Monday, December 28, 2009

January 2010 Author and Book Tour Schedule

Yep, it's here in a few days...a NEW YEAR...2010!

And, with a new year, VBT Writers on the Move is utilizing a new schedule and member strategies.

We appreciate your support and readership during 2009 and hope you join us in this new and ever-moving-forward year.

As part of our new format, we will have daily tours. Included in the daily tours will be our Mystery Site Giveaway. One site per month will be the mystery site; if you comment on it you may be the winner of a funny, informational, drama, romance or other book!

Please note: we will not have a tour on January 1st or the 31st.

On to the tour schedule for January 2010:

January 2nd Dianne Sagan is hosting Kevin McNamee
January 3rd Harry Gilleland is hosting Maggie Ball
January 4th Karen Cioffi is hosting Lea Schizas
January 5th Kathy Stemke is hosting Heidi Thomas
January 6th Lea Schizas is hosting Martha Swirzinski
January 7th Vivian Zabel is hosting Liana Metal
January 8th Nancy Famolari is hosting Margaret Fieland
January 9th Elysabeth Eldering is hosting Mayra Calvani
January 10th Katie Hines is hosting Elysabeth Eldering
January 11th Helena Harper is hosting Dana Donovan
January 12th Liana Metal is hosting Debra Eckerling
January 13th Carolyn Howard-Johnson is hosting Dianne Sagan
January 14th Gayle Trent is hosting Helena Harper
January 15th Mayra Calvani is hosting Stephen Tremp
January 16th Marvin Wilson is hosting Linda Asato
January 17th Linda Asato is hosting Kathy Stemke
January 18th Stephen Tremp is hosting Katie Hines
January 19th Margaret Fieland is hosting Karen Cioffi
January 20th Darcia Helle is hosting Harry Gilleland
January 21st Martha Swirzinski is hosting Jane Sutton
January 22nd Heidi Thomas is hosting Darcia Helle
January 23rd Jane Sutton is hosting Nancy Famolari
January 24th Dana Donovan is hosting Linda Suzane
January 25th Dallas Woodburn is hosting Marvin Wilson
January 26th Linda Suzane is hosting Dallas Woodburn
January 27th Debra Eckerling is hosting Vivian Zabel
January 28th Heather Paye is hosting Gayle Trent
January 29th Maggie Ball is hosting Carolyn Howard-Johnson
January 30th Kevin McNamee is hosting Heather Paye


Please be sure to visit each day for valuable informational articles, reviews, or other great posts.

See you in the tours,

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

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

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


Saturday, December 19, 2009

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

Friday, December 18, 2009

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.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

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.

Monday, December 14, 2009

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

Friday, December 11, 2009

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

Thursday, December 10, 2009

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

Monday, December 7, 2009

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









Saturday, December 5, 2009

Anniversary Tour Winners Featured in December

We're excited, we have three winners from our November one year anniversary tour that will be featured right here during the month of December.


First up on Monday, December 7th, is Joylene Butler, author of Dead Witness.


Next, on Friday, December 11th, is writer Kristi Bernard.


Last, but not least, on December 14th, is author Arlee Bird.

Good stuff coming up.


And, we have another winner being featured in January 2010: Terry Johnson


Then, in March 2010, we have: L. Diane Wolfe


We hope you stop by and see what these writers have to say!


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

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Self-Publisher's Guide by Karen Cioffi


Today, as part of our December tour, I have the opportunity to do a little promoting for an e-book I created to help those new to the business of writing. With a saturated market, it can be difficult to find a traditional publisher for your manuscript. That said, this shouldn't stop you from trying!

But, for those who have special reasons for self-publishing, or just want to ensure your labor of love finds a home, this e-book will guide you along the road to publication and help you promote you and your book.

Here's a description of the Self-Publisher's Guide:


Do you dream of writing a book? Do you want to self-publish a book you’ve already written, but you’re not sure what to do? Do you need basic writing and promotional tips and guidance?


