Thursday, April 24, 2008

BOOK SPOTLIGHT: JOURNEY FROM HEAD TO HEART: LIVING AND WORKING AUTHENTICALLY by Nancy Oelklaus

Self-help author Nancy Oelklaus began her career as a high school English teacher in Marshall, Texas. She earned the B.A. in Communications from Oklahoma Baptist University, the M.A. in English from the University of North Texas and the doctorate in educational administration from Texas A&M University, Commerce. For nine years she served as assistant superintendent for instructional services in Marshall, followed by nine years as executive director for the Texas Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Since 2000 she has worked as an executive coach in Austin, serving entrepreneurial clients in education, social services, financial services, real estate, public relations, and city administration. Dr. Oelklaus has received numerous awards and honors for civic leadership, including the Vision to Action Award from the Visions of a Better World Foundation in Boston. She was named Leader of Leaders by Sam Houston State University’s Department of Educational Leadership and Woman of Achievement by the Business and Professional Women of Marshall, Texas. In 2007 she received the Profile in Excellence Award from Oklahoma Baptist University. Her articles have appeared in publications including The American School Board Journal, The Austin Business Journal, The Systems Thinker, and AustinWoman. Her first book, entitled Journey from Head to Heart: Living and Working Authentically, will be published in March 2008 by Loving Healing Press of Ann Arbor, Michigan. Three coaching CD’s by Nancy are available through Amazon.

You can visit her website at http://www.headtoheart.info/.


Journey from Head to Heart Synopsis:


JOURNEY FROM HEAD TO HEART: Living and Working Authentically is a toolkit for those who are exhausted from solving never-ending problems, working harder and harder and not arriving at the destination where they truly want to be. The tools and processes are designed for people who are a little wary of “touchy-feely” or “New Age” approaches. Journey from Head to Heart is exactly that, integrating logic, reason, emotion, spirituality, recovery, science, and ancient wisdom from a variety of sources to create a recipe for wholeness.


Journey from Head to Heart Excerpt:


It’s an exciting adventure to discover that we can, in the words of poet, author, consultant, and Director of the LBJ Library, Betty Sue Flowers, “tell a different story” about our experiences, processing through the negative emotions surrounding them. We can replace resentment with forgiveness and understanding. We can replace self-censorship with self-acceptance. Once begun, this is a recursive process. We keep coming back to it any time a negative emotion or experience arises or a situation reminds us of an earlier trauma. Instead of staying trapped in the memory, we process through and replace it with one that brings us peace.


*****

You can purchase your copy of JOURNEY FROM HEAD TO HEART: LIVING AND WORKING AUTHENTICALLY by Nancy Oelklaus at Amazon by clicking here.


If you would like to leave a comment for Nancy, click here.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Interview with Entrepreneur and Author Karin Abarbanel

Karin Abarbanel is an entrepreneur, marketing consultant, and expert on start-up strategies for women. In addition to her new book, Birthing the Elephant, she is the author of How to Succeed on Your Own and 3 other how-to guides. She served as the spokesperson for Avon’s “Corporation to Cottage” initiative.A frequent guest on broadcast/cable TV and radio, Karin has appeared on ABC TV’s “Good Morning America,” CNBC, and WCBS, among others. She has been a featured speaker at awide range of organizations and universities. She received her MA from Columbia University and her BA from Middlebury College.

She lives in Montclair, NJ with her husband, son, and her dog, Dr. Watson, who holds a PhD in Snackology.


You can visit her website at http://www.birthingtheelephant.com/.

Welcome to The Writer's Life, Karin. Can you tell us a little about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?

I love to write and always have! I’ve been writing ever since I could hold a pencil. My first assignment came from my dad, who worked at home as a magazine writer. He gave me a legal pad and asked me to write a letter to his editor, Mrs. Pumpernickel, asking her to send him more money! Eager to oblige, I filled my legal pad with notes. I couldn’t write yet, but no problem! I was happy to scribble away. Then my dad took my letter and put it in an envelope and we walked over to the mailbox and dropped it in. What a thrill! I was hooked.

I wrote poetry as a kid and plays – and even conscripted one of my sisters, Stephanie, to play a prince in second grade – she was not pleased! I stumbled into writing my first book when I was in my 20s; Birthing the Elephant is my 5th book – all non fiction. Four of my books have been how-to guides written for women. I love sharing what I’ve learned with other women and encouraging them to find work they really love and are passionate about.

I am writing a play on Sojourner Truth, the African-American evangelist from the Civil War – this is taking a long time, but it’s a labor of love. I am also branching out into fiction and am thinking of joining a writer’s group to help push me along on this front.

What kind of research was involved in writing Birthing the Elephant?

Birthing the Elephant is a how-to book for aspiring women entrepreneurs: part portable success coach, part action guide to the launch cycle of a new business, it is written to help women take the leap into launching their own ventures. The book is based on interviews with successful women business owners in a range of fields and with experts in areas like
peak performance, stress management, and resiliency. The book is action oriented, not academic. The research we did involved locating and interviewing women entrepreneurs
and experts – and finding out about trends in women’s business ownership.

How much input did you have into the design of the book cover?

Ten Speed Press was great to work with in every way. Its team actually came up with our title, Birthing the Elephant, which I have come to love. We looked at lots of different covers with elephants and briefcases, some photographic, some more cartoon like. Ultimately, we chose cover with a woman leaping – as if into her future. I actually suggested putting the baby elephant on the cover and Ten Speed went with my idea.
So we did have input, but Ten Speed made the ultimate decision – I’m happy with it!

Has it been a bumpy ride becoming a published author or has it been pretty well smooth sailing?

Every writer’s history is a tale in itself! I sort of “fell” into writing my first book when I was in my 20s and had no idea what I was doing; a skilled, and seasoned writer kindly bailed me out and became my coauthor. Then I co-wrote a 2nd book very soon after. Then I spent about 12 years in corporate marketing before writing my 3rd and 4th books close together. I took a break of about 8 years before teaming up with Bruce Freeman on Birthing the Elephant. So I guess you could say my ride was both smooth and bumpy, I lucked into my first 2 books, but had to work really hard to make the next 3 happen.

For Birthing the Elephant, how long did it take from the time you signed the contract to its release?

We signed the contract in January ’07 and the book was released in March ’08.

Did you have an agent? Is it necessary to have one?

Yes, we did have an agent. In today’s marketplace I think it really helps tremendously to have an one. Even as an author with four books to my credit with publishers like Henry Holt and McGraw-Hill, selling Birthing the Elephant was challenging. It really helps to have an advocate actively promoting your work – someone who knows which editors might be receptive to your idea. We had a very strong proposal, an exploding target audience of women in small business, and we had a strong marketing platform. Having a marketing platform is really vital. Publishers today want to know that you have “built-in” audience for your book and that you are willing and able to actively promote it. This is a full-time job in itself, I’m finding.

Do you plan subsequent books?

Right now, I’m very busy getting the word out about Birthing the Elephant, but I’m sure there are other books in my future. I’d love to make a foray into fiction!

Are you a morning writer or a night writer?

A night writer, absolutely! I always have been. I was the kid reading in bed until all hours with a flashlight and composing poems in the dark! For some reason, I just can’t really get my creative writing juices going until the sun goes down. I think it’s the quiet and the night wrapping me around. It’s comforting.

If money was no object, what would be the first thing you would invest in to promote your book?

Great question! I would take a cross-country tour to book stores, I’d float an elephant-shaped balloon as a publicity stunt, and I’d invest in a TV campaign.

How important do you think self-promotion is and in what ways have you been promoting your book offline and online?

I have learned from hard experience that self-promotion is a must! I didn’t know much about marketing when I wrote my first books and although they had great information, they disappeared quickly from the bookshelves. This time around, my coauthor and I are doing everything we can to get the word out ourselves. Offline, we are doing radio shows, writing print articles, speaking, and working with the women we interviewed to get newspaper exposure. Online, we have a Web site; I am writing articles for great sites like Work It, Mom, which attracts many aspiring women entrepreneurs; I just did a teleseminar; and I’m doing this blog tour, which is lots of fun!

