Wednesday, November 30, 2011


Note that Feathered Quill Book Reviews has no connection to this award competition.  Posting the information here does not mean we endorse or have any knowledge of the competition.  We post it to get word out and ask that authors do their own research about each and every competition.

LOS ANGELES _ The 2011 DIY Book Festival has issued a call for entries to its tenth annual competition honoring independent book authors and publishers.
The 2011 DIY Book Festival will consider entries in cookbooks, science fiction, non-fiction, fiction, biography/autobiography, children's books, teenage, how-to, audio/spoken word, photography, art, comics, 'zines, fan fiction, poetry and e-books published on or after Jan. 1, 2007.
All entries must be in English and have been self-published or issued by an independent publishing house.
*** Please note that authors with iUniverse, Infinity Publishing and other print-on-demand outlets are eligible for the DIY competition.
Entry forms are available online at or can be faxed on request.
Our grand prize for the 2011 DIYBF Author of the Year is $1500 cash and a flight to Los Angeles for our gala awards ceremony at the Roosevelt Hotel, home of the first Oscars, in March, 2012. The event is part of the 11th annual DIY Convention: Do It Yourself in Film, Music & Books.
Submitted works will be judged by a panel of publishing industry experts using the following criteria:
1) General excellence and the author's passion for telling a good story.
2) The unique use of guerilla marketing tactics to reach a wider audience. This includes innovative marketing, merchandising, publicity tactics and other unique methods of reaching an independent audience.
ENTRIES: Please classify your book and enter it in the following categories. Multiple entries must be accompanied by a separate fee for each book.
1) General Non-fiction
2) General Fiction
3) Children's books
4) How-to
5) E-books (word or .pdf file acceptable)
6) Comics
7) 'zines
8) Photography
9) Fan Fiction
10) Poetry
11) Art
12) Teenage
13) Biography/Autobiography
14) Audio/spoken word
15) Best Published/Unpublished Short Story (all manuscripts welcome)
16) Cookbooks
17) Science Fiction
In addition to honoring the top selections in the above categories, The DIY Book Festival will award the following chosen from submissions:
1) DIY Author of the Year-Honors the outstanding book of the competition.
2) DIY Book Design of the Year - Honors outstanding and innovative design.
3) DIY Independent Publisher of the Year - Honors the top publisher based on materials displaying excellence in marketing and promotional materials, as determined by our judges.
FESTIVAL RULES: DIY Book Festival submissions cannot be returned. Each entry must contain the official entry form, including your e-mail address and contact telephone number. All shipping and handling costs must be borne by entrants.
NOTIFICATION AND DEADLINES: We will notify each entry of the receipt of their package via e-mail and will announce the winning entries on our web site ( Because of the anticipated high volume of entries, we can only respond to e-mail inquiries.
Deadline submissions in each category must be postmarked by the close of business on January 25, 2012. Winners in each category will be notified by e-mail shortly after the final entry deadline. Please note that judges read and consider submissions on an ongoing basis, comparing early entries with later submissions at our meetings.
TO ENTER: Entry forms are available online at or may be faxed/e-mailed to you. Look on the right hand side of the page and click on the red "register" button underneath "2011 DIY Book Festival." Please contact our office for fax requests. Applications must be accompanied by a non-refundable entry fee via check, money order or PayPal online payment of $50 in U.S. dollars for each submission. Multiple submissions are permitted but each entry must be accompanied by a separate form and entry fee.
Entry fee checks should be made payable to JM Northern Media LLC. We're sorry, but entries must be mailed and cannot be delivered in person or by messenger services to the JM Northern Media offices.
Entry packages should include one copy of the book; any relevant marketing material; your official entry form or a copy; and the entry fee or receipt. Entries should be mailed to:
JM Northern Media LLC
attn: DIY Book Festival
7095 Hollywood Boulevard
Suite 864
Hollywood, CA 90028-0893
Phone: 323-665-8080
AWARDS: Winners of the 2011 DIY Book Festival will be honored at a gala ceremony held in Los Angeles. You do not need to be present to accept your award or accompanying prizes.
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Tuesday, November 29, 2011 Review Removal - Recap and Update

You've likely read our comments about Amazon and what has happened with their heavy-handed removal of reviews posted by sites such as Feathered Quill.  While we've been trying to work with other sites, most seemed to have given up from the start, stating Amazon is just too big to fight.  Only a few sites were interested in continuing the fight and soon, it was down to just two sites, Feathered Quill and ReaderViews.  Kudos to RV site owner Irene Watson for "fighting the fight" and having the best interests of her authors at heart.  Alas, with just two sites willing to continue, it seems like we'll have to concentrate our energies on more useful things such as posting great reviews to our site.  We have begun to post our reviews to, a good review site with a high SEO.  We hope this will bring added exposure to our authors' books.

