Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Book Reviews Online

Do you ever wish for excellent online Book Reviews? You'll find them posted regularly at,

Future of book publishing viewpoint

The future of book publishing is an ever fascinating and fluctuating topic among writers. My favorite tidbit today are the sage words of a professional writer-friend:

"I can see the day approaching when a PRINT book is a rare, 'specialty' item, much like people buy vinyl albums produced today in limited numbers, they will buy a print book produced in limited numbers. From what I see and hear, electronic publishing is leaping ahead and I don't think it will be long before it overtakes print publishing." -- Cliver (busy reformatting someone's novel into HTML for Kindle) Citriria Publishing.

You might try keeping abreast of current trends and opinions at,

Small Press Publisher

Authors continuallly search for publishers to query for their manuscripts, so I'll be adding small press publishers to my Favorite links from time to time. Where possible, I'll post information about them received from authors I admire and respect.

From the author of Train to Yesterday, Nell DuVall (Large Print Thorndike Press),

Monday, November 23, 2009

Book marketing opportunity

Rebecca Kellogg, professional writer and 6-year member of Internet Writing Workshop, announced her new blog, CMC Creative Marketing Campaigns,

Check it out.

If you have a book out and are using a creative campaign to market your work, get in touch with Rebecca about being featured.

In her invitation to authors Rebecca says, "If you're using a technique that has not yet been featured on the website, and you're willing to share your great idea so others can benefit, I'd love to feature you and give you a little more exposure."

Scroll down the website to Subscribe to CMC's Red-letter Tips.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving day.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

November notes

Surgery on my spine, rescheduled yet again, gave me unexpected leisure time until month's end. I'm doing what I enjoy most -- critiquing stories and writing.

And, I'm walking around town again! Natures' sights and scents sustain my soul as motion tones my body. Ideas swirl in my mind and settle quickly into possibilities that seem logical to me. Too impulsive, some might say of actions I take, when I forego more refined planning.

My three-voume series of Montana regional history, Behind These Mountains, vol. 1-3, have been out-of-print and sold out for many years. Recently, a class action against Google resulted in a settlement -- a "grab all rights" settlement, in the opinion of many authors, myself included who have out-of-print books. Google gained the right to digitize, make available, and disseminate books in that classification, electronically.

While it's doubtful that Google will digitize my books, I've begun the process of digitizing them myself, thereby putting them back in print.

But in this case, I'm not acting impulsively so Behind These Mountains, volumes 1-3 won't be available in .pdf format for an indefinite time.

In the meantime, the books are in The MAC archives, museums in northern ID and northwestern MT, Spokane Public Library, libraries in WA, ID and MT and a few other states, USFS offices in MT, and in private collections.


Wednesday, October 28, 2009


I was supposed to be taking my first walk in the halls of Kootenai Mememorial Hospital today, following a major surgery scheduled for Sept. 27th, to fix my spine. Instead, a nasty head cold caught me unawares on Sunday, so the surgery is rescheduled for Nov. 23rd, just in time to let me enjoy the culinary efforts of the hospital cooks on Thanksgiving Day -- which is also my birthday!

For those on my "Access The World and Write Your Way to $$$" student roster, as soon as my laptop returns from being serviced I'll be sending weekly chapters again, until I go to surgery. Thanks for your patience.

Mona :)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Missing Rockford website demonstation

Following my disappointment at not finding the demonstration of Rockford's town website at SESCC Fair last month, I touched bases with Joshua Grandinetti, who explained, "I've just been way too busy ..."

I really wasn't surprised, and I should have realized as Freeman School's band assembled to march in the parade that Josh would be playing trumpet! Also, he volunteered in the performing arts booth, which featured a constant stream of changing acts throughout both days.

He really didn't need to say, "I'm sorry ... unfortunately I didn't have any time to put it together." But being the dedicated guy he is, he apologized.

Kudos to Josh and Andy for keeping the website current, despite their busy schedules.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

SESCC Fair Website Exhibitors

Step right up folks! Experience the Internet! Don't be 'scared! Enjoy a hands-onexperience to explore

Under the expert guidance of Josh Grandinetti and Andy Coumont, any fears visitors who have never touched a computer, or are leery of surfing the mysterious Internet, will vanish.

Andy and Josh are the two civic-minded teenagers who took on the challenge during the summer to design and create an official Web site for the town. Now they are eager to provide residents a hands-on experience to discover information about their town, via the Internet.

They'll explain how they made it possible for businesses to submit information by clicking links on the web site's Businesses page, where an easy-to-use form is available to create listings. Should anyone experience difficulty with the form, Josh or Andy will assist him or her. Also, any local club and organization that may have been overlooked will be welcome to stop in at the fair booth, or e-mail (, to be included.

