Monday, November 30, 2009

Problems and a COOL TIP for Your Website

I'm not sure what's going on, but yesterday my second post for Amy didn't post. For some reason it saved as a draft instead of a pre-scheduled post. It could have been my error, but I'm not so sure.

On my DKV Writing 4 U site, yesterday I lost my home page text and right sidebar - completely gone!

And, I lost the page that held the free offer for the site. CRAZY!

So, I spent most of the day redoing the DKV site. I'm still missing the right sidebar when going to it from IE. I'm thinking the code for the subscribe form must be in word doc. I'll have to delete that and reinstall it using Notepad text.

AHHGGG

Before I redid the DKV site, I went to this cool site that actually gives you any errors in your html for your site. I had 129 errors and 10 warnings. Unfortunately, I don''t know how to fix the errors, but it's interesting to know.


Here's the site: http://validator.w3.org/check?uri=http://www.lasventions.com/index.php

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Amy Robbins-Wilson Part II



We're back with Amy Robbins-Wilson, the creator of LullabyLink.com and TransformationalMothering.com. Today, Amy will provide some insight into what inspired her to create these sites, her book, and cds.

1)  What inspired you to write Transformational Mothering?

My son, Clayton, was ten months old when I began writing (not coincidentally this was also when he began sleeping through the night).  Writing has always been an outlet for me.  I began writing to help figure out why I was feeling so lost as a new mother.  I felt overwhelmed with decisions to be made and I wondered who am I now? 

It was obvious that I was changing but it was a friend who made it clear to me.  She said,   "Amy, you have gone from being an independent, energetic, adventurous and self-sufficient person to being at home with your baby. You are not depressed; you are transforming. You are on a new path now." Everyone had told me that my life would change when I became a mother, what no one had told me was that I would change.  I carried a notebook around with me for a year, writing notes, affirmations and prayers.  I delivered a sermon at our church about new motherhood and I showed the prayers to a few friends who encouraged me to add stories about my experience.  When Clayton was two I had the first rough draft which I showed to more friends and by the time he was three and a half I had the final copy and design.

Motherhood is a slippery thing to talk about because it is both blissful and exhausting.  Once I could see that I was in a transformational process I understood my life in a new way and wanted to share that perspective with others.


2) What inspired you to create the meditational CD The Divine Hours of Motherhood? 

As a new mother I prayed continuously.  Please God, help my baby sleep.  Please God, help me make the right choices…When Clayton was just a tiny baby a friend gave me a nightlight with Mother Mary on it.  I remember the first time I nursed Clayton by its light.  It made me aware of the sacredness of what I was doing.  It turned a mundane moment into a prayerful event.  I began thinking of night nursings as our “nightlight services” which led me to try to incorporate more prayer into my day as a mother.  I created The Divine Hours to share this perspective with other mothers and to share the lullabies that I had written which I consider to be hymns of motherhood.


3)  Do you have a favorite prayer/lullaby that you have written?

My favorite lullaby would have to be Child of Sunshine which I wrote for my son when he was about four months old.  I put him in a front carrier and walked around a lake that was a few miles from where we were living in New Hampshire.  I was missing my home state of Maine and thinking about the beauty of the natural world and of my son.  By the end of the walk I had all of the lyrics.  I wrote them down on a napkin I had in the car and then the melody followed.  You can hear me sing it on LullabyLink.com.

My favorite prayer is the prayer for birth.  What a wonderful thing to know that you were prayed into this world.  I believe that marking events with prayer makes us aware of the sacredness of each moment.  We begin to see and live life reverently.  


4)  What do you hope that new mothers will take away from your work? 

I hope that new mothers will be comforted and that they will gain a sense that they are not alone.  As a new mother, I was not aware that 50-80% of all mothers will go through some form of post partum blues.  It hit me hard.  New motherhood can be absorbing and isolating.  Being responsible for a new life is a wonder and it is also overwhelming.   My prayer is that mothers and society at large will come to see motherhood as a transformational sacred event and calling.    

5)  What does your book offer to new mothers that others do not? 

 I believe that Transformational Mothering offers honesty of experience and a transformational perspective.  It is not a how-to book; it is a “this is how I dealt with things” kind of book.  There are very few universally right answers for the efforts of motherhood.  Each mother child relationship is unique.  This book offers prayers of comfort, prayers for understanding and prayers for sharing with other mothers.  Rather than giving answers, it offers a framework for discovery.  What I also pray that it does, is offer an opportunity for mothers to understand each other, and different mothering perspectives so that we can unite as a sisterhood rather than get stuck in “mommy wars.”

6)  What do you think was the biggest challenge and the biggest transformation you went through as a new mom? 