Here are Irene's comments on the whole Amazon mess (posted with permission): 

I've been giving updates for the past year on the aspect of removing reviews and banning reviewers from posting. At first it seems it was just review sites like us but then it flowed over to removing reviews from individual reviews unrelated to any site or blog. There is no consistency except a stock email that says "you violated the guidelines" but the specific violation is never disclosed by

We became victims of the removal/banning in May but after many communications back and forth we were reinstated and promised it would never happen again. Several months later, against their own word, removed/banned us. To this date we haven't been able to find out exactly why they did this and why they didn't stand behind their own word.

In the meantime, to my knowledge, 15 other sites have been banned. The surprising one is Midwest Book Review; one of the oldest and most respected review sites. I noted a review on one of my books is by MBR is still there, yet, when attempting to view them all a window comes up saying the reviews aren't available and the profile page is empty, the same as Reader Views'. I know at one point removed at least 10,000 reviews posted by MBR. We had about 7500 removed.

Several months ago I contacted the other sites I knew were banned to see if they want to band together and attempt to deal with Amazon or go to the media. Eight out of the 15 responded, two saying they aren't interested at all, 6 responded indicating they are on board, and the rest I didn't hear from. I assume there was no interest. One of the reviewers set up a Yahoo group so that we could communicate. Each one was invited but in the end only 4 reviewers joined the group. We did hear from several others that had ideas of what "you should do" but neither was interested in spearheading the idea.

During this same time many authors contacted but either got a stock email that basically said nothing or didn't get a response at all. Some even contacted the media and their legislators. But, I don't think there is enough impact because most of the reviewers declined to contact their author/publisher list, explain the occurrence and ask them to make a noise. The support, or concern, just doesn't seem to be there, either from other reviewers or authors/publishers. For example, Jim from Midwest Book Review posted on a self-publishing group that his reviews were removed and banned. I chimed in explaining what had happened to many others and asked for support from the group. A group "mom" rejected my post.

One author volunteered to create a FaceBook page and Twitter account titled Occupying Amazon. I, along with several other reviewers (I think,) let our list know but in the end only 16 "liked" the FaceBook page. In the meantime FaceBook removed the account and Twitter is removing the hash marks.

Personally, I'm exhausted in working diligently on attempting to get reinstated again or moving toward being noticed by the media or legislators of unfair treatment. In the end it seems like only one other reviewer and I are left to deal with the issue but I'm sure that if we were successful the others would be extremely happy and we may get a thank you...maybe. I'm not sure if it is worth it at this point. I've spent many hours dealing with this issue and several thousand dollars to pay staff to repost the reviews when we were reinstated the first time and then removed again.

Authors do have an option of posting an excerpt under Editorial Reviews through their Author Central account and those that have done so are happy. Some even said those seem to have more impact than the reader reviews, especially when they come from unknown people with pen names like "poop-doop" or "anonymous." (Yes, those are for real!) Credibility in the end becomes important and Editorial Reviews offer credibility.

For us, not being able to post the reviews on hasn't been an issue as orders continue to come in. I know that some of the reviewers are suffering because they aren't asked to review books and they feel this is a direct result of not being able to post the reviews on This is sad because it's just another indication where a huge corporation can push out a small business owner in a click of a mouse.

Why we are removed/banned is still a mystery, especially when continues to favor some reviewers that don't adhere to their guidelines, those that show signs of being a fake, for e.g. reviewing in the realm of 70 books per week (This is humanly impossible even for a speed-reader.), those that ask for huge charitable donations in exchange for a review or those that charge for reviews. My personal assumption is that review services like ours are in direct competition with for obtaining reviews since they are now offering outrageously expensive reviews through their own CreateSpace program.

