Interview with Chris Milson

What genre do you write and why?
Jo, right now I currently write horror. Now that was not the genre I just fell into from the beginning, as when I started experimenting with writing back in 1989, I wrote several genres, such as Sci-Fi, Thriller, and even a children's book. It just so happened that the Horror genre was the one that fitted well for the time being.

Tell us a bit about your latest book.
My upcoming book is titled Bloodline Of Darkness. It is the second book in The Chosen series. It is the story of one man and the challenges he needs to overcome to fulfil an ancient prophecy. In book one titled Rise Of The Darkness, Alex Manning discovers what his purpose is in life, and the destiny he is ablogated to fulfil. However, that is anything but what he wants. Through a series of events, he manages to save the day, and win the girl... so to speak.... In Bloodline Of Darkness, it is set 10 years later, and all of his spiritual giftings are no more than a faded memory, and the dark forces that sought to destroy him have found a new doorway back into the world, and once again, he must face spiritual forces and stop them from committing genocide. Yet, in order to really know the nature of this force he will witness how it all began, and only by trying to save the past will he be able to save himself.

How did you research for this book?
I have always had a fascination for the unusual, and when I have down-time I tend to check out ghost stories and videos everywhere I can. Now we have all heard of ghost hauntings in one place or another, so basically try to image that, but on a wider scale :-)

Where do you get your inspiration from?
My inspiration can come from any number of things. Sometimes I will get inspiration from dreams I have; Sometimes from places I see on my travels, or from little known urban legends, such as my short story, Ghosts Of Chapayevsk. Chapayevsk is a small town south of Samara, Russia, and going there is really like stepping into Silent Hill... Needless to say there are some urband legends of Chapayevsk, one of which I wrote about.

Who is your publisher and why did you choose them?
My publisher is Lulu gave me the creative freedom to be able to market and publish my works the way I want. Without being bias, I do have to say that many publishers these days will expect the author to do alot (if not all) of the marketing and promotion themselves, and in return the author does not have the creative control over their work in often times. That is why I prefer Lulu. The creative process remains in my hands, and my works still get is the vast distribution channel through LS

What has been the hardest part of writing your novel and how did you over come it?
Honestly Jo, the hardest part of writing is finding the time. Now, people who do not know me will think that I am just a writer who may write books and promote them. But there is far much more to who I am than just writing. My day is filled with no less than 12 projects that need to be done at the same time. For instance, I am in talks with people to turn the first book into a game; There is the graphic novel coming out soon, which takes alot of involvement with the illustrator/script writer; There is the audiobook that is is pre-production, and screening voice talent.... And that is just the writing aspect of my life... Then I have my normal life, which is far more intense. For those who will know me from Facebook, I am an experimental film director, with 3 projects in pre-production. One is a travel video, another is an Indie Short based on how the world is seen through the eyes of an ordinary girl who is not so ordinary, and the third is a horror short that will be filmed in Zagorodny Park, Samara. And finally, as my background is in marketing, I am often called by businesses to put together a marketing plan or something else. Right now I work with 3 clients in the US and the UK, and add to this I will be the main speaker at a marketing seminar in Samara in late September, and I have been asked by a call center to train their staff, which could very well lead into training all of their staff throughout Europe. Yet, finding time to do all these things is not easy at the best of times, and although I like to delude myself into thinking I can do the impossible, I know that I cannot... Now some may say that I should put things in order of importance, and as great as that would be to do, all these things have the same level of importance as the other... But you know what Jo, I really would not have it any other way :-) ... But the bottom line for me is, as good as these things are, nothing will take away from my writing. That is my first passion, and always will be. Will I find time to finish Bloodline? Absolutely! Bloodline will be released before you know it! :-)

Where can people find out more about you and your writing?
People can find out more about me at: I try to update my website every few days if something new is happening.

Anything else you'd like to add?
It was an absolute pleasure to be here today Jo. Thank you for taking the time to host me on your site. I had fun writing this :-)
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Kidlitosphere Conference

The Kidlitosphere Conference is an annual gathering of the Society of Bloggers in Children’s and Young Adult Literature. The 2009 conference will take place in Washington, DC, on Saturday, October 17th. While sessions are not scheduled for Friday, a Library of Congress visit is currently in the planning stages. An informal outing in DC will be scheduled for Sunday as well.

The sessions go from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Saturday and will cover:

  1. BulletThe Blog Within: An Interview With Your Inner Blogger

  2. BulletBuilding a Better Blog: Best Practices, Ideas, and Tips

  3. BulletSplit Reviewer/Author Sessions:
    It’s All About the Book: Better Book Reviews
    It’s Not About Your Book: Writing Ideas for Blogging Authors

  4. BulletSplit Reviewer/Author Sessions:
    Social Networking for Fun (and Profit?)

  5. BulletAuthors, Publishers, Reviewers (and ARCs): A Panel Conversation

  6. BulletComing Together, Giving Back: Building Community, Literacy and the Reading Message (KidLitosphere Central/PBS/RIF/Literacy)

  7. BulletMeet the Authors

A pre-session meet-and-greet breakfast is offered from 7:00 to 8:00 a.m. A fun dinner to mix and mingle is scheduled for 7:00 to 10:00 p.m. The registration fee for the conference — including the breakfast and dinner — is $100. The fee for dinner only (for spouses or guests) is $50.

