Thursday, July 28, 2011

WITS Tip of the Month on Microsoft Word

If your 2007 Word document is too long, has too many words or is too verbose, you may want to shorten it without losing the main thoughts. You can set the percentage to show higher or lower levels of summary. Go to the MS Office button , and Click Customize. Click the Microsoft Office Button In the list under Choose commands from, click All Commands. Scroll through the list of commands until you see AutoSummary Tools. Click AutoSummary Tools, and then click Add. The AutoSummary Tools button now appears in the Quick Access Toolbar.
Make your selection for whether you want the summary to show or hide the unnecessary parts, or put the summary it into a new document.

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Friday, July 22, 2011

Some Thoughts for Those Considering a Ghostwriter

By Sarah Moore
I have the opportunity to wear many different creative hats as a team member with Writers in the Sky. I write articles and blog posts, edit manuscripts, develop marketing ideas, and proofread novels that are just a few steps away from becoming published books. Also among the challenging and exciting tasks that I get to fulfill regularly are those of a ghostwriter. I love instances in which I get to sit down with a person who has an amazing idea, and probably has heard something to the effect of "you really need to put that in a book" from friends and family for years, but simply does not have the time or perhaps the writing expertise to bring the vision to life.

If you have thought about hiring a ghostwriter to help your book idea become a reality, I would like to offer you a few thoughts that will be helpful to know before you even begin the process.

First, this is your book and should be crafted using your voice. I have many conversations with my ghostwriting clients to get to know who they are and what perspective they wish to share with a reading audience and also ask them for any material they have already developed (lectures, articles, journals) that could be useful in my writing. If you hire a ghostwriter and find yourself getting lost in the process and even pushed aside as the writer begins to control the message, it is time to have a conversation about your working relationship.

Second, get ready for a fluid process. While I enter into a contract with a client having an estimated completion date and cost in mind, I cannot give definite figures at the outset. I see your manuscript as a living and breathing entity that likely will change as we progress. You may realize more people you want to interview for content or decide to take a particular chapter in a new direction. If you want the book to be the best possible product, you have to let this evolution happen. At the same time, of course, your ghostwriter should never charge a fee that seems completely unrelated to the initial estimate and always should account for how her time was spent for every dollar received.

Finally, communicate with your ghostwriter. With my clients, I like to have a constant back and forth dialogue about the developing book. While my client is reviewing and editing a chapter I just submitted to him, I am at work writing the next one. This continual dialogue results in a better product. If you wait until five chapters have been written to offer any feedback to your ghostwriter, there is the potential for a lot of time and energy being spent before discovering that the two of you are not following the same line of thought at all.

Do you have an idea that you just know would make a great book? If so, I would love to talk with you about it and see how I might be able to help. Please contact me at or (615) 423-2467 and let's spend some time brainstorming and seeing if maybe we just might make great partners in making your thoughts a published book!

Sarah Moore has nearly a decade of experience in higher education administration, having worked at University of Maryland, Boston University, and Middle Tennessee State University. In addition to her administrative responsibilities, she taught research and writing courses at these institutions. Sarah also taught high school government and history for several years, and always included a strong emphasis on writing in her students' assignments. Sarah was raised just outside of Washington, D.C., but has called Nashville home for nearly eight years and enjoys life there with her two young children.

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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Book with a View July 2011

WITS Book Reviews

Frankie the Walk 'N Roll Dog, A Pawsitive Coloring and Paper Doll Activity Book
Author: Barbara Gail Techel
Publisher: Joyful Paw Prints Press, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-9800052-5-7
Reviewer: Yvonne Perry, author of The Sid Series ~ A Collection of Holistic Stories for Children
A Totally Pawsitive Experience for Every Reader!

I'm always delighted when author Barbara Gail Techel asks me to take a look at her latest work because I know I'm in for a treat. Frankie the Walk 'N Roll Dog, A Pawsitive Coloring and Paper Doll Activity Book brought back memories of when I played with paper dolls as a child.

This book not only offers hours of coloring fun and dressing Frankie up in all her adorable outfits, it tells the story of how Frankie became disabled yet overcame and kept on rolling. It complements her first two books about Frankie. Speaking of outfits, my favorite Frankie outfit is the polka dot bikini! I got a chuckle imagining a wiener dog wearing that!