So...what next? I really don't know because two or three people can't do it alone, and yet represent a whole gamut of others with great expectations that we can make changes. I do sincerely appreciate those of you that took the time to contact, write to your legislators, join the FaceBook page, sign up for Twitter, and give moral support to me. I thank you profusely.

At this point, if an occasion arises, I will make noise but I am refocusing to business at hand in creating more ways to support the authors, especially those that don't get noticed otherwise because they are self-published, use self-publishing firms, or published by a small press and are on constrained budgets. In other words, I'm "movin' on."


PS - be on a lookout for a "new" publicity package we will offer in the New Year. Susan, my assistant, has been diligently working on it and it will be ready to launch soon.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Monday Morning Introductions

Here's what came in for review this week. Check them out and then stop by our site soon to read the reviews.  Visit Feathered Quill Book Reviews.

Sleeper's Run War on Terror veteran, Eric Caine, is found wandering the streets of Miami with no memory of the car accident that left him there. Alone and suffering from PTSD, Eric is on a one-way road to self-destruction. Then a chance meeting at a bar begins a series of events that helps Eric start anew. When his new job relocates him to Venezuela–the land of his childhood–things, however, take an ominous turn as a catastrophic event threatens the stability of the country. Now Eric must escape an elite team of CIA assassins as he tries to uncover an international conspiracy in which nothing is what it seems.

Catch and Release A botched drug raid took her father’s life when she was 7. On her 13th birthday she witnessed her mother’s murder. Alone in the world, Jennifer Blade sets out to even the score. At 33, enmeshed in a game that knows no rules, she is about to fulfill her quest when everything unravels. Fleeing for her life, she heads to the mountains of upstate New York, where she unexpectedly finds new reason to live. Steve Sanders, a 38-year-old psychologist with a predictable life, is on a fishing trip in the mountains. Little does he know that all vacations are not created equal. Within 24 hours, they catch a few trout, have a passionate affair, shoot and kill a man, are involved in two gun battles, receive wounds, and end up in Miami, Florida. All this, and as Steve says, they still have six days of vacation left. Their relationship touches long-buried feelings in Jennifer, and shatters the mundane existence suffocating Steve. Catch and Release, a romance/suspense novel, is the story of two lives from vastly different backgrounds, drawn together by fate and a common love of the great outdoors. The crossing of Jennifer’s and Steve’s paths releases an explosion of love, passion, adventure, and ultimately a reason for a shared journey.

Tall, Dark & Determined Welcome to Hope Falls where three enterprising young females are accepting applications for husbands-for-hire. With one woman already snagged, Lacey Lyman is one of only two remaining. No one really catches her eye until a handsome hunter arrives. Will Lacey find a way to bag her prey? Determined to investigate why Hope Falls’s mine collapsed, Chase Dunstan poses as a potential husband and a hunter, giving him the perfect excuse to poke around inside and outside of town. If only he could get the chatterbox Lacey Lyman off his trail. Can he keep his cover while solving the mystery of the mine?

The Good Father As the Chief of Rheumatology at Columbia Presbyterian, Dr. Paul Allen's specialty is diagnosing patients with conflicting symptoms, patients other doctors have given up on. He lives a contented life in Westport with his second wife and their twin sons—hard won after a failed marriage earlier in his career that produced a son named Daniel. In the harrowing opening scene of this provocative and affecting novel, Dr. Allen is home with his family when a televised news report announces that the Democratic candidate for president has been shot at a rally, and Daniel is caught on video as the assassin.

Everneath Last spring, Nikki Beckett vanished, sucked into an underworld known as the Everneath. Now she’s returned—to her old life, her family, her boyfriend—before she’s banished back to the underworld . . . this time forever. She has six months before the Everneath comes to claim her, six months for good-byes she can’t find the words for, six months to find redemption, if it exists. Nikki longs to spend these precious months forgetting the Everneath and trying to reconnect with her boyfriend, Jack, the person most devastated by her disappearance—and the one person she loves more than anything. But there’s just one problem: Cole, the smoldering immortal who enticed her to the Everneath in the first place, has followed Nikki home. Cole wants to take over the throne in the underworld and is convinced Nikki is the key to making it happen. And he’ll do whatever it takes to bring her back, this time as his queen. As Nikki’s time on the Surface draws to a close and her relationships begin slipping from her grasp, she is forced to make the hardest decision of her life: find a way to cheat fate and remain on the Surface with Jack or return to the Everneath and become Cole’s queen.

