Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Last chance....

to try your luck and win a SIGNED copy of the fantasy novel Chrysalis: Tribulations by M.L. Lacy.  Contest ends June 30th.  Read the review here and then fill out the short form on this page for your chance to win.  Good luck! 

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Teaser Tuesday!

We've got some more great reads for you this week, and those teasers to convince you to read them too!

"The ground breaks my feet smash my knee hits me in the face but I'm running, running, running, where's Somebody, Ma said to scream to a somebody or to a car or a lighted house, I see a car but dark inside and anyway nothing comes out of my mouth that's full of my hair but I keep running GingerJack be nimble be quick. Ma's not here but she promised she's in my head going run run run."

"Vancha nodded at the youthful vampires and called for a mug of milk. As one of the servants of the hall handed it to him, he downed it with a deep gulp, then belched loudly and ordered another."

Monday, June 28, 2010

Libraries Becoming Extinct? vs Can You Have Too Many Books?

While perusing the Internet on my usual bookish travels, I came across two interesting articles that discuss quite the opposite issue relating to the book world. Please take a moment to read both articles, and feel free to leave a comment concerning either (or both) latest pressing topics.

From the - Libraries and Librarians Are Endangered Species: What You Can Do to Help by Carol Fitzgerald.

From - Can You Have Too Many Books? by Rich Rennicks

Friday, June 25, 2010

Friday Finds

Check out some of this week's finds from the authors giving out their ARCs at the Book Expo America last month.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Teaser Tuesday

Welcome to Feathered Quill's Teaser Tuesdays, where there's always a good book or two in store!

Today's book is from Ghost a la Mode: A Ghost Of Granny Apples Mystery. By Sue Ann Jaffarian.

"Emma looked down into the weathered and expectant face of the ghost of Granny Apples - a woman who'd been wrongfully hung for the death of her husband. She'd waited for over a hundred years for someone to help her."

Monday, June 21, 2010

Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Winners Announced

Posting this a week later, but better to send out a late congratulations to all winners, than none at all!

Reprinted with permission of Publishers Weekly

Amazon and Penguin announced the winners of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award at a ceremony in Seattle Monday morning. This year, for the first time, two grand prizes were awarded: one for general fiction and one for best young adult novel, with each one receiving a $15,000 publishing contract from Penguin. The general fiction winner is Farishta by Patricia McArdle, which Riverhead will publish. The YA winner is Sign Language by Amy Ackley, which Viking Children’s Books will publish.
Jeff Belle, v-p, U.S. books for Amazon said “thousands” of writers participated in the contest, posting reviews and voting for the winners. “The results of this year’s vote were the closest we’ve ever had.”
McArdle, who lives in Arlington, Va., is a retired American diplomat whose postings have taken her around the world, including northern Afghanistan. Farishta concerns a female American diplomat who, transferred to a volatile, remote outpost in northern Afghanistan, provides aid to refugee women fleeing the violence.
Ackley, who lives in Brighton, Mich., is a mother of three whose career has included public administration to labor relations for top automakers. Sign Language was inspired by the loss of Ackley’s father and two close friends to cancer, and is about a 12-year-old girl dealing with her father’s cancer. It is the first time a YA novel was included in the contest.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Should Writers Blog For Free?

By: Carol Tice
Originally published on Carol's blog at

I was recently asked why, given all the stumping I do about writers standing up for themselves and demanding better pay rates, I'm here blogging for free on Make a Living Writing. And recently I signed on to also blog once a week for the WM Freelance Community.

So I've told writers not to write for $15 a blog, but I write these free blogs. What's up with that? Great question!

I believe blogging for free can be incredibly helpful to the progress of your writing career – or a total waste of your valuable time. It depends on your situation. Here's why I do it:

1. It's a marketing tool. I started blogging because I knew I was going to write several ebooks about the writing business, and I wanted to start building an audience for my products. I can say it's been a big success for that – I've built a substantial list of potential ebook buyers by spreading my blogs through social media and attracting more viewers to my Web site. That led to invites to guest-blog on sites such as About Freelance Writing, which brought more leads.

2. I learn. Having the blog has brought me questions and comments that have really shown me what needs to be in my e-book – I learned what writers want to know about how to break in and earn more. So it's improved my product.

3. It's increased my productivity. I'm writing more now, and not just writing about surety bonds or venture capital or one of the fascinating business topics at which I make the bulk of my living…I'm getting to write about my own thoughts and feelings about the career of writing. And I'm just plain writing more, which means more time spent honing my craft of playing with words. That's going to pay off in a million ways I can't even quantify.