The circumstances of our birth were certainly a challenge.  My son was born 6 weeks premature due to a placental abruption and both our lives were at risk during delivery.  However, after we were restored to health the biggest challenge by far was being able to slow down to becoming more of a human-being rather than a human-doing.  My biggest transformation has been a deeper connection to the divine in the everyday and a profound sense of gratitude for my family and for the wonder in my life.

7) What are your favorite memories of the early years with Clayton? 

There are so many!  I remember the bliss of taking him home from the hospital.  I rode in the back seat and supported his little head, he was still so tiny!  I remember watching him sleep cradled in his father’s arms.  Napping with him on our couch.  Then there are the moments of recognition.  I remember one morning he had been out for a walk with his father, he came back in and when he heard my voice he turned immediately and smiled as if to say “Ah! There you are!”  Our daily walks with him on my back will always be treasured moments.  Watching him learn baby signs and use them was just amazing.


8)  Please tell us about your commitment to the Children’s Miracle Network and about the Angelsong Endowment.

I remember holding my son for the first time the day after he was born.  Because of the circumstances of his birth we were in different hospitals and not together until then.  He was so tiny that I instinctively made a hollow in my chest and hunched around him as I held him close.  He was hooked up to various machines and his breathing tube and I thought he was just beautiful.  I was overwhelmed with gratitude for all the people who had helped him into the world from the doctors and nurses to those who had created and purchased the machines that he relied on.  I told God that day that I would use my talents and abilities to help support those who had made my family possible.  My husband and I set up the Angelsong Endowment at Eastern Maine Medical Center as a way of giving back to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit there.  A percentage of the proceeds from all my creative work goes to support both the Angelsong Endowment and the Children’s Miracle Network.

9) Where can your book and music be purchased?

Transformational Mothering and The Divine Hours are currently available through our website www.transformationalmothering.com, on Amazon.com.

10)Where can mothers learn more about you and your work?

www.amyrobbinswilson.com is the best place to learn more as well as the place to sign up for email alerts about new releases.  

11) What is your best advice to new mothers? 

Be gentle with yourself, reach out for help, and know that new motherhood is filled with challenges and with miracles.

Amy, it has been a wonderful experience getting to know about you, your endeavors and accomplishments. It's been a privilege to host you, thank you.

Karen Cioffi




Saturday, November 28, 2009

Lullaby Link and More with Amy Robbins-Wilson

Recently, I received an email from the creator of Lullaby Link, Amy Robbins-Wilson. She found my book, Day's End Lullaby, through a Google search she has for the word lullaby. Amy generously offered to review my book and create a video of it. Well, I jumped at the chance.

Visiting Lullaby Link I found a creative and wonderful site for parents and grandparents (and others involved with babies and young children) to find lullabies from around the world. Fascinated by the whole concept I asked Amy to fill us in on what she and her sites, Lullaby Link and Transformational Mothering, are all about.




LullabyLink.com


Lullabylink.com is dedicated to serving parents who would like to incorporate music into their lives with their children. At Lullabylink.com we believe in the power of music to link generations. We further believe that lullabies and baby music are crucial in the development of the arts in our culture. If our children learn that music comes only from “professionals” or from the tv or radio box then they will learn to be consumers. If they learn that it comes from all people, they will learn to be creators.

Lullabylink.com provides parents with lyrics and melodies to over 40 lullabies and ideas as to how to use music with their infant, their toddler and even with babies in the neonatal intensive care unit. Studies report that there is a decrease in the number of parents singing to their children. We hope to be a part of reversing that trend by encouraging parents and giving them the tools they need to interact with their children musically.

We invite you to http://www.lullabylink.com. Come get your free lullaby lyrics songbook and mp3’s! If youhave any comments or suggestions for our site we would love to hear from you.




TransformationalMothering.com

TransformationalMothering.com is designed to help mothers who have questions about post partum issues. There are videos, articles, and information for new mothers as well as Amy’s blog, and links to her lullaby site LullabyLink.com. You will also find more information about the book she wrote about her journey through the post partum period entitled Transformational Mothering-A Prayerful Companion for New Mothers, and to her CD of prayers and original lullabies for mothers and babies entitled The Divine Hours of Motherhood.

Amy, would you please tell us a bit about the book and cd?


Transformational Mothering: A Prayerful Companion for New Mothers

Whether adopting or giving birth, Transformational Mothering: A Prayerful Companion for New Mothers by Amy Robbins-Wilson provides the comfort and inspiration new mothers need in those confusing and transformational first years of motherhood. This beautifully written book of prayers, poetry, affirmations, and stories acts as a guide by addressing the emotional issues associated with becoming a mother, from infertility to time spent in the neonatal intensive care unit to sleepless nights. Whether single, married, working, or a stay-at-home mother, all will find inspiration here, as well as a deeper understanding of their journey and that of other mothers. It is a moving and unifying tribute to motherhood in all her forms.




