Review: Look Before You Leap: A Premarital Guide for Couples by Sandra L Ceren

Look Before You Leap: A Premarital Guide for Couples

Sandra L. Ceren
Loving Healing Press (2008)
ISBN 9781932690750
Reviewed by Kam Aures for RebeccasReads (10/08)

“Look Before You Leap: A Premarital Guide for Couples” was “originally published as a highly recommended professional text for premarital counselors.” Now, it is an excellent resource available to couples that are planning on marriage. The book begins by taking a look at just what qualities and factors make for a good marriage. The main points are exemplified by case examples looking at the relationships of various couples. The case studies presented add a lot to the book, as it is always nice to have points expanded upon with interesting scenarios.
After the introduction, there are quizzes to take in order to better examine the couple’s compatibility. The first quiz is a “Personality Quiz” which both partners are to fill out and then to exchange with one another. Some of the questions on this quiz are “If you could do anything you wanted, what would you do?” and “How do you usually respond when someone shares feelings with you?” After the quiz questions, the next chapter gives detailed insight into how you or your partner may have answered. Following this is the second quiz, which is a “Relationship Quiz.” This one contains questions such as “At times do you feel suffocated by your partner?” and “What do you quarrel about?”
I think that these quizzes will definitely provide important insights into exactly just what kind of people you and your partner are, and whether or not you will have a fulfilling relationship that will last. There are too many marriages that end in divorce and I think that if all couples were to read this book or participate in pre-marital counseling then statistics would be much improved. The book touches on many important areas that are helpful to know about your partner before you rush in to marriage.
After the quizzes are chapters discussing communication and conflict resolution, and then suggested solutions in which different scenarios are presented and ideas are given on how to handle the situations. The final two sections focus on personality disorders and the different types of people that you may meet (e.g “old souls” and “over-givers”).
If you are not yet married and are considering it, then this definitely is the book for you. You will learn a lot about your future husband or wife to be! Although I am already married, I really enjoyed this book. I always like books that have interactive elements, as I am one who learns best by doing. I think that even couples that have already taken the “leap” would benefit and learn new things about their partner if they were to sit down and go through the quizzes in the book. This action in turn may help to strengthen your existing relationship.
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Interview with Eric Olsen from Blogcritics Magazine

Tell us a bit about Blogcritics Magazine?
Blogcritics.org is an online magazine founded in 2002 as a means for bloggers to band together to have their pop culture reviews viewed by a wider audience. It has grown to a broad-based general interest, fully edited publication with reviews, news, opinion, and interviews generated by 3000 writers and 25 editors, attracting over 150K page views per day. It was bought in Aug, 08 by Technorati.


Why is this site useful to writers?
the site provides writers wide exposure, prestige, access to review material, writing coaching, community, an author page, and google juice to their home sites

In your books section you post book reviews, who reviews these books?

a large number of our writers review books, headed up by Books Editors Gordon Hauptfleish and Natalie Bennett


How can authors get their books reviewed for the site?


send a description via email to me

What other features can be found on site?

we cover film, TV, music, books, gaming, culture and the arts, tech, Internet, politics, sports, business - just about everything! We publish about 40 articles per day. All of our stories are in magazine/newspaper form, with a self-contained beginning, middle, and end. We link out to sources like any blog, but we ask that articles not require clicking on links in order to understand the gist of the story. All stories are fully edited prior to publication.

We emphasize writer development and have had a large number of our writers gain professional writing/editing positions via their work with BC. We also have a very vigorous (and moderated) comments section, are a genuine, active online community of writers, editors, commentors, and readers

Anything else you'd like to add?
I appreciate the opportunity and welcome new writers and readers!
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Review: UnBreak Your Health by Alan Smith

Title: UnBreak Your Health
Author: Alan Smith

Reviewed by Midwest Book Review (Oregon, WI USA)

