Saturday, July 31, 2010

Author Interview with Michael Clairborne

Today we're talking with Michael Clairborne, author of A Christian's Guide to Overcoming Sexual Struggle.

FQ: You indicated that you too struggled with your sexuality. What was the most difficult part of this struggle for you? 

My deepest struggle in my sexual walk with God was believing that I could land 
a wife through having a girlfriend/boyfriend type relationship. The biggest mistake that any Christian will make is having sex before marriage. After the age of eighteen, it is hard not to go out to clubs and bars. It is because your social life is lost after high school. College campuses and clubs are full of alcohol and partying. Church is great for worship. However, I found that young adult programs are slim or non-existent in most churches. Everyone needs a place to unwind. I believe that in the twenty first century, churches need to band together and build places where young Christian adults can get together and party without alcohol or sex being involved. I felt a lot of loneliness in my twenties and I often felt driven to go out to bars and clubs in order to socialize with people. Now looking back, I wish that I never had sex before marriage. I say this because you will never forget that you disobeyed God during a difficult temptation. Jesus will always forgive you for your past sins. However, you will not be able to forget so easily. Whatever you put into your spirit, will remain with you forever.

FQ: At the age of thirteen you accepted Christ into your life. Tell us about this decision.

When I was thirteen, I did not want to live anymore. I actually was trying to find a way to commit suicide. I did not tell my mother about this decision or anyone else. My father died of alcoholism when I was only twelve. I was separated from him for eight years. I did not see my father between the ages of four years old and twelve years old. During this time period, I moved more than six times. I constantly became detached from my friends because of the moves. I also did not have a good relationship with my step-father. I found myself becoming a loner because I stuttered as a child and gained lots of weight. The kids would often tease me and it destroyed my self esteem.

At that time, I was starting Junior high school and drugs were all around my school. Kids were bringing in drugs all of the time and selling it to their friends. Rock was heavy in the 1980's and it seemed cool to smoke pot. A kid in my class was a known drug user and I asked him about drugs and how I could get a hold of some. He was a year older than me. He was fourteen. I thought that I could start off small by smoking pot and then moving into heavier drugs and overdose on one of them. That is how I planned to commit suicide back then. However, a friend in my class was a born again Christian. The same day that I was talking to the drug addict in my class about drugs, I met this other kid that went to church. He was not a preachy kid. He was an outcast like me though. We got along so well that he decided to invite me over to his house for dinner. I agreed and that weekend changed my life forever. I was brought to his house and went to his church. The church was a small born again Episcopal church. During the service, the preacher asked me if I wanted to accept Jesus into my heart and to give Him a chance. I immediately said yes. Even though I was attending mass each week at a nearby Catholic church, I did not feel the Holy Spirit in my life or a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. After I received Jesus into my life, I went to a teen Christian retreat and that changed my life forever. I no longer wanted to die. I wanted to live for Jesus and to build a relationship with Him over the years. That was the best decision that I ever made.

FQ: You mentioned many talk shows, news network broadcasts, reality shows and lessons you learned from them. How much did these lessons factor into what you wrote in this book?

The lessons that I learned from the media factored into my book around 30%. What truly impacted my book was the clients that I minister to on a daily basis. Their stories, pain and situations, caused me to write the book.

FQ: How do you continue to keep your life on track despite obvious, ongoing temptations in today’s world?

I keep a steady prayer life. I spend my time working and I have a great family life. It is important to remain balanced in reading the Holy Bible and to pray daily. I also tell my wife everything that is going on in my life. It is important to have an open communication with your life partner as well as honesty. Every person needs at least one individual that they can put their full trust and honesty in. I believe that journaling is important as well. I tend to journal every day.

FQ: You talked a bit about the “stale Christian.” Perhaps you’d like to tell our readers more about this type of Christian and how you perceive him.

A stale Christian is someone that you cannot talk to. They have become so engulfed in their own opinions, judgments and beliefs, that they are scary. They do not make you feel good when you are around them and they are not happy people. Stale Christians have often forgotten their true faith in Jesus Christ and do not spend enough time in prayer and worship with the Lord. It is important for Christians to have faith and to remain positive. God expects us to trust Him in our times of trouble.

