Thursday, September 9, 2010

Six Tips to be a Better Proofreader

The importance of proofreading is often overlooked and under estimated. Alana Keane is a professional copywriter and her article below on How to be a Better Proofreader is a must read.
Please enjoy.

Copywriting Tips - Be a Better Proofreader

In a perfect world, you'd have a professional copywriter handle the writing for all of your marketing and business communication projects. Every report, every sales letter, every web page, every brochure... you'd rest easy knowing you had an expert on hand to keep it all up to par.

But the fact is, we don't live in a perfect world. We live in the real world and sometimes you have to write your own material. Of course, copywriting isn't one of those things that just comes easily to most people and after spending several days (or weeks) organizing your thoughts and working through multiple drafts, you may feel like celebrating. Don't uncork that champagne just yet, though. You still have to proofread.

Improve Your Proofreading

As tedious as it may be, proofreading is an essential part of the writing process. And though it seems like a straightforward procedure, after you've read -- and reread -- something over and over and over again, those pesky little mistakes get harder to detect. Make sure you catch them all by following a few basic tips.

Read it Out Loud

The words you've written may look great on paper. But how do they sound? You might be surprised to find that what you think you've written and what you've actually written are two different things. Find clunky phrases and repair them by reading what you've written out loud.

Read it Backwards

It's human nature to automatically correct the errors we may find while reading. To compensate for this, read your copy backwards. Start at the end and check each word for spelling errors. Remember: the spell check on your computer does not catch everything, including homophones like "their" and "they're" or "your" and "you're."

Have a Friend Read it

It never hurts to have another pair of eyes go over what you've written. Have a friend or co-worker read your copy and make suggestions for both grammar and style. You may disagree with the recommendations you receive, but you should give consideration to any constructive criticism that can make your work better.

Hire a Copywriter

There is often no substitute for professional copyedits. In a matter of minutes, a good copywriter can frequently detect errors you would have otherwise missed -- and suggest improvements you would never even have considered. Plus, since you've already put the time into writing a complete draft, hiring a professional copywriter to polish your work is significantly less expensive than contracting a project from scratch.

The Last Word
In the end, proofreading is time (and money) well spent -- because if you don't find the mistakes in your copy, your clients will.

© Copyright Alana Keane. All rights reserved worldwide.

About the Author
A professional copywriter with over a decade of experience, Alana Keane has been widely published on a national level. Her areas of expertise include copywriting for brochures, websites, sales letters, direct mail campaigns and more. Visit her website at

It's always good to have another pair of eyes,


Thursday, September 2, 2010

Writing and Selling Memoirs - Common Pitfalls - Part V

Unless your name is a household word no one but possibly your immediate family care that you were married six times or robbed a liquor store at the age of fifteen. The real truth is....

The odds of your memoir being rescued from the slush pile are close to nil and impossible…unless your hook is well developed.  (this post is adapted from Writer’s Digest July/August 2010 issue) One of the most challenging facets of writing a memoir is being able to view it with the perspective of someone who has never lived your experience.

Bring ordinary situations to life with dazzling details. For example, Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert is a story about ordinary events such as divorce, travel, spirituality and food. Gilbert takes the reader along with her to experience every tear drop, laughter and epitome along her journey to healing.

Take care not to fall into the pitfalls below: 

Five Ineffective Memoir Hooks
  1. Do not mistake bitterness or anger(neither one is a good reason to write a book)  for passion.
  2. If your theme is not relatable to readers they will not read
  3. Don’t take too long to build or start too late in the story.
  4. When you follow too many different paths your plot becomes confusing.
  5. Don’t follow through to the end of the story. Your life story is not over yet. Focus on pivotal events that caused your life to do a back flip. Once you understand what a good hook is and what it should do, you will be ready to write, write, write.

Three Exercises to Define Your Hook

Write your own cover copy.

What do you do when browsing in a book store? Read the back cover or jacket flap. According to Writer’s Digest, some publishers begin working on this before a manuscript is completed because it is so essential to success.

Push your theme to the limit.

List 10 things that are unique to your situation. What makes your divorce different than your neighbors? Why should your bout with cancer be any different than others?  What range of emotions does your list hit?

Shift your focus.

Select five different starting points for your memoir then make a list of five different plots from those points. What track does the memoir follow when you start from a different position? How do you feel about each new story and where does each one end?

Also, here is a neat site at with many related videos on writing memoirs. Check them out.

Until next time,

"Give to the world the best you have and the best will come back to you." Madeline Bridges

Friday, August 27, 2010

Writing & Selling Memoirs: Know Where Your Memoir Fits - Part IV

“The Hook” is the center of every marketable book and is the key element in making a memoir marketable. Your uniqueness, controversy, tragedy, inspiration, shocking or funny story is the thin S-curve device clutching the heart and mind of a reader and publisher. Once “The Hook” grabs your audience, it will be up to your strong writing skills to keep them turning your pages.

According to Paula Balzer's  article in Writer’s Digest  July/August 2010,  “A Hook for Every Book”, memoir writing is not just about a history of your life. The article shares many tips to help you present your story in an interesting and marketable fashion.Yes, your hook will capture the attention of agents and editors but it will take your writing style and story to keep the momentum moving.