Beyonders: A world Without Heroes The magic begins again as bestselling author Brandon Mull brings his newest blockbuster-ready fantasy series directly to Aladdin!
Jason Walker lives a predictable life: going to school, playing baseball, volunteering at the local zoo—until one day he falls through a tunnel near the hippo tank and ends up in a new, utterly foreign world. In Lyrian, the people dress differently, behave differently, and all live in fear of their malicious Emperor, Surroth. But in Jason’s search for a way home, he learns of a magical, ancient word that could destroy the terrifying Surroth. With his accidental knowledge of one of the word’s six syllables, Jason finds himself in great danger and must embark on an epic quest to discover the remaining syllables and take down his powerful new enemy. Jason and his companion, Rachel—a fellow Beyonder who also arrived in Lyrian suddenly and without understanding why—must face challenges to their bodies, minds, and hearts and encounter places and people they can barely believe are real. In a world with no heroes, and no hope, Jason finds himself faced with the prospect of becoming the hero he never imagined he could be.

Every Other Day Every other day, Kali D'Angelo is a normal sixteen-year-old girl. She goes to public high school. She attends pep rallies. She's human. And then every day in between . . . She's something else entirely. Though she still looks like herself, every twenty-four hours predatory instincts take over and Kali becomes a feared demon-hunter with the undeniable urge to hunt, trap, and kill zombies, hellhounds, and other supernatural creatures. Kali has no idea why she is the way she is, but she gives in to instinct anyway. Even though the government considers it environmental terrorism.

A Discovery of Witches In a sparkling debut, A Discovery of Witches became the "it" book of early 2011, bringing Deborah Harkness into the spotlight and galvanizing fans around the world. In this tale of passion and obsession, Diana Bishop, a young scholar and the descendant of witches, discovers a long-lost and enchanted alchemical manuscript deep in Oxford's Bodleian Library. Its reappearance summons a fantastical underworld, which she navigates with her leading man, vampire geneticist Matthew Clairmont. Harkness has created a universe to rival those of Anne Rice, Diana Gabaldon, and Elizabeth Kostova, and she adds a scholar's depth to this riveting story of magic and suspense.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Oops: Public backs web blocking in Google-funded poll

Analysis Talk about an inconvenient fact. A survey into US attitudes to internet piracy shows strong public support for blocking access to websites guilty of serial copyright infringement. No fewer than 58 per cent support the idea of ISPs blocking the pirate sites, and 36 per cent disagree with this. Of the respondents, 61 per cent want sites like Facebook to take more action to screen for infringing material.

For the rest of this article, follow the link to "The Register."

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Why Might A Publisher Pull Its E-Books From Libraries?

Following yesterday’s news that Penguin, citing security concerns, is pulling its new e-books from libraries—and making none of them available for library lending through Kindle—many are wondering why the publisher would do such a thing. (Penguin and Random House had been the only two “big six” publishers to offer unfettered access to e-books through libraries; now Random House is alone in doing so.)
To read the rest of this very interesting article, please follow the link to the article.  

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

We're taking a few days off to celebrate Thanksgiving with our family and friends.  Have a safe and wonderful Thanksgiving and we'll "talk" soon.  Oh, and enjoy a good book while you're at it!!!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Monday Morning Introductions


Fission First they tried to deny her. Then they tried to destroy her. But she survived to discover nuclear fission and spark the race for the atomic bomb. Imagine if you would, a story of greed and betrayal, intrigue and danger, war and destruction, the slaughter of the innocents on a biblical scale and the collapse of empire. And imagine at the centre of it all one little woman, brilliant but shy, victimized but resolute, and ultimately vindicated. What a story that would make! Well, you don't have to imagine it, because that is the Lise Meitner story. And I didn't have to invent any of it . . . it's all true.