As an author, I am finding the Internet very empowering. You don’t have to sit and wait for a TV show to call – you can go out and connect with people very cost-effectively.
It allows you to be very proactive. Marketing is very labor intensive, but it’s also very rewarding. After working hard to write Birthing the Elephant and gathering so much inspiring, creative advice for women launchers, I want to reach as many women as I can with what I’ve learned. I know it can help them beat the odds and realize their dreams.

Any final words of wisdom for those of us who would like to be published?

Keep writing! In writing Birthing the Elephant, I was much more disciplined than I had been in the past – and this really worked for me. I made it a habit to write at least two hours a day, with just one day off each week. I made steady progress and pushed forward through rough patches. Here’s one thing I learned: If you show up, the muse arrives!

On the publishing front, my advice is: be persistent. Believe that you have a voice that deserves to be heard and that you are worthy of being in print because you have something valuable to say. And just keep at it! Writing a great proposal is also key.
Write the Perfect Book Proposal by Jeff Herman is a very helpful book in this area.

Some parting words from Bobbi Brown in Birthing the Elephant: “If there are no doors open, then go find a window! Don’t take no for an answer.”

Where can readers find you on the web and buy your book?

They can go to http://www.birthingtheelephant.com/ to order the book or to bookstores.

Karin Abarbanel's virtual book tour has been brought to you by the fine folks of Pump Up Your Book Promotion and choreographed by Dorothy Thompson.

If you would like to leave a message for Karin, click here!




Monday, April 21, 2008

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: CHARLOTTE BARNES, AUTHOR OF THE MANSFIELD LIGHTHOUSE CATS

Charlotte Barnes is a proud 1993 graduate of Florida State University. She is a former teacher who began writing when she was between day jobs. She loves college football, and a good nap when she can get one!


Welcome to The Writer's Life, Charlotte. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?
I’m a Florida poet, author, and humorist. I have a website at http://www.charlottebarnesonline.com/. I’m a Florida State University graduate who enjoys college football, reading, and napping. I’ve been writing off-and-on since 1996, but my first book was published in 2005.

Can you please tell us about your book and why you wrote it?
“The Mansfield Lighthouse Cats” is a collection of poems covering everything from stray cats to football to genetic testing. This collection was written as I’ve always love to play with words. I wanted to create a collection with wide appeal that even someone who doesn’t read poetry on a regular basis could enjoy.

What kind of research was involved in writing “THE MANSFIELD LIGHTHOUSE CATS”?
My research was living!

How much input did you have into the design of your book cover?
I was able to offer suggestions for the book cover, but I’m no graphic designer, so I somewhat leave it up to the publisher to know what they’re doing. They always surprise and delight me with what they add.

Has it been a bumpy ride to becoming a published author or has it been pretty well smooth sailing?
I would say bumpy, definitely. I could probably wallpaper my house with all the rejection letters I’ve received.

For this particular book, how long did it take from the time you signed the contract to its release?
I think it was about 3-4 months. That’s one of the great aspects of print-on-demand.

Do you have an agent and, if so, would you mind sharing who he/is is?
If not, have you ever had an agent or do you even feel it’s necessary to have one? No, I’ve never had one. I do see why some feel the need, though. It’s getting harder to get the foot in the door at the big publishers. An agent might help in that way. I think that’s why we’re seeing all the self-publishing people, and the print-on-demand folks—lots of talented authors who still need a way to get their work out to the masses.

Do you plan subsequent books?
I have a children’s book, “Stella Ducktropolis,” in the galley stage now. I try to keep my news updated on my site. I’m also editing several works now.

Are you a morning writer or a night writer?
Morning—I feel fresher then. After the day job and commute, I’m too tired at night to put forth any good effort. I do always have pen and paper handy, though, in case inspirations comes calling!

If money was no object, what would be the first thing you would invest in to promote your book?
I would probably pay for billboards on the highway or airtime on television.
Self-promotion is very important. I can only speak to my own experience, but unfortunately, unless you’re a big name, you sometimes feel it’s, “Here’s your book. Now go out and sell it!” It’s very hard. I’ve found it particularly so because I’m of a rather reserved nature.
It’s a very exciting time, though. I think that the idea of a virtual book tour is an extraordinary idea! I’m having fun, the bloggers have been extremely kind, and the folks at Pump Up Your Book Promotion are awesome!
I’ve been promoting recently through a recent interview with ArtistFirst Radio Network on February 27, 2008 (http://www.artistfirst.com)/. It was my first radio interview!
My website hasn’t been up long, but I welcome each new visitor. It’s http://www.charlottebarnesonline.com/.
I also like to give out business cards and free books (sometimes).

Any final words of wisdom for those of us who would like to be published?
I would say to always remember how beautiful words can be. Always treat everyone with kindness and respect. Surround yourself with other goal-oriented people who will encourage you in your dreams.

Thank you for coming, Charlotte! Would you like to tell my readers where they can find you on the web and how everyone can buy your book?
Thank you very much! They can find me at http://www.charlottebarnesonline.com/. The books are available through Amazon and other booksellers, or through the publisher at http://www.publishamerica.com/. The titles of my books are “Creative Mojo: The Brainstormer’s Book of Gift Ideas for Anytime,” “Don’t Schedule Your Wedding on Game Day,” and “The Mansfield Lighthouse Cats.”

Charlotte Barnes' virtual book tour is brought to you by the fine folks of Pump Up Your Book Promotion and choreographed by Rebecca Camareno.
If you would like to leave a message for Charlotte, click here.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Motivational Speaker Robin Jay on Blog Talk Radio Today!

Motivational speaker and author Robin Jay appeared live on Ronda Del Boccio's radio show The Storylady - Innerspace LIVE! Author Interviews on Blog Talk Radio Today! Robin is the author of The Art of the Business Lunch and is often called "The Queen of the Business Lunch." Listen to Robin's interview here!

You can visit Robin's website at http://www.robinjay.com/.

This promotional ad has been brought to you by the fine folks of Pump Up Your Book Promotion, an innovative public relations agency specializing in online book promotion. You can visit their website at www.pumpupyourbookpromotion.com.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

In the Spotlight: Tony Robles, Author of JOEY GONZALEZ, GREAT AMERICAN

Tony Robles was born in Brooklyn, New York. After serving in the U.S. Navy, he pursued a career in law enforcement with the U.S. Customs Service. He and his wife currently live in the Pacific Northwest and have two children and one grandchild.

Growing up Hispanic in a tough neighborhood supposedly made Tony Robles one of the “disadvantaged,” needing special preferences in order to compete. Tony’s mom didn’t agree, and she is the inspiration behind this book.

You can visit his website at http://www.joeygonzalez.us/.

Joey Gonzalez Great American Synopsis:

“How can I become a great American if I’m not an American in the first place?”

Third-grader Joey Gonzalez dreamed of becoming a great American. His plan? Study hard and learn everything he could. Then one day, his teacher said that because he was something called a “minority,” he wasn't smart enough to make his dream come true! Still, something called “affirmative action” could help him, she said…

But as Joey taps into the strength, intelligence and courage of his Spanish ancestors, he learns that personal pride, self-reliance and a love of learning—not special preferences—are the keys to becoming a good citizen…and a great American.

Purchase your copy of Joey Gonzalez, Great American at Amazon and other fine retailers.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: GABRIELLA GODDARD, AUTHOR OF GULP!

As a highly successful international marketing director Gabriella Goddard enjoyed an 18 year career spanning the globe including working in Mexico, Brazil, Japan, UK, France and New Zealand for companies like A.C. Nielsen and MCI/Worldcom. She thought her life was on track until one day a big change was forced upon her. The dot.com bubble burst and the start-up broadband company she worked for went bankrupt.

Overnight she was left without a job, an income and all the symbols of success that go with being a high flyer, including the expense account, swanky leather chair and big corner office.