Distinguish Hook from Theme

You want your good book to be a great one and not just another spiritual journey for example. Your hook will take the reader along and as you painfully scratch crusted scabs from your wounds your audience will experience the healing process with you as you live it. It is important to note that your hook and the underlying theme of your memoir are not necessarily the same thing. You must be able to discern the difference between the two if you want to write an unforgettable memoir.

Effective hooks:

  • Bring something new to the table.
  • Go beyond the theme of the memoir.
  • Can be summed up in a sentence or two.
  • Are provocative and memorable.

Know where your book fits  
a few categories to get you started

Self-discovery, soul-searching, healing, survival and courage, a journey defined by pain but can show hope for others there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Example, “The Middle Place” by Kelly Corrigan

Love and relationships is not always about romantic love. Susan Richards’ “Chosen by a Horse” about a broken woman learning more from an abused animal than she ever imagined.

Family secrets – oh yes the juicy stuff but more than that, a unique perspective on courage and understanding can cover a wide variety of subjects. For instance in Bliss Broyard’s “One Drop” she investigates her father’s secret of having African-American roots. This is not exploitation but exploration of family dynamics which could make or break a family unit.

Read a Memoir
It’s a good idea to see how an author develops a hook and how they take an ordinary subject to make an unusual tale about pursuit of truth. Go to Writers for the rest of the story.

I hope your interest is peaked for writing memoirs. Look for Paula Balzer’s new book “Writing and Selling Your Memoir” forthcoming  spring of 2011.

Next week - Part V – Ineffective hooks and more exercises on how to define your hook.

You will become as small as your controlling desire; as great as your dominant aspiration.
James Allen

Until next time

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Memoir Writing: Build Your Arc - Keep Your Memoir Afloat - Part III

When writing your memoir remember you are the action hero and the arc of your story is essential in determining what part needs dramatizing. Building your arc should be done before you begin any form of outline. An arc looks like the Bell curve used in some schools to bring up the grade average of a class. You begin low, reach a crescendo then begin the decline to the climax.

Beginning steps for constructing an arc.

1. The Desire Line - What was your life's desire? This will drive the book.
2. Actions and Obstacles - What did you do or want and what got in your way?
3. Emotional Beats - A memoir is an emotional journey. The events are not there because they happened but to show emotion you go through.
4. The Initiating Incident - This comes near the beginning and is the main cause of your troubles.
5. The Ending Incident - Your desire will define the ending.

Adair Lara's article, "Elements of an Effective Arc", in the July/August issue of Writer's Digest, explains in detail how to draw an arc and how emotions and obstacles are the heart beat of your story.

Lara says "Drawing your arc is not something you can knock out in the half-hour before dinner."

Get your toolbox ready,

Next week, Part IV - Turn Your story into a marketable memoir.

Write Better, More Powerful and More Engaging Nonfiction in a 52-week eCourse

Writing is a solitary profession. Most of the time it is just you, your creative mind and dim glow of your computer monitor. Also, if you are just beginning to enter the professional world of writing it is easy to get confused, overwhelmed and not know where to turn.

The best way to learn new things is one step at a time. Since I have enrolled in Suzanne Lieurance's 52-week eCourse How to Write Better, More Powerful, More Engaging Nonfiction, it is working well with my busy schedule. The one step at a time format is easy to follow and the best part is the weekly bonus links. These links are not easily found and yet Suzanne places them at your fingertips each week. Writer's research depends on quality links.

What are you waiting for?



Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Memoir Writing: Don't Gloss Over the Tough Stuff - Part II

No one knows your story like you do. However, reliving your past will raise memories that have been tucked away in the darkest corner of your mind. If you are driven to tell "your story" the darkest memories are what will drive it forward. They are the crux of your life. You learned and grew because of  them. They must be brought to the surface.

Read Laurie Rosin's full article "Full Disclosure" in Writer's Digest July/August 2010 issue and learn why full disclosure in a memoir is important. This is an eye opening article. Below are my notes.

Three Reasons to Disclose Painful Memories

1. Omissions can leave holes in your narrative.
Once you build the suspense to white knuckle level, you can't say "and next the police came". Whoaaa. I am at that point in my memoir. I have deep dark secrets I don't want my family to know but they need to know what shaped me and my readers deserve the full story.

2. Readers are drawn to authentic, motivated characters.
If your story is one you hope to encourage others with, tell the truth. Did you face a devastating rejection marring your sense of self worth for forty years, claim it. Your readers want a hero.

Laurie writes "First and foremost, remember that readers will be rooting for you. Memoirists are the protagonists of their own books."

3. Strong stories require dramatic unity.
It takes courage to relive traumatic events. When I write about my father's sudden death when I was sixteen and my first divorce at eighteen; it will be painful. Some memories are like snapshots in my mind. As the saying goes, "A picture is worth a thousand words". Don't hold back events that shaped you into the success you have become.

What's it all about-----?

