Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Winter Anybody? Or maybe a FREE ebook?

You can still catch me over at Adriana Ryan's blog. If you haven't stopped by, please do; besides me, Adriana has a lot to offer. The other authors on her roster are fascinating. And if you don't know Adriana, you're in for a treat. She's a super lady with a crazy sense of humour. Her interviews crack me up.

If you happen to live below the 49 parallel and you're chilly, check out my morning photos of Cluculz Lake's winter wonderland.

Honestly, don't you feel toasty warm already?

We all know what solitary lives writers lead. Unless you're collaborating with another writer, life is often quiet. Too quiet sometimes.

That's why I jumped at the chance to make a snowman with my buddy Patty. Hers is named Ida, because she looks like our beloved friend, neighbour and poet, Ida Cutler. Ida passed away in 2004 at the age of 91. We miss her badly.

I named mine Ralphie because he sort of looks like my husband, Grumpy Ralph.

Thanks, Patty. Building a snowman was a nice reprieve and a lot of fun. I'm particularly proud of his scarf. Who'd have thought Joylene could actually do crafts? Wow.

Now it's back to work.

Here's what is happening in December:

Dec. 5 - Ask PZM, Phyllis Zimbler Miller is back with an interesting answer to the pros and cons of reviews.

Dec. 5 - That same day, I'm a guest on Cheryl Malandrinos' blog, The Book Connection.

Dec. 7 - Laila Knight is my guest for the day.

Dec. 8 - I'm being interviewed by whacky Miss Mae of Gum Drop Island.

Dec. 10 - Author's Luncheon at Hobson Museum.

Dec. 11 - the consummate author and writer, Penny Ehrenkranz is my guest. Penny's newest novel is titled Lady in Waiting. 

Dec. 12 - I've an interview with Killarney Sheffield's blog, Stalking Authors.

Dec. 20 - Katherine Swarts's monthly column airs.

If you're looking for exposure for your book, couldn't hurt to check these sites.

Now for the fun part. If you're a follower of this blog and you liked a free copy of my e-book Dead Witness, (it would make a super Christmas gift) leave a comment and I'll stick your name on this post. Someone, other than me, will pick the winner Sunday, Dec. 4th. If you're not a follower, just click the Follow this site button, leave a comment, and voila, you're in the draw.

--good luck

Sunday, November 27, 2011

I'm a guest at Adriana Ryan's blog

I'm delighted to announce I'm over at Adriana Ryan's blog today, answering some very interesting questions. Hope you can stop by.

Meanwhile... Go BC Lions Go!

--happy blogging

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

To My Southern Friends: Happy Thanksgiving

I know you're probably busy, but take a moment to view this video I borrowed from Cheryl Richardson's newsletter. It's really worth your time, and I promise you'll feel better.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.


Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Perils of Careless Proofreading

Though Katherine's article is meant primarily for business writers, I couldn't help noticing her advice could also apply to fiction and non-fiction. Hope you enjoy.

© Katherine Swarts

Blame the growth of text messaging; or the modern ease of copying messages as opposed to the old “retype the whole thing” approach; or today’s rush-rush mentality; but people just aren’t proofreading the way they used to. Though no one expects e-mail memos to conform to Pulitzer Prize standards, even professionally published books are now laden with typos any third-grader should have caught. As for proofreading standards applied to the average business brochure: I have considered going into professional expos with twenty-five $10 bills and offering one of those bills to anyone who hands me a brochure I can’t find a misprint in. I’d be willing to bet I could go to every booth without losing the whole $250.

Following is a top-ten sampler of the funniest typos I sighted in 2008-2009 alone (italics added):
1. Online form error message: “In valid Web site format.”
2. Writer’s market guide: “You will find a dollar sign ($) in front of the periodicals that ate paying markets.”
3. Daily-trivia calendar: “Lightening starts more forest fires…”
4. Ripley’s Believe It or Not! book: “…more members than theUntied Nations.”
5. Inspirational reader: “The early bird gets the word.”
6. Major writers’ newsletter: “…favorite books… whether they are classics or more recent tiles.”
7. Online writing-articles database: “For some, walking slowly and methodically allows them to think things through, while for others, too slow provides too much distraction…. On the other hand a very rapid face can leave you out of breath…”
8. Major nature magazine: “…avoid undo exposure to predators.”
9. Business e-newsletter: “was generating over $10 million per month in gross review…”
10. Rendering of Bible quote by major religious publisher: “Codopposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

And as a bonus, my all-time favorite, still fresh in mind years after first sighting:

Voter’s guide: “…ten years in pubic service.”

It’s funny when someone else makes the mistake, but do you really want your business to be best remembered for such a gaffe?

Failure to proofread can also have results that definitely aren’t funny. First, it can leave a decidedly negative impression of your business. People will overlook one mistake; but if your written communications average 10 typos per 100 words, how long will it take potential customers to start wondering if you’re as careless with your primary services?

