Sunday, December 23, 2012

Sue s Book Review

Midnight Rising
John Brown and the Raid that Sparked the Civil War
By Tony Horwitz
pp 365, Picador

Reviewed by Sue Ellis

A Photoshopped likeness of John Brown stares from the cover of Midnight Rising. He appears stern, determined, and weary. After reading Tony Horwitz's biography on the man, I think the only thing the photo doesn't reveal is a touch of lunacy.

John Brown was driven to a purpose from an early age by the mentoring of his father, who taught him that it's wrong for a person to own another human being. That credo firmed up in  his mind as he aged, coming to fruition when he was an old mana man who was deemed a failure by the standards of the day. He was a dreamer and risk-taker who fathered a large brood whom he then had trouble supporting, and he was the probable cause of his second wife's fragile mental state, neglecting her as he did for the cause of abolition.

At nearly sixty, maybe he figured he'd go all out and try to do one thing right in his life, to fight for the thing most dear to his heart. But he didn't limit his ambition to himself; he recruited three sons and a daughter to the cause. In his usual grand, impractical style, he set upon a plan to lay siege to the nation's armory at Harper's Ferry, Virginia. And he didn't let the fact that he was only able to recruit twenty-one followers discourage him.

Ten men were killed in action, including two of Brown's sons. Brown and six of his followers were later tried and hanged, and five of his followers escaped, including one son, Owen. .

There's no question that the old man was brave. There's no question that his motivation was pure, but the fact is, he martyred himself, his young followers and his family, was responsible for several murders along the way, and instigated a war between the states whose terrible toll still resonates in the  American psyche, regardless of the fact that it set the wheel of racial equality in motion. As Horwitz points out, his actions pretty well fit our current definition of terrorism.

As with any martyr, Brown gained more fame after his death. The court trial and subsequent news stories paid tribute to his clearly spoken, unwavering statement that he was willing to die for his cause. And then he did, without complaint.

After having read Midnight Rising, I'm not sure I perceive Brown the same way the author does, but maybe that's the best thing about biographies that are as well written as Midnight Rising—that we are left to draw our own conclusions. Brown's daring attack on the slave holding south was so ill-planned as to be considered daft. That it succeeded, at least in the broadest terms, speaks to the idea that, for a few of us, our destiny is preordained.

In the end, I admire the man and his vision for a constitution unmarred by the blight of slavery. Not all heroes are successful businessmen, or born with a pedigree. Brown was an ordinary man who lived his beliefs, treating blacks as equals and welcoming them into his home. It didn't matter that he arrived to meet destiny threadbare, a loser whose military strategy was laughable--he had nonetheless arrived.

From now on, when I run across mention of John Brown in another venue, I'll remember who he was. Not long after reading Midnight Rising, I read Rick Bragg's excellent memoir, All Over but the Shoutin', where he utilized Brown to describe himself and his wild brothers as children:

To say we were rotten little children would be like saying John Brown was a little on the impetuous side.

I liked that sentence a lot, and thanks to Tony Horowitz, I understood exactly what it meant.

The Importance of Book Reviews at Amazon

Make no mistake, in todays marketing world reviews of your book on Amazon play a significant role. However, the process can also backfire, as authors are learning. Read the New York Times  pertinent article about the ongoing outcry.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Jeannette de Beauvoir's Previous Books Revived

Jeannette (C├ęzanne) de Beauvoir, award-winning copywriter, business writer, scriptwriter, editor, and also novelist and playwright/ is a model of perseverance.

Jeannette de Beauvoir's earlier books are to see new life as e-books, and as you can see from her guest blog below, she's justifiably thrilled.

Never say never. My second- and third-published novels, which came out in the mid-1980s, will see new life next year as Harvard Square Editions publishes them as ebooks. I've always been rather fond of the books, which follow the lives of people involved in a fictional aviation company from its inception in the early 1900s through the end of the second world war, and will be very glad to see a new generation reading them.

Writing Wings and Flight taught me a great deal about a disparate lot of things. I hadn't been all that long in this country when I wrote them, and, like most French people of the time, thought of the United States as one big California, and of California as one big beach, so never hesitated in having a character walking on the beach in San Jose. Oops. That taught me about always always always doing research. I also had the opportunity during the time I was writing them to learn how to fly an airplane myself, and the wonder of that has never left me.

One of the characters in Wings is very clearly and obviously based on Harriet Quimby, the first American women to hold a pilot's license. I received a letter not long after the novel was published, from a woman who wrote, "My husband knew Harriet Quimby, and he says she would have liked the life that you gave her."

So as you see, these books were meaningful to me indeed, and I'm looking forward to seeing them out there again. Not, mind you, to the work involved! No electronic copies exist, and I'm not going to go the OCR route, because between 1985 and 2012 I've become a different writer altogether, more skilled, more disciplined, and so the only way I'll feel good about the books is if I can re-enter them by hand and edit them along the way. So there's a lot of work ahead of me.

A telling family story: I gave a copy of Wings to my father (my mother died during the writing of it, and I dedicated it to her), thinking how proud he would be that his daughter was getting published, that she was a real author.

"What did you think?" I asked him breathlessly.

He pulled out an index card: "There's a typo on page 63," he intoned, "and a couple of mistakes on ..." (I come by my editing abilities via my DNA, it would seem).

So I waited and then asked, "Yes, okay, but the story? What did you think of the story?"