This twist of fate was shortly followed by the devastating experience of a breast cancer scare. It forced Gabriella to take stock of her priorities and re-evaluate what was truly important in her life.

And that’s when she realized that the ladder she’d been so enthusiastically climbing had been leaning against the wrong wall!

She realized that true success comes from within. It comes from unlocking the innate talents and gifts we all have and allowing them to simply shine through. It comes from choosing to live our greatest life, one full of potential and possibility, rather than mediocrity. And it comes from knowing that we can make a difference, in our special own way.

So in 2001 Gabriella started Goddard International Ltd, a leadership development company dedicated to helping people to “leapfrog” to a completely new level of self awareness, professional growth and personal success by making fundament shifts in how they think, what they feel and what they do.

All it takes is a strong dose of inner clarity, vision, commitment and self belief. And Gabriella’s books, movie clips, coaching services and speaking topics are all aimed at catalyzing this shift.

Originally from New Zealand, Gabriella now lives a free spirited lifestyle with bases in London, New York and Spain.

You can visit her website at http://www.gulptime.com/ or her blog at http://www.gulpblog.com/.

Gulp! Synopsis:

What’s your dream? Your yearning? Your calling?

When Gabriella found a lump in her breast it was a real wake up call. Faced with her own mortality, she was forced to take a good hard look at her life. And that’s when she reconnected to her childhood dream of being a writer. She asked herself, “If not now…then when?”

Gulp! is the realisation of that dream and Gabriella’s message is clear; Give Up Living Passively! Drawing on cutting-edge coaching techniques and blending together Eastern and Western philosophies, she has created a 7 day crash course that offers a new way for people make powerful changes that really matter in their life – without waiting for the wake up call!

So, if you want to change your job, then start now. If you dream of setting up your own business, then start now. If you’ve always yearned of climbing Machu Pichu, then start now. If it’s time to leave a dysfunctional relationship, then start now. If you've dreamed of writing a children's book, then start now. Or if it’s time to deal with a health crisis, then start now.Here is a sample of the secrets you’ll find in Gulp!:- How to recognize your “pivot point” and say yes to change – effortlessly.- The Fear Cycle - and how you can break it in an instant.- Five powerful ways to cultivate inner calm – so you stay strong even in the midst of chaos.- Eight “sparks” to ignite your imagination – and do things you never thought possible. - The five step plan that beats procrastination – and actually turns your idea into action.- How to hone your intuition and instinct – and why it's your secret weapon.- Four easy techniques to stay focused – without losing momentum.Gulp! is a practical, effective everyday guide designed to inspire real people to make real changes. So whether you want to achieve results in seven days or take your time and do it over several months Gulp! will inspire you to kick start your change and help keep you on track to see it through to the end.

Read the Excerpt!

The Gulp! philosophy is simple. Challenges are good. They’re an opportunity to learn and grow. They give us a reason to stop and reflect upon what’s really important to us. They open us to new ideas and opportunities. And they provide us with the impetus to make quantum shifts in our life.

One of my personal quirks is that I’ve long been fascinated by martial arts movies. One great influence was the 1970’s television series called “Kung Fu” starring David Carradine as Kwai Chang Caine, a young, orphaned Shaolin monk and an expert in the ancient Chinese art of Kung Fu. His guide and mentor, an old blind Shaolin priest named Master Po, referred to him as “ah…grasshopper” and taught him about the nature of being and universal harmony. Caine himself, was a softly spoken and gentle character, except of course when he needed to defend himself from a vicious bounty hunter or Chinese assassin. Waiting patiently with all senses alert, he would turn calmly and swiftly taking on an approaching assailant with little fanfare, and dealing with them artfully and gracefully. More modern day movies like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon also display some exquisite examples of graceful and flowing Chinese martial arts scenes that blend stillness and alertness with the ability to act swiftly and elegantly.

Gulp! Wisdom
An attitude of alertness and inner calm is a most powerful weapon.
Takuan Soho, 15th century Samurai
Gulp Time

When faced with challenges in life, wouldn’t it be great to be able to deal with them in the same way? Swiftly and elegantly! Wouldn’t it be great to be so centred in yourself that the action you take is swift and right on target. Wouldn’t it be reassuring to know that when you step outside your comfort zone and into the void of the unknown, you’ll be able to deal with whatever comes up quickly and gracefully, because you are poised and balanced? And wouldn’t it be fabulous to build a sense of inner calm so strong that it gives you the inner power to face even bigger gulps in your life.

That’s why at the heart of the Gulp! philosophy is the importance of being able to calm the mind and build a strong inner core. True inner power comes from your mind and body being aligned and in synch with your soul. In the face of any challenge, this combination is formidable.

To help you face your challenge, I’ve created a 7 day program with one simple aim – that when you step up to your challenge, you can approach it calmly, courageously and confidently, that you can move through it swiftly and gracefully, and that you land on the other side poised and balanced with both feet on the ground.

Day 1: Dare & Defy
The challenge is there, whether you like it or not. So what are you going to do about it? If you’re not going to step up to it now, when will you? Day 1 is all about facing your challenge head on, exploring the deeper meaning beneath it, understand the root of any pain or suffering and making the ultimate choice of “go, or no go.”

Day 2: Breakdown & Breakthrough
The biggest thing holding you back is fear; fear of the unknown, fear of failure and the list of fears goes on. The aim of Day 2 is to master this fear. We’ll break it down and put it under the microscope so you can see it for what it really is. Then we’ll explore ways that you can transform fear from a brake that slows you down, into a propeller that moves you forward.

Day 3: Center & Connect
Being connected to your center and inner core is the fundamental foundation of the Gulp! philosophy. Only when you can silence your thoughts, can you connect to your deeper wisdom. Here there is no fear. Here there is only what is aligned to your true essence and what feels right. In Day 3 you’ll learn different ways to calm your mind and build a strong inner core. This will this help you make better choices and decisions, and remain centered and strong when the pressure hits.

Day 4: Imagine & Invent
When you shut up the chit chat and fears that plague your mind, you create “space” for new ideas and insights to emerge. What if this challenge is actually a catalyst? A once in a life time chance for you to make a quantum shift in your life? The aim of Day 4 is to expand your mind and get you thinking outside. We’ll get you brainstorming new ideas and looking at your challenge completely new perspectives.

Day 5: Plan & Prepare
After stirring up this creativity, it’s now time to chart your course and start to move forward. Day 5 is about defining where you’re heading and what do you need to do to get there. We’ll look at what you know, what you don’t know and what you need to find out. Then we’ll identify clear and targeted actions to take to get you there swiftly and gracefully. And finally we’ll explore ways that you can prepare yourself physically to keep your energy high as you head towards your Gulp

Day 6: Focus & Flow
As you step forward you move into the uncertainty of the unknown. Day 5 is all about encouraging you to let go of control and learn how to simply “be in the flow” as you walk down that path. Today, we’ll explore how intention, intuition and instinct can be powerful signposts to guide you. We’ll also look at what you need to let go of in order to stay light and agile. And you’ll learn how to alchemize any fear that might flare up in the moment.

Day 7: Gulp! & Go
By now, you’ll realise that there’s no turning back. You’re moving forward. You’re on the right path. And in many ways it might feel that the path is actually leading you. It’s Gulp! time. The aim of Day 7 is to inspire you to make that final leap. We’ll tie up any loose ends and then hear the stories of three people who, like you, have bitten the bullet, stepped up to the challenge and transformed their life in the process.

Epilogue
So…if you can make this Gulp!...what else is possible?

Purchase your copy of Gulp! at Amazon or other fine online bookstores!

Virtual Book Tour Workshop

This Friday, April 18th, Cheryl Malandrinos of Pump Up Your Book Promotion will be Dennis Griffin's guest on Blog Talk Radio for a Virtual Book Tour workshop. They will talk about virtual book tours and also answer questions from callers.
The link to Dennis' show is www.blogtalkradio.com/dennisngriffin. The show will be archived on the site shortly after its completion and can be played backor downloaded. The number to call in is (646) 478-0982.