4. It's awakened my passion. I discovered something about myself doing this blog and the WM blog: I LOVE helping other writers write better and earn more! I've been at this for a while, and now realize I really have some expertise to share. And it feels good to know I'm helping other writers navigate this tough marketplace.

5. It helped me write my ebook. Often, as I'm answering a question on my blog, I realize: this needs to be in my ebook! And I go over and add more points to my ebook draft. So the blog has been a way to break down the sort of intimidating task of writing a 50+ page ebook into more manageable chunks.

I think ultimately it depends on the kind of writer you are whether a free blog is worth the time. The key question to ask yourself if you're starting a blog is: Why?

Why are you going to blog for free? What do you hope to accomplish? Maybe you need to hone your writing style, develop your voice, or explore topics to see what niche you want to write in. A free blog's good for all that. Or maybe you have a great expertise niche (I gather tattoos rock) and want to put ads with your blog and make money, and become one of those $100K-blog success stories. Or maybe like me it's primarily a marketing tool.

I think the dynamic of writing your own free blog is completely different from being radically underpaid to write someone else's. The first is your passion project; the second can feel like exploitation.

But have a goal with that free blog, and keep a close eye on the clock. For me, it's a marketing cost, so I try to make sure it doesn't eat my whole day, as my primary business is to find lucrative clients and do their assignments.

One other thing I was asked about is blogging for free for others, and whether that represented "selling out." I think to "sell out," you have to be given money! While it's not selling out, it certainly isn't a smart career move.

Blogging for others should always be for pay, in my view. Sure, plenty of startups and site operators are out there trying to get someone to blog for free for 'experience' on their site. All you have to do is say no. If you have no clips, maybe do it for a week, or a month. But then it's time to get paid.

How To Use Strong Keywords

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

Of all the important parts of creating excellent content, using strong, keyword-rich content is among the most important. Keywords, links and site visits help searchers find your content and website. Without strong keywords your potential visitors won’t find you. If you are not using the same keywords in your content and meta tags that searchers use when they begin their search in Google, Bing, or other search engines, your site will not show up in the search results.

Keyword Research—Do some research to find out which keywords will best fit your content. First you need to realize that not all, if any, of your customers are familiar with industry jargon so create a broader list of keywords that your customers might be searching with. After you have created this list, run those keywords through a keyword research tool, such as Google Suggest to find out how many users are searching with those words, how many of those searched convert to sales, etc.

To get some good keyword suggestions, visit and click on their link to get keyword ideas. From this page you can enter an industry phrase or your company website to get some good suggestions for keywords to use. The results also list the statistics of how many times each keyword is searched for every month, and other local statistics to help you determine which keywords will theoretically be the best to use as your tags.

Create Content Based on Keywords—After you have discovered the strongest keywords, create content about those keywords. You want to make sure that this is quality content but keep the topic centered around the specific keywords that you have chosen. You don’t have to use all of your keywords in one blog or article but try to use as many related keywords as possible.

Edit Content for Over-Use of Keywords - No one will read your content if it doesn’t make sense. Be sure to review your content to ensure its overall quality. Over-using keywords will make your content hard to understand. Above all, ensure quality for your readers and create something that they would like to read rather than something that only fits your purposes. In addition, if you over-use keywords in your document, the search engines will flag your content as potential abuse and not give you a high rating in search results.

Meta-Tags—Using Meta tags in your blogs, articles and press releases is basic and still important. This will help search engines find your relevant topics more quickly. Many blogs allow you to sort each blog into a general category of other similar blogs but using meta-tags is where you will really score points with search engines. Include all appropriate keywords in the Meta tags to ensure search engines will find your content and provide your content in the search engine results.

Good Titles—How well does your title relate to your content? Make sure that your title is directly related to your content. Use relevant keywords in your title as well. Search engines give more weight to titles than other content in your article. The title is also the first thing your potential visitors and readers will see in the search engine results so make sure it is enticing and relevant to their search.

Excellent Keywords are essential to future link-building and generating traffic to your website to increase your search engine rankings. Be very selective and use the most appropriate keywords for your content. Be sure to research relevant keywords and follow all of the steps to appropriately use strong keywords. Just because you create content doesn’t mean that people will come read it. Make it enticing and relevant to your reader.

For this and other articles by Anne M Lee please go to

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Author Interview with Diana Raab

Today we're excited to talk with Diana Raab, MFA, RN, author of Healing With Words: A Writer's Cancer Journey.