He frowned. "Well, it's a little sleazy, isn't it?" he responded. "Too much sex." (The book was three hundred-plus pages and had, I believe, two or three sex scenes in the whole of it.)

So, fed up, I responded, "Yes, but Daddy, it was all pretty much straight sex: there were no animals involved."

We were, apparently, not amused.

Jeannette de Beauvoir, writing as Jeannette Angell, has an ebook, The  Crown and The Kingdom, available on Amazon. Discover the intrigue  and politics of France in the early fourteenth century!

Her collection of poetry, Seven Times to Leave, is the winner of the 2013 Mary Ballard Poetry Prize. Read more about Jeannette de Beauvoir here.

Are You Ignoring 3/4 of Your Book Buying Market?

Beware that you aren't ignoring three fourths of your market! Angela Hoy provides thought-provoking advice about e-books and the reading public. Read 75% of Americans DON'T Own Ebook Readers - Are you ignoring 75% of the book buying market?! on WritersWeekly .

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Joanna Weston's Close-up Look Into Working With a Good Editor

CHANGING THE PLOT, by Joanna Weston.
The main character, Frame, an eleven-year-old girl, in ‘Frame and the McGuire’ has held my attention for almost ten years, through revisions, edits, and three middle-reader novels. I like her. Each book more-or-less wrote itself, driven by the characters, Frame and her brother Ranger.

The first comment I had from the publisher was that the book was more about place than people. I needed to reduce the importance of the place and make Frame front and centre. I went through the book carefully in order to understand what was meant. The place is dear to me as I had lived there but in re-reading I understood what needed to be done and duly set about reducing the setting to its appropriate background place.

The next comment was about the villain: he was too obviously the villain. I needed to introduce someone else, a family member or friend, who would be the bad guy. In my first book, ‘The Willow-Tree Girl’, the rogue is undisclosed until the end; in my second I made it clear as to who was who. But in ‘Frame and the McGuire’, I liked my villainous villain and was unwilling at first to introduce someone else. I put myself in the mind of the heroine and was better able to understand the dynamics for this book. So I did it, and became quite attached to the new villain. It was fascinating to keep an eye on the protagonists as I inserted new relationships into their lives, changed the action, and maintained atmosphere and tension.

I had started my middle reader, ‘Frame and the McGuire’, in the middle of the action. and was asked to start right at the beginning, with the discovery of the body. Here I found the character studies I had made of my heroine and her brother useful. I went back to them and found them willing and happy to come in earlier.

The re-writing, threading new characters and events into the plot, was fascinating, hard work but intensely creative. The lessons learned from an extremely good editor stand me in good stead for future middle readers.

Joanna M. Weston is the author of middle-reader novels and poetry. She's married; has two cats, multiple spiders, a herd of deer, and two derelict hen-houses. Her middle-reader, ‘Those Blue Shoes', published by Clarity House Press; and poetry, ‘A Summer Father’, published by Frontenac House of Calgary. Her eBook, ‘The Willow Tree Girl’ at her 1960willowtree blog and at Smashwords,  "The Willow Tree Girl" .

Read an excerpt from "Those Blue Shoes"
JOANNA M. WESTON A Summer Father - poetry - Frontenac House ISBN: 1-89718105-1 $15.95 Those Blue Shoes for ages 7-12 - $9.95 The Willow Tree Girl - eBook - $1.99

Joanna is also is also a member of Internet Writing Workshop.

"The Workshop is open to all styles and genres of writing: literary fiction, genre fiction, poetry, children's writing, essays, newspaper articles, scripts, you name it. Members do not need to be published writers, only to be serious about writing and about wanting to improve."
IWW also includes Writing, the list where members of all the above lists touch base to discuss writing-related subjects, and post "Yahoos."

Friday, November 23, 2012

Why You Should Think Like a Publicist

Possibly the most important facet of promoting your books starts with the advice Penny C. Sansevieri gave on kobo(TM) Writing Life, when her article went live October, 9, 2012: Nine things publicists do that you should, to.

The steps Sansevieri explains make sense and have proven track records.

You'll find Penny’s books and her promotional services by visiting her web site and also find her on HuffPo:

Be sure to also follow her on Twitter: @Bookgal

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Serious Perils in Trusting Your Agent With Your Money

I don't often post this often, however the sooner authors read The Business Rusch: Agents and Money, by Kristine Kathryn Rusch, published November 14, 2012, the better. Backed by her experiences plus solid research, Rusch offers excellent advice concerning royalties and agents. Ignore it at your peril.

Innovative Book Promotion

Book promotion, as writers know, must be an ongoing process if they expect to rise to the top in today's competitive marketplace. The following is a classic example of innovation. Rick Bylina has targeted most everyone in his addresses books with his Press Release:


Author Rick Bylina announces the release of two books for November 2012, just in time for holiday shopping season. The first is "All Of Our Secrets," a novel set in the North Carolina piedmont. It is a literary/mystery novel that is getting strong reviews already. The synopsis--His wife's secrets and a relentless cop hinder Bruce Neumanski from establishing his innocence and rebuilding his life after her death. It is inspired by a true-life New Jersey mystery. "All Of Our Secrets" is available on Amazon and via Smashwords for other e-book platforms.

His second release is "Bathroom Reading--Short Stories for Short Visits," This is a collection of sixty-six flash fiction and short stories that can make you cry, laugh, scratch your head, or relieve your constipation in a matter of minutes. "Bathroom Reading" is available exclusively for purchasing or borrowing from the Amazon Kindle Select program for e-books or in paperback from CreateSpace or Amazon. "Bathroom Reading" comes in a 5x8 paperback format and makes a great stocking stuffer for friends and family members who need extra time in the family library.