I hope you'll join them on Friday, April 18th at 11 am Pacific/2 pm Eastern for this Virtual Book Tour workshop!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Author Interview: H. Peter Nennhaus, Author of QUO VADIS, ISRAEL?

H. Peter Nennhaus, a retired surgeon and Illinois resident, was raised in Berlin and became a U.S. citizen in 1961. He is the author of Boyhood, the 1930s and World War II, Memories, Comments and Views from the Other Side. Among his various interests, the study of the history of the 20th century, the Holocaust, and anti-Semitism has been a persistent focus.
You can visit his website at www.outskirtspress.com/quovadisirael.

Welcome to The Writer's Life, Peter! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?

Well, I hate to admit I’m in my seventies. I grew up in Berlin during Hitler’s time and first came to this country on a Fulbright scholarship in 1951/2. I came back in 1955 and have been a U.S. citizen since 1961. I practiced surgery in Chicago but liked to write just the same. It was only after my retirement that I had the time to turn to my hobbies, one of which was writing. My first book dealt with my youth during the war and also dealt with its historical background. That took years of study so that my first book Boyhood, The 1930s and the Second World War, was not published until 2002, even though its first chapters were jotted down in the 1970s.

Can you please tell us about your book and why you wrote it?

That is an unusual story. A cousin of mine told me about a trip they had taken to a stretch of land currently called the Kaliningrad Territory. That is the northern part of the old German province of East Prussia at the southern Baltic coast. When Germany lost the war, the Soviet Union and Poland annexed the province. It was the northern, Russian part where my cousin had traveled and his report was appalling. It is a failed state –- drugs, alcoholism, corruption, poverty, the Russian mafia, the works. The report struck me, for I remembered what a beautiful and prosperous land it had been. Suddenly, out of the blue, there was a thought: How prosperous and healthy would this land be today, had, in 1948, Israel been created here instead of in the Middle East. Lithuania and Poland, its only neighbors, have no claim to the land and so, there would be nobody in the world to accuse the Jews of having stolen their land. They would live there forever unchallenged in peace and prosperity. It was, of course, no more than a brief pipe dream and I dismissed it. Problem was, the next day the thought came back. Could it be that we transfer Israel there today, in the 21st century? That was a foolish thought as well and I promptly dismissed it too. Day after day, the intriguing idea came back, though, and it did not leave me alone. I guess I’d become progressively concerned about the fate and future of Israel in its war torn environment and was hoping for some kind of different solution. After perhaps ten days I made a decision: Look, I said to myself, you’ve got nothing else to do. Do a little research. That will finally prove this idea to be absurd, ridiculous and crazy and will dispel it once and for all. That’s what I did and to my surprise, after many months, my investigation proved the exact opposite: The transfer of Israel to the Baltic area was indeed feasible, affordable, beneficial for everyone involved, and, more than that, it was the only conceivable way to promise Israel permanence as a truly Jewish homeland. Obviously, that was big stuff to voice out loud in this world and far away from any Roadmap we have heard about. Yet, it would have been inexcusable to keep it a secret. It was a concept that needed to be promoted and discussed instead of being discarded right out of hand. And so I wrote it down, hoping it would catch some wind in its sails and attract attention.

You might wonder about the title. The question “quo vadis?” is well known to those of us old enough to remember a famous book written by the Polish Nobel prize winner Henryk Sienkievicz a hundred years ago, entitled Domine, quo vadis? It means, Lord, where are You going? “Quo vadis” entered the vernacular of many languages and is used to inquire about someone’s worrisome future. It seemed perfect to describe the concern about the future Israel is facing.

What kind of research was involved in writing “Quo Vadis, Israel?”?

Several questions had to be answered. What was the background of Zionism? What has happened to its goodwill and idealism? Why hasn’t peace been achieved in sixty years? How do the Arabs look at Israel and the West? What would have to happen to appease their animosity? What are the chances that peace and harmony are ever to come about in the Middle East? Is Israel’s permanence endangered by the higher birthrate of the Israeli Arabs? If so, how long will it be until they outnumber Israeli Jews? What are the history, climate, fertility and economic viability of the Kaliningrad Territory? Why would Russia sell the land to the Israelis? What are the chances that the Israelis agree to this plan? Who is going to pay for it and is it affordable? What benefits accruing to the Israelis, the Russians presently living in Kaliningrad, the Middle East, the European Union, the Russian Federation and the world at large?

The literature and the internet are replete with answers and thus, my research consisted of their careful review.

How much input did you have into the design of your book cover?

Outskirts Press offered a wide range of design and print for me to make my selection.

Has it been a bumpy ride to becoming a published author or has it been pretty well smooth sailing?

I guess the subject matter of the book looked too outlandish for regular publishers to venture into. Therefore I wasted about ten months in the attempt to find a publisher. Once I signed up with Outskirts Press, a demand self-publisher, the ball got rolling rapidly.

For this particular book, how long did it take from the time you signed the contract to its release?

Four months. That could have been shorter had it not been for two reasons: I had to wait for photographers to give me written permission to use their photos and also, I was out of the country for weeks. It seems otherwise it would have taken as little as two months.

Do you have an agent and, if so, would you mind sharing who he/is is? If not, have you ever had an agent or do you even feel it’s necessary to have one?

This is the first time I approached agents. I doubt I’d try them again. They all declined, but more importantly, their responses were unimpressive or even unprofessional and it was my impression they look for established authors and not much in serious non-fiction.

Do you plan subsequent books?

I have extensively edited and expanded my previous book about my youth in Berlin and plan to republish it. I’m in the early stage of sending out queries.

Are you a morning writer or a night writer?

Mornings are better.

If money was no object, what would be the first thing you would invest in to promote your book?


It appears there are various promotion routes available nowadays, but I’m not sure I can make an intelligent choice among them. Right now I’m perfectly happy with Pump Up Your Book Promotion.

How important do you think self-promotion is and in what ways have you been promoting your book offline and online?

I have not done anything offline yet with this book. My previous experiences with book signings, libraries, bookstores and the like have been very discouraging. As far as I understand the process, it has been my press release that has gotten the message to those whose business it is to promote my book that seems to be the way to go.

Any final words of wisdom for those of us who would like to be published?

Here is the wisdom of a novice: Three things are necessary in non-fiction. Firstly, you have to be a scholar to gather the data. Secondly, it is a true art to put it down in good English. And thirdly, you have to pray to heaven in order to find a publisher.

Thank you for coming, Peter! Would you like to tell my readers where they can find you on the web and how everyone can buy your book?

My website is http://outskirtspress.com//quovadisisrael? It will direct you to amazon.com and bn.com.
Peter's virtual book tour is brought to you by Pump Up Your Book Promotion and choreographed by Cheryl Malandrinos. If you would like to leave Peter a comment or ask him a question, click here!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Author Interview: Theresa Chaze, Author of FROM BLANK PAGE TO BOOK SHELVES

Theresa Chaze has been described as the woman who plays with dragons, especially the dragons of the mind. She leads her readers to magical realms and others worlds. Her work is based on her philosophy that all peoples can live together in peace as long as we come from respect, not only for ourselves but those who follow different paths or beliefs. Whether fiction or non-fiction, Ms Chaze uses her talent to help others find the path to healing and take back their own power. Her work has been compared to Marion Zimmer Bradley and Anne McCaffrey with an adult version of Harry Potter mixed in. Theresa Chaze's major works so far include the first two novels of the Dragon Clan Trilogy (Awakening the Dragon and Dragon Domain) , a Wiccan Book of Shadows, Out of the Shadows, and Into the Light, From Blank Page to Book Shelves--How to Successfully Create and Market Your Book and a free fantasy ebook called, Sisters, Mother, Daughters. She is also a publishing consultant and publicist who helps authors successful publish and market their own work. She publishes an ezine called, Messages From the Universe, which is available on her site http://www.theresachaze.com/.