From Writing Your Book, to Self-Publishing Options, to Creating a Website, to Promotion - it's all included in this handy guide.

Topics include: learning to write, critique groups, being ready for publishing, choosing a publishing company, creating visibility through promotional strategies, bringing traffic to your site, resources, tools, and much more.

All for the price of a cup of coffee!


Here is a review from a very talented author:

Karen Cioffi’s, Self Publishing Guide, has everything you need to know to successfully publish your book. As one, who has gone through the process herself Ms. Cioffi spells out your options so you won’t waist time or money going in the wrong direction. This guide is full of great resources for every step of the publishing process.

Ms. Cioffi’s guidance doesn’t stop when your book is published. She gives you a clear marketing plan which includes starting a website, blog, and Virtual book tour. Article marketing, press releases, newspapers, email service companies, writing courses, and even social networking are just some of the subjects discussed in this valuable guide.

I highly recommend this guide for anyone considering self publishing or marketing a book.

Kathy Stemke
Author/Educator
Blog: http://educationtipster.blogspot.com
Moving Through all Seven Days ebook purchace on lulu:http://www.lulu.com/content/e-book/moving-through-all-seven-days/7386965#
Articles: http://www.helium.com/users/406242.html
http://www.associatedcontent.com/user/237923/Kathy_stemke_dancekam.html

http://kathystemke.weebly.com

If you're looking for advice and tips to get you on the writing, publishing, and marketing road, take a look at The Self-Publisher's Guide.

Here's where you can find it:  
 http://www.lulu.com/content/e-book/the-self-publishers-guide-2nd-edition/7893477 

 You can learn more about my writing and services at:


DKV Writing 4 U (http://dkvwriting4u.com)

Subscribe to this site and get TWO FREE e-books: Writing, Publishing, and Marketing - You Can Do It; and The Power of Article Marketing. Please note these gifts will be offered for a limited time - gifts and offers will change randomly.


But, that's not all! Just for visiting during this holiday season you can download a wonderful holiday e-book: Classic Christmas Tales (235 pages filled with 18 classic stories).  These are AMAZING GIFTS!


Be sure to check the December 1st tour schedule in the post below and visit with other new and famous authors. There's a Mystery Site Giveaway!

Karen Cioffi
http://dkvwriting4u.com

Co-author of Day's End Lullaby 

Author of Writing, Publishing, and Marketing - You Can Do It!
Reviewer for BookPleasures.com
Reviewer for Muse Book Reviews









Wednesday, November 25, 2009

December 2009 Virtual Book and Information Tour

Can you believe it's the end of the year already? It's true that the older you get the quicker the days, weeks, months, and years go by. So, don't waste precious time, be involved and take notice of everything around you!

There's a tour coming up and we'd like to give you the inside scoop:

On December 1st, each host will feature their guest. It's a one day tour. Please be sure to stop by and comment - we have a Mystery Site Giveaway!

The December 1st, 2009 Book Tour Schedule

Dianne Sagan is hosting Lea Schizas
Karen Cioffi is hosting Heidi Thomas
Kathy Stemke is hosting Martha Swirzinski
Lea Schizas is hosting Brigitte Thompson
Nancy Famolari is hosting Kathy Stemke
VBT Writers on the Move is hosting Karen Cioffi
Crystalee Calderwood is hosting Carolyn Howard-Johnson
Katie Hines is hosting Stephen Tremp
Helena Harper is hosting Deborah Weed
Liana Metal is hosting Dianne Sagan
Carolyn Howard-Johnson is hosting Debra Eckerling
Gayle Trent is hosting Dana Donovan
Mayra Calvani is hosting Helena Harper
Marvin Wilson is hosting Mayra Calvani
Linda Asato is hosting Marvin Wilson
Stephen Tremp is hosting Gayle Trent
Elysabeth Eldering is hosting Katie Hines
Darcia Helle is hosting Linda Asato
Deborah Weed is hosting Liana Metal
Brigitte Thompson is hosting Nancy Famolari
Martha Swirzinski is hosting Margaret Fieland
Heidi Thomas is hosting Jane Sutton
Jane Sutton is hosting Darcia Helle
Dana Donovan is hosting Crystalee Calderwood
Dallas Woodburn is hosting Linda Suzane
Linda Suzane is hosting Elysabeth Eldering
Debra Eckerling is hosting Dallas Woodburn

We hope you'll visit with these amazing authors, some new and some famous. They'll be information about books, along with writing and marketing tips and advice.