Additionally, Bylina has updated two previously released novels in the Detective Stark mystery series, "One Promise Too Many" and "A Matter of Faith", to fix issues that often plague self-published authors' first editions. Both books have received glowing reviews. "One Promise Too Many" has been one of the top five rated mystery novels for over a year on the Smashwords site. Both are rated in the high "4s" on Amazon and Goodreads.

To order any of these books in paperback from your local bookstore, call the appropriate store beforehand. The book might not be on the shelf, but all the books are in the appropriate book distribution databases for purchase.

To order books from Amazon:
  • 1. Click HERE and then click on the book you desire.


1. If you buy from Amazon, please do the following:
  • A. Click the "Like" button under the title.
  • B. Scroll down.
  • C. Click appropriate "Tags Customers Associate with This Product".
  • D. Click "yes" on any reviews with which you agree.
  • E. After reading the book, please, please, return and leave a review.
2. If you do write a review, also put it on

3. Want the book on another e-book platform, go to SMASHWORDS.
  • A. Enter the title.
  • B. Click, order, and download the book.
  • C. After reading the book, please, please, return and leave a review.
4. Like a book? Have friends, co-workers, family who read? Forward this email.

5. If you can touch me or the Mrs., we have paperbacks for sale.

6. "All of Our Secrets" makes for great book club discussions? Author available.

Thanks in advance for your patronage.
"I'm so excited; I just can't hide it."

-Rick Bylina
"Rick Bylina"
The only rule: writers write! Everything else is a guideline.
NOVELS - One Promise Too Many, A Matter of Faith, and All of Our Secrets
SHORT STORY COLLECTION - Bathroom Reading: Short Stories for Short Visits
BLOG updated 11/16/12


Monday, November 19, 2012

How To Prepare Your eBook Manuscript Properly

Your book manuscript is perfectly formatted in Word.doc, and you think you're just about ready to publish your ebook. Think again! Go to and read Learn How To Publish Your Book Professionally.

Study the detailed article closely before you make your decisions -- and proceed to publish your ebook. Good luck!

Things I've learned so far on my Odyssey to publish e-books: Smashwords Style Guide and ePub seem to be the two most-praised methods by authors who have successfully published e-books.

1.) You can submit a Word file to Smashwords where it will be convert into multiple formats usable by ereaders.
2.) You can submit a Word file to Kindle Desktop Publishing (KDP), which also makes the necessary conversion.
3.) You have to be careful about certain issues with either Smashwords or Kindle Desktop Publishing, such as special characters that don't translate properly.
4.) You have to do Kindle separately since that format isn't supported by smashwords.
5.) Smashwords is also a distribution service, so you can put your book for sale
at a number of ebook stores including Barns and Noble, Apple, and others.
6.) You can take the MOBI file for your book and add it to Amazon yourself. A clean .doc is all that is needed with smashwords, but a web-filtered .doc works better with amazon. It's an html .doc that has all the formatting done in html tags. You can automatically save your manuscript as a web-filtered..doc in MSWord. "Save as" menu has a web-filtered option. MSWord can save the file as either "Web page" or "Web page filtered." You have to select the latter.

 An example of a Smashword tip: To find hidden text boxes lurking in your manuscript, waiting to mess up your e-book: View copy of document as a web layout. Hidden text boxes pop right up.

Also, if you include footnotes in your manuscript, do not superscrit footnote numbers. Instead, first create a Style for a tiny font. Use the style to bracket your tiny font number between parens. ie: (1.) The ePUB format allows footnotes, but few readers support them and the few that do render them very differently.

Also, if you are including photographs that require cutlines (the text beneath the picture describing its contents), first create a Style for the cutline text. You may or may not also wish to indent the cutline you type beneath your inserted photograph, depending on picture placement.

Suggestion: Take a couple of pages of the book, one that includes pictures, and do the conversion on those pages only. Then view them with a reader. This could even be done with one of the numerous smart phones with the correct app for your format type. has a link to instructions for conversion into ePUB if you choose to use it. ePub files can be opened on a computer with various free programs including Calibre, Adobe Digital Editions, Stanza Desktop, and many more.

Friday, November 16, 2012

A quick reminder for authors who have books on Amazon ~~  If so, make sure you use Author Central to post a bio, bibliography, and an author link.

Friday, November 9, 2012

SPECIAL BULLETIN: Veteran's Forum Seeking Volunteers

Special Bulletin

Please send this on to any Vets you know in Spokane, Washington that would be willing to volunteer for this. Please also promote similar action in the area where you live. Our veterans deserve no less from the countrymen they served.
Greetings all:

If you know me, you know that much of my life is dedicated to helping veterans. For the past two years, I've been involved in the Spokane Veterans Forum. I think you'll relate to what we do:

In most cities, many vets who get into fights or drive after having a few beers are reacting in response to PTSD or Traumatic Brain Injury. They are sent to mainstream court and sentenced as though they're common criminals. How's that for a big Welcome Home? Not.