Best of all it gives a pawsitive (love that new word) message about overcoming difficult situations we may face in life. There's even a certificate/award you can fill in and print out when your child overcomes a challenge. Or, perhaps a child would award a friend with this honor. Such a creative and loving idea.

The book is interactive in many ways. The author has included a list of places where she and Frankie can be found online in order to connect in a real-life experience through her blogs and on Twitter. Truly ingenious!

Title: Sleepless Nights
Author: Norwood Holland
Publisher: Windmill Books Ltd.
ISBN: 0983165602
Reviewer: Dana Micheli

Amidst the Cherry Blossoms and historical monuments of Washington D.C., a gritty drama is unfolding. Norwood Holland's novel Sleepless Nights took me on a journey of life in the underbelly of our nation's capital. Holland's minimalist prose and authentic dialogue paints a vivid picture of the dark side of the American dream. Throughout the book I was struck by the irony that this story of loss, poverty and destruction was taking place against the backdrop of a city famous for the freedom and prosperity it symbolizes.

Sleepless Nights is the story of three young men whose horrible crime threatens to unravel their friendship and change the course of their lives—and the lives of those around them--forever. It seems like Tyrone Jones, Gustavo "Gee" Garcia and Jean "Jinx" Legere have been friends forever. More than friends, they are an urban family, bound together by deprivation and a life lived on the streets. But lately, Gee is feeling the pull of a different life, a better life. He is going to college and works at the Farragut, an upscale D.C. eatery. But his pursuit of success is causing a fissure in the once rock-solid bond he shares with Jinx and Tyrone.

Jinx is on the edge. Years of neglect by his drug-addicted mother have left him hopeless and angry. He sees no way out of the life or the neighborhood. I could feel the sadness and desperation in him as he committed the crimes. I could feel the loneliness in him as well, even when he was threatening his victims or manipulating Gee.

At the center of the story is the handsome and well-to-do Drew Smith. As one of D.C.'s hottest criminal attorneys, Smith has built his career on helping people outrun their demons. He, however, has a few demons of his own, including an ex-girl friend he still loves and a son who doesn't know he exists. More than anything else, I found this story to be about Drew's chance at redemption.

From the streets and strip clubs of inner-city D.C., to the packed courtroom of a homicide trial, Sleepless Nights is a gripping, edge-of-your seat drama that will keep you glued to every page. The only good part about reaching the end was when I learned that Sleepless Nights is only the first installment in the Drew Smith series! I look forward to seeing more of Drew Smith in (hopefully) the very near future.

Title: Kiss Me Quick Before I Shoot
Author: Guy Magar
ISBN: 978-0982866344
Publisher: Sea Script Company; First edition (May 4, 2011)
Reviewer: Vonnie Faroqui

Kiss Me Quick Before I Shoot, is Hollywood filmmaker, Guy Magar's, memoir detailing his journey from child immigrant, through college, years of filmmaking, and love along the way to becoming an accomplished director, writer and producer. In an industry known to gloss and glamorize a turd until it looks appealing, this book is being given all the best hype and promotional backing you might imagine the autobiography of a recognizable celebrity and talent would get. However, in this case the hype is REAL. Kiss Me Quick Before I Shoot deserves every bit of praise and recognition it gets and more.

For those of us who love the movies or have ever dreamed of, aspired to, danced around, or dived into a career in motion pictures or television, Kiss Me Quick is a "director's cut" commentary of life on the road to and inside the industry. When I read Guy's recollections and experiences, I wept just thinking of all the hopeful seekers and dreamers struggling for a break who never get one. The detailed behind-the-scenes knowledge and wisdom he so generously shares is beyond priceless to any aspiring film or television talent seeking entry into the industry. This is "must" reading for acting and directing students seeking film and television careers. Theater and film school do not prepare you for the cold reality of the industry, but Guy's conversational and revealing memoir sure will.

