfolds.

There are a few plot twists and surprises in store for the reader that I don’t want to give away. I can share that Landon reintroduces us to kids we remember from high school, only Landon’s teens are living and dealing with all the pitfalls, social environment and pressures of modern day America.

Landon successfully writes the teen mentality, capturing all of the frustrations and inexperience which lead her young characters further and further into danger and along the road toward adulthood.

She places obstacles in their paths that many young adults face and yet she does so without depicting all the adult characters as either foolish, self centered or villainous. The adults in Sudden Moves have as many problems and quirks as the teens, but the author doesn’t treat them as cheap comic relief or with disdain, as is often done for television.

The book has a good pace, with plenty of rising action carrying the plot forward. There is a criminal element to the story, with some implied and mild violence that advances the plot. Teens fourteen and above will appreciate this book and relate well with its characters. There is a good amount of interaction between the main character, Michelle, and her parents –with several realistic and trust building scenes. Law enforcement figures are treated respectfully by the author.

Sudden Moves is above all else a mystery and Landon works hard to give her audience everything they need to make sense of and unravel the truth, right along with Michelle, about what happened to Katie.

Book Title: The Sorcerer’s Apprentice
Authors: Luke Hays and James Elmore
ISBN: 978-1-4327-6441-8
Genre and Target Market: fiction; fantasy; historical
Publication Date: 2010
Book Length in Pages: 128
Reviewed by: Sarah Moore for WITS

While everyone has their own biases and experiences they bring when approaching a work of literature, my connection to The Sorcerer’s Apprentice may not be exactly what the writers had in mind. My childhood years were marked by the hours I spent reading Little House on the Prairie and Anne of Green Gables. I loved the excitement and wildness of the era in which these novels were set, as well as the strong female characters that were intent on creating their own path. Already being a fan of this backdrop, I was able to embrace the context within which the storyline of The Sorcerer’s Apprentice played out and then allowed my imagination to be taken in an entirely new direction.

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, by Luke Hays and James Elmore, is set in the years just following the Civil War and there is indeed a bold young woman who became a personal favorite of the characters I met. However, that is where the similarities to the books of my youth end. The novel focuses on the lives of a boy named Ethan Alexander, whose father was murdered and mother was kidnapped when he was just an infant, and Union Captain Jonathan Silas, the man who adopted Ethan and raised him as his own. Jonathan is a full-blooded wizard and teaches his son the craft with which he has also been gifted. Ethan also learns quickly that those who possess magical powers and use them with respect and for good will always be confronted by an opposing darkness that is jealous and violent. What follows over the next 128 pages is a story that includes the innocence of young love, the terror of forces operating out of evil, the pain of betrayal, and the strength of family.

Readers who are naturally drawn to the world of fantasy will undoubtedly become fans of The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, as Hays and Elmore display a masterful knowledge of the language and effect needed to create a sense of magic and supernatural rivalries. The authors also show a wise development of their characters by making them relatable to the target audience. What we first witness as a classroom dispute between Ethan and his nemesis Cedric expands into the greater analogy of the fight between good and evil as Cedric is eventually brought into the fold of the Master who is working to destroy the Silas family. These teenage boys personify the two philosophies that meet in battle, and what young man can’t relate to the idea of a school bully being a minion for greater evil? The struggle culminates in a action-packed scene that had me reading quickly to discover the outcome and then re-reading to ingest every facet of the confrontation.

While admittedly not well-versed in the catalog of literature focusing on warlocks, wizards, evil beings who summon the dead, and those of magical composition either full-blooded or half-blooded in nature, I can appreciate a well-written book that pays attention to the details and creates a powerful visual in the minds of its readers. The Sorcerer’s Apprentice by Luke Hays and James Elmore is such a book. Its pages contain elements that will frighten, inspire, anger, and stir compassion in all those who curl up for a great read. Hays and Elmore are promising young authors who will only continue to improve their storytelling skills over time, and I look forward to encountering their work for years to come!