In Spokane County, two forward thinking judges (both veterans) realized that there was a problem and they sought to solve it. Thus the  Spokane Veterans Court was born. And to support the veterans coming through the court, the Spokane Veterans Forum was born. The Forum is a network of veterans and Gold Star Mothers who help vets get their lives back on track. Here are a few facts:
  • The Forum is based on Mentor/Mentee relationships, each defendant gets a Mentor who helps him or her work through the System and get whatever community support might be useful.
  • There is a monthly Forum meeting that includes one or two training sessions. One of our regular trainers is Dr. Anna Marie Medina, Chair of the Gonzaga Psychology Department.
  • The Forum is EXTREMELY effective. We have close to a 100% success rate with the vets we help.
  • We are also the ONLY (therapeutic) Veterans Forum in the country! And, we serve as THE model of how a Veterans Forum should be organized.
  • We have a pretty high profile. Our next Forum will have Mayor Condon and City Attorney Nancy Isserli. Cathy McMorris-Rogers will be at one in the near future.
We are currently getting a lot of new veteran defendants referred to the Forum by the court. And, we are actively looking for new Mentors. If you are a vet or Gold Star Mother, please think about it. Search your heart to see if you're motivated to help a veteran as a friend and helping hand. If you decide it's right for you, just reach out to me and I'll help you get connected. We'll also teach you how to be a Mentor and eagerly answer all your questions. I've seen this organization grow into a thriving community. We welcome you! If you're not a vet, but would like to help, ditto. We welcome your support with wide-open arms.
Semper Fi,
Mike (AKA Psycho)--

Saturday, November 3, 2012

In Praise of Traditional Publishing

Dianna Dorisi Winget, author of A Smidgen of Sky shares a close-up look at her experience with traditional print publishing. 

Dianna says,
"It’s incredible how popular self-publishing has become. So popular in fact, that the last several authors featured in Sandpoint, Idaho, have all self-published their books.  I can’t help wondering why so many are choosing this route. 
While I understand self-publishing may be the perfect choice for some writers, it bothers me to think they may be choosing this option simply because they feel there are no alternatives.
Maybe they’ve been told their chance of being traditionally published is one in a million, or that it’s just too hard. So why bother? Well, I’m here to show you the other side of the equation; to assure you that being traditionally published IS an option, and to share a few of the many advantages.
Everyday, all year, agents are being found, editors are accepting manuscripts, and deals -- many involving debut authors -- are being made.
So what’s required?
A measure of talent, the willingness to work on your craft until your writing is truly of publishable quality, and then an enormous dose of perseverance.
I’m not going to delve into the craft of writing in this post, because there’s an abundance of information in print and online. However, if you’re not willing to bring your work up to the highest quality possible, you shouldn’t be publishing, period.
What I can tell you about is perseverance. It took eight years to find the right agent and sign a deal with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for my debut children’s novel, A Smidgen of Sky, which will be released on November 6, 2012. So was all the work worth it?
The biggest benefit of being traditionally published is that the publishing house will pay YOU for your book, instead of you paying to have it published. An advance often involves several thousand dollars even if you are a debut, or first time author. Though most marketing and publicity efforts fall on the author nowadays, reputable publishing houses carry a lot of clout. They will support you in many ways.
A good editor will offer revision notes, proof read, fact check, copy edit, line edit, and do countless other things to elevate your book from good to great. He or she will also guide, direct, and champion you as one of their authors. The old adage about being overworked and underpaid surely fits most editors, and a good one is a true friend and ally not to be taken for granted.
How do you find an editor like that? Your chances go up exponentially if you have an agent to help you. But wait, you say, do I really need an agent? Not in every case. There are still some publishing houses, especially small ones, which accept unsolicited manuscripts. Nevertheless, more and more are closing their doors to all but agented submissions.
Frankly, there are so many advantages to having an agent I’m not sure why anyone would want to go it alone. Here are just a few:
    1. Agents stay on top of the constantly changing publishing industry.
    2. They know what individual editors like and are searching for.
    3. Agents keep your manuscript out of the infamous slush pile and get it read much faster.
    4. They believe in your work and “get” what you’re trying to say.
    5. They offer encouragement when you feel like giving up.
    6. They negotiate the best contract, usually a significant improvement over the boilerplate contract offered to a writer without representation.
They do many other things as well, but you probably get the point. So how do you go about finding the right agent? The tried and true method worked for me. I bought the print version of the 2010 Guide to Literary Agents, by Chuck Sambochino. Using the index in the back I made a list of agents who handled children’s novels. Then I visited the websites of these agents to learn more about their history, backgrounds, likes and dislikes.
When I’d whittled my list to thirty agents, I began to query them in batches of five, being careful to follow the submission guidelines of each. A few didn’t reply, most politely declined, and some expressed interest and asked to see a partial manuscript. One of the latter was Mary Kole, who was then with the Andrea Brown Literary Agency.
I ended up signing with Mary, and sixteen months later she sold my book. I’m not sure which of us was more excited! Mary writes an award-winning blog for children’s writers. Even if you’re not specifically aiming for kids, it’s chock full of great writing advice. She also wrote an article detailing the effort it took to sell my book, formerly titled, Fly a Little Higher, Piper Lee. A number of authors have found the story encouraging. Let me know what you think.
It’s hard to describe the enormous satisfaction that comes from being able to say, "I did it. Someone considered my work good enough to pay me for it."
My second children’s novel, True As Steel, is currently under consideration by my Harcourt editor. Harcourt made my experience with traditional publishing so satisfying I’m hoping I get to stay with them.
So before automatically deciding to self–publish, at least give some serious thought to being traditionally published. And don’t let anyone tell you your chances are one in a million ... the odds are far better than that!"
Saturday, November 10, 2012, Vanderford’s Books and Office Products, 201 Second Street, Sandpoint, Idaho, is hosting an author event and book launch party for A Smidgen of Sky, from noon to 2 p.m. Please join the fun—free gliders for the kids, and cookies for everyone.

