Thursday, July 31, 2008

Psychics and Christians Share Books on Writing Podcast

This month’s podcast offerings demonstrate the loving diversity that makes Writers in the Sky Podcast a favorite of its multi-cultural audience of readers and writers. Two men, two women, two African-Americans, two Caucasians, and two philosophies that typically counter one another will share on this writing podcast in August.

Here is the writing podcast schedule:

August 1

Kimberly Cash Tate talks about her heart-warming fictional debut called Heavenly Places—a novel for every woman who has ever doubted that she is fearfully and wonderfully made. Tate is the founder and president of Colored in Christ International, Inc., a nonprofit ministry dedicated to equipping and encouraging believers to walk with a true perspective in Christ. Prior to writing full-time, Kimberly was a partner with Michael Best & Friedrich, one of the largest law firms in the Midwest, where she specialized in civil litigation. Visit her online at www.kimberlycashtate.com.



August 15

Deondriea Cantrice is a student of the human condition, wielding the written craft to captivate the mind much like an artist wields a brush. The pages are a blank canvas upon which to draw from a talent heralded by many and matched only by an imagination that rises to the task. Although love is timeless, it waits for no one. Rhythm Can’t Keep Time Sometime Love Just Ain't Enough (ISBN 9781432722968) is not a sappy love story, but a tale of passion, purpose, and possibilities that will keep you entranced in Sterling and Sheridyn's dance. Deondriea aspires to entertain, educate, and inspire her readers with tales of true life. For more information, testimonials, or excerpts, please see http://www.deondriea.com/.


August 22

Jan W. Vandersande Ph.D. received his B.A. with honors from Swarthmore College, his M. Sc. in Physics from Cornell University, and his Ph.D. in Physics from the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa. Currently he is the Director of Communications for the hi-tech company VIASPACE Inc. and spends most of his spare time reading and writing about psychic phenomena. His book, Life After Death, Some of the Best Evidence, talks about séances and sittings where he, his wife, and close friends experienced other-worldly phenomena first-hand with genuine trance mediums and channelers. Learn about ESP, psychic ability such as telepathy, seeing ectoplasm, and why this scientist believes that some materializations of deceased loved one are real. It's sure to be an interesting show! www.outskirtspress.com/bestevidence.

August 29

Journey with author Kenneth F. Worth in his book Hard Times and Great Blessings (ISBN: 9781432723088) as podcast host, Sarah Moore, interviews him. His has been a road made rough by many adversities, including the tragic death of his parents at age eleven, a year in Vietnam and an array of serious physical challenges. Yet, Worth insists that he is a blessed man who sees life as a challenge to be met head-on and as an opportunity to make a difference. Worth lays out his tragedy and triumph for everyone to see. The book is available at: http://www.outskirtspress.com/hardtimes paperback and e-book or Amazon kindle e-book or on-line everywhere.


About the podcast hosts: Yvonne Perry is the author of several titles including More than Meets the Eye, True Stories about Death, Dying, and Afterlife, which is designed to comfort to those who are grieving the loss of a loved one. Perry is a graduate of American Institute of Holistic Theology where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Metaphysics. As a networker, Yvonne enjoys sharing her knowledge and connecting writers, publishers, and authors and serving clients as the owner of Writers in the Sky Creative Writing Services™.

Sarah Moore is the newest WITS team member. She received her Bachelor of Arts degrees in both Government and Politics and Russian Area Studies, as well as a Master’s Degree in Secondary Education from the University of Maryland at College Park. As a former public high school teacher and academic advisor for campus students at University of Maryland and Boston University as well as the Regents Online Degree Program at Middle Tennessee State University, Ms. Moore is an excellent writer, editor, and proofreader able to give comprehensive manuscript evaluations and book reviews.

About WITS: Writers in the Sky Creative Writing Services™ (www.writersinthesky.com) is a team of professional writers and editors working with authors, businesses, and publishing houses on books, articles, bios, media releases, marketing copy, and many other types of writing and editing projects. The company publishes a monthly writing newsletter, daily writing blog and weekly writing and publishing podcast about the craft and business of writing. This 3-fold production is a favorite among authors who need more information about the publishing industry and readers who enjoy learning more about the authors of the books they enjoy reading.


Listening to Writers in the Sky Podcast on a computer is easy. Go to http://yvonneperry.blogspot.com. On the right sidebar there is a list of archived shows. Click on the interview you would like to hear and it will open a post that has a link to the audio file.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Free Writing Help for Authors

As The Jaw Clenches–A New Soap Opera for Authors
By Ginger Simpson

Between belonging to two critique groups, being edited by different publishing houses and reading information on blogs, I feel more confused than ever. It seems that rules change from house-to-house and while the lines blur, I am very clear on the following traps we authors fall into while writing. I just wonder why some people refuse to crawl out after they’ve tripped up. I keep reading the same mistakes over and over so I’m offering a few helpful hints I’ve garnered from such places as Michelle Styles’ awesome blog at http://michellestyles@blogspot.com and from the owner of Enspiren Press, Suzanne James. These people seem to have an awesome grasp on what not to do when writing that winning novel. I’m going to address a few areas in no particular order:

1. Action/Reaction Sequence. The sequence makes sense. Before someone can react, something has to happen first. What may seem simple can be demonstrated with the following examples:

John jumped up and screamed when the ghost appeared from the closet. Or A ghost appeared from the closet, and John jumped up and screamed.

Sally bumped her head when the car hit a curb. OR The car hit a curb and Sally bumped her head. Both make sense, but the rule is: Action first, Reaction second.

The ghost appearing is the action, and I believe John’s reaction is apparent. Sally probably wouldn’t bump her head unless the car hit a curb. Make sense?

2. “That” bad habit. When I write, and I notice others do the same, I tend to stick in “that” where not necessary. I almost did it when I wrote the first sentence. Out of habit, I wanted to put “I notice that others do the same. A recent rejection I received noted I used “that” far too frequently, so now I’ve become accustomed to thinking before I type it. I normally would have typed the preceding sentence thusly: A recent rejection that I received noted that I used “that” far too frequently, so now that I’ve become accustomed to thinking… I think that you get the picture…oops. I think you get the picture.

3. Back Story. Almost every story we write requires some back story (facts leading up to current), but the secret is peppering it throughout so we don’t bury the reader with it. Novels are supposed to unfold as they’re read—happen in the moment and drawing the reader into the action. If you spend paragraph upon paragraph telling what happened earlier rather than showing what is happening now, you’ve most likely lost the reader’s interest. Give enough detail to bring the reader up to speed but don’t drown them in facts that may not impact the story at all. It’s an acquired talent and one I’m working hard on.

The same goes for describing the scene. The reader doesn’t need to know the location of every tree on the property and how many birds nest in them. Better yet, paint a mental image of the tree shading the heroine’s window and the light filtering through the leaves. I recently read a drafted story in which the author fully-described everything in the heroine’s kitchen, down to the knives in the drawer. I tried to explain you might mention the counter as the heroine moved past and picked up a knife from the drawer, but three paragraphs describing everything in the room soon grew tedious and overdone.

4. RUE = Resist the Urge to Explain. A good writer enables the reader to determine emotions from the text. Michelle Styles gave a wonderful example on her blog that demonstrates her message. Rather than tell the reader your heroine is sad, use descriptive sentences to reflect it. Let the reader assign the emotion. I’m following Michelle’s lead here:

It was Cindy’s birthday and she felt sad.
Or
The date on the calendar mocked Cindy—her birthday, but it seemed like any other day. As she sifted the mail, rifling through unwanted catalogs and advertisements, she hoped for one single personally-addressed envelope holding a card. There were none.

Since I read Michelle’s piece, I'm so much more aware of unnecessary information we add to our stories when our dialogue should show the feeling and eliminate the need to explain what the reader should feel or see.

Another Example: Excited, Sarah entered the room. She felt tense and nervous at the same time. She needed water to soothe her thirst.
Could be: Sarah burst into the room (entered versus burst–using an action verb to show her excitement). Her heart raced, yet her jaw tensed. (showing her tenseness and nervousness). She smacked her lips, hoping for saliva to combat the cottony feel in her mouth. (showing her thirst).

Okay...so I'm not Nora Roberts...I wrote this on the spur of the moment, but I think you get the message.

5. Names: If you have an exchange going on between two people and it is clear to the reader, there is no need to continually use the characters name in the dialogue. One must assume the reader is intelligent enough to determine who is speaking with a minimal of hints and tags. Wouldn’t you find this a tad tedious?

