A lofty place for authors, writers, and readers to connect

Vol. 5 Issue 5

Writers in the Sky Newsletter

May 2009

Whether you are a published author or a writer-wanna-be, this e-zine is for you. Here, you will find articles, book reviews, announcements, poetry, and information about the craft and business of writing, publishing, and book marketing written by our readers. Our goal is to connect the writing and publishing community through networking.

In This Issue

Editor's Corner


A word from WITS owner Yvonne Perry

Ten Steps for Developing a Social Media Marketing Plan


by Dana Lynn Smith

WITS Podcast Schedule

A Book Web site That Effectively Sells Your Book


by Phyllis Zimbler Miller

Network With Us

The Writing Life


by JJ Murphy

Book With a View


Read this month's book reviews

What I Learned from my Librarian Friends


by  Carolyn Howard-Johnson

Poetry Corner


Poems from our readers

Editor's Corner

by Yvonne Perry

We traveled to South Carolina at the end of April to visit with our kids and grandkids, and I finally got to see my new grandson! Here’s a photo of Baby Lochlan Perry, born April 10, 2009 to Katie and Jackson Perry. We also got to enjoy 80-degree weather on the beach. It was great to see everyone and take a break from routine. Next in the grandbaby series is Liam Owen, due June 11. He will be followed by Jonas Finn in July, and then Peyton comes to us in October. WITS team member Sarah Moore is due in August. What an exciting year for having babies!

Speaking of having kids and grandkids, Happy Mother’s Day to all moms and grandmas! I hope your day is as special as you are!

Our e-zine has more book reviews than normal this month, so if you prefer to read one feature at a time, you may want to visit our e-zine blog. While you are there, you can sign up for the RSS feed or become a follower so you will get a notice whenever we post something new.

WITS e-zine is proofread each month by Sarah Moore or Barbara Milbourn. I truly appreciate Sarah and Barbara for their hard work. I hope you enjoy this issue. As always, we always welcome your feedback and comments.

Ten Steps for Developing a Social Media Marketing Plan

by Dana Lynn Smith

This guest article from Dana Lynn Smith is part of the virtual book tour for her new book, The Savvy Book Marketer's Guide to Successful Social Marketing. You can see her complete tour schedule at http://bookmarketingmaven.typepad.com/booktour/.

Marketing through social media can be a great way to promote yourself and your book, but you'll save time and be more effective if you do some planning before you dive in. Below are some steps for developing an effective social marketing plan.

1. Think about the other promotional tactics you are already using and how social media fits in with them.

2. Decide how high a priority should be placed on social marketing, compared with other your marketing activities. How many hours a week can you devote to it?

3. Determine what target audiences you want to reach through social marketing. For example:

• Potential new customers
• Key influencers (people who can introduce/recommend you)
• Peers and other experts in my field or genre
• Publishing and marketing professionals

4. Set objectives, describing what you hope to gain by marketing through social media. Here are a few examples:

• Increase visibility and name or brand recognition
• Establish myself as an expert in my field
• Develop relationships with others in my field or genre
• Drive traffic to my Web site (directly and through enhanced SEO)
• Sell books and other products and services
• Develop relationships with potential joint venture partners

5. Based on your objectives, set specific, achievable, and measurable goals for your social marketing activities. Here are some examples:

• Add five new incoming links to my Web site this month
• Double the traffic to my Web site within two months
• Increase my opt-in mailing list by twenty five percent within three months
• Increase book sales by ten percent within two months

6. Develop your branding

• Get a good quality headshot photo, in low-resolution format, to use in all online marketing activities.
• Decide what "user name" you want to be known by online. Nonfiction authors should develop a short tagline that reflects their specific area of expertise, such as "The Book Marketing Maven."
• Write standard bios in several lengths.
• Create an online signature for emails and online forums. Include your book title, company name if appropriate, Web site and blog address, and one or two social networks.

7. Determine which social marketing tactics are the best fit for your book, your audiences, your objectives, and your available time. Social marketing activities can include:

• Social aspects of blogging (commenting on blogs, doing blog tours, etc.)
• Social networking (Facebook, MySpace, etc.)
• Microblogging (Twitter)
• Reader communities (Goodreads, LibraryThing, etc.)
• Online forums
• Expert sites and wikis (Squidoo, HubPages, etc.)
• Media and content sharing sites (video and photo sharing sites, etc.)
• Social news and bookmarking (StumbleUpon, Digg, Delicious, etc.)

8. Decide how you will measure the effectiveness of your social marketing efforts. What metrics will you track and what tools will you use to measure them. Below are some examples of metrics you might track:

• Friends or followers on social networks
• Articles or pages posted on expert sites or article sites
• Sales of books and other products and services
• Business contacts (peers, influencers, media, potential partners)
• Weekly unique visitors and return visitors to my Web site and blog
• Subscribers to my mailing list and blog
• Visitors to my Web site and blog
• Inbound links to my Web site and blog

9. Implement your chosen social marketing tactics, one at a time.

10. Evaluate your progress periodically. Can you tell which activities are generating the best results? Are some activities taking up too much of your time? Make adjustments to your strategy as necessary.

Dana Lynn Smith is a book marketing coach and author of The Savvy Book Marketer's Guide to Successful Social Marketing, www.SavvyBookMarketer.com. To view other articles in the Successful Social Marketing book tour, visit http://bookmarketingmaven.typepad.com/booktour/



Listening to Writers in the Sky Podcast on a computer is easy. Just click this link: http://yvonneperry.blogspot.com and go to my blog.  On the right sidebar there is a list of archived shows.  Click on the interview you would like to hear and it will open a post that has a link to open the audio file.  For information about being a guest on Writers in the Sky Podcast, see www.writersinthesky.com/writing-podcast.htm

May 8

The podcast on May 8 will feature Brent Sampson, the CEO of Outskirts Press. This self-publishing company is a frequent choice for the authors who are featured on our podcast. Mr. Sampson has a new book titled Adventures in Publishing How to Publish Color Children's Books with Original Illustrations, and Other Books in Full-Color for Self-Publishing Writers . Written in the format of a child’s story, the book takes its readers through the self-publishing process. He addresses many of the fears and misconceptions that new authors may have. Also, Sampson is able to provide an example of the final product that Outskirts Press offers. Mr. Sampson will discuss his reason for writing Adventures in Publishing as well as how interested writers can get started on their own path to publishing. Adventures in Publishing can be purchased at the Amazon Web site. Please visit the Outskirts Press Web site to learn more about the company.

