Early American Poetry "Beauty in Words" - A Review


Title: Early American Poetry “Beauty in Words”
Author: Stephanie Buckwalter
Publisher: Enslow Publishers, Inc.
ISBN: 13: 978-0-7660-3277-4
ISBN: 10: 0-7660-3277-9

Early American Poetry “Beauty in Words” explores poetry in America from colonial days to the end of the nineteenth century. It is a wonderful stepping stone for children to journey into the world of verse. Illustrations and pictures of the authors lend an air of informality to the book while the poems, facts, information, and descriptions enlighten the child to poets such as Anne Bradstreet, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Edgar Allan Poe, Emily Dickenson, and Walt Whitman, to name a few.

In a complete package, Buckwalter includes the elements of poetry, such as stanzas and poetic meter. She also includes explanations of words and terminology featured in the poems and time period of the poems. Along with this, there are very interesting, yet brief, biographies of the poets, including details of their writings, bringing to light the hows and whys of the poems. In addition, Buckwalter sheds light on romanticism, reality, and poetic license and technique. This detailed analysis is provided in easy to read content.

As an added feature, at the end of each poets section, Buckwalter provides further reading resources. This is a valuable tool for the child who is sparked by a particular poet and wants to learn more.

I fondly remember as a youth reading a couple of the poems Buckwalter included in Early American Poetry “Beauty in Words.” Without this type of children’s book, our youth would miss out on learning about a beautiful form of writing and a certain perspective of the world around us.

In the introduction, Buckwalter explains: “Poets often see the world differently from most people. Some can see things hidden in the mundane; others scale lofty heights of philosophy. They all take words that capture ideas, feelings, and truth, and arrange them in ways that illuminate those realities.” I love this explanation; it’s simple, yet profound.

I highly recommend this book for children with the grade levels recommended.

Reviewed by Karen Cioffi, author and freelance writer
http://karenandrobyn.blogspot.com
http://dkvwriting4u.com


New Year's Resolution


The Christmas lights are hung, presents under the tree, fireplace is lit...

What a grand setting. Peaceful. Joyous. Serene.

Then you remember an upcoming New Year's resolution will mark a fresh beginning. But WHAT!!! What will that resolution be?




Hold on...let's see:

1- To keep the house clean

2- To never buy frozen meals again

3- To be up-to-date with the laundry and never EVER lose another of hubby's socks or underwear

4- To let the kids clean up their own rooms

5- To be kinder when friends and family call

6- To help my kids with anything they want, like mind their three dogs more often

7- To avoid saying no right away when a friend asks to go shopping

8- To tell the truth to mom when she asks if I cleaned the house today

So many choices...then again...


1- The house will get dirty the next day

2- Frozen meals have helped save the day

3- Wearing odd pair of socks is not a bad thing as long as you keep your ankles well-hidden

4- I'll shut the kids doors...who's gonna know how dirty their rooms are?

5- My family and friends can call me after supper

6- I raised my family

7- I hate shopping so unsure why I would vow to go shopping in the first place

8- What's the point of telling mom the truth about the house. I'll keep on lying.

There, that helps. I'll stick with my usual New Year's resolution:

To do my best in anything that I do!

Safe for another year.

Lea Schizas

The Essential Writing Process In a Book!

I thought I'd let VBT members and our blog visitors know of a review of a new book on writing I just posted at www.TheNewBookReview.blogspot.com. It is:

The Essential Don Murray
Subtitle: Lessons from America's Greatest Writing Teacher
Edited by Thomas Newkirk and Lisa C. Miller
Afterword by Chip Scanlan
Boynton/Cook Publishers
ISBN: 9780867096002
Nonfiction/How-To/Writers
Contact Reviewer: hojoreviews@aol.com
Publisher's Site: www.boyntoncook.com

Those ready to build on their skills will want to pop on over. The New Book Review is also yours to utilize. The guidelines are in the left column. Just scroll down a bit.

10 Marketing Excuses That Can Kill Your Book and Career



By Carolyn Howard-Johnson

Here are excuses many authors use not to promote, killers all. Each includes advice that will help a writer salvage his book and career from wrong thinking.

 "My book is doing well enough. My career is on an upturn. I can easily take a year off from promoting to write."
Advice: Cut back if you must but slot in some time to keep the efforts you've already made at least at a simmer.

 "I hear everyone is cutting back on promotion so why shouldn't I?"
Advice: Didn't your mother ever ask you, "If Johnny jumped off a cliff, would you do it, too?" Look at those authors. If they're selling lots of books, it's because somebody (their publisher, bookstores, their publicists) is promoting them. I'll bet, though, that most of the authors saying this aren't selling very many. Look at your situation. If you don't do it, who will do it for you?

 "I like Carolyn's Frugal Book Promoter (www.budurl.com/FrugalBkPromo) idea so I'm going to only do things that cost no money at all."
Advice: Hey! Frugal is one thing. Cheap is another. Some of the best things you can do cost some money. An example is American Booksellers Association Advance Access program. Find it at www.bookweb.org. Careful though. Always weigh the "rightness" of any program for your particular book.

 "I'm gong to examine everything I'm doing and only continue what I can prove is working."
Advice: You may not be able to prove much, if anything. That's not the way marketing works. Judge how well your entire campaign is going only after you have given it plenty of time to work. If one thing is working well, maybe it is because your title or name is being seen elsewhere. Balance your campaign, yes. Try new things, yes. Cut back on a few only if you must. Keep in mind that book sales are not necessarily the most valid way to evaluate your promotion.

 "Nothing I've tried works. I'm giving up."
Advice. You may be on the brink. Or maybe you've been giving up on each aspect of your campaign too early. Any marketing plan must be many-pronged, frequent and long-term.

 "If I cut back on promotion and find my sales slipping, I can always gear up again."
Advice: Yikes! Good publicity and promotion build. It's like skipping rocks on a pond. With each stone, ripples wave out, out, out. Eventually, after you've skipped lots and lots of stones, the results start coming back to you in waves. If you stop whipping those stones into the water, the results dissipate. It will take a long time to get enough stones dancing across the water again to match what you've done and, once you lose momentum, you may never get it back.
------
Carolyn Howard-Johnson is the author of The Frugal Book Promoter: How to Do What Your Publisher Won't, (www.budurl.com/FrugalBkPromo), The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success (www.budurl.com/TheFrugalEditor) and an Amazon Short, "The Great First Impression Book Proposal: Everything You Need To Know To Sell Your Book in 20 Minutes or Less." Learn more at www.howtodoitfrugally.com. Follow her writing tips on Twitter @FrugalBookPromo.

Arlee Bird and The Desert Place

A bit about Arlee Bird

Having been born into a show-biz oriented family, Arlee has traveled a fair amount throughout North America and has had a number of unique experiences. He was born in Cleveland, Ohio, but throughout his childhood years his family moved to Pittsburgh, PA; San Diego, CA; Crown Point, IN; and Maryville, TN. Though his father held a regular day job, he was always in pursuit of the “big break” for the family juggling act. We worked fairs, circuses, night clubs, and corporate events, meeting celebrities and continually being around an interesting array of characters who worked in the entertainment industry.

In the early seventies, Arlee attended the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, starting with a major in Psychology, but switching to English after the first year. After several years of meandering course taking, his college career ended when he joined a touring magic stage show in 1975. For the next nearly two decades he was involved in a number of entertainment jobs, with the longest running engagement acting as manager of a touring theatrical production.

In the 1990’s Arlee settled down in the Los Angeles area with his three children so they could enroll in school and they could all lead more normal lives. For eighteen years he managed the west coast branch of a wholesale costume distribution company until the office shut down in early 2009. That’s when Arlee decided to take up writing as a career.

Arlee has been interested in writing since the third grade. Throughout his life he has written stories, poetry, and essays and collected ideas for book topics. His few attempts at submitting his works to national publications during college were met with rejection, although he did have articles published in newspapers and specialty magazines.

In mid-September of 2009 he started his blog, which is his current writing focus.

He has recently completed his first novel, A DESERT PLACE, as his entry in the National Novel Writing Month challenge. In the immediate future Arlee will be polishing up this novel and shopping it around for publication. Also, he will be adding some additional material to a manuscript that his late father left him called AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF A NOBODY. This is a personal project that he plans to make available to relatives and other interested parties.