FQ: Journaling is obviously a very important part of a Christian’s journey. Tell us what you have learned from it personally.

I have learned that you can talk about your troubles through the art of writing. When you journal, you get honest with yourself. You can see your own heart on paper. This is often disguised by our everyday troubles and life paths. It is important to overcome the temptation to hide our troubles away from our own eyes. Journaling can actually increase healing. It releases: worry, anger, fear and guilt. Most Christians that I have met do not journal because they hate to write. Writing has always come easy for me. When you develop the attitude for keeping a daily journal, you will realize that your life grows happier as each day passes.

FQ: Can you briefly tell us about a “prophetic ministry” and define it for us?

When I was a child, I used to get prophetic messages from God. I would tell people whatever I felt I was receiving from the Lord and give the messages to them. It is an important step to take for anyone trying to gain a spiritual healing. As I got older, I realized that I had a gift for telling people about what was going on inside of their heart. I was able to give them direction in all areas of their life.

Each day when I wake up, I receive phone calls from my clients. They ask me what the Lord may be saying to them. It is the responsibility of every Christian to hear from the Lord themselves. However, some people have gotten themselves into a position where they cannot hear from God. Sometimes these people are not Christian or simply do not pray. They are at their wits end and call me for guidance. I guess you can say that they call me because they know that I am always on key with what I am saying. A prophetic ministry cannot be summed up in just one or a few paragraphs. In fact, it is a ministry that is birthed only from God. Only Jesus can provide for you financially and expect the un-expected when God is taking charge of your life.

People ask me questions about their past, present and future. Sometimes I am referred to as a psychic. In today's modern day world, people have different definitions to what they claim. I do not care if people want to address me as a psychic or as a prophet. The main point is what I can do for them. I realize that the "sleeping prophet" Egar Cayce was often called a psychic. However, anyone that knew him could tell you that he was a Bible believing Christian that loved Jesus. It is important to know that it does not matter what people want to address you as, it is more important of the lives that you change and touch on a daily basis.

FQ: I found your discussion about “music addiction” to be quite interesting, especially when you said “You cannot hold onto past memories that lead you further into sin.” Are there any Biblical references that would help someone cope with this problem?

The Bible as a whole is clear that anything that is in our lives that causes us to sin, should be stripped from our lives. You have to be a born again Christian in order to understand this fully. Different types of music enhance our beliefs to think about the past, present and future. If you are listening to a song about a woman that has been cheated on time and time again, then perhaps you can relate to her. However, this song will bring back emotions of the past. It will cause you to think about how your ex hurt you and that you are still angry about that. This will only cause you further pain in your life. You should not listen to this type of music because it will never allow you to heal. Instead, turn on some praise music to Jesus. That gives glory to God. Your life should be here to serve God and to live in freedom. Some people are addicted to songs that only feed into their past hurts. Love songs are often about broken relationships and heartaches of people getting cheated on and lied to. Do you really want to feed your spirit with this type of music? Rock songs usually talk about drinking, partying and having sex outside of marriage. Just listen to the lyrics. They are often comprised of singers talking about their past ex-lovers that hurt them and that they are still obsessing over. Present day rap music and videos are full of rappers talking about how great it is to be rich, sexual with anyone that you can get your hands on and basically living life as you choose. This path has always lead to destruction. When you are on your death bed, is all that really going to matter? When you are on your death bed, the only thing that you will be thinking is, "Am I going to heaven or hell and is God happy with the way that I lived my life?"

To learn more about A Christian's Guide to Overcoming Sexual Struggle, please visit our website and read the review at: Feathered Quill Book Reviews.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Teaser Tuesday

Here are our teasers for this week, hope you enjoy!

"The ten-day period between Rosh Hashanah & Yom Kippur are known as the days of Awe. It's s period when you are supposed to reflect on the past year & try to make amends with the people you may have harmed. It's my busiest week of the year!"

"No, that must be your decision. But remember, obedience never fails to elicit God's blessing."