FQ: You began writing about cancer in your journal as soon as you were diagnosed. It seems clear that you did this writing to help make sense of your own feelings. When did you realize that you wanted to turn your journal entries and poems into a book?

Since the age of ten when my mother gave me my first journal to help me cope with the loss of my grandmother, I have used journaling to help me make sense of my feelings. I have always turned to journaling during tumultuous times in my life and my breast cancer was no different. All of my eight books originated on the pages of my journal.
My MFA mentor felt my writing was so compelling that it was important I went ahead and turned it into a book.

FQ: How does your writing process differ when writing prose as opposed to poetry?

My mood has a huge effect on whether I write prose or poetry. Typically if I am going through something very emotional, like cancer and there is a lot of explaining, I will choose to write prose. If I have an intense emotion about an event or something I see that elicits poetic feelings in me, I will turn to poetry.

FQ: I was touched by the relationships you describe between you and your family, friends, and, especially, your husband. I imagine that this network of support was extremely helpful throughout your diagnosis, surgery, and recovery. Do you have advice on how to build these kinds of relationships both before and after a cancer diagnosis?

As an only child who felt abandoned by the loss of my grandmother at the age of ten, it has always been important for me to have a supportive network of loved ones around me. My parents were role models in a weak marriage, two people who stayed together for the sake of staying together, but love was not inherent to their relationship. They complained a lot. I decided early on that I was going to marry my soul mate and I did. We have been married 33 years and have three loving children. In terms of friends, I have a few very good friends who I can count on and who can count on me when they need to.

FQ: How do you think this book will benefit other cancer survivors?

As a journaling advocate for many years I really do believe in the healing power of all types of writing. In my book, I show readers how I chronicled my journey, in the hope that they will learn to chronicle theirs. I teach journaling at UCLA Extension and in writing conferences around the country and people always tell me how much better they feel after writing. Writing helps us not only make sense of what we are feeling, but it helps us cope with and get ideas for how to feel better. One of the most common concerns is people don’t know how to start. My answer is always the same. At the top of your page write, “I feel like….” and see where it takes you. Sometimes even writing, “I don’t know what to write,” can get the words on the page.

To learn more about Healing With Words: A Writer's Cancer Journey please visit our website and read the review at: Feathered Quill Book Reviews.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

How to Create Links Back to your Website

Having links to your website on other websites is one of the best ways to get visitors to your site. This is done a variety of ways. Some Link-backs require very little effort but also return minimal results in comparison to link-backs that require a significant amount of effort. We’ll go through some very legitimate ways to generate links to your site.

You can easily generate links to your site by simply listing your site on business directory sites such as and While some directories require a fee or an approval process, most will instantly accept your business listing. You simply provide them with your URL, contact information and about information and there you are. Any business can appear on these directories.

You probably don’t want to be just anyone, so you need to build other links to your site. Blog writing, article syndication and press releases are great ways to start building stronger links. This content is posted on reputable websites who let you provide links back to your website in your author bio’s and resource boxes. Some excellent sites for syndication are, and

The next level of link building is through your professional social network. As we all know, building a strong networking is important in any business. This is where you will get both in-person and online referrals. Start cultivating relationships with business associates and loyal customers. This will help your in-network link growth significantly.

The last and, arguable, most effect type of link-building is through excellent content. If your content is amazing, the amount of links back to your website will inherently grow. Now, just having excellent content won’t get it noticed. You need to make sure that you are doing all of the above link building processes in order to get your content seen in the first place. Once the content is recognized for its excellence, it will be picked up by publishers and linked to by business associates, clients and inspired readers.

Keywords are also a significant part of building links. Make sure that your content is keyword-rich so that it will appear on search engine results. You can find more information about using strong keywords at

One thing to avoid when link building is the use of link communities, or link farms. These are collections of websites that one pays the farm to post a link back to their website in order to boost search engine rankings. The problem with this is that, first of all, these are not legitimate links and secondly, if the individual is caught doing this, their website will be flagged for removal from Google search results.

Remember that strong link building takes time. Be patient and keep trying if you aren’t immediately successful. The Empire State Building wasn’t built overnight and your strongest links probably won’t be built overnight either. Although the process may take a time investment, remember that if you follow the link building steps above, your time investment will be significantly reduced.

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

Goddard Riverside: New York Publishing's Kinder Side

Reprinted with permission of Publishers Weekly.