May 15

The month of podcasts takes a very different turn on May 15 when Sarah Moore interviews Michael Presutti, author of the new release Last Words. In this novel, a lone man infiltrates a military compound and releases a deadly virus over the skies of the western United States. As the story progresses, readers learn about those throughout the country who are trying to escape the growing number of the “infected ones.” These zombie-like creatures that have been exposed to the virus have mutilated bodies and are driven to kill their own families. Readers can sense the desperation and the isolation as fewer and fewer people manage to stay a step ahead of the virus. Please go to Outskirts Press to learn more about Michael Presutti and purchase Last Words.

May 22

On May 22, Dennis Martin will be the featured guest. He will be discussing his new book of poetry, Rhythmic Notions. This book is intended for anyone who has a fondness for rhythmic, lyrical poetry. Some of the pieces from this collection have been featured over the past few months in the Writers in the Sky newsletter. Dennis creates much of his work with specific artists in mind, usually country artists, and he hopes that someone in the music industry is seriously looking for new, fresh lyrics for recording. In Dennis’ own words, “There are a few good drinking/honky tonk songs, a number of love songs, love lost songs, far-from-home songs, and a couple of buddy songs. As usual, the tunes are in my head, but I am neither singer nor musician.” All of Dennis' books can be purchased through Lulu.com.

May 29

We end the month of May by having Barbara Milbourn host a discussion with Fiona Ingram, who will be sharing her new novel The Secret of the Sacred Scarab. In this book, a 5000-year-old mystery comes to life when young cousins Adam and Justin Sinclair receive an old scarab on their very first day in Egypt. The adventure begins when the evil Dr. Khalid shares a strong interest in the scarab and then pursues the boys in what becomes an amazing journey. Ms. Ingram will be share more details concerning the storyline of her book, how she encourages young readers to get involved with the history and culture to be learned, and what further journeys may lay ahead. The Secret of the Sacred Scarab can be purchased at the Amazon Web site and you can learn more about the book at the author’s Web site.


Do You Want More for Your Marketing Dollars?

WITS publicity is an affordable and effective source for marketing your book or business.

Choose two or more services and get a 10% discount on the total project price if you mention seeing this ad in our newsletter!

A great deal for anyone needing online publicity!

How to Have a Book Web site That Effectively Sells Your Book

by Phyllis Zimbler Miller

If you're a book author, you want to make it as easy as possible for people to say yes to you:

• Yes to being interested in you
• Yes to being interested in reading your book
• Yes to buying your book

To do this you must have a Web site (people buy books online) and you must have a Web site that makes it easy for potential book buyers/readers to know what your book is about and what you are about.

Here are six errors that get in the way of people saying yes to you:

1. You don't have a Web site. Okay, this is an obvious one. But there's a part of this error that may not be as obvious.

Let's say you don't have your own Web site, but you have your own page (section) on a book organization's Web site. Is this good enough? Probably not, and here's why:

On an organization's Web site you have to fit your own round pegs into square holes (or the other way round). You are limited by what that site allows you to do, and you may be making it too easy for people to jump away from your author page to someone else's author page on the same site.

If you have your own site, you can put the best internet marketing practices to use on the site. But do you know those best internet marketing practices?

2. You hire a web designer/developer whose sites are beautifully designed. But he/she has no knowledge about Internet marketing practices and optimizing a site to encourage the search engines to find you (SEO - search engine optimization).

You need to find a Web site builder who constantly keeps abreast of the best practices of internet marketing and SEO optimization and who builds these elements into your Web site.

And one big element that you definitely want for your Web site is total control once the site is up. This means you can make any change you want instantly without waiting days for your web master to make one tiny change.

3. You don't let your visitor know instantly what genre and age-level your book is, or whether the book is fiction or nonfiction.

Web site visitors are not mind-readers. You have only a very few seconds to tell them that they are on the right page if they're looking for the kind of book you're selling. (Yes, you're selling your book.)

You must immediately announce what your book is about. For example, if your book is a young adult fantasy novel and the first of a proposed series, let your Web site visitors know this info immediately.

Of course, the number one way is to have a book cover that conveys this information (a 12-year-old protagonist wielding a sword is a big clue). Yet even if you have this optimized cover, you need to repeat the information in large type right at the top center of the page. (And be sure not to have too much surrounding copy that could detract from "getting" this message immediately.)

You do not want to mislead people into thinking the book might be for them when, for example, they only read hard-core crime drama and your book is a YA fantasy novel. But you definitely want the fans of YA fantasy novels to know instantly they are on the right page!

4. You don't have any way to capture the email addresses of potential readers/fans. This is a big error that can be rectified by utilizing a service that enables you to:

• ask for email addresses
• have the person verify his/her address so your messages can get through the spam filters
• store the addresses in a database
• send automatic email messages (called autoresponders) to these people to keep yourself and your book projects at the front of their mind

5. You don't have a clear call-to-action such as a button or link clearly marked: Buy the Book Now. Remember, your goal is to sell more copies of your book(s). Make it really, really easy for people to do so. (No, don't link to the home page of Amazon. Link to the exact page where people can BUY YOUR BOOK on Amazon.)

6. You let the design elements of your Web site overpower or detract from the important elements that can sell your book.

If you're "guilty" of any of the above errors, you should consider taking steps immediately to rectify these. And at the same time, consider getting a Web site that you can totally control yourself once it is set up.

For the free report "7 Tips for Creating a Call-to-Action Web site," visit Phyllis Zimbler Miller's site http://www.MillerMosaicLLC.com.  Phyllis is also the author of Mrs. Lieutenant: A Sharon Gold Novel (http://www.mrslieutenant.com) and the co-author of the Jewish holiday book Seasons For Celebration.

Network With Us


Add your announcement or brag about your writing accomplishment. Tell us about your book or business.
Share information and ideas or send articles or advertorial for the next issue by contacting us on our Web site www.writersinthesky.com/contact.php . Here are some announcements from our readers this month:

The Dream Quest One Poetry & Writing Contest is open to anyone who loves expressing innermost thoughts and feelings into the beautiful art of poetry or to write a short story that is worth telling everyone! And to all who have the ability to dream. Write a poem or short story for a chance to win cash prizes. All works must be original. http://www.dreamquestone.com

Writers in the Sky with Yvonne Perry is among the shows in the new book, Talk Radio Wants You: An Intimate Guide to 700 Shows and How to Get Invited (McFarland & Co. 2009). Compiled by "talk radio advocate" Francine Silverman, the book is designed to take the guesswork out of contacting a radio host, by providing among other things, the theme of the show and guest criteria.