Welcome to The Writer's Life, Theresa. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how long you've been writing?

I started when I was twelve, but I rapidly moved on to short stories then novels. I started my first novel just after graduating from high school. The more I got into it, the more I realized I was over my head. I went on to college not only to get the technical information that high school doesn't give, but to get the feed back I need to find my own voice. Although a writer spends a great deal of time alone writing, the work isn't done in a vacuum. The additional education as well as graduating from the experience helped me find my point of view on life.

I like telling stories and thinking what if. Growing up I would watch TV and use the shows as a jumping off point for my own imagination. I would create my own character and enter story, taking it in a completely different direction. My favorites were Dark Shadow and Star Trek. Barnabas Collins had a second younger sister by the name Shannon Marie. She was a white witch who show up to cause chaos and drive everyone a little nuts. On Star Trek, I belonged to an alien race who was studying humans for a class project, so I pretended to be human to join the crew. Her name was Jacqueline; she could be best described as a combination of Q and Whoopie Goldberg's character. Hey, I was eight years old with unlimited power--think of the possibilities.

A friend of mine described me a as a woman who has the courage to play with dragons. I don't know how courageous I am but I'm not afraid to speak up or out.

Can you please tell us about your book and why you wrote it?

I just finished a new ebook called From Blank Page to Book Shelves--How to Successfully Write and Market Your Book. I wrote it to help other authors benefit from my experience without having to be burnt in the same way. I also wanted to share what I learned through my formal writing education at Michigan State University.

Although it isn't part of the tour, I also released a new magical fantasy ebook that will be going into print this summer called Nict For Ure Selfe (Not For Ourselves). Alyssa becomes the target of harassment. Unable to find the reason for the hatred in this life, she does a ritual to find the answers in the past. However, instead of message this life and the previous become connected and she begins to see her present with a new awareness.

What kind of research was involved in writing From Blank Page to Book Shelves?

I have a Bachelor of Arts from Michigan State University. In addition, I have been writing for over ten years; the last seven I have taken it more seriously. My publishing and marketing experience comes from research and graduating from the school of hard knocks.

How much input did you have into the design of your book cover?

I am the publisher, publicist, and chief cook and bottle washer. I created Valkyrie Publishing as an act of professional self defense after I was taken advantage of by two other publishers. It so strange because both companies had been in business a long time, but my covers are not only more professional looking but more topic appropriate.

Has it been a bumpy ride to becoming a published author or has it been pretty well smooth sailing?

It's been an education. The more I learn about the industry, the easier is is to see the scams and there are a lot of them. If a person is computer wise they can get a book in print and listed with a distributor for about 200.00, including the cost of the ISBN. Most places charge a great deal more, yet provide little for the money. The authors still have to do all their own marketing.

For this particular book, how long did it take from the time you signed the contract to its release?

The only contract I have is the promise I made to release at least three books a year and do my best to find the funding to make Valkyrie Publishing a brick and mortar house.

Do you have an agent and, if so, would you mind sharing who he/is is? If not, have you ever had an agent or do you even feel it's necessary to have one?

I don't need one. No one can represent my books better than myself. However, when it comes to my screenplays an agent is not only an asset but a necessity. You need someone who knows the legalese and to storm the studio doors--cause breaking in just aint easy.

Do you plan subsequent books?

Yes. I have a children's book started. I'm also planning a spiritual healing book and the third in the Dragon Clan Trilogy.

Are you a morning writer or a night writer?

I'm nocturnal so definitely night.

If money was no object, what would be the first thing you would invest in to promote your book?

Full page ads in the top ten national newspapers, along with target magazines in fantasy, science fiction and New Age Occult. I would also buy advertising time on the TV shows, Charmed, Buffy and Angel reruns, Supernatural, Medium and Ghost Whisperer, and everyone of the "ghost hunting shows"

How important do you think self-promotion is and in what ways have you been promoting your book offline and online?

It's very important. I write articles, blog, cold contact bookstores, and publish an ezine. In real life, I talk to people about my work whenever I have the opportunity. I've had telemarketers hang up on me because I hijacked the conversation. I've seeded book markers in genre relevant books on bookstore shelves. The more you talk about you book the easier it becomes to bring it up in conversation. I've been waiting in a check out line in a grocery store and started a conversation by offering the person behind me a book marker and saying this is me. You can also give topic appropriate talks at local organizations like the library. But to learn what I do you are just going to have to buy my ebook. All my best techniques are there and I'm in a snarky mood.

Any final words of wisdom for those of us who would like to be published?

Do research. It is easier to get into a contract than it is to get out of one. Also being self published is no longer a black mark on books. The best selling book, The Celestine Prophecy was self published so it can be done. You just have to be willing to do the work.

Thank you for coming, Theresa! Would you like to tell my readers where they can find you on the web and how everyone can buy your book?

From Blank Page to Book Shelves-How to Successfully Write and Market You Book is part of the Amazon Kindle program. However, the ebook is also available on my site at www.theresachaze.com. If you buy it off the site a 345 page listing with information about 2000 independent bookstores comes with it.

If you would like to comment or ask Theresa a question, click here!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

BOOK SPOTLIGHT: BIKINI SEASON by Sheila Roberts

Sheila Roberts lives in the Pacific Northwest. She’s happily married and has three children. She’s been writing since 1989, but she did lots of things before settling in to her writing career, including owning a singing telegram company and playing in a band. When she’s not speaking to women’s groups or at conferences she can be found writing about those things near and dear to women’s hearts: family, friends, and chocolate.

You can visit her website at http://www.sheilasplace.com/.

Bikini Season Synopsis:

Erin Merritt has returned to her scenic hometown of Heart Lake to plan her wedding, but when she repeatedly runs into her childhood crush, she wonders if she’s engaged to the wrong man. To make matters worse, all the stress is making her eat, and now she can’t fit into her wedding dress.

Erin enlists the help of her cooking club--Angela, Megan and Kizzy--and the Teeny Bikini Diet Club is born. The women make a pact to get slim enough to wear their bikinis to the lake by summertime, and it changes their lives forever. With a little help from her friends, Angela faces fears that her marriage is crumbling. Megan confronts the self-esteem issues that have always held her back. Kizzy deals with her husband’s efforts to sabotage her diet and keep her overweight. And Erin learns some important truths about love.

Pull up your favorite beach chair and savor this funny, inspiring story about being true to yourself, following your heart and the women who enrich our lives.

"Bikini Season deals with that most painful of annual rituals, fitting into one’s swimsuit. But it’s really about so much more – fitting into one’s life."
--Susan Wiggs, New York Times best-selling author
You can purchase Sheila's book, Bikini Season, by clicking here!
Sheila Roberts' virtual book tour is brought to you by Pump Up Your Book Promotion at www.pumpupyourbookpromotion.com. If you would like to leave a comment for Sheila, click here!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Author Interview: Bernadette Steele, Author of THE POETRY OF MURDER

Determined, personable, and imaginative are the words used to describe, Bernadette Steele. Throughout her life, Bernadette has used her persistent nature and quiet strength to navigate the hills and valleys of life.

A native of Chicago, Illinois, Bernadette moved into the International House at the University of Chicago in 2004. The multicultural environment and gothic architecture of I-House and the U of C campus inspired her to write her first murder mystery novel, The Poetry of Murder (Oak Tree Press, January 2008).

Due to a difficult childhood, Bernadette did not finish the sixth grade and never attended high school. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1993 and her Master of Science degree in Technical Communication and Information Design from the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) in 2003. Currently, she is pursuing her PhD in Technical Communication at IIT and has an expected graduation date of 2010. She plans to pursue a career in academia.

For eight years, Bernadette worked as a technical writing and website designer for a major financial institution until she was laid off in December 2005. Prior to being laid off, Bernadette started writing The Poetry of Murder, and finished it in 2006.

As a resident of I-House, she served as a Representative-at-Large on the Residents’ Council from 2004 to 2006 and as the election coordinator in 2006.