A bit about the novel:

A DESERT PLACE:

A novel which tells the story of a modern day Jonah who in trying to run away from God’s calling instead finds himself swallowed by an underworld organization of drug dealers and car thieves. In his attempt to escape the clutches of this evil monster, Joe Bloom realizes the catastrophic consequences of doing wrong and the redemptive powers of forgiveness and faith.

Synopsis: A Desert Place

Joe Bloom goes to the New Mexico ranch of an old friend whom he finds dead with a gunshot to the back. Waiting there for Joe is $350,000 and a mysterious satchel. Joe reflects upon his life and tries to solve the mysteries of his friend's death, the contents of the satchel, and the identity of a woman by the name of Rosalita.


A bit about the blog:
Tossing It Out

Since Arlee is a juggler, he has taken the theme of juggling words and phrases and ideas and tossing them out to his audience in hopes that they will toss it back to him. His blog is an eclectic mix of pop culture, human interest, controversial topics, and religion. His normal topic schedule begins with Bible studies on Sundays, exploring writing topics on Mondays, exploring pop culture and travel with reviews and feature stories on Tuesdays, the interviews and people stories on Wednesdays, which is his most populer segment, a mix of controversial debate topics on Thursdays, stories of the strange, mysterious, and scary on Fridays, and wrapping it up with a recap of the week and look ahead to what’s coming up with a bit of this or that thrown in on Saturdays. Arlee states, "More than anything I like to engage the reader to participate and I love for them to comment, whether good or bad. For me any comment is a good comment."


Thanks for visiting with us today, Arlee.
See you all in the postings
Elysabeth Eldering
author of the JGDS 50-state. mytery, trivia series
JGDS Blog
JGDS website

Writer, Kristie Bernard


As promised, here is Kristi Bernard, another winner of the VBT November anniversary tour. Kristi is a member of a number of groups to help her hone her craft; she decided to prepare a guest article about Autism for today’s feature.

But, let me have Kristi tell you a bit about herself first:

I love to write. I come from a very artistic family of musicians, artists and writers. Other hobbies include, painting, needlepoint, quilting and working with clay.

I graduated from Wichita State University with a Bachelor of Arts in English, with minors in Education and Minority Studies.

I aspire to write picture books covering topics that feature historical people of color, and subjects on famous women to empower young girls.

To help me achieve my goal of becoming a better writer I am a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), the Association of Children's Authors and Illustrators of Color (ACAIC) the Children's Writers Coaching Club (CWCC), the Kansas City Writers Meetup Group, and I am currently enrolled in The Institute of Children's Literature.

Kristi, you’re certainly taking all the right steps to get yourself moving along the writer’s road to publication. I look forward to watching your progression at CWCC.

Now, for an interesting article about Autism from Kristi:

The Other Heroes

by
Kristi Bernard


Most of us know about Autism. In 2007 a study confirmed that one child in 150 is diagnosed with autism and more recent studies show that it is on the rise. The cause at this time is unknown, but there is much speculation. What is known is that studies suggest boys are more inclined to develop autism than girls; and the average age of diagnosis is 8 years. Hearing this diagnosis for a child can be devastating; and parents have a lot to endure once the particulars of their child's diagnosis is set forth. The costs involved could potentially cause financial ruin, but with research they will find that programs and financial aid are available to help.

But, what about the children? For them, their parents are their heroes. And, what happens when the parents aren't around, when these children are in school programs away from home? Who are those other heroes who step in to care for these children? Where do these heroes come from, and why do they give their time and effort to help implement the various programs?

There are select government programs available to help parents and children with autism find financial support and treatment. The objective of these programs is to educate and develop children so that some day they will be able to function and maintain a quality life for themselves. The state of Kansas requires that caregivers should hold at least a bachelors or masters in speech therapy, occupational therapy, psychology, applied behavioral sciences and social work programs. They are the other heroes. They look out for the children with autism. Being there for the kids is a labor of love.

In my search to learn why these individuals took it upon themselves to follow this path, I interviewed two of these heroes.

My first interview was with Charla. She is a pediatric occupational therapist who works with autistic children in need of physical therapy, in their homes. The programs offered by her organization are occupational therapy, speech therapy, physical therapy, special instruction (for those birth to 3), and behavioral therapy. Charla is married with two small girls whom she loves to play games with. She recognizes that autism is a growing issue affecting children and can greatly impact a family's life. Her desire is to help the child, along with the family, learn physical therapy techniques to improve movement.

Charla has a bachelor degree in psychology and a masters in occupational therapy, both included training with autism. In regards to her experiences with autistic children, she feels each child she encounters is an individual. She sees how differently autism has affected them and their lives. Most need work on social skills, sensory integration and motor skills. In her professional opinion, each child in unique and requires unique treatment. Some may have mild cases while others are more severe. The rewards for her personally are when she sees that a child has gained a new skill, and that the family is able to handle the situation. Charla feels the best advice for parents is to research and to enlist help from someone they trust. She feels that some of the options cost lots of money and are not always covered by insurance. In conclusion, Charla is very happy with her career choice.

For my second interview, I had an opportunity to speak with Elsie. She retired from the banking industry after 33 years of service. She took the initiative to go back to school and earned a degree in social work. She has been married for more than 35 years. She has 3 children and 4 grandchildren. I asked Elsie why she wanted to work with children who were autistic, she stated that she has always wanted to do it. Her career as a bank manager was great. After she retired, she decided to go back to school to earn a degree. She wanted to serve families and children with autism. She works in the local high school and loves what she does. Every day she encounters new successes with the kids. She looks forward to going in everyday to see them grow, change and become more independent. She is always ready and eager to answer questions the parents may have about their child's progress. She keeps informed of new funding that has become available, and any new services or programs. Her advice to parents is for them to get informed and connect with their doctors, state agencies, and their insurance carriers. She wants parents to be aware that having children with autism is costly, but the costs can be managed.

I was very excited that I had the opportunity to interview these ladies. In my opinion, they are the other heroes. They work with and for the kids. If I had a child with special needs, I would want to know that my child is safe and receiving the same love, respect and attention as if I were there. I would like to offer a special thanks to all of the other heroes who take the time to give and care for the children who need them.

Kristi, I agree that those who dedicate themselves to helping others, especially children and the elderly are heroes. Thank you for writing about such an important issue. Autism is definitely on the rise and I thank those heroes along with you who give of themselves and help make a difference in the lives of children with Autism and their families.

It has been a delight to host you today.

For you readers, we have another November winner who will be featured on December 14th, by Elysabeth Eldering. Please be sure to come on back for another visit.

Till next time,


Karen Cioffi
http://dkvwriting4u.com
http://karenandrobyn.blogspot.com

Holiday Story: S'agapo, I love you


Every holiday season I like to post this short story of mine to give hope and a time of reflection to one and all. I hope you enjoy.





S'agapo...I love you
by Lea Schizas


The lights of the nursing room were unusually bright this Christmas Eve night. An outsider had visited Mrs. Sophia Adamopoulos earlier in the day. She brought a Greek dish, pastitsio, filling the halls with its aroma of cinnamon and pasta…a welcome change from the lingering odors of Lysol and urine.

The nurses greeted her, comforted her and explained the state her mother was in.

Armed with the latest update, Maria Adamopoulos stepped into her mother’s surroundings. Childhood memories hit her hard. The vision of her mother combing her beautiful long tresses and hugging her as she said, "Maria, s'agapo, I love you", enveloped her heart. Her mother cheering her at every track meet, making sure she was never late. Her mother’s laughter filling the house with joy as Maria practiced her words for Saturday's Greek school. All these images flashed before Maria as she faced the cold aberration she stepped into. No embroideries hung on the walls like in their family home. Mom's cassette player playing the cherished Greek songs she sang to, was missing, as well.

But the single picture that broke her heart was to see her mother sitting by the window, emptily staring, not outside at the panoramic garden view but at the empty walls within.

"Hello, momma." As Maria approached to hug her, Mrs. Adamopoulos flailed her arms in front of her, terrified.

"Who are you? Help me!"