By: Lynn Andriani

The publishing industry is filled with members who will send a carton of books to a class of second-graders in Kansas or a library recovering from a flood in Louisiana. But one of the most enduring shows of goodwill on behalf of the industry takes place in the city where the business is based. Over the past 24 years, Goddard Riverside Community Center has raised more than $7.5 million for New York City youth programs, housing programs, arts, and outreach to and services for the homeless—all through the generosity of publishers ranging from smaller houses like Black Dog and Leventhal, and Abrams, to major companies like Hachette and Random House.

Goddard's major fund-raiser is the New York Book Fair held every year the weekend before Thanksgiving. A gala dinner kicks off the weekend, honoring a publisher or bookseller—this year's honoree is Books-A-Million's CEO, Clyde Anderson; last year the group honored Josh Marwell, president of sales at HarperCollins. The book sale takes place at Goddard's community center on Columbus Avenue on Manhattan's Upper West Side, Saturday and Sunday. Some 25,000 brand-new books, all donated, are for sale, at discounts of 50% or more. Volunteers from publishing houses and booksellers—including HarperCollins, Random, Simon & Schuster, Workman, Barnes & Noble, and Books-a-Million—work at the fair, sorting, decorating, selling, and cleaning up. In all, more than 100 publishing houses, booksellers, literary agents, and printers are involved in Goddard's fund-raising efforts.

The book fair "is a complete retail operation," said Lily Morgan Owen, director of development. "The great part about having the connection to publishing at every level is we have corporate support, but we also have people who are passionate about books." More than 3,000 shoppers typically buy books at the fair, and Owen said more than 85 cents of every dollar raised goes directly into Goddard Riverside programs. The fair and other weekend activities typically raise about $500,000 annually.

The fair started in 1986, when writer Donald Porter came up with the idea for a book sale to help the city's homeless. Porter persuaded publishers to donate new books, and although the first fair was small, it was a success. Now, 24 years later, it benefits all of Goddard's programs, which, in addition to help for the homeless, include after-school programs and summer day camp for children of low-income families, and meals for older adults as well as help with questions relating to health care, housing, legal issues, and money management.

In addition to the book fair, Goddard also organizes "Meet the Authors" dinners, where publishers arrange for authors to attend dinner parties in people's homes. Throughout the fall, about 20 such events take place and Goddard is getting its 2010 list together now; past authors have included Robert Caro, Jeffrey Toobin, and Linda Fairstein. The host supplies dinner and guests pay about $300 to attend.

Chip Gibson, president and publisher of Random House Children's Books, has been involved with Goddard Riverside for 23 years. "Community involvement and support is a core value of Random House Children's Books," he noted, "and is, I think, a core value to most of us in book publishing. Goddard Riverside is vital to the social health of Manhattan—where we and the majority of trade book publishing live—and it is a constantly rewarding joy for us to support this brilliantly run organization."

April Bookstore Sales Fall

Reprinted with permission of Publishers Weekly.

The weak improvement in bookstore sales seen in the first quarter disappeared in April with the U.S. Census Bureau reporting that bookstore sales fell 4.1% in the month, to $917 million. For the first quarter, bookstore sales had been up 1.2%, but the April decline left sales flat at $5.24 billion through the first four months of 2010. Sales for the entire retail market rose 4.6% in April and were up 4.0% for the first four months of the year

Monday, June 14, 2010

Fantasy Lovers Take Note

Our monthly "Win A Book" contest features a great fantasy book this month.  For June, we're offering a SIGNED copy of Chrysalis: Tribulations by M.L. Lacy.  You can read the review here and then enter the contest here.  Good luck!

Author Interview with June Chen

Today we're talking to June Chen, author of Seeing the Light.

FQ: Rhea and her friend Karen encounter several people in the book who threaten them and even hurt them. They are exposed also to other violence and drug use. Do you see the world as a dangerous place for young people generally?


FQ: Rhea's family is loving and close, a contrast with the chaotic world Rhea encounters outside of her home. They care for each other and even for strangers, and they seem happy to give their time and energy to family matters. Did you base her close-knit family on personal experience?


FQ: The pet farm is an unusual setting for a novel. Do you think that living in the country is part of what allows the Kosmo family to have such a happy and supportive home life?


FQ: Rhea spends some time thinking about the story of "The Prodigal Son." Do you think of the story as a metaphor for Rhea's life?


FQ: We see the world through Rhea's eyes. She has a warm relationship with her family and pets and seems like a smart person. I found it easy to identify with her, and even like her, though you also portray her as someone who is selfish and opposed to making charitable donations. Do you think most readers will recognize pieces of themselves in Rhea? Could her transformation inspire others to make changes, as well?