Friday - Part III - Build your story around a Foolproof Framework


Monday, August 9, 2010

Memoir Writing: The Inside Story of - Part I

According to Writer’s Digest July/August 2010 issue, there is a viable market for Memoir writing. However, Literary Agents do not want to read another story about “lovely you”. They want the same page turning suspense and interest compelling fiction has. Literary Agent Byrd Leavell of Waxman Literary Agency asks “Why would John Q. Bookbrowser spend $25 and commit hours of his life reading about you? Answer that question and your golden.”

One thing Memoir writing has in common with fiction and non-fiction is the Query letter or Book proposal. Do your homework and pay special attention to guidelines. Some agents want proposals while some want queries.

A Few Key Points about Memoirs
  • Distinguish Hook from Theme
  • Know where your book fits
  • Break your story into Key pieces
  • Never underestimate the power of the smallest memory

Below is an opening/introduction draft to my memoir. Does it peak your interest or does it leave you looking for something else? Any thoughts?

It was August in L.A. 1962 and Billy Graham’s crusade was at the Coliseum. Here was my chance to challenge…. no….dare God to save me. I took a taxi from the all-girl boarding house I had moved into a few weeks earlier. As the majority of the crowd squeezed for seats near the stage, I climbed the molded concrete stairs to the nose bleed section to smoke. Truth was I didn’t want to make it easy for God to find me and I did not want to get too close to the power of the Word. The top row was my fig leaf. Besides if God was there He would reach me no matter how high I sat. 

I defied Reverend Graham’s words to touch me with Truth. The invitation was given; I lit another cigarette. “Sinner, come home”, Beverly Shea sang. I watched hundreds move forward toward the stage. God made it to L.A. that August but I didn’t leave with Him. I turned aside, squashed my cigarette onto the stadium steps and with a military toe heel turn I entered the wide gate to destruction.

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.” Matthew 7:13

Come back Wednesday for Part II – Memoir Writing - Don’t Gloss Over the Tough Stuff.

Truth is Stranger than Fiction,

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Start the Day The Morning Nudge Way

Every writer needs a little prompting at one time or another. In today’s hectic lifestyle multi-tasking has become the norm. Yet studies have shown it isn’t possible to perform a slew of tasks at the same time without confusion setting in. Our brains get used to jumping around and are not able to focus for any quality of time. Instead they switch back and forth over and over and over. I’m dizzy already.

Also productivity is significantly decreased for writers when the brain does not stay focused on one task long enough. Each writer needs time to daydream as they figure out plots and writing scenes with dialogue. Non fiction writers need time to focus on research and continuity.

When you subscribe to The Morning Nudge you will receive daily tips loaded with motivation to get a little writing done each day. Watch the video and see for your self.

I have been receiving The Morning Nudge for several years now and I am always happy with the volume of information Suzanne Lieurance offers her Morning Nudge Club members. As a member of The Morning Nudge club you will have many opportunities to enroll in workshops, teleseminars and network with other professional writers like yourself.

In addition, Suzanne Lieurance offers a wide variety of writing Ecourses and guest teachers that you cannot get anywhere else for the price. Go to the Morning Nudge Link and see for your self.

Writing requires a clear mind.


Sunday, August 1, 2010

Five Essential Tips for Beginning Writers

“If a story is in you it has to come out.”
William Faulkner

1. Establish Your Writing Time

This is the most obvious because to improve your writing skill you must write on a regular basis. Writing on a regular basis is the best way for a beginning writer to learn the craft. Yes, you can take classes and read books, and you should, but there is no substitute for action. Your writing frequency is critical for success. Be consistent with your time.

2. Avoid Distractions

My advice…..Turn Off Your Email. Turning off the sound won’t keep you from clicking the tab; that is why you need to close it completely. Turn off your phone, and use earplugs to block other unexpected sounds during your writing time. Also clear your desk. Don’t leave folders and other to do lists lying around during your writing time. We all have the wandering eye.

3. Create a Log

Keep track of your word count so you can track your progress. If you journal, add the word count to your personal journal each day. This is a two-for-one action that will give you a permanent record of ideas, plots, characters and overall progression of your project.

4. Become an Idea Monster

Ideas come when you least expect them. You may receive your most brilliant idea when you are in the shower. Keep a note pad in every room in the house. Think about your project, when you are doing things like cleaning house, exercising, or grocery shopping. Your sub conscious is always working and looking for the idea you commanded it to look for. I like spiral 3 x 5 ruled index cards in counts of 50. they fit neatly in your purse or pocket and are easily retrieved when you have that AHA! Minute.

5. Rewrite, Rewrite, Rewrite

Arghhhh! This is more important than establishing a daily writing schedule. Think about this. No one gets it right the first time. Do you think Stephen King wrote one draft of Pet Cemetery? Don’t try to develop this habit immediately. Develop your writing habit first and the rewrite habit will follow effortlessly. I don’t mean rewrites are easy, I mean the habit will follow naturally.

There are tons of writing resources out there. You may want to check out Stephen King’s On Writing and William Zinsser’s classic guide to writing nonfiction – On Writing Well. You might also enjoy reading about habits of successful authors like Tom Robbins, Norman Mailer and more as written by Alan Rinzler on The Book Deal blog.