The nurse ran in and immediately soothed her.

"Sophia, Sophia, calm down, you have a visitor. This is your daughter, Maria. She's come a long way to see you." Maria felt like running and shaking her mom to the present, to try and get her out of this Alzheimer stupor that gripped her.

Guilt rose in Maria. She thought I should never have listened to my brother. I should have stuck to my guns and brought mom back to Greece. Her brother had stopped visiting. He told Maria mom doesn’t recognize me, so why bother. Maria was here to bring her mother back home.

Sophia stared at Maria as if trying to bring about a memory forever lost in this mind disease. The nurse left them alone once more.

Slowly, Maria again approached her mother. "Look, ma, I made your favorite dish." She gently lifted the tinfoil and let her mother take a look.

"Maria?"

"Yes, momma. It's Maria."

Tears flowed down Sophia's cheeks. "Where is my memory when I really need it," she cried.

That night the dim lights magically lit brightly as if Sophia's memory and those dim lights were one.

Maria had entered her mom's hospital room as a stranger, but for one magical moment her mother embraced her like she used to, a long time ago, whispering the words Maria needed to hear once again.

"S'agapo, Maria. I love you."


I'd like to wish everyone a joyous and safe holiday season.
Lea Schizas

Author, Joylene Butler


In November, we had our 1 year anniversary tour. Each day there were daily prizes and we had a number of winners. One of the choices the winners had was to choose a book or a guest spot right here on the VBT site. Joylene Butler was a winner and chose a guest spot. It’s my pleasure to bring Joylene and her book to you.

A Little About Joylene Butler:

Joylene was born in Manitoba, grew up in Haney (Maple Ridge), and raised their five sons in Pr. George, BC. She and her husband built a cottage on Cluculz Lake in 1992. The jury is out whether they'll retire there or not. Canada is a beautiful place and they could end up anywhere. Which is good because life should be an adventure. Joylene's second novel Broken But Not Dead will be released by Theytus Books in 2011

Wow, a cottage on a lake sounds wonderful!

Please tell us a little more about you and your writing journey.

When I was 8, my mother gave me a diary for my birthday. I didn’t have anything very interesting to write about, but I remember the joy I felt while filling it. As I grew older I looked for journal with more space because I wanted to prolong the experience. By the time I reached high school, I realized that writing made me feel alive. I entered the University at Simon Fraser with the goal of obtaining a teacher’s degree and passing along that joy to my students. It never occurred to me that I should write. It wasn’t until my dad died that I finally did. And that was only because I thought by writing a fictional story of his life I could make him live forever.

That first book Always Father’s Child, immediately shelved, took 7 years to write, and turned out to be a learning tool and catalyst. As soon as I typed “the end”, I started work on Dead Witness.

It’s so interesting how and why writers decide to jump into writing, or are driven to do so.

Now for a little Q and A

Why this book? What prompted you to write it and what do you hope your readers will get out of it?

One day, my brother (he’s a PI) was on the phone talking to one of his employees, when this question popped into my mind: If I disappeared and was presumed dead, would he investigate. Dead Witness grew from there. Honestly, I was such a new writer that I didn’t give much thought to my readers. It was only through years of rewrites that I finally hoped whoever they might be, they’d connect with Valerie and relate to how much love and pain is involved in loving a child.

Tell us a bit about your protagonists, Valerie McCormick and Mike Canaday, and how they came about.

Valerie showed up in my mind as a young Cheryl Ladd, completely in love with her children to the point that she had lost sight of who she was as a person. Not until she’s taken from her family in Canada and made to live as a single woman in the States is she forced to stand up and be accountable for her own life.

Mike Canaday is a VN vet, FBI, divorced and someone who grew up in the system. He’s alone because he doesn’t trust anyone. Because he has few friends and no family, taking Valerie from hers and faking her death is easy for him. All that matters is finding the killer. But it’s through Valerie that he learns what really matters in life.

Please share with our readers a little about the plot, the characters, the setting, of your novel.

Valerie lives in central BC, Canada with her husband and 3 girls. She wins a free trip to Seattle through a writing contest. While there she witnesses the execution of two FBI agents by a Canadian-born drug lord from Colombia. When the FBI uncovers the Mafia’s plot to kill her, they work with the Canadians to fake her death. Canaday flies her to the States, then later is in charge of her WPP; all this while hunting for the killer.

Meanwhile, Valerie’s brother doesn’t believe she’s dead and he starts his own investigation. This alerts the Colombian Mafia and they set up surveillance on him and Valerie’s family. Slowly, Valerie rebels, until finally she takes back control of her life and goes after the killer herself. Besides, Seattle, the story takes place in Nevada, Baja, Berkeley and Pr. George, BC.

Please describe the greatest challenge you faced in writing this book, why it was difficult, and how you resolved it.

Three months into writing Dead Witness we experienced a great loss. I couldn’t write for 6 months. I remember wondering if I ever could again. In the end, I returned to the manuscript and it became a therapeutic tool. I used Valerie’s situation as an outlet for my own range of emotions.

How much and/or what kind of research went into writing this book?

I was lucky because I didn’t know what I could or could not do when I first started writing Dead Witness. When I returned to the ms, I approached anyone who would listen. I talked to lawyers, police, and investigators, and asked question after question. I did a lot of research on line. I even called the FBI in Seattle; they were a big help. I also bugged the heck out of my brother. In total I probably did three months of research.

What do you find the most difficult part of writing in general and what do you do to overcome it?

Good question. I wish I could say there is nothing difficult about writing any more. I mean, remember those early days? The fear in the pit of your stomach that you knew there was something you were missing, but you just weren’t sure what it was? Who would want to go back there? I see it in the faces of new writers, and I’m so relieved that I have confidence now. I can say without hesitation: I am a writer. But writing is still work. I struggle to get the sentences just right. When that’s harder than normal, I walk away from my computer and sit somewhere quiet. Then I run the story through my mind like a video. I close my eyes and get as close to the scene as I can … until I’m there. Then I return to the computer and start writing.

How do you balance your time to make time for writing?

I treat it like a job. I’m up at 6 AM and on the computer by 6:25. I work until breakfast. Yes, My DH makes breakfast every morning. I’m back at it by 7:30, then I work all day until lunch. I stop periodically, see to grandma, throw in a load of wash, or vacuum. Moving around like that helps my back. There’s no rhyme or reason to what I do, other than to share my time between editing, revising, blogging, reading, commenting, critiquing and taking care of my family. I turn the computer off by 6:30 PM, then spend the rest of the evening with my DH and grandma.

What impact would you say completing Dead Witness has had on you personally and on your writing?

It changed my life. I finally understood why I was here and what I was supposed to do. In the early years before I was published, I thought being published would answer all my prayers and make sense of my life. Now that I am published, I realize that nothing but me can do that. Being published or not being published isn’t what it’s about. The secret is in the writing. The simple joy of it.

Who has been the greatest influence on you with respect to encouraging you to write and become a published author?

Besides, my family, my best friend Judith Geib and my dear online buddy Keith Pyeatt have been encouraging and believing in me for many years. I can’t imagine pushing myself as hard as I had to without them cheering me on. Writing is a lonely solitary experience and I’m very fortunate to have such forces of nature.

With respect to your writing, please give us some insight into your writing process. In other words, did you outline the chapters? Did you think about the plot for a while before writing it? What steps did you take before you wrote the first sentence?

My protagonist comes to me. I know they have a problem, but it’s sometimes weeks before it made clear what that is. . It can begin with just the protagonist wandering about, doing every day things, but quickly her or his goal is made clear. The only reoccurring characteristic right up front is they’re all sad.

What are you working on now? What's next?

My current WIP is called Dead Wrong. It’s the story of Jason Sinclair and his estranged daughter Ava. Before Jason can have any peace, he believes he must find out why his wife, Bridget was deliberately run over. Ava blames her dad for not saving her mother. Together they’re on a journey of self-discovery, one in the past and one of them in the present.

Any words of wisdom and advice to aspiring writers?