Jane and Fred sat next to the fire, enjoying their wine. Fred turned to her with the flames reflecting in his eyes. "Jane, I'm having a wonderful time. Thank you for inviting me."

"Me too, Fred. I'm so glad you came."

"Jane, would you like me to refill your glass?"

"No thank you, Fred. I'm fine. I get giddy if I drink too much."

The same applies for starting every sentence with “she/he.” She heard the bell chime can be: The bell chimed. She saw the sunset become an artist’s pallet of colors can be, The sunset became an artist’s pallet of colors. He or she doesn’t have to identify with everything. Words are better spent describing action to your readers.

6. Tenses (Past, Present, Past imperfect…blah, blah, blah.) I'm still trying to acclimate to reading things written with “could see,” “could hear,” “could speak,” “had been missing.” Although I realize it's a style, I've had it beaten into me that saw, heard, spoke, and missed make the story unfold in the moment, and for me are preferred.

Consider: She could see his face, even in the dim light. The only sound she could hear was crickets outside the window. If only he could speak the words she longed for. She had been missing him far more than she expected.”

Now consider: She saw his face, even in the dim light. The only sound she heard was the crickets outside the window. If only he spoke those words she longed for. She'd missed him far more than she expected.

Okay...corny! Still, I prefer this style when at all possible. I realize dialogue can be in past tense, but I want to feel my stories happening now.

We all write differently. Each of us has a style or flair that is innately our own. I’m willing to make some changes and concessions during editing, but one thing I will fight for: keeping my own voice. Everyone should. It’s what makes us unique and helps us stand apart from the crowd. The hard thing is trying to convince your editor of that.

Author Ginger Simpson lives in Tennessee with her husband, Kelly, and shares her days with her autistic grandson, Spencer. Finding humor has always been a stress reliever, and is evident in her books and her blog. You can find her Web site at http://www.gingersimpson.com and join those who enjoy her blog at http://mizging.blogspot.com. Her efforts recently earned her a peer award for entertainment in blogging. She always loves to hear from people who enjoy her work.
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I (Yvonne) heard a Grammar Girl episode on using the word “that” and I think you will enjoy it: http://grammar.quickanddirtytips.com/when-to-leave-out-that.aspx

Finish Line, the game of golf and life

Title: Finish Line
Author: James Ross
ISBN: Hard Cover 978-1-4363-3327-6/Soft Cover 978-1-4363-3326-9
Publisher: Xlibris
Genre and Target Market: Fiction; male relationships; sports
Publication Date: 2008
Pages: 289
Reviewer: Barbara Milbourn

Author James Ross is on his game, weaving his sports theme into a highly entertaining and satisfying second novel called Finish Line. He returns J-Dub Schroeder to his beloved Prairie Winds Golf Course in East St. Louis after a near ten-year absence during which he battled his unscrupulous business partner/chiseler, Lewferd Zerrmann, for what was rightfully his.

Julie and all the old regulars from the first novel, Lifetime Loser, are there to welcome him home. J-Dub’s brother, Curt, has come on board. Because of his chance meeting across a craps table more than a decade ago with the fiery Tina Ventimiglia, he introduces two new characters in the summer of 2007, during which the book takes place except for the author deftly reaching back in time for stories that provide necessary footing for the present.

We meet them in the beginning—two early teens, Justin Ventimiglia and Keith Puccio, fresh out of school and into a bit of mischief. Now they’ve got a debt to repay and lessons to learn. Curt gives them an opportunity at Prairie Winds for just that, but when the workday is over, it’s time for the game of golf; and that, true to the author’s style, has plenty to teach about the game of life.

Ross understands the importance of a villain and tension and delivers it, not in the two-legged form this time, but as an illness—possibly a life-threatening illness; one that has crept in stealthily and has to be dealt with. Its thread and threat winds and twists around the protagonist until the very end, or as James Ross would say, the finish line.

Don’t think for one moment though that you’ll be bogged down or blanketed in depression about the trials of a sick guy—far from it. This book is packed with action, stories, plot, humor, interest, and surprises. Ross clips along at his usual good pace; not one that leaves you frantic and hyperventilating on the edge of your seat, but one that richly entertains and rewards you in its fast current.

The protagonist has his finger on today’s pulse and calls it as he sees it: from how the hospital experience and medical profession has evolved, to less-than-perfect politics, to cheaters at the game, to the gaming industry. Ross provides interesting and unexpected insight into many avenues that have bearing on his story.

I savored how intimately acquainted and comfortable I became with Prairie Winds. I personally like knowing where the cart barn is and a whole lot about what (and who) is in it. I can tell you distinguishing features of several holes on the course, how to cut holes and move pins on the green, and what it feels like to walk through the front door of the clubhouse. I can tell you where the shower is, show you the imprint of Fred’s behind on the back booth, pour you a cup of coffee, or stock your cooler for the front nine. While I like all the detailed imagery that crept in when I wasn’t looking, I am crazy about the characters.

Ross is a man’s man. His characters are predominantly male and they have grown in number. They’ve got names like Pork Chop, Lug Nut, Bowtye, Captain Jer, and Paco. They play golf, play cards, gamble, work the night shift, fly planes, treat animals, and they like pretty women. Even though their histories and habits run the gambit with sometimes shocking consequences, they’re there for each other for life. They are friends, brothers, competitors, mentors, and the man next door. His female characters have presence and importance. They are socially conscious, sharp, quirky and fun.

Ross is a storyteller—a talented one. His characters come from everywhere around the world, and dialogue rolls off his tongue. His stories come full circle—back to heart, happiness, family, and all-out goodness.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Authors Read a Humorous Book

For those who missed my humorous reading of Email Episodes on Lillian Brumett's radio show Authors Read, you can listen now....

I wrote this book when I was going through midlife crisis and raising two teenagers and a few odd house guests. I ended up getting a divorce by the end of the book, and while that is sad, I was in terrible denial. I managed my way through it by using humor as a distraction. It was cheap therapy--what more can I say?

Want to laugh at a mom and daughter as they clean up a tomato soup with a dirty shop vac? I read that story on Lillian's show, and it's in the book.

The inventory list of all the reptiles my teenagers raised in our basement is included in the book and on this radio show.

Listen to the show and find out what happens when you feed lightning bugs to a beaded dragon lizard. Hint: a box of tissues will be needed.

What happens when teenagers clean their rooms? Find out in the book or on this show.

Want to know why women should not become amateur plumbers? Believe it or not, it's on the show and in the book.

What do you find when you clean out the refrigerator? Find it in the book or on the show. Surprised aren't you?

If you would like copy of this eBook, send an email to writer at yvonneperry dot net (hopefully you can decipher the code and the email spam generators can't) and I'll invoice you via PayPal for $3.00. That's a pretty cheap (inexpensive) laugh. The short entries make it a great bathroom read if you can get your computer to balance on the edge of the bathtub. If not, I have a few dinged paperback copies I'll sell for $5.00 each plus postage.

Enjoy!

Yvonne Perry
writersinthesky.com

Monday, July 28, 2008

African-American Christian Author Kimberly Cash-Tate

Kimberly Cash Tate will be joining Sarah Moore today on Writers in the Sky Podcast August 1, 2008 to discuss her book Heavenly Places.


Kimberly Cash Tate is an exciting Christian author whose career began when she penned her spiritual journey in a compelling memoir entitled, More Christian than African-American: One Women's Journey to her True Spiritual Self in 1999. True to her calling as a published writer, she is back with a heart-warming fictional debut called, Heavenly Places, published by Walk Worthy Press, March 2008.

In addition to her passion for writing, she is the founder and president of Colored in Christ International, Inc., a nonprofit ministry dedicated to equipping and encouraging believers to walk with a true perspective in Christ.

Prior to writing full-time, Kimberly was a partner with Michael Best & Friedrich, one of the largest law firms in the Midwest, where she specialized in civil litigation.

She resides in Missouri with her husband and two children and is hard at work on her second novel.

Synopsis:

Treva Langston has always felt inferior, thanks to her mother. She at least found her worth in a successful career …until it was gone. Now her life has suddenly been turned upside down. Without her high-powered job, she has returned with her family to her hometown and all the memories of heartache she’s fought to escape. Worse, she’s near her mother again, who hasn’t changed one bit. Beset with feelings of unworthiness, she’s filled with despair, until her sister coaxes her into a women’s home Bible study. Though Treva resists, and quits a couple of times, she comes to learn the importance of family, the blessing of friendship, and the powerful truth that conquers a lifetime of lies.