It's all at your fingertips,


Thursday, July 29, 2010

Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?

Remember that 1980’s old TV program Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego? My kids were hooked but I thought it was a dumb title. This was long before SEO, keywords and web content. TV writers had it right. They understood who their target audience was. Come up with a unique title people will remember and they will keep coming back. Marketing professionals have been using SEO practices long before the web site entangled our lives.

Mystery surrounds SEO. We are told we MUST use it or we will be shunned from the web forever! How do you get it? Buy the latest EBook and you will be living high on easy street in a month. Don’t ask questions, just click here and pay.

Do not buy information mindlessly. Use your writer skills and research your subject. Although you may buy a few EBooks here and there, buying the latest one because it is the latest one is not the secret.

Good Content is the secret!

This is what blogging and websites are all about. Content! Good Content! Every writer’s purpose is to produce……Good content. Non-fiction, fiction, romance, science, fantasy, mystery all must have good content. You know….the good stuff. Words that will bring you back again and again.

When you enter keywords into a search engine you expect to get relevant information back and not 10 pages of advertising links. Do not fall for offers promoting use of unusual domain names and tricks like keyword hi-jacking. Keep writing on a daily basis and your words will speak for themselves.


There are all kinds of F.R.E.E sights like and of course the most recognizable keyword search engine 

Guess what? Do what comes naturally. Write in your natural voice. Use words customers use for your product or service. Think of words YOU use when searching for info. There is nothing fancy about that. I am not saying ignore SEO processes because the right words are the key to your business. Use the internet for what it was intended. The Free Informational Highway.

She Believed She Could, So She Did,
Visit my website Carma's Word

Monday, July 26, 2010

Six Reasons to Hire a Professional Web Content Writer

Are you new to the blogging world? Your on line words reflect your professionalism or lack of it. Carma’s Word researches what will work best to get you noticed. Sometimes all you need is a good editor. I will fill that need for you and give pizzazz and depth to your letters, resumes, articles and books.


  1. Your communication skills are cloudy.
  2. You don’t like to write.
  3. You want to expand your customer base.
  4. You want to jump on the global bandwagon.
  5. Your old web content is in need of an overhaul.
  6. You want to make a good first impression.


  1. When you don’t have time to write – I do.
  2. Use your ideas and thoughts to communicate effectively.
  3. Compose your web content to read friendly and personal.
  4. Help you develop relationships with your customers through contact information.
  5. Keep your site free of hype and easy for readers to grab hold of.
  6. Increase your visibility for search engines.
  7. Keep readers and clients interested and informed.

For details on rates and fees for all writing and copywriting services; please contact me directly at

Also scroll down the side bar and click on my Ezine article connection. you can read samples of my writing on Ezine

Friday, July 23, 2010

Make More Money in 2010 Than Ever Before!

If you expect to Write MORE, SELL MORE and MAKE MORE than Ever Before in 2010 you will need to set goals, have a marketing plan and a writing coach.

Writing Coach Suzanne Lieurance will help you create three major writing goals for the year which will take your writing to a higher level than before. Also, she will teach you HOW to create a weekly marketing plan so you can focus on your writing career and how to get rid of distractions.

Each morning you will also receive the Morning Nudge, Suzanne's daily inspirational message to help grow your career with writing tips to help you get a little writing done every day. In addition Suzanne will show you how to find freelance jobs tailored just for you.

As a member of Suzanne Lieurance's coaching program you will have access to all sorts of professional tools and resources for writers including live and recorded teleclasses, special report templates,  and the opportunity to network with other professionals. In addition you will get personal coaching from Suzanne when you need it.

Are you having trouble writing winning queries and cover letters to land those top writing jobs? You can listen to Suzanne's recorded seminars about queries and cover letters then submit them to Suzanne for her professional review before you send them out to editors.

There is more! As a member of Suzanne's Write More, Sell More, Make More Money than Ever coaching program will give you the support advice and tips you need so you will know exactly what to do and when to do it. Register now to receive a welcome packet via email with instructions to get started immediately. Don't let another day go buy without a clear direction for your writing and writing career.

You will not be able to get a better value for your money anywhere else. 

Keep your pencil sharpened,

Friday, April 2, 2010

Interview with Sarah Sundin - Author

A Distant Melody is Sarah's debut novel and first in the Wings of Glory series that chronicles the lives and loves of the three Novak brothers during WW II. If you missed my review it is on and here.

Now let me introduce you to Sarah Sundin.

Thank you Sarah for taking the time to answer a few questions.

1. Who or what has influenced you the most in your career?

That’s to be a group effort! I’ve been taught, influenced, and encouraged by my critique group (Diablo Valley Christian Writers), the faculty at Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference, and the membership of American Christian Fiction Writers. I told my editor I needed an acknowledgments novel, not an acknowledgments page!