Some entries, like Yvonne's, contain guest or listener comments, which are also helpful for potential guests. Never before has a book looked inside the host's head for his or her opinion on the best and worst guests and who gets invited back. For more information, please visit http://www.talkradioadvocate.com

TIP #1:  No one wants to have to hunt and dig to find things on your site. Rather than using your homepage URL to your blog (http://yvonneperry.blogspot.com/) when you want to refer someone to a particular post, use the permalink (actual URL) to take readers directly to your post. You can find the permalink by clicking the on title of your guest post, then copying the URL shown at the top of your browser. It will usually be a long URL with the title at the end, something like this: http://yvonneperry.blogspot.com/2008/03/tgif-march-7-2008-frankie-walk-n-roll.html

TIP #2: Reduce line returns that break up long URLs by shortening permalinks using http://tr.im. For example: http://yvonneperry.blogspot.com/2009/04/places-to-get-your-book-reviewed.html becomes http://tr.im/jx3B and takes you to the very same place!

PROMO DAY makes its return in 2009 and promises to be the best yet. Mark your calendars for Saturday, May 9, 2009!

An all-day, online, international event for people in the writing industry packed full of tips and advice along with a variety of opportunities for writers, publishers, editors etc to promote their work and services. Readers are also welcome to drop in and get to know the authors better in the online chatroom, view the video trailers or read the sample chapters on site.

Founder and organizer of the event, Jo Linsdell, had this to say “PROMO DAY came about because I was looking for opportunities to promote my books using the internet at little or no cost. After attending the Muse Online Writers Conference back in 2006, I searched the internet for similar events aimed at what to do after you’ve written the book and found none. I decided to fill the void and so PROMO DAY was born. PROMO DAY is a great opportunity to network with other members of the industry, take part in online workshops and promote and best of all it’s FREE!”

New features for this year is the official blog for the event, http://promoday.blogspot.com, where everyone can keep up to date with new announcements and information regarding the event and the official PROMO DAY book, packed full of information and resources, which will be available to buy during and after the event. !

Workshops taking place during PROMO DAY 2009: (Times are shown in Central European Time.)

14:00 Lael Johnson - Blogging and Journaling!
15:00 John Evans - The Age of Networking: Tips and Tricks to Survive in Today's information Age
16:00 Karina Fabian - Marketing for Beginners
17:00 John Desjarlais - Finding an Agent
18:00 Carolyn Howard Johnson - Query Letters as Promotion: Let's Make Them Picture Perfect!
19:00 Elysabeth Eldering- Hosting Authors on Virtual Book Tours
20:00 Joyce Anthony - Promoting with Twitter
21:00 Ron Berry - Character Web sites
22:00 Devon Ellington - Creating and maintaining a successful writer's blog.
23:00 Carol Denbow - Technical Aspects
TBC Lea Schizas - What editors look for and how writers can spruce their writing

Read more at http://jolinsdell.tripod.com/promoday/

Hi, Yvonne. We just posted an article, “10 Celebs Who Converted to Christianity.” I thought I'd bring it to your attention in case your readers find it interesting.

Thanks for your time,
Kelly Sonora

Ever dream about getting wonderful trips to exotic places for FREE?

In my e-book How to Make Travel Writing Work for You, I give you the fast track on how to achieve this goal for free!

Tip: Find your niche

Choose something you are passionate about. Think about your areas of expertise and how you can capitalize on them. Are you a birder? Then go for some of the great birding trips about the globe to get you started. This is going to be a labor of love so make sure you love what you are doing.

For the complete list of tips Go to my Web site www.LindaBallouAuthor.com . Enter your name and e-mail in the top right corner of homepage and magically the e-book will appear. While you are visiting, check out Wai-nani’s page. There are reviews, a first chapter and reader comments.

Please stop by!
Linda Ballou

The Red Room authority has chosen Indian Age’s associate editor and noted South Asian writer Dr. (Ms) Sarojini Sahoo’s blog on James Joyce (The Myriad of Molly Blooms) as the best blog of this week. You can see it at http://www.redroom.com/.

To learn more about organizing your own virtual book tour, join the free training program at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/blogbooktours/.

Carol Denbow offers a step-by-step ebook, How to Organize a Virtual Book Tour at http://www.authorsbox.com.

The May 2009 issue of Indian AGE has been published and you can read the soft copy on line at http://www.indianage.net/catalogue/catalogue.pdf.  I have written an article on Allan Moore’s graphic novel The Lost Girls in the regular special column of mine under the title The Gate.( See page 60)


Check out Brent Sampson's children's book about how to publish a children's book! Adventures in Publishing http://tr.im/k7Nv. How clever!

Here’s a list of Internet radio shows and podcasts for authors and writers: http://tinyurl.com/4na2ku.

WITS author Carl David was mentioned in a Philly.com article about Bader Field—one of the first U.S. airports. Read the article here: http://tr.im/jOne and learn more about Carl’s book on his Web site www.carledavid.com

For poetry, prose, and fantastic art, see http://emergingvisions.blogspot.com/ 

BunnyRabbitSex is a site built for writers to come together and share/discuss their works! Bunny has just announced the group's first competition! Entry is free, but you must be a member of BunnyRabbitSex. That's also free!

The prize is a mystery fan prize. It's a themed BunnyRabbitSex prize and it's also a mystery! This makes it more exciting! This prize is a parcel, and will arrive at its destination in a box.  Submissions accepted May 1 thru June 1 (ends at 12 a.m. EST).

Bunny says, "We are looking for creativity, proper grammar, context, and spelling. We want you to use your imaginations and totally throw us out of the water, make us go for a tailspin! Do something we don't expect. Make it silly, or funny, or whatever! The most entertaining, well written, and creative piece wins!"

Requirements for entries are listed at http://www.bunnyrabbitsex.com.

Just in time for Mother's Day giving! She Wore Emerald Then: Reflections on Motherhood by Magdalena Ball and Carolyn Howard-Johnson http://tr.im/jxbx

Your announcement could be here. Check out the submission guidelines and send us your blurb.


Books from Yvonne Perry

Right to Recover
tells the scientific truth
about all types of stem cell
research and challenges
readers to think for
themselves rather than
accept the opinion of
political or religious leaders.

More Than
Meets the Eye

is a must-read for
anyone grieving the loss
of a loved one. Helpful information about death and afterlife!

Read more!

Book Marketing in the Digital Age, Online Promotion Made Easy
Seeking useful information about how to promote a book online? This simple eBook gives examples, active links, and gets right to the subject in steps that are easy to follow.

Tips for
Freelance Writing

contains valuable information to get you started on the right foot in the business of writing.

More Books from
Yvonne Perry

The Writing Life: Recycling Books – Thinking Outside the Box

by JJ Murphy

I’m holding a copy of a book first published in 1893. More about that in the next WITS issue. This field guide was well-worn, but I can still read it and admire the expensive color plates and high-quality paper.