The Divine Hours of Motherhood

This angelic CD of prayers and original lullabies created and performed by the author of Transformational Mothering-A Prayerful Companion for New Mothers, Amy Robbins-Wilson, is sure to capture the heart of new mothers and their babies. A beautiful way to acknowledge the divine hours of motherhood from morning Lauds to evening Vespers; these prayers and lullabies acknowledge motherhood as a divine and spiritual practice which blesses both mother and child.

“As a new mother I thought I knew what to expect. I knew that my baby would be up at night, but I did not expect the hours to be so intense and I did not expect the loneliness that I sometimes felt. There were times as a new mother that I felt I was the only person in the world who was awake.

I sought a spiritual framework for the hours of mothering and found it in the monastic hours of prayer. I began to pray and create music for the times when I felt alone and suddenly I had wonderful rituals that blessed my son and me. Thinking about my time with my son as times of worship transformed our relationship and my life.

Motherhood became my spiritual practice. I share these services with you in the hopes that you will find comfort through music throughout your day as well as a voice in the darkness.” –Amy Robbins-Wilson, author of Transformational Mothering- A Prayerful Companion for New Mothers

What wonderful and useful sites and tools for mothers-to-be and new mothers! I appreciate your taking the time to let us know about them. I'm sure they will bring great joy, peace, and help to those on the brink of motherhood and those struggling with the ups and downs of being a new mother.

Now let's learn a bit about Amy Robbins-Wilson:

Amy Robbins-Wilson is a mother, artist, sound healer, Reiki Master and expressive arts therapist who is committed to helping mothers and our society embrace the transformative power of motherhood.

She holds a bachelors degree in Empowerment Theater for Women from Bates College, a masters degree in Expressive Arts Therapies from Lesley University and a masters degree in Ritual Song and Chant from the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance in Limerick, Ireland.

She is the author of Transformational Mothering-A Prayerful Companion for New Mothers and the composer and performer of two albums of music: Circling and The Divine Hours of Motherhood all of which can be purchased at Amazon.com. She is the co-founder of Angelsong Creations, LLC and the Lullaby Lady at LullabyLink.com.

She happily makes her home in Maine with her husband, Tim, and her son, Clayton. To learn more you are invited to www.AmyRobbinsWilson.com

Wow, Amy, you certainly have enough credentials to offer information and tools for mothers-to-be, and new mothers.

This is such an interesting and beneficial concept that I decided to include an interview with Amy. That will be posted tomorrow!

Be sure to come back and learn more about this inspirational woman!

Karen Cioffi
http://dkvwriting4u.com
http://nothingventurednothinggained.org

Friday, November 27, 2009

Tips and What's to Come

Hey, All,


I have a couple of great tips for you:


1. Check out http://onetruemedia.com/. It's a site where you can create your own video. Margot Finke provided this information in a teleclass for the Children's Writers Coaching Club.


With One True Media, you don't need any experience, just read your options. What's especially great about it is the cost. The monthly and yearly membership is ridiculously cheap. AND, you don't have to join to create your own video. If you like what you created, you can download it for $2.99!!!


I'm going to test it out here - I created a video, but just can't seem to find where I saved it to. I'll be back with it.


2. I just finished reading The Great Grammar Book. I'll post the link for the review in a bit. It's a great resource book for writers, students, and others who want to learn or improve their writing.


What's to Come


Tomorrow, Saturday the 28th, and Sunday, November 29th, I'll be presenting Amy Robbins-Wilson. She's an inspirational writer, singer and author. And, she created a site just for lullabies, Lullaby Links. AND, she kindly created a singing video of my children's bedtime book, Day's End Lullay. Click on the links to check it out.

Day's End Lullaby Singing Book Review Video:



http://www.lullaby-link.com/days-end-lullaby.html


Day's End Lullaby YouTube Video - Entire song sung by Amy Robbins-Wilson


CLICK HERE!





Well, that's it for now.


To our subscribers: Be sure to keep a look out, our FREE monthly newsletter is set up to arrive in your mailbox on December 1st.

Talk to you soon,

Karen Cioffi
http://dkvwriting4u.com/
http://nothingventurednothinggained.org/

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Yvonne Perry's The Sid Series - A Collection of Holistic Stories for Children


I have the pleasure of participating in Yvonne Perry’s Blog Tour for The Sid Series ~ A Collection of Holistic Stories for Children. Yvonne and I are members of The Muse Conference Board (a yahoo group for authors and writers) and when the call went out to take part in the tour as a host, I jumped on board. In fact, so many bloggers jumped on board that Yvonne had to extend her tour. What a great way to start a tour!