2. Please tell us what you are most passionate about outside of writing.

Teaching is my primary spiritual gift, and one I enjoy practicing. I love it when the Lord puts words in my mouth and I see the light of understanding in someone’s eyes. Currently I teach Sunday school for fourth- and fifth-graders, and women’s Bible studies. Someday I hope to teach about writing as well.

3. It is interesting to note you are a hospital pharmacist. Many people might think a pharmacist would write books with a medical slant. What motivated you to write in your current genre of historical romantic fiction?

Hmm, the world’s first pharmacy thriller… “Run, everyone, it’s an…an…I can’t bear to say it…an expired tablet!!!” No, people choose pharmacy because it’s quiet and sterile.

I chose historical romantic fiction because that’s what the story required. However, I have put my pharmacy education to use. My characters keep ending up in the hospital (I’m so mean), so I have to treat them. And in the second book in the series, the heroine is a nurse.

4. A Distant Melody is the first in a series of three. What was your inspiration for a WWII love story?

It came out of a “what if” question—what if a man and woman met at an event, truly clicked, and parted before exchanging contact info? Wouldn’t it be romantic if he went through great effort to track her down? It wouldn’t work in a contemporary setting—he’d “Google” her—but it made a sweet premise for a historical. My husband and I watched a History Channel special on the US Eighth Air Force based in England which flew over Nazi-occupied Europe during World War II, and I had my link. My great-uncle was a B-17 bomber pilot with the Eighth, so I had access to family stories plus his personal letters.

5. What or who was the inspiration in creating Allie and the Novak brothers?

I visited a particularly gorgeous friend after her daughter was born. The first words I heard the mom say were, “Thank goodness she’s pretty.” My thought? What if she wasn’t pretty? That thought expanded—what would happen to a plain-looking daughter of a woman who thought beauty was a virtue? Would she think she could never find true love?

So, Walt came about primarily as Allie’s counterpart. I gave him two brothers and no sisters so he’d be clueless about women. A Distant Melody was intended to be a standalone book, but my research on the Eighth Air Force fascinated me, and when a heroine popped into my head who was the perfect foil for Walt’s brother Jack, I knew I had to do a trilogy. Each book focuses on a different brother, and the Wings of Glory series spans the entire history of the Eighth Air Force from late 1942 through V-E Day.

I am glad to hear that. You had me on the edge of my seat toward the end of A Distant Melody and I didn't want it to end.

6. What are your writing habits? Do you work on an outline before starting the actual story?

I am definitely an outline writer. First of all, I do my research. It’s frustrating to get halfway through a book and realize a crucial part of your story won’t work historically. I also do lots of pre-writing, including character charts, a plot chart to track story arcs, and scene lists with everything from the date, the weather, outfits, goals and conflict, and scene ideas. Then comes the rough draft. I’m odd—I write the first draft longhand, but when I cuddle on my couch with pencil and paper, the writing flows. I enter each chapter in the computer a few weeks afterward, which serves as my first edit. Once my rough draft is complete, I do a content edit, analyzing the story and characters. Finally, I do a thorough copy edit before turning it in to my publisher.

Sarah, my hand is getting cramps! Ahh, the writer's life. But I understand how valuable research is.

7. What type of books did you read as a child?

Anything I could get my hands on! I’m surprised I didn’t wear out my library card. Favorites included the Little House on the Prairie series, the Betsy-Tacy series, Marguerite Henry’s horse books (I met her once!), and biographies. Although I never cared for history in school—note the irony—I loved reading historical fiction and biographies. They made history come to life.

8. Have you always written in the historical romance genre? What other genre calls out to you if any.

Before I started the Wings of Glory series, I wrote two contemporary romances that were absolutely horrible. I’m thankful I never showed them to anyone in the publishing industry. I could see myself writing a contemporary romance or women’s fiction, but right now I’m enjoying historicals.

I would love to read a women's fiction story by you!

9. What advice would you give to aspiring writers who are just beginning in their career?

Be teachable and soak up all the good instruction you can. Read books on writing craft, and then read your favorite authors and analyze how they did it.
Join ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers). Their e-zine, e-mail loop, and monthly courses are outstanding.

Join a local writers’ group or an on-line critique group. Don’t submit to agents and editors until you’re ready. That means a complete manuscript, positive feedback from experienced writers, and enough knowledge of the publishing industry to know how to submit properly. You want your first impression to be stellar.
Lastly, when you’re ready, submit and keep submitting. Keep polishing your craft, and keep praying for the Lord’s guidance.

10. What type of book promotion seems to work the best for you? Any special strategies you'd like to share?

My book’s only been on the market for a few weeks, so I have no idea if my promotion is working. What I’ve done that seems effective:
a) Blog interviews like this one. Each interview exposes your book to people outside your sphere of influence.
b) My publisher gave me book copies for “influencers.” These people have been wonderful. They’re posting reviews, chatting it up on Facebook, recommending it to their book clubs and libraries, and one woman—also a close friend—made a vintage 1940s apron with my book cover on the pocket and donated it to a fabric store. The store owner displayed the apron in the store window and recommended the book to her book club!
c) Facebook has been a great way for me to connect with people—other writers, old friends, and new readers. It’s a powerful tool—but like all powerful tools, it can be misused. Sales pitches turn me off, and I don’t want to be pushy. Ick.
d) Bookmarks generously distributed. I carry them everywhere. Whenever someone asks about my book, I give them a bookmark. Also my friends and influencers hand them out in droves. I’ve already gone through my first lot of one thousand bookmarks, and I’m working on the second.