Rooms can be reserved at the Sheraton Crystal City Hotel for a special group rate of $109 per night. The group rate will be available until September 16th or until the block of rooms is filled. It should be noted that the hotel is a mile from National Airport and free shuttle service is available. A Metro Station is on the same block and allows travel to Washington in minutes. In fact, downtown DC is only two miles away. The hotel is right next to the Crystal City Shops and a few blocks from the upscale Fashion Center at Pentagon City.

For full details visit
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Review of The Fifth Floor

Book Review: ‘The Fifth Floor by Michael Harvey

Vintage Crme/Black Lizard, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-307-38629-8

273 pages

Reviewed by Danielle L. Parker

What makes a book noir? Over the years, it’s been one of my favorite genres. I wrote my first published novel, The Infinite Instant, in the style. Michael Harvey’s book The Fifth Floor is definitely another noir novel. I’d say even more so than mine. And there’s a reason for that.

Let’s start off by defining noir. The Literary Encyclopedia (Lee Horsley, University of Lancaster) lists four points in its definition: “(i) the subjective point of view; (ii) the shifting roles of the protagonist; (iii) the ill-fated relationship between the protagonist and society (generating the themes of alienation and entrapment); and (iv) the ways in which noir functions as a socio-political critique.”

None of those points are wrong, but there’s more. First of all, this is one genre where the man in the gray hat─ no one’s wearing a white one─ doesn’t always win the day. The whole story may be from the viewpoint of the bad guys. It’s a given that many noir stories don’t have happy endings. Right doesn’t really triumph in this shadow world (which is why Mr. Harvey’s book is a stronger flavor of noir than mine).

So of course, we have the classic noir protagonist, the private detective who used to be a cop before his badge was stripped off (exactly like Ross MacDonald’s Lew Archer). Chicago, seedy home of gray, is the classic setting. Chicago politics, seedy shade of darker gray, are classic fodder. Home, sweet noir!

Michael Kelly (name sounds a lot like the author’s, doesn’t it?) is the P. I. He’s been hired by the woman he had a long-ago torrid affair with, including an unplanned pregnancy. Her current (she’s had a few) husband is beating the pulp out of her. Or at least it looks like that. Even her daughter comes begging Kelly to kill Bad Old Dad.

But the ex-lover won’t let her hired knight actually do anything about the abusive husband. Kelly starts poking around the husband anyway, which leads him to a murder scene. The victim’s an unlikely one: an old man with a book collection.

One old tome is missing, and Kelly’s off on the hunt. So, why does an old book about Chicago’s infamous fire have the mayor fired up enough to haul out the grainy photos and manila folders to lay on the blackmail? Who framed Kelly for murder, and who shot the rotten wife-beater?

We’ve got a lot of villains, in the usual noir fashion, and a very noir ending, in which some of the baddies get away, and some get justice, though not in the law-and-order courtroom tradition.

But it’s a sort of happy ending. The P. I. even hooks up with a woman. And what a not-so-noir courtship that is! Philip Marlowe was a heart-bitten misogynist; Sam Spade a cynic who could still admire a tough dame; Lew Archer quick to bed and kiss goodbye his willing females. Michael Kelly is just─ supine. Do something, Mr. Harvey, with this passive noodle. Or is the woman making all the moves and the man limply following the path of least resistance the modern way to courtship? I’m so out of practice.

I’ve got to say something about the writing in this story, since prose-as-Art is what the best noir novels are famous for. Hammett’s writing defined the attitude. Ross MacDonald described place and setting so vividly you see, taste and smell every moment. Raymond Chandler took us inside the Gray Knight’s ambiguous psyche. Those are the gold standards, of course (though I confess the author I have the most affection for is John D. MacDonald and his battered boat-bum, Travis McGee).

Mr. Harvey does ok. I didn’t turn the pages for the joy of the prose, but his journalistic training shows in that it’s at least clean. He tried with the setting too─ we get a tour of Chicago sleazy eateries─ but I just wasn’t tasting the hamburgers. What was the most convincing? All the profanity used by the politicians. Nailed that one.

Still, I’ll check out the rest in the series. I’m still looking for great noir, but good noir is good enough.

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Article: 5 Tips For Joining Your First Social Media Site Such As Twitter, Facebook Or LinkedIn Share

5 Tips For Joining Your First Social Media Site Such As Twitter, Facebook Or LinkedIn
Getting started on social media can often be deceptively simple - What's the big deal? You sign up. - or intimidating - Why am I being asked for my date of birth? - or overwhelming - How do I find people to friend or follow?

The truth is that this is a world of official and unofficial rules. It is easier if you start out knowing what's what, and this is probably especially important if you're more of an introvert.

Let's imagine you already use email, search for information on Google, and read blog posts. But you've never joined any social media sites. How do you start?

1. Decide how comfortable you are sharing information about yourself. And the corollary to this - how wide a sharing of this information are you willing to do.