Author Interview with Hank Warren

Today we're talking with Hank Warren, author of It Simply Must Be Said: A View of American Public Education from the Trenches of Teaching.

FQ: How did this book come to be? When did you decide that “it simply must be said,” and also written down?

Like many teachers, I’ve had the idea of writing a book for most of my career. In education, so many incidents, situations, and events arise on a regular basis that most any veteran teacher could easily have a book’s worth of material after a few years in the classroom. I feel fortunate that I had the wherewithal to start taking notes and saving information well over thirty years ago. As a result, I have boxes of reference files on which to draw. The real fire to complete the task, however, came from years of being subjected to a steady stream of superfluous “school reform” mandates from the educational/legislative bureaucracy. Without exception, every educational initiative, revamping, and overhaul has had little positive effect on conditions in the classroom, but has caused for extraordinary additional demands on teacher time, endless streams of paperwork, and the further expansion of the administrative hierarchy.

FQ: Parents may be surprised and dismayed to find out what is happening in their children’s schools. What advice do you have for parents on how to effect change locally, and also help their children get the most out of their education?

This is an excellent question with no easy answer. A retired high school principal once told me that “the primary purpose of every administrator is self-preservation.” As a result, individuals at every level of the administrative hierarchy become active participants in the selective dissemination of information to the public. Cutting through this “firewall” can be an overwhelmingly daunting task, especially for someone outside of education. Consequently, many complaining parents learn how to play the system to the benefit of their own child, i.e., “the squeaky wheel gets the grease.” In addition, the current economic necessity for both parents to be working renders very little time for parents to battle the bureaucracy. Whereas the most plausible way to get an accurate picture is via the classroom teacher, having been inadvertently exposed by well meaning parents a number of times throughout my career, I find that most teachers are very reluctant to speak their minds (we’d also like to keep our jobs). Although it would take a tremendously resourceful and committed effort, the local level is still the most practical avenue for concerned parents to effect meaningful change. I wish more would take the plunge.

FQ: Educational reform initiatives have become a prominent part of President Obama’s agenda, as they also were for President Bush. Why do you think there is so much national attention on educational reform?

After 45 years of bombarding the public with reports and studies cataloguing our supposedly failing public schools, it has become standard operating procedure for politicians to tout the “educational reform” agenda. Akin to the need to transform Washington “politics as usual,” promoting educational reform is a proven public elixir. As long as the steady stream of legislative mandates continues to succeed in manipulating the public into believing there has been meaningful change: Mission Accomplished!

FQ: Where do you imagine that true reform, on the scale that is necessary, would begin? Do you imagine it happening slowly or all at once?

It is happening on a very small scale right now. Unfortunately, every truly innovative school I’ve discovered tends to be privately funded, has a selective enrollment, and operates under a skeletal administrative structure. How does one transfer this to public schools that groan under the weight of governmental legislation, bloated administrative bureaucracies, and unrelenting testing requirements? On top of this, our outlandishly litigious society has virtually every school system in the country tied up with legal issues. When it comes to enacting federal and state educational mandates the sad but true reality is, government legislation sets the policies and lawsuits decide how the policies get implemented. This is perhaps the most telling difference between public and private schools. Not only can private schools weed-out the disruptive, non-academic students but, because they do not receive governmental funding, they are not required to abide by federal and state legislative decrees and case law decisions. Advocates of school vouchers should give this careful consideration: Once public funds are allocated for use at private schools, lawsuits stipulating compliance with governmental directives are sure to follow. The bottom line is this: True public school reform would require a complete restructuring of the entire educational bureaucracy. Despite an unrelenting effort, however, my attempts to get those in power to read my book have been unsuccessful. If one considers U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan’s current “Race to the Top” initiative, it appears that “more of the same” tactics are continuing at full speed.

FQ: Now that you have written the book, what is your next project?

I am amazed how my efforts to promote the book have become almost as time-consuming as the process of writing it. Being unable to afford the up-front expense of a book publicist, I’m doing everything myself (although it would be wonderful to find a publicist who truly believed in the book and was willing to work for a percentage of the profits). That being said, I have an incredible collection of quips, jokes, and humorous stories that I would love to compile into a book. Plus, I have enough material about teaching to easily write another book or two. First, I need to do everything possible to make this one a success. The great reviews I’ve been receiving are most encouraging.