Wow, Sarah,a thousand book marks! Now that is awesome. It is clear that "word of mouth" marketing is still a solid strategy. Thanks again for your time. We will all be waiting for book two.

Sarah Sundin can be found at her website A Distant Melody is a wonderful book and I strongly recommend you put it on your list of must reads.


Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Coming Soon! Sarah Sundin, Author, Interview

Hope you enjoyed reading my review of A Distant Melody by Sarah Sundin. that is posted below.

I am posting my interview with Sarah on April 2, 2010. Please drop by and meet her.


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A Distant Melody - Book Review

Title: A Distant Melody
Author: Sarah Sundin
ISBN: 978-0-8007-3421-3
Publisher: Revell (a division of Baker Publishing Group)

A Distant Melody is Sarah Sundin’s debut novel. A historical romance novel set in World War II. Get ready all you readers – it is only going to get better. Sarah Sundin is truly gifted. I can hardly wait to read books two and three in her Wings of Glory series..

Sarah’s main characters, Allie Miller, ball bearing heiress and Lt. Walter Novak, ace B-17 pilot meet by chance at a friend’s wedding in northern California. Right away the romance angle is set. What is more romantic than a wedding? However, no good romance ever blossoms flawlessly and Allie and Walt’s relationship is no exception to the rule.

Walt Novak comes from a middle class background and Allie Miller from high society. Also to add to romantic tension and suspense, Allie neglects to mention her fiancé Baxter who is waiting back in southern California. She rationalizes she will never see Walt again because he is shipping out to Europe to fly B-17 bombers in England. In wartime, emotions are unpredictable and no one knows when they will see their friends and loved ones again so sometimes minor details like who has a fiancé get left out. Sarah’s attention to detail is remarkable. Her description of B-17 bomber’s and pilots flow effortlessly so that even a novice history buff like me, can easily picture World War II action and danger on every page of Lt. Novak’s flying missions.

Each chapter of Distant Melody holds several page-turning tension moments. On one page Allie and Walt would be dancing cheek to cheek and you knew the kiss was coming but when the page turned, Allie’s conscience would pop up and another aspect of their relationship would open. When Walt’s plane almost crashes because his crewmen loaded about a ton of booze in the back thinking they could make money by selling it to the Brits, was a humorous moment but also seriously dangerous for the success of the mission.

Sarah gives an accurate and eye opening account of what life was like in America during the 1940’s. So many things we take for granted today were not available to people. American’s bonded together to help make the war effort successful and to help give all military the supplies and tools they needed to win the war.

A Distant Melody has it all: intrigue, lying, tension, love, romance, humor and sorrow. In other words; life. Life in 1940’s wartime era was precious and tentative and Sarah’s characters capture the essence of that time reminding us of the sacrifices that were made. Airmen were not allowed to carry personal effects when flying so if shot down, the enemy would not have any information about them. Walt carried his dog tags and a Scripture verse from Psalm 18 on a slip of paper.

When you read A Distant Melody, you will discover one of the first emotions between Allie and Walt is respect and friendship and from there romance is born. An important example we can all learn from. I recommend this book to everyone who wants to enjoy a love story laced with honesty, trust, faith and uprightness. Stay tuned for the next installment of the Wings of Glory series, A Memory Between Us, and meet Walt’s brother Jack Novak.


Prayer is life's greatest time saver.
(Dr. Charles F. Stanley)

Friday, March 26, 2010

Jane G. Meyer, children's book author- today on "Inside the Writer's Life"

I hope you enjoy this article as much as I did. Jane Meyer is amazing. After reading the interview take some time to peruse her blog and website.

Jane G. Meyer, children's book author- today on "Inside the Writer's Life"

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Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Number One Place to Promote Books

Sooner or later every author will have to deal with book promotion and marketing. The success of your new book depends on the type of marketing path you take.

Yvonne Perry is a Freelance writer, editor, award-winning author, speaker and owner of Writer's in the Sky Creative Writing Services and has expert advice on how and where to promote your book. Enjoy her article.


Writers and published authors need to take advantage of the number one method of book selling-the Internet. The Internet is the greatest selling and marketing tool available to an author. There are many opportunities and different ways to do achieve this. Here are a few online marketing tips for new authors.

One the simplest, most cost-effective ways to reach a broad online audience with your product and urge the reader into action is social networking. I'm referring to sites and online places where people share friendship and information. I love Goodreads and I get a lot of response whenever I post an event on that site. I am signed up not only as a reader, but as an author, which gives me a profile and the ability to promote my products. Other sites such as Ning, and Plaxo are also places you can let others know about you book, blog tour, or other marketing events.