A Smidgen of Sky is available at: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt , Indie Bound , Books-A-Million  and at

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Marketing Impacts of Paperback Page Counts

For writers considering self-publishing, Kirkus MacGowan, ~~ Diapers, Bookmarks, and Pipe Dreams ~~ shares interesting points about book size, page counts, book prices and profits, and in return asks for feedback from knowledgeable readers here, Createspace and Paperback Sales: Does Page Count Matter? by Kirkus MacGowan, October 22, 2012.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Selling Books DVDs and Videos on Canadian

While you're getting your books, DVDs, and~or videos into markets don't overlook the Canadian Don't know how to go about that? Kareen McCabe just published easy to follow step-by-step instructions here. Drawing on her personal experience she offers tips that will save authors not only time, but also money. Check "How To Sell On Amazon's Canadian Site" and be sure to say "Thank You" in your comment.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The  Dragon's Call , by K.W. McCabe, is available now in both Kindle and paperback.

The Dragon's Call (The Dragon's Throne) on Kindle is available at Amazon.   Don't miss McCabe's other books on Kindle, Dreams Both Real and Strange, and Dreams Both Real and Strange II.

Still Rock Water, by Francene Stanley, will soon be published in paperback in addition to the recently released ebook.

What if every thought influenced events around you, even in far distant lands? What if brain waves are as real as the ever changing sea?

Rather than dreaming at night, Liliha witnesses a flood on the other side of the world during the daytime. She is not watching the tragedy unfold on television, but in her own mind. By directing her thoughts, Liliha discovers she can guide bystanders to help the victims. Back in her own kitchen, she dismisses the strange vision as a dream. However, she hears coverage of the disaster on the overseas news.

Despite her unique ability, which grows stronger with each vision, Liliha is powerless to change her depressed, belittling husband. Betrayed, Liliha strives for a fresh start. Will moving half-way around the world for a fresh start bring the happiness Liliha envisions?

Solstice Publishing placed Still Rock Water, in their paranormal category-and rightly so, however it's also a love story.

Get better acquainted with Francene , and here.

Friday, October 12, 2012

A "Must Read" if Your Story Includes Real People

Featuring real people in your story includes hazards you probably never dreamed of in your wildest nighmares. Angela Hoy spells them out, offers sound advice, and links to assistance in her October 10, 2012 article, "Featuring Real People in Your Writing? Protect Yourself From Lawsuits!"

Her article also includes a link to a release form at

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Libraries and eBook Lending Facts

Confederate Warbonnet author, Jack Shakely, Gold medal winner- 2009 IPPY Book of the Year Award in historical/military fiction, shares his views about libraries and ebook lending.
"I am a reviewer for ForeWord Review  magazine. ForeWord's primary readership is librarians. Did you know there are more than 16,000 public libraries in the US? 16,000 public libraries with book  budgets (admittedly smaller than in the old days, but still there). Add to these  the more than 2,000 university libraries, and you've got a mighty potential  constituency.
ForeWord Review is chock-a-block with advertising. Every  single ad is from
a publisher. Publishers don't hate libraries; they adore them as ready-made markets. If only half the libraries in the country buy one copy of  your book, you'll not only make a lot of money, your book will probably show up on a few best seller lists.

Long live libraries. Long live publishers. Long live books.  Viva yo." 

Jack  Shakely

Sunday, September 30, 2012

"The Dragon's Call" Launches With Give Away Celebration

Come celebrate with K.W. McCabe as she launches her book The Dragon's Call.
McCabe said, "We'll be giving out ARC's of the book in the days leading up to the event!! On Oct 5 we'll be giving away swag and signed copies. "

The Dragon's Call is available now on Amazon. While there, check out McCabe's books on Kindle, Dreams Both Real and Strange, and Dreams Both Real and Strange II.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Keeping Abreast of Libraries Lending e-Books Controversy

For those of you attempting to keep up with library lending of e-books, here's another viewpoint at The Global Indi Author, Another war is brewing as libraries seek ebook file ownership 

"Strays of Rio" Made Debut on International Day of Peace

Edith Parzefall's social thriller, Strays of Rio, was released on the International Day of Peace, an honor and a responsibility.

Edith said, "Can the cycle of violence be broken? There is a glimmer of hope."

Read Rosalie Skinner's review.

Top Ten Middle Grade Novel Agents Listed

If you're writing or have written a novel for middle grades and are searching for an agent, Darcy Pattison posted this great list of top ten middle grades editors at her website, Fiction Notes.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Beyond The Elements of Style Invites Your Book Promotion Tips

Jeannette de Beauvoir  invites published authors to hurry on over and share your winning book promotion tips at Beyond The Elements of Style.

Jeannette said, " A lot of people who read my blog, Beyond The Elements of Style, are actively trying to promote books they've written, and that includes a fair number of people on this list.

"I'm going to do a few posts on book promotion, starting with today's: promoting your book through book clubs. Come on over and promote your books, too! "


Monday, August 27, 2012

"Selvage," by Nell DuVall Becomes Available

Selvage by Nell DuVall, a murder mystery is out today. Copies are available  from Melange Books and Lulu. PDF is also available and ebook will be shortly.