She approaches her writing in a systematic manner that involves developing detailed outlines and character descriptions. Some of Bernadette’s favorite authors include Walter Mosley, James Baldwin, Agatha Christie, and Victor Hugo.

Bernadette has been an active member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority since 1999. She has served as her chapter’s webmaster from 2004 to 2007 and as a corresponding secretary from 2004 to 2005.

Bernadette enjoys a host of activities such as going to the movies, hiking and traveling. Her favorite film genres include film noir, science fiction, action/adventure and murder mysteries. For Bernadette, the seasons are divided up according to the various sporting events that she enjoys. Fall and Winter mean hoping that the Chicago Bears will get a decent quarterback and that the Chicago Bulls will get to the NBA championships again. Summer and Spring mean rooting for James Blake to win a championship tennis match and watching Tiger Woods have a winning season of golf.

The Poetry of Murder is the first in a continuing series of mysteries featuring the protagonist, Geneva Anderson.

Bernadette is a resident of Chicago and lives in the Hyde Park community.

You can visit her website at http://www.bernadettesteele.net/.

Welcome to The Writer's Life, Bernadette! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?

I’m a native of Chicago, Illinois and a trained technical writer and website designer. I am currently a PhD candidate at the Illinois Institute of Technology in the Technical Communication program.

I started writing when I was in college. I took a creative writing course, and I wrote some short stories for the class. After college, I did not do any writing. Instead, I spent fifteen years, reading books about writing and publishing, but I did not write. I collected story ideas, articles and pieces of information that inspired various story ideas.

In 2004, I thought that I wanted to go to law school. But, law school didn’t work out. So, I decided to do something that I have always wanted to do—write a novel. Therefore, in January 2005, I started writing my novel and committed myself to becoming a published author.

Can you please tell us about your book and why you wrote it?

The Poetry of Murder is about an aspiring African American poet named Geneva Anderson who inherits a fortune from her aunt and is later accused of her aunt’s murder. As a result, Geneva starts to investigate the murder of her aunt and must navigate her way through a web of revenge, deceit, and blackmail.

Because I’ve always been a fan of murder mysteries, I decided to have my first novel be a cozy murder mystery with an amateur sleuth. Because it is easier to establish a fan base around a series of books than a single novel, I also decided that this novel would be the first in a series of mysteries featuring the same amateur sleuth.

The task of solving a crime is a part of the job for a professional crime solver like a private detective, forensic expert, or insurance investigator, but for the cozy amateur sleuth who has a non-law enforcement job, solving a crime is a major disruption to their everyday lives. Thus, I think cozy mysteries are more intriguing because readers can see themselves in the same situation more easily.

I decided to have my cozy amateur sleuth, Geneva Anderson, be an aspiring poet because to my knowledge a poet has never been an amateur sleuth and is rarely portrayed as being a hero. Personally, I admire poets for their ability to turn words into verse that speaks to the soul and comforts the heart. Geneva’s profession also influenced the title of the novel, The Poetry of Murder.

What kind of research was involved in writing “The Poetry of Murder”?

I had to do secondary research about the history of Hyde Park, Rockefeller Chapel, information about fencing, the drugs used in the book to disable the victim, and psychoanalytic therapy.

How much input did you have into the design of your book cover?

I was given the opportunity to review the drafts and to make suggestions, but I left the final decision to the designer and my publisher.

Has it been a bumpy ride to becoming a published author or has it been pretty well smooth sailing?

I would not describe the ride as being bumpy but rather as being long. It took a year and a half for me to find a publisher. I submitted over eighty query letters to agents and publishers. My one acceptance came from Oak Tree Press, a small independent publisher in Illinois.

For this particular book, how long did it take from the time you signed the contract to its release?

It took 10 months. I think this is short compared to large publishers, but I’m not sure.

Do you have an agent and, if so, would you mind sharing who he/is is? If not, have you ever had an agent or do you even feel it’s necessary to have one?

No, I don’t have an agent, and I’ve never had an agent. However, I do feel that it is necessary to have an agent in order to get your foot in the door of the large publishing houses who only accept books from agents and not directly from authors.

Do you plan subsequent books?

Yes, The Poetry of Murder is the first in a series of mysteries featuring the protagonist, Geneva Anderson. I am also currently working on an historical romance about the first African Emperor of Rome, Septimius Severus.

Are you a morning writer or a night writer?

I am both. During the week, I write at night when I come home from work. And on the weekends, I write in the morning. I prefer the morning.

If money was no object, what would be the first thing you would invest in to promote your book?
If I had unlimited resources, I would invest in advertisements on blogs with heavy traffic and a few high traffic websites, and I would pay someone to organize an internet radio and podcast tour for me. In addition, I would do a postcard mailing to people who have purchased mysteries in the past.

How important do you think self-promotion is and in what ways have you been promoting your book offline and online?

Self-promotion is crucial to the success of any book. Thus far, I have done the following to promote my book:

• Contacted my warm-market of friends, neighbors, schools, co-workers and etc.
• Created my website at http://www.bernadettesteele.net/
• Had a book trailer created and posted at least 20 video sharing websites
• Employed the services of Pump Up Your Book Promotion to conduct a virtual book tour
• Had a link to my website created on 140 different social bookmarking sites to increase my search engine rankings
• Conducted monthly mailings to libraries around the country

Any final words of wisdom for those of us who would like to be published?

My words of wisdom would be to seek feedback from others. But try to pick people who don’t know you very well. And then pick and choose very carefully what advice you follow because when you try to please everyone, you please no one. In addition, be open to criticism but don’t let it destroy your dreams. I find that people who destroy the dreams of others, don’t have any of their own.

How do you see yourself in ten years?

Because I believe in thinking big, in ten years, I see myself as a bestseller author, the winner of at least one Pulitzer Prize, and the writer of at least one screenplay and one television show.

Thank you for coming, Bernadette! Would you like to tell my readers where they can find you on the web and how everyone can buy your book?

My book is available at bookstores and online booksellers such as Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com.
Bernadette's virtual book tour is brought to you by Pump Up Your Book Promotion and choreographed by Cheryl Malandrinos. If you would like to comment on today's blog post, click here.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

BOOK SPOTLIGHT: LOST SOULS by Lisa Jackson

Lisa Jackson can’t keep away from murderers, especially serial killers. She’s been killing people everywhere from Savannah , New Orleans and Baton Rouge to San Francisco and the Pacific Northwest —and it’s been worth it. Her readers come back again and andanagain, and again, and her novels are fixtures on national bestseller lists. In fact, her book Fatal Burn was a number one New York Times paperback bestseller, and the first two of her novels to be published in hardcover, Shiver and Absolute Fear, were in the top five on the New York Times Best Sellers list. Next, readers will be looking for LOST SOULS, just published in hardcover by Kensington Books to go on sale March 25th.
Having made serial killing her business—sort of—she has put her characters through the wringer. They have been up to their necks in danger and stared death, usually a pretty gory one, right in the face. She continues to be fascinated by the minds and motives of both her killers and their pursuers—the personal, the professional and the downright twisted. As she creates the puzzle of relationships, actions, clues, lies and personal histories that haunt her protagonists, she must conversely confront the fear and terror faced by her victims, and the harsh and enduring truth that, in the real world, horror and madness touch far too many lives and families.

Lisa began writing at the urging of her sister, novelist Nancy Bush. Inspired by the success of authors she admired and the burgeoning market for romance fiction at the time, Nancy was convinced they could work together and succeed. They sat down, determined to write and to be published.

They did and they were.

Initially they wrote together. Later, they moved in different directions. Lisa brought more and more suspense to her work and began writing much darker stories. Nancy ’s writing expanded to include not just her own novels, including her highly praised Jane Kelly Mysteries, such as the recently published Ultraviolet, Electric Blue and Candy Apple Red, but she also spent several years writing for one of television’s leading soap operas, even transplanting herself for a time from the sisters’ Pacific Northwest roots to Manhattan . This year, they plan to work together again on a thriller set for publication in 2009.