Readers looking for a Hollywood fix, an insider's candid perspective on breaking into the business or stories of life among the stars will lock themselves behind closed doors to indulge their celluloid passions with this master story teller. I think I'm in love. Too bad Guy is taken. Which leads me to another aspect of this book, which I think places it a cut above other memoirs and books of its genre. Kiss Me Quick is more than a Hollywood success story, it also relates the very real human drama and love story between Guy and his wife, Jacqui, sharing intimate details of her diagnosis with Leukemia and of the trial medical treatments that saved her life. Guy opens his heart and with incredible spirit, courage, and candor shares it all.

The creativity and passion which infuses Guy's film work also comes through in his writing. Kiss Me Quick Before I Shoot has all the excitement, flare, human interest, and drama Hollywood promises the hopeful, with a measure of reality, and God's grace thrown in. Both of my thumbs are up for Magar's Kiss Me Quick Before I Shoot. Hand me the popcorn. I am reading that again.

Title: The Answer: A Journey from Anger to Peace
Author: Allison Wynn
ISBN: 978-1432770945
Publisher: Outskirts Press
Reviewer: Vonnie Faroqui

The Answer relates a pivotal moment in the lives of Eric McPherson and Allison Wynn, two strangers drawn together by chance, who experience a life-changing connection. Eric, frustrated and full of self-loathing, stops at the local Starbucks on his way to work and finds a journal laying on the only available table. He opens it to look for identification, but there is none and so he reads the day's entry.

When Allison returns to her table she finds him weeping, her journal clutched in his hand. "Are you okay?" she asks. And so the tale begins. . .

The Answer explores the destructive anger cycles that cripple human interactions, causing frustration and pain for so many individuals. The book is written using a journal entry format, from the perspectives of Eric, Eric's wife (Mary Ellen), and author Allison Wynn. The Answer provides a deeply insightful and poignant look into human relationships and the significance of feeling insignificant.

"How do we deal with anger in either ourselves or in others?" and "How do we create a more peaceful life?" These are the questions that Eric and Allison are asking. Eric knows that his anger is destroying his life and damaging his relationship with his wife, but he can't seem to stop his angry outbursts. After spending the day deep in discussion with Allison, He returns home to share with Mary Ellen what he has discovered about himself and the changes he would like to make in his life.

This is a must read for anyone who is struggling with anger issues and domestic instability. The message of the book is one that everyone could benefit from. Emotionally charged, intellectually stimulating and insightful, The Answer offers an eye opening perspective on relationships, and the need for significance. This book will change lives.

Title: Lee's Bread Machines
Author: Jerome T. Peoples, MS, ED
ISBN: 978-1432763374
Publisher: Outskirts Press
Reviewer: Vonnie Faroqui

Many of us are familiar with George Washington Carver and possibly one of the other great African American and former slave inventors who have had a lasting impact on the industrial revolution and life in America today. Most of us, however, will never have heard of Joseph Lee, the inventor of the automatic bread making machine that revolutionized the bread industry. This former slave overcame incredible hardship to rise (pardon the pun,) above adversity to have a significant impact on modern day America. The impact of his inventions--the first bread machine, then the bread crumber—changed the slice of bread on America's table by allowing bakeries and restaurants to produce loaves more efficiently and in greater numbers than ever before. Why without Joseph Lee there wouldn't be a bread industry as we know it. And yet, in spite of the impact this man's incredible inventions have had on us, hardly any information has been available about his life and accomplishments until now.

Much credit is due to retired science teacher turned author, Jerome T. Peoples MS. Ed., who researched and wrote Lee's Bread Machines as an educational and inspirational tribute to this minority hero. With chapters covering the African origin of bread, the life of house slaves, secret schools, the Civil War, Joseph Lee's move to the north, his journey to greatness as an entrepreneur in the restaurant business, and especially his work as an inventor, this book is a treasure of information.

The book has a school primer feel, but the layout makes for easy reading and information retention. Every child should have access to this book in school libraries and the knowledge of this American inventor should be included in school curriculum. Joseph Lee belongs to all of us, but his history as a former slave opens a door for further exploration of social history that could really capture and ignite the hunger for knowledge in students. I thoroughly enjoyed learning about Joseph Lee, his life, and his inventions. I hope that others will read and be as deeply moved as I was by the example set by this African American inventor who rose from slavery to find freedom, enterprise, and lasting significance through the power of creativity and invention.