Heavenly Places is fiction that feeds the soul! Heavenly Places is available wherever books are sold and online at:Amazon.com


Visit her online at http://www.kimberlycashtate.com/ and blog at http://www.kimberlycashtate.blogspot.com/ for more information.

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Listening to Writers in the Sky Podcast on a computer is easy. Just click this link: http://yvonneperry.blogspot.com/ and go to my blog.On the right sidebar there is a list of archived shows. Click on the interview you would like to hear and it will open a post that has a link to the audio file.

For information about being a guest on Writers in the Sky Podcast, see http://www.yvonneperry.net/Writing_Packages.htm#Publicity_Packages_

Sunday, July 27, 2008

How to Escape an Abusive Relationship

I never cease to be amazed at how Dottie Randazzo can pack such a powerful punch in so few words. All of her books are short and to the point, and only have a few sentences in large print on each page, but she gets her message across in a way that impacts the reader to take action. How to Escape an Abusive Relationship spoke to me so profoundly that I felt goose bumps all over while reading it.

Dottie's plan of escape is to have a plan. I know it sounds simple, and it is simple for someone who is not in an abusive situation, but her plan is doable for anyone who is in an abusive relationship. It may not be easy, but having a plan moves the victim one step at a time toward freedom without upsetting the abuser and making the situation worse.

Dottie has been there and knows what it is like to have to sneak around to get a moment alone in order to make her next move toward getting out. She has captured the mind of the victim without ever seeing herself as a victim. In fact, she sees herself (and so do I) as a smart, funny, and successful woman who somehow got herself into a very undesirable and unhealthy relationship. I admire her for being brave enough to refuse staying a victim and taking undeserved punishment. And, I admire her for writing this book to help others.

I was never in as bad a relationship as the one Dottie tells about in her story, but I can relate because I wanted to leave my first marriage for many years before I actually did. Even then, I didn't have a plan for success afterward; therefore, I found myself without a place to live and with no access to the abundance of money and possessions I had previously shared with my spouse. Why didn't it occur to me to have an exit strategy?

Dottie tells exactly how she escaped the mental and emotional abuse of her ex-husband. This empowering information will help you formulate your own plan to get out alive and with a means of providing for yourself after your prison bars open.

Don't stay any longer than you have to; get started on your road to freedom now! Anyone who is in an abusive situation should GET THIS BOOK!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

A Quick Guide to ISBNs for Self-Publishers

ISBN stands for International Standard Book Number. It is a code assigned to every published book that uniquely identifies it in the marketplace. ISBNs make it easier and more efficient for libraries, booksellers and others in the publishing industry to order, distribute and catalog books.

When to Use an ISBN

You need to assign an ISBN to any content you intend to distribute through outside channels such as bookstores, catalogues or libraries. ISBNs should be placed on:

-- printed books
-- electronic books
-- videos
-- audio cassettes and CDs
-- CD-ROMs, and
-- other items as detailed by the International ISBN Agency.

You need to issue a separate ISBN for each edition of your book and for every format. For example, if you issued the same book as a print book, e-book, audio book and Braille book, you would require a separate identifier for each. If one year later, you updated the manuscript and re-issued the book, you would assign new ISBNs to this second edition in each of its different formats.

Deciphering the Numbering System

All ISBNs are currently 10 digits. (The industry has slowly been transitioning to a 13-digit system since 2005. See http://www.isbn.org/standards/home/isbn/transition.asp for more information on the change.) The digits identify:

-- the group (country, area or language area of the publisher)
-- the publisher, and
-- the title of the item.

The last digit is a check digit.

The group number is comprised of one to three digits. Zero is the number for the English language group that includes the United States, English-speaking Canada, the U.K., Australia and other countries.

The publisher number is comprised of two to seven digits. The more ISBNs a publisher uses, the smaller their publisher number. Publishers that use more than 100,000 ISBNs are given a publisher number of only two digits. If you apply for 10 or fewer ISBNs, you will be assigned a publisher number with seven digits. Everyone else falls somewhere in the middle.
Thus anyone in the book trade can look at an ISBN and know roughly how big you are as a publisher by the number of ISBNs you have applied to use. This is why self-publishing gurus like Dan Poynter recommend acquiring your ISBNs in blocks of 100 to avoid being labeled “small potatoes.”

Poynter further recommends that you use an ISBN from the middle of your list of 100 for your first book, since a 0 or 1 as your title number will reveal you as a first-timer. The check digits range from one to 10. Since there is space for only one check digit, the number 10 is represented by an X.

How to Acquire ISBNs

ISBNs in the United States are administered by R.R. Bowker. Bowker charges a fee to process your application. Ten ISBNs cost $225; 100 ISBNs cost $800. Visit www.bowker.com for more information, or to complete an application. ISBNs in Canada are administered by the National Public Library as a free service. Visit http://www.nlc-bnc.ca/isbn/index-e.html for more information or to apply on-line.

For more information on the ISBN system and how it works, visit http://www.isbn.org/.

Juiced Consulting helps business owners package what they know into information products—such as books, audiotapes and teleclasses—that they can sell to generate new business revenue. For a free newsletter and other resources, visit http://www.juicedconsulting.com.
jtribe@juicedconsulting.com. Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Jennifer_Tribe

A Great Podcast on Grammar and Usage

After my own Writers in the Sky Podcast, Grammar Girl is my next favorite podcast. I enjoy learning new things about word usage and grammar and having my knowledge challenged or confirmed by listening to host Mignon Fogarty explain things such as which pronoun (I or me) to use in a sentence.

On my recent trip to Georgia, I listened to about 25 shows that I had accumulated on my iPod via my subscription to her podcast on iTunes. The drive provided a chance to sit down and take in all the wonderful information she offers.

Maybe you don't think that a show on generic singular pronouns or proofreading tips could be that interesting, but I assure you that by listening to Grammar Girl you will not only be informed and educated, you will also be entertained. Her wit and fun examples help get the point across and make it memorable, plus you can call in and ask questions that you would like to have her cover in a future episode.

Mignon is an author. Her new book Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing was released July 8 and I have ordered it online. I can't wait to get it.

I get nothing for recommending Mignon's book or her show. She doesn't even know who I am. However, I enjoy sharing helpful information and new learning tools with my readers. So,
why not check out the Quick and Dirty site and see for yourself how much fun grammar can be?

Yvonne Perry

Friday, July 25, 2008

Author B.T. Lenox Speaks about Immigration Issues

WITS host, Sarah Moore, interviews Bridgett Lenox, the author of the novel Beyond the Border--a fascinating and disturbing look at illegal immigration programs, specifically in the San Diego area, and the politicians that initiate them.

Click here to listen to part one on immigration issues...

B. T. Lenox grew up with two brothers in the suburbs of southeast San Diego where Mexicans worked both legally and illegally for neighbors and friends. She often overheard stories of capture and abuse, and witnessed border patrol agents taunt and threaten migrant workers. She now lives in a state where actors and immigrant actors become politicians, politicians that attain the title of President.

In this interview, you will learn why she wrote a book that points an accusatory finger at the Border Patrol and the politicians who are dealing with illegal immigration. Lenox details how border patrol agents use some extreme, horrific methods in their attempt to deal with illegal immigrants. Regardless of your personal stance on this hot topic, Ms. Lenox's portrayal of illegal immigration enforcement will certainly make you think.

Click here to listen to part two...


Book Synopsis

In 1979, four of the toughest boys in town vomit and weep when they stumble across Border Patrol agents who covertly exterminated caged, illegal aliens with kerosene and a single cigarette. Later, as adults, two of the boys discover that the same practices still secretly exist and are sanctioned by both the State and Federal authorities to further political careers.
Beyond the Border is a story about an attorney, Mike Phillips, fighting for the rights of illegal aliens--unknowingly and feloniously aided by a Columbian ally—but undermined by a staircase of politicians and political platforms that escalates to the Presidency and the future Presidency.



ISBN: 9781598009217
Purchase at: www.outskirtspress.com/beyondtheborder
or read more at www.beyondtheborderbook.com

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Thompson Western Series book review

Cattle Country and Back Trail: Two Tales from the Thompson Western Series
Erwin A. Thompson
ISBN: 0-595-40228-3
Publisher: iUniverse
$17.95 US
Reviewer: Gordon Randall

I could not remember the last time I read a Western novel, so when presented with the opportunity I thought, “Why not?” Turns out that Cattle Country Back Trail by Erwin Thompson grabbed me by the horns like a champion roper and tied up my attention tighter than a piece of wet leather.