I’m sure many of you know that Yvonne is a freelance writer and editor, award-winning Amazon.com bestselling author, podcast host, blogger extraordinaire, newsletter publisher, Internet marketing guru, and an outstanding keynote speaker who enjoys making people laugh.

She is a graduate of American Institute of Holistic Theology where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Metaphysics. Her style of writing is lovingly controversial and challenges people’s belief systems in order to help them move past what she calls “Sunday School mentality.” She has earned Platinum Expert Author status for her 170+ articles on spirituality, death, afterlife, spirit communication, suicide, and politics published on ezinearticles.com as well as many other online article directories.

As a ghostwriter and editor, Yvonne enjoys helping people get their message into a well-written book or article that is ready to publish. Yvonne is the owner of Writers in the Sky Creative Writing Services. Her personal strengths include excellent communication, writing and editing skills, publicity and marketing, team writing, and business management.

Yvonne’s newest endeavor is The Sid Series ~ A Collection of Holistic Stories for Children. Having self-published a bedtime children’s book myself, I was curious how Yvonne went about self-publishing her book.

Yvonne's Self-Publishing Process:

After self-publishing my first book in 2004, I knew what was involved when I started to publish my second book in 2005. I was willing to do the marketing legwork again, but I did not want to handle distribution. I had addressed hundreds of envelopes and made as many trips to the post office with my first book. At the time, the average self-published author could not get distribution through Ingram unless the book was printed by Lightning Source. This limitation made it difficult for authors to get their books into bookstores and on Amazon.com. Therefore, with my second book, I opted to go with Booksurge, a publish-on-demand affiliate of Amazon.com. I would have to sell it to them for 55 percent off the retail price, which means the author makes very little on the sale of one book. But, Amazon handled the distribution and added my book to Ingram’s catalogue where it could be ordered by any retail bookstore.

I had my third book published through Nightengale Press in 2007 and even though Nightengale is generous in the percentage of royalties they pay their authors, I knew I could make more per book or else offer the book at a lower price if I self-published. This was important because The Sid Series is a full-color book inside and out, and books with a color interior cost more to print than black and white ones. The book publishing industry has changed a lot in the past six years and Lightning Source started working directly with authors rather than publishers only.

In my research, I came across a self-publishing guru by the name of Morris Rosenthal. He informed me that publishers did not have to agree to Amazon’s 55 percent discount. He referred me to a book by Aaron Shepard titled Aiming At Amazon. From that book, I learned how to publish my own book, have it printed through Lightning Source, list it in Ingram’s catalog, and sell it on Amazon and offer it to bookstores for a short discount of 30 percent. This method put me in the driver’s seat as both the publisher and the author and completely removed the middle person. My profit margin is greater because the cost per book is lower and I’m not giving away any of my royalties to a publisher. Win-Win!

Yvonne, you certainly put a great deal of time and effort into researching and implementing a sure-fire publishing plan. I know this information will be very helpful to others out there who are thinking of taking the self-publishing road. Thanks for sharing it with us.

But, wait, we’re not done yet! Here’s an excerpt from Yvonne’s book:



 


Thank you for being my guest, it’s been wonderful hosting you!

To check out the entire tour schedule and learn more about Yvonne Perry visit:

Monday, November 23, 2009

Yyonne Perry's The Sid Series Tour


Yvonne Perry is having a 30 day tour – each day a different stop, and I'm part of it. I'm hosting Yvonne on November 26th! The tour started on the 20th, but there's still plenty of time to join in. Yvonne is promoting her new The Sid Series! Be sure to stop by and comment. The schedule is below:

Monday, November 23 Yvonne will be the radio guest of Maxine Thompson on Dr. Maxine Show http://www.maxinethompson.com. The Shift Guru Barbara Joye www.TheShiftGuru.com will feature part 1 of a 3-part article on how Yvonne shifted from religion to metaphysics when her grandson, Sidney, (for whom The Sid Series was written) started manifesting psychic gifts.

Tuesday, November 24 Yvonne will also be Suzanne Lieurance's radio guest on Book Bites for Kids http://www.blogtalkradio.com/bookbitesforkids

Wednesday, November 25 The Shift Guru Barbara Joye www.TheShiftGuru.com will feature part 2 of a 3-part article on how Yvonne shifted from religion to metaphysics when her grandson started manifesting psychic gifts.

Thursday, November 26 Yvonne will be visiting Karen and Robyn - Writing for Children at http://karenandrobyn.blogspot.com/ where Karen Cioffi is the hostess. Yvonne will tell how she self-published The Sid Series.

Friday, November 27 Stephanie Ward will post information about Yvonne’s book on Stark Raving Bibliophile http://starkravingbibliophile.blogspot.com/. The Shift Guru Barbara Joye www.TheShiftGuru.com will feature part 2 of a 3-part article on how Yvonne shifted from religion to metaphysics when her grandson started manifesting psychic gifts. We hope to see you on both blogs that day.