To learn more about It Simply Must Be Said: A View of American Public Education from the Trenches of Teaching please visit our website and read the review at: Feathered Quill Book Reviews.

Authors Guild Weighs In on Odyssey Editions, Warns Publishers to Raise E-book Royalties

Reprinted with permission of Publishers Weekly

The Authors Guild has now weighed in on the intense debate that flared up last week over the Wylie Agency's entry into e-book publishing, Odyssey Editions. In a memo posted today on its site, the Guild called the situation "the most important development in electronic publishing since Apple entered the market," both celebrating the agency for seemingly monetizing e-rights it feels authors control and blasting it for setting up an exclusive deal with Amazon.

The Guild held up the Random House v. Rosetta Books case to support its stance that "authors retain e-rights in standard publishing contracts unless they expressly grant those rights to the publisher." It went on to say that, although there are potential conflicts of interest when an agency acts as a publisher, it assumes the Wylie Agency isn't taking a higher commission than usual and is therefore removing any conflict. (Some agents, however, disagree about the conflict of interest issue. Over the weekeng Trident Media Group's Robert Gottlieb spoke out on this point, outlining why he feels agencies should not be acting as publishers.) 

What the Guild does take issue with about Odyssey Editions is the fact that the e-books sold through it will be available exclusively on Amazon. The organization said "any direct agreement between a literary agency and Amazon is troubling," since the e-tailer "has, time and again, wielded its clout in the industry ruthlessly, with little apparent regard for its relationships with authors or publishers or, for that matter, antitrust rules." A Random House spokesperson said the publisher has been in contact with Amazon over its legal right to sell the titles in question.

The Guild, however, stresses that this showdown was in some ways caused by the publishers themselves. Saying the houses "brought this on themselves" by refusing to raise e-book royalty rates above 25%--a percentage it calls "exceedingly low"--the Guild believes the Wylie Agency found a way to monetize rights publishers were sitting on. The Guild writes: "Literary agencies have refused to sign e-rights deals for countless backlist books with traditional publishers, even though they and their clients, no doubt, see real benefits in having a single publisher handle the print and electronic rights to a book." The memo closed with equal parts call to action and threat, with the Guild telling publishers to start "cutting authors in appropriately" on e-book rights, lest they want to watch a multitude of "weird" things like agencies becoming publishers continue to happen.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Wylie, Random House Dispute Heats Up

Reprinted with permission of Publishers Weekly 

Thursday's news that the Wylie Agency was getting into the publishing business, through a Kindle-only project called Odyssey Editions, reverberated throughout the industry yesterday, turned CEOs to blog and ultimately ended with Random House declaring it would no longer do business with the powerful literary agency.

After news broke that the Wylie Agency would be releasing Kindle editions of titles by a handful of its clients--backlist titles that had never appeared in digital form by Salman Rushdie, John Updike, Philip Roth, and Norman Mailer are among the 20 titles Odyssey Editions is launching with--Random House, which claimed it didn't know about Wylie's new business, issued two statements. The publisher, which disputes the notion an author or estate holds the digital right to titles it has under contract that were acquired before e-books existed, said it contacted Amazon questioning whether Wylie can offer these digital editions to the retailer.
Later in the day, Random upped the ante saying that it would be pulling its business from Wylie. The publisher issued a statement saying that the agency's decision to sell e-books exclusively to Amazon, sets the firm up as a competitor and that the house "will not be entering into any new English-language business agreements with the Wylie Agency until this situation is resolved.”
Macmillan CEO John Sargent weighed in on the issue, calling Wylie out in a blog post less for his decision to become a publisher than for selling titles through only one retailer. Sargent wrote: "Combining the functions of agent and publisher raises serious issues that I feel strongly about, but if Andrew wants to attempt to disintermediate publishers, that is his right. ... I am appalled, however, that Andrew has chosen to give his list exclusively to a single retailer." Sargent went on to say that Wylie's deal with Amazon, while good for the retailer, was "an extraordinarily bad deal for writers, illustrators, publishers, other booksellers, and for anyone who believes that books should be as widely available as possible."
Random has also cited exclusivity as one of the major problems it has with the deal. In a statement issued this morning, RH spokesperson Stuart Applebaum said: "We have received communications from upset retailers large and small. who have worked mightily over the years to sell the print editions of the Random  House authors affected by the Wylie announcement. They are feeling demotivated to continue to sell these authors with the same vigor if they are being denied the opportunity to sell their e-books. That's bad for our authors, their agent, and their publisher."