The Smile of the Cat The young adults of the planet Kansas face a crisis that threatens the happiness of many in their peaceful world… "She screamed the air from her lungs, gasped, and screamed again, repeating herself until the pain became so great it took her voice. As her mind began to cloud-over, she heard the Storyteller speak... Juliet held tightly to Maryan’s presence inside her mind, as she was led to a quiet place where there was no pain; she took comfort in the belief that because her baby was inside her, he was with her in this peaceful place, and was safe." … and memories of abuse while in a Zaiuni breeding program threaten the possibility of physical love… "'I’ve heard things,' Tairun said, 'Harvesters, when they have been drinking, are prone to speak of experiences they’ve had.' 'Harvesters, when they’ve been drinking, are prone to do things to Zaiuni men. Or did, back in those Dark Days,' Damon spoke, regaining his composure." Fourth in the series that began with "The Storyteller", "The Smile of the Cat" is a story of love, loss, compassion and the power to heal.

Dangerous Ambition Born in the 1890s on opposite sides of the Atlantic, friends for more than forty years, Dorothy Thompson and Rebecca West lived strikingly parallel lives that placed them at the center of the social and historical upheavals of the twentieth century. In Dangerous Ambition, Susan Hertog chronicles the separate but intertwined journeys of these two remarkable women writers, who achieved unprecedented fame and influence at tremendous personal cost.

Defending Jacob Andy Barber has been an assistant district attorney in his suburban Massachusetts county for more than twenty years. He is respected in his community, tenacious in the courtroom, and happy at home with his wife, Laurie, and son, Jacob. But when a shocking crime shatters their New England town, Andy is blindsided by what happens next: His fourteen-year-old son is charged with the murder of a fellow student. Every parental instinct Andy has rallies to protect his boy. Jacob insists that he is innocent, and Andy believes him. Andy must. He’s his father. But as damning facts and shocking revelations surface, as a marriage threatens to crumble and the trial intensifies, as the crisis reveals how little a father knows about his son, Andy will face a trial of his own—between loyalty and justice, between truth and allegation, between a past he’s tried to bury and a future he cannot conceive.

RingGoRound 1 Ring..2 Women..100 Years Set in Europe, mainly Amsterdam and Italy, RingGoRound tells a double tale. Two compassionate women, living a hundred years apart, are connected by an antique ring. Their lives reverberate and echo each other. The fascinating men attracted to them weave intrigue, glamour, mystery, cruelty and love into the suspenseful web. Marlene of long ago tells her secrets through the voice or the ring to relay her story to modern-day Marieke. The book's theme is ruled by true affection and the will to give as well as receive undying love.

Thorns on Roses A private investigator launches a vendetta to find and destroy the Thorns on Roses gang. Tom Jeffries, a PI in Broward County, Florida, is a man with a past-ex-Special Forces, ex-Dallas cop. But mostly, he's a man driven by a thirst for justice. His brand of justice. When a seventeen-year-old girl, the stepdaughter of Tom's best friend, Charlie Rogers, dies in the midst of a brutal gang rape, Tom vows to avenge her death. Following a well laid out plan, Jeffries methodically stalks the gang. As he eliminates them one by one, the police get closer to connecting him with the disappearances. Rushing will invite catastrophe, but Tom cannot wait...

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

3 Tips on How to Find Your Perfect Reading Glasses

Here's a wonderful guest post on selecting reading glasses, which many of us, er, older readers will find useful.  Thanks to Stacie Grissom of Reading Glasses Shopper for writing such a useful article.

I've always been a lifelong glasses-wearer, but it wasn't until a few years ago when they started to bother me. The summer before I left for college, something in my eyes just switched and it was impossible for me to wear my contacts anymore. My eyes itched and burned and I couldn't bear to wear anything other than my glasses. At first I was a little bummed. I know the bookish and nerdy stereotypes that people associate with the bespectacled portion of the population and I didn't want to be categorized like that. (Even if I have read all the Harry Potter books at least 5 times and always completed the summer reading challenge at my local library.) :)

Recently, my mom has had a bit of trouble with her vision as well. After countless experiences in the grocery store where she would hold up an product and ask, "What's this say?" I finally convinced her that she needed some help in the vision department. Between my personal experience with glasses, helping my mom find reading glasses, and my day job as a writer for Reading Glasses Shopper, I feel as though I have a few glasses tips up my sleeve.