Meanwhile, for Lisa the killing goes on as this mother, daughter, workaholic and amazing writer pursues her habit of making the hair stand up on the back of readers’ necks, and landing her books on The New York Times, the USA Today, and the Publishers Weekly national best seller lists.

Lisa Jackson’s novels include the upcoming LOST SOULS and the best sellers Absolute Fear, which will be published in paperback for the first time in March, Hot Blooded, Cold Blooded, The Night Before, The Morning After, Deep Freeze, Fatal Burn, and Almost Dead. Last year, Most Likely to Die, written by Lisa, Beverly Barton and Wendy Corsi Staub was published and became a number three New York Times paperback bestseller. She is a member of the Mystery Writers of America, the International Thriller Writers and the
Romance Writers of America .
You can visit Lisa on the web at http://www.lisajackson.com/.
Lost Souls Synopsis:
Jackson takes readers to Baton Rouge and All Saints College, where Kristi Bentz has returned to finish her degree. At least that’s partly true. She’s not lying, but she also has no intention of telling her father, homicide detective Rick Bentz, his second wife, Olivia, or anyone else—including Bentz’s irreverent partner Reuben Montoya—her deeper motive. She’s determined to write an important true crime book, and doesn’t care if it ends up being dangerous. And that’s despite the fact that she’s lucky to be alive, having come close to death at the hands of one of her father’s suspects.

Fascinated by the minds of killers, certain she can reach her goal, Kristi doesn’t understand why her own father won’t bend to help her with leads and access. She’s tired of everyone acting as if she can’t take care of herself. She’ll do it on her own, starting by investigating a trail of missing women with two things in common: all were troubled and vulnerable lost souls with no real family ties or anyone who would look for them if they disappeared—and each is connected to All Saints.
You can purchase LOST SOULS by clicking here!

Would you like to leave a comment for Lisa? Click here!

Monday, April 07, 2008

Author Interview: Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein, Author of THE TRUTH (I'M A GIRL, I'M SMART AND I KNOW EVERYTHING)

Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein is the originator of The Enchanted Self(R). She has been a positive psychologist in private practice and licensed in the states of New Jersey and Massachusetts since 1981. She is currently in private practice in Long Branch, New Jersey with her husband, Dr. Russell M. Holstein.

Dr. Barbara speaks regularly on radio programs around the country, and appears on television in New York and New Jersey. Her inspiring audio shows and podcasts can be found on the web. Her articles and stories appear on the web on hundreds of sites. She also gives lectures, seminars, and tele-classes on happiness. Listen to her e-radio show, The Enchanted Self on http://www.ladybuglive.com/ . Also, listen to her e-radio show, Happiness for Women Only! on http://www.internetvoicesradio.com/

Her newest book, The Truth, I'm Ten, I'm Smart and I Know Everything! is another first in positive psychology. Written by a ten year old girl as a diary, Dr. Barbara has been able to imbed lots of positive truths that we all need to remember and live by, regardless of our age.The girl's edition, titled: The Truth, (I'm a girl, I'm smart and I know everything) debuted February 2008 in bookstores nationwide.

You can visit Barbara's website at http://www.enchantedself.com/ or her blog at http://www.enchantedself.typepad.com/.

Welcome to The Writer's Life, Barbara! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?

I’m a positive psychologist in private practice in New Jersey. I’ve been writing since I was nine when I formally started my Girl Scout Diary. The writing has never stopped except for a few months when my daughter was a baby. When my son was a baby I wrote a couple of short stories and keep a journal of my dreams.

Can you please tell us about your book and why you wrote it?

I wrote The Truth (I’m a girl, I’m smart and I know everything) to help moms and girls hold on to the best of themselves and also develop better avenues of communications between them. I’ve been researching and treating women and girls for 30 years. I’ve been a school psychologist and a teacher and I know how precious a positive sense of self is and how vulnerable it can be to hold on to. I felt that a fictional diary was the simplest and purest way to share all the psychological secrets and wisdom that I wanted to share. Also, the format lent itself to humor, pathos and so many feelings that go with growing up.

What kind of research was involved in writing “The Truth (I’m a girl, I’m smart and I know everything)”?

As mentioned above, the research of working with women and girls for over 30 years in the most intimate setting of therapy and of course, also the classroom and schools. Another type of research was the introspection of reviewing my own childhood and lastly research on the developmental stages of growing up.

How much input did you have into the design of your book cover?

I discussed the cover and saw several samples until we were satisfied.

Has it been a bumpy ride to becoming a published author or has it been pretty well smooth sailing?

It has been a bumpy ride.

For this particular book, how long did it take from the time you signed the contract to its release?

This is the second version of much of this material. The first book, (The Truth, I’m Ten, I’m Smart and I Know Everything) was released for women last year. From deciding to do a girl’s and mom’s edition to actually getting it delivered to the distribution warehouse was about six months.

Do you have an agent and, if so, would you mind sharing who he/is is? If not, have you ever had an agent or do you even feel it’s necessary to have one?

I would love to have an agent. I don’t have one but I’m still open. I think it would be helpful for me as this book is the first in a series and there can be legal issues, etc where a good agent is so helpful.

Do you plan subsequent books?

Yes, a series as I mentioned above. I’m almost done with the next book which takes the girl up in age to almost 14.

Are you a morning writer or a night writer?

I am a night writer.

If money was no object, what would be the first thing you would invest in to promote your book?

Info commercial where kids could share how much they love the book and moms and dads and kids could be shown discussing different topics brought up by The Truth.

How important do you think self-promotion is and in what ways have you been promoting your book offline and online?

It is critical. I am doing a lot of the web. I am talking in chat groups on Amazon, talking about my book in my blog, beginning to book engagements in libraries and schools, and just setting up the first book signings. I’ll be busy a long time.

Any final words of wisdom for those of us who would like to be published?

Do it. In today’s world you can find a way. You can self-publish as a start with a company that prints on demand. It is a great way to get your feet wet and see what promoting is all about. Because at the end of the day the harder you work, the better your book has a chance to not just linger in the homes of your best friends. But even if that is all that happens it is still worth the adventure and commitment! As I said, Do it!

Thank you for coming, Barbara! Would you like to tell my readers where they can find you on the web and how everyone can buy your book?

My website is www.enchantedself.com and http://www.amazon.com/ is the best place to buy my book, as well as all on-line bookstores, my site, http://www.enchantedself.com/ and bookstores all over.

If you would like to comment on this interview, click here.

Barbara Becker Holstein's virtual book tour is brought to you by Pump Up Your Book Promotion and choreographed by Cheryl Malandrinos.


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BOOK SPOTLIGHT: CINCO DE MAYO by Donald W. Miles


Don Miles has been News Director for radio stations in New York City, (WPAT,) Connecticut, Florida, Nebraska and finally Texas. He has won “Best Newscast” award from the Nebraska A.P. Broadcasters and his news teams in Florida and Nebraska have won numerous statewide awards. Don has served on the Board of Directors for Florida’s AP Broadcasters and has judged broadcast news contests for UPI Rhode Island. Don has taught at the Universities of Florida and Nebraska, at St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas, and at elementary schools in New York, Connecticut, and Texas.

He is the author of two books in the field of broadcast news, (Broadcast News Handbook and Broadcast Newswriting Stylebook.) He has a Bachelors in Education from State University of New York and a Masters in Journalism and Communications from the University of Florida.

Don’s inspiration for the book came mainly from his late wife, Dr. Minerva González-Angulo Miles. Minerva grew up in the neighborhood at the base of Chapultepec Hill in Mexico City, where the Emperor Maximilian’s castle still stands. She would often visit the castle and view the portrait of the emperor and empress whose story is featured in this book.