Though it may be fiction, the author sure has a knack for this genre ‘cause I was immediately drawn into the action quicker than a drunk gun slinger on Saturday night. Thompson paints the picture with vivid descriptions of the rural countryside as well as the muddy ruts of old western towns. Thompson knows people, too. He takes you inside every character’s head so you understand where each of them came from, how they got where they are, what made them who they are, and why they act the way they do. He would have been a great cowboy psychologist!

After reading Cattle Country Back Trail, I found myself steeped in thought about how different and hard life was back then. I sometimes wonder how quickly my life would change if I were thrust into an alien environment.

The two stories told in this work have been blended without a hitch even though there is a time lapse that sort of fast forwards you. I found the book to be a thoroughly entertaining and a delightful way to spend a lazy afternoon out on the range—my back porch.

Purchase on Amazon.com
Purchase on iUniverse.com

About the Author:

Erwin A. Thompson has been writing since he was in high school. He wrote again during the war and on inclement weather days when he worked for Union Electric (now Ameren) as a gas pipefitter fixing gas leaks. Thompson has written approximately forty books and is still writing at age 91. He wrote to entertain himself and his children, which accounts for several memoirs and family history pieces as well as poems and songs! He's written twelve Westerns: Cattle Country Back Trail: Two tales from the Thompson Western Series were the first two short novels that he published in one print/binding. As the subtitle suggests, they are linked stories and characters. All Erwin’s books supply good reading with deep messages of character and community without being preachy.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Preschool Children's Book Queen Vernita

Title of Document: Book Review
Book Title: Queen Vernita’s Visitors
Author: Dawn Menge
ISBN Number: 978-1-59800-714-5
Publisher: Outskirts Press, Inc
Genre and Target Market: children, educational, fantasy
Publication Date: 2008
Book Length in Pages: 30

As the mother of a preschooler, I am always looking for new books to stir up my daughter’s imagination. Books with outdoor adventures and colorful, detailed pictures seem to be her favorites. When you add a fun way to expand her knowledge base, I am particularly excited to sit down and dig into a new story. The new book by Dawn Menge, titled Queen Vernita’s Visitors, meets the qualifications of both my daughter and me perfectly. I know the Queen will be a favorite bedtime character in our home for a long time to come.

The main character of Menge’s book is Queen Vernita, the ruler of a world called Oceaneer. Although she loves being a queen, Vernita has discovered that it can be lonely at the top. To diminish the isolation she feels in her castle, Queen Vernita decides to invite twelve of her friends to visit her – one for each month of the year. Queen Vernita and her friend of the month take their attention to the calendar one step further by deciding on a fun activity for each day of the week. Who wouldn’t want to have a huge snowball fight every Friday in February or eat apples right off the tree every Thursday in September? Queen Vernita is a hostess who knows how to show her friends a good time!

My experiences as both a parent and a teacher have taught me that repetition is important when teaching a new concept to a child. Menge goes through each day of the week on every page and always mentions the number of days each guest gets to visit (including the fact that Tommie only visited for twenty-eight days in February because it wasn’t a leap year). By the last few months detailed in the book, even the youngest readers will be able to recite the days of the week with you. Queen Vernita’s Visitors provides a fun and creative way to learn that Tuesday comes after Monday and so on. Just as important to the adult reader who is sharing the story with a child, I never felt like I was reciting the same material over and over again. The repetition serves its purpose without overpowering the enjoyment of learning how Queen Vernita and her guests spend their time together.

Children will love the exciting games and adventures that are laid out in this book. From jolly jump rope to climbing big pine trees to making pumpkin pies, these characters know how to keep themselves busy. Queen Vernita is not satisfied with watching TV or playing video games, and hopefully Menge’s readers will take the cue and try some of these fun activities themselves. Great books are often the catalyst for hours of imaginative fun.

The beautiful illustrations drawn by Bobbi Switzer add so much to the pleasurable experience that is Queen Vernita’s Visitors. The bright colors and large drawings can be used to tell a story all by themselves. With just enough detail to be interesting but not be too busy, the pictures can be used to encourage kids to have further discussions about the great times that Queen Vernita and her visitors have every day. Switzer’s pictures also provide a perfect opportunity for siblings to share this book. The older child can take pride in reading each day of the week while her younger counterpart can delight in the pictures of Queen Vernita as she makes the most out of her castle and its surroundings.

I love that the author used family members and friends as the inspiration for the characters in this book. Queen Vernita is based on her grandmother, which I imagine made for wonderful childhood visits! Dawn Menge has said that she hopes to use the Queen Vernita character in a series of books. I certainly hope that she follows through on this intention, as I promise that my daughter and I will cuddle together and read every one of her stories. Queen Vernita’s Visitors is a beautiful book that takes children and adults alike through a year of friendships and fun. It is a must-have addition to any kid’s library!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Women in the Wild West

Edith and the Mysterious Stranger
Linda Weaver Clarke
American Book Publishing (2008)
ISBN 9781589824690
Reviewed by Wendy Cleveland for Reader Views (6/08)

Edith and the Mysterious Stranger centers around the Roberts family living in the Wild West of Bear Lake, Idaho. Melinda is about to have a baby with her husband, Gilbert, but has found out that she needs to be bedridden for the remainder of her pregnancy. They enlist the help of Melinda’s cousin Edith, who is a nurse, to stay with them until the baby is born. Edith has never been married. Though many men have courted her, she seems to always find fault with each one. Melinda and Gilbert challenge each other that they will introduce Edith to two men, Henry and Joseph, with the help of Edith’s mother, Martha. Of course, Edith does not give either one of them a chance even though they continue to fight for her heart throughout. During one of Edith’s visits to her mother, she hands her a letter and tells her “We truly don’t know men until we’re married because we never know the inner person. You know, the heart, his spiritual side. We’re so busy courting and trying to impress one another that we never get to know the soul of the person.” Throughout the story, Edith receives numerous letters from this “Mysterious Stranger” each becoming more personal. Edith soon falls in love with this person even though she has never met him. Once Edith finds out who the “Mysterious Stranger” is, she is pleasantly surprised. Meanwhile, another love story is taking place between the new ranch-hand, David, and Gilbert’s 16-year-old daughter, Jenny. However, David came to the ranch with his own intentions that will be tested.

When I first started reading this book, I did not know that it was Christian Fiction nor have I ever read any. I was pleasantly surprised to find this story very uplifting. Ms. Clark did a fantastic job of portraying the importance of knowing your God Given Gifts. The history of the Wild West was also intriguing with the world of outlaws and cattle rustlers as well as the medicines and herbs they used. The doctor kept telling Melinda to take a few glasses of wine or whiskey each day for her cramping. Who knew?

The Power of the Written Word—this is the life lesson I took away from Linda Weaver Clarke’s book “Edith and the Mysterious Stranger.” In today’s society, no one writes letters anymore. Everything is done by email or telephone. Most everyone today is also materialistic looking at the outer rather than inner person. The fact that Edith fell in love with someone just by getting to know them through their letters and not seeing them was inspirational to me. Humility—if we all could just get a little of that, we would all be better people. Even though this book was a Christian love story, I would definitely recommend this to anyone interested in a good inspirational read from beginning to end. You won’t be disappointed. I’m definitely a fan and will be looking for another installment in the Roberts family saga.


Monday, July 21, 2008

Immigration Issues Discussed on Writing Podcast

B.T. (Bridget) Lenox will interviewed by Sarah Moore on Writers in the Sky Podcast this coming Friday. Bridget is the author of the novel Beyond the Border--an alternative look at illegal immigration programs and the politicians that initiate them.

Author Bio

B. T. Lenox grew up with two brothers in the suburbs of southeast San Diego where Mexicans worked both legally and illegally for neighbors and friends. She often overheard stories of capture and abuse, and witnessed border patrol agents taunt and threaten migrant workers. As an adult B. T. studied writing and English in college. She worked for an attorney and transcribed for the courts. B. T. lives in a state where actors and immigrant actors become politicians, politicians that attain the title of President.

Book Synopsis

In 1979, four of the toughest boys in town vomit and weep when they stumble across Border Patrol agents who covertly exterminated caged, illegal aliens with kerosene and a single cigarette. Later, as adults, two of the boys discover that the same practices still secretly exist and are sanctioned by both the State and Federal authorities to further political careers.

Beyond the Border is a story about an attorney, Mike Phillips, fighting for the rights of illegal aliens--unknowingly and feloniously aided by a Columbian ally—but undermined by a staircase of politicians and political platforms that escalates to the Presidency and the future Presidency.