If you're a book author and want people to buy your book, it's a good idea to decide that you will share personal (although not private) information to as wide an audience as possible. If you only want to connect online with former high school friends, your target audience is much smaller.

If sharing information makes you somewhat nervous, think about what it means to be personal as opposed to private. Personal is a good marketing book you just read that you can recommend to help others; private is a fight you had with your business partner over implementing the marketing steps recommended in the book.

2. Ask online savvy friends which popular site they would recommend you start with based on your goal. (And do start with just one while getting your feet wet in this brave new world.)

• If your goal, for example, is to have a wide audience, then Twitter may be the best choice because of its "open to everyone" format.

• If you only want to search for high school friends, then Facebook may be the best choice as you can confine your information to a very small circle and can search by name for those long-long friends.

• If you want to make connections to help with a future job search, then LinkedIn, whose format is set up for such a process, may be the best choice for you.

3. Once you have chosen the site you'll start on, do a Google search for information on effectively using that site. That's right, before you ever sign up, read some blog posts that provide guidance on effectively using the site.

Now this isn't a research project that serves as an excuse for postponing actually joining the site. Just learn a few of the basic "rules." And if you do this step, you'll be way ahead of most other people who start on social media without first doing any research.

And why not learn this on the site itself? Because most of these sites have inadequate information for newcomers or an abundance of information that overwhelms newcomers.

Plus, to encourage you to sign up, the site's home page says something like: To join now just do this. And it's only after you've provided your name, email, password, etc. that you're left wondering "What do I do next?"

4. If you're starting on a site that doesn't require your real name, choose a username carefully. You want to think about seeing this name used all across cyberspace as lots of social media sites pull information from other social media sites (with your permission, of course).

You may initially think, for example, of choosing the name of your first book. But what happens when you write a second book? Or perhaps using the name of the book won't work well for a site that is focused on a non-book arena.

Remember that what you do on the internet theoretically lives forever. So this choice of a username should be considered carefully and for continued use in the long-run. (Once you've established a good online reputation with one username you don't want to start at square one again with a new username.)

5. Immediately post a photo of yourself - a headshot in which sunglasses and a baseball cap are not blocking people from totally seeing your eyes. (This does not have to be professional-photographer quality but should not be blurry.)

This photo should be one that will also work on social media sites you will join in the future because you want consistency across these sites. You want consistency to help people recognize and connect with you on more than one site. (The same for your username.)

Keep in mind that the photos for Twitter are quite small. And even if you're starting on Facebook, only include a headshot of yourself. Do not include other people and preferably not animals and other props.

By posting a good headshot of yourself you're signaling that you're interested in connecting with people - real people such as yourself - and you'll be off to a good start on your first social media site.

Now that you've read these five tips for starting on your first social media site, what are you waiting for? Join the cyberspace social media community today.

Phyllis Zimbler Miller's company has just launched the Miller Mosaic Internet Marketing Program at to help people promote their brand, book or business. She is also a National Internet Business Examiner at .

Article Source:
For even more information about marketing your book online, read Book Marketing in the Digital Age, Online Promotion Made Easy.

Purchase Now!Published by Yvonne Perry, owner of Writers in the Sky Creative Writing Services and the author of this e-book.
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Do you have some advice to share?
Are you a marketing expert?
Could other writers learn from your writing techniques?

If the answer is yes, I want to hear from you!

I'm looking for people to submit articles for publication on this site. Everyone is welcome to submit. Length is up to you but take 400 words to be a minimum.

This is currently a non paying feature but Writers and Authors has a growing international readership and therefore is a great place to reach a global audience.

Submissions should be sent in the body of an email to
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assistants needed for Red River Writers


I Need a Roz or two. Are you interested?

Red River Writers is looking for assistants to our Blog Talk Radio Shows. We call them a Roz. You have to have watched Fraiser to best understand the role during the show. Our Roz is very valued individual. He or she works the switchboard and chatroom while the Host conducts the show. They are welcomed to add questions to the chatroom for the Guests and read them over the air.

If you want to know more about the art of writing, join the shows where seasoned authors reveal their secrets. Maybe you just want to have fun for 30 minutes to an hour once a month!

If you would like to be a Roz, contact me at my e-mail address below. We offer plenty of training and the BTR system is very easy to work.

April Robins

Blog Talk Radio Shows

On Wednesday, August 26th, noon Central - What's Write for Me with Host Dellani Oakes
Dellani will hosts author and publisher Krystal Russell, author and publisher Vivian Zabel, and author Irene Brodsky. Can’t get a Traditional publishing house to look at your book or you? On CHAT LIVE Dellani and her panel will discuss ways to get your book in print by looking at publishing or print services, small or Niche publisher, and do-it-yourself self publishing. Learn what your job is beyond writing your book. Do you know what a STOP ( Single Title Order Plan) is in publishing. PLEASE join Dellani and her panel on Blog Talk Radio, to learn more!
Dellani Oakes

Call-in Number is (646) 595-447

Essential Links for Writers and Artists

To read this week’s essential links for writers and artists selected just for you, go to the RRW Info Digest for 8-20-2009 at
*While there, leave a comment related to your event for the week.*
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Article: Breaking Down the Story

Formula: Breaking Down the Story

By Joylene Butler
Author of Dead Witness

I'm in the middle of doing movie plotting exercises because I've hit a wall with my work-in-progress. I'm hoping they'll spark some ideas. Monday, I watched Get Carter twice in one day to see if I could pinpoint its turning points.