The annual South East Spokane County Community fair opens this year on Sept. 25-27, 2009, at Rockford's fairgrounds and park. This is a first at the fair for an Internet exhibit where visitors will see how information is easily available, activities in town are publicized, and town organizations and businesses are listed conveniently in one location. And how a blog offers up-to-the-minute news about local events.

Andy and Josh, two civic-minded 17-year-olds stepped up to the challenge this summer to design and create an official web site for the town when they met with Mayor Gary Wagner. Using the results of a recent survey of what residents desired on their town's web site, they started working on it in at the start of summer vacation in June. The two dynamic members of Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) at Freeman utilized their mutual fascination with computers and cyberspace to revamp (,) the official web site which had remained undeveloped for three years.

Aware of the serious shortcomings faced by local residents who lack access to high-speed Internet services, the design they chose produces clean, quick downloading on slow dial up Internet connections. It provides community resource information, embellished with pictures. A Google(R) calendar makes it easy to show upcoming events.

Asked how many hours they worked on the web site, the teens estimated close to 100. Not counting travel time. Josh is a life-long resident of Valleyford, and Andy is residing in Spokane Valley this summer. Their dedication to maintain the web site is an added plus, especially since any reported error or request gets immediate attention.

Friends since kindergarten, the two will enter their senior year this fall. Although they're close friends and share some interests, the lads are very different from each other. Sandy-haired Josh is gregarious, outgoing, and plays trumpet, whereas Andy proclaims himself a nerd who prefers intellectual pursuits, esoteric knowledge, and other obscure interests.

While guiding visitors to explore the web site, Andy's techno-fascination will turn into step-by-step, easily followed, instructions. Chat with Josh, and he's likely to grin and talk about the first real web site he created in 2008, Freeman's FBLA web site, (,) and tell you about the tricks he learned. Or he'll explain why they chose, a leading web site hosting provider, for Rockford's web site. Besides the unlimited storage space and bandwidth, 25 MyS-Q-L databases, and familiarity with the interface. Josh says the customer support has always been 'awesome.'

Andy takes pride in being reliable and responsible, attributes that landed him the job of setting up technical equipment during community-welcomed events at school assemblies, drama, choir and band concerts. Tall, slender and neatly groomed, he's good with Windows operating systems, the deployment of new software, and installation of hardware. Capable of troubleshooting most computer problems and finding solutions, he's also skilled in setting up remote connections for off-site access to on-site data. Andy and Josh undoubtedly will share how they continue to explore innovative ideas to get public access in the community.

Andy's serious, contemplative nature makes him attuned to the complexities involved. WiFi and multiple access-points in Rockford catch their imaginations. But excitement succumbs to reality, spelled out by Todd Reed, Freeman high school technology director and their computer-mentor. He counsels that each access point would cost about $1,000. Many photographs enhance the web site. Josh is likely to brag about his reticent partner who took them; Andy is also FHS staff photographer. "

The images along the headers of each main page are meant to represent the town of Rockford as a comfortable rural town with a relaxed atmosphere, but with a very active community," Josh says. One of their main goals in demonstrating and helping people at the fair learn to navigate Rockford's web site is to spread awareness of the benefits of the community's newly available media. Both think that as ease of posting local news and opinions on a blog becomes known through classes in the community (tentatively planned for early October), it will become a popular online ' town bulletin board.'

Since both teens view community unity as a vital component of their future happiness, they'll undoubtedly tout the community-unifying aspect of Rockford's web site. Real community, rather than virtual community, ranks uppermost in their values.

Visitors to their exhibit can be sure of being awed and fascinated by these knowledgeable young webmasters. Photographs will dot their booth, including ones that Andy engineered during an interview. In a playful, innovative gesture, he grabbed his camera, directed Josh to hold a laptop computer extended at arm's length, showcasing their web site, while he snapped photographs. Then he exchanged places with Josh, who took pictures while Andy said, "Hurry! It's heavy!"

Both are first place winners in FBLA contests. Northeast Region FBLA Conference & State FBLA conferences in Spokane. Josh's Entrepreneurship team took first in Regional, and scored in the finals in State. His and Andy's Network Design (3-member) team took first place at the Regional conference and fifth in State. (2008-09.) Andy also placed in competitions in Introduction to Business in 2007-08; Network Concepts, Business Presentation (3-member team), and Technology Concepts.

They also took part in the FBLA "Adopt A Highway" litter control, the Business Boot Camp sponsored for Freeman sixth graders, and in the Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery, "Burgers with a Heart" program, "Freeman Cares 4 Kids" day, and transformed the cafeteria and stage into a haunted house at Halloween. They joined in the trip to Portland, OR, where "we learned a ton at McAfee and UL, and from the Trailblazers game," Josh says.

Shortly before presenting their Rockford web site creation to the town council in July they were hard at work on startup activities in connection with their new business partnership as web site designers, to be announced soon.