And, there are many changes in the works for 2010! We hope you'll be a part of them.







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

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

MOVING THROUGH ALL SEVEN DAYS at OneTrueMedia.com

I created this myself. Kathy Stemke



To purchase this book just click on this link:
http://www.lulu.com/content/e-book/moving-through-all-seven-days/7386965#

Writers on the Move's Anniversary Tour Winners!

Wow, it's been a great month. We've had so many visitors and winners. We want to thank everyone who stopped by to help celebrate our 1 Year Anniversary Tour and helped make it a HUGE success!

Here's a list of the winners and the prizes they chose (they each had at least four options to choose from):


Winners of the November 2009 Anniversary Tour


 (110109) Katie Sender – hasn't responded yet

(110409) Kristi Bernard – a guest spot on the VBT site on December 11th
(110509) Anniversary Mystery Site  - DING, DING, DING!!!
Penny Ehrenkrenz is the winner (a $25 Gift Card to Amazon)
Donna McDine and Beverly Stowe-McClure are runners up (both runners up will receive a copy of Nancy Famolari's book, Unwelcome Guest at Fair Hill Farm)


(110609) John HugesDay's End Lullaby by Karen Cioffi

 (110709) Abigail Beals - The Self-Publisher's Guide by Karen Cioffi

(110809) Terry Lynn Johnson - a guest spot on the VBT site on January 11th
 
(111109) L. Diane Wolfe - a guest spot on the VBT site on March 15th
 
(111309) Maureen Hume - Humberto, the Bookworm Hamster by Mayra Calvani
 
(111409) Ron Berry - Murder Takes the Cake by Gayle Trent

(111609) Joylene Butler - a guest spot on the VBT site on December 7th


(111709) Arlee Bird- a guest spot on the VBT site on December 14th



(111809) John Hughes - Angeline Jellbean by Crystalee Calderwood



(111909) Cathy Puett Miller- hasn't responded yet

*The dates next to the winners' names are the dates of the tour posts.

We hope to see you on December 1st for the December 2009 Tour. It's just ONE day so be sure to mark it on your calendar. We'll have a Mystery Site Giveaway!


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







Saturday, November 14, 2009

VBT's Anniversary Tour Winners - So Far!

Wow, our anniversary tour is going amazing. Fun, great information, promotion, and daily prizes. And, don't forget our $25 Gift Card to Amazon for the Mystery Site Winner!

This post is an update of our winners:

1. Katie Sender (Dianne Sagan's site) - Katie didn't respond to receive her prize.
2. Kristi Bernard (Kathy Stemke's site) - chose a guest spot on the VBT site.
3. John Huges (Margaret Fieland's site) - chose Day's End Lullaby, he has 5 kids!
4. Abigail Beals (Crystalee Calderwood's site - chose The Self-Publisher's Guide.
5. Terry Johnson (Katie Hines site) - chose guest spot on the VBT site.
6. L. Diane Wolfe (Carolyn Howard-Johnson's site) -chose a guest spot on the VBT site.
7. Maureen Hume (Mayra Calvani's site) - hasn't responded yet.

The tour is still in full swing, so please be sure to check out the schedule - just scroll down to the schedule post.

We have new, famous, and award winning authors, so there's great information to be reaped from the posts. And, you have a chance of winning a wonderful prize, right in time for the holidays!

Talk to you soon,
Karen

Friday, November 13, 2009

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.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

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.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Two More Winners

From Margaret Fieland's site, John Hughes won. He choose the children's bedtime picture book, Day's End Lullaby.

From Crysalee Calderwood's site, Abigail Beal won. We're still awaiting her response!