I recommend this book for youths and for general informational reading. The content is well documented and presents interesting images and records that will educate as well as fascinate most readers. Grade A work Mr. Peoples!

Title: The Killing Game
Author: Joe C. Stevens
ISBN: 978-1432769086
Publisher: Outskirts Press
Reviewer: Vonnie Faroqui

The Killing Game is a novelette about a former mob hit man, Bronson Trellisane, who is being forced out of Retirement to kidnap a government witness. Why kidnap when, as Bronson puts it, "I'm a shooter, not an errand boy?" Ah, now we get to it. You see Bronson isn't just any hit man and this witness isn't testifying about the run of the mill mob activity. The whole messy business centers around the last job Bronson handled before disappearing into anonymity. Linda Masters is a bit of flash secretary for his former mob boss and she is running scared with information about the mob's involvement and Bronson's part in the assassination of JFK. Bronson needs to know what she's got on them and at the same time extricate himself for good. Add to the mix a shady CIA man and the game they are all playing just gets deeper.

J.C. Stevens has written an interesting "what-if" story for conspiracy theorists and crime fans to enjoy as a quick read. Perfect for airplane reading or an easy day on the beach. The Killing Game offers intrigue and a fast-paced cross-country ride to thrill audiences. There are a few surprising twists that I won't spoil for you. Over all, The Killing Game is a good time read.

J.C. doesn't attempt to prove any conspiracies with this book. He approaches the idea of a hidden gunman in the grassy knoll as if it was fact and not fiction, treating the assassination of JFK as background for the story he wants to tell. There comes a time when the truth can never be discovered and the myths develop. The Killing Game is an example of where one person's creativity and imagination can journey out of the realm of fact and into the haze of fantasy.

Although it isn't easy to find much sympathy for a person such as Bronson Trellisane, the author doesn't seek to win hearts. This book isn't about getting answers or true justice for JFK. This isn't even a serious consideration of the JFK assassination, or an author's attempt at historical reconstruction. The Killing Game is a creative exploration down one road in the many facets and theories surrounding the JFK murder. It isn't intended as a school primer or to be confused with fact.

Title: Summer Is Her Name: Born in Kentucky
Author: Betsy Houser
ISBN: 978-1432767778
Publisher: Outskirts Press
Reviewer: Vonnie Faroqui

Summer Is Her Name relates the coming of age story of Summer Rogers. Follow Summer through her childhood on a farm in Appalachia, through painful losses, youthful infatuations, and disappointments. Share Summer's college days, and join her during World War II as she earns money for school working in a defense plant. Travel with her around the globe and witness other cultures, places, and people. Finally, return home with her to find true love and peace in the old farmstead where she was born. This isn't a typical romance coming-of-age book. It isn't written in the typical fashion. The story doesn't rise and fall following all of the conventional plot formulas. Summer Is Her Name reads like a life. I like life. I like it a lot. This book reminded me of how much.

There is a quality of grace and an acceptance of the "what-is-ness" of life contained in its pages that affected me in a way I hadn't anticipated I would feel. Betsy has given breath and flesh to her characters, placed scents on the wind, and transported me into the heart of the farmlands. I have tasted the wild blackberries and felt the sun-warmed grasses of Kentucky embrace me. In reading, I have felt the flush of embarrassment, the burn of surprise, the shudder of fear, and the thrill of anticipation. She has distilled life experience into a bottle and poured me a glass. I hope to taste the like of it again. I feel completely humbled in reviewing her work. What can I say?

It is a damn shame that Betsy Houser waited to publish her first book until she was 85! I feel sick to my stomach just thinking about it. I am sure that Betsy has many accomplishments of worth to her credit but, oh, what a sweet treasure she has given us in this lovely fiction. I am actually choked with emotions at the thought that she might have passed away without sharing it.

I interviewed Betsy, and she told me that there were aspects of the book based in part on events and people she had known, lived or heard tell of during her lifetime. Betsy shared that she wove these bits into her tale, but that Summer Is Her Name really is a work of fiction and not autobiographical. I can't say I was disappointed, because deep down I had already determined that, for me, Betsy is Summer, whether she says it is so or not. I just want the story to be true; for there to have been a Summer Rogers and a Mont, and for the story of Summer's life and their love to be real and to last. I want this badly enough to convince myself that it is so, just as Betsy has written the story out for me. Thank you Betsy, for being you and for sharing Summer with us. You move me.