For his part, Wylie, who the Times said was "taken by surprise" by Random's move, told the paper he would need to "think about it a little bit,” before responding. 

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Publishers Back Amazon on E-book-Hardcover Figures

Reprinted with permission of Publishers Weekly

by Jim Milliot

Ever since Amazon released the news Monday that it was now selling more e-books than hardcovers, the industry has been examining the veracity of the claim. Amazon, after all, has a tradition of releasing selected figures while withholding total sales numbers, just as it did in this case by not releasing actual sales for e-books, hardcovers or Kindles. Some suggested that Amazon’s e-book to hardcover sales ratio was only for customers who shop in the Kindle store, not for all customers. But Amazon was adamant the figures included all customers of its U.S. book business, and the e-tailer’s claim has been supported by publishers.

Interviews with several major trade houses found all acknowledging that they were selling at least as many e-books as hardcovers through Amazon with one major publisher reporting that in the last couple of weeks the ratio had been higher than the 143 e-books to 100 hardcovers Amazon reported for the second quarter. “[E-book] sales are growing week by week,” this publisher said.

Explanations for the e-book explosion at Amazon revolve around its huge e-book market share compared to its much lower share of the hardcover market. Another publisher pointed to the decision to abandon the windowing strategy in which e-books would be delayed by three months after release of the hardcover.

Releasing the much cheaper e-book simultaneously with the hardcover contributed to the shift in sales, this publisher believes. And another publisher noted that Amazon’s e-book sales are not only for titles sold through the Kindle, but for all devices for which apps are available, including Apple’s family of reading devices.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Friday Finds

Welcome to FQ's Friday Finds, here are some of our books that came in for review this week.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Reviewer's Tip - . , "

We've seen a lot of books lately that have problems with quotation placement in dialogue.  Here's an example:

"John better follow me", demanded Susie, "before he gets hurt".

The correct format is:

"John better follow me," demanded Susie, "before he gets hurt."

It may seem like a very minor point, but believe me, readers can quickly get annoyed with a book that makes such errors.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Author Interview with W.G. Griffiths

Today we're excited to talk with W.G. Griffiths, author of Methuselah's Pillar.

FQ: Your book mentions the legend of "Methuselah's Pillar." Is there really a legend (I couldn't find mention of it in my research) or did you make up the "legend"? Tell us where the idea of the pillar comes from.

Methuselah's Pillar is part of a well hidden legend but not one that I made up. I first came across the legend in the Illustrated Map of History, circa 1878, copyrighted 1993 by KBM. Auburn, Washington. This map is an illustrated time-line almost 2 feet high and accordions open to 18 feet long. The legend claims that Methuselah talked with Adam for 243 years and they wrote the history and discoveries of the world on a pillar which became available to Moses 777 years later. When I first read this I immediately wondered if these writings from Adam were of any help to Methuselah’s longevity and then the more exciting question, if it was any help to Moses in single handedly defeating Egypt.

FQ: While Decker is a strong and likable character, I sense you felt more connected to/more interested in, Samantha Conway. Is this true? Is she based on any one (or a mix of several) person/people you know?

Yes, absolutely. I know her very well. She is also the main character in Stingers, a book I wrote before Methuselah’s Pillar and it will be coming out this fall in time for Christmas. Sam is only 13 in Stingers, so we go way back. I wanted a young female combination of Tom Sawyer, Huck Finn and Indiana Jones. She’s Lara Croft without the money. Her motor never quits and the gears never stop turning. She is totally underestimated by adults and antagonists who quickly pay for their mistakes. She has a heart of gold but mischievous as the day is long.