As the babyboom generation ages (as well as generations X, Y & Z, for that matter), personal health and physical fitness have become more than just fashionable -- they are recognized as fundamental to being able to enjoy life, pursue goals, and live longer. The rise in the popularity of what is described as Alternative Medicine has also taken place because of the shortcomings of traditional medicine to insure continued good health and/or speedy recovery from illness or injury. In "Unbreak Your Health: The Complete Guide To Complementary & Alternative Therapies", Alan E. Smith has compiled more than 300 entries on more than 135 alternative health subjects, providing both students of alternative medicine and non-specialist general readers with an interest in alternatives to what traditional medicine has to offer them with respect to basic health concepts. Impressively organized and presented with an alphabetized roster of therapies for the body, a section devoted to therapies for the mind; and an entire chapter of therapies applicable to the human 'spirit' or 'energy', "Unbreak Your Health" is thoroughly 'reader friendly' and accessible. Of special note are the chapters on Insurance, Alan Smith's conclusions, his recommendations, the resources list, bibliography for further reading, and a comprehensive index. "Unbreak Your Health" is very strongly recommended and fundamentally useful reading for students of Alternative Medicine, and would prove a popular addition to community library Health & Medicine reference collections.
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Dwight Rounds Interview


Tell us a bit about your book, The year the music died
The book is both a commentary and a reference on pop music from 1964-1971, which I consider the best era of pop music It is very different from other music books. It is a book on music, written by a non-musician. However, a majority of music-listening enthusiasts are not musicians either, and I hope this book will especially appeal to them.
It discusses the social movements of the time, along with lists and trivia questions. There are commentaries on what I consider to be the best groups, especially the Beatles, along with charts, and other, statistics on all the groups that had at least one Gold album. There are sections on the three largest festivals (Monterey Pop, Woodstock and Isle of Wight ), along with some history of the social movements and hallucinogenic drugs. Such things as why American and British vocals band sing with the same accent, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, rhythm and blues, and solo careers that spawned from this era, are discussed.

Have you always had such a strong interest in music?
Only after the Beatles played on the Ed Sullivan, and not much since they ended.

The book covers the years 1964 to 1972, what makes this particular period so special?
Just my opinion. There was a huge variety of music and voices, and all the kids my age liked just about all of the music. The music, especially the Beatles, was original. It seems to have lasting value, as many younger people today enjoy the music. No one back then liked music from decades earlier, and I cannot see young people 40 years from now listening today's music.

What made you write this book?
A tribute to that music, and to introduce younger people to it. I do not know of any other books that specifically deal with that era.

How did you research for this book?
Maybe half off the top of my head, including information I have remembered from many books and videos, and the other half through Internet research. I have listened to the music almost daily for 45 years now.

Anything else you'd like to add?
I have a very limited taste in music (which seems to bother just about everyone but me), but what I do like, no one likes more. It is like my mind is a hard drive, and it filled up in 1972.
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facebook

Do you have a facebook account? Facebookis a great tool for networking with other members of the writing industry and potential readers.

It's free to open an account and it's available on international level.

Use it's status bar to update people on what your working on, awards you've won, book releases etc...

post your cover art pics to your page for everyone to see and add your websites to the links section.

There are also groups on site where you can get to know other writers and discuss topics related to writing.

Another opportunity to promote on an international level for FREE!
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PROMO DAY update



PROMO DAY will take place on Saturday 9th May 2009.

PROMO DAY is an all day online international event for people in the writing industry. Packed full of opportunities to promote yourself and your books, writing, services etc... A chance to connect with your readers and get feedback. Network with other members of the industry including; authors, bloggers, journalists, publishers, editors etc...
Take advantage of the FREE workshops hosted by experts on a variety of topics including to name a few; blogging, character websites, technical and legal aspects, editing and virtual tours.

It's FREE to attend and there are lots of features on site for authors to use to promote their books. You can have your video trailor posted to the site or a sample chapter from your book. The PROMO Chatroom will be open all day for you to promote your work and network.

Stop by the onsite bookstore and check out some of the great titles now available or relax and have some fun on the 'take a break' page.

Not an author? No problem, you're invited too! Avid readers will have fun getting to know the authors better and reading the sample chapters from upcoming releases or watching the video trailors to get an idea of what books might interest them.
Are you an editor for a magazine or ezine? You'll be able to find new writers. Are you a publisher? Come and meet some great authors and maybe find a new talent to sign. Do you offer services that would be useful to other members of the writing industry? Well, you're welcome to come too and let them know what you have to offer!