Friday, July 15, 2011

From Texting to Text: How to Change the Way Kids View Writing and Themselves

By Kristen House, Chief Executive Muse, A Novel Idea

What would happen if kids spent half the time writing that they spend texting? Or playing video games? Or watching TV?

Those are the questions that kept me up at night, worrying about the hours of study that my college writing students had spent in front of electronic devices that stole their time during their tenure in middle and high school.

And as of this summer, I've started an experiment to discover the answers to those questions: I started teaching teenagers to write novels.

A Novel Idea engages teenagers in a way that no other interactive media device ever will. It empowers them to create people, places, and entire lives from scratch, and then translate those ideas into ink-and-paper representations that become a full-length manuscript.

Oh, and they're writing their books in a month!

Not only can they do it, they want to. They're thirsty for this kind of engagement. And the press in Nashville thinks it's pretty cool, too. Check out the article that The Tennessean just printed about A Novel Idea.

And we're not stopping there. A Novel Idea is offering a one-day novel-writing class for adults, too. And we are scheduling classes for teenagers for the fall. Those classes will stretch out the novel-writing process over nine weeks to accommodate for their busy school schedules.

Research shows that this wacky plan actually works. I'm in the process of writing a book about my adventures in novel-writing, supported by lots of science and plenty of academic studies. I'm interested in fundamentally changing the way we think about teaching research, reading, and writing in this country, and so far, my little experiment shows that the country is ready. This summer, over fifty kids will earn the new title of "novelist." I can't wait to see where the adventure will lead!

For more information, visit us online at

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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Editor's Corner July 2011

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

I've had a terrific month while spending time and putting my love and energy into producing a series of audio stories to complement The Sid Series ~ A Collection of Holistic Stories for Children. This has been a dream/goal of mine since I first published this book in 2009 and it is finally a reality. Woo hoo! I am excited to share these audio stories that highlight unique lessons about love, acceptance, self-worth, caring for the body, diversity, facing fears, dealing with change, coping with the death of a pet, and understanding the spiritual experiences children exhibit. Great for the preschool classroom, young readers, or toddlers being nurtured at home. Parents who wish to teach their children to live holistically will appreciate these profound lessons. Listen to a sample at

I had a wonderful experience in sharing concepts from my book, Whose Stuff Is This? Finding Freedom from the Thoughts, Feelings, and Energy of Those around You, with a group of energy-sensitive people at Cosmic Connections in Nashville in June. Like a stem cell that knows exactly where the pain/disconnect resides and how to heal it, Spirit moved beautifully to meet each person at their point of need. I'm looking forward to sharing like this on a regular basis. In fact, I'm meditating on how to best offer my experiential wisdom in using this intuitive gift that has long held many empaths in captive solitude. I plan to coach sensitive people who want to take the next step toward empowerment. Stay tuned to this e-zine for future developments.

My two-week (notice the hyphen—see Kristen House's Grammar Hero column in last month's newsletter about compound modifiers) vacation with family in Florida and South Carolina was wonderful, and I'm back in my office where I'm enjoying working on several projects that I'd like to mention. One is with Steve Brannon, the author of The Two Agreements, which is a reinterpretation of the gospel story. As soon as we finish editing and proofreading the book, WITS will help him promote it online through our author publicity services.

Dr. Tom Goode is the founder of International Breath Institute, LLC and the author of numerous natural health books. His latest is Breathe and Grow Rich, Self-Care LoveCareThrough Full Wave Breathing to Enrich Your Whole Life for which I've helped him develop a companion workbook. He will also be one of the panelists for the telesummit I'm organizing for its debut in September (read on for more info about this event).

The co-author of Whose Stuff Is This? and dear friend of mine, Dr. Caron Goode, is launching, a new membership Website for spiritual seekers. We will celebrate the grand opening with an event titled "Empaths Shifting into 2012: A Telesummit to Help Energy-sensitive People Understand Their Spiritual Role on Earth." More than fifty people have already register for this free telesummit to empower people to help facilitate humanity's shift into higher consciousness. Join Caron, Tom, and me along with a panel of experts all four Tuesdays in September 2011. Each content-rich call will last about 1.5 hours in order to allow two speakers to make presentations and listeners to ask questions. Go to to see the lineup of speakers and topics for this event and enter your email address so we can send you more information and a reminder this fall.