Although the Internet is an addictive and habit-forming place, concentrate on your writing. Leave the networking for after you find your publisher. Write, write, write. And when you’re not writing read. Learn everything you can possibly learn about the art of writing effectively. Think of it like driving a vehicle: if you’re not absolutely capable, if you don’t practice every minute you can before you head out on the road, you’re in for a possibly serious altercation.

Thanks for sharing with us, Joylene. I completely agree that it’s important to make time for writing. The internet, emails, groups, social networking, and research can be so time consuming; every writer needs to be sure to pay attention to the amount of time being spent on it.


Click here to purchase: Dead Witness 


Format: Trade Paperback
Publisher: Joylene Nowell
ISBN - 10:0981030505
ISBN - 13:9780981030500

Other Books by Joylene Butler:

Author of Dead Witness
Broken But Not Dead set to be released by Theytus Books 2011
"Man's heart away from nature becomes hard." Standing Bear

To learn more about Joylene go to:

http://joylene.webs.com 

Joylene, it has been a pleasure featuring you on VBT - Writers on the Move. Your books sound great and I wish you much success. 


On December 11th, we have another winner from our anniversary tour. Please be sure to stop by for a visit!


Karen Cioffi
http://dkvwriting4u.com
http://karenandrobyn.blogspot.com









Avoid Negativity

Yesterday I blogged about No Sugar-coating. Today I want to discuss something personal that you may connect with in your own lives: dealing with negativity.

Everyone gets bogged down at some point in their lives with negative energy from others. Whether it's put downs, 'smarter than thou' attitudes, it doesn't matter. It happens to all of us and actually to be totally honest with you I had a spell this summer where I almost tossed my writer's pen in the can and was about to email and say the muse conference was not going to happen ever again. I was in so much stress, had so many writers emailing me with nasty remarks about the conference I sat down, cried, and asked myself why I bothered spending so much time when it wasn't even appreciated...and it's free to boot!

A few days later I remembered why I bothered with one particular email from a lady who is disabled who wrote me to say how much she was looking forward to the conference because it's the only one she can attend not only because she's disabled but one she can afford. That was my turning point where I realized those who don't get what I'm trying to do don't deserve the time of day from me.

So don't allow negativity to ruin your writing passion the way I almost did. Only one other writer knew what I was about to do and she emailed me several times to see how I was doing. So telling others how you feel at times is the best thing a writer can do. Wish I could have done that and avoided the stress and close to a nervous breakdown this summer.

Even though I try 99% of the time to avoid any negativity to enter my life, it's that 1% that does manage to enter your bloodstream and cause a 'bad' ripple effect to your Muse.

For those curious what emails I was getting:

1- Why don't you have the conference all year round. I think you're being unfair to writers.

2- I'm not registering because I know I'm going to get what I paid for.

3- You say you're doing this for writers as I've heard so many blogging lately but I'm sure you're lining your pockets with dough.

4- Why do you offer so many workshops? You're really giving me a headache. I can't choose and I think next time you should only offer maybe ten.

Are these disgruntled writers? Whatever they are I can assure you they are out of my system and I'm back to my old self. This post was simply offered to let you know that many of us might seem as though we are untouchable but that's not so.

So avoid negative energy and always look toward the positive as much as possible.

No Sugar-coating

I want my book on a bookshelf. That’s great, however, is your book finished? Is it contracted? Are you prepared to work your butt off to get it on a bookshelf with tons of legwork? No? Hmm…not going to happen then.

But before you get your tutu all wrinkled with worry there are other things to consider, like:

What’s your genre? Have a clue?
Who’s your target audience?
Have a particular publisher in mind? Checked their published books? Their guidelines?

Have you read several books in the genre you’re writing? Studied famous authors? Picked up on what makes their books tick?

Have you prepared your ‘pitch’ in case you are ever stuck in an elevator with a publisher or that agent you are hoping to get a contract with?

Have you prepared your query and synopsis?

Now comes the biggie: have you fully fleshed out your characters, plot, and edited to the hilt?

Answer all of the questions above and perhaps you are now ready to submit.

The next step in a writer’s life is patience. When you send out your manuscript don’t twiddle your thumbs or wait around. Begin your next writing project.

One thing before I wrap up – be patient when you do get a contract. Some publishing houses don’t release until a year, even two years, down the line. That’s why I wrote begin your next project asap because once a book is contracted comes the other fun…marketing and promotion. Tons of legwork but necessary steps in order to get the buzz about you and your book out to the general public.

Julie and Julia


Yesterday my wife and I went to see a matinee. The kids were in school and we had a few hours before we had to pick them up. The only two movies we could see during this time slot was The Informant and Julie and Julie. Guess which one my wife selected?

My mind immediately fast-forwarded three hours later when I would write on Facebook, "Just came home from watching Julie and Julie with wifey. Next time, I'M picking the movie."

But lo and behold, a funny thing happened on the way to the movies. Julie and Julie turned out to be a pretty darn good show. I really liked it. Two things captured my attention.

First, I can appreciate Julia Child's roller-coaster ride from being an obscure yet normal and talented-laden 37 year-old individual to publishing a best-selling book. She had a love and a passion for cooking food. She wanted to cook good food for her husband, Paul. Then, she decided to write a book about French cooking for American. Six years she endured the ups and downs, the rejection, the frustration, and the crazy unforeseen events that accompany writing and publishing a book. But the day arrived when a publisher said that word each one of us wants to hear, "YES."

Second, I can relate to Julie being an average person but having a dream and thinking big thoughts. Julie wanted to cook 524 of Julia Child's recipes in 364 days in one very tiny and crowded kitchen. She started a blog to recorded her journey and share it with the rest of the world.

In the movie, after some time, she finally had a comment. She was so excited to open and read it. But it was from her mom. Hilarious. Fast forward to the end of her journey and Julie was receiving countless hits, interviewed in the New York Times, and eventually wrote and published her own book.

This movie has inspired me, given me the motivation to move forward with big, big, big thoughts. Like you, I have had many successes and numerous challenges on this journey of writing and publishing a book. I thank my wife for dragging me to see this movie. I feel rejuvenated and ready to go.

Question Posed: What events have inspired you to move forward in the face of adversity? Please share with us as we can all benefit from examples from other writers and their words of encouragement.

FTC Publishes Final Guides Governing Endorsements, Testimonials

The October VBT - Writers on the Move Viewpoint

This month the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) updated their Guide concerning the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising, including bloggers. This update has a number of writers, specifically book reviewers, a little concerned.

When I first heard of it I thought it was a means of the government reaching out to create havoc with online reviewers and the books they receive in their work. Any product a reviewer receives must be disclosed along with the review. As compensation was mentioned, I figured it wouldn’t be long before the government decided reviewers needed to list the review books or products as income.

After reading the FTC’s 12 page document, I think I had it wrong. I have no problem with a reviewer having to disclose the source of his or her review product. Receiving a product to review does not ensure the reviewer will give a good review. And, I’m not sure the FTC is concerned with book reviews.

Here is the FTC’s Press Release pertaining to the changes. What do you think about it?

FTC Publishes Final Guides Governing Endorsements, Testimonials
Changes Affect Testimonial Advertisements, Bloggers, Celebrity Endorsements

http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2009/10/endortest.shtm
October 5, 2009

The Federal Trade Commission today announced that it has approved final revisions to the guidance it gives to advertisers on how to keep their endorsement and testimonial ads in line with the FTC Act.

The notice incorporates several changes to the FTC’s Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising, which address endorsements by consumers, experts, organizations, and celebrities, as well as the disclosure of important connections between advertisers and endorsers. The Guides were last updated in 1980.

Under the revised Guides, advertisements that feature a consumer and convey his or her experience with a product or service as typical when that is not the case will be required to clearly disclose the results that consumers can generally expect. In contrast to the 1980 version of the Guides – which allowed advertisers to describe unusual results in a testimonial as long as they included a disclaimer such as “results not typical” – the revised Guides no longer contain this safe harbor.