Prizes are flying away - be sure to follow the tour and leave comments!

Karen

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Kristi Bernard, Another Winner!

Yippee! VBT - Writers on the Move has another winner in our November Anniversary Blogaversary!

Kristi Bernard commented on November 3rd, on Kathy Stemke's site and chose being a guest on the VBT blogsite as her prize. Kristi will be hosted here some time mid-December.

Don't forget we have daily prizes through November 23rd! And, the mystery site gift is a $25 Gift Card to Amazon!

The schedule and details are below.

Come join us in our celebration!

Karen

Monday, November 2, 2009

Anniversary Tour November 1st Winner!

WE HAVE A WINNER!


Dianne Sagan hosted November 1st and the winner is Kate Sender (Kate2world). I'm trying to find a way to reach Kate to let her know.


Karen

Saturday, October 24, 2009

VBT's November Anniversary Tour Schedule


Well, it's a YEAR! That's right, we have been cross-promoting and helping one another for a year now.

To celebrate this accomplishment, we will have a SUPER-DUPER Anniversary Tour!

The number before the host's name is the day in November that he/she will post in the tour.

But, before I explain more about it, here's the schedule:

1 Dianne Sagan is hosting Heidi Thomas
2 Harry Gilleland is hosting Karen Cioffi
3 Karen Cioffi is hosting Martha Swirzinki
4 Kathy Stemke is hosting Brigitte Thompson
5 Nancy Famolari is hosting Deborah Weed
6 Margaret Fieland is hosting Elysabeth Eldering
7 Crystalee Calderwood is hosting Harry Gilleland
8 Katie Hines is hosting Heather Paye
9 Helena Harper is hosting Steve Tremp
10 Liana Metal is hosting Crystalee Calderwood
11 Carolyn Howard-Johnson is hosting Marvin Wilson
12 Gayle Trent is hosting Dianne Sagan
13 Mayra Calvani is hosting Carolyn Howard-Johnson
14 Marvin Wilson is hosting Gayle Trent
15 Linda Asato is hosting Mayra Calvani
16 Heather Paye is hosting Katie Hines
17 Steve Tremp is hosting Helena Harper
18 Elysabeth Eldering is hosting Linda Asato
19 Darcia Helle is hosting Liana Metal
20 Deborah Weed is hosting Nancy Famolari
21 Brigitte Thompson is hosting Margaret Fieland
22 Martha Swirzinki is hosting Darcia Helle
23 Heidi Thomas is hosting Kathy Stemke

Each day there will be prizes offered. All you have to do is leave a comment on the host's site on the day he/she is posting for their guest and you may be a WINNER!

The Winner will have a choice of ONE of 2 or 3 books of our members or other related gifts, OR a one day guest spot on THIS site!

Prizes being given away EVERY Day from November 1st through November 23rd!

OH! Wait a minute! That's not all! We are still having our Mystery Site Giveaway and the SUPER-DUPER PRIZE is a $25 (US) GIFT CARD to either Amazon, Target, or an American Express Gift Card. I'll know for sure by the end of this month.

Winners will be notified the day after each posting. The Mystery Site Winner will be notified Sunday, November 29th.

Come celebrate with us and have the chance of being one of the WINNERS of a great gift in the process.

Talk to you soon,
Karen

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

VBT - Writers on the Move's ONE YEAR Anniversary!

I can hardly believe it - next month is our anniversary! It certainly went by fast.

To celebrate, we are going extreme: For November only, we will have a blogiversary with prizes each and every day through November 24th.

What this means is each day one member of our group will host another member. The schedule will be posted here by this weekend.

Each day, the host's site will give away a prize to one lucky commenter!

You will have your choice between a member's book, other gift, or a one day guest spot right here on the VBT site.

In addition to this, we will still have our Mystery Site Giveaway. For this special anniversary tour, the prize will be a gift card (more details to follow later).

One note: if you are a winner, you will not be eligible for a 2nd prize unless there is no other commenter on a particular day.