To learn more about Seeing the Light please visit our website and read the review at: Feathered Quill Book Reviews.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Friday Finds

Here's another great group of books, just in for review.  Check them out!  We'll have reviews posted soon.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Author Interview with Irene Watson

Our interview today is with Irene Watson, co-author of Rewriting Life Scripts: Transformational Recovery for Families of Addicts

FQ: Why did you choose to collaborate on this book?

It all started when Nancy Oelklaus and I met with Bill Wigmore, CEO of Austin Recovery. During the meeting he expressed a need to address the families and their own recovery when a family member goes through a treatment program. From that, we did research and indeed found most treatment programs don't address the families, and there was very little information directed toward them. We connected with Liliane Desjardins. Liliane has over 30 years experience in an addiction treatment program and created the Desjardins Unified Model of Treatment of Addictions.

FQ: What type of personal experiences did you use in creating the recovery model for families?

All three of us come from different walks of life and experiences therefore making the collaboration flow. Although most families go through much of the same internal experience when there is an addict in the family, we also experience different aspects.

In the book we used our own stories and of others. We wanted to be sure most aspects of feelings and outcome are covered. As well, using the Desjardins Unified Model we are able to give the reader clear definitions of what really goes on, and how we have to look after ourselves in order to have a healthy relationship with the addict. As well, we cover family dynamics, the self-recovery program, and accessing our authentic self. All three of us have been through a recovery program and are now sharing what we've learned, experienced, and what works.

FQ: What is the best way readers should go about using this book?

First of all, the reader needs to be aware that reading Rewriting Life Scripts: Transformational Recovery for Families will transform them. As well, the readers need to be willing to make changes in their own lives, rather than attempt to change the addict. Once this is acknowledged and accepted, the readers can proceed by reading the book, understanding what is being said, paralleling to some of the stories, and doing the exercises.

FQ: How is your model for recovery different than the typical model of addiction treatment?

Our book focuses on the family, not the addict. The addict has gone through treatment and has some type of base for a continuing process. We address the family and not making it about the addict. Our model is directed for the families to take their own responsibility of healing within. We focus on having a healthy relationship with the addict. We cover important aspects such as enabling, giving up control over the addict, addressing our own denial as well as communicating and supporting the addict in a healthy manner.

We also focus on changing ourselves through honesty, humility, hope and purity of intent. We give exercises to help the families through the steps of transformational recovery.

FQ: If there is one key idea or concept readers should take from reading this book, what would it be?

Peace of mind, forgiveness, reconciliation, and the ability - truly - to live happily ever after.

To learn more about Rewriting Life Scripts: Transformational Recovery for Families of Addicts, please read the review at: Feathered Quill Book Reviews.

Teaser Tuesday

Back from our little break to attend BEA. Here are this week's teasers.

Dr. Cotton's lightness of being pulled me in like the inertia he professed. It's no wonder that twenty years later I fell for another physicist who taught me that life is all about energy.

With all that had been happening with our family and friends, we decided we needed a break away from home and farm routine. Our destination was San Luis Obispo and vicinity, and he headed off in high spirits.

How does he expect us to sell 2,ooo tickets? I only know 23 people!

She was so excited, it sounded as though she were talking about having gone swimming with sharks rather than merely visiting a theme park. All I could figure was, for all the glitz and glamour her life appeared to have, Summer had so few normal experiences that she found them incredible.

"Oh, sir, don't you know the legend of Onslow Square? Where true lovers walk, there are coins tossed at their feet like at their wedding."

Monday, June 7, 2010

AuthorsandExperts invites you to submit industry-related, royalty-free articles to the A&E Star Tracks newsletter in exchange for the opportunity to have your work read by the 30,000 potential clients on average who visit monthly and A&E professional presenters, published writers and media members who will receive Star Tracks quarterly beginning in July.

Star Tracks publishes essays and articles written on subjects designed to assist authors and speakers in their professions and share their expertise on marketing, writing, lecturing, selling, social media, sales, publishing, touring, business practices and a myriad of other subjects helpful to writers and orators. To help those who submit articles glean some free PR for their efforts, submissions may include a personalized byline, e-mail address, phone number and website link; however, articles may not be blatant sales pitches for services or products. In addition, keeping the articles royalty-free allows members of the media and social bloggers to reprint Star Tracks articles, thus increasing the contributors' exposure exponentially!

In addition to industry-directed articles, Star Tracks also contains qualified leads for authors and experts, information on catalog listings, cooperative advertising opportunities and other helpful data and ideas.