The revised Guides also add new examples to illustrate the long standing principle that “material connections” (sometimes payments or free products) between advertisers and endorsers – connections that consumers would not expect – must be disclosed. These examples address what constitutes an endorsement when the message is conveyed by bloggers or other “word-of-mouth” marketers. The revised Guides specify that while decisions will be reached on a case-by-case basis, the post of a blogger who receives cash or in-kind payment to review a product is considered an endorsement. Thus, bloggers who make an endorsement must disclose the material connections they share with the seller of the product or service. Likewise, if a company refers in an advertisement to the findings of a research organization that conducted research sponsored by the company, the advertisement must disclose the connection between the advertiser and the research organization. And a paid endorsement – like any other advertisement – is deceptive if it makes false or misleading claims.

Celebrity endorsers also are addressed in the revised Guides. While the 1980 Guides did not explicitly state that endorsers as well as advertisers could be liable under the FTC Act for statements they make in an endorsement, the revised Guides reflect Commission case law and clearly state that both advertisers and endorsers may be liable for false or unsubstantiated claims made in an endorsement – or for failure to disclose material connections between the advertiser and endorsers. The revised Guides also make it clear that celebrities have a duty to disclose their relationships with advertisers when making endorsements outside the context of traditional ads, such as on talk shows or in social media.

The Guides are administrative interpretations of the law intended to help advertisers comply with the Federal Trade Commission Act; they are not binding law themselves. In any law enforcement action challenging the allegedly deceptive use of testimonials or endorsements, the Commission would have the burden of proving that the challenged conduct violates the FTC Act.

The Commission vote approving issuance of the Federal Register notice detailing the changes was 4-0. The notice will be published in the Federal Register shortly, and is available now on the FTC’s Web site as a link to this press release. Copies also are available from the FTC’s Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20580.

The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC’s online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 1,700 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. The FTC’s Web site provides free information on a variety of consumer topics.

MEDIA CONTACT:
Betsy Lordan
Office of Public Affairs
202-326-3707

STAFF CONTACT:
Richard Cleland
Bureau of Consumer Protection
202-326-3088

You can read about the changes in the document itself at:
http://www.ftc.gov/os/2009/10/091005revisedendorsementguides.pdf


We'd love to hear what you have to say about this. Speak your peace!

Karen

October 11th, Viewpoint

Boy, the weeks are just rushing by...next Sunday is our VBT - Writers on the Move monthly Viewpoint / Hot Topic.

This month the Viewpoint host will be Elysabeth Eldering. I'm not sure what the topic will be yet, but it's sure to be a conversation piece!

Please be sure to stop by Elysabeth's site on Sunday, October 11th and visit with us a bit.

Talk to you soon,
Karen

Nancy Famolari Asks: Are You a Real Writer?

Wow, what a powerful question! I'm sure there are tons of opinions about this, and the topic is far-reaching.

This month's VBT - Writers on the Move Viewpoint is hosted by Nancy Famolari and she poses this question.

My comment on Nancy's site:

This is such a powerful question. I think many writers don't view themselves as "real writers" unless they're accepted by traditional publishers.

The problems arises in that there are a sea of writers and only a bucket of publishers. What happens to the majority of writers who don't fit into the bucket?

I, most days, don't feel like a "real writer," but I keep plugging away!

But, there's so much more to this topic. Nancy mentions self-publishing as a means to an end and believes it's a courageous option. But, as a self-published author and a reviewer for BookPleasures.com, I need to delve into this topic a bit more.

First, I have to say there are some self-published books that are excellent. It is evident in their books that the authors followed the rules of writing and had their work professionally edited (and a reader and reviewer can certainly tell the difference). But, there are a number of authors who it appears do not even have their work proofread or even critiqued. This is where self-publishing gets into trouble.

While I think self-publishing is a great avenue for writers to get their work published, I would strongly advise to have the manuscript in a critique group, have it proofread and professionally edited.

Then, what about freelance writers who write for free online magazines or news sources, or get $2.00 to $5.00 for their articles. Do they consider themselves real writers?

Back to the original question: I think any writer who turns out a well-written and engaging book or article is a "real writer," not matter how it gets published!

That's my 2 cents!

Be sure to check out Nancy's original post.

Talk to you soon,
Karen

Viewpoint/Hot Topic

Our VBT Viewpoint segment use to be scheduled on the 10th of each month, but to make it easier for our readers to have the time to spot by for a visit, we moved it to the 2nd Sunday of each month.

So, this month's Viewpoint will be on Sunday, the 13th!

Nancy Famolari is the host and the topic is:

Are You a Real Writer?

Nancy will have definitions and anecdotes drawn from today's publishing business. Please be sure to stop by Nancy's site and let us know what you think: What makes a real writer?

Don't forget, this Sunday, the 13th.

Talk to you soon,
Karen

How to Promote an Interview with Another Author

Hi everyone, and thanks for stopping by. Today’s blog reflects upon last week’s interviews between members of the Writers On The Move I’m associated with in Yahoo! Groups.

Last week we paired off, one member hosting another member of our group, posting a background on one day and interviewing each other in the second. I had a lot of fun interviewing my guest Margaret Fieland on my blog site while being interviewed by Harry Gilleland on his blog.

The purpose is to give exposure to other authors. I have an audience that is new and unique to Margaret while Harry has an audience that is new and unique to me. The end result: exposure of our books to a new group of people while providing a forum to express our successes and failures that will help other authors become successful.

For Margaret, it wasn’t enough that I merely hosted her for two days. I needed to take the initiative to promote her and her books. So this was my strategy:

* I leave her interviews up for three days
* I advertised to the other three Yahoo! Groups I belong to
* I promoted her interview via Facebook
* I promoted her interview via Twitter. What I do is take advantage of hashmarks. For example, * I advertise to my followers as well as other groups such as #write, #authors, #and poetry two or three times a day for the three days. This way, Margaret will receive exposure to literally hundreds of new people.

Harry did an absolutely awesome job interviewing and promoting me and my book Breakthrough. For those who need a model of hosting a guest blogger and doing it right, please take a few moments on click on Harry’s blogs dated September 1st and 3rd.
http://harrygillelandwrites.blogspot.com

Let’s take a moment to look at what Harry did right (in no particular order)

* He uploaded a picture of me
* He formatted the interview questions so they are easy for the visitor to read
* He included links to purchase my book Breakthrough
* He included links for my blog and Web site
* He posted reader reviews from Barnes and Noble and Amazon
* He posted the book synopsis
* He posted the book description
* He posted a picture of the book’s dust cover

This is a model that you could certainly save to your favorites, not because my book is being promoted, but because this is an excellent example of how to host a guest blogger Harry, thanks again for a most awesome interview and bringing new traffic to my site.

Promotion Through Visibility with VBT - Writers on the Move

Do you scratch your head and wonder what you can do to increase the visibility of your book? Do you wonder how you can get your name and site in the search engines on a regular basis? Well, virtual book tours can help in that area.

Check out our article at Associated Content:

http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/2100719/promotion_through_visibility_with_vbt.html

August 10th Viewpoint

Yesterday, Stephen Tremp hosted VBT- Writers on the Move's August Viewpoint.

It's about internal and external conflict for the characters in your stories. Obviously, this is essential in any fiction genre. This is what keeps the reader turning the pages. Check out Stephen's insightful and interesting article at:

http://stephentremp.blogspot.com

Leave a comment!

Talk to you soon,

Karen

Book Review: Why Authors Shouldn't Believe Everything They Read

78 Reasons Why Your Book May Never Be Published
Subtitle: 14 Why It Just Might
Pat Walsh
Penguin, 2005
ISBN-10: 0143035657
ISBN-13: 978-0143035657
Nonfiction/Publishing/Writing
Contact Reviewer: hojoreviews@aol.com




Three Reasons Why You Would Be Better Served To Choose Something More Up-To-Date

Reviewed by Carolyn Howard-Johnson, award-winning author of This Is the Place and Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered, Tracings, a chapbook of poetry, and the author of the HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers

Generally I review books that have been recently published because the review journals and sites I write for expect that. Sometimes that policy makes me grumpy because I love reviewing old books with stick-to-it-iveness to see what authors can learn from them that will make their own books hang around for longer than the traditional 90 day bookstore shelf life.

But I was exposed to 78 Reasons Why Your Book May Never Be Published: 14 Why It Just Might at a recent critique group meeting and the saucy title intrigued me. I asked to borrow it. I’m glad I did because the contents remind me of why “recent” is a good policy to have, at least for most nonfiction books.