FQ: Anubis has always been my favorite of the ancient Egyptian gods. I suspect he is also probably one of the most recognizable. What was the thinking that went into bringing him into the story?

Tarik, the antagonist, is Egyptian and bears the name of Egypt’s most famous pharaoh. He feels superior, destined and connected with the ancient gods. And Anubis easily commanded the most attention, being the god of death, something the Egyptian’s were supremely serious about.

FQ: Something that struck me was that the flies from the plague did not match present day species. This was a fascinating spin on the story and underscored the age of the pillar. Where did that idea come from?

I figured if we were dealing with an artifact from the Garden of Eden, anything goes and nothing should be as it is today since everything would evolve over time. And to discover this over the landscape of the story in pieces would be exciting and frightening at the same time. I loved writing it and I bore easily.

FQ: Tarik was a nasty character but one who I think most readers will enjoy. Was he hard to create? And/or were his parts fun to write? Will we be seeing him again?

Tarik was hard to develop into a real person because he first seemed to have an almost comic book feel. It took me a while to get to know him, but once I did he did all the steering. Yes, you will see him again in the sequel, where Sam get’s the rest of the pillar and has to decide what to do with Methuselah’s immortality and the discovery of someone who looks 25 but has been around since Noah.

FQ: I understand Samantha will be appearing in a prequel. Would you give Feathered Quill's readers a little teaser for that story?

Yes, that would be Stingers. The sound shooter that appeared in Methuselah’s Pillar was a toy Sam is given from her scientist father in Stingers. When it is in young Sam’s hands, the reader needs a seatbelt and a parachute.

Congratulations to author W.G. Griffiths - his book, Methuselah's Pillar just won a first place at The Hollywood Book Festival!

To learn more about Methuselah's Pillar please visit our website and read the review at:Feathered Quill Book Reviews.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Tips for Back to School Reading and Beyond

Source: Reading is Fundamental,

Research shows that parental involvement in developing their children’s love of literature is critical to raising lifelong readers. As family schedules are reorganized to begin the school year, now is a great time for kids and parents to be sure they incorporate reading into their daily routines. 

Below are some fun and practical ways to make reading a normal and natural part of family life and encourage kids of varying ages to get reading-ready as they head back to the classroom and prepare to dive into books all year long.

• Book graffiti wall - Put up a piece of poster paper and label it the “Great Book Graffiti Wall.” Have your children draw a pattern on the paper to make it look like a brick wall. Then encourage them to draw pictures and write recommendations based on the books they have read or are reading.

• Record your child’s favorite book - A cassette recorder is one way to enable younger children to enjoy a favorite book again and again. Grandparents, parents, older brothers, or sisters can record their favorite stories on tape or the whole family can join in and play different characters.

• Read around the world - Help develop geography and reading skills by making a faux passport and a copy of an oversized world map. Each time you and your child read a story about a different part of the world, color in that country on the map and stamp the passport. Continue the activity by doing research on the countries, reading the newspaper and watching the news.

• Share your stories - Telling stories from your personal life is a fun way to teach values, pass on family history, and build your child’s listening and thinking skills. Your child might someday want to write the stories down in a book for a class project.

• A special nook - Create a special place for you and your child to read. It could be a favorite chair, a couch, a child’s bed, or outside under a tree or by a lake.

• For all ears - Read aloud to your children, even after they’ve learned to read on their own and are attending school. Young readers enjoy listening to many books that they can’t yet master and teenagers like to hear old favorites. Encourage kids to describe the pictures or take turns reading aloud with you. Even though kids may also read books in class, spending additional time reading their favorite literature with you is also important.

• Regular intervals - Set aside a special time each day that you and your child devote to reading. Before bed, at breakfast, and before dinner are common times for many families with busy school and activity schedules. For example, your child can read to you while you wash the dinner dishes or you can read to your child from the newspaper as she eats her breakfast. Even if it’s only 15 minutes a day, you’re encouraging lifelong reading.