PROMO DAY is an opportunity to promote, network and learn. Don't miss out.
BE PART OF THE ACTION, BE PART OF PROMO DAY!

Visit the PROMO DAY website and check out the official blog for the event for more details and updates.
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review: Becoming Dead Right by Frances Shani Parker

Title: Becoming Dead Right
Authors: Frances Shani Parker
Publisher: Loving Healing Press
ISBN-978-1-932690-35-4
Cost: $ 19.95/ £9.95

Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes is an informative and well written book filled with true stories about hospice patients and caregivers.

Whilst underlining the importance of improving and expanding hospice services, Frances Shai Parker uses her own personal experience as a hospice caregiver to show that everyone is entitled to a peaceful and pain-free death. The book includes touching stories of a variety of patients although there is a particular attention to African-American AIDS sufferers. Therefore this book would be especially helpful to people dealing with this.

Although written for the American population, in particular African-Americans, Becoming Dead Right could also be useful to anyone else dealing with death or interested in how hospice works. The book is divided into easy to read chapters, each ending with a short poem.

This insight into hospice care and the people that do it is inspiring and heart warming. Recommended reading for anyone interested in being involved in hospice care and for patients and their relatives and friends to help them understand how hospice works as well as to give them comfort in their time of need.
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Interview with Sheila Clover English of Circle of Seven Productions (COS)


What is COS Productions?


COS Productions is multi media, multi platform marketing and promotions company.

Our main staple is book trailers, which we started creating in 2002 and trademarked the term “book trailer” in 2003.

We’ve gone on to include podcasts, distribution and other promotion services.


When was the company started?


The company started in 2002 when we made a deal with author Christine Feehan and created the book trailer for Dark Symphony. We incorporated and started creating book trailers and teasers for other authors in 2003.


What made you start the company?


I was an aspiring author myself and looking for a way to stand out. I was lucky enough to have someone in my family who was a videographer and I figured “Movie trailers promote movies, what about a book trailer for books?”

Christine Feehan was very supportive of the idea. She’s very progressive in marketing. And I was lucky enough to have Borders Group take an interest and show the videos. Of course back then there was no YouTube or MySpace so we had few distribution outlets. Of course now that is no longer the case.


What services do you offer?


We do full production book trailers and we do book teaser which are done with stock photos, footage, etc.

We do distribution of video and audio. We distribute to social media sites, the media, booksellers, libraries, reader blogs, specialty sites such as GoodReads and Reader’s Entertainment TV, etc.

We create radio ads and audio book reviews as well as other types of audio. We own COS Radio and between our 5 shows we have 30,000 listeners. Our audio products are delivered through that platform as well as iTunes and podcasts.

We do marketing strategy with clients including many publishers. We do additional promotions such as press releases, media/press kit creation, blogging, etc. But, those services are currently only open to COS clients who have had video or audio products with us.

We do that because that’s our specialty; creating strategies for multimedia promotions.

Where can people find out more about COS productions?

Our main website is www.cosproductions.com. But, you can also Google either Circle of Seven Productions or COS Productions and find several articles about the company from media outlets such as The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, TVWeek and other media or blogs.

We also own COS Radio, Reader’s Entertainment TV and this year we will have a Young Reader Network site and an In Faith Network site.


Anything else you'd lke to add?


In times of difficult economy it becomes even more important that any investment in promotion have a definite return on investment of some kind. Maybe that return will be direct sales, maybe it will be branding, name recognition or some other goal.

Know what your goal is anytime you invest in any promotion.

What sets COS apart is that we are strategists that are goal-oriented. We don’t just want to give someone a video or an audio product. If those products don’t perform in a way that satisfied our customers they won’t invest again. We know that, so we look at the long term goal. We consider effectiveness, goals and return on investment in a very real-world way. That’s why so many of our clients return to us.

Here is a link to our testimonials page:

http://www.cosproductions.com/resourcesTestimonials.php
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Interview with Linda Ballou

You’ve done a lot of traveling, which is your favorite place in the world? Why?