Saturday, November 28 Yvonne will post a press/media release about the book's debut. This will go to multiple online sources.

Sunday, November 29 Amy, the owner of Equinaut and Vitesis has invited Yvonne to stop by and share an article titled, “The Writing of a Children’s Book.” http://www.equinaut.net/.

Monday, November 30, Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s blog, The New Book Review www.TheNewBookReview.blogspot.com, will feature a book review written by Katie Chalfont that highlights how The Sid Series has influenced her three children.

Tuesday, December 1 Barbara Techel and Frankie the Walk 'N Roll Dog welcome Yvonne at http://www.frankiethewalknrolldog.blogspot.com. You won’t want to miss this article on pet death.

Wednesday, December 2 Shayne Packer of Grandparents TLC http://grandparentstlc.com will host Yvonne as she offers an article about young age grandparenting.

Thursday, December 3 Dallas Woodburn’s Writing Life http://dallaswoodburn.blogspot.com/ will introduce authors to Skype an Author Network’s virtual classroom feature.

Friday, December 4 Elena Dorothy Bowman will post an article titled "Why I wrote The Sid Series." This article features why Yvonne wrote the book and discusses some of the spiritual gifts Sidney manifested at an early age. http://elenadorothybowmansbooks.blogspot.com/

Saturday, December 5 Yvonne will upload to Youtube a book trailer for “A Powerful Potion,” one of the stories in The Sid Series. Jennifer Brown will post Yvonne’s “Love List” at http://www.jenniferbrownya.com/

Sunday, December 6 Yvonne’s Facebook andTwitter friend, Lisa J. Jackson, has volunteered her blog, Lisa Haselton's Reviews & Interviews http://lisahaseltonsreviewsandinterviews.blogspot.com, as the tour stop.

Monday, December 7 Liana Metal will host Yvonne on Art Stories with an article about how she worked with 15-year-old Hayley John to create the illustrations for The Sid Series. http://LianaStories.blogspot.com

Tuesday, December 8 Hal Manogue of Short Sleeves Insight will host Yvonne on with the posting of an article about children having remembered past lives. http://halmanogue.blogspot.com

Wednesday, December 9 Chelle Cordero will host a “Woman in Charge” interview of Yvonne as an author and business entrepreneur. You don’t want to miss “Combining Authorship and Free-Lance Writing Business” on Chelle Cordero’s Promo Page http://cce613.xanga.com/.

Thursday, December 10 Sidney’s mother, Amanda McCurley, will host Yvonne on Fashionably Late http://fireofsorrow.blogspot.com/ by providing a book review and her thoughts about her son being the main character and inspiration for The Sid Series.

Friday, December 11 Mama Paro and her three kittens: Elina, Bibble, and Tuktuk, will write a book review for The Sid Series. You’ll get a child’s perspective of the book when you visit http://mymamaparo.wordpress.com/.

Saturday, December 12 Anita Revel has invited Yvonne to stop by Daily Blissings http://dailyblissings.blogspot.com/ and discuss why she is thankful for the learning process of self-publishing using Lightning Source.

Sunday, December 13 More Than Meets the Eye (www.deathdyingafterlife.com) will feature an article, “Out of the Mouths of Babies! Channeling 101” about how Yvonne’s grandson at age three channeled an import message from his higher self.

Monday, December 14 Lillian Brummet will host Yvonne Perry as she reads “Sid’s Fairy ~ Learning About Inner Guidance.” http://www.blogtalkradio.com/authorsread

Tuesday, December 15 In a radio interview, Yvonne will discuss why The Sid Series was written for her grandson, Sidney. Hot Books - Great Authors is hosted by Valerie Connelly, publisher at Nightengale Press.

Tuesday, December 16, More Than Meets the Eye (www.deathdyingafterlife.com) will feature a flip book version of "Puppy Love ~ Dealing with the Death of a Pet," which is one of the twelve stories in The Sid Series.
Wednesday, December 17 Heart Song's Hymnal will post a book review for The Sid Series at http://heartsongshymnal.blogspot.com

Thursday, December 18. WITS blog will feature a question and answer interview with Hayley John, the 15-year-old student who illustrated many of the stories and the cover for The Sid Series.

Saturday, December 19 stop by Dennis Martin's blog, I Write Some, http://iwritesome.blogspot.com/and read “A Book for Kids (and Adults) Who Love Fairies” and listen to an audio of the author reading the story, “Sid’s Fairy ~ Learning About Inner Guidance.”

I hope to see you in the tour!

Karen

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Is Your Manuscript Ready for Submission?