But this used book is an exception. What can we do with books that are worn or damaged beyond repair, now considered outdated or otherwise taking up space? Here are three ideas:

Recycled Reads  is more than the Austin, Texas library bookstore. Created as part of that city’s “go green” initiative, they accept used books. Books that are likely to sell – for two dollars or less – are attractively shelved in a cozy bookstore. The much-needed proceeds benefit the library.

Recycled Reads goes one step further. Rather than dump books unlikely to sell into the landfill, they pass unsold to Books Beyond Borders, which helps Project Schoolhouse provide textbooks and build schools in third-world countries. Books Beyond Borders also sends these books to organizations that create building supplies.

Beyond selling books, Recycled Reads is sponsoring a series of workshops on how to create art from books. I’m from the generation that was taught it was sacrilege to deface a book. But creating a work of art sure beats dumping books in the trash. I just read about a Washington DC artist who turns book covers into hand bags - or maybe she’s redefining the term “book bag.” I’m looking forward to learning what else artists create from books that are no longer fit to read.

I’m slow to adopt new technology. Kindle seems expensive and I do like the feel of a book. But I can see the value of creating reading opportunities without impacting the earth. Meanwhile, I’m delighted to learn that I don’t have to add every worthy book to my library to rescue it from the landfill.

JJ Murphy is a freelance nature writer, photographer, blogging hiker, forager, locavore, and tree-hugger with more than 50 years of eco-centric living experience. Visit www.WriterByNature.com if you need relevant content that captures your personal style and tone.

Book With A View


Adventures in Publishing
Author: Brent Sampson
ISBN: 978-1-932672-33-6
Publisher: OutskirtsPress.com, 2009
Genre and Target Market: marketing; self-publishing authors
Pages: 22
Reviewer: Sarah Moore for WITS

As someone who works on a regular basis with authors who have entered the self-publishing world for the first time, I understand the concerns and hesitations that come with determining the best way to put your written material out for public consumption. Which publishing company will be the best fit for my type of book and my specific needs? What about my concerns that the final product will not match the vision I had for my work when I started the process? How do I go about promoting my book in the most effective ways possible? Writing a book is a very personal process and authors want some assurance that their hard work will be taken seriously and given the care it deserves. With his new book, Adventures in Publishing, the CEO of Outskirts Press Brent Sampson shares the steps in working with his self-publishing company, and his wonderful creation will undoubtedly bring great comfort to new writers.

From the moment a potential reader takes one look at the cover to Adventures in Publishing, she knows that an imaginative and beautiful reading adventure lies within its covers. The author has created a gorgeous piece that has the appearance of a children’s book, with the purpose of primarily appealing to authors of children’s books and other full-color publications, but contains substantial information that is essential for anyone hoping to see their name in print. Each page addresses a different element of the process at Outskirts Press as explained through rhyme. What aspiring author cannot relate to the following concepts, “Her adventure didn’t start easy because she didn’t know where to turn. Traditional? Independent? Full-service? It seemed too hard to learn.” Sampson then uses the next twenty pages to take the readers through his character Mindy’s Outskirts adventure and the growing sense of excitement that she feels as her dreams of being a published author move ever closer to fruition.

Obviously, this book is intended to serve as a marketing piece for the services offered by Outskirts Press. One of the most effective ways in which Sampson accomplishes this task is through the gorgeous illustrations that appear on each page of Adventures in Publishing. The pictures are striking in their color, detail, and relevance to the accompanying text. Children’s authors who are considering Outskirts Press for their publishing needs certainly will enjoy letting their imaginations run wild with the possible visuals that Sampson’s company may provide for their own stories. Sampson plays up the illustrating component of Outskirts by displaying the various options that are available for authors and touting the impressive pricing for the beautiful pictures.

Sampson not only takes readers through the publishing process experienced by the fictional author Mindy, but also introduces us to several real clients who share wonderful testimonials about their experiences with Outskirts Press. These author pages, which are included throughout Adventures in Publishing, each display a photo of the happy author, some words of appreciation for the service that Outskirts Press provided and the covers of the author’s published novel or novels. I appreciate Sampson’s effective weaving of actual clients into his book, as there is no more persuasive marketing tool for a company than the words of satisfied customers. After reading the testimonials, I came away with the strong belief that Outskirts Press is a business that is committed to meeting the needs of each author and that works tirelessly to make sure the publishing process is as smooth and enjoyable an experience as possible.

Once authors finish reading Adventures in Publishing by Brent Sampson, they will be familiar with every aspect of self-publishing as offered by Outskirts Press. From being assigned a representative to selecting a layout for the book to working with a marketing coach to reach as many potential readers as possible, new authors will be able to track the steps they can expect to follow when they are ready to offer their writing for publication. Links to specific information at the Outskirts Press Web site are printed throughout the book so authors can turn to their computers and automatically learn more than what is already covered in this introductory book. The message of optimism that is conveyed through every detail in this book, such the encouragement embedded in the text and the bright colors that jump off the pages, will likely inspire many new authors who had previously been hesitant to take that first step towards publication. Through Adventures in Publishing, Brent Sampson and Outskirts Press have produced a piece of which they should be proud, and one that I hope all aspiring authors will take the opportunity to read.

An Unknown Journey
Author: Dao Huynh
ISBN: 978-1-4327-3083-3
Publisher: OutskirtsPress.com, 2009
Genre and Target Market: fiction; memoir format; culture
Pages: 219
Reviewer: Sarah Moore for WITS

I was a history major in college, and I have always had a particular interest in reading the stories of ordinary people who lived through extraordinary times. We all know that Marie Antoinette exclaimed, “Let them eat cake,” but how did the mother of hungry children feel when she heard those words? What was going through the average New Yorker’s mind as he looked up and saw a plane flying full-speed in the World Trade Center? Young girls around the world are fascinated by The Diary of Anne Frank because she loved her family and had crushes on boys, but this average teenager had to face a terrifying reality. When I am presented with a book that shares one person’s journey through a historic moment in time, I am automatically drawn to the story. Hopefully, I can transport myself into imagining how the characters must have felt going through these experiences. An Unknown Journey by Dao Huynh is a new work of fiction that provides insight we could not get from anyone else.

Dao Huynh came to the United States from Vietnam two decades ago, and she has used her knowledge of both cultures to develop a lead character that, I believe, is based on the author herself. Huynh tells the story of a girl named Dao, one of the thousands of “boat people” who escaped from Vietnam in the 1970s. Before reading An Unknown Journey, I shared the same images of Vietnam and that era of history as most Americans. I think of the girl who was photographed running from her burning village, the protests on the home front which tore our country apart, and the throngs of Vietnamese who tried to grab a place on helicopters as American forces fled Saigon. But, I must admit, I did not know a lot about the daily lives of the Vietnamese people or the struggles those who managed to leave faced during their travels and after reaching the United States.