• Caught in the act! - Show your child that reading just isn’t for the classroom. Let your kids catch you reading whenever possible. Try making a game of it. One way might be to create “I caught you reading!” coupons. Each time they “catch” a family member reading they present them with a coupon. At the end of each week, hold a drawing to award a family member with a prize.

• A library of her own - Build your child’s affection and respect for reading by helping her create her own personal library. Designate a space on a bookshelf or a special box for books. Add new books to the collection by either getting books already finished by an older child or by going to the bookstore together.

• Everyday opportunities - Newspapers, magazines, hardcover, and paperback books may be obvious reading choices, but don’t dismiss road signs, menus, billboards, cereal boxes, and lots of other everyday items. Read aloud anything with words and present reading as a way to discover the world.

Source: Reading is Fundamental. For more tips on encouraging your child to read, visit

Friday, July 16, 2010

Publish Press Releases

When an article, blog post or video is being syndicated, it is completely appropriate to submit a press release. This doesn’t need to be an incredibly formal, pricey press release. There are many free press release publication services that will allow you to post as many press releases as you wish. Having your content syndicated is big news, make sure that you are reporting it!
Every time we have an article or blog post syndicated, we publish a press release about it. Our excitement about sharing our content with the world is equally felt by our readers who find out via press release. Creating a mutual interest, such as excellent content, with our readers is key in building relationships with them.
Press releases also get picked up by bigger news sources. The syndication of press releases lets even more people know about your incredible content and the cycle of content distribution continues. Make sure that you don’t skip this step because you may find new readers to provide with valuable content. Let the world know that others think your content is as great as you do. Write a press release!
This article was originally published on MyMark’s Corporate blog. MyMark is a professional social networking website. For this and other original MyMark blogs please visit

How To Make A Blog Button

If you have a blog, it’s extremely important to have a “button” for your blog. A “button’ can help spread the word about your blog, it’s like free advertising.

I’m going to show you an easy way to make your own button. You don’t have to have any design experience to do this. If you have your blog professionally designed a “button” is usually included.
We will start with a 125 x 125 button. This is the standard size for most blogs and their sidebars.
First you need to decide what background you want for your button. You can use a plain color or even crop a photo. Keep in mind that your background should be fairly light so your font shows up on it. You can get Free scrapbook pages on DigiScrap or Free photo’s online, just “Google” it and make sure it’s not copyrighted.
Once you've found your desired background, save it and open Picknik. Picnik is a really easy photo editing program and best of all it’s free. Now upload your background to Picnik.
Now that your background is uploaded, click resize and change the dimensions to 125 x 125. Increase the “zoom” percentage on the bottom right of your screen so you can see your background better. It may look blurry but it’s just because of this size.
You can now select the font and design your “button” with stickers or whatever you’d like.
Once you’ve designed your button the way you want it, save it as a .jpg.
Here’s how you get it on your blog:
First, you need to host your “button.” I recommend using the free hosting service Photobucket.  Go toPhotobucket (register if you don’t have an account) and upload your button. Once your button is uploaded, Photobucket will assign it an html code.
Here is what the coding needs to look like to make the “button” visible on your blog:
Replace the red text below with your information.
<center><a href=”YOUR BLOG URL” target=”_blank”><img border=”0″ alt=”YOUR BLOG NAME” src=”HTML CODE FROM YOUR BUTTON ON PHOTOBUCKET“/></a></center>
This is how my button code looks:
<center><a href=””target=”_blank”><img border=”0″ alt=”Christian Clippers” src=””/></a></center>
Now that you have the html code, just copy and paste it into a widget on your blog. You now have a button!
If you want to create your button with code underneath, here’s how:
Replace the red text below with your information.
<center><a href=”YOUR BLOG URL“><img border=”0″ alt=”YOUR BLOG NAME” src=”HTML CODE FROM YOUR BUTTON ON PHOTOBUCKET“/></a></center><center><textarea id=”code-source” rows=”4″ cols=”13″ name=”code-source”><center><a href=”YOUR BLOG URL” target=”_blank”><img border=”0″ alt=”YOUR BLOG NAME” src=”HTML CODE FROM YOUR BUTTON ON PHOTOBUCKET“/></a></center></textarea>
Just copy and paste this code into a widget on your blog and you will get this:
Christian Clippers
These are great because people can just copy and paste the code underneath into their own widget.