Get Carter is about an enforcer for the Las Vegas mob going home to attend his brother's funeral. It stars Sylvester Stallone and is directed by Stephen Kay. If you're into screenwriting, you must purchase a copy. Under Special Features, Mr. Kay does a complete audio commentary of the movie. He explains every aspect of the film, from cutting scenes to camera angles to inserting clues. IOWs, he explains why his filmed the story the way he did. Excellent free invaluable lessons for any one interested in writing a great story.

Alexandra Sokoloff, author of The Unseen, does story breakdowns regularly on her blog. She's an excellent teacher and she usually covers stuff that I'm struggling over. After reading the breakdown she did on Chinatown, I tried to find a copy of the movie in my area. So such luck. Of course, I'll end up ordering one online only to see it in every store I visit next week.

But, I digress. Because I follow Alexandra's blog regularly, I decided I'd take her up on the exercises. I watched Get Carter and jotted down what the three Acts were, what happened every 15 minutes of the movie and what the big climax at the one hour mark was. She suggests you keep an eye on the DVD's clock because most films follow a strict formula.

Sure enough. After the first 15 minutes Jack Carter had learned that his brother was murdered. In fact, every 15 minutes another turning point took place. An hour into the film the big climax occurred. Jack discovers who killed his brother and why. He also discovers more than he bargained for.

I found the same formula in The Replacement Killers. I'm watching Collateral next and after that, Point of No Return, then Panic Room, etc , etc. I might stop at 10 movies before I return to my WIP.

I should probably come clean and confess that formulas didn't sit well with me at first. I was under the impressive, for quite a few years, that formulas ruined originality. Silly me. I've come to appreciate the recipe for a good book, just like a good director does when he makes a movie. 15 minutes into a novel is comparable to the first one-third (75-100 pages) of a book. The climax happens around page 200 - 300, depending on the length.

A lot of writers write without understanding the mechanics of writing. More power to them. Me, I need to understand all of it. After publishing Dead Witness, I knew I owned it to myself to hone my skills. Even if it means going over the same old thing. Remembering that novels can be broken down into 3 Acts, prompts me to understand every intricate part of writing a novel.

Act One introduces the protagonist and the problem. Act Two is a series of complications that increase the conflict and adds minor crisis to the story. Act Three reveals the plot and answers the story question. Act Four ties everything together. That's just the basics, but it's a good place to start.

I'm only up to page 71 (35,300 words), but I'm able to rough in an outline of the three acts for my WIP. I'm focusing on the three acts. I know not every writer can write that way, and while I didn't do that for my previous 5 manuscripts, it seems to be working this time.

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Interview with Helena Harper

What made you become a writer?

I've always loved writing. Even before I went to school and learned how to write, I sat at a desk and wrote line after squiggly line on blank sheets of paper. The first story I remember writing was a story about pots and pans and other kitchen appliances who were having a competition to see who could be the cleanest. I really enjoyed writing that story.

What genre do you write?
I write poetry for adults as well as picture books and early readers.

What's the hardest thing about writing poetry?

Revising it once you've written it! The initial writing is wonderful - I find it totally absorbing and very enjoyable. But the refining and polishing afterwards is hard work.

What inspired your first book 'It's a Teacher's Life...!'?

Well, I've been a teacher for 20 years and about three years ago, when I was having a lovely holiday at a beautiful place in the country, I was inspired to write some poetry, and when I came home, I then had the idea to write some more poems about my life as a teacher. Each poem would concentrate on a different aspect of school life, such as the lessons, what went on in the staffroom, school trips, exams, report writing, and so on. I also wanted to pay tribute to some of the support staff who do so much to keep a school running, but are often forgotten about e.g. the cook, the caretaker/janitor, the nurse, the school secretary – the unsung heroes of life is what I call them.

Your second book 'Family and More - Enemies or Friends?' was also released in 2008. What made you release both books so close together?

My second book was released as an ebook and I really just wanted to test the market to see how people would react to it. I've had a very positive response from everyone who's read it so far, so I'm now looking into the possibility of having it published as a paperback.

Who is your publisher and what made you choose them?
I decided to finance the publication of both books so that I could start to get my name out there as a writer. I chose Athena Press as the publisher of my first book "It's a Teacher's Life...!" because they seemed to have a very professional approach to the whole business of publishing. The manuscript underwent a very rigorous edit and they designed a wonderful front cover for the book and also, at my request, provided illustrations for the interior. I chose Eloquent Books as the publisher for my ebook as there was the possibility later of converting the ebook, which has an ISBN number, into a paperback.

Where can people find out more about you and your writing?