The author lays out a vibrant description of life in South Vietnam, sharing Dao’s desire for a great education that will open doors and how this goal contrasts with a sense of duty that she feels to stay close to home and care for her family. Dao has a typical childhood, filled with changing friendships, school work, and family tensions. This world is turned upside-down, however, by the Communists’ victory following the departure of the Americans. Dao’s father is sent to a re-education camp and her brother whisks her away when presented with the chance to flee their fallen homeland over dangerous waters. The riveting chapters of the book then begin, with details concerning the months Dao spent at a refugee camp in Malaysia (where she reunited with a younger sister who had escaped a month earlier) and then the experiences she had as a new immigrant to the United States with limited English skills and a set of values very different than those promoted by the culture around her.

The most stunning component of An Unknown Journey is the details that Dao Huynh is able to incorporate into her storytelling. She recreates seemingly commonplace conversations with childhood friends, shares a thorough description of the aid workers in Malaysia, and mentions the songs that pass through Dao’s mind when remembering a college love with whom the relationship was left unrequited. I could sense the fear and doubt Dao must have felt when making the decision to step on the ill-equipped boat and leave her family behind in Vietnam, perhaps forever. I could feel the desperation she experienced when she wanted to learn English and searched for support on an overwhelming college campus. By providing such specific information about her life, Huynh allows her readers to immerse themselves fully in this adventure.

An Unknown Journey is a captivating new novel written in memoir format by Dao Huynh that likely reflects the experience of many immigrants who have left challenging circumstances and made the choice to resettle in America. The author is a gifted storyteller who realizes that some of the details that may initially seem mundane are really the essential pieces that create a complete picture for her audience. The entire book is a powerful testament to determination, the importance of education, and the love of a family. As Huynh reminds us as An Unknown Journey reaches its conclusion, there is no end to our travels. In fact, she leaves us as Dao is contemplating a decision that could take her down two very different paths. Perhaps we will be fortunate to read more about this amazing journey in the future.

Brent will be our podcast guest on May 8. Be sure to hear him discuss his book with Sarah!

Internet Dating is Not Like Ordering a Pizza
Author: Cherie Burbach
ISBN: 978-0-9789747-5-6
Publisher: Bonjour Publishing
Genre and Target Market: online dating; advice
Publication Date: 2008
Book Length in Pages: 165
Reviewer: Sarah Moore for WITS

I would never consider myself to be someone who quickly embraces the latest opportunities that come with our ever-developing technology. I finally learned to send text messages when I realized that was the only way to reach my husband during the day. I still do not own an iPod for my trips to the gym or a GPS device to assist me when I become lost on the way to a destination. However, I believe I was one of the early participants in the world of online dating more than ten years ago. The results were more than disappointing. I met one gentleman who was at least six inches shorter than the height he shared on his profile and another who missed our lunch date altogether because he got drunk after his softball game and completely forgot about our meeting. I quickly became disenchanted and left the world of internet dating. I have no doubt that the process is now much more sophisticated and the variety of people who participate has grown. I even think that, if I was not already happily married, the expertise of Cherie Burbach could make my navigation through online profiles and first meetings much more enjoyable. In her new book, Internet Dating is Not Like Ordering a Pizza, Burbach provides in detail all of the hints you need to create a successful profile and the process to follow once a connection has been made. Her conversational writing style and practical information make this book a must-read for anyone who is ready for greater success with the online dating process.

Burbach takes her readers through each specific component of an online profile, from the headline to the essay to the use of photos. She explains how each piece that you create tells part of your story and can either draw in a potential date or end any interest with a simple choice of words. Burbach provides a thorough list of the “don’ts” for each part of the profile in bulleted form that is easy for the reader to digest because, let’s be honest, we first want to we are doing wrong so that we can fix it. For example, she reminds readers “Don’t call yourself a hopeless romantic” and “Don’t crop an ex-boyfriend out of the photo.” Once the negative elements are successfully eliminated, Burbach also shares some great suggestions for text and photos to include that really highlight one’s personality. She teaches her readers how to incorporate their hobbies, families, and careers into a profile in a natural way that does not make a profile come across as dry or self-serving. Burbach also understands that men and women who have been a part of the online dating scene for some time without success are pessimistic and wary of anyone who offers new advice. So, she incorporates a “Dear Ms. Dating Consultant” section into her chapters in which she imagines some of the questions that readers will have about her advice and addresses the concerns with understanding and the attitude of someone who has been there.

Cherie Burbach met her own husband through online dating and therefore provides a valuable perspective on the way to develop a successful approach. This is not only important when she is sharing advice concerning the creation of a profile, but also when it comes to the date itself. She warns her readers to meet in a public place, set a time limit on the encounter (which she recommends to be coffee, not dinner or drinks), and take any suspicious behavior seriously. She stresses repeatedly throughout the book that you do not really know a person with whom you have been communicating online. I appreciated her honest reminder that while you can meet some wonderful people (perhaps even your life partner!) through internet dating, people must always be aware of the participants whose intentions are less than innocent and genuine.

The book is a great read that provides concrete tips for online daters on every page. The writing is clever and Burbach obviously has a real sense of respect for those who are struggling with their efforts to find a special someone through their computer screens. I know that there are millions of people with profiles on the various sites that promise to find your perfect match, and all of them would benefit from having Burbach’s book in their hands the next time they sit down in front of the keyboard.

The Boss of You: Everything a Woman Needs to Know to Start, Run, and Maintain Her Own Business
Author: Lauren Bacon and Emira Mears
ISBN: 1580052363
Publisher: Seal Press (2008)
Link to purchase: http://www.powells.com/partner/33578/biblio/1580052363
Reviewer Byline: Jennifer Roland

Finally, a Business Book Geared toward Creative Women

When Lauren Bacon and Emira Mears planned to open their own web design company, they looked for books to guide them in starting their small service business. They didn’t find what they needed, so they did what they thought was best, learning lessons and making mistakes along the way. After they became successful, they decided to help the next generation of women entrepreneurs by gathering their experiences into a how-to manual, The Boss of You.

The focus on small and service-based businesses makes their book unique, as does its focus on women entrepreneurs. Unlike the authors of many mompreneur titles, Bacon and Mears don’t speak down to the reader or tell her that she will make millions in a year by mass producing some gadget.

Bacon and Mears lead you through the idea stage with worksheets that help you focus and develop goals and a mission statement. They include advice on what to avoid and how and when to ask for help. They then move you into the budgeting stage and prepare you to open your doors, begin production, or start offering your services—whatever benchmark is most appropriate.