8 Essential Steps Before Submitting Your Manuscript


Writing is a personal experience. Each writer faces his or her own obstacles and processes. But, one common aspect of writing is it always starts with an idea. You may take that idea and turn it into an outline. You then take your outline and sprinkle it with letters and words and watch it grow. Words turn into sentences, sentences into paragraphs, and paragraphs into chapters. The journey can take months and even years. But, the love of writing, the love of your story, and the hope of publication keep you dedicated.

Then, the day finally arrives. Your manuscript is complete. The envelopes are ready. All you have to do is submit, submit, and submit again. But, hold on a minute. Have you gone over all the necessary steps to ensure your manuscript is actually ready to be submitted to a publisher or agent?

The writing journey can take months and even years. But, the love of writing, the love of your story, and the hope of publication keep you dedicated.

Time passes, and finally your manuscript is complete. The envelopes are ready. All you have to do is submit, submit, and submit again. But, hold on a minute. Have you gone over all the necessary steps to ensure your manuscript is actually ready to be submitted to a publisher or agent?

Here are eight steps that every writer, especially those new to the business of writing, should follow before submitting a manuscript:

  1. Rewrite, rewrite, rewrite. Then self-edit your story until it’s the best you can do.
  2. Make sure you belong to a critique group in your genre. Submit your ms for critique.
  3. Revise your story again taking into account the critiques you received. Here you want to use common sense in regard to which critiques you listen to. If all your critique group members tell you a particular section of your children’s story is age inappropriate, listen. If one member tells you he/she doesn’t like the protagonist’s name, use your own discretion.
  4. Resubmit the manuscript to the critique group again. See if you’ve revised or removed all the problem areas.
  5. Proofread and self-edit the manuscript until you think it’s perfect.
  6. Print the manuscript and check it again. You’ll be surprised at the different types of errors that will be found in this format. You should use a colored pen or pencil for these corrections so they’ll be easy to spot later on.
  7. Now, it’s time for the final corrections. Give it another go over.
  8. Have your manuscript professionally edited.

Yes, You Need an Editor.

If you’re questioning why you need to have your manuscript professionally edited after going to the trouble of having it critiqued and worked on it meticulously and endlessly, the answer is simple: An author and a critique group are not a match for the expert eyes of a professional editor.

Did you and your critique group catch all the punctuation errors? How about knowing when or if it is permissible to use quotation marks outside of dialogue? Do you know about the Find function on your word program to check for over used words, such as was and very. What about ellipsis dots, or the over use of adjectives and adverbs? This is just the tip of the iceberg. Isn’t it understandable why it’s important to take that extra step, and yes, expense, to have your manuscript edited. If you’re undecided, ask the professional writers you know if they recommend it. You can also ask if they could recommend a qualified and affordable editor.

The powers that be, editors, agents, reviewers, and publishers, all know the difference between a professionally edited manuscript and one that is not. Every house needs a solid foundation, right? Getting your manuscript professional edited is the same thing - it will provide a solid foundation. The number of authors seeking publishers and/or agents is staggering. Yet, the number of publishers and agents is limited. Give your manuscript every advantage possible. One of those advantages is having it professionally edited. It can be the deciding factor in whether your manuscript makes it to the editor’s ‘to read’ pile or the trash pile.

Karen Cioffi
Author of The Self-Publisher's Guide
Co-Author of Day's End Lullaby
On the Blogroll of Sylvan Dell Publishing
Reviewer for BookPleasures.com
Reviewer for Muse Book Reviews

Articles on EzineArticles.com, AssociatedContent.com, ArticleCity.com, and Suite101.com
Follow Karen at: http://twitter.com/KarenCV



Thursday, November 19, 2009

Humberto, the Bookworm Hamster - A Review


Title: Humberto the Bookworm Hamster
Author: Mayra Calvani
Illustrator: Kit Grady
Publisher: Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc.
Print ISBN: 13: 978-1-935137-92-4
eBook ISBN: 13: 978-1-935137-93-1
Reviewed by: Karen Cioffi of DKV Writing 4 U

Storytelling is an important means of teaching children; they absorb what they hear and see. This in turn enables them to process subtle lessons without realizing it. Humberto, the Bookworm Hamster is a wonderful children’s picture book that utilizes this very process. Calvani cleverly weaves an engaging story that conveys two very important messages for children.

The first message or lesson is that reading can bring a child on fantastic adventures, and it can open new and unknown worlds…it can ignite the imagination. The child can be a hero on a huge white steed, with sword in hand; he can be a space traveler soaring through the universe; he can fight a fire-breathing dragon with the aid of his magical lance; he can travel to far away places; a child can be anything and do anything through books.

The first is that reading can bring a child on adventures, and it can open new and unknown worlds, it can ignite the imagination. The child can be a hero on a huge white steed; he can be a space traveler soaring through the universe; he can fight a fire-breathing dragon; he can travel to far away places; a child can be anything and do anything through books.