Everyone who visits and comments on the Mystery Site is eligible to win the Mystery Site Gift Card Prize. That will be the only prize offered that day.

Members of this group are not eligible for any prizes.

Be sure to be part of this spectacular event and comment your way to prizes!

Talk to you soon,
Karen

Sunday, October 18, 2009

It's OVER for this Year - The Muse Online Writers Confernce

Ah, and Awh, it's over. It was an action packed, information jammed packed, amazing, and overwhelming week - just like last year's. You would have thought I'd remember not to overload with more workshops than I can handle. But, how do you do that? I want that class, and that one, and oh yeah, that one...

Since the two super duper honchos (creator, organizer, manager and presenter) of The Muse Online Writers Conference, Lea Schizas and Carolyn Howard Johnson are members of this little writers group, it's a must to write about their absolutely astounding endeavor and achievement.

For this I'm posting the article I have on my site (with a bit of tweaking):

The Muse Conference is an amazing concept. I will plug it from now until next year's is at our doorstep. It is an astounding opportunity for writers to learn their craft, or a new one, get advice and tips, network, and move forward in their careers.

Before this week I didn't realize that Lea Schizas and Carolyn Howard-Johnson actually thought of disabled writers who can't attend conferences in person and writers who can't afford to go to them when they considered joining forces to attempt this wonderful and arduous undertaking. This type of altruistic act is a blessing for those in these categories. It allows us to partake of the knowledge and experience of wonderful writers, authors, editors, marketers, and publishers. And, it gives us the opportunity to get professional critiques of pieces of our writing within some of the workshops offered.

But hold on, if this isn't enough, you are given the opportunity to PITCH YOUR WORK!

Can you believe it? All this for FREE and in the comfort of your own home with 24/7 access to the site for the entire week (and usually longer). And all thanks to these two wonderful and generous women.

A GREAT BIG THANK YOU AND BUNDLES OF APPRECIATION to Lea and Carolyn for the time, effort, expense, and the obvious caring that goes into these amazing conferences.

So, what am I actually saying here? Simple: Run, jump, skip, hop, swim, whatever it takes, but SIGN UP for next year's Muse Online Writers Conference as soon as you can!

Registration opens in November; I'll post a link here when it's available.

And, while it is absolutely FREE, if you can afford to please help out with the conferences by donating whatever you can - even a dollar is something!

Talk to you soon,
Karen

Friday, October 16, 2009

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.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

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

Saturday, October 10, 2009

October Mystersy Site Giveaway

Well, this month's mystery site didn't have any non-member commenters. So, no giveaway!

Hopefully, next month commenters will visit the mystery site and actually leave a comment.

Remember, the giveaway is a free book from one of our members, or a guest spot right here on the VBT blogsite.

And, tomorrow, is our Viewpoint / Hot Topic. Please stop here for more info about where it'll be!

That's it for now,

Karen

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

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

Saturday, October 3, 2009

We're Back with Author, Darcia Helle

It was great learning about Darcia and her book, No Justice, on Thursday. But, that ain't all folks! Today, we'll learn a bit about another of Darcia's books, Beyond Salvation.

As I mentioned, on Thursday, Darcia is new to our merry band of authors, so I'm learning all about this with you.

Darcía is a fiction author of mystery/suspense. She currently has four books published and is at work on number five. Darcía also writes a monthly nonfiction, crime-related newsletter called Guilty As Charged. The newsletter covers a wide range of topics, from the history of burning at the stake to modern-day serial killers.

Okay, let's take a look at a blurb about Beyond Salvation:

A teenage runaway disappears from the streets. The only people that care, or even notice, are her two best friends who are also runaways. For reasons of their own, they can’t go to the police for help.

They seek out Michael Sykora, a software designer by day and hit man by night. Known on the streets as The Ghost, Michael has a reputation for taking on the twisted criminals. Rapists. Child molesters. He has never been hired to find the lost. Until now.