My author's website is

My authorsden website is

My blog is

You can follow me on Twitter at

I'm also on Facebook, MySpace and LinkedIn - here are the links:

Anything else you would like to add?
Yes - if you want to write, just give it a go! You have to be willing to step into the unknown, but if you don't try, you'll never know and you may end up regretting that. All you need is an idea. It doesn't have to be fully developed, just sit down and start writing something and it will develop as you go along. You never know, it may be the best thing you ever do!
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826 National

About 826 National

826 National is a nonprofit tutoring, writing, and publishing organization with locations in seven cities across the country. Our goal is to assist students ages six to eighteen with their writing skills, and to help teachers get their classes excited about writing. Our work is based on the understanding that great leaps in learning can happen with one-on-one attention, and that strong writing skills are fundamental to future success.

After the founding of 826 Valencia, the flagship center in San Francisco, educators around the U.S. joined in to pursue the same goals in their local communities. Now 826 Valencia also serves as the headquarters of 826 National, an umbrella organization that coordinates the adaptation of 826’s tutoring and mentorship model in other cities. Already, 826 has sister centers in New York, Los Angeles, Ann Arbor, Chicago, Seattle, and Boston. Through volunteer support, each of the seven 826 chapters provides drop-in tutoring, class field trips, writing workshops, and in-schools programs—all free of charge. 826 chapters are especially committed to supporting teachers, publishing student work, and offering services for English language learners.

Because we believe the proof is in the pudding, 826 programs almost always end with a finished product, such as a newspaper, a book, or a film. This teaching model, known as project-based learning, encourages students to collaborate and to make creative decisions, and gives them ownership over the learning process. Working toward a goal, our students are inspired to revise until their work is perfect. They leave with new skills and a newfound passion for writing. And then they come back. Each 826 chapter is a warm, welcoming place where students can get things done. Maybe they’ll produce a chapbook. Maybe they’ll make a movie, or polish a college-application essay. We offer all of our services for free serving families who could not otherwise afford the level of personalized instruction their children receive from 826.

Our corps includes thousands of enthusiastic volunteers who make this all happen. Our volunteer tutors include law professors, college students, authors, retirees, and advertising copywriters. They come from all fields, but have one thing in common: they love to help students learn. The demand for 826’s services is tremendous. At many of our centers, our field trips are fully booked almost a year in advance, and the majority of our evening and weekend workshops have waiting lists. And new teacher requests for in-school tutor support continue to pour in.

We offer:


826 sites are packed five days a week with students who come in for free one-on-one tutoring after school. We serve students of all skill levels and interests, most of whom live within walking distance of our writing centers or near public transportation. During the summer, many of our tutoring programs cater exclusively to English language-learners with a specially designed, project-based curriculum that focuses on basic vocabulary, phonics, reading, and writing skills.

Student Publishing
We know that the quality of student work is greatly enhanced when it’s shared with an authentic audience, so we are committed to publishing student work. In addition to publishing our 826 Quarterly, two student newspapers, many smaller chapbooks, and ‘zines, each year we partner with an acclaimed author to work closely with a teacher and students from a low-income school to create an unique and professionally-made book. This year 826 Seattle created an anthology of essays, poems, and stories on the theme of family by 27 students from John Marshall High School and the American Indian Heritage School called (It’s Not Always) Happily Ever After with a forward by Sherman Alexie. In San Francisco, 826 Valencia worked with Galileo Academy of Science and Technology to produce Home Wasn’t Built in a Day, a book focused on family legends and stories that includes an introduction by Robin Williams.

Field Trips
Up to four times a week, 826 welcomes an entire class for a morning of high-energy learning. Students may experience a roundtable discussion and writing seminar with a local author, or enjoy an active workshop focused on poetry or journalism. The most popular field trip is one we invented called Storytelling & Bookmaking, in which students write, illustrate, and bind their own books within a two-hour period. The field trip is so popular that our schedule is filled almost a year in advance.

It is not feasible for all classes to come to us, so we dispatch teams of volunteers into local schools. At a teacher’s behest, we will send the requested number of tutors into any classroom around the city, to provide one-on-one assistance to students as they tackle various projects — school newspapers, research papers, oral histories, basic writing assignments, and college entrance essays. At Everett Middle School in San Francisco, we even have our own Writers’ Room where every student in the school is served by 826 volunteers and at 826NYC students can get extra help with homework at their writers' room located in the Brooklyn Public Library.

826 offers free workshops that provide in-depth writing instruction in a variety of areas that schools often cannot include in their curriculum, such as writing college entrance essay writing, cartooning, bookmaking, SAT preparation, writing a play, or starting a ’zine. All workshops are project-based and are taught by experienced, accomplished professionals. Connecting inner-city students with these creative and generous mentors allows students to dream and achieve on a grand scale.

At our founding site, 826 Valencia, we award three $10,000 scholarships each spring for students entering college the upcoming fall.

* The applicant must be a graduating senior.
* The applicant must demonstrate financial need.
* The applicant must live in the Bay Area.
* The applicant must demonstrate intent to enroll in an institution of higher learning, which could be a 2- or 4-year college or vocational school.
* The applicant should have an extracurricular interest in the written word.