The second message in Humberto, the Bookworm Hamster is that of friendship. Through outstanding story telling, Calvani demonstrates the importance of balance. Humberto limits his entire world to reading until he is awakened to the fact that there are other things in life as important, sometimes even more important. Choosing between saving his books during a flood, or his neighbors, Humberto chooses his neighbors. He realizes having friends fills a part of his life that books cannot. And, the best part is that he can share his books with his new friends.

In addition to a charming story, the illustrations in Humberto, the Bookworm Hamster are amazing. They are bright, bold, and fanciful. They are sure to capture every child’s attention and imagination.

I am an advocate of children reading for learning, inspiration, and for sparking the imagination. As a grandparent I look for books that not only tell an entertaining story, but ones that also provide an uplifting lesson or moral element. I have two young grandchildren and this is definitely a book I will be reading to them.

About the author: Multi-genre author and professional reviewer Mayra Calvani
loves writing for children and adults. She’s a regular contributor to Blogcritics Magazine, Suite101 and the Latino Books Examiner for Examiner.com. She’s the author of the picture books, The Magic Violin, Crash! and Chocalin! (Spanish Edition Crash) also published by Guardian Angel Publishing, and a member of The Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators.

About the illustrator: Kit Grady is a children’s book illustrator and sometimes writer from Asheville, North Carolina. After studying art at Virginia Commonwealth University, she developed a keen interest in children’s picture books. She strives for a palette of bright colors and wondrous characters and creatures.

To get a copy of Humbero, the Bookworm Hamster and visit Mayra, go to:






Sunday, November 15, 2009

Day's End Lullaby Book Review Video

Thanks to Amy Robbins-Wilson, creator of Lullaby Link, Day's End Lullaby is now in a video.

Amy has a google search for "lullaby" and came upon my book. She contacted me and offered to include my book as a review video on her site. But, she didn't stop there, she offered to create a video of the lullaby on YouTube!

Last month was full of wonderful surprises and this was one of them. Well, Amy kept her word and provided me with links to both the review video on her site, and the video of the lullaby on YouTube.

Please check out these two videos and let me know what you think:

Day's End Lullaby Singing Book Review Video:
http://www.lullaby-link.com/days-end-lullaby.html

Day's End Lullaby YouTube Video - Entire song sung by Amy Robbins-Wilson
CLICK HERE!

This children's bedtime picture book has the sheet music to the lullaby included as an added feature at the back of the book.

I'd appreciate your feedback.

Thanks,
Karen

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Lullaby Link

The internet is an amazing tool. It brings the world to your finger tips and it affords you the opportunity to met people you would never have met.

Recently, an enterprising young woman named Amy Robbins-Wilson contacted me. She has a Google alert for the word lullaby. Since my bedtime picture book is titled Day's End Lullaby, Amy found my site.


Here is a short description of Lullaby Link:



Lullabylink.com is dedicated to serving parents who would like to incorporate music into their lives with their children.  At Lullabylink.com we believe in the power of music to link generations.  We further believe that lullabies and baby music are crucial in the development of the arts in our culture.  If our children learn that music comes only from “professionals” or from the t.v or radio box then they will learn to be consumers.  If they learn that it comes from all people, they will learn to be creators.

Lullabylink.com provides parents with lyrics and melodies to over 40 lullabies and ideas as to how to use music with their infant, their toddler and even with babies in the neonatal intensive care unit.  Studies report that there is a decrease in the number of parents singing to their children.  We hope to be a part of reversing that trend by encouraging parents and giving them the tools they need to interact with their children musically.

We invite you to Lullaby Link.  Come get your free lullaby lyrics songbook and mp3’s!  If you have any comments or suggestions for our site we would love to hear from you.

What a wonderful and unique idea. 

I'm not going to give everything away now though, Amy will be our guest soon and we'll learn a lot more about her and Lullaby Link. Be sure to come back! 

Karen




Friday, November 6, 2009

BookSurge is Uniting With CreateSpace

Wow, this is NEWS! Here's an email from BookSurge to their clients:


We have some exciting news to share - BookSurge is becoming CreateSpace. BookSurge and CreateSpace have historically operated as two distinct brands of one company - On-Demand Publishing LLC, a subsidiary of Amazon.com, Inc. - and are now uniting on the CreateSpace platform and brand to offer you an expanded catalog of publishing tools and services. You will still be working with the same team and receive the same high level of service to which you've been accustomed with BookSurge.

During the coming months, we will be transitioning all BookSurge accounts to CreateSpace and retiring the BookSurge brand. In addition, BookSurge's self-publishing services are now available on the CreateSpace platform, enabling BookSurge and CreateSpace members to benefit from the same knowledgeable staff that has supported BookSurge authors for years.