ISBN: 9781598009217. Read more or purchase at www.outskirtspress.com/beyondtheborder or www.beyondtheborderbook.com.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

How to Get Massive Traffic to Your Blog: Tag! You're It!

by Penny C. Sansevieri

One of the biggest questions I get from authors is “I have a blog but how do I get people to it?” Well, first off, you want to keep blogging, but there are other things you can do too and we’ll discuss two of the most powerful ones here.

If you’ve spent any kind of time online you’ve probably heard the terms: tag or social bookmarking. But what*exactly do these terms mean?

If you think of the term “tagging” like you would a name tag at a party or networking event it will start to make much more sense. Generally when you post a blog, it’s recommended that you “tag” it with various terms appropriate to the message of the blog. The Wikipedia definition of “tag” is: A tag is a keyword which acts like a subject or category. This keyword is used to organize Web pages, subjects, and objects on the Internet.

When you think of it this way, what you’re really doing is organizing each of your blog posts so that folks can find and search them. By tagging each of them with specific keywords you’ll come up faster when someone searches those keywords than if you left your blog blank. Make sense? Ok, then let’s get started learning how to tag. (I promise, it’s very easy)

When creating tags, there are two types that you can create. You can imbed your blog with tags using services like Technorati (more on that in a minute) or you can go to social networking sites and tag your blog as well. Honestly, I recommend a combination of both.

Social bookmarking is a way of “bookmarking” favorite sites (i.e. yours) so you can easily share them (via tags) with the Internet community and especially folks who are searching on your search term. I’ll explain how to get your site bookmarked but for now take a look at sites like www.digg.com and www.del.icio.us.com—these are the top two social bookmarking sites you’ll want to use. There are others but we’ll discuss them in a minute.

Simple steps to tagging:

Create a blog post: just write your blog, don’t worry about doing anything different.
  1. Identify some keywords you’ll want to use: just pick some keywords, as many as you want. Don’t worry about getting too scientific with this, just be thorough.

  2. Create your tags: head on over to http://www.egmstrategy.com/ice/tag-generator.cfm and generate a tags (this will be choice #1). Once you input the keywords make sure the default button is checked at Technorati. Then go to the bottom and click “generate code” – this code will get posted right into your blog. It’s that easy! (tip: always post this code at the end of your blog) When you’re done you’ll see code in your blog like this: http://www.redhotinternetpublicity.com/blog/?p=45

  3. Social bookmarking: simply put, you want to tag each of your blog posts in one or all of the following social networking sites. The one slightly time consuming piece is that you’ll need to set up accounts for each of these but once you do, it will take you a minute or so per post to add a social bookmarking tag to each of them. Here are some of the most popular social bookmarking sites you’ll want to use: dig.com, del.icio.us, yahoo.com (this is still in beta but I recommend using it anyway), blinklist.com, spurl.com, reddit.com, furl.com, and stumbleupon.com

  4. Nuts and bolts: each of these sites has a different set of criteria for bookmarking your blog post. If you’re blogging everyday this might seem pretty tedious. If it’s too much work to tag and bookmark each of your posts, handpick a few each week and focus on those. The idea is that you want to get these keywords out in cyberspace so folks can find you.
Ready for a final tip? If you want to impress customers with your endless list of resources why not share your del.icio.us page with your readers/customers. Del.icio.us gives each registered member their own page with all of their bookmarks. Ideally you’ll want to include other resources besides your own blog but a link to this page could be a fantastic way to gain additional exposure not just for your blog, but to your wealth of resources as well. (here’s my page: http://del.icio.us/bookmkr)


Penny C. Sansevieri, CEO and founder of Author Marketing Experts, Inc., is a best-selling author and internationally recognized book marketing and media relations expert. Her company is one of the leaders in the publishing industry and has developed some of the most cutting-edge book marketing campaigns. She is the author of five books, including Book to Bestseller which has been called the "road map to publishing success". To learn more about her books or her promotional services, you can visit her web site at www.amarketingexpert.com. To subscribe to her free ezine, send a blank email to: mailto:subscribe@amarketingexpert.com
Copyright 2008 Penny C. Sansevieri

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Words Carved in Stone


Lavinia E. Lewis is either 164 years old, or she’s interred someplace else. I paused for quite a while after finding this old graveyard on a hike through deep woods.

That got me thinking about the impact of punctuation on words. Consider:

A woman, without her man, is nothing.

A woman: without her, man is nothing.

Pardon, impossible to be sent to prison.
Pardon impossible, to be sent to prison.

My mind drifts when I hike and I start thinking about what motivates a writer. I’ve always believed that words have impact and outlive those of us who commit them to the page. But what happens when words take on new meanings?

I watch a spider spin a web and realize that for most people I know, spiders and webs are part of what happens on the Internet. I wait in line to buy stamps to post a letter. I am also online when I post a story to my blog.

Blog wasn’t a word ten years ago. Of course, neither were Google, email, muggle, and many other words now part of my vocabulary.

I can read a play by Aristophanes or Shakespeare and understand what those authors wrote. Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn is as satirical and humorous when I re-read it now as it was when I read it in high school.

But with the amazing changes in our technology and the words that have emerged to define those changes, will future readers understand writers of the past? Should my words survive, would they have meaning to readers hundreds or thousands of years from now? I won’t be around to find out.

As I step past this gravestone, I think about how back in the 19th Century, this was probably a farm, not the deep woods of Harriman State Park. Averill Harriman, who donated this land, didn’t own it until the early 20th Century. This headstone will likely be here for a very long time. I plan to return periodically, just in case the death of Lavinia E. Lewis is ultimately recorded in stone.

Writer and naturalist JJ Murphy, http://www.WriterByNature.com, offers creative nature curriculum, wild food recipes, fiction, poetry, articles and writing services for individuals, entrepreneurs, small businesses and ecologically aware companies.

Friday, July 18, 2008

A Freelancer's Survival Guide at Forbes.com

Those who are looking for advice on starting a freelance business, may find this article titled "A Freelancer's Survival Guide" interesting: http://tinyurl.com/67awyq. Even though it deals with all types of freelancing, it is very applicable to freelance writing.

You may want to forward the link or add the article to your social networking sites such as facebook, del.icio.us, Digg, Twitter, MySpace or Stumbleupon to help others find this useful information.

Yvonne Perry
www.writersinthesky.com

Baseball & Father/Son Relationships Book

Kelley Dupuis will be joining us today on Writers in the Sky Podcast July 18th, 2008!

Kelley Dupuis was born in Vermont and grew up in California, where he attended San Diego State University, graduating with a degree in journalism and history. After a few years in newspaper and radio work, he joined the U.S. State Department and traveled about the world. Later he returned to journalism, winning a San Diego Press Club award for investigative reporting in 2004. He currently lives in Washington, D.C., where he works as a writer and editor. He and his wife Valerie, a real estate broker, have three dogs, three cats and no children.

Click here to listen to Part 1...

In Three Flies Up, Washington, D.C. author and award-winning journalist Kelley Dupuis explores two themes, one universal and one uniquely American. The perennial theme of fathers and sons forms the backdrop for the story of the author’s long, usually-troubled relationship with his own father, a career Border Patrolman who grew up both poor and largely without a father in his own life, and as a result had no role model for being a father himself. As the author grows up in the 1960s and ‘70s, father and son are at loggerheads more than often than not.

Click here to listen to Part 2...

But they share one very important, very American thing: a mutual love for the game of baseball, one of few things capable of bridging the cultural, generational and emotional gap separating father and son. Baseball is their chief, often only, common ground. When the author is in his late forties, after years of estrangement from his father and following his mother’s death, he returns home to California to assist in caring for his dad, now approaching 90 and gradually falling victim to dementia. Eventually, when the author becomes his father’s primary caregiver, baseball is more important than ever.

For more information please visit http://www.kelleydupuis.com/


***********************************

Listening to Writers in the Sky Podcast on a computer is easy. Just click this link: http://yvonneperry.blogspot.com/ and go to my blog.On the right sidebar there is a list of archived shows. Click on the interview you would like to hear and it will open a post that has a link to the audio file.


For information about being a guest on Writers in the Sky Podcast, see http://www.yvonneperry.net/Writing_Packages.htm#Publicity_Packages_

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Stories of Devil-Girl

The Stories of Devil-Girl
Anya Achtenberg
Modern History Press (2008)
ISBN 9781932690620
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (6/08)

The Devil-Girl was raised to believe that she had the devil in her, or at least he was at work in her life. Her abusive mother taught her to believe that she wasn’t worth anything. Throughout her childhood and young adulthood, Devil-Girl encountered perverts and sadists that cared only about using and abusing her. The Devil-Girl was never heard. She didn’t have a voice that was believed worth listening to. This is a really painful story to read. It made me fear for all of the “Devil-Children” out there who don’t get heard.