It was also a good thing because it helped me realize how far the publishing industry has come since 2005 when this book was published by Penguin. It’s not that I’m not aware that people (including agents and publishers) still judge a book by its cover and by the press it is printed on. They do and I don’t like it much because I am sensitive to intolerance. That includes labeling people by their color or religion, or weight or . . . well, you get the idea. Most of my creative writing addresses this particular theme in one way or another. So I’ve also been an advocate for selecting books by their content. You know, the stuff of which books are really made.

There are some gems out there that never get published. It’s hogwash when people say, “Write an excellent book and it will find its way to publishing sooner or later.” Sometimes that is true but many times it is not. And that is one reason subsidy and self publishing has become so popular. (There are others but that may be material for another day and another rant.)

Back to this 2005 book on publishing. It’s not that there isn’t some good stuff in it. It’s not that author Pat Walsh might not have moderated his opinions over the years. But his disdain for authors shines through in too many place to have much hope for that. He doesn’t much like the ones who want a hand in publicizing their own books, for instance. Nope. He admits he doesn’t do a whole lot of promotion for his own authors but he also doesn’t want their input or the elbow grease they might provide in do-it-yourself projects or in partnership with his company. Authors (at least in 2005) were to be good little writers, know their places, and damn well shut up.

Walsh’s narrow take is that there is only one way to do things is not really all bad. It is important for writers to know about some of the biases in the industry that existed back then (a long time ago in the electronic age) and now. In The Frugal Editor, I advocated using zero-tolerance editing because I know it still exists and as authors we need to deal with it if we want our books published traditionally or agented.

Here’s the thing: Though Walsh’s humor comes through in much of the book, I fear any emerging author who gets hold of it might take it verbatim. We already have too much discrimination floating around in this world. It’s time we got a grip and started judging people and books on their individual merit. Oh, yes. And give authors as a group some credit for having more than peas in their brains. At least until they prove otherwise.

Mr. Walsh, if you’ve changed some of your opinions, please update your book. I’d like to recommend it as an example of what an open-minded and caring publisher might do for a an author’s work. I’d like to encourage many authors--particularly those who write creatively--to try the traditional route first. Until then, I fear your book might discourage writers with talent from wanting anything to do with our industry.

------
Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s first novel, This is the Place, has won eight awards.
Her book of creative nonfiction Harkening, won three. A UCLA Writers' Program instructor, she also is the author of another book essential for writers, USA Book News' Best Professional Book of 2004, The Frugal Book Promoter: How to Do What Your Publisher Won't (www.budurl.com/FrugalBkPromo). The second in the HowToDoItFrugally series, The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success (www.budurl.com/TheFrugalEditor) covers writing successful query letters and includes helpful hints from twenty of the nation's top agents. It, too, won USA Book News top award in its category and Reader Views Literary award. Learn more at her site http://HowToDoItFrugally.com.

Mother Osprey: Nursery Rhymes for Buoys & Gulls

This is a reprint of my review for BookPleasures.com.

Title: Mother Osprey: Nursery Rhymes for Buoys & Gulls
Author: Lucy Nolan
Illustrator: Connie McLennan
Publisher: Sylvan Dell Publishing
Age Level: 3-7
ISBN: 978-1-934359-96-9 (hardcover)
ISBN: 978-1-607180-41-8 (pbk.)

As the title of this book implies, with ingenuity and an obvious love of the sea, Ms. Nolan took some wonderful old standard nursery rhymes and wove them into sea and coastline themed poems. Within these rhymes, Ms. Nolan introduces bits of nautical history and information. Instead of Jack and Jill, it’s Jack and June who go up a dune. Sing a Song of Sixpense includes a trawler crew, first mate, captain, and deckhand.

Ms. Nolan takes these old standards and makes them her own. Some of the rhymes go over very well, such as Sleep Baby Sleep, and Buoys and Gulls; others may leave a young child a little puzzled, such as Tweedle-Dum & Tweedle-Dee, and Two Skippers from Texas.

I love the concept of Mother Osprey, introducing sea lingo, history and information in a wonderfully illustrated rhyming book - much of it works. I do think that a couple of the rhymes include words and themes that are geared for an older reader. One rhyme in particular is One Flamingo. It is an amazingly intricate and informative rhyme, but verses such as: “First a goose, and then some geese—a gaggle in the lane. But if the geese are flying, the gaggle is a skein,” I believe would lose many young readers of 3-7. Another is The Witch of November, 1913 with verses such as: “The lakes heaved and tossed—so many lives lost. Howling wind, high seas and snow. More than two hundred souls filled those sorrowful rolls—the crewmen of long ago.” Again, this may be a wonderful piece, but not for the intended age group.

With colorful and realistic illustrations, Mother Osprey is, overall, an entertaining, fun and educational book that celebrates the sea and coastline. Phrases and words such as okra pods, Puget Sound, shark, pirate, and shoal of bass will peak children’s interest. Although, I do feel the book would be better intended for ages seven through ten.

Mother Osprey also includes a “For Creative Minds” section that sheds insight and gives information on each rhyme. Also included is a two-page map of the United States and its surrounding waters highlighting the geographical areas the rhymes reference, along with a “Map Activity Questions” section.

About the author: Lucy Nolan is an award-winning author who spent many childhood days roaming two very special islands: Pawleys Island, SC, and Amelia Island, FL. Ms. Nolan is also the author of Down Girl and Sit chapter books. She lives in Columbia, SC with her daughter and two rambunctious dogs.

About the illustrator: Connie McLennan has been a freelance artist for over 25 years, since attending Academy of Art College in San Francisco. In addition to illustrating Mother Osprey: Nursery Rhymes for Buoys and Gulls, she has also illustrated four other children’s books for Sylvan Dell Publishing. Ms. McLennan lives in northern California with her husband, teenage son, and a playful kitten.

Direct Link to Amazon Page:Click Here.

Karen Cioffi
Reviewer for BookPleasures.com
Rating: 3 1/2 Stars

What's New at the Zoo? An Animal Adding Adventure


Title: What’s New t the Zoo?
Author: Suzanne Slade
Illustrator; Joan Waites
Reading Level: 4-8
Publisher: Sylvan Dell Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-934359-93-8 (hardcover)
ISBN: 978-1-607180-38-8 (pbk.)
Rating: 5 Stars

What’s New at the Zoo? takes the reader on an animal adding adventure. This learning zoo adventure begins: “Two hungry pandas eat a bamboo lunch. One cub joins the meal. How many crunch and munch? 2 + 1 = ?” Through delightful rhyming text and numerals Ms. Slade creates a wonderfully engaging learning experience for children. Each page offers a new addition problem.

Within the rhyming text Ms. Slade cleverly weaves information about animals and the names of the baby animals pictured. Did you know that a baby mammoth boa is called a neonate? But that’s not all: the illustrations are striking - they are vivid, realistic and elaborate. Children will love reading this entertaining and educational picture book, in fact, they may not even realize they’re learning in the process.

An added feature to this book is the “For Creative Minds” and “Animal Matching Activity” educational section in the back. It offers additional math problems and solutions as well as information on the animals mentioned in the book. It also explains the differences in the animal classes: mammals, birds and reptiles, and asks the reader to put each of the animals shown within the book into their correct class.

I read this book to my three-year-old grand son. He said his favorite part was the picture with the peacocks. I then had my eight-year-old great nephew read it to me while answering the addition questions. They both enjoyed this book as will all children within the intended age group and even those a little younger. I highly recommend What’s New at the Zoo?

About the author: Suzanne Slade is the author of over 60 books for children. Her works include picture books, and biographies, as well as many non-fiction titles about animals, sports, insects, planets, and various science topics. During an earlier engineering career, she worked on Delta rockets and designed automotive braking systems. Ms. Slade lives near Chicago with her husband, two children, and their tiny dog, Corduroy.

About the illustrator: Joan Waites spent 15 years as a neo-natal intensive care nurse prior to studying illustration and launching her freelance career. In addition to What’s New at the Zoo? Joan has illustrated nearly 40 books for the educational and trade marketplace. She is also an adjunct member of The Corcoran Museum School of Arts and Design in Washington, DC, where she teaches various children’s classes for the college’s Aspiring Artists programs.