Sloppy proofreading can also lead to serious and costly inconvenience. The seminar announcement that reads “we will meet at 7 a.m.” instead of “7 p.m.”; the business address listed as “1001 Richmond” instead of “10001 Richmond,” or even as “Norwalk, CT” instead of “Norwalk, CA”; the Web link that leads nowhere because the address was mistyped—how much time is wasted annually because people take such messages as they are written?

However great a hurry you’re in, never think of proofreading as a waste of time. Carelessness here can hurt you and those whose opinions you value.

Despite what many would-be novelists think, good writing is not easy. It is, however, vital—especially when your reputation and customer relationships are riding on it. Don’t steal time from your business’s primary mission to struggle with written communications. Contact Spread the Word Commercial Writing today and learn how professional help can save you time and frustration!

“Anything Worth Writing Is Worth Writing Right”™

Katherine Swarts is a professional copywriter and journalist, founder and owner of Spread the Word Commercial Writing in Houston, Texas. Spread the Word is certified by the Women's Business Enterprise National Council.

Since 1993, Katherine has published over 50 articles in numerous periodicals, including Carus Publishing's AppleseedsFaces, and OdysseyChildren's Writer(on which see comments in next paragraph); and Christian Home & School.She has also prepared two anthologies for Thomson Gale.

Katherine has a bachelor's degree in English from Austin College in Sherman (TX), and a master's degree in written communications from Wheaton (IL) Graduate School. She has also studied with the Institute of Children's Literature, which publishes the monthly newsletter Children's Writer; two annual market guides; and an annual writer's yearbook.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Another great interview: HANK QUENSE

Hank Quense new novel, Zaftan Miscreants: Book 2 of the Zaftan Trilogy became available on October 15, 2011. He's back to answer some questions on this book.

Tell us about your new book
The Zaftans and the folks from Gundarland are at it again. This
time, the encounter is in deep space and two powerful fleets of warships face off. While the fleets challenge each other, a pair females struggle to survive. Sam is a new type of android with an organic brain. She is perplexed by her unexpected ability to experience emotions. Her primary one is loneliness caused by the officers she is supposed to work with. They treat her with contempt. Klatze, a young and beautiful zaftan officer (see portrait in her dress uniform) blessed with talent and ability -- unheard of in the zaftan navy -- comes to the attention of the fleet's commodore, Gongeblazn. He lusts after her and her continuous refusals to have sex angers the commodore and his lust turns to thoughts of vengeance.
Sam and Klatze each face unique situations that test their mettle and their desire to survive in the midst of chaos.

What's different about this book? Why should people buy it?
Zaftan Miscreants offers a wealth of unusual characters. The four main characters are an android, a ship's computer, a beautiful alien who is a societal misfit and another alien who is a well-adjusted murderer. If that isn't enough, one minor character is an ancient robot who is a religious fanatic and is the one who paves the way for the appearance of the Mechanical Messiah. I'd say that defines 'different'.

Does the book have a reader's guide to help book clubs discuss the novel? 
Yes, it does. The guide is designed to help reading groups delve deeply into the philosophical issues addressed by my book and characters. Here are two questions from the guide.

1) Is Klatze suffering from delusions of grandeur because she thinks that she has "ability". Does she need intensive indoctrination in the arts of assassination and treachery to get her to fit in with normal zaftan society?

2) The author seems to have an unhealthy fixation on the repulsive aliens. Is this an indication of a mental disorder? Can it be caused by an incident in his childhood? How would Freud diagnose the problem? What would he recommend to alleviate the situation?

Does this book pick up where Book 1 left off? 
No. Book 1 sets up the initial contact between the two worlds and leaves both with the felling that it is only a matter of time before there is a war. Book 2 starts 300 years later and continues the mistrust that permeates relations between the two worlds.

Zaftan Entrepreneurs: Book 1 of the Zaftan Trilogy was filled with humor and satire. Does it continue in Book 2? 
Even if I wanted to, I can't write stories any other way. So yes, Zaftan Miscreants is filled with humor and satire.

Where can we get a copy?
I'm glad you asked that. I have a complete list of sellers on my website:

Friday, November 11, 2011

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Second Review for BROKEN BUT NOT DEAD

I received a wonderful review for Broken but not Dead and I'd like to share it with you. If you're a writer, you'll understand why. Praise is a wonderful gift to any craftsman.

You can read the review here.

Lest We Forget: Friday 11/11/11 is Remembrance Day. Please take a moment to honour all those who serve in the armed forces in Canada and the United States.

They laid for us. Can't we at least Stand Up for them?

Monday, November 7, 2011

Visiting Laura Best, Canadian Author

Thank you all for the great response to Phyllis Zimbler Miller's post on Amazon: Friend or Foe. Today, I'm visiting Laura Best, author of Bitter, Sweet at her blog. Hope you can stop by and say hello. If you follow my blog and leave a comment on Laura's, you automatically enter to win a free electronic copy of my suspense thriller Dead Witness.

Meanwhile, here's a photo of two of my grandchildren - Reece and his beautiful sister Jenna. I know I'm prejudice, but aren't they stunning! Two of God's perfections.