Achtenberg has a talent for writing scenes in vivid detail which brings them to life for the reader. It also makes the pain the Devil-Girl is suffering more real. It is inspiring to see the character turn her life around and use her experiences to help other Devil-Girls out there. This is a very good way to inspire others who are being abused to make something positive of their lives and not allow the current situation to ruin their futures. I think that it will also make people take a closer look at what is happening in the lives of people around them, especially children’s.

The Stories of Devil-Girl is the first book in the Reflections of America Series. This series “highlights autobiography, fiction, and poetry which express the quest to discover one’s context within modern society.” If The Stories of Devil-Girl is any indication of the quality of the books to follow in this series, readers will be thrilled to have access to some excellent works. If nothing else, this book is one tough act to follow.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Middle School fun reading

Title: You’re It
Author: Marc J Loranger
ISBN Numbers: 978-1-4327-1862-6
Publisher: Outskirts Press, Inc.
Genre and Target Market: Young adult fiction
Publication Date: 2008
Pages: 97
Reviewer: Barbara Milbourn of Writers in the Sky.

In You’re It, the second volume in his James Adventure Series, author Marc Loranger cranks out magic, mystery, and mayhem in the summer heat of Crabtree, Louisiana.

James and Corey are in middle school; friends since they were five in Connecticut. They’ve been reunited by an odd set of circumstances in this sleepy small town and are musing over the southern drawl of their third wheel, Jed. “His full name was Jedadiah Jacob Glunk to be exact . . . Jed was a scrawny looking kid with thick glasses and early signs of spotted acne . . .” writes Loranger.

The author has given Corey a penchant for spy games and one afternoon he and James lure Jed into a little harmless adventure. The game takes a turn when Jed discovers and retrieves a small briefcase floating in a creek. Its contents match those unwittingly picked up earlier by James who does not discover their magic powers until a little later in the book. About that time, Corey’s gone missing and very much needs James and Jed to come to his rescue.

Loranger gives us full throttle through the eyes of the uncritical-reading young adult. He keeps the action flowing and punctuates things to the max. The icky people have icky names like Wilbur and Lucifer; when the food’s bad, it’s the worst—sauerkraut, hog dogs, and Brussels sprouts; little sisters are a royal pain to put it nicely; the villains are ultra-eerie and the circumstances they create are the scariest! Boys are boys feeling time stand totally still on the last day of school; seeing that girls are pretty but as yet that’s about all; never having enough money and getting shooed by grumpy storekeepers; referring to anyone over forty as old lady this or old man that.

Reading You’re It made me feel like a kid again. I recalled breaking popsicles in half before peeling off the paper; my brother’s agitation at me, the little sister; the envy I felt about the games he played with his pals. Marc Loranger brings this special time alive once again. It’s pure fun.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Movie Girl Book Review

Movie Girl
Author: Christina Hamlett
Outskirts Press
$11.95 US
ISBN: 9781432718541
Reviewer: Melanie Cressman

When she is picked to write a screenplay for her school’s new movie, Laurie isn’t fazed. Soon after, she finds that she might have a need to worry.

Movie Girl is the classic untold story of a crush that takes control of someone and totally changes them without their realization. In this story, Laurie has a crush on Artie. She begins to follow Artie around, and without knowing it, pushes everyone away as she chases after him. She winds up missing cheerleading tryouts to join Chess Club, writing a love poem to herself, and nearly destroying a friendship with one of the greatest guys she knows, all the while attempting to write a screenplay for her movie.

Laurie finally decides to give up on Artie after realizing how much she has changed to become a person he might like and still has not convinced him to like her. We can all take a lesson from how Laurie stubbornly continued to like Artie despite the events that should have led her to like someone else. We just need to take the time to look around and not take our friendships for granted just because we think we want something else.

Movie Girl is a feel-good story; one that has a simple but common timeless theme—love will prevail. Everything always works out in the end, and everyone can realize that we should appreciate what is right next to us as much as what we could have. Some things are simply meant to be, and nothing, from crazy stunts to hectic scheduling, can ever change that.

About the Reviewer:
Melanie Cressman is a fourteen-year-old who enjoys reading and writing for pleasure in her free time. She has always loved the thrill of opening a new book. She began writing reviews for her school book club as they read the books nominated for the Volunteer State Book Award. She enjoys reading everything from mysteries to historical fiction, horror stories to romance. Her favorite author is currently Meg Cabot. She loves writing and hopes that she will one day be able to do it as a fulltime career and have someone else review her books!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Three Flies Up

Kelley Dupuis will be joining us on Writers in the Sky Podcast July 18th, 2008!

Kelley Dupuis was born in Vermont and grew up in California, where he attended San Diego State University, graduating with a degree in journalism and history. After a few
years in newspaper and radio work, he joined the U.S. State Department and traveled about the world. Later he returned to journalism, winning a San Diego Press Club award for investigative reporting in 2004. He currently lives in Washington, D.C., where he works as a writer and editor. He and his wife Valerie, a real estate broker, have three dogs, three cats and no children.

In Three Flies Up, Washington, D.C. author and award-winning journalist Kelley Dupuis explores two themes, one universal and one uniquely American. The perennial theme of fathers and sons forms the backdrop for the story of the author’s long, usually-troubled relationship with his own father, a career Border Patrolman who grew up both poor and largely without a father in his own life, and as a result had no role model for being a father himself. As the author grows up in the 1960s and ‘70s, father and son are at loggerheads more than often than not.

But they share one very important, very American thing: a mutual love for the game of baseball, one of few things capable of bridging the cultural, generational and emotional gap separating father and son. Baseball is their chief, often only, common ground. When the author is in his late forties, after years of estrangement from his father and following his mother’s death, he returns home to California to assist in caring for his dad, now approaching 90 and gradually falling victim to dementia. Eventually, when the author becomes his father’s primary caregiver, baseball is more important than ever.

For more information please visit http://www.kelleydupuis.com/


***********************************

Listening to Writers in the Sky Podcast on a computer is easy. Just click this link: http://yvonneperry.blogspot.com/ and go to my blog.On the right sidebar there is a list of archived shows. Click on the interview you would like to hear and it will open a post that has a link to the audio file.


For information about being a guest on Writers in the Sky Podcast, see http://www.yvonneperry.net/Writing_Packages.htm#Publicity_Packages_

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The iPod & iTunes Handbook by Contel Bradford

A few months ago, I was interviewed about how I use my iPod. Of course, I use it for listening to music, but that is not the primary reason I got one. I wanted an iPod so I could listen to my writing podcast on the go.

I answered Contel's interview questions via email and thought no more of it. This week I went to my mailbox and found a book: The iPod & iTunes Handbook by Contel Bradford. At first, I thought it was a book from a guest who was asking to appear on my podcast. After opening the package I was confused for a moment. I had not had a recent query from the author of that book. Then, it dawned on me. This is the book that I gave an interview for. Not only did Contel give my full response, but book is an excellent resource for anyone who wants to learn more about using an iPod or downloading from iTunes.

I have a MacBook and a PC. One day I was using the PC and my husband was using the MacBook to download songs from iTunes. Later he wanted to transfer them to my iPod for a trip we were about to make. Big problem. Neither of us could figure out how to get the purchased songs from the Mac onto the iPod without erasing everything I already had on the iPod during the sync. Guess what? How to manually sync only certain songs is described on pages 76-77 in Contel's book! 

From the basics of how to turn off or unfreeze your iPod to tips and tricks about changing the album art, this book contains it all. It even includes a detailed history of how the iPod and iTunes came into existence and the features available on each model. 

I really appreciate the chance to be featured in the book along with many of my writing friends, but I also know I will be using this book as a much-needed reference manual. Here is the link to find out more about The iPod and iTunes Handbook: http://tinyurl.com/5o75oh

Learn more about our writing podcast and how to be a guest on Writers in the Sky by visiting our Web site or writing blog.