Book Title: Bay Island
Author: Matthew Kray
ISBN: 978-1432758509
Publisher: Outskirts Press
Link to purchase:
Reviewer: Vonnie Faroqui for WITS

Bay Island, with its coastal fishing village and resort, rests quietly in remote isolation, peaceful and serene; its inhabitants ill prepared for the zombie apocalypse that author Matthew Kray is about to unleash. Get ready zombie fans, Bay Island is not just a zombie showcase of gore—although if you are looking for splatter you’ll get that too. Kray has a well written, character driven plot that will please horror fans with some truly gruesome imagery and suspense. Kray’s Bay Island will pull terror from the depths of your primal, racing heart.

The inhabitants are aware that there is a virus on the mainland causing the dead to rise and feast on the living. They know that their only hope of survival is to remain isolated from the contagion. What they don’t know is that beneath the waves, in the currents and on the tide walks an army of corpses.

Through skillfully manipulating words Kray builds a sense of anticipation and a feeling of silence around the island. He sets the scene with care and deliberation so that the natural silence of Bay Island’s lapping water is eerily broken by the slurping sound of macabre chewing and the sodden shuffling of corpse feet.

Not only does Kray maintain and build suspense throughout the book, he masterfully creates visual imagery through the written word that will make your skin crawl and insides turn. Once he breaks the rising tension, he really scorches the pages with truly exciting zombie combat.

To the horror critics that have lost hope for the genre, I want to acknowledge here that Kray uses his zombie apocalypse to explore the human spirit, and the driving motivations behind loyalty, greed, bravery, faith, self sacrifice, and a host of other insights. These characters are believable and motivated to survive. He places the inhabitants of Bay Island through the fire of tribulation and burns away the social masks to reveal their true faces.

What would you do if you were responsible for keeping people safe? Whose arms do you cling to in your final hours? Where does hope come from? What or who do you love most? What will you die to protect? What will you cling to that makes life worth fighting for? These themes are all touched by the drama that unfolds in this horror piece. Not that Bay Island is moralistic or preachy; it isn’t by any stretch of the imagination. Bay Island is primarily a zombie thrill ride, but it has a human, beating heart.

Kray effectively uses suspense to capture the reader’s interest and –once the first zombie touches shore, he thrusts reader and characters alike into high velocity action that turns Bay Island’s zombie invasion into a resurrection of your most chilling, forgotten, walking dead nightmare.

Book Title: I Beat the Odds
Author: Michael Oher (with Don Yaeger)
ISBN: 978-1-592-40612-8
Publisher: Gotham Books
Reviewer: Dana Micheli

“You’re not poor if you know where your next meal is coming from.” In our culture of iPads and $200 jeans, the first line of Michael Oher’s new book, I Beat the Odds, certainly puts a few things into perspective. Oher, who most people know as the NFL star on which “The Blind Side” is based, has released this new book to reveal what childhood is like—not only for him—but for the thousands of children who are trapped in a cycle of poverty and foster care.

I Beat the Odds takes you into the world of Oher’s early life of privation and instability, when he and his brothers had to fend for themselves in the Memphis projects. Reading it, you can (almost) feel what it must have been like for Oher to walk along the side of the highway with his brothers as they sought out shelter for the night.

Oher stresses that while this book complements the Blind Side and covers some of the same ground, its aim is to provide an in-depth exploration of the lives of impoverished children and to offer those children a sense of hope. And he--along with veteran writer Don Yaeger-- does this brilliantly. But one thing this book and the Blind Side certainly have in common: you should read them both with a box of tissues nearby.

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Monday, April 18, 2011

The Dream Quest One Poetry & Writing Contest

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. All works must be original.


Write a poem, thirty lines or fewer on any subject, style, or form, typed or neatly hand printed.

And/or write a short story, five pages maximum length, on any subject or theme, creative writing fiction or non-fiction (including essay compositions, diary, journal entries and screenwriting). Also, must be typed or neatly hand printed.

Multiple poetry and short story entries are accepted.