Visit their fair booth and let them guide you. Don't be afraid. Browse each link at ( and appreciate the wisdom embedded in the services of these two commendable young men.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Access The World And Write Your Way To $$$

In 1996, when our Montana telephone company first offered ISP and opened the door to the world, I bought a laptop with modem and gladly paid the extra fee for the service.

Our daugher gifted me with The Internet Directory, a massive phone-directory-sized paperback book. In it I found Internet Writing Workshop, and eargerly became a member of that list. Soon, the administrators invited me to join an invitation-only list called Market Chat; professional writers who also shared information about the business side of writing. The opportunity to learn writing from professionals online enriched and changed my life in ways beyond my wildest dreams.

Thus began my compilation of the best of web sites that provide free instruction, guidance, support and encouragement for writers, irregardless of whether they are beginners or experienced professionals. Throughout the years, professional writers have contributed expert articles that enhance the 21 chapters included in Access The World And Write Your Way To $$$; the ultimate writers online directory.

Revised and updated each year since, and even though I no longer live in Montana, this mass of material is e-mailed free to anyone who sends me a request at

Access The World And Write Your Way To $$$; the ultimate writers online directory is my way of giving back what writers gave to me -- help, support, inspiration and encouragement.

If you think it can help you, email your request to me today and I'll send the Introduction and Index. Free. There is no obligation other than responding, "Yes, please add me to your student roster" or "No thank you."

Mona Leeson Vanek, aka, Montana Scribbler

Friday, September 4, 2009

Relocated to Rockford's Businesses

Yesterday, Vivian Plank, my co-volunteer in Horizons communication and education project , pointed out to me the preferable solution to a recent Horizons blog dilemma. ie: My posts to Rockford's community Horizons blog don't fit into Horizons criteria, so Patrick Malone, WSU Extension-Horizons Community Coach, requested that I be removed from posting to the blog that scrolls Horizons' news headlines on Rockford's official web site,

Vivian is sincere and a dear to work with, so I adopted her idea -- that everyone should have their own blog and link it to, and perhaps also to Rockford community's Horizons blog. That's the blog featured prominently on the town's official web site home page. (I'm told all posts to Horizons must go through Micki Harnois.)

So I diligently filled in the form provided to include my business, Montana Scribbler, on the web site Businesses page. I also e-mailed Micki that I'd love to have a link to my business blog, Mona Leeson Vanek, aka, Montana Scribber,, included on the Resources Links on Rockford community's Horizons blog.

I also asked her (if appropriate and approved) to please post an announcement that my posts will now be published on instead of at Horizons That way the following of readers I've attracted will know where my posts will be.

Thank you to all the readers of my ramblings for your kind comments. Please watch for the news of my blog's new location in Sally Holt's North Palouse Journal news column, soon.

I'll post whenever I learn of information you might be interested in, or benefit from. Or just when the need to chatter strikes me!

Meanwhile, please add your voice to mine in requesting Mayor Wagner and the town officials to have webmasters, Josh and Andy, create a town blog with a RSS feed to bring instant news updates -- provided by Rockford's elected officials.

Mona Leeson Vanek, aka, Montana Scribbler

The moment we begin to fear the opinions of others and hesitate to tell the truth that is in us, and from motives of policy are silent when we should speak, the divine floods of light and life no longer flow into our souls. ~Elizabeth Cady Stanton

Candidate forum recap

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Candidate Forum Recap
The Candidate Forum, hosted by MacIntosh Grange at the grange hall last night was a huge success, in spite the small percentage of registered voters attending. A number of Horizons' members attended.

The McIntosh Grange did a great job in organizing the event, and candidates were unanimous in thanking those who came. Moderator, Kevin Fricke was neutral and fair while seven candidates for council had a chance to give their personal statements and answer questions from the audience. Candidates are:

Council Position #1
Larry Van Every
Howard Brutschy
Stan Seehorn (did not attend Forum)

Council Position #2
Steve Meyers
Thomas Smith

Gary Wagner
Micki Harnois

Written questions from the floor were asked, with each candidate being allowed three minutes for their response. Several Horizons' members were among those submitting written questions.

A question regarding poverty in Rockford brought varied replies from those asked. Despite notable actives by citizens of Rockford and the surrounding area involved in the Horizons program for nearly a year, when asked if poverty exists in Rockford three of the candidates, Steve Myers, Larry Van Every and Thomas Smith, felt that poverty does not exist here.

Myers and Van Every claim poverty is only a "state of mind," and they voiced strong opinions that people remain in poverty by choice, rather than by working to lift themselves out of poverty.

Each pointed out that statistics generally are touted to serve a purpose, instead of being an accurate statement of affairs. Van Every said Rockford is a community of spirit and that poverty results when people "choose to be poor of spirit." Rockford provides the ability to be at peace with neighbors, he said, and "Crime will not come if there is no market." He appealed to every citizen to do his or her part to circumvent the market.