Yvonne Perry,

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Friday, July 8, 2011

The Grammar Hero is in the House! Say What?

By Kristen House
I was having lunch with my best friend yesterday and she said she "could of" bought a new pair of shoes if she "would of" saved more of her paycheck. The friend in me wanted to hug her and tell her that she could borrow my Jimmy Choo heels any time she wanted, but the Grammar Hero in me couldn't keep my mouth shut.

"Beth," I said, "I think you meant that you could have bought those sassy pumps if you would have saved your cash. See, we use 'have' to speculate about something that didn't happen. 'Of' is a preposition and signifies possession. So it just doesn't make sense."

It might not have been the explanation she wanted, but I think I saved her grammar day. Grammar Hero to the rescue!

Kristen House is an Adjunct Instructor of Writing at Belmont University, and the Chief Executive Muse of A Novel Idea. She writes fiction every day for hours, even when there isn't anything to write about. Kristen lives in Nashville with her husband, Andrew, sons, Holden and Shephard, and a yippy little dog named Osie.

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Thursday, July 7, 2011

Writers in the Sky Podcast Schedule July 2011

July 1 - Vonnie Faroqui interviews author Guy Magar about his book, Kiss Me Quick Before I Shoot.

July 15 - Yvonne Perry is back on the show as the host for author Maxine Thompson as she shares her book, LA Blues.

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Network with Us July 2011

Check out the e-books designed especially to help authors promote their books online.

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. Contact Kristen for details.


Whose Stuff Is This? Finding Freedom from the Thoughts, Feelings, and Energy of Those Around You is a guidebook for empathic people who have been unknowingly carrying energetic burdens that belong to someone else. See all purchasing options at

Check out the children's audio stories produced by Yvonne Perry. Each story in The Sid Series ~ A Collection of Holistic Stories for Children focuses on life skills such as environmental awareness, helping others, being true to one's self, overcoming fear, and following inner guidance.

WITS team member Dianna Calareso published her memoir, At Ease, in digital format through Smashwords. The book only costs $2.49, and she's donating 25 percent of every sale to the Alzheimer's Association (the memoir is about her grandfather, a retired Marine who suffered from Alzheimer's until his death in 2005). Here's the link for downloading:

If you need help formatting your book for Smashwords, Kindle, or Nook let Dianna know.

"Empaths Shifting into 2012: A Telesummit to Help Energy-sensitive People Understand Their Spiritual Role on Earth" is scheduled for four consecutive Tuesdays this September. There will be seven panelists sharing more than 12 hours of useful information about helping humanity shift into higher consciousness. More info at
Dianna Calareso recently taught a blogging workshop with Kristen House at Wakins College of Art and Design. The workshop was a great success, as students learned how to set up blogs, how to establish an appropriate voice, and how to market and network with other writers. If you're interested in learning more about blogging, email Dianna at

Dianna Calareso's essay "Half-Moon" appears in this month's issue of Her Nashville (July). Check it out!

Kristen House is a member of Writers in the Sky Creative Writing Services, a Nashville-based company that helps authors get their books ready for publishing. Kristen is also a writing instructor at Belmont University, and she came up with a novel idea about helping kids convert their creative talent for texting into a novel this summer. Learn more about the program at She was featured in The Tennessean, a local Nashville newspaper, and her is a link to the article written by Julie Hubbard.

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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The July Issue of Writers in the Sky E-zine is Now Available!

The July issue of Writers in the Sky E-zine is now available! This publication provides a rich resource of articles and information about the craft and business of writing, publishing, and book marketing.  Go to and scroll down to the archives and click the link to this month’s issue. It will download as a PDF. If you would like to get once-a-month email delivery of the e-zine, you may subscribe for free at .

Yvonne Perry
Freelance Writer, Editor, Author, and Owner,
Writers in the Sky Creative Writing Services (WITS)
Web site:
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