For more details visit:
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APEX Awards 2009

Announcing the Winners

Questions and Answers About APEX 2009
The Twenty-first Annual Awards for Publication Excellence Competition

Sponsored by the Editors of Writing That Works:
The Business Communications Report

How were awards presented?
APEX 2009 awards were based on excellence in graphic design, editorial content and the success of the entry -- in the opinion of the judges -- in achieving overall communications effectiveness and excellence.

Naturally, entries in design categories were judged solely on the basis of their graphic design, and writing entries were evaluated primarily on the basis of editorial quality.

How many entries were there? How many awards were given?
3,785 entries were evaluated, in the following distribution:
Newsletters: 385; Magazines & Journals: 706; Magapapers & Newspapers: 82; Annual Reports: 183;
Brochures, Manuals & Reports: 378; Video & Electronic Publications: 193; Web & Intranet Sites:
267; Campaigns, Programs & Plans: 301; Writing: 659; Design & Illustration: 392; Special
Publications: 239.

A total of 100 APEX Grand Awards were presented in 11 major categories to honor the outstanding works in those categories. 1,158 APEX Awards of Excellence recognize excellence in 122 individual categories.

For the number of awards presented in each individual category, please see Announcing the Winners of APEX 2009 (pdf).

Is there a list of winning entries?
Yes. See Announcing the Winners of APEX 2009 (pdf).
Grand Award winners are listed by main category.
Award of Excellence winners are listed within each subcategory, alphabetically by organization, or by last name for individual entrants.)

Can I see some of the winning entries online?
Yes. You may view a selected number of the winning Web site entries online. You'll find brief descriptions and links to those selected winning sites. You may also read comments about -- and link to Web sites of -- most of the 100 APEX 2009 Grand Award Winners, as well as the APEX 2008 Grand Award Winners, and earlier winners back through 2001.

For more details visit

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Article: Let the Buzz Begin

Let the Buzz Begin

Some days you wrote feverishly, other days you stared at a blank page. After much procrastination and then finally a stroke of genius, you finished the story that’s haunted you months, maybe even years. You probably didn’t know at the time completing the manuscript was only the beginning. The journey to “getting the call” can be heart wrenching.

You may be one of the writers who receives the call not long after the submission process. Or you can be the one of thousands of writers (including some very famous published authors) who received one rejection letter after another. Either way, when you get the call, it will be joyous time. As you begin to settle back down to earth, don’t get caught up in the myth.
The myth.

Yes, the one where now all you have to do is let the book sell itself. NOT! Save yourself from heartache later. Be smart and start making the switch in your mind to marketing.

Depending on your publisher, you may receive a marketing budget or you may have to set aside a bit of your advance for marketing. There are some ideas you can implement that won’t affect your budget, but may take a bit of time management.

These days an online presence is a must. The most important starting point for your online presence is a website. You should plan to have your site online at least six months or more before your book is released. Before you received the call, you may have had a free website or blog. You should plan for a professional look for your online presence. Remember with free sites, they offer a certain amount of templates. There will probably be others using the same template as you are for their website. Set yourself apart with a customized look.

I highly recommend, if you haven’t already, secure the domain name you desire. The domain name is usually or Even if you need to use a free website for awhile, using your domain name will enable you to start utilizing it on print materials like postcards, bookmarks and business cards.

It used to be a time when individuals started a website and waited for the crowd to find them via Yahoo or Google. With Web 2.0, it’s all about community and relationship building. There are various ways an author can establish a community using social media. Here are few ideas to consider alongside your website.

Use a Blog to Build a Platform

Having a platform is really emphasized for nonfiction writers, but this can work for fiction writers as well. If you can establish yourself as an expert on a certain topic, this could help you bring attention to your book in a subtle way.

Authors are always asking about blogging. “Should I have a blog? Do I have time to write blog posts? Will blogging be a waste of time?” If you are considering blogging, think about the subject matter of your upcoming release. Can you build on the themes of the book and create an entire blog around it? Yes, you can.

A great example of building buzz around a book was started a few months ago by author, Mary DeMuth. Her book, Daisy Chain, was recently released and she started the following blog, Her book discusses family secrets and she collected family secrets anonymously for the blog. This was a genius way of marketing a book.

Create a Group (A Fan Club)

Many authors cringe about self-promotion, so creating your own fan club may seem a bit on the ego-tripping side. If you don’t want to set-up a group yourself, request a good friend, a book club or hire a virtual assistant to manage the group for you. I highly recommend choosing one of the popular social networks to create a group, but using a mailing list can work as well.

(a) Mailing List (ex. Yahoo Groups)

Email Group – Yahoo has had mailing list groups around probably since their existence. Many authors are more comfortable with email versus social networks. Email still remains the dominant form of communication despite the rise in Twitter and Facebook. If this describes you, go for this option. Just make sure it’s not all about you. I’ve seen a few writers coordinate giveaways and in some cases teach mini-classes or seminars.
Newsletter – The newsletter is more one way communication than an interactive mailing list group. With the newsletters, you would simply collect email addresses and send updates to the list periodically.

(b) Social Network – Facebook surpassed MySpace as the most popular social network. There are a ton of authors on both, but Facebook seems to be the one where more “socializing” is actually taking place.