Michael teams up with ex-prostitute Nicki and full-time hit man Sean. Together they bend the rules of the justice system in order to find a young girl few people care about. In the process, they uncover a world where salvation comes with a price tag and God’s words are used to incite fear in a congregation of believers.

Wow, this sounds like another great read. I am impressed with writers who can conjure up mystery and suspense - I just don't have it in me. Thank goodness for authors like Darcia who bring suspense and mystery to us through their books.

You can pick up your own copy of Beyond Salvation at Amazon.com.

All Darcia Helle Books On Amazon

Enemies and Playmates paperback

Enemies and Playmates Kindle

Hit List paperback

Hit List Kindle

No Justice paperback

No Justice Kindle

Author Page On Amazon

Website:
http://www.QuietFuryBooks.com

Blog:
http://www.QuietFuryBooks.com/blog

Darcia, it's been a pleasure hosting you this tour. I'm looking forward to learning even more about you and your books in future tours. And, thank you, to the readers who took the time to stop by and visit with us a spell.

A final note: VBT - Writers on the Move is a great opportunity for authors who are looking to create or increase their visibility and readership. We use cross-promotional strategies such as these tours to help each other. Take that promotional step and increase your visibility and readership with ongoing tours and much more. If you're interested, you can contact me at: karenrcfv@yahoo.com.

Talk to you soon,
Karen

Thursday, October 1, 2009

KOKH FOX 25 :: Morning News

KOKH FOX 25 :: Morning News

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Author of No Justice, Darcia Helle



It's such a pleasure to host a new member to VBT - Writers on the Move, Darcia Helle. We're all going to be learning about Darcia and her mystery/suspense book, No Justice, together!

First we'll learn a bit about Darcia:

Darcía Helle says she writes because, "My head gets cluttered with characters that demand their story be written."

Darcía is a fiction author of mystery/suspense. She currently has four books published and is at work on number five. Darcía also writes a monthly nonfiction, crime-related newsletter called Guilty As Charged. The newsletter covers a wide range of topics, from the history of burning at the stake to modern-day serial killers.

Words are Darcía's addiction. She will read just about anything: novels, biographies, history, sociology, ingredient labels...

Darcía grew up in Massachusetts but has lived in the Tampa Bay area of Florida since 2002. She is married and has two sons. An animal lover, Darcía has two very spoiled dogs and two equally spoiled cats.

Darcía's website - http://www.QuietFuryBooks.com - is her own creation. There you will find excerpts from her books, newsletters, monthly contests, blog, and a few pages of things to make you smile.

Wow, Darcia, you sound like a busy lady! Your monthly nonfiction, crime-related newsletter called Guilty As Charged sounds great.


Now onto a blurb about No Justice:

How far would you go to right a wrong?

For Michael Sykora, killing started as blind rage. Then it became something he's good at. To most of those who know him, Michael is a software designer, a smart but average guy with a workaholic nature. To a chosen few, Michael is a part-time hit man whose specialty is eliminating hard-core criminals.

Michael has managed to keep his two personas separate. Until now. When Nicki, a close friend, gets into trouble, Michael steps in to help. Having lost his fiance to a brutal crime, Michael will do whatever necessary to keep from losing another woman in his life.

At one time or another, don't we all wish we could do the things our Justice system cannot or will not? What would it take to push you over the edge?

Boy, is that one powerful question...I've always said, never-say-never. One really never knows what he or she is capable of if pushed over the edge.

This book sounds like the reader will be sitting on the edge of the seat. Get your copy of No Justice today at:

Amazon: No Justice paperback

Kindle: No Justice

And, here's a list of Darcia's other links:

All My Books On Amazon

Enemies and Playmates paperback

Enemies and Playmates Kindle

Hit List paperback

Hit List Kindle

Beyond Salvation paperback

My Author Page On Amazon

My Website:
http://www.QuietFuryBooks.com

My Blog:
http://www.QuietFuryBooks.com/blog

That's it for today, please be sure to stop back on Saturday, October 3rd; we'll learn about another of Darcia's books: Beyond Salvation.

Talk to you soon,
Karen