"A bank scam, a series of accidents that end as murders, and police too ready to accept simple explanations for deaths push freelance writer Brooke Beldon and systems programmer Paul Counts ever deeper into a tangled conspiracy. The only clue they have to the first death is the name of a sleazy strip club.

Mel Jacob --Mystery, romance, and beyond.


Wednesday, August 22, 2012 Locates Audiobooks, DVDs and CDs to Borrow Through Local Library Interlibrary Loan

If you need audio sources, is a good place to search for audiobooks and DVDs in libraries all over the U.S. When you find what you need, you can usually borrow the CDs or DVDs through an interlibrary loan at your local library. also shows availability of books and other items in libraries in Europe, as well.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Sage Advice About Using Twitter For Book Promotion, by Rebeca Schiller

If you start with a hard sell on Twitter, you won't get any followers. The rule behind Twitter is engaging others in a back and forth conversation and developing relationships. It's like a virtual cocktail party with soundbytes.

Rebeca Schiller 

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Rasana Atreya Shares Her Tips To Writing a Novel

Plotter, Pantster or Something Else?
Guest Blog by Rasana Atreya

If you’ve been writing for a bit, you’ve probably heard these terms bandied about:

Plotter: someone who plots the story out – from the storyline to chapters to character biographies – everything is worked out, sometimes in great detail. The writer might even have summaries written down for each of the scenes, so come time for writing, it is just a matter of fleshing everything out.

Pantster: someone who writes by the seat of their pants. A pantster, for the most part, has no clue where their story is going, because the writer is merely the medium to convey the story to the page – the fingers just do the typing (or writing), while the tale is telling itself.

I admire plotters because I’ve tried their way, and I can never be them. Pantsers swear that plotting kills their creativity, and I have to agree. I’m not a genuine pantster, though, because I can’t go where the story goes. I am, what I blushingly call, a plodder.

On to my journey:

One fine day I decided I wanted to write A NOVEL. What about, I had no clue. So I placed a young girl in India. A not-very-educated girl. In a village. Now, I’ve never lived in a village. And I have a college degree. And my family is not superstitious, or dirt-poor or anything else. But I decided to place my character bang in the midst of all these. I added greed, and jealousy and corruption, and I was on a roll.

I wrote a couple chapters. Decided my character needed a friend. So I went back and found all places I could add the friend. Then I decided she needed a grandma, so I went back and inserted all over again. Then I decided my character could do with a couple sisters, so – you got it – I went and inserted appropriate references. I did this till I got to 60,000 words. Then I realized that the character wasn’t comfortable in her skin; third person just wasn’t cutting it.

So I hemmed and hawed, agonized, bit my nails, generally drove myself and my long-suffering husband crazy, before deciding that the character needed to tell her story in first person. So I went through the darned manuscript, did a global search for my character’s name (Pullamma) and replaced it with ‘I’. Because this was first person, right?

It didn’t take me very long to see the folly of this method – when you’re writing in first person, you have to write only from the point-of-view (POV) of the character. That means you can see/write/talk about only what the character can see/write/talk about. That was quite a revelation, and of course required a major rewrite. I never do things by halves, you see.

Then I started to query in the US and the UK. Agents seemed interested, but 60,000 words was too little, they said. So I wrote and wrote and wrote – and it ended up at 120,000 words. Too long, they opined. Cut, cut. Sigh.

And so it went for three years.

Then my unpublished manuscript was shortlisted for the 2012 Tibor Jones South Asia prize. An offer from one of India’s biggest publishing houses followed. Since we have no agents in India, and I could not accept the publisher’s terms (which was, essentially, sign on the dotted line, no questions asked), I self-published.

It’s been a wild ride, but also a slow one. Contradiction in terms, I know, but true. In the four months my book, Tell A Thousand Lies, has been out, I’ve garnered 68 reviews, netting me 4.6 out of 5 stars on Amazon. Goodreads has been similarly kind.

How did I do it? By begging friends and family.

Nah, just kidding.

By approaching book reviewers, one blogger at a time. It’s been a long process, but my book is forever (or as long as Amazon or whatever is next, is around), so I figured it was worth the effort.

To all you newbie writers out there – if you’ve got to this point in the post – don’t try my writing style at home. It hurts. There are easier ways, believe me (hint: it is called plotting.)

You have to work real hard not to be able to find me on the web: [Amazon US link for Tell A Thousand Lies]

I’m also on Facebook, LinkedIn, Shelfari, Twitter, Google+ etc, but enough about me. ###

Rasana Atreya just gave you her blueprint to success. Start your's today and follow it to success!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Internet Writing Workshop - Non Fiction wants you,

Do you write? Aspire to write? Hope to publish? Internet Writing Workshop wants more members in the Non Fiction list. Join today. Requirements are minimal -- four posts per month -- to gain the best in free editing, support, and suggestions from fellow members, which also includes many professional published writers.

I joined this inspiring list in 1996. Since then I've read hundreds of other writer's works and networked with aspiring writers and professional writers. I receive excellent, helpful critiques of my work-in-progress, plus insider marketing information that paid off with sales!

I've also formed many lasting friendships.

In the begining I was nervous about showing my work to people I didn't know, but they've proved to be enormously helpful and encouraging. Writer's Digest touts Internet Writers Workshop, also, and has published many Internet Writing Workshop non-fiction members.