Without a doubt the most phantasmagorical place that I have been fortunate enough to visit is the South Island of New Zealand. Experiencing the rich diversity of terrain, and meeting the friendly Kiwi’s who make their country so accessible to visitors remains a wonderful memory. The primordial, subtropical-forests with flora unique to the Land of the Long White Cloud at the base of snowcapped spires striped with turquoise glaciers seems surreal. The fact that you can stop without reservations, rent a kayak and paddle into still waters of an estuary and see hundreds of birds, or rent a jet boat and power up a pristine river valley without another soul in sight is my kind of heaven. I would love to go back and visit uninhabited Steward Island, hike the Milford Track and explore more of this natural wonderland.

You’ve written articles for various travel publications, how did you get started doing this?

I used to have my own horse and together we jumped, did cross-country courses. One day I felt a tingling in my lower back. It was a garden-variety herniated disk that took me to my knees. I had to stop riding, give up my horse and think about it all. By that time, I had the usual drawer full of rejections with a few clips to my credit. My first published pieces were in the horse magazines. I decided to have more fun with my writing. While I was healing I put together a package I could present to outfitters, and joined travelwriters.com. I still loved to ride in gorgeous country, and I am a writer, so my travel writing career became a blending of all the things I do naturally. I queried a high end guest ranch in Telluride and they said yes! I went and sold the piece I wrote about my incredible experience at the Skyline Ranch to Equus Magazine. I have been hooked on these types of adventures ever since.

If your readers are interested in this subject I have a free download on my Website LindaBallouAuthor.com called How to Make Travel Writing Work for You. In it I give the basic nuts and bolts of what you must do to get started in the field.

You visited the Hawaiian Islands. How did you use this experience when writing Wai-nani, High Chiefess of Hawaii: Her Epic Journey?

I was more than a casual visitor to the Islands. I lived for one blissful year on the island of Kauai in 1978. I had just graduated from Northridge University with a degree in English Literature and I wanted to see if I was a writer. I took a job on the local paper interviewing locals. That year the paper was celebrating the bicentennial of Captain Cook’s arrival on Kauai in 1778. This is what originally got me interested in the history of the Islands. It seemed to me as I delved deeper into the subject that historians had given the Hawaiians a bum wrap. This made me want to tell the story from the Hawaiian point of view. Little did I know what a monumental task I had taken on! My novel Wai-nani, High Chiefess of Hawaii is the culmination of a 30-year love affair with the Islands.

I read the oldest chronicles on record and have gone to almost all of the places described in the book. I spent a couple of nights in Waipio, the valley of kings, where the bones of great chiefs are hidden in caves. I hiked across the bottom of Iki Crater where I felt the breath of Pele, the goddess of the volcano. I spent time at the Place of Refuge where wrong doers were spared hideous fates. I visited Bishop Museum which houses the largest collection of Polynesian artifacts in the world. I snorkeled in Kealakekua Bay where Cook was killed. To give balance to the story I read Cook’s journal and that of his seaman John Ledyard as well of modern accounts of the great navigator. Since Wai-nani’s best friend is a dolphin I studied dolphin behavior and the mind set of the long distance swimmer. I also studied Hawaiian mythology, legends and lore which are woven throughout the text


Tell us a bit about your book


My novel is fabled history couched in magical realism that combines truth with folklore and myth of a heroic past.

Through the eyes of high chiefess, Wai-nani, you experience the Hawaiian society as it existed when Captain James Cook landed at Kealakekua Bay in 1779; ride the billowing seas with Eku, the wild dolphin she befriends; learn why she loved the savage, conflicted ruler, Makaha; walk with her as she defies ancient laws and harsh taboos of the Island people; share the love she received from all who knew her; and learn how she rose to become the most powerful woman in old Hawai’i.

Even though born into the rank and privilege of the royal class Wai-nani rails against harsh penalties meted out by priests and ruling chiefs invested with the power of gods and the separation of men and women in daily rituals. Her rebellion takes her on a journey that puts her squarely into the eye of a political storm.

She meets Makaha, inspired by Kamehameha the Great, an inward thinking youthful warrior who is prophesied to unite the Hawaiian Islands. This is the beginning of a tumultuous forty-year love affair. Makaha accepts the challenge to end years of tribal wars and gives Hawaii a golden age. Wai-nani stands beside him before, during, and after his rise to power.