Authors can create either a group or fan page. The fan pages work more like a regular Facebook pages where members can post to the wall. The group pages allow for more discussion with forums. – Ning hit one million social networks a few weeks ago. They also have had several major improvements. If you really want a more intimate community, Ning is the best for creating your own social network. If you are a new author, I would consider building your network around a theme. Some great examples of author sites are: and, – What better place to create a group than around book lovers. Ask your fans to post book reviews or set-up a discussion session about the book.

All of these community building ideas won’t cause you a single penny (unless you want to avoid ads). Week by week, you can build your group or community. The most important rule is to make sure you are participating and building relationships. Take the time to try out several methods. You may find one or two will really work for you. The goal - by the time your book is released, you will have quite a fan base of potential readers.


Tyora Moody is a writer and web developer. The owner of Tywebbin Creations is also a social network enthusiast. You can find her online at two of her favorite networks, Facebook and Twitter. For more marketing tips and ideas, be sure to stop by the NEXT LEVEL Marketing blog at
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Interview with Francis Ray

  • When did you start your writing career?
I started writing around 1988. I sold my first short story to a confession magazine in 1990. Odyssey Books bought my first full-length novel December 24, 1991. It was a fantastic Christmas present after trying so long to sell a book. My family celebrated for days.
  • Your titles consistently make bestseller's lists. What's your secret?
I wish I knew the secret. I just try with every book to write the best story I can. Story ideas don't come easily to me, and thus I plot slow and write slower. I'm truly blessed to have gained an audience who like my work. I try to write about strong, intelligent men and resourceful, honorable women that readers can relate to.
  • Do you think that having your book listed as a best seller helps sell more copies of it? Does it open up other ways to market the book?
I'm not sure if 'national best selling' listing helps. Unfortunately, I think, the listings is appearing more and more on books without the data to back it up. For me, it didn't open up other ways to market my books. On the other hand, it's very gratifying to see your name on a list. I still have the print out of FOREVER YOURS, the co-launch for Arabesque in 1994, hitting Essence magazine list for the first time. I'm not sure where I put the print out for the New York Times or USA Today bestseller list with NOBODY BUT YOU. Perhaps because I'm still in shock. I do think the NYT/USA today list makes a difference in the perception of publishers, authors, and readers.
  • What's been the biggest highlight of your writing career so far?
My biggest highlights are (1) establishing The Turning Point Legal Defense Fund for battered women, and (2) making the NYT and USA Today best selling lists.
  • Tell us a bit about your latest book 'AND MISTRESS MAKES THREE'?
AND MISTRESS MAKES THREE is about a recently divorced woman who has to figure out a way to turn her downward spiraling life around. Her ex won't pay child support, their teenage daughter blames her for the divorce, their son needs a father, bills are past due, and her home travel agency business is floundering. She's failed at everything in her life: she's determine that this time she'll succeed. But how?
  • Where can people find out more about you and your writing?
Please visit my web site at While there they can also enter my monthly contest to win free books. They might also consider joining my Yahoogroup at
  • Anything else you'd like to add?
I'd like to thank readers for their tremendous support. It's been fantastic. NOBODY BUT YOU recently won Border's best selling multicultural book for 2008. Readers keep me writing and trying to improve with each and every book. Thank you for the invite.
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Childrens Writing

Brand new edition of the Children's Writing Update eZine. You can view the entire issue online at

This issue features:

* the video "Write for Success: 7 Tips For Children's Book Writers"

* news about an important upcoming event

* links to find children's book publishers and more

* an article by Laura Backes called "Finding Humor in Teenage Drama"...


* the latest from The CBI Clubhouse (,
the groundbreaking new site for success-minded children's writers.

--- Here's the important takeaway from that:

Just started an ongoing children's writing course called The CBI Challenge
that's free to all members of the CBI Clubhouse! ----

So head over to and
check it out. Then, by all means, get over to and prepare to be blown away by The
CBI Clubhouse! (Children's Book Insider).

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Call for submissions

I've been thinking of ways to keep things interesting around here and have decided to post articles about the writing industry/ about topics of interest to writers. This could be anything from explaining how to get an agent to developing characters and plots to writing good book reviews. Bascially anything writing related.

Articles should be sent in the BODY of an email to

This is a non paying opportunity but the site has a large international readership and has won various awards.

Please feel free to let others know so they can send in articles too.

I hope that this new feature will be useful and add to the quality of this site.
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Interview with Denise Bold

Have you always wanted to be a writer?
I have been writing since I was very young, writing is part of my life. I never made an effort to be a writer, I just am a writer.

What genre do you write and why?
I write fiction and I also write non-fiction. I write about real life incidents/situations. I write fiction to explore my imagination. My ‘community writing’ is about experiences that I have encountered involving social issues and I use my knowledge, values and skills in my writing.

Please tell us a bit about your book 'Raising Princes to be Kings: The Black Single Mother's Guide to Raising Her Black Son'.
My book is an empowerment tool for single black mothers. In my research I have encountered four types of single black mothers. My book covers motherhood from pre-conceptual health to college for the black son. My book is like having a black single mother right next to you, speaking to you as you are reading the book. My book covers relationships, finances, history of black motherhood in America, education, spirituality and much more.