Postmark deadline: July 31, 2011

All contest winners will be announced on August 31, 2011


Writing Contest First Prize is $500.00, Second Prize: $250.00, Third Prize: $100.00

Poetry Contest First Prize is $250.00, Second Prize: $125.00, Third Prize: $50.00

Entry fees:

Writing Contest entry fee: $10 per short story.

Poetry Contest entry fee: $5 per poem.

To send entries: Include title(s) with your story (ies) or poem(s), along with your name, address, phone#, email, brief biographical info. (Tell us a little about yourself), on the coversheet. Add a self-addressed stamped envelope for entry confirmation. Fees payable to: “DREAMQUESTONE.COM”

Mail to:

Dream Quest One
Poetry & Writing Contest
P.O. Box 3141
Chicago, IL 60654
Visit for details and to enter!

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Friday, April 15, 2011

WITS Tip of the Month on Microsoft Word

By Yvonne Perry

Word can create a table of contents that always has the correct page numbers. You must first set heading 1, heading 2, and heading 3 using styles. These choices are the white boxes found on the upper right hand portion of your toolbar. You must be under the Home tab to see these boxes.

After you have assigned styles to your headings, go to References and click on the Table of Contents icon on the far left side of your toolbar. Select an automatic table. If you make changes in your document, you may update your table by right-clicking your mouse somewhere inside the table and selecting “update field.” Then, you have a choice of updating just the page numbers or the entire table.

Starting this month, I will be teaching classes on the advanced features of Microsoft Word . The fee is only $25 per half-hour teleclass. The classes are conducted by telephone as you sit in front of your computer and work through the exercises while I lend instruction and answer questions. You can take as many or few of the classes as you want.

Instruction is offered on the following topics :

• Tracking changes and adding comments

• Working with styles

• Adjusting paragraph spacing, setting the space between paragraphs, bullet points, numbered lists; sorting a list of text;

• Highlighting, changing font types, colors, and modifying text for bold, italic, underline, superscript, and subscript.

• Inserting and formatting page numbers, headers, footers (basics)

• Creating section breaks between chapters (advanced)

• Using format painter, clipboard, hyperlinks, and bookmarks

• Keyboard shortcuts and recording macros

• Formatting pictures, shapes, and graphics

• Inserting and formatting tables

• Setting margins, page size, backgrounds, watermarks, and borders

• Working with WordArt, clip art, drop case, and text boxes

• Research, lookup, synonyms, language

• Indexing

• Auto Summary

If there is a topic you want specific help with, I will work with you individually by the hour or half-hour. Email me to arrange a private or group phone session.

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Thursday, April 14, 2011

Network with Us April 2011

Dianna Calareso is now co-authoring an exciting new blog, Smith-Corona Sisters. She and another writer have been experimenting with 1950s typewriters, and scanning their typed images to the blog. It's a whole new way to write!


Kristen House has developed a summer writing program called "A Novel Idea." It is aimed at teaching middle-grade students (rising 7th, 8th, and 9th graders) and high-school students (rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors) to write a novel in a month during their summer break.
Yes, I know it sounds insane. And it very well may be. But that's exactly what publishers told J.K. Rowling when she wanted to write giant novels for middle-grade readers. Now, the young adult fiction market is the fastest growing in the publishing industry.

Kristen’s program aims to grab those voracious readers and turn them into daily writers, setting a goal for them that is at once enormous and achievable: writing the stories of their life. Certainly, not every student who attempts a novel will be a best-selling author. But what they will gain is invaluable confidence with the written word.

This summer's workshops will be held at Abintra Montessori School (, a beautiful and inspirational place for students to write their stories. Check out her program at

The details are still being ironed out, but Kristen will also be offering an adult version of the course starting in mid-September.


Dianna Calareso's essay "Half Moon" has been accepted for publication in an upcoming online issue of Her Nashville ( Dianna will also be teaching a blogging workshop on June 4 at Watkins College of Art & Design, as part of their community education summer workshop series. See her article in this issue of WITS Newsletter, "Why You Should Blog," to get a taste of the workshop!