You can purchase What's New at the Zoo? An Animal Adding Adventure at: Amazon.com.

Karen Cioffi
Reviewer for BookPleasures.com

VBT - Writers on the Move July 10th Viewpoint

The 10th of each month a VBT member hosts the Viewpoint segment; this month it's Cryatalee Calderwood at: http://crystaleecalderwood.blogspot.com. Crystalee is the author of a wonderful children's book, Angeline Jellybean.

The topic is about self-published and small press authors: What is their role in the promotion of their books.

It's an insightful post with great comments; please be sure to stop by Crystalee's site and let us know what you think.

Karen Cioffi

Norm Goldman's Interview with Karen Cioffi

Norm Goldman of BookPleasures.com interview me today.

The authors of VBT - Writers on the Move are...ON THE MOVE!

It's a great interview, please stop by and check it out.

Karen

June's Viewpoint Topic: A 2009 Witch Hunt!

This month's Viewpoint topic is over at http://karenandrobyn.blogspot.com.

Find out why one post created 673, and counting, comments.

The question is: Was the post simply an author venting or was it contrived?

Check it out!

Karen

Sunstruck, by Mayra Calvini

Check out Mayra Calvini's book, available from Zumaya Publications



Zumaya Publications

Trade paperback ISBN: 978-1-934841-18-1
eBook formats ISBN: 978-1-934841-19-8
Available from
Amazon.com

Parody/Satire

Sunstruck has its own site at: www.sunstruckthenovel.blogspot.com.

Twenty-four year old Daniella is an architecture student living with her narcissistic artist boyfriend in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Abandoned by her father at an early age, Daniella always falls for the wrong type of man.

Her most enduring male relationship so far is with her 30-pound Turkish angora cat. Thankfully, Daniella's mother is always there to offer a shoulder.

Several strange mysteries are threaded through Daniella's everyday life: her ex-husband, Ismael, has just opened an outlandish hotel for animal lovers that has her distraught; Ismael's wife, a rich woman Daniella fondly refers to as "Lady Dracula," has some gruesome ways to keep her skin looking young; Daniella's mother is founding a revolutionary, feminist society called The Praying Mantises; the island's national forest is being depleted of hallucinogenic mushrooms; meanwhile, young girls are disappearing and there's a nut loose dressed as Zorro slashing the rear ends of women who wear miniskirts.

Oppressed by all these crazed, eccentric characters, Daniella feels herself falling into an abyss. Then something horrendous happens, making Daniella wake from her stupor and take charge of her life.

*For additional information, visit the author’s website at www.MayraCalvani.com

Contact the author at mayra.calvani(at)gmail.com

Meet Mayra Calvini

Multi-genre author, reviewer and animal advocate Mayra Calvani hails from San Juan, Puerto Rico. A regular contributor to Blogcritics Magazine and Suite101, she's a member of SCBWI and Broad Universe. She keeps two blogs, Mayra's Secret Bookcase and The Dark Phantom Review.

Additionally, she's the co-author of the nonfiction work, The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing.

Visit her newest, fun blog, Pets and Their Authors, where her golden retriever interviews authors' pets.

Mayra does Spanish translations of children's picture books, is co-editor of Voice in the Dark newsletter, and the National Latino Books Examiner for Examiner.com.

Coming: Read all about Mayra's new book, Sunstruck.


How Many Are Visiting Your Blog and Web Site

This is a reprint from a how-to article for writers that appeared in my Sharing with Writers newsletter. Writers who seek information on promoting their writing careers and the craft of writing may sign at www.howtodoitfrugally.com. Look in the left column for a signup window. The newsletter even includes a tips for poets each week.

Some people are infatuated with figures.

I'm really not. I'm a big-picture girl. I don't believe that if a blog draws "only" 50 or 500 it's of no value. Where is the cutoff number anyway? Ask instead, how does that blog work with the other promotions you're doing? It's how things work together--mostly--that makes a difference.

Still, it's sometimes nice to measure what we're doing—especially if we remember not to let low numbers (or what we perceive as low numbers) discourage us but instead use them as prompts to do something to get them up there. So, here's how I set up and use Google Analytics the super-fast and super-easy way.

1. You probably already have a Google account. If not, get one. Go to Google.com to do it. They may ask you to set up a Google gmail account. Don't worry. You can use it or ignore it.

2. Set up your profile. Find the "Add New Profile" and click. It works about like profiles everywhere--from Amazon to Facebook. You'll be lead through the steps. And having it will make it easy to comment on blogger or blogspot blogs.

3. Find your "Google Analytics" link. Click. There you will get some code that you copy and paste (the fancy name is HTML code) at the end of the Web pages you'd like to track. You can also add some code to your blogs. You'll want separate code for each place you want to track.

4. Add the analytics codes to places you want to track at your leisure. This is not a marathon. Give some thought to what figures will be most indicative of your success and add them one at a time.

5. Go back to your Google Analytics every so often. Not every day. Not every 10 minutes! You want to have time to write, not analyze numbers! Nose around the links you find there. One gives you a pie chart of where your visitors are coming from (direct, links or whatever). Another tells you what country your visitors are coming from. It's like a mini geography lesson!

Happy tracking!
------
Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of This Is the Place; Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered; Tracings, a chapbook of poetry; and two how to books for writers, The Frugal Book Promoter: How To Do What Your Publisher Won't and The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success. Her FRUGAL book for retailers is A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques. She is also the author of the Amazon Short, "The Great First Impression Book Proposal". Some of her other blogs are TheNewBookReview.blogspot.com, a blog where authors can recycle their favorite reviews. She also blogs at all things editing, grammar, formatting and more at The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor blog.

Helena Harper: Family and More - Enemies or Friends?


I recently read Helena Harper's Family and More - Enemies or Friends? and am pleased to post my review on VBT - Writers on the Move. Helena is a member of our merry band!

Family and More – Enemies or Friends? is more than a collection of poems, it is a story I enjoyed and learned from. As you read this book it becomes clear that the author put a great deal of time and effort into the choice of every word used. Each poem has a melodic flow that moves smoothly into the next.

Family and More enlightens the reader to the conflicts and confusion that exist in a family divided by war. Being the child of a German mother and English father in the aftermath of WWII, the author delves into her family’s history by examining the lives of several family members as well as other personal relationships. Each poem is an intertwined life. With descriptive imagery these people come alive; you see their struggles and triumphs.

This wonderful poetic story goes beyond a family history; it depicts the futility, frustration and hardship of war, along with the frailties and strengths of the people that make up each of our families.

Family and More – Enemies or Friends? is a beautifully written book. I highly recommend it.

You can contact Helena at: webmaster@helenaharper.com

To learn more you can visit Helena at:

Author's website: http://www.helenaharper.com

Authorsden website: http://www.authorsden.com/helenaharper

Author's blog: http://helenaharpersblog.blogspot.com

You can also follow Helena on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/helenaharper

Karen Cioffi

The Art of Science by Ransom Noble


It's my pleasure to present Ransom Noble and her newest book, The Art of Science. This is an exciting time for Ransom, with her new baby and new book! Okay, let's get right to it.

A little about Ransom Noble:

An early love of reading and the sciences led Ransom into writing and a career in mechanical engineering. Believing determination can help one attain any goal, she constantly sets new goals for herself and encourages others in their quests for knowledge. Ransom can often be found with her husband and their friends listening to music or playing games (every kind).

Her work includes:

"Qui's Contract," a short story that appeared in Ruins Metropolis, June 2008

The Art of Science, April 2009 by 4RV Publishing.

Now for a synopsis of The Art of Science:

Janie Hunter begins seventh grade looking forward to doing activities that she enjoys. Her mother has other ideas, she thinks it's time for Janie to start preparing for college and Art club isn't a part of that plan. When Janie qualifies to get into Argonauts, a special after school science club she has to find a way to make her mom happy and do the things she loves.

When Janie’s dropping grades and her first dance come to her mother’s attention, Mom intends to steer her in the ‘right’ direction.

To make matters worse, a boy at school threatens to make her miserable, though his motives aren't clear. Janie just wants everyone to get along, but even her friends can’t manage that.