Good versus Evil Book and Video

Imani M. Royale is a client of Writers in the Sky Creative Writing Services. She worked with Taryn Simpson on her latest book, Destiny's Deadly Dialogue, about the importance of finding one's destiny in life. I am excited to share this book with you and invite you to take a look at the book video Taryn made to introduce Imani and her book.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aaLJZcHH21M


Synopsis

From the beginning, Ramla was set apart and predestined to carry out the will of God. Yet, at every turn, Satan was there to undermine every effort to do what was right. He placed many obstacles in her way, especially his protege', Samael. As Ramla fights for her life, her protector, Peter, the Angel of Faith will watch over her, but he is not able to interfere in her circumstances. Through Ramla, he learns why he didn't walk in the call God placed on his own life during his years in the world. A timeline was placed on her life to surrender to God. Will she make it in time or allow Satan to thwart the plan God has set for her? This supernatural thriller will keep you on the edge of your seat.

Imani is a philanthropist. To help the poor, she donated thousands of dollars in 2006 to help spread the gospel to different nations. Ms. Royale traveled to West Africa to help the refugees of Sierra Leone. Imani's humanitarian efforts have taken her to the Netherlands, Ghana, Cameroon and Togo, Africa. She has also ministered to women all over the Washington metropolitan area.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Children's Book Author Dawn Menge

Dawn Menge will be joining us today on Writers in the Sky Podcast!

Dawn Menge has a Masters Degree and clear credential in Special Education. She has worked with the severely handicapped population for eleven years. She is currently working towards her Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction. She combines imagination with practical skills to make learning fun. Dawn used her experiences within her life to create Queen Vernita's characters and her kingdom.

Click here to listen to part 1...

Queen Vernita's Visitors is a story that is woven around Dawn's friends and family. Queen Vernita invites twelve wonderful friends to visit with her during each month of the year. Queen Vernita and her friends enjoy fun activities throughout the Oceaneers Kingdom. Parents and teachers will love teaching the monthly calendar, days of the weeks and seasons through the storytelling adventures of Queen Vernita and her friends. Queen Vernita was the Queen of the majestic world called Oceaneer. She lived in a beautiful castle, that was covered in ivy and red roses.

Click here to listen to part 2...


For more information about Dawn Menge please visit http://www.outskirtspress.com/webpage.php?isbn=1598007149.

***************************************
Listening to Writers in the Sky Podcast on a computer is easy. Just click this link: http://yvonneperry.blogspot.com/ and go to my blog.On the right sidebar there is a list of archived shows. Click on the interview you would like to hear and it will open a post that has a link to the audio file.

For information about being a guest on Writers in the Sky Podcast, see http://www.yvonneperry.net/Writing_Packages.htm#Publicity_Packages_

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Writers in the Sky Video

Writers in the Sky has been busy working with multiple clients this month, but we somehow managed to create a video about our company. We would appreciate your comments, feedback, and ratings on YouTube. If you are so inclined, feel free to share it with friends or…

Post to ...

MySpace
Facebook
Digg
del.icio.us
orkut
Fark
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Mixx

Here is the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UKuuaYGhf5g.

New Radio Show for Authors

Yvonne Perry will be Lillian Brumett's guest on Authors Read--a new radio show for authors. You may hear the entire show at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/authorsread on July 12, 2008 at 9 AM (Pacific).

Authors Read is a new radio show that allows authors, storytellers, and poets to read from their published work. Radio show host, Lillian Brummet, is welcoming applications from authors, poets, and storytellers who would like to appear as guests. Maybe you should be on the show, too!

I remember hearing my grandparents talk about about the days when folks would sit around the radio in the family parlor and listen to story hour. Even in a day when electronics have inundated our lives, one radio host reaches into the past to bring a storytelling favorite back to the future. You will have to listen on your computer, but the Authors Read concept is the same—authors entertaining those who love to hear a good story.

The show is already booked through July with a variety of genres and authors included on the schedule.


July 11: Connie Arnold (poet and children's author)

July 12: Award-winning author Yvonne Perry was Lillian’s guest on Conscious Discussions last May, at which time she talked about her freelance writing business. She will be reading a humorous excerpt from her book Email Episodes: A Hilariously Honest Look at Life. See www.blogtalkradio.com/AuthorsRead for a preview.

July 19: Janet Riehl reads from Sightlines: A Poet's Diary.

July 21: Hal Manogue reads from Short Sleeves A Book For Friends -&- Short Sleeves Insights.

July 25: Therese Tappouni is Lillian’s guest reader.

July 28: Jim Musgrave reads "A Betting Man" from The President's Parasite and Other Stories.

As a Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM), keynote speaker for writing conferences, and host of her own weekly podcast, Yvonne Perry has a great deal of speaking and promotional experience and enjoys connecting authors seeking book publicity assistance with people like Lillian who give authors an opportunity to share their work.

“I enjoy forming strategic alliances with online networkers who have a genuine interest in promoting good literature and fine authors,” says Perry. “Lillian graciously gives to the global community through her writing and her radio shows. I appreciate the opportunity she is giving me and other authors through Authors Read.”

About Yvonne Perry: The author of more than twenty books, Yvonne Perry is a free-lance writer, editor, keynote speaker, and the owner of Writers in the Sky Creative Writing Services based in Nashville, Tennessee. She and her team provide ghostwriting, editing, proofreading, book reviews, manuscript evaluations, and author promotion services. Perry is a graduate of American Institute of Holistic Theology where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Metaphysics.

“There is nothing like hearing the authors read from their work,” Lillian says. “Giving the readers the experience of their words—the way they meant them to be heard. So much of our communication depends on inflections, accents, and delivery. With Authors Read we offer readers a new experience while allowing them to have a taste of that author’s work– something they can’t get through browsing a bookstore or reading a book review!”

About Lillian Brummet: Lillian is the co-author of the popular book promotion guide Purple Snowflake Marketing–How to Make Your Book Stand Out in a Crowd (ISBN: 193335304X), Trash Talk (ISBN: 978-1413725186), and a collection of poems on society, the environment, and overcoming trauma titled Towards Understanding (ISBN: 978-1413793376). She is also the host of Conscious Discussions talk radio show that airs three times a week. Visit www.brummet.ca for information, resources and articles about the world of writing and details on how to appear on any of her radio shows.

Lillian is welcoming applications from authors, poets and storytellers who would like to appear as guests. See http://www.blogtalkradio.com/authorsread for guidelines.

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Yvonne's reading for the show was prerecorded using Audio Acrobat--an online recording service for audio and video.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Get Noticed… Get Referrals: Build Your Client Base and Your Business by Making a Name for Yourself.

Today we welcome Jill Lublin to our writing blog. She is discussing her book Get Noticed… Get Referrals: Build Your Client Base and Your Business by Making a Name for Yourself.

Yvonne Perry: Tell me something about yourself and your writing background.
Jill: I’ve written two bestselling books Guerrilla Publicity and Networking Magic which went to #1 on Barnes and Noble. I’m privileged to be featured on McGraw Hill for my third book Get Noticed and all of my books teach people how to be influential, using publicity, networking, and referrals.

Yvonne: What is the title of your book? Give us the basic story line so we’ll know what it’s about.
Jill: Get Noticed…Get Referrals. The story is about how to get more referrals and build your client base and your database by making a name for yourself.

Yvonne: What inspired you to write this book?
Jill: Because I noticed that most people are afraid to brag. They don’t know how to expand and leverage their network and how to give and receive referrals.

Yvonne: Is this the first book you have written?
Jill : No, I’ve had the delightful pleasure of authoring two other books Guerrilla Publicity and Networking Magic.

Yvonne: How long did it take to write this book? Any interesting tidbits about your writing method or how the book developed?
Jill: From the date of the contract to the book being published took a year and a half which is incredibly fast in the publishing industry. That’s because I’m a published author already with an existing platform and McGraw Hill is happy for that. I always work with a writer since this makes the process a lot easier and faster and I can concentrate on what I do best which is consulting and teaching my crash course in publicity.

Yvonne: How did you publish your book? Tell me about your publishing experience and what you learned from it. Please go into detail if you wish.
Jill: My publishing experience is with McGraw Hill. I had an agent pitch my book. I actually got two offers, one from Penguin and one from McGraw Hill and I decided to go with McGraw Hill because of their large reach and big company machine. It was an exciting and stimulating time with different publishers interested in my work and I’m thrilled to have McGraw Hill as my publisher.

Yvonne: Did you work with an agent? If so, how did you find the agent? Was it beneficial to you?
Jill: I worked with an agent who shopped this book for close to a year. It is absolutely beneficial and one of the keys to my success.