1. Find a pair of glasses that you love. Your glasses have to fit your personality for you to love them. I have had some glasses in the past that I liked alright, but I didn't love them. Now I have clear classes and I think they are the best. Glasses are something that you could potentially wear every day. Choose a good pair.
clear glasses
(My clear glasses and I.)

Tip 2: Choose glasses in colors that look good on you.
Because you wear glasses on y our face, (not to point out the obvious or anything) you should really think about the colors that look good against your skin tone and choose glasses that are flattering. Ehow has a really great article on finding your skin tone season so that you can make sure you don’t wear a pair of glasses that make you seem pale or washed out.
how to choose glasses complexion

3. Figure out which strength of reading glasses you need.
Contrary to what you might think, you do not have to go to the eye doctor to figure out your reading glasses prescription. You can if you'd like, but there is a much easier way to figure out reading glasses’ prescriptions with this print-out diopter chart. These charts are also in drugstores if you want to try on reading glasses there to figure out if you need 1.25 glasses or 3.00 glasses.

I hope this helps! :)

Stacie Grissom is a writer for Reading Glasses Shopper where she writes about everything from how to fix your reading glasses to reading glasses myths. In her spare time, Stacie loves to read, write for her DIY craft blog, and play with her yellow Labrador, Bridget.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Amazon's Lending Library

There are a lot of people unhappy with Amazon's latest move - it's highly touted "Lending Library."  The "Big Six" publishers have refused to go along with this program which, in large part, appears to be a giveaway to Amazon's customers.  What benefit does the publisher get?  Not a lot.  The latest group to voice their distaste is the Author's Guild.  They've posted a great article about the mess on their site.  Read and learn more!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Author Interview with A.H. Cameron Strother

Today we're talking with A.H. Cameron Strother, author of Cheers to Life: True to Myself

FQ: What made you want to write this book? Do you believe in this world, as it is today, that inspiration is what is truly missing?

I wrote Cheers to Life – True to Myself because I believe it’s very important to be comfortable with self and to trust our inner voice. The book explores the concept that when we can’t find inspiration from others, it’s because it is actually within our own heart. When I wrote Cheers to Life – True to Myself, my goal was to intimately explore the topic of what it means to savor life’s journey by being true to self. This is an evolution that each of us must explore – and sometimes the journey is very lonely. In a world where uncertainty has become the norm, Cheers to Life – True to Myself encourages readers to engage in inner dialogue, to pause and make peace with the past, and move forward to a brighter future with positive energy.

Author A.H. Cameron Strother
Often we are consumed with so many multi-tasking activities that we don’t take time to celebrate life’s priceless moments. Life’s emergencies take over and we become victimized by a routine of fixing yet another crisis. In Cheers to Life – True to Myself, I remind readers that we are indeed in charge of our own destiny. The affirmations and passages in Cheers to Life – True to Myself encourages readers to hear their own voice above all of society’s noise, and to embrace this unique sound because once you clearly hear your own voice, it will open the door to inner peace.

FQ: I know you received a Master of Arts degree, is your “message” - meditation and really concentrating on self-worth - a major mission of yours?

Yes, I agree with that statement. I earned M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in the field of Business. I earned both while working full time and as a doctoral candidate, I juggled work hours, marriage, raising children, and pets. My message is that we must turn thoughts into actions. We must be willing to make sacrifices to achieve goals. Obstacles should be managed as temporary detours – not permanent roadblocks. The decision to enforce positive change involves deep levels of commitment and fortitude. It’s about making a personal commitment to being the person you are destined to be – and not allowing anyone to stand in the way of your accomplishments. Cheers to Life – True to Myself challenges readers to follow through on aspirations and goals, so they are empowered to live a life of purpose.

FQ: There was a brief mention of your manufacturing company operating in the gourmet coffee industry. Can you tell readers a little more about that?