Like all Hawaiians, Wai-nani is a water baby finding sustenance and solace in the sea. Her best friend is a dolphin named Eku who joins her on her mythological journey. She listens to the voices whispering in the winds off the velvet green see cliffs lining the shore, fears Pele, the goddess of the volcano in her fiery home and speaks to gods in every rock, flower, and tree. She tells us what was happening in her beautiful world when Captain Cook arrived bringing new weapons and spreading disease in his wake.

Her literal journey follows the rise of Makaha to power, but her more important personal journey takes her to her own truth. She must lift the dragon’s tail from her path; the priests who see her desire for change and fear her. When Makaha dies he makes her prime minister, with equal weight in society as his son. She uses her position and personal power to bring down the 2,000 year old kapu system. Her story ends with the burning of the gods.


What made you pick your publisher Star Publishing?

I decided on Star because it is boutique publishing company that gives a lot a special attention to authors. Owner, TC McCullum, provides a custom illustration for the cover of the books she publishes. I felt that was very important for me because even if people don’t judge a book by its cover they won’t select it off the shelf if they are not initially drawn in. She also fine-tuned my manuscript making sure every detail was correct. There are many Hawaiian words with unique punctuation in the book that most publishers would not have helped me incorporate into the text. I am very proud of the end product and the quality of her work.


Where can people find out more about your work?

Please go to my Website www.LindaBallouAuthor.com. There is a page there dedicated to Wai-nani with reviews, first chapter, reader comments, and a buy button. I have a host of travel articles and photo essays there for visitors to enjoy. In my media room there is information on the different types of talks I have prepared for speaking engagements. These include “How Traditional Hawaiian Values are Being Applied into Today’s World,” “The Secret Side of Paradise,” and “Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Ancient Hawai’i, but Didn’t Know to Ask.”

As a busy writer, how do you organize your writing time? Do you write at fixed times? Word count per day?


I confess it is hard to fit all that I am attempting to do in a 24-hour day. I insist on taking care of number one first because without a clear head, heart and mind the work is not my best. I also have set boundaries for my loved ones. They cannot disturb me while I am writing. I have a sign that says “In Session” I hang on my door if they forget. My freshest and best writing arrives in the morning. I read at night about what it is I will be writing about to enlist my subconscious to the task. I review notes over coffee and then head for the keyboard. I resist opening email before writing as it inevitably distracts me from the job at hand. I don’t focus on word count, as much as on a goal for that morning, like editing a rough draft of an article. My attention span is about two hours, after that my writing becomes labored and stilted. I print out what I have done and put it on my reading table for after dinner relaxation. About mid day I go for a long walk, or a hike in the mountains to let my mind relax and breathe in the beauty of the day. I have pretty much stopped watching television in the evenings. I need that time to do my book marketing online. I also sell real estate, so that task gets a large share of my waking hours. I am not in the position yet to give up my day job!

Anything else you would like to add?


Once you get your book published it’s easy to lose sight of your writing discipline. The Internet is a double-edged sword empowering yet insatiable for content. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with information and lost in cyberspace. For the first six months Wai-nani was out, I focused on launching the book, but now I am back to my writing schedule and working on getting my travel collection Lost Angel Walkabout out of my drawer and into the hearts and minds of readers.
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Author and Book Event Center

Created and run by Carol Denbow, the Author and Book Event Center, is a great place for writers and avid readers to visit.

Authors can take advantage of the free membership and network with other authors using the sites features including groups, a chatroom, forum and more... Better still, they can connect with readers, get feedback about their books through the comments section on their page.

In the Book events section you can find and post information about latest book events and book signings.

This is a great site. Carol has done a fantastic job of organising everything so that it works well for authors and is easy to navigate for readers. Definitely worth dropping by and checking it out.

The website url is http://bookeventcenter.ning.com


Visit Author and Book Event Center
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International Book Fairs this month- February 2009

10th international Vilnius Book Fair /Baltic Book Fair
Date : February 12 - 15, 2009
Venue: Lithuanian Exhibition Centre "Litexpo", Laisves ave. 5, Vilnius
Organizers : Lithuanian Exhibition Centre "Litexpo"

For full details email: bookfair@litexpo.lt or visit http://www.litexpo.lt/en/main/fairs?ID=21502

THE JERUSALEM INTERNATIONAL BOOK FAIR [JIBF]

Date : February 15 - 20, 2009
First held in 1963, THE JERUSALEM INTERNATIONAL BOOK FAIR [JIBF] is a unique biennial event which draws over 1200 publishers from more that 40 countries who display more than 100,000 books in different languages.