Mayor pro-tem Micki Harnois feels that elected leaders of the Town of Rockford must recognize that a sure sign of poverty is when decision makers do not acknowledge that a percentage of local citizens remain jobless, have low income, lack computer accessibility, have low self-esteem, and have no community facility or location to access resources that can help them improve their chances of joining the labor force that provides decent wages.

She also mentioned funding to continue the two debris-chipping days the town has provided since Spokane County's burn ban affected area residents.

A need for bus transportation to and from Spokane was acknowledged by most of the candidates. Partnering with the Coeur d'Alene Tribe to get Casino buses to stop, or with Idaho City Link buses, could be explored. Myers said he doesn't see any feasible outlook.

Maintaining the closeness of community residents and the spirit of cooperation among them is high priority for Thomas Smith, as it is for all of the candidates. Smith hopes to work on cleaning up neglected areas in the town. Myers told of efforts (so far unsuccessful) to accomplish that. He also praised St. John's success with senior retirement housing.

Responses to questions about Rockford's website were positive, and only one member felt business should pay to be listed. When asked if town ordinances can be on the website, replies were split. A couple members thought the ordinances are too numerous and space consuming. Van Every, who has a background in website design, said it would be a simple matter to link to them. Mayor Wagner said Town Council minutes couldn't be put on the website until after being approved. Brutschy admitted to being in violation of an ordinance.

Mayor Wagner, who said that during his terms as a public official over $5 million in grants have been utilized for improving the town's infrastructure, expressed the need to grow the population by having more houses. Candidate Howard Brutschy said the need wasn't for more housing, but certainly more job opportunities through attracting more businesses is desirable. He favors controlled growth, and is active on the Planning and Zoning board and the South East Spokane County Fair board.

In discussing crime and law enforcement and the financial constraints of county law enforcement, all believe community members will be best served by participating in S.C.O.P.E. and Neighborhood Block Watch efforts.

Council Position #1 is the only position open for voting in the primary election, as there are three candidates. The two candidates that receive the most votes will be included in the general election along with Council Position #2 and the Mayor position.

MacIntosh Grange members plan to hold another Candidate forum, October 19 th, 7 p.m. at the grange hall.

Posted by Mona Leeson Vanek at 10:07 AM 0 comments

Elected officials

Sunday, July 26, 2009

If you don’t know who the members of your congressional delegation are, you can find out by going to and entering your zip code.

Senator Patty Murray (Ph: 202-224-2621; Fax: 202 224-0238

Senator Maria Cantwell (Ph: 202 224 3441; Fax: 202 228-0514Representative, Cathy McMorris-Rodgers (Ph: 202 225-2006; Fax: 202 225-3392.

Email to elected officials must go through their websites:

Senator Patty Murray,

Senator Maria Cantwell,

Representative, Cathy McMorris-Rodgers ,,82.

Social networking safely

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Social Networking Tips
As rural communities get faster Internet services, social networking increases, bringing opportunities to increase incomes. I have a friend who earns $90 an hour for as little as two hours a day with social networking. However, the ways social networking can endanger the unwary increases, too.If you're new to social networking (or even if you're not), check out Debra Littlejohn Shinder's article, "10 Ways to Stay Out of Trouble when you Post to Social Networking Sites" on the TechRepublic site at

Debra is a Microsoft MVP specializing in enterprise security and CEO of TACteam (Trainers, Authors & Consultants). A former police officer/criminal justice instructor, she has written or contributed to over 20 books and hundreds of articles for print and online publications. Debra is highly respected for her virtual-crime fighting expertise. Her titles include MVP/Security, Editor, WXPnews (, Editor, VistaNews (, and Tech Blog:

In "Throwing Sheep in the Boardroom," authors Matthew Fraser and Soumitra Dutta wrote, "The generation entering the workforce today - and entering boardrooms everywhere - is fully engaged with social networking and its uses. Rather than feeling threatened and paranoid, today's business leaders need to understand this phenomenon, accept that it won't go away, and embrace its power in the world of business."

Give serious thought to how you use this powerful new medium. Although social networking is increasing at phenominal speed in the business world and vastly enhancing the work-a-day world, it warrants the time to learn about its many uses.

Start at to learn more. And be sure to read,

On the bookshelf, "Throwing Sheep in the Boardroom" is the first comprehensive book written for a wide audience about the Web 2.0 social networking revolution. ...

Posted by Mona Leeson Vanek at 10:08 PM 0 comments

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Of course! I knew the time would someday arrive when I'd start blogging. What professional writer could ignore the temtation of having their say about whatever, whenever? So today is that day for me, Montana Scribbler! June 18, 2009