Once your business is up and running, they guide you in marketing, public relations, and advertising. Their chapter on networking is particularly useful. Networking can be scary, but Bacon and Mears have tips to help you get over your fear and find the methods of networking that fit you.

In the final section of the book, they discuss the importance managing growth. Many businesses fail because of poor growth management, whether owners allow their business to grow too fast, stretching themselves too thin, or keep them from growing at all, staying in their comfort zone rather than looking for new clients and projects. Bacon and Mears’s own stories guide you in knowing when to hire (and keep) help. They also remind you to celebrate the important milestones and anniversaries that signal your continued success.

They close the book with a resource guide and a call to share your own experiences with other up-and-coming businesswomen through mentoring, presentations, and pro bono or volunteer work. This focus on giving back is a hallmark of the women’s business culture, a more collaborative than competitive sorority that is ignored or maligned in much of the business literature.

The tips and advice Bacon and Mears offer is a perfect fit for a fledgling writer struggling to structure the business side of things. I recommend this book wholeheartedly.

Jennifer Roland is a freelance writer living in the Portland, Oregon, area. She has written for national and regional publications, including Learning & Leading with Technology, Oregon Daily Emerald, and various credit union publications. For more information, visit http://jenniferroland.wordpress.com/about/.

Last Words
Author: Michael Presutti
ISBN: 978-1-4327-3743-6
Publisher: OutskirtsPress.com, 2009
Genre and Target Market: fiction; horror; thriller
Pages: 123
Reviewer: Sarah Moore for WITS

As a child, I was not a fan of movies or books that detailed a violent apocalypse or a Hobbesian return to our primal selves. I was introduced to The Stand by Stephen King and the terrifying mini-series The Day After when I was college, however, and my interest in the darker elements of storytelling started to awaken. My accompanying studies of the Cold War in its waning days focused my attention further on the very real prospect of cataclysmic events affecting our planet. My love for the genre was sealed after marrying my husband, who is a devoted fan of the Sci-Fi Channel. Between ridiculous movies about spiders mutated by radiation, I discovered some serious cinematic commentaries on our current global state. I am now an advocate of the idea that extreme and violent stories of human destruction can provide wonderful insights into how carefully we all walk that line of maintaining a civil sanity. I share this background story to let you know how excited I am to discover author Michael Presutti and his recently published novel, Last Words. Presutti’s novel about traveling hordes of monsters, fratricide, and the daily fight for survival is terrifying and absolutely spellbinding … primarily because the possible reality of such a scenario is not as far-fetched as we might hope.

The author begins Last Words with a prologue that is guaranteed to grip the reader’s attention. We learn that a lone man bent on teaching the world a lesson has infiltrated a military compound and is set to release a deadly virus over the skies of the western United States. This brief and startling introduction is followed by a series of short broadcasts from a cable news network that tracks the progress of the virus as it spreads across the country. After only a week, the transmission signal goes dead. I knew that I was reading a piece of fiction, but I still felt a very real pang of helplessness and frustration with just this hint about the devastation that had occurred. Through his powerfully abrupt language, Presutti does a masterful job of creating emotional investment from his readers right away.

Throughout the pages of Last Words that follow, Presutti invites his readers into the lives of people who are simply trying to survive the virus that spreads to their communities through the ever-growing population of “infected ones.” We meet parents who kill their own children and wives who feel compelled to attack their husbands, all due to the unforgiving virus. With wild eyes and mutilated bodies, the infected beings feast upon human and animal flesh alike. The author creates vivid descriptions of these encounters that are both jarring and utterly fascinating. The visuals play clearly in the mind of the reader with every page that is turned.

One of the most effective ways that Presutti develops his tale of zombie-like predators, the breakdown of society, and the heroic fight for survival is through the short story format he employs. Each chapter is only about ten pages in length but packed with action. This layout creates frantic episodes featuring the lives of those who are desperate to see another sunrise. At no point in Last Words does the reader get a chance to relax or even take a deep breath. Even the interludes between each chapter feature single quotations printed on a stark white background. These words offer thoughts of Armageddon and often the human contribution to the approaching end of the world. Not exactly a respite from the agony felt through the main text of the plotline.

The new novel Last Words by Michael Presutti is a stunning read that leaves its readers thinking long after the final pages are closed. The author creates a scenario that could be campy and almost perversely comical if told from a different perspective. However, he instead develops a novel that delivers relatable characters and a mesmerizing plot. We feel the loneliness of the individuals who have managed to survive the grips of the virus and now long for any connection with another human being. We ache for those who have the charge of protecting our leaders but realize the bunker has become nothing more than an inevitable death trap. We cheer for the few who choose to forge ahead and help as many people as possible along the way. Last Words should be read not only by those who are drawn to the X-Files aspect of the book, but also anyone who can appreciate a story about the human condition under the most unimaginable of circumstances.

A Crucible of Innocence
Author: Roger W. Forsythe
ISBN: 978-1-4327-2881-6
Publisher: OutskirtsPress.com, 2008
Genre and Target Market: fiction, literary, spiritual
Pages: 455
Reviewer: Sarah Moore for WITS

There have been several instances in my extensive book reading career, which spans about thirty years, in which I have found my head spinning from the text that awaits me on every page. In some cases, my dizziness is prompted by the fact that the story was so poorly written that I could not comprehend how an author could deem the material fit to share with the general public. In other instances, however, my mind trip is based on the frantic adventure on which the writer is able to take his readers. With books that fall into the latter example, the reader is transported into the mind of a main character that is spilling his life before the pages. When I take a break in the middle of this type of novel, I find myself needing literally to shake my mind to clear it from the alternate personality that was able to become such a gripping figure. Such was the case with A Crucible of Innocence by Roger W. Forsythe, a book described by the author as a “poetic novel” and one that challenges us to rethink reality, reincarnation, and religion through the mind of one man. Whatever your conclusions when you reach the last page, you undoubtedly will know that you have been treated to a compelling work that crosses genres and challenges convention.

Through A Crucible of Innocence, Forsythe introduces us to James Conrad Scott. This troubled but brilliant man approaches his thirtieth birthday with financial, professional, and health crises all dominating his thoughts. After yet another run-in with his boss at the local newspaper, this time over his limited abilities due to a broken foot, Conrad Scott decides to quit his job and enter a period of self-reflection. As bills must still be paid even when the desire to find one’s self is beckoning, Scott takes on five part-time jobs. Due to absolute exhaustion and a lifelong battle with depression, Scott’s frantic schedule eventually leads him to a suicide attempt and time in a psychiatric hospital. It is the way in which Forsythe brings his readers to the point of his character’s nearly fatal decision and then guides us through Scott’s thoughts after his failed suicide effort that makes the book so fascinating and unique.