Give your relationship the gift of new life this Easter!

Join Sondra Ray and Mark Sullivan for a weekend of relationship training based on A Course in Miracles . Get clear on how your thoughts affect your life, and breathe out stored memories that may be sabotaging your present relationship. Loving Relationship Training in Nashville April 22-24. See for details or Sign up for Liberation Breathing and Loving Relationship Workshop now

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

We Are One in Spirit Podcast Shows April 2011

April 7 Self-help author Dr. Michael R. Smith will be sharing uplifting spiritual insight in a discussion about empathy. For over two decades, Dr. Smith has helped thousands of people all over the world connect to their highest selves as a coach, healing practitioner, and spiritual medium. Michael is one of only a handful of authors and coaches who specialize in the unique niche of helping empaths and highly-sensitive people recognize their empathic nature as a gift. Michael's first book, The Complete Empath Toolkit, was released through his website in 2009 and has become an online favorite. His most recent book, Navigating 2012: Thriving in Earth's New Age has been endorsed by New York Times bestselling authors such as Sonia Choquette. Over 250,000 individuals have accessed Dr. Smith's free materials on Empath Connection, and his free monthly newsletter is quickly approaching tens of thousands of readers.

April 21Tina M. Games is the author of Journaling by the Moonlight: A Mother's Path to Self-Discovery (an interactive book with an accompanying deck of 54 journaling prompt cards). As a certified creativity and life-purpose coach, she is the "Moonlight Muse" for women who want to tap into the "full moon within" and claim their authentic self, both personally and professionally. Through her signature coaching program, based on the phases of the moon, Tina gently guides women from darkness to light as they create an authentic vision filled with purpose, passion, and creative expression. Read more about Tina at

April 28 Dr. Eric Pearl will be joining Yvonne Perry on We Are One in Spirit Podcast. Dr. Eric Pearl, international leading authority on transforming healing onto the planet, has taught more than 60,000 people how to become the catalysts for these often immediate, on-the-spot and seemingly miraculous healings of others. Dr. Pearl is the author of The Reconnection: Heal Others, Heal Yourself — a book that chronicles his transformation from a highly successful Los Angeles chiropractor into a Reconnective Healer when his patients began reporting miraculous healings from cancers, AIDS-related diseases, epilepsy, chronic fatigue syndrome, cerebral palsy, rheumatoid and osteoarthritis, birth disfigurements, and other serious afflictions – even though he physically had not touched them. Learn more about Dr. Eric Pearl and Reconnective Healing To see a video clip, visit

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Editor's Corner April 2011

Welcome to the April issue of Writers in the Sky Newsletter. I hope you are enjoying the spring weather. It’s been great to get outdoors and refresh my batteries after such a long, cold winter here in Nashville, Tennessee, USA.

As you know, I was busy all last month traveling about different blogs on my virtual tour for Whose Stuff Is This? Finding Freedom from the Thoughts, Feelings, and Energy of Those Around You. In addition to the articles, interviews, videos, audios, on my tour, I was a guest on seven or more radio shows to talk about empathy and intuition. To hear these interviews, go to

The sales and positive feedback for my book has been remarkable and I feel truly blessed to have created a product that is helping so many people begin a spiritual practice and raise their personal vibration.

Carol Batey and I are offering a workshop at the Center of Symmetry in Nashville on April 30. “Creating Your Dreams and Reaching Your Goals” can help you discover how to move in the direction of your dream through a learning process that brings you into alignment with your soul’s purpose, your spiritual destiny, and true potential. For more information, see

On May 4, at 7 p.m. Central Time, Carol and I will be teaching a teleseminar on writing and book marketing. Learn what it takes to sell the books you have written; or learn what to do before you publish to ensure successful book sales. Workshop fee of $35 includes a copy of Carol's book, Why Aren’t You Writing?. For more information, see
Did you know that you were my guest on We Are One in Spirit Podcast last month? Check it out at I hope you enjoy the meditation audio I created for you!