Don and Minerva traveled extensively throughout Mexico, and over the past few years visited many libraries and bookstores there in the research for this book. They also spent many hours in the stacks at the Benson Latin American Library at the University of Texas in Austin, which is widely recognized as the premier source for information on this topic. They also paid several visits to the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. to photocopy various U.S. government documents pertaining to the Mexican situation during the 1860’s.

Don wrote and produced plays and slide shows about Cinco de Mayo for elementary students, teachers and parents.

You can visit his website at http://www.donmiles.com/.

Cinco de Mayo: What is Everybody Celebrating Synopsis:

Under the orders of French Emperor Napoleon III, French troops arrive in Mexico in 1861 with a dual purpose: to conquer Mexico and to help the Confederacy win its war against the United States. As President Benito Juárez suspends payment of Mexico’s foreign debts, the French drop their façade of debt negotiations and head for Puebla, where they are soundly defeated in their attempt to capture the city.

The French withdraw from their stunning setback and spend the summer of 1862 nursing their wounds and awaiting reinforcements in Orizaba. This gives the Mexicans ample time to highly fortify Puebla against a future attack. During the spring of 1863, French troops head for Puebla and Mexico City in what they hope will be a pair of easy victories.

Juárez and his government flee Mexico City rather than trying to defend the capital against overwhelming odds. The French make their grand entrance and immediately encounter problems with the Catholic Church. Austrian Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian, asked by the French to become emperor of Mexico, will not accept the throne without a “popular” vote from the people.

When the American Civil War ends in 1865, generals and high-ranking officials from the former Confederate government drift into Mexico. General Ulysses S. Grant’s U.S. Army is now free to stage maneuvers along the border, setting off panic in Mexico City and Paris. Grant’s move prompts Napoleon III to cut his losses and pull his troops out. Now, it’s only a matter of time before Mexican forces retake the country …

Cinco de Mayo Excerpt:

The Legend of Camarón

Running out of ammunition at the wrong time had also raised General Forey’s anxiety level. Forey realized that his entire operation would be at risk if he couldn’t provide his troops with food and ammunition. The commander-in-chief had already detached extra troops from Puebla to guard the wagon trains, but now the bandidos and guerillas had dramatically stepped up their attacks on the convoys.

Forey called on the French Foreign Legion. They had just arrived in Veracruz.
They were approaching the little village of Camarón (which means shrimp in Spanish.) For a number of years it was called Villa Tejeda, but the name was changed again to “Camarón de Tejeda,” by which it is known today. The few authors who have written about it in English refer to it as “Camerone,” which is very close to how it’s pronounced in Spanish.

The legion had first seen action in the French conquest of Algeria in 1831. After serving during the Spanish Civil War in 1835, it was stationed in North Africa. Now, on the morning of April 30, 1863, the legion’s Third Company, under Captain Jean Danjou, was escorting a very important convoy from Veracruz. The wagons were bearing ammunition, artillery, food, provisions, and – most critically – three million French francs in gold to pay the troops at Puebla.

Danjou’s group consisted of sixty-four battle-hardened legion veterans: Germans, Swiss, Belgians, Danes, Italians, and Spaniards, in addition to the native Frenchmen. They feared nothing. They had taken the legion’s oath never to surrender.

Stalking the convoy was a Mexican force of somewhere between twelve hundred and eighteen hundred men, depending on whose account you choose to believe, led by a Colonel Francisco de P. Milán. Regular French troops were guarding the convoy itself, but Captain Danjou’s contingent was marching some distance ahead to search for possible assailants waiting in ambush. The legion officers normally in charge of this unit were hospitalized with yellow fever, so Danjou, along with second lieutenants Napoleón Vilain and Clement Maudet, had volunteered to lead this detail.

They had passed through Camarón at about 6:30 in the morning and were cooking breakfast near a location called Palo Verde at 7:00, when one of their sentinels spotted a dust cloud behind them. That could only mean one thing: a lot of people moving rapidly on horseback. They quickly put out their fires and raced toward Camarón, not stopping to retrieve their canteens of fresh water from the pack mules. At Camarón, they encountered several hundred Mexicans who were poised to attack the caravan, and the shooting began.

The convoy was alerted and reversed direction, successfully escaping the ambush, but the legionnaires’ pack mules also panicked and fled at the sound of gunfire, taking all the water and extra ammunition with them. By 8:00 in the morning, a few of the legionnaires had already been wounded.Danjou ordered his unit to take cover in a barn, but the Mexicans lost no time in taking over the huge farmhouse nearby, firing down at the besieged legionnaires from upper-story windows.

Mexican Colonel Milán realized that cavalry wouldn’t be of much help in taking the barn, so he started to surround it with infantry troops. After a few hours, nothing much had changed. The colonel found a Mexican officer of French heritage among his ranks, and he sent Captain Ramón Lainé with a white flag of truce to see if they could negotiate a surrender.

It didn’t work.

Captain Danjou said his legionnaires had plenty of ammunition, and that they’d keep on fighting.
By now, the Mexicans had surrounded the barn and were firing from all sides. It was a hot day, and the legionnaires inside were just discovering that the only canteens they had were filled with wine, not water, because the pack mules had run away with the water as the fighting started. It was going to be a long afternoon.

Although the Mexicans had obvious superiority in numbers, the legionnaires had the upper hand in training and firepower. Most of the Mexicans were of the “national guard” variety. They had left their farms and small businesses just days earlier to help defend their country, while the legionnaires were well accustomed to the sound of gunfire and highly experienced in the art of war. The Mexicans had ball-and-musket rifles, which gave off so much smoke that at times they couldn’t see what they were shooting at. The legionnaires were firing percussion-driven cylinders with pointed tips, known as “bullets,” and they could see exactly where they were aiming.

In spite of all their technical superiority, the legionnaires were fighting a losing battle. Captain Danjou and Lieutenant Vilain were both dead before noon, and the command fell to Lieutenant Maudet for the rest of the afternoon. Inside the barn, things were going from bad to worse. Ammunition was running out, and the extra supply had vanished with the pack mules. The Mexicans kept charging the barn, and although they were driven back, they were killing another legionnaire or two each time. By 5:00 PM, the legionnaires had already stripped whatever ammunition was left from the bodies of their dead comrades.

The Mexicans knew they had won, but they also knew that the remaining legionnaires intended to fight to the death. They set fire to some straw and threw it into the barn, hoping to bring the matter to a close. The legionnaires just stamped out the burning straw and continued firing through the smoke.

By 6:00 PM, only Maudet and four of his legionnaires were still alive. Each man had only one round of ammunition left. The lieutenant had a decision to make.

“Reload,” he ordered. “Then fire on my command and follow me. We’ll finish this with our bayonets.”

It was going to be a suicide charge.

The Mexican commander, Colonel Milán, ordered his troops to cease fire. All five legionnaires were captured after some brief hand-to-hand fighting, but Lieutenant Maudet and one of his men died of their wounds within a short time. The remaining three were hospitalized, along with the Mexican wounded.

The French later returned to put up a monument at the scene of the battle. For many years, members of the French Foreign Legion have returned each April 30 to what is now called “Camarón de Tejeda” to honor the courage of their fallen heroes. The encounter still stands as the worst defeat in legion history.

Friday, April 04, 2008

#1 New York Times Bestselling Author Lisa Jackson Gives Publicity Tips

New York Times bestselling author Lisa Jackson visits Book Marketing Buzz today to share her book promotion secrets! Lisa's novels include the upcoming LOST SOULS and the best sellers Absolute Fear, which will be published in paperback for the first time in March, Hot Blooded, Cold Blooded, The Night Before, The Morning After, Deep Freeze, Fatal Burn, and Almost Dead. Last year, Most Likely to Die, written by Lisa, Beverly Barton and Wendy Corsi Staub was published and became a number three New York Times paperback bestseller. She is a member of the Mystery Writers of America, the International Thriller Writers and the Romance Writers of America.

Book Marketing Buzz: Book Promotion & Publicity Tips: How to Promote Your Books is a continuing series to help authors learn how to promote their books. If you would like to be a guest blogger for our book promotion and publicity series, click here.