The deadline for the July 1 Star Tracks is June 28. The July issue is a very special one, in that it is A&E's target date for activating A&E members' free online blogs on their member profile pages. As a member, you will be sent more info on the free blogs very soon. Contributed articles are printed on a space-available and content-relative basis. Although not all contributions will be published; all good submissions will be held in reserve for future issues if there is not room in the current issue to publish them. To view past issues of Star Tracks, visit We welcome articles up to 1500 words. To be placed on an A&E Star Tracks deadline reminder list, e-mail or call 480-940-8182.

Best regards,
Linda Radke
President, A&E, Five Star Publications
P.O. Box 6698
Chandler, AZ
85246-6698 USA

P.S. Although membership starts as low as $4.95, you do not have to be a member of A&E to contribute essays and articles.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Friday Finds

After a brief break to attend BEA (did YOU go???), we're back with our weekly Friday Finds.  These are books that have just come into Feathered Quill Book Reviews.  Looks like an interesting selection.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Author Interview with Kathy Porter

Our interview today is with Kathy Porter, author of Earth's Ultimate Conflict

FQ: You say in the Author's Note that you are a true believer in aliens. When did you first begin to think that there are aliens visiting our solar system?

I began to think about the possibility that aliens exist when I was a child. My father enjoyed taking his seven children out to the backyard and teaching us the constellations on summer nights when the clouds gave us an unencumbered view. We were thrilled when he brought home a telescope and showed us the craters on the moon and the Sea of Tranquility. As a science teacher, my dad was a seeker of truth. He never said, “they (the aliens) were out there”, and if we asked if aliens were real, he would shrug his shoulders and say, “I don’t know, but some people say there is proof that they are here.”
My dad and I shared a love for all things science fiction and watched late night movies likeInvaders From Mars together. Dad also enjoyed reading Ray Bradbury’s books, which he passed on to me.
In high school I read, Chariots of the Gods by Erich von Däniken and discussed with my dad what seemed to be undeniable proof that aliens were here in ancient times. He again never quite committed to the fact they were here, but my continued discoveries in reading, including the still-controversial Roswell Incident and the Betty and Barney Hill abduction, were hot topics between us.
Aliens, in my belief, have been part of our history and continue to investigate or intrude into our lives, depending on your beliefs. I don’t believe aliens would be so covert in their methods if their reason for human contact were completely innocent. The aliens of today may not be the same species as the seemingly benevolent ancient astronauts.

FQ: I thought it was interesting that you made the president a woman and one who had been divorced. How did you come up with Barbara Unger, who is so different from the presidents we know today?

Some of the strongest people I have known in my life were women. Strong women have a place in politics and outshine many of their male counterparts in history. Although she was not a divorced woman, Prime Minister of England Margaret Thatcher was a force to be reckoned with during her three terms in office. She earned the title “Iron Lady” by being a staunch conservative who couldn’t be bullied by any foreign leader anymore than by her own Parliament. I found her strong and fascinating. Barbara Unger was born from a creative hybrid of Margaret Thatcher and Captain Kathryn Janeway of the Star Trek Voyager series.

Captain Janeway, separated from her husband by millions of light years, was on a quest to return to her home sector of space and Earth. She had great intuitive skills, made friends of enemies and never wavered or depended on others to lead her crew home. She was a skillful, capable woman like President Barbara Unger.

FQ: It seems like you have read a lot of science fiction. Which science fiction novels and films have influenced your writing and thinking?

The first science fiction novel I read was in grade school, The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury. I was hooked from that point on. That chapter, that to this day plays through my mind and encourages me to let my imagination soar, was the one where Mr. Benjamin Driscoll spreads seeds from Earth across Mars. While Driscoll slept, there was a downpour of rain and a lush forest grew. He watched buds turn to blossoms and leaves unfurl before his eyes. Because Mars soil was so rich, a genesis took place before his eyes. Ray Bradbury put his incredible imagination on paper– I was hooked.

Ray Bradbury continues to be an inspiration to me. I have listened to him speak many times and he encourages writers to read and watch movies, and to “write with love.” I was honored to receive his endorsement for my book.

There are many writers I also enjoy reading, Jules Vern, Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Robert Sawyer, and James Patterson to name a few. As for movies, some of the most inspiring were the original The Day The Earth Stood Still, War of the Worlds, Invaders From Mars, and Forbidden Planet. Of course, I also enjoy the Star Wars and the Star Trek movies, as well as one of my most recent favorites Independence Day.