Our guest post today comes from Apryl Griffith  of Christian Clippers. Please visit her website at:

My name is Apryl and I am a wife to a wonderful husband and a full time mommy to three silly little kiddos. I have identical twin daughters that are 5 years old and a 2 year old little boy. I live in the beautiful mountains of Big Bear Lake, CA and just can’t get enough of our Lords beautiful creation.
I created this blog (www.christianclippers.comwhen I discovered the amount of money I was saving using coupons.  I wanted everyone to know how simple it can be to use a coupon am so blessed to have you with me on my coupon  journey and pray that you can save money too. I love to give to others and using coupons allows me to save more so I can give more. God Bless!

Friday Finds

Here's a list of the books that arrived this week for review.  Movie fans take note - lots of celebrity books, plus a look at horror movies!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Author Interview with Avraham Anouchi

Today we're excited to talk with Avraham Anouchi, author of The Hidden Scroll: An Archeological Adventure.

FQ: In the later part of the book we find Avner retired from his work in electronics. A sentence states, "While he followed his work in archaeology with passion, he barely kept up with the advances in electronics." (p. 312) How closely, sans the obvious fictional aspects of this character's life, does Avner's life mirror your own?

Growing up in Israel instilled in me my passion for archaeology and Jewish history. It was an important factor in molding the character and action of Avner, the novel’s protagonist. I included several events in my life, such as my battle experience in the 1948 Israel’s War of Independence, the loss of my own wife to cancer and my education, but I am not an archaeologist. I am just an admirer of what archaeology can reveal about ancient Jewish history.

FQ: Haj Amin chose the name "Bismillah" for his "new organization." What was your thought behind using this Arabic word, one that many thinks connects us with our Creator?

“BISMILLAH” in Arabic means “In the Name of Allah.” It certainly is connected with our creator. I chose this title for Haj Amin’s new organization because it dramatizes the use of Jihad as though it is done in the name of Allah. It represents a radical interpretation of the Koran. My hope was to present the need for Islamic clerics to reject the fanatical use of religion as a call to declare war on all infidels in “The Name of Allah.”

FQ: Avner pondered whether or not he had chosen the right door in his life. Do you feel you chose the right one or ones in your life?

It is a hard question to answer. I was fortunate to have chosen the college education and the profession I love. If I had to choose it again, I would probably repeat my selection. However, my decision was influenced by factors outside my control. I was accepted to several universities, including one in Geneva, one in Grenoble, France, and three in the United States. Sometimes I wonder what my life would have been like had I chosen another university. I always wanted to be a writer, but my engineering profession demanded intensive concentration in technical problem solving and designs rather than literary art. I don’t regret my choice.

FQ: "Avener became addicted to Jewish history." (p. 79) Can you tell us a bit about your interest in the history of the Jewish people?

I am an avid reader of Jewish history in two important eras. The first is the struggle of the Jewish people against the Roman rule before and during the destruction of the Second Temple of Jerusalem. The second is the Golden Age of Jewish scholarship in the Iberian Peninsula from the eight to the fifteenth century.

FQ: Ibn Najad is not a nice person. Was he a hard character to bring to life?

It was very easy. The media is full of reports on fanatic Islamist terrorists who are dedicated to kill civilians in the name of Allah.

FQ: Your book is obviously a labor of love and written with passion. What influences in your life drew you into its creation?

After publishing a memoir in Hebrew and another in English, I was intrigued by the idea of writing a novel about hope. Hope for peace to solve the Arab-Israeli conflict. I created three plots combining the conflict, the search for an ancient scroll and the involvement of the Dalai Lama, a non-radical Imam and a Rabbi. I am not sure I succeeded, but I created a base on which I may build a better novel in the future.

To learn more about The Hidden Scroll: An Archeological Adventure, please visit our website and read the review at: Feathered Quill Book Reviews.