In my career, I have worked for a number of large corporations and I’ve always been employed in the manufacturing sector. My coffee company, TruBlend Café ( is a distribution company that my husband and I started after a trip to Costa Rica where we met several growers and coffee farm owners. TruBlend Café sells gourmet quality Arabica coffees from various parts of the world: Ethiopia, Colombia, Zimbabwe, Brazil, Australia, and Costa Rica – to name a few. Most of our coffees are roasted in South Carolina and this includes the African coffees. For current offerings and to stay updated, please check our website (Editor's note: Cheers to Life: True to Myself is also listed on the TruBlend Café site at:

FQ: Can you tell us a bit about your time at Eastside High School? I am aware that this school was portrayed in a movie and was introduced to the public in a slightly “bad” way.

I was raised in Paterson, New Jersey and was enrolled in the public school system. I graduated from Eastside High School (EHS). Eastside High School is located in the inner city of Paterson and as a result, many resources are not as readily available as they are in more suburban areas. The school became famous when Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc. distributed a biographical film (1989) that was based on true events at EHS. The film was “Lean on Me” and suddenly EHS was cast on the world stage as a dysfunctional educational institution. Because I am a product of Eastside High School, I must say that my urban experiences helped to mold me to become the person I am today. I beg to question, if I graduated from a different high school or a different environment, would I be as passionate as I am today?

Memories of Eastside High will always be a motivating force in my life. In the introduction of Cheers to Life – True to Myself, I reflected on a defining moment of my teen years: When my high school guidance counselor told me that my future would not require a college education. As a 14-year old, I didn’t fully understand the enormity of the counselor’s comments; however her words burned in my youthful mind. As an adult, I still think about the impact and volatility of those words. Through the passages in Cheers to Life – True to Myself, I send a strong message that despite what the world places in your corner, you must always have confidence in yourself. Yes, some will doubt your abilities. Be well advised because you must remember that you are in charge of your destiny. Your challenge is to stay focused. Choose to move forward. It is your decision.

FQ: Is inspirational writing something that you will be doing more of in the future?

Yes, I plan to release more inspirational titles as eBook and traditional print books. I enjoy writing and many people can relate to my passages, meditations, and daily affirmations. My books are designed to be ideal for people of all age groups – as young as teen-agers to those that are senior citizens. Because inspiration is universal, the book’s designs are very neutral. Likewise, the colors are not feminine, nor masculine. Cheers to Life – True to Myself was designed in a manner that would appeal to a wide range of people.

FQ: Encouragement in this very harsh world is hard to find. What with the war, the economy, jobless rates - there isn’t a great deal to CHEER about for many people. Can you tell us what motivates you or helps you to stay so positive and optimistic?

"Smokey-Blue" - one of the author's cats
All of us endure periods where we struggle to be positive or optimistic. The problem occurs when we are unable to detach from negativity; when we become so consumed by problems that we begin to lose our own identity. Sometimes we are surrounded by so much adversity that we forget that we have received the gift of “life,” and this life – this experience should be cherished. Life is priceless and when we disconnect from material things, we can start the journey to healing the inner heart. By focusing on what truly brings inner contentment, you will be sustained because you will find peace.

FQ: This book’s mission is a very real and much-needed one. Have you any interest to move forward into holding seminars or public speaking events that would bring your “voice” to the masses?

I look forward to participating in speaking engagements and I also have an interest in working with smaller groups – just simply sharing information and expounding on different ideas. My belief is that we can learn more from others if we simply allow ourselves to be open to the experience; if we are willing to remove barriers and stereotypes that we’ve grown up with. Quite frankly, sometimes we create barriers where none should exist.

To learn more about Cheers to Life: True to Myself please read the review at: Feathered Quill Book Reviews.

Reviewer's Tip - Who is Your Publisher/Printer?

This is really a marketing tip, not a reviewing tip, but what the heck, I'll put it under our regular column name.

I've just returned from a 3-day book signing at a large (100,000 people over 4 days) annual event.  I attend every year and have a regular following there - which is always nice.  I sell a LOT of books.  I'm not bragging, but rather making a point.  The reason I mention this is because I've done my homework and found events that are targeted to my reading audience.  While at this signing, I had two authors visit me at my booth, authors who had been sent to me by people who knew me/knew of my success. 