Yvonne Perry, Owner of Writers in the Sky Creative Writing Services

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Monday, April 11, 2011

Savvy Book Marketing Secrets: 52 Experts Share Insider Tips for Selling More Books

I am pleased to be a contributor to Dana Lynn Smith’s new e-book, Savvy Book Marketing Secrets: 52 Experts Share Insider Tips for Selling More Books. I am excited to be able to offer this fabulous collection of articles to authors and indie publishers. You can download your complimentary copy at

I encourage you to share this e-book with your network and followers, giving valuable information to authors and publishers, through your ezine, blog and social networks. You are welcome to give the ebook away freely or require an opt-in, but the ebook cannot be sold.
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Sunday, April 10, 2011

Five Steps to Setting Goals and Reaching Your Dreams

What are your dreams? 
Do you have goals? 
How do you plan to reach them?
Intentionally or by default, we are all in the process of creating our future. When we create by default, it seems we are not in control of our lives. When we work with the Universal Laws and follow our heart, things naturally fall into place.

Five Steps to Setting Goals and Reaching Your Dreams” gives a proven process that will bring you into alignment with your soul’s purpose, uncover your divine potential, and help you take steps toward reaching your dreams. This seminar will teach you how to move forward in every aspect of your life as you learn to create on purpose.
The Center of Symmetry
212 Louise Avenue
Nashville, TN 37203
Workshop fee is $15. Use a credit card via PayPal below to reserve your space now.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

My Virtual Blog Tour for My Book, Whose Stuff Is This?: Finding Freedom from the Negative Thoughts, Feelings, and Energy of Those Around You, is Complete!

My virtual blog tour for my book, Whose Stuff Is This?: Finding Freedom from the Negative Thoughts, Feelings, and Energy of Those Around You, is complete. Here are the stops from the final week.

Monday, March 21 - Reno Lovison Marketing Communications Services presented an article titled “Authors Must Learn to Sell What They Write.” I shared some of the mistakes I made in promoting my first two books and gave some tips on what to do to ensure the successful launch of your book. See Business Card to Business Blog:

Tuesday, March 22 - Anne Lyken-Garner has a media release about the many ways that we are connected: the air we breathe, our basic needs and physiology, and energetically/spiritually. No one feels the power of this connection more than the energy-sensitive people, who unknowingly pick up on the detrimental thoughts, feelings, and even the illnesses of others and their environment. Read more on Anne’s blog:

Wednesday, March 23 - Being empathic is not a burden you must bear anymore. You can learn to shut out unwanted energy and keep others from violating your personal boundaries. First, you have to set boundaries. Dr. Caron Goode, who wrote the foreword for the book, presented a book excerpt on her blog, Kids Who See Ghosts:

Thursday, March 24 - Faith Ranoli interviewed me on Heart and Home Radio Show about how as an intercessor, I picked up the illnesses and emotional pain of those I prayed for. Everyone is intuitive and has the small, still voice inside if we will just listen, but not everyone is empathic. Some are too empathic and allow compassion to go too far. Ranoli said of my book, “ Designed especially for empaths, this book teaches healthful living, good spiritual practices, and gives helpful tips for living a safe and energetically balanced life.” Listen to the interview at

Friday, March 25 - Vonnie Faroqui shared an article titled “Being Non-Resistant Means Never Having to Say You’re Sorry.” Being non-resistant is the embodiment of the often misunderstood feat of “turning the other cheek.” We’ve often thought that phrase meant that it is honorable to let people walk all over us. Turning the other cheek actually means standing in your place of power and letting things flow through you without getting stuck. Read more on Ink Slinger's Whimsey:

Monday, March 28 - Dr. Caron Goode shared an excerpt from my book. See Raising Intuitive Children blog: Caron and I believe this book will benefit many people and help get them moving toward better health and emotional balance.

I am very thankful for all of you and the support you provided to help me launch my book. I’m very impressed with everyone who participated. The tour went smoothly without a glitch; everyone posted the material on time, and we had some great comments from your readers. I hope you enjoyed being part of this networking activity and found it beneficial.