As an added bonus, here's an excerpt from the book:

Sophia met Janie outside the school. “Mom says we’re to be home right away, Janie.”
“I’m on my way.”
“I’m driving us. Get in the car.”
Janie grimaced. “I’ll walk.”
Sophia rolled her eyes. “Don’t be difficult.”
“I’m not difficult.” Janie got in the car with her sister. “You don’t have to rub it in all the time. You got your license last month.”
“I don’t mean it that way, Janie. I’m just wondering why Mom wanted us home so fast.”
“Wait …” Janie paused, completely shocked for a moment.
“Doesn’t Mom have to work?”
Sophia shook her head. “I guess not. She just called the school to tell me to pick you up. We’re supposed to go directly home. I don’t know what’s going on either.”
Janie’s fingers traced the raised patterns on the cover of the book sitting in her lap. What could this be about? She and Sophia didn’t speak again on the drive. When Sophia pulled the car in the driveway, Janie realized she was missing the first Art Club meeting. Too late now; she hoped the teacher would allow her to join next time.
Sophia and Janie walked in the house, dropping their book bags by the door. “Mom? Dad?” Sophia called.
“We’re in the dining room,” her mother called back. “Please join us, girls.”
Four wineglasses sat on the table, filled with white grape juice, Mom’s favorite family celebration drink. Janie and Sophia sat in their usual seats. “What’s the big deal, Mom? Did you get a promotion?”asked Janie.
“No, guess again.” Mom’s smile was bursting with happiness.
Janie didn’t remember the last time she smiled like that.
“What?”
“You.”
Janie’s heart pounded. “What did I do?” It had to be something good, or Mom wouldn’t be smiling, right?
“You got into Argonauts at school.” Mom’s smile grew larger.
“I’m so proud of you, honey.”
“What?” Janie hadn’t heard of such a thing before.
Mom explained, “It’s a special program at school. On Wednesdays, you’ll stay after school for two hours with some other very smart children, and you get to do exciting science stuff. Doesn’t that sound like fun? Let me remember: They said you’ll be studying chemistry, physics, electronics and robotics. It will prepare you for the future.”
Janie didn’t say anything. Why did everything have to be working toward the future? At thirteen, college seemed far away to Janie.
“Wow. Congratulations, Janie,” Sophia said quietly.
“Yes, congratulations, Janie,” her dad added.
“You’ll get all the information about it tomorrow.”
“But volleyball meets on Wednesdays!”
Her mother continued like she never heard her. Most likely, she didn’t. “And Dad will be able to pick you up afterwards. Isn’t this wonderful?” Mom smiled down at Janie.
“But what if I don’t want to quit volleyball?”
“This is going to help you get into college, Janie. This is important. You can play volleyball on the weekends or next summer.”
Janie gulped down some grape juice.
“And we’re going out to dinner to celebrate.”
Janie sat quietly the rest of the evening. The decision had been made. She thought her dad must not have mentioned Art Club yet, since her mother didn’t add that to the lecture.

Well, that about raps it up for now, below is the Facts Sheet:

Title: The Art of Science
Author: Ransom Noble
Illustrator: Stephen Macquignon
Category: Young Adult
ISBN 10: 0-9818685-4-1
ISBN 13: 978-0-9818685-4-7
Pub Date: April 2009
Price: $12.99
Pages: 87
Publisher: 4RV Publishing, LLC
Language: English
Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.7 inches
Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
Web sites:
Find Ransom Noble at http://ransomnoble.wordpress.com
Find Stephen Macquignon at http://scketch2color.multiply.com
Visit 4RV Publishing at http://4rvpublishingllc.com
Media Contact:
Ransom Noble
noble.ransom@gmail.com

It's been a pleasure hosting you today, Ransom. I hope The Art of Science is a HUGE success!

See you in blog world,
Karen

Email Marketing, Hmmm...

What is Email Marketing, Anyway?

Simply put: Email Marketing is a means of getting the email addresses from potential customers and using those addresses to inform them of what you're offering. It is also what I am currently researching.

Can you do it yourself?

Well, if you have a new business or one that doesn't have too many subscribers, and you don't expect your business to boom overnight, I'd say, yes.

To read the rest of the article go to:

Karen and Robyn - Writing for Children

The Boxcar Children: The Seattle Puzzle - A Kid's Pick Review


Reviewed by Samia (4th grader)

Title: The Boxcar Children: The Seattle Puzzle
By: Gertrude Chandler Warner

The fantastic book I read was The Boxcar Children: The Seattle Puzzle. The creative author was Gertrude Chandler Warner. The Boxcar Children were orphans. They had run away and found an old box car in the woods. Soon, their grandfather found them.

The Boxcar Children are taking a vacation to Seattle. They solve a mystery by finding notes everywhere they went. They could have to solve the riddle to find out what is going on. They figure out that the grandfather is in the plan.

This was a great book and I recommend it to anybody who knows how to read.

Rating: 5 Stars

VBT - Writers on the Move will be featuring Kid's Pick Reviews every Tuesdays and Thursdays. Get your little ones involved in our Review Segment. Children love the idea of having their book reports/reviews posted online. Please be assured we will never use last names, school names, or any reference to locations. Get children involved in reading and writing about what they've read - it can open a whole new world to them.

"The Secret" to Great Book Promotion



This is from my Sharing with Writers newsletter. I thought it was worth a repeat for those of you who don't get that newsletter with its tons of writing and promotion tips in your e-mail box. (-:

Question:

The Secret [by Rhonda Byrne] says that one reason people's dreams don't come true is that they give up just before they are about to succeed. I am ready to give up. Just call me Peggy, WannaBeWriter

Answer:

I believe that people do give up too soon, especially when it comes to promotion. It's one reason I talk about persistence so much. And The Secret also talks about positive energy. That's what promotion is. It's your best shot being put out into the universe and that sometimes (not always) takes time.

That's not to say that at times it's not natural to feel like giving up. Putting aside having a well-written book that hits the market at the right time, the speed of an author's success is usually strongly influenced by its genre. That's one of the reasons I shared all the stuff I learned when I was promoting my first novel, This Is the Place, by writing my first how-to book, The Frugal Book Promoter. Fiction--especially nonspeculative fiction--is one of the hardest genres of all to promote and I wanted others to know it could be done.

This Is the Place won its publisher's Mille Award for marketing and sales the first year it was published but only after it almost failed for lack of promotion by the publisher and by me! And not until after I lost a really big wad of money hiring a publicist who didn't understand using the themes and other elements in a novel to promote it!

This Is the Place is a literary novel published in 2001 (though it's still available in the new and used book section on Amazon for about $1). I think I sold about 2,000 and even that relatively small number was probably sold because it was set in Salt Lake City and was released just before the Winter Olympics in that city.

But that fortuitous timing wouldn't have helped had I not figured out that I needed to promote it and that I was the only one with the passion to do it right. The Secret also talks about passion--only they call it bliss or joy. Once I got started I even got my novel into a couple of airport book stores.

In fact, one of the reasons that The Frugal Book Promoter sells well is that it isn't general. It's personal and passionate. It's full of ideas based on my personal experience selling the hardest of all genres--poetry, short story collections, and literary fiction. I could add memoir (my next book) to that list.

The point here is that none of the three was a huge success by publishing standards. But they were by my standards. They sold well enough, I learned from writing them and promoting them, and I really relished the little successes when they came. When I couldn't trace great results from the promotion I was doing, I kept doing it and kept adding more ways to do it.

What if I'd given up on one of those dark days when nothing seemed to be working? My world--not just my writing world but my entire world--would be a different place. Am I bragging? Damn tootin’. I knew The Secret long before it was written. And I'm still practicing it.

I hope you will, too.
CHJ

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The blogger today is Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of This Is the Place; Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered; Tracings, a chapbook of poetry; and two how to books for writers, The Frugal Book Promoter: How To Do What Your Publisher Won't and The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success. Her FRUGAL book for retailers is A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques. She is also the author of the Amazon Short, "The Great First Impression Book Proposal". Some of her other blogs are TheNewBookReview.blogspot.com, a blog where authors can recycle their favorite reviews. She also blogs at all things editing, grammar, formatting and more at The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor blog.