The basic techniques for marketing fiction are the same as those of marketing nonfiction, so the methods work well in either case. However, a new author needs to know her target readership. A romance book will typically draw a different type of audience than a how-to book on gardening or fishing. So, when establishing a following on social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, GoodReads, Ning, Yahoo groups, and other sites, search for people by reading their profiles. Look for keywords that describe or relate to the topic of your book. Look for people who read the types of books you write.

The biggest mistake authors make when attempting to market their books is going out unprepared or without having a marketing plan or the information necessary to successfully create the buzz. Many authors do not even have a Web site or blog with a point of purchase that gives the reader enough information about the book to actually make an informed purchase. An author needs to know what components are necessary to have on a site in order to compete in today's online marketplace. This is where a marketing plan comes in handy. It takes time and consistent effort to build your following and get people interested in your book before they will take action. It's been said that someone must see or hear about a product seven times before they will buy it. Book marketing success may not happen overnight, but you will begin to see steady progress if you stay at it. It will take you about six months to complete everything in the eBook because some of it has to be set up such as Web sites, blog tours, and social networks.

Do you need help marketing your book? Many of my clients are authors who do not have a clue about how to market their books. The material in Book Marketing in the Digital Age, Online Promotion Made Easy is a combination of what I teach in seminars and present in speaking engagements and one-on-one mentoring with authors needing assistance with book publicity.

For more information about book marketing, you may visit
Yvonne Perry is a freelance writer and the owner of Writers in the Sky Creative Writing Services (WITS). She and her team of ghostwriters are ready to assist you with writing and editing for books, Web text, business documents, resumes, bios, articles, and media releases.
For more information about writing, networking, publishing, and book promotion, or to sign up for free email delivery of WITS newsletter, please visit
New subscribers receive a free eBook Tips for Freelance Writing.
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Thank you, Yvonne


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Summer with Grandma

There is no partiality with God. Romans 2:11

“Will Southern Baptists go to Hell?”

I could not believe my ears. Delbert’s question was outrageous. After all a Baptist is a Baptist, right? I laughed inside, “Don’t they know I’m Beulah Jane Lark’s Southern Baptist granddaughter?” As my insides bounced around like waves on the ocean, my outside displayed strong righteous indignation. Thank goodness the Sunday School teacher hem hawed around and never said one way or the other. Still, the question shook me up. Me, go to Hell? I was only visiting for the summer.

Between the ages of eleven and fourteen, most of my summers were filled with two-week long visits to grandma and grandpa Larks house. I was young enough not to rebel against mother and old enough not to cause undue hardship for my grandma, except for the time I threw up on the other side of “grandpa’s” bed. Hey, I was sick. How in the world could I not throw up? In any case, I had to clean up my own vomit.

My older brother’s escape from these summer retreats made me seethe. He was four years older and got away with things that I, as a girl, could not. Like the time he drug me home from the school dance because he didn’t like who I was dancing with. What nerve! And, once he drove the family’s new Chevy sedan around the town square on two wheels. In a town of 600 it’s hard to keep something like that a secret. Did he get shipped to grandmas? Nooooo. Nothing happened to him. Oh, I think he had to work on the combine during harvest time a few extra hours but everybody did that.

Now don’t get me wrong. I loved my grandma and grandpa, but it was lonely snapping and shelling green peas and beans, and watching grandma watch “As the World Turns” (this is when soap operas were shown “live” on TV and for only 15 minutes per episode). Grandma’s ten inch black and white TV made the actors look like negative pictures. Nevertheless, grandma talked to them as if they were visiting while we snapped peas. With a sly smile on her lips grandma would revel on each word. “Uh oh, I knew she would do that.” Now how could my grandma know what a TV actor was going to do?

Summers with grandma were bitter sweet. Bitter because as a child I resisted enjoying her and I resented my mother for sending me there. I felt nothing in common because my grandma was just too old to relate to me. As an adult I find myself becoming more and more like grandma. I will be posting a series of short stories about summer at grandmas as I get to know her after the fact.

You shall rise up before the grayheaded and honor the aged, and you shall revere your God; I am the Lord. Leviticus 20: 32

Write it down,

Friday, February 12, 2010

A Thin Place Discovered

Following is my submission for Thin Places kindle contest.

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.” Matthew 7:13

One summer I attended a Billy Graham crusade at the Los Angeles Coliseum. I went alone and sat in the nose bleed row so my cigarette smoke would not be noticed. The top row was my fig leaf because I wanted to hide from God too. Besides if God was really there He would reach me no matter how high I sat. I defied Reverend Graham to touch me with Truth. The invitation was given and I tried to force myself to feel something. I watched as hundreds of people moved toward the stage and remember thinking if I, a Christian, didn’t feel anything, then how could my salvation be real? I turned aside and entered the wide gate to destruction.

That one act sent my life on a downward spiral of alcohol co-dependency, divorce, abortion, anxiety and worry. I was an empty clay pot, severely cracked. Since that time I have found my way back to God and His mercy. Through His love and grace He is using my botched attempts at doing it my way as teaching tools on how not to live. Also, reliving my past helps me discover a new thin place where His “living water” never fails.