The year 1995 marked the first time we had participants from the Arab world, including Morocco, Egypt and Jordan, and they have continued to attend the JIBF in ensuing years. At the February 2005 JIBF, Palestinians, Arab and Israeli writers participated in a unique literary enounter attendedby numerous publishers, editors and writer from around the world.

One of the JIBF's innovations inaugurated in 1985 is its unique Editorial Fellowship Program which invites a group of young promising and talented editors to attend the Fair to meet and exchange ideas with their contemporaries. This program has become one of JIBF's strongest attractions and its members have forged professional relationships and personal friendships that have lasted through the years. In the light of the success of this program, JIBF has launched a parallel fellowship program for Literary Agents. Many of our Editorial and Agent Alumni have gone on to prestigious and influential positions in the publishing field, and several return each year to Israel to meet and mentor new ''fellows''.

One of the JIBF's important events is the awarding of the prestigious Jerusalem Prize to a writer whose work best expresses and promotes the idea of the ''freedom of the individual in society''. We are proud to have awarded The Jerusalem Prize to five writers who have also received the Nobel Literary Prize.

Visit http://www.jerusalembookfair.com/main.html for full details
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Review: Nissitissit Witch By Rosemary Chaulk

Title: Nissitissit Witch
Author: Rosemary Chaulk

Reviewed by Denise Cassino


Nissitissit Witch takes the reader on an entertaining but troubling journey
through the early industrial age where man’s ignorance caused entire
villages to succumb to the horrifying effects of unmitigated pollution of
our earth and water.

We meet Ebb, a Civil War Veteran, Sarah, a highly intuitive and educated
woman and an Indian Chief who spin the tale of the people whose
overexposure to toxins caused the slow tormented decline of innocent
victims including both the Indian tribes living off the land and the white
settlers who simply tried to survive by working in shops, mills and factories
where various lethal chemicals permeated the air and skin of the workers.
This book is a great read, but it’s educational, too, and should be in the
school libraries of every community to teach our children not only the
history of pollution which goes backs centuries, but the real caustic results
of letting man’s ingenuity and, in many cases, greed run amuck and
destroy our planet.
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Writers and Authors comes in 5th Place


Thank you to everyone who supported Writers and Authors in the Preditors and Editors readers Poll and helped make it 5th place.

You can see what other sites came out top here:

http://anotherealm.com/prededitors/votenonfictionpub08.htm
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Interview with Meg Weaver of Wooden Horse Publishing

Please tell us a bit about your experience in the writing industry?

I wrote my first general interest article at age 12. It was of course total luck that it was published but it really sparked my love of writing.

Since then I have written hundreds, if not thousands, of articles in magazines all over the world, but primarily in the US.

Most of my articles have a foundation in science, which is another life-long interest of mine. But that doesn't mean I only write for boring trade magazines. There is some of that, of course (except I don't think they are boring) but mainly I write for consumer magazines, teaching readers how they can apply new scientific discoveries to improve their daily lives. I have, for example, become quite an expert in the science of sleep and I have written articles for Health, Prevention, Cooking Light, Family Circle, More, AARP The Magazine and others about falling asleep, staying asleep, how long to sleep, etc. It's a lot of fun.

I don't write as much now as I used to because I have to run Wooden Horse, but I keep up-to-date on the freelance writing lifestyle. Many of our customers - although not all - are freelance writers.


What is Wooden Horse Publishing?

Wooden Horse helps anyone, who wants to contact US and Canadian consumer and trade magazines. Primarily, we do it by maintaining a huge database of magazines, logically named the Magazines Database, which contains contact and selection information.