Saturday, November 5, 2011

ASK PZM: Nov 2011 Amazon

Q: Is Amazon a friend or foe of authors?

This is a very good question – and one that I’m not sure what the answer is today, let alone two weeks from today.  But I’ll share with you some of my observations and what I’ve recently read.

Amazon review removal:

Carolyn Howard Johnson’s free ezine “Sharing With Writers” (see signup on her site had the feature article “Amazon Removes More Reviews: Targets Individual Reviewers and Sites Causing Authors to Become Victims” by Irene Watson (managing editor of Reader Views) about Amazon’s removal of reviews.  Read Irene’s article yourself (scroll down to the feature at 

I’m glad I had read this when I suddenly noticed that the 34 reviews for my novel “Mrs. Lieutenant” – reviews that had been there for years – had suddenly shrunk to 14.  And the irony is that, if I correctly understand Irene’s article, most of those 20 reviews should NOT have been removed.

But I won’t fight with Amazon over this for two reasons:

·      The 14 remaining reviews (see have a good “star” rating so the book’s “star” rating doesn’t seem to have been impacted by the removal – and who reads 34 reviews anyway?

·      I’m already embroiled in a struggle with Amazon over another issue: the inability of Amazon to get my technothriller book “Lt. Commander Mollie Sanders” added to my Amazon author page.  (I will spare you the details of this issue.)

But all of you who have books on Amazon should be aware of this situation of reviews being removed. 

“Tricking” Amazon into allowing you to make an ebook free:

Consider trying out a strategy of making one of your ebooks available for FREE even though it entails “tricking” Amazon into going along with this strategy.


Based on this strategy, I have already changed the price for “Lt. Commander Mollie Sanders” to free on Smashwords (see http:/  But I have to wait until the price is changed on Barnes & Noble’s site (apparently takes up to two weeks) before I can try to convince Amazon to match the free price.

Submitting your book to Amazon Publishing:

Apparently you can actually submit your book to Amazon Publishing.  On my LinkedIn “Book Marketing” group, on a thread about Amazon Publishing, Rebecca Byfield posted:
They do have a submissions email. This is the information I got back from them: Amazon Publishing is accepting submissions for the following imprints: 
Montlake Romance: acquiring romance novels and romantic women's fiction (

Thomas & Mercer: acquiring mysteries and thrillers

Crossing: acquiring non-English language translation rights

Encore: acquiring previously self-published and out of print books

47North: acquiring sci-fi, fantasy, and horror novels

Submission requirements:

Proposals and manuscripts should only be submitted to one imprint or editor at a time. We will communicate internally to make sure your work finds its best home.

If you are represented by an agent, please have your agent submit your proposal.

Submissions should include the following information: 
o Title and author in the subject line
o Short synopsis of the book
o Brief bio and bibliography of author
o Is this an exclusive submission?
o Complete manuscript (Word file, Times New Roman 12)
o Comparable authors or titles
o Marketing strengths
We should be especially thankful to Rebecca for sharing this info because I’m not sure there is any place on the Amazon site that you can actually find this.  (I tried.)

Amazon foreign sites:

I’m not going to deal with this topic this time except to say that there are now four Amazon sites that have Kindle – the U.S., the U.K., Germany and France.  And I hear that the Italian and Spanish sites will soon be added.

Meanwhile, as of now your book’s reviews on the U.S. site cannot be automatically transferred to the foreign sites.  Amazon expects you to ask the people who wrote reviews on the U.S. site to submit their reviews individually to each of the other sites.

And, yes, the reviews can be in English even on the foreign language sites, although you do need to be able to read enough of the foreign language to find where to create the review.
Bottom line about Amazon as a promotional tool for authors? 

If you are an author with books on Amazon, you need to be vigilant about the advantages and disadvantages that Amazon offers you for promotional purposes.  And you need to be aware that these can change without any notice. 

© 2011 Miller Mosaic, LLC

Phyllis Zimbler Miller (@ZimblerMiller on Twitter) has an M.B.A. from The Wharton School and is the co-founder of the marketing consulting company  The company offers consulting on book publishing and book marketing – see

You can learn about Phyllis’ fiction and nonfiction books at

Friday, November 4, 2011

Dead Witness, ebook for sale now!

I've very excited to announce that the e-b00k version of my suspense thriller Dead Witness is now available at the MuseItUp bookstore.

Thank you, Lea, Christine, Valerie and Suzannah for making this e-book possible.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Journey Reader: Excerpt: Broken But Not Dead by Joylene Butler

I'm late with this. Lea Ryan was kind enough to put an excerpt of my novel up on her blog. Hope you can stop by, say hello, and check out the many other guests she'd had on her blog.
ps. Meanwhile, enjoy a photo of our newest family member. Blake's a hoot like his dad.

Journey Reader: Excerpt: Broken But Not Dead by Joylene Butler: When Brendell Meshango is terrorized by a deranged masked man for two long days, she thinks it's racially motivated. When he threatens her d...