These two authors had both self-published but were not enjoying robust sales.  The reason?  Both needed to study their market/niche to get a better feel for where to sell their books, but more importantly, both books were priced too high.  And the reason they were priced high?  Both authors had used AuthorHouse to print their books.  This vanity (or subsidy) press is not a true printer but rather a "publisher" with a very high cost to book ratio.  One author didn't understand the difference between "Publisher" and "Printer" while the other was simply anxious to learn how I printed my books so inexpensively (compared to her).  She thought it was a secret, that these inexpensive printers were hidden from self-publishers.  Her 80 page book cost her $10/book to print!  Gulp!  How on earth can you sell these books and a) get anyone to pay what you have to sell them for and b) make anything remotely resembling a profit?

I gave both authors a quick lesson on how to find "real" book printers, how to get a quote, what sort of print runs they needed to get the price down and sent them on their way.  Hopefully their next books/print runs will do much better.  The lesson?  Do you homework BEFORE you print your book!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Monday Morning Introductions

Here's a sample of the books that came in for review this week.  Check them out!


Arizona: Way Out West & Wacky Highlights of Arizona's history are punctuated with true but gross, humorous, interesting and wacky stories and facts about the Grand Canyon State. Readers learn: What Geronimo and yawning have in common. Why sleeping in wet sheets didn t mean you had a nighttime accident. What a glass eye has to do with Phoenix being Arizona s state capital How many teachers it would take standing head-to-toe to go from the bottom to the top of the Grand Canyon. Which Arizona city got its name by accident and much, much more! But it takes more than amusing writing and fascinating facts to keep children's attention, so the AZ WOWW award-winning creative team added word searches, crossword puzzles, coloring pages, recipes, crafts and more to the mix.

Inside the Jewish Bakery: Recipes and Memories from the Golden Age of Jewish Baking More than a collection of recipes, Inside the Jewish Bakery chronicles the history and traditions as well as the distinctive baked goods of Ashkenazic Jewry in Eastern Europe and America. Drawing on sources as diverse as the Talmud, Sholom Aleichem and the yizkor books that memorialize communities destroyed in the Holocaust, the authors have crafted an engaging edible history that endows their recipes with a powerful sense of time and place.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Green Eggs and Ham!

There's an upcoming auction event that is providing the public the opportunity to bid on 3 original drawings from the one and only Dr. Seuss. The winner of this package will receive original drawings of “A Few Green Eggs and Ham for You,” “Cat in the Hat,” and “One Old Fish.” 

This package is up for grabs thanks to The Moyer Foundation and their Dream Catchers event on November 11, 2011. Throughout this event The Moyer Foundation will auction off once in a lifetime ‘dreams’ which are catered towards those seeking exclusive opportunities in sports, travel and entertainment. Although the event is physically taking place in New York City, Dr. Seuss enthusiasts across the country can bid for the items online through will be open for people to place their bids, bid increments, and maximum bids until noon on the day of the event. At the event that evening, a representative from will participate in the live auction on behalf of the online bidders. 

Another opportunity art fan will appreciate is up for auction in The Moyer Foundation’s Super Silent Auction. The auction is offering original artwork of “Snoopy” and “Chuck on the Mound” from Charles Schulz (all artwork signed by Charles Schulz). The Super Silent Auction items are available online prior to the event at their maximum bid price. (

Dr. Seuss Original Artwork
With 46 published children’s books, it’s hard to not grow up or be influenced by the creative and imaginative writer, poet and cartoonist Dr. Seuss. His most celebrated bookings including; Green Eggs and Ham, The Cat in the Hat, One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, Horton Hears a Who and How the Grinch Stole Christmas, have been recreated into television specials, feature films, and Broadway musicals—allowing the joy and lessons from his books to continue through the generations. Taking home three (3) original and one-of-a-kind Dr. Seuss drawings will forever capture the brilliance and imagination of these cherished stories.

Dream Includes:
•Dr. Seuss "A Few Green Eggs and Ham for you" original marker drawing on paper
•Dr. Seuss "Cat in the Hat" original pencil and crayon drawing on paper
•Dr. Seuss "One Old Fish" original black marker drawing on paper

Super Silent Auction item –

Charles Schulz Original Artwork
Charles Schulz "Snoopy" original black in drawing on paper. Charles Schulz "Churck on the Mound" original character pencil drawing on paper. All artwork signed by Charles Schulz.

Value: $ 4,400