“And the Lord will continually guide you, and satisfy your desire in scorched places,…and you will be like a watered garden…a spring of water whose waters do not fail” Isaiah 58:11a. 


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Thin Places - Book Review

Every two minutes, someone in the U.S. is sexually assaulted and of the millions of sexual abuse and rape victims, 15 percent are under the age of 12, according to a 2007 study by the U.S. Department of Justice. Critically acclaimed author Mary DeMuth is among the millions of adults who are victims of childhood rape and are living with the emotional scars of the haunting abuse.

DeMuth bravely shares her painful story in her new memoir, Thin Places. Repeatedly raped by two neighborhood boys at a young age, DeMuth details her traumatic and disturbing childhood in the memoir. Raised in a broken home, she lost her biological father when she was ten and was stripped of her innocence growing up in an unstable environment where drugs were commonplace. Read the rest of the Media Release here.

Author and speaker Mary DeMuth helps people turn their trials to triumph. Her books include Ordinary Mom, Extraordinary God; Building the Christian Family You Never Had; Watching the Tree Limbs; Wishing on Dandelions; Authentic Parenting in a Postmodern Culture and the first two books in the Defiance, Texas Trilogy: Daisy Chain and A Slow Burn.

Thin Places a memoir - Book Review (by Carma Dutra)

An intro to an old Andy Griffith show, when Opie Taylor throws a rock “Frisbee style” on the lake, is reminiscent of a simple childhood with fond memories. Mary DeMuth’s memoir “Thin Places” is also reminiscent but instead of a happy and simple childhood, it is one of pain, insecurities and betrayal. Mary’s wounds are deep and she writes about redemption – her redemption. By sharing her deepest personal journey, she gives us all hope, encouragement and affirmation that Jesus saves.

An additional delight in this moving memoir is Mary’s poignant poetry written in breathtaking, healing and bar-none honesty. “Lord, please be patient/Please take time/To understand this life of mine/I’ve wanted to obey You/I really have tried/To understand Your love inside/I thank You for listening/I thank You for life/I hope You understand as I take this knife/Too many rules/Too many nights/….”

Mary faced trials of self absorption, selfishness and a litany of other sinful offenses that cried out for forgiveness. Jesus tells her that her weakness is a “platform for forgiveness.” Mary teaches us through her pain that learning to accept our flaws is the only way to understand God loves us just the way we are and it is God’s love that sustained her all these years ( and continues to do so) giving her strength and courage to share a piece of herself with us.

Throughout her experiences of intense healing, her words are a call to all who need to experience God’s presence in their life. After you read this beautiful memoir you just might find your own “thin place” to meet Him in.

Review copy of this book provided by Zondervan publisher.

A complete list of Tour Stops for Thin Places can be viewed when you click on the following link. I hope you can take some time to visit a few Thin Place Blog Tour begins here

I know you will enjoy Thin Places by Mary DeMuth as much as I did.


Monday, February 8, 2010

Thin Places - Writing Memoirs - Mary DeMuth

Writing Memoirs
By Mary DeMuth

I wrote Thin Places only after I gave myself permission to say it all. More on that later.

First, one clarification about memoir: no memoir can be 100% accurate. Every memoirist must recall, to the best of his/her ability what happened in the past. Only God knows what truly happened! And to protect the people listed in a memoir, I’ve changed names and distinguishing characteristics. That’s allowable in a memoir, and is often expected.

To make a memoir work, it must be:

1. From someone famous.
2. Or a story so strong and surprising, the story carries the book.

I’m of the latter category since I am by no means famous. But my story is raw and redemptive. And a bit out there. Find out more about Thin Places here.

The most important thing for a memoir is that it be memorable and beautifully written. If you don’t have a platform, near perfect writing is a must backed up by an intriguing/surprising story. Think of a memoir as a novel with rising action, climax and denouement. Consider writing it as you would a novel, with characters, dialogue and a plot (even if the plot is your life!)

A great example of a memoir that tells an amazing story is Parting the Waters by Jeanne Damoff.

But even though the story is beautifully written, Jeanne shopped the story to every publishing house far and wide through her agent. Though it was a great story, she faced a lot of rejection.

Eventually, after much prayer and seeking wisdom, she decided to self-publish the book through WinePress. It’s got a wonderful cover and is selling well.

Another amazing memoir is Startling Beauty by wife Heather Gemmen. Wow. It’s one of the most beautifully written, achingly painful memoirs I’ve read.

It’s not easy to write a memoir. I fear that some people are so afraid to do it because the people involved aren’t yet dead. So they work on a fictionalized version. Is that really honest? What is the purpose of telling your true story if you make it fiction? Of course, you can take elements of your struggle and life and place that in fiction, but I’ve found that tacked on messages seldom make a book.

My best advice: obey God. Write what He tells you to write. If you’re too afraid to write a memoir, then don’t do it. Prayerfully consider whether your need to get it all out is, instead, a form of catharsis that no reader really needs to see. And if you add some of your story to the memoir, consider that story is the king. The story must support what you write about.

Stay tuned for Carma's review of Thin Places a memoir,

Receive some Peace of Mind today. Watch Thin Places trailer here.