FQ: Where did you get the idea for SEAS? Is it based on an actual medical condition?

Many threatening pandemics have headlined our news and newspapers in recent history. Most have only been potential threats (over-publicized) and slowly fell out of the media’s attention. However, a threat that is getting quietly worse and is under-reported is that of allergies. In some cases, allergies have become life threatening. What if millions of humans became allergic to their own environment? What if allergies became the pandemic? It seemed to me that SEAS or Severe Environmental Allergy Syndrome was a viable threat.

To learn more about Earth's Ultimate Conflict, please read the review at: Feathered Quill Book Reviews.

Book Bloggers Take Manhattan

Book Bloggers Take Manhattan

By: Charlotte Abbott - Reprinted with permission of Publishers Weekly.

A swarm of book bloggers converged on Javits Center in their first convention last Friday, which drew 250 people to a day-long lineup of speakers and panels following Book Expo America. The presence of online marketing specialists from most of the major houses – and sponsorships by HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, Hachette and the Crown Publishing Group, as well as smaller publishers like Peachtree and Unbridled Books - showed the industry’s embrace of the bloggers, most of whom are unpaid enthusiasts who revel in spreading the word about books they love. “The best people in the industry are getting to know the best bloggers,” declared Ron Hogan, former director of online marketing strategy at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

After an energetic keynote by young adult author Maureen Johnson punctuated by much laughter and applause, five panels stimulated impassioned discussion of ethics and professionalism in book reviewing, using blogs to advance social and political causes, and success stories about writing and marketing blogs. The gathering offered no definitive answers for perennial questions as whether or not bloggers can fill the gap left by shrinking print publications that review books. But several bloggers observed that their cause was advanced by having been admitted to BookExpo with a media pass equivalent to that for print media.

The issue of publishers downplaying or obscuring African-American and lesbian and gay content in their books drew some outrage and calls to action, but otherwise there was little disagreement or controversy. Primarily, the atmosphere was one of intense excitement at the chance for bloggers to meet face to face, often for the first time after several years of reading and posting to each other’s blogs, or communicating via Twitter. In fact, that was the original inspiration and overriding mission of the conference, according to Natasha Maw (Maw Books Blog), who organized the event with fellow bloggers Trish Collins (Hey Lady! Whatcha Readin’?), Amy Reads (My Friend Amy) and Rebecca Schinsky (The Book Lady’s Blog). “Our idea was to start small, with a social event, but there was so much excitement, it just kept growing,” she said.

BookExpo America 2010: 21,919 'Verified' Attendees at This Year's Event

BookExpo America 2010: 21,919 'Verified' Attendees at This Year's Event

By: Jim Milliot - Reprinted with permission of Publisher's Weekly

Explaining that it has a new way a measuring participants at the show, BookExpo America executives reported that total attendance at this year’s event was 21,919. The “verified” figure includes all those who attended BEA; in the past BEA had verified attendees, but not exhibitors. In 2010 the number of verified exhibitors was 8,047 and the number of attendees was 13,872. In previous years, total attendance was gauged using the number of registered exhibitors plus a verified count of attendees. In 2009 that figure was 29,923 compared to 27,211 in 2010, a decline BEA said was due to the shortened show.

Participants in the attendee group this year include book buyers (including librarians), press, licensing and rights professionals, non-editorial media, authors, film and TV production personnel. Given the way the show has evolved to include more than publishers selling their fall books to booksellers, spokesperson Roger Bilheimer said BEA will not be breaking out the book buyer numbers as it has in the past. “We feel it is an outdated standard of measurement,” Bilheimer said, emphasizing that people now use the show in a number of ways to leverage their content.

“Moving forward, I think it is in the best interest of everyone who participates in BEA to have an attendance number that accurately reflects the activity at the show,” said Steven Rosato, show manager for BEA in a statement. “Of course, we do realize that this makes it difficult to compare this year’s show with previous years, but this would have been the case under any circumstance since this year’s show was a day shorter. For instance, we were tracking ahead of last year until our final day when we suddenly had to make up for the shortfall of not having a third day to count attendance. That said, next year we will continue to release an overall ‘verified’ attendance number and this will be our new standard of measurement for the future.” The 2011 show will also return to a three day event.

Leads From Linda - Writing Contests

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Meeting Deadlines - Part 2

Here's part 2 of Barbara's Ardinger's article on "Meeting Deadlines."  Part 1 was posted on Tuesday, June 1.