What inspired you to write this book?
Being a single mother for 18 years, I was and am inspired as the result of so many people complimenting me on how well I raised my own son. It was suggested to me time and time again that I put into writing what I did to raise a young black son into a man who is drug, crime and baby free and is a sophomore in college. As a parent advocate, I have witnessed too many black single mothers and their black sons be blamed for consequences that society perpetuated. The issue of black single motherhood is a chronic, systemic breakdown that has resulted in both black mother and son being a profitable statistic. There is also an imbalance of representation of black males telling black single mothers what these mothers should do – my book empowers these black mothers on what they can do.

How did your Master's Degree in Social Work and having worked as a Medical Social Worker for almost ten years, help when writing this book?
My training as a Master’s Degree Social Worker in a second time career for me; my first career many years ago was that of a trauma technologist. My academic exposure and immersion provided me with a broader view of the world and issues that exist. My education changed my life by the revelation it provided. Being in the medical field I thought was a place of diversity and equality; after all everyone looks the same on the inside. I learned that this is not the case in the United States of America – healthcare here is grossly unequal. This observance and awareness transferred over into my role of motherhood and my awareness grew in this area as well.

Want other projects do you have coming up?
I have another book drafted. I also am available for seminars and to facilitate workshops for Black Motherhood Empowerment Series.

Where can people find out more about you and your writing?
I have a web page: and I am also found on Face book under Denise Bolds and Raising Princes to be Kings. If one were to Google my name – there are many articles I have written for newspapers over time.

Anything else you'd like to add?
Our children are or future and America has to place the importance and value back onto our children who can continue on after we are gone. The attitude of motherhood in America has to be elevated.
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RRW events

We have 20+ children’s and young adult books to give away. We need people who want them. Just go to the event and leave comments at the book cover of the books you want. You have through Aug 5th to get your comments in for the drawings. The link to the event is

We need RRW Live Groupies to follow us from show to show asking questions of our guest. No experience necessary. Just someone who wants to have fun and learn about interesting Guest at Blog Talk Radio shows Red River Writers Live & Robin Falls Kids. To learn how to be a Groupie, sign up for a particular show, or ask questions, go to the RRW group discussion:
Red River Writers Live Groupies

Blog Talk Radio Shows
Robin Falls Kids Story Time – Wednesday, August 5th, 10 am Central
Guest Children's Books & Young Adult Authors and their books they are reading:
Lisa Cottrell-Bentley - "Wright on Time"
Marsha Diane Arnold - “Roar of a Snore” & “Prancing, Dancing Lily”
Crystalee Calderwood - "Angeline Jellybean"
Deb Lund - "Monsters on Machines"
Virginia S Grenier - "Babysitting SugarPaw"
Michelle Buckman - "My Beautiful Disaster"
Come and listen to the readings at
Call-in Number is (646) 649-1005
Red River Writers Live - Wednesday, August 5th, noon Central - Letters of a Lone Star with Host Jeff LeJeune
Jeff's guest will be Linda Kozar, author and speaker. Linda is the recipient of the 2007 American Christian Fiction Writers Mentor of the Year Award, and four previous awards for writing. Her first fiction novel, Misfortune Cookies, will be released by Heartsong Presents--Mysteries in 2008, followed by two sequels in 2009. Also a book of devotions titled, Babes With A Beatitude, Howard Books, a division of Simon and Schuster. PLEASE join, Jeff and his Guest on Blog Talk Radio
Call-in Number is (646) 595-447
Red River Writers Live - Wednesday, August 5th, 2 pm Central - Tell Us About You with Host April Robins & co-Host Laurie Zieber
They will take questions from listeners directed to the following FaceBook Group members scheduled to give a two minute elevator speech about their work: Barbara Ehrentreu, Rita Schiano, Stephanie Osborn, Christine Duncan, John Wayne Cargile, Naomi Giroux, Kenneth James Kirsch, Barry Eva, James Priest, Rosey Dow, Stephanie Barko, Karen Cioffi-Ventrice, David Boop and Jd Glasscock. A varied genre of Authors, Writers, and Illustrators. At the end of the show, Guest will answer questions from the Chatroom and callers in a teleconference setting. Last month's topics related to e-books. This is very informative. We want your questions!
Call-in Number: (347) 637-1731

RRW Sign Ups
Currenly, I am looking for Host of Blog Talk Radio shows not related to Red River Writers Live or Robin Falls Kids. I want you on my Red River Writers Live – Tell Us About You show on Thursday, Sept 3rd, at noon Central. Each Guest will have up to 5 minutes to tell about their BTR show and what kind of guest they are looking for from our RRW members. To be on my show, write your elevator speech at the RRW group discussion:

Robin Falls Kids Fan Page
Please become a fan of Robin Falls Kids at

Help us go over 1,000 members so we can save our FB name, currently at 732 fans. We can do it! Be sure and post your links of interest to children, parents, or educators on our wall.

30+ Essential Links for Writers and Artists
To read this week’s essential links for writers and artists selected just for you, go to the RRW Info Digest for 7-31-2009 at
*While there, leave a comment related to your event for the week.*


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