The readers spend much of the book inside the mind of Conrad Scott, through the frequent inclusion of his essays and journal entries as well as the extensive episodes in which he imagines himself to be a survivor of the Titanic, a Civil War soldier, or a fortunate attendee at drinking festivities held by great literary masters at the Troubadour Poets Caf� and Bistro. In some chapters, we are given fairly standard narratives of Scott’s life amongst friends and at his places of employment. We are then jolted out of the storyline with poetry or prose interludes by Scott that provide us with insight into how he uses fiction to work through the struggles he is experiencing in coming to terms with his own place in the world. By taking the reader down this non-linear and sometimes disorienting path, Forsythe demonstrates a magnificent ability to bring to life a man who is struggling to stay in the present and function within a society in which he sometimes feels woefully misplaced.

The Crucible of Innocence truly is a book that needs to be experienced, as its contents cannot adequately be described to someone who has not opened its pages. The novel is a chaotic combination of pieces that delve deeply into our own convictions about God, angels living in our world, what constitutes mental sanity, and how the beauty of literature and art can be an amazing healing agent. Once read in its entirety, the reader will be able to recognize an intentional structure and beautiful tapestry created by both Forsythe and his main character Conrad Scott. If you have an appreciation for poetry, take interest in the concept of reincarnation or the lasting impact of the great writers in our modern history, or simply enjoy the artistry when a book’s carefully determined layout lends as much to the meaning of the text as the words themselves, you will enjoy The Crucible of Innocence. Roger Forsythe is already the published author of three volumes of poetry and a textbook chapter on the Civil War. With this new release, Forsythe adds his voice to the world of fiction in a way that is certain to leave readers with plenty of material for reflection, yet also craving more from Conrad Scott and the insights he offers.

Alphabet Meditations for Teachers: Everyday Wisdom for Educators
Nancy Oelklaus, EdD
Loving Healing Press (2009)
ISBN 9781932690880
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (3/09)

Alphabet Meditations for Teachers contains twenty-six poems that cover topics, from A through Z, to which teachers will relate. Each meaningful poem has a colorful photograph to accompany it. The author did an awesome job of finding topics which every educator will find meaningful. As a community college instructor of students with disabilities, I found myself totally understanding the topics that were covered. I feel that they reach beyond the K-12 level.

Reading this book reminded me that we are here for our students, not vice versa. Being from a variety of backgrounds, it is important for us to accept our student regardless of their socio-economic status. As educators we have to love them and believe in them no matter what. Dr. Oelklaus’s words really touched my heart. Reminding me to replace fear with love and to accept change as it appears, makes the education world a more exciting, adventuresome place.

Alphabet Meditations for Teachers: Everyday Wisdom for Educators by Nancy Oelklaus would make the perfect gift for any teacher, especially if they might be feeling burnout. It will inspire them to remember why they chose to teach. It also would make a perfect gift for a brand new teacher. As they begin to experience the good and bad things that come with the profession, it will let them know that others have had the same thoughts and feelings.

Billy Had To Move
Theresa Ann Fraser, CYW, B.A.
Loving Healing Press (2009)
ISBN 9781932690873
Reviewed by Madeline McElroy (age 8) for Reader Views (4/09)

This is a story about a boy named Billy. Billy was sad because his Nana had died. Billy had to live in a foster home now because they couldn’t find his mother. Billy was worried who would take care of his cat. He had been sad for many days.

I thought this book was very sad but had a happy ending for Billy. This book made me feel kind of weird because I didn’t know that kids had to live with strangers. I feel lucky to have a caring family. I learned about how there are people to help take care of kids who don’t have parents to take care of them. I found out about lots of people like Social Workers and Therapists who can try to help you when you are sad, angry, scared or confused. I think kids like Billy should read this book because it would show them what to do if they are sad.

Note from mother: I had a hard time reading this book with my children; I was choking back many tears throughout the story. They were both very interested and had a lot of questions and compassion for Billy. I think if a book that to us was “fictional” had such an impact, surely it would be an outstanding tool for a child experiencing these feelings. It seems to me it would really open-up a dialogue at the least. I think Billy Had To Move by Theresa Ann Fraser would be a wonderful book for any library and that all school-age children would benefit from reading, either identifying with Billy or by presenting a way of life they may not have known about before. We certainly share a lot of different things about society with our children, but this really illustrated how hard life can be for such a young person. My only critique would be to add more artwork to break-up some of the very text intensive pages. Perhaps editing out some of the text might be helpful as well depending on the target age. We broke the book up over three days because it was such a “heavy” subject.

What I Learned from my Librarian Friends

by Carolyn Howard-Johnson

Librarians and I go back a long way. My favorite aunt was retired from being head of a library system’s accounting department before she died. My children always received library bound books from her on birthdays and Christmas and her love for reading and for the children became palpable with these little gifts. My daughter had the entire Little House on the Prairie series. One of my good critique partners is a librarian. His intensity for books and literature and for helping others permeates his life.

Thus, I feel almost violated when I hear an author say that they don’t want to sell books to libraries because if people borrow books it keeps the author from selling them. No, no, no! When people get books from libraries, it helps a book’s buzz. It helps people who can’t afford a book access your work. It can even help you promote if you keep in touch with librarians.

Recently my library friend and critique partner confided that libraries’ budgets are severely restricted—in many cases more than they have been before. No news there. But he also mentioned how they generally make their book-buying decisions. They, of course read journals like Library Journal to guide them. But in addition they check their distributor’s stock (places like Baker & Taylor) and if B&T; doesn’t have 100 or more copies in stock, they take that as an indication that there isn’t much call for the book in bookstores. If there isn’t call in the bookstores, the reasoning goes, there won’t be in libraries either. And, that’s pretty much all it takes for a book to be cut off their lists.

What can we authors do about it? Well, when one library catalogs a book it may encourage another to do so as well. So:

~Work with your library to speak or teach at their library.
~Donate a book or two.
~Buy (or put together) library lists and send out query letters explaining why your book is a must for their library.
~Try real hard to get reviewed in Library Journal (information on how to do that is in The Frugal Book Promoter).
~Display at library tradeshows and conferences (like BEA but regional).
~Work libraries (meaning make sales calls) one at a time.

Is it worth it? The American Library Association says that libraries buy nearly 1.8 BILLION in books annually. You tell me. Is it worth it?