Join Internet Writing Workshop list now to get the help you need to succeed.
Mona Leeson Vanek

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The North Palouse Washington e-Newscast

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Using Twitter to Promote Your Books

If you wonder whether or not you should use Twitter to promote your book, Bob Sanchez, author of When Pigs Fly, Getting Lucky, and Little Mountain, provides good insights.

Use Twitter To Get The Word Out
by Bob Sanchez

Which is the harder job: writing or selling? You could argue that writing and selling require two different personalities, but I don’t think that’s quite true. In any case, we indie writers know that finding an audience—a paying audience from the general public—is a challenge. How do you get the word out about your book?

One approach that’s working for me is Twitter, and maybe it can work for you.

Let’s start with some assumptions. Sure, you can pay someone to do the marketing for you, with only one guarantee: it will cost you money. Sales are never guaranteed. Another person’s efforts may be helpful or they may not. They may work their tushes off for you or they may not. You can safely assume that no one cares about your success as much as you do. There is also a pretty fair chance that however much you pay for promotion to whomever you pay it, you will not get your money’s worth.

So what’s an indie -- self published author -- to do? This indie uses Twitter.

The main advantages to Twitter are that it is free and that it can reach a lot of people. You write a message of 140 characters or fewer and post it so your followers can see it. Then some of them can retweet your message to theirfollowers. The potential is for your message to reach many thousands of people. In my case, I have an Amazon author page listing my three Kindle books at $2.99 each. So my tweets typically include the URL of my author page along with a quote from a review, for example:

Getting Lucky #kindle #amazonprime #mysteries #crime "a page turner!"

So there are the title, the link, four subject categories denoted by “#” and a nice snippet from an Amazon review. The other tweets I post, and this is critical, are retweets for other writers who are promoting their work. A whole lot of reciprocity goes on with Twitter. When you promote for others more than you do for yourself, it will come back to benefit you.

There’s more to know, but none of it is hard to learn. Also, many third-party tools exist to help you use Twitter more effectively, such as Twellow and TweetDeck. For me, the combination of offering reasonably priced good books and a free advertising platform is a winner.

Bob Sanchez's three novels have had over 70,000 downloads this year. His Twitter handle is @desertwriter, and he'd love to follow and support you on Twitter.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Write What You know - Novelist Rasana Atreya Shows How

How many times have you been told – write what you know? However, that general statement tells nothing about how to go about doing it. Rasana Atreya tells how she did exactly that, and wrote, Tell A Thousand Lies.

Of Dark Skinned Girls, Lies, British Spellings and Novels
(c) by Rasana Atreya

I wrote a whole novel about a dark skinned girl. If you were Indian, you’d know this is a big deal. Dark skinned girls don’t count for much in our society. Not as central characters of a novel, not as potential brides.

Funny thing is, I grew up in a colour-blind family. My mom was dark skinned, dad was as light-skinned as could be. It didn’t matter to them, so it didn’t matter to us. When I married, I found the same unusual pairing in my in-laws. I say unusual, because fair-skinned girls are highly prized. But it didn’t matter to my in-laws either, so it did not register for a while that the Indian society was changing, and not for the better.

Matrimonial ads in newspapers (yup, we still have those) are chockfull of parents seeking for their sons ‘fair-complexioned’ brides. Indian television is overrun with commercials touting the latest ‘fairness cream’ aka skin lightening product.

I came up with a tongue and cheek slogan based on the latter, though this whole premise distresses me: Fairness Creams : Finding Solutions to Life’s Vexing Problems, One Application at a Time.

Because these commercials promise everything from good grades to nirvana, if only you use the said creams.)

Back to my book. I incorporated two more of my favourite themes – superstition and dowry. Threw in a bit of corruption, a dash of jealousy, a pinch of greed , stirred the pot, and ended up with Tell A Thousand Lies.

Why a thousand lies? Because there is a saying in my native tongue, Telugu, which goes something like this: Get a girl married, even if you have to tell a thousand lies to do so. ###

Rasana offers copies of her ebook in exchange for reviews. She's also giving away three (paperback) copies of her book on Goodreads until July 25, 2012.

Rasana Atreya, Author, Tell A Thousand Lies [Shortlisted for the2012 Tibor Jones South Asia prize] [Amazon US]

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Unanticipated Book Promotion -- Well, Maybe..

Although I don't recommend this example as an innovative promotional tool, it's an interesting look at what CAN happen–seen on, .....Jack Daniel's Sends the Most Polite Cease-and-Desist Letter Ever .

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Musings and Marvels Blog Demystifies ePublishing

Sabrina Ricci's blog, Musings and Marvels, Exploring the ins and outs of the publishing industry, is one every serious author needs to become intimate with.

Bookmark it and visit frequently.

If you have a work-in-progress that you intend to epublish, or if you have published ebooks, or are only thinking "maybe I'll publish an ebook," now is the time to read "Self-publishing ebooks: Why maximizing distribution matters."

Learn about Sabrina and her accomplishments on her blog, and read more here.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Jennifer Donohoe Speaks to the World of Technology For Promoting Books

What to do?
Promoting a Book in this World of Technology
© by Jennifer Donohoe

Promoting a book in the world of technology can be a daunting task. However, there are new and inventive ways of getting that book out to the public through the technological advances we’ve enjoyed over the past ten years. I work with adolescents on a daily basis. It seems they cannot peel themselves away from their cell phones, iPods, e-readers, or computers. They live, breathe, and eat social media. Whatever is out there, they will find it. Believe me, this is true.

One of my clients felt inclined to share the “Butt Crack Song” with me. Yes, it exists.