Access to this information is available online by subscription and you have a choice of subscription lengths: 1 year, 6 months, 30 days, 7 days and even 24 hours for only $1.99. The longer you subscribe, the less it costs you per day. We try to maintain these prices so that writers, who are usually not very well paid, can afford a professionally managed and updated media source. But it's getting more and more difficult to justify having that 24-hour subscription as labor costs are going up. But so far, the writer side of me has won over the business manager side.

We also have various other products, such as my ebook and Special Reports, which help customers contact magazines. Our first offerings have primarily addressed writing for magazines, such as querying and how to get the most money out of time spent researching. But we are beginning to roll out more of these helpful products for other groups of people, including photographers, illustrators, PR professionals, and entrepreneurs.

Also, we don't leave our customers all alone to roam around this massive database. We are constantly adding product and programs - most of them free - that help them find the most profitable magazines and to interpret the data they find. We just added a free 39-page quick-reading guide called "The Magazines Database FAQs and Insider Tips" which goes out to all 6 months and 1 year customers.

We also have plans to add other types of media to our Database. In fact, we are right now testing including websites and digital magazines. But the Internet is a wild and woolly place and it is difficult to get consistent quality in our data. But we will keep trying.

Quality is very important to us because there is nothing as frustrating as having spent precious time on a query and then having it bounce back as undeliverable. So, we make sure that we can consistently deliver up-to-date and correct information.

Wooden Horse Publishing was founded in 1997. What gave you the idea for this project?

That frustration I was talking about. I was burned out in my day-job as a marketing executive and decided to freelance fulltime. I had done it before but in those days magazines were the primary writing opportunities and they were fairly stable. The existing printed market lists were satisfactory.

But in the late 90's, things were changing. Not only the Internet but increasing mergers and acquisitions made the markets much more volatile and the old tools weren't keeping up. So, I decided to do it myself.

I have learned a lot of things about this industry since then but even in those days, friends asked why I was so successful in querying and wanted to use my data; little by little acquaintances, and eventually complete strangers began to ask. So, I put the information on the Internet, first for free, then for pay, but always with an eye to keeping the cost as low as I possibly could for fellow writers.

Why 'Wooden Horse'?

(Laughing) I am asked about that all the time.

It has nothing to do with the Trojan horse from Greek mythology, or even the University of Southern California's football team.

I wanted a "quirky" business name to be memorable, so I named it after my constant companion, a seven-inch wooden "dala" horse from Sweden, where I was born. Family legend has it that it was my first toy, but I'm not sure about that. But clearly it has been abused by a small child because its paint is faded, one leg has been knocked off and glued on numerable times and its ears are almost chewed off. But it still stands proudly next to my computer.

How has your database grown over the years and where do you get your information from?

You can read our detailed history on our "About Us" page on the website (http://www.woodenhorsepub.com) but basically it grew from 348 magazines in 1998 to almost 2,500 now. And now, we have a lot more information about each title, including an expanded description, reader demographics, writer's guidelines and editorial calendars.

Anything else you'd like to add?

It is one thing to list a mailing address, phone number, a website URL and so forth and another to provide the complete information customers need to be successful in contacting prospective markets.

I started the business with magazines because they have the most complex market positioning, so this is where customers need most help. Anyone, who's ever been rejected because "your piece doesn't fit our magazine" have queried with the wrong, or at best incomplete, editorial positioning knowledge. Arthur Frommer's Budget Travel and National Geographic Adventure may both be travel magazines, but they need articles with completely different slants.

After having the correct contact data, this editorial positioning is the key to being successful querying. And yet, no other market listing for writers has anything but the most rudimentary information about the magazine's purpose and its readers. No wonder so many queries are rejected.

I understand why the positioning is so seldom included: It costs money to have experienced marketing people research and clearly communicate these complex concepts. But what good is a market listing without them? We have chosen to give our customers *all* the help they need, even if - at first glance - it makes us a little more expensive than the traditional writers' market directory.