For more information about selling your book to libraries, you will want to get a copy of Dana Lynn Smith’s e-book The Savvy Book Marketer's Guide to Selling Your Book to Libraries http://tr.im/gHBZ


Carolyn Howard-Johnson is an instructor for UCLA Extension's world-renown Writers' Program, and author of the HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers including The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success. It is a USA Book News award-winner as well as the winner of the Reader View's Literary Award and a finalist in the New Generation Book Awards. She is the recipient of both the California Legislature's Woman of the Year in Arts and Entertainment Award and is a popular speaker and actor. Her Web site is www.HowToDoItFrugally.com.

Poetry Corner


Scrying Phantom Seas
By Laurie Corzett

Listen to the heart of bliss.
On open sand, feel
breeze, vibrance
under oceanic starlight.
Breathing eternity, open
inward to see intricately
expanding visions -- poetry:
thought in magical splendor.
All art is magical; all magic is art.
Yet they are not the same, and part
of a grander landscape, embracing
sky and sea.

From the Emergence of Emerging Visions visionary art ezine #14 published by Laurie Corzett/Libramoon http://emergingvisions.blogspot.com 

On Any Given Day
Jan Bossing � Joelton, TN 03-31-09

Got the baby to feed.
Got the laundry to do.
Got the boss to please.
Gotta save time for you.

Gotta type up the proposal.
Gotta start the micro-wave.
See me coming, watch me going.
Don’t remember my own name.

Please don’t push me.
Please don’t rush me.
I can only do so much.
Please don’t scold me.
Please just hold me.
I just need a gentle touch.

Sometimes I feel like I’m juggling -
The lily, the sword, the lamp.
Sometimes I feel like I’m strangling -
The struggle, the choke, the gasp.

Who is that girl I used to be?
Did she miss out on the chance?
I don’t want to give up the dream.
I don’t want to sit out the dance.

Please don’t push me.
Please don’t rush me.
I can only do so much.
Please don’t scold me.
Please just hold me.
I just need a gentle touch.

Let’s Get Naked and Run Through the Sprinklers

I’ve wanted to show you so often
Exactly what you mean to me,
But I was afraid of what people would say
If I acted out so obviously.
We’re victims of our inhibitions.
It’s apparent when push comes to shove.
Why don’t we get naked and run through the sprinklers
And show the whole world we’re in love?

You say that I can’t act crazy,
I’m just an old stick in the mud.
Left to myself and my own devices
I’m like an old cow chewing cud.
But I’m tired of misunderstandings.
I’m ready to show the whole world.
I say let’s get naked and run through the sprinklers?
I’m willing to give it a whirl.

Life is too short to sit idly by
While the rest of the world marches on.
There are so many things I want us to try
Before all of the best of our good times are gone.

It’s not so hard to imagine
The kind of unrest we might cause.
Jaws dropping down to their ankles,
Eyes clearly popping in awe.
I’m ready to shed inhibitions
For you and polite company.
Why don’t we get naked and run through the sprinklers
And show the whole world that we’re free.

Dennis S Martin


Eavesdropping at the Writers’ Fair
By Carolyn Howard-Johnson

Two words only. Bon mots.
so lovely our language adopted

them, our authors aspire
to deserve their application

to their literary
pursuits. I hadn’t heard

them since French I and II
but here, with liquid amber

leaves at my feet, writers
at my elbow, I hear them twice.

Repetition makes me think
a translation of “good words”

not up to scratch for the efforts
of their countrymen—Flaubert

or Malraux—equally deficient
for even Faulkner’s folderol

Hemingway’s doodling. Duped
by Francophiles once again!

The bookish and bogus
impressed by the echo

of vowels in their noses.
say belles lettres,

hold them in their mouths
as if they were bon bons,

relish their cr�me.
We could do better with words

rooted in blunt Germanic
soil. Bons and belles, simulated

pearls, do nothing for an aging neck
that the real thing wouldn’t do as well.

Carolyn Howard-Johnson coauthored She Wore Emerald Then: Reflections on Motherhood with Magdalena Ball. It was released in time for Mother's Day giving. http://www.amazon.com


By Hal Manogue

Spring one hundred years ago
Was very warm: it’s in my
Palm, such life, such gaiety.

Future is a bird streaking
Aimlessly, past is dregs-
Everything’s here now. Thought sparking though
Sparking thought: headlands
Pocked by time, the rain of tides.

Rock rising, rock sinking.
No space, what was is nowhere-a hundred years hence,

Spring will be as warm.

Shinkichi Takahashi was born in 1901 in a small fishing village in Japan. He is considered one of the truly great figures in Japanese poetry. His thoughts flow with spontaneity and freedom of form. His self dances in and out of the words in a mystic waltz. The poem Spring is no exception. His words bring meaning to the mundane world of just a season and transform it into a consciousness, which expresses itself in the now.

Within each moment of spring another consciousness lives to experience the beauty of its thoughts. The interlocking web of unity echoes through the silence in dreams. The cycle of value fulfillment leaves traces nowhere, but in the soul of time. Time swims through space in waves and tides that wash my palms in life. A hundred years hence the rain of tides will be just where it has always been, within my thoughts and spring will be as warm.

Poet, Author and Essayist, Hal Manogue is the author of Short Sleeves Insights, Short Sleeves Spirit Songs, and Short Sleeves A Book for Friends www.shortsleeves.net  http://halmanogue.blogspot.com/ 


First Puppy

by Irene Brodsky author of Poetry Unplugged

How lucky is he?
Couldn't happen to a nicer pet
To be chosen over all the others
To be First Puppy
in the White House.

His name is Bo
Don't ask me why
Only the First Children know
For Bo is the love of their life
To be First Furry Pet.

Bo will go everywhere
with the First Family
Loyal and devoted
Faithful and true
To be First Vacation Pet.

And when Bo goes to sleep,
he says a little "woof"
to thank the angels up above.
They sent him to The White House
to be First Puppy Love.



Take Time to Plan

Hey, what are your goals in life?
Our choices are either wrong or they’re right.
Let us make changes that will cause us to grow.
We can live our lives in circles, you know.

There is a process to our destination and we can win.
It takes time, wisdom, knowledge and waiting
patiently to the end.
Don’t forget to include prayer.
This is a tool that will take you anywhere.

Remember always have a plan.
Without one you can end up in nowhere land.
If plan one doesn’t work then try plan two.
Obstacles come your way to hinder you.

Keeping focus is how we stay on track.
Don’t allow circumstances to hold you back.
You have great potential on the inside of you.
Sometimes, we need to take time to think
about what we plan to do.

Tanya Tucker Blowe is the author of the Inspirational Writings from the Living Water. This inspirational poetry book captures the hearts of people and lifts the hearts and spirits of those who require spiritual fulfillment. www.tanyablowe.com 


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