Bulk orders (10 or more) of this title are available at a discount to bookstores, counselors, and retailers who wish to offer the book to clients or resale the book. Contact us for the discount code.

Gratefully Yours,

Yvonne Perry Author of Whose Stuff Is This? Finding Freedom from the Thoughts, Feelings, and Energy of Those Around You (
More Than Meets the Eye, True Stories about Death, Dying, and Afterlife (
The Sid Series ~ A Collection of Holistic Stories for Children (
Owner of Writers in the Sky Creative Writing Services (
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Friday, April 1, 2011

4 Top Book Formatting Mistakes to Avoid

by Joel Friedlander

Looking at the actual files we print books from, like the Adobe InDesign files I produce, can be quite revealing.

I get sent a lot of files for various reasons. They might be the files from a self-publisher who thought they would design and lay out their book themselves. Faced with the learning curve to get the result they want, they send me the files to “fix up.”

Or an author switches book publishers and manages to get the files that were created by whoever did the book originally. For one reason or another, I get these files. I also hire layout artists on some projects, and they each have their own style, too.

Looking at the traces left by another designer can show how they approached the creation of the book. Behind the scenes, where no one knows how the book is laid out, you find out what kind of designer put the book together. Sometimes this is a pleasant surprise, and the files are neat and tidy, well organized, and a pleasure to work on.

Then there are the other ones.

Instead of ranting about the software abuses in these files, here’s a list of the most common formatting mistakes I’ve come across, and why you should avoid them.

Top 4 Book Formatting Mistakes to Avoid

1. Using paragraph returns for vertical spacing—When I see stacked paragraph returns used to space out elements on a book page, I know I have a problem with the files. All layout programs have ways to insert space above and below elements in the book. These controls are extremely precise and can be controlled for all similar elements at once. If your type re-flows because of corrections, and you have paragraph returns as spaces, you can easily end up with one or two at the top of a page, causing a big hole in that page. Not only that, if you want to change the spacing you have to hunt out each of these and adjust it individually. Don’t do it.

2. Using tabs for horizontal spacing—This is exactly the same mistake as number one. Hitting the Tab key to move type to the right, for indenting or any other purpose, is asking for trouble. Layout software allows us to set complex indents and outdents, negative indents and conditional indents. Tab characters used for space are just little tiny bombs waiting to go off. What if you adjust your indents or margins slightly? You can end up with a page full of holes caused by stray tabs that have moved out of place. Don’t do it.

3. Using copy and paste instead of Place—A few months ago a client called up to ask why the layout person she had hired to do her book had spent 20 hours replacing all the italics that had magically disappeared from the book manuscript when it was placed in InDesign. I groaned inside at the unnecessary work this involves, and how it has the potential to introduce more errors into the book. It’s the result of copying and pasting the text instead of using the software’s Place command. This command also allows you full control over the text import process through a screen full of options you’ll never see if you copy and paste. Don’t do it.

4. Using local formatting instead of styles—This error is going to become steadily more important as we adjust our workflows to accommodate eBook conversion from the same files used for print production. In the conversion process (as Joshua Tallent explained in my recent interview) it helps if all elements are styled with Paragraph and Character Styles. This is the only efficient way to format a long document anyway. When you individually style elements by highlighting them and applying spacing, font changes, rules or anything else, you create an anomaly within your book. If you decide to change the formatting of these elements later you may be left with sections of type in the wrong font, with the wrong alignment, or the wrong size. Use Styles. Don’t locally format.

Watching out for these four errors will make your book so much easier to create, and much easier to revise if necessary. Learning to use amazing layout tools like InDesign is the best way to avoid these potentially troublesome problems. Don’t put bombs in your book. Learn to format right.

Joel Friedlander is a self-published author, a book designer and blogs about book design, self-publishing and the indie publishing life at He's also the proprietor of Marin Bookworks, where he helps publishers and authors who decide to publish get to market on time and on budget with books that are both properly constructed and beautiful to read.

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