At the same time, I was also talking to another author about deadlines. He’s a lawyer who took my novel-writing class at a local university three years ago, then hired me to edit his novel—which I love—about angels and demons in Brooklyn. He had deadlines to meet in his legal practice and was putting off work on the novel. I want him to rewrite the last several chapters to a more satisfactory ending, so I send him noodges from time to time. He’s promising me now that he’s going to reset his deadlines.

How do these authors meet deadlines? How do I help them? We start by adapting a technique I learned when I was a secretary to five psychologists: learning by successive approximations. That means you take your best shot at something and get a little bit done. Then you take another best shot and get a little bit more done. You keep pecking at it (to change the metaphor) until you’ve eaten the whole thing. You can’t take one giant bite and finish it. You go at it a bite at a time. As a writer facing a deadline, you write a sentence at a time. Two sentences. Three. A paragraph. Two paragraphs. It’s not a new concept, of course. There’s a wonderful, hilarious movie, What About Bob? (1991), starring Richard Dreyfus and Bill Murray, that illustrates the process of learning by successive approximations: they call it taking baby steps. And of course the twelve-step programs tell us to take it one day or one step at a time. It also helps if you have a daily planner and write a goal—one paragraph, one chapter—to meet every day. Or you do what my author did an set preliminary (self-imposed) deadlines that impel you step by step toward the big deadline. That’s how you finish your book in time to drive across three states to deliver it to the publisher at eight o’clock on a Monday morning. (My author did it! I was glad to hear that she took someone with her to keep her awake on the freeways.)

And me? I edit one sentence at a time. Sometimes one word, one misplaced (or missing) comma, one well-turned phrase, one misused semicolon or cliché at a time. And when I have a deadline of my own—hey, is this blog late??—I also do it one step at a time. My first step is composing the first couple paragraphs in my head in the middle of the night and remembering my golden words long enough to get to my computer and get them out through my fingers. At which time I see that they’re merely brass. I rewrite them. Edit my own work. Rewrite a lot. (Which is what I’m doing right now.) So far, I have never missed a deadline.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Meeting Deadlines - Part 1

Here's another great article by Barbara Ardinger, freelance editor.  If you're looking for somebody to edit your book, please consider Barbara.  She does a fantastic job and she's a lot of fun to work with (and professional too!)  Visit her website to learn more:

Part 2 will be posted on Thursday.

Meeting Deadlines
I sold my life to one of my authors a couple weeks ago. She had a deadline, and it was my job to help her meet it: she had to deliver a hard copy and a CD of her book to her publisher on Monday, May 17. Like nearly all of my authors, she’s really smart, but she’s not a good writer. In fact, toward the end, she was copying her old PowerPoint presentations into the book and turning her bulleted lists into paragraphs and charts. Her topic was a good one—no matter whether it’s our personal or professional life, it’s our relationships with our family, friends, and colleagues that make our worlds work. I don’t remember if she used the word “networking” in her book, but that’s what I learned thirty years ago when I was a member of women’s networking groups and met people who are friends to this day. In her book, my author gives guidelines for establishing, building, and nourishing relationships that will lead to success.

I develop relationships with nearly all of my authors, so when this author asked me to be available to her that week, I said, “Sure. You’ll get top priority.” She’s on the east coast and I’m on the west coast. I checked my email more often than usual, and she sent chapters as soon as she finished them. If I was working on another project, I clocked out of that one and clocked in to this author’s. (My timesheets always show when I begin and end work on any given day on any given book I’m editing.) A couple nights that week, I didn’t turn my computer off until nearly eight o’clock … which was eleven o’clock for her. That’s proof that authors work hard.

What did we do to meet her deadline? First, she set a self-imposed deadline. She told me she was planning to leave her home at two o’clock Monday morning and drive up the coast with her manuscript and CD to arrive at the publisher’s front door at the start of business. During the week, facing her self-imposed deadline, she emailed chapters, parts of chapters, and front matter and back matter to me. For a couple days, the same chapters went back and forth several times as I edited and she rewrote and I edited again. Since I know something about her topic, I asked questions, made suggestions, and added sentences that clarified her examples. This was in addition to making sure her subjects agreed with her verbs, her introductory clauses and phrases agreed with the subjects of the sentences, her punctuation was correct, and her paragraphs and ideas flowed logically from one to the next.

Stop by Thursday for the rest of this helpful article!

Win A Book! - June Contest

We've just posted the book for this month's contest.  For June, we're offering a copy of Chrysalis: Tribulations by M.L. Lacy.  For all you fantasy lovers, this is a great book.  You can read the review here and then enter the contest on this page.