But don't take my word for it, writers can check us out by themselves for only $1.99 (as long as we can offer it.)
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Laura Davis Interview

With a past as a soprano soloist your life was all about music and singing and you wrote many of your own songs. Was this the start of your writing career?
I had always been interested in writing, even as a young child. In high school I took a creative writing class and during my singing ministry I took a class on writing fiction, so the interest has always been there. After I lost my voice to a surgical mistake, I was too depressed to even think about anything but getting my voice back. In time however, I began to feel an overwhelming desire to write about the Lord. I had sung about Him for so many years, it should have been a natural thing to just go from writing songs to writing books, but I balked at not being able to sing and tried everything to get back to my previous vocal range. One day while I was praying, I felt such a crushing desire to write that I went to my computer, put my hands on the keys and said, “Okay, Lord – I surrender. If you don’t want me to sing anymore, I won’t. I will write whatever you want. Here are my hands – use them.” For about 3 months I was writing non-stop (my family thought I’d gone off the deep-end!), but eventually the story was finished and the result was Come to Me.

How does song writing differ from writing a story?
Songs are easier! You can make one song into many things, just from the beat of the music. I could take a hymn and turn it into a pop song, for example, but with a story, you are locked into characters, motivations, antagonists, etc. I find writing stories difficult, but at the same time I enjoy the result.


Tell us about your book 'Come to me'.

Come to Me is about the life of Christ through the eyes of His mother. It follows Mary from her engagement to Joseph, through to Jesus’ birth, childhood, ministry, death and resurrection. It also explores what happens when you surrender to God and allow Him to work in your life.

Was it hard to write a book based on the bestseller of all time?
Yes it was! My main goal was to present Mary, Jesus and his apostles as real people. Even though Jesus was the Son of God, he was still human. I wanted to present him as the people of his time saw him. I didn’t want to stray from scripture and so I included many footnotes throughout the book, so the reader could get out their bible to verify the story. The places that are “made up” of course would be private conversations, Jesus’ childhood, and in areas that are not clearly defined in Scripture.

You self published using lulu.com. Would you recommend them to others? Why or why not?
I would recommend them. I think their services were easy to use and the prices were excellent. They take care of everything, the ISBN #, making sure it is listed with Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc. I never considered using a publisher because at the time, the book was so personal to me that at first I just had a few copies printed to give to family and friends. However, the Lord works in mysterious ways and I soon found myself on book tours, TV and radio, so it kind of grew out of my hands.


What made you choose lulu.com for your book?

My daughter had used them for a graphic novel that she had been working on and they did such lovely work, that I didn’t think twice.

Anything else?
For more information about Come to Me, and to read an excerpt you can visit http://www.authorlauradavis.com.
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Writing Competitions this month- February 2009

Alan Marshall Short Story Award 2009
About the Award
This annual short story competition for Australian writers is held in memory of the great Australian writer and former resident of Eltham, Alan Marshall AM. OBE. HON LL.D (1902-1984), whose most well known books are the autobiographical, I Can Jump Puddles, This is the Grass and Pioneers and Painters.

There are three sections in the 2008 Award:
• the Open Section with a $2000 first prize and $1000 second prize for stories up to 2500 words by writers who reside in Australia
• the Local Writers' Section with a $1000 prize for a story up to 2500 words by a writer who lives, works or studies in the Shire of Nillumbik
• the Young Writers' Section with a $400 prize for a story up to 1000 words by a writer aged between 15 and 19 years who resides anywhere in Australia.

For more details click here.

Charlotte Duncan Award
Celapene Press invites entries for the Charlotte Duncan Award for a short story for young readers aged 9-12 years.
This award has been established in the memory of Charlotte Duncan to raise funds for the neo-natal unit at Melbourne's Royal Children's Hospital.
Entry fee: $8 per story.
1st prize - $75

WritersReign Short Story Competition
Theme: 'O Happy Day!' Prizes: 1st £70, 2nd £35 and 3rd £20. Stories between 1,000 and 1,500 words accepted. It may or may not start out dire, but it should at least have a happy outcome. It can be serious or humourous. Write something that will provide the reader with that feel-good factor. Please don’t use the theme title as the title of your story. Entry fee: £3.00 per story. Winning entries will be announced on 30 April 2009 and will be published on WritersReign.co.uk. Entry form and rules available at www.writersreign.co.uk/comp.html
Closing date: 28 February 2009
2nd prize - $50
3rd prize - $25
Winning and commended entries will be published on the Celapene Press website.
Submissions open on 1 December 2008 and close on 28 February 2009.

Visit http://www.celapenepress.com.au/ for more details
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