Granted, young adult genres and children’s genres would benefit the most from it, but adults are slowing falling in place too. Other genres could reap the benefits of utube, facebook, and other book reading sites, such as Goodreads, Shelflari, BookDaily, and Your Book Authors.

There are several software programs available that can also help promote your story. IClone, Poser, and Daz Studio are 3D programs that can add more spice to your novel and reach those social network crazed adolescents.

I currently work with Poser Pro. This program allows the creator to make single 2D photos or 3D movies. Photos of the characters add more dimension by allowing the readers to connect to them in a deeper sense. I’ve not managed the expertise to create book trailers, but it is a definite boost to most genres.

The author should investigate the social media available then decide what will help get their book noticed in the mass of other books that are out there. Today, authors have to become more than writers if they want to survive the growing diverse media concepts popping up on a day-to-day basis. The old publishing world is slowly descending into history and the new more tech-savvy people will grasp the software available to them.

Writing is important to an author and the majority of their available time should be spent writing and honing their craft. Several people now offer help to these authors to promote and reach the millions surfing the Internet. Investigating these services could benefit an author’s future success. With the onslaught of new software, YouTube, Facebook, and other social medias, finding the right fit for your book is important.

Research…research…research. It’s time to embrace the future and flow with the times if any author wants to be a success.

Daz Studio 4 offers the full version as a free download for a while on the program's website. [The price of the full version is usually $300 - $400.]

Download the hexagon while you're there too, as this program helps build characters and objects that Daz Studio, Poser, or IClone may not have.

Jennifer Donohe, authored The Legend of the Travelers: Willow's Journey. Available at It has been featured on A.D. Trosper's blog.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Spending Wisely on Book Promotion - series - Machima Book Trailers

(c) by Rhonda Kay

A hot topic for discussion in the writing community these days is marketing and promotion, and what the best options are for drawing attention to one's novel. I’m sure everyone agrees that the publishing industry has changed radically in the past few years. Ebooks are outselling print copy, and more people than ever have chosen to self-publish or become affiliated with a small, independent press.

I won't argue the pros and cons of these choices here; literally thousands of blog posts about this topic are disseminated across the Web. I can’t add a thing to that particular discussion. What I can tell you is that my experiments with a new form of promotional tool have been extremely promising. Book trailers aren’t unheard of—they’ve been around for a while. Most are slide shows set to music or amateur live action footage.

But what if a cast of virtual actors could give you the same kind of exposure that movie studios have employed for years? Real trailers with real action, your characters “alive” on the screen, speaking the lines you wrote for them in your novel.

I just finished producing my first "official" book trailer commissioned at an author's request. It's for Amanda Borenstadt's urban fantasy novel Syzygy. For this book, machinima animation was the perfect choice. For some novels it would never be. Anyone who hasn’t heard of machinima may need a moment to become familiar.

It is not Pixar-type animation. Nor is it produced using hand-drawn images and celluloid, where each frame is rendered independently, giving ultimate control over the images onscreen. Machinima is derived from video game technology and is traditionally filmed using game engines like Halo and Sims 2.

However, certain enterprising individuals have recognized the commercial potential of machinima and designed software with no other purpose but filmmaking. The platforms they created have no copyright stipulations, are one hundred percent royalty free, and any workproduct derived from them belongs entirely to the individual creator.

Some examples of this software are:

My personal choice is iClone because it incorporates keyframe technology as well as motion capture, with optional physics properties simulated in a 3D environment. More in depth explanations of machinima can be found here at Wikipedia and here.

Recently, some interesting new developments have emerged in the world of machinima. First, Google purchased a prominent machinima commodity. Then, Lord Of The Rings star Elijah Wood accepted a voice acting role in a machinima project.

It’s safe to say that machinima is gaining a very respectable audience.

Would a machinima trailer be right for your novel?
One factor worth considering is that, by its very nature and origins in the gaming community, machinima is “generationally weighted” toward a younger market. This does not mean only YA novels would benefit. It means that anyone who enjoyed and could relate to Twilight, Harry Potter, Lord Of The Rings, The Hunger Games, and Avatar will probably be hooked by a good machinima trailer regardless of their age. Anyone alienated by those themes or the imagery they conjure will probably not respond well to machinima.

So that leaves us with one burning question: how much of an advantage would a trailer actually give your novel in today's market?

The answer is ... I just don't know. I think trailers will become a hot ticket item, and I think they will sell books - especially ebooks -­ but it’s an untested theory.

At this point, people aren't accustomed to the idea of book trailers, don't seek them out, and may not be influenced to buy a novel because they watch them. Then again, book trailers might become the next viral sensation.

I think that ultimately it will be up to each author to decide if a trailer can reach their target audience and factor into their promotional strategy. This is true for all types of book trailers, not just machinima.

Amanda’s trailer for Syzygy is available to watch here at a nice, clear resolution. However, this video will not load for some people and has a lengthy buffering time for others. We’re not sure why yet (waiting on response from the hosting site’s tech support) but if you’re able to watch it, this is the better option. If not, the video is also on YouTube.

Rhonda is a member of Internet Writing Workshop.

"The Workshop is open to all styles and genres of writing: literary fiction, genre fiction, poetry, children's writing, essays, newspaper articles, scripts, you name it. Members do not need to be published writers, only to be serious about writing and about wanting to improve."
IWW also includes Writing, the list where members of all the above lists touch base to discuss writing-related subjects, and post "Yahoos."