Yvonne: Where is your book available? Do you have a Web site or blog where we can learn more about you or your book?
Jill: Barnes and Noble, Amazon, Borders
www.getnoticedblog.com
www.jilllublin.com

Yvonne: As far as marketing, do you do more online publicity or print/radio/TV promotion? Tell me some ways you have promoted your book. Give examples and links to any sites you feel might help other authors.
Jill: I do more of print/radio/TV publicity. I am doing a blog tour, a joint venture campaign, a national radio campaign, a print campaign; I’m telling everyone I know to buy it and I’m telling my personal connection to tell them to help promote the book with me.

www.speakerservices.com
www.parapublishing.com
www.smallbusinesssuccess.com

Yvonne: Have you hired a publicist to help promote this book? If so, what was your experience like?
Jill: I’m working with Annie Jennings to promote the book and I’m very excited to be working with her, she does great work.


Yvonne: Any other comments or things you would like for us to know?
Jill: Creating a book is a huge job, you have to be prepared for it from start to finish and know that when you finish writing the book the real work begins—publishing and promoting it! I wish you luck in all your endeavors.

Yvonne Thank you for giving us the opportunity to get to know you and learn about your book. I wish you well.

For more information about Jill Lublin Author of Get Noticed… Get Referrals: Build Your Client Base and Your Business by Making a Name for Yourself (Touring July 7 - August 1) visit http://virtualblogtour.blogspot.com/2008/06/jill-lublin-author-of-get-noticed-get.html

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

The World of Healers

Leonard Dobrzanski is the author of The World of Healers. We are happy to have him share his first book with us on Writers in the Sky blog. Here is a summary and a short interview with Leonard.

The author, an academic philosopher, is confronted with an incurable illness in his nearest family. Incapable of receiving any further help from the medical establishment, he turns to alternative therapists for a remedy. His desperate search for help led him first to open up his mind to investigate the subject of alternative healing. In his book the author describes his numerous meetings with some exceptional healers and experts on healing and gives accounts of the interviews he has conducted with them.

It is characteristic of the author's approach that he manifests a willingness to accept and even be drawn into the world of healing he is describing and at the same time shows the refreshing ability to stand back from it and continue to allow potentials doubts about it. This approach allows the author to create a lively and instructive dialog in the interviews he has conducted with healers and experts. Through the narrative, the author stresses the importance of reassessing the ways we perceive science and health.

In short, the book amounts to a presentation of healing and healers, liberally deprived of all spell-binding subjective enthusiasm but marked by a curiosity and investigative skepticism.

Yvonne: How long did it take to write this book?
Leonard: Two years

Yvonne: How did you publish your book?
Leonard: The original version in Danish was published by Borgen Publishers in Denmark. Sometime later the book was also bought by a Norwegian publisher and published in Norway My own English translation of the book has recently been published by Booklocker com.

Yvonne: Where is your book available? Do you have a Web site or blog where we
can learn more about you or your book?
Leonard: It is available from www.Barnesandnoble.com , www.amazone.com ,
www.amazone.co.uk , www.whsmith.co.uk , www.bookshop.blackwell.co.uk ,
www.booklocker.com , etc. Unfortunately I have not any blog or website of my own. On Amazon, there is description of my book and the table of contents.

Yvonne: As far as marketing, do you do more online publicity or print/radio/TV promotion?
Leonard: So far I have done nothing.

Yvonne: Writers in the Sky can help you with that. If you are interested in ways to get the word out about your book, we offer a wide variety of promotion packages at http://www.yvonneperry.net/Writing_Packages.htm

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Tips for Correcting Common Mistakes in a Book Manuscript

For those writers who plan to have a book published, I hope that your manuscript will go through a thorough edit before it is printed. That is especially important for those who self-publish or use publish-on-demand (POD) services to bring their book to market. These methods usually do not require or offer editing services to catch mistakes that can cost you credibility as an author.

As an editor for individual authors as well as working as a contracted editor for two publishers, I’ve seen many grammatical or mechanical errors in manuscripts.
I’ll share a few of the more common mistakes in hopes that you might avoid these pitfalls.

Please note that Associated Press (AP) style is commonly used for journalistic works such as newspapers and Web text. The examples I am going to use are from Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS) published by the University of Chicago Press. It is one of the most respected and trustworthy guidelines for literary works such as books.

1. A very common error in many of the books I edit or proofread occurs in the title, headers, and subheaders. The Chicago Manual of Style 7.127 states: In regular title capitalization, also known as headline style, the first and last words and all nouns, pronouns, adjectives, verbs, adverbs, and subordinating conjunctions (if, because, as, that, etc.) are capitalized. Articles (a, an, the), coordinating conjunctions (and, but, or, for, nor), and prepositions, regardless of length, are lowercase unless they are the first or last word of the title or subtitle.

2. A book is not entitled (meaning deserving, allowed, permitted); it is titled (meaning to have a title, label, or name).

3. The titles of books, record albums, movies, TV shows, and screenplays should be in italic type. Do not use “quotation” marks. Do not underline these titles unless you are formatting them for a bibliography. However, article titles and poem and song titles do go inside quotation marks.

4. Unless a word is an acronym, it should not be in ALL CAPS. Use italics for emphasis.

5. OK should be spelled out: okay.

6. ISBN is the acronym for International Standard Book Number. To write “ISBN number” is the same as stating International Standard Book Number number. It is redundant to use the word “number” or the pound symbol (#) after ISBN.

7. Percent symbols (%) should be spelled out “percent” unless used in a chart or table. Numbers followed by a percent should be in numeric form. Example: 91 percent. However, if a percentage is the first word of a sentence in a literary work, it should be spelled out. Example: Ninety-one percent of the students passed the test.

8. Use one space (not two) after a period, question mark, colon, or semi-colon. This is quite the opposite of what we were taught in typing class way back when! It can be a hard habit to break.

9. CMOS 5.57 states, “In a series listing three or more items, the elements are separated by a comma.” For example: The dog, cat, hippo, and cow jumped over the moon.

10. When writing years, do not use an apostrophe. Example: 1960s, not 1960’s unless you want the possessive form of the word. If abbreviated: ’60s is correct; 60’s is incorrect. Notice that the apostrophe [ ’ ] is used as a placeholder for missing the numbers, and not a single close quote mark [ ‘ ] which faces the opposite direction.

11. Speaking of years, hyphens and numerals are used when you write “the 16-year-old boy.” No hyphen is needed, and the number is spelled out when you write “the boy is sixteen years old.”

12. Internet is a proper noun and the first letter should be capitalized. The debate on whether or not Web should be capitalized is still ongoing. CMOS says it should be written in proper case. It is another name for World Wide Web, which is a proper noun.

RE: Web site. When a word is used a lot, its spelling becomes commonly accepted even if it is incorrect. The most common spelling and use of this word is website. However, according to CMOS, it is two words: Web site. As long as you are consistent throughout your book or document, I doubt most people will question either spelling.

13. The em dash [—] is defined as one em (letter “m”) in width. The double hyphen will convert to an em dash—if you type two dashes (hyphens) -- and do not put a space before or after. Or, you may create an em dash in Windows-based programs by pressing and holding Caps Lock and Alt while typing 0151 on your number key pad. Similar to a parenthetical phrase (like this), the em dash sets apart clauses in a sentence.

14. The en dash [–] is one en (letter “n”) in width: half the width of an em dash. The en dash is used to indicate a closed range, or a connection between two things of almost any kind: numbers, people, places, etc. For example: June–July 2008. Create an en dash in Windows-based programs by pressing and holding Caps Lock and Alt while typing 0150 on your number key pad. There should be no space before or after an en dash.

15. When writing dialogue, all punctuation goes inside the quotation marks. When a word or phrase is used to set apart text in scare quotes, the first example below is correct; the second is incorrect:

Every day we hear that the price of gas has hit an “all time high.”


Every day we hear that the price of gas has hit an “all time high”.


16. Numbers less than ten should always be spelled out. Some style guides will disagree about higher numbers. Chicago advocates that all numbers under 101 should be spelled out.
If in question, always consult a style guide. Be consistent and use the same style guide throughout the document or manuscript. Correcting these common errors will make your manuscript much easier and enjoyable to read.


If you need assistance with preparing your book manuscript, the editors on our team would be happy to help you. Our rates are more affordable than you might expect. See writersinthesky.com for more information.


Yvonne Perry is a freelance writer, author, and keynote speaker who enjoys assisting people with writing and editing projects. She is the owner of Writers in the Sky Creative Writing Services—a team of freelance writers and editors located in Nashville, Tennessee. New subscribers to her free monthly newsletter about writing and publishing receive a free eBook Tips on Freelance Writing.