What does this mean for you?

In addition to the same personal customer care, professional publishing services, and top-notch print quality you receive today from the BookSurge team, you will also receive these benefits and options through CreateSpace:
• Get more flexibility in setting royalties and list prices
• Publish new books without setup fees, using the do-it-yourself option for print-ready PDF files or continue to take advantage of the wide array of professional fee-based publishing services you're accustomed to using through BookSurge
• Receive better wholesale book prices on most book orders
• Gather feedback on your work with the free Preview tool
• Create eye-catching book covers online using the free Cover Creator
• Network with thousands of other authors and industry professionals in our free online CreateSpace Community
• Publish video and audio in multiple formats: DVDs, CDs, video downloads, and MP3s

When and how will this transition take place?

We will be transitioning all BookSurge accounts to CreateSpace over the next few months. The timing and path of your account transition will depend on where you are in your current BookSurge publishing project. To learn more about the different paths for transition, visit our Transition Guide.

To make this transition as smooth and seamless as possible, we will be transferring your book files and account history to CreateSpace for you. On the day your account is transitioned, BookSurge will send you an e-mail with instructions for accessing your CreateSpace account. Until then, no action is required on your part and you will still have full access to your current Global Publishing System (GPS) account with BookSurge.
We know you may have some questions, so we have developed a Transition Guide, which includes a host of support materials, including answers to Frequently Asked Questions, info on your new CreateSpace account, video tutorials, and more.

While we want you to start familiarizing yourself with CreateSpace, please do not set up a new CreateSpace account on your own, as we will create a CreateSpace account for you as part of this transition. Please wait until you receive notification from us via e-mail that your account has been transitioned to CreateSpace, at which time we'll give you instructions on how to access your CreateSpace account and existing book titles. Until we notify you that your account has been transitioned to CreateSpace, you will still have access to your BookSurge account.

We believe uniting BookSurge and CreateSpace on the CreateSpace platform will provide you with the best possible publishing experience and look forward to continuing to support you in your book publishing endeavors.

We welcome you into CreateSpace's thriving community of independent authors, filmmakers and musicians!

Warm Regards,
The BookSurge/CreateSpace Team

The first thing that comes to my mind is less competition among Amazon's subsidiaries. What do you think this means for authors venturing onto the self-publishing road? Do you think this will increase the costs?

Karen

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Martha Swirzinski, Children's Author





For VBT – Writers on the Move’s November 2009 Anniversary Tour we have three new members in our merry band of authors. It is my pleasure to host one of the newbies: Marth Swirzinski!

Let’s get to know Martha a little:

The holder of a Bachelor’s degree in therapeutic recreation from Clemson University and a master’s from the University of Maryland in Kinesiology, Ms. Martha Swirzinski has more than 15 years of experience working in the field of movement with children.  She is also a certified personal fitness trainer.  She currently lives in Virginia Beach, Virginia with her husband and two daughters.

“More and more research is being developed about the rise of obesity in children,” notes Ms. Swirzinski, who teaches movement education in a local pre-school and offers teacher training workshops and customized consultations.  At the same time, numerous studies continue to link increased brain function and movement, she explains.  “Being active grows new brain cells!” 

Ms. Swirzinski believes that every child should be afforded structured movement opportunities every day to promote an active, healthy lifestyle and become part of a lifelong regime.

It is along this vein that Ms. Swirzinski has published three children’s books focused on movement.  Using entertaining rhymes and charming pictures, these developmentally based books offer fun and creative ways for children to move while also providing mind stimulating activities on each page. By following the suggested activities, children can engage in 30-60 minutes of their recommended structured daily movement, as well as enhancing other mind/body skills. Designed to be enjoyed again and again, the pages of these books are filled with laughter, learning, movement and more.

Martha’s books are: “Leap… Laugh… Plop,” “Guess… Giggle… Wiggle,” and “Kick… Catch… Buzz”

Martha, creating children’s books that encourage movement and reading is such a great way to get children academically and physically engaged! Your book titles are wonderful. Let’s see what each is about:


1.)  Leap...Laugh...Plop                 

This book introduces children to locomotor movement skills. It keeps children laughing and learning on each wonderful page.  


2.) Guess… Giggle… Wiggle 

This book challenges children to identify the animals based on clues.  The book keeps children moving alongside the locomotor skills. As with the first in the series Leap… Laugh… Plop, each page of this second book is filled with wonderful suggestions that incorporate the social, emotional and mental aspects of childhood development.  


3.)  Kick...Catch...Buzzz
The third book In the series, Kick… Catch… Buzzz 
This book introduces children to the manipulative movement skills. Each page offers kids the opportunity to participate in fun movement and lively discussion.

These three books offer the ultimate mind/body connection. When children move both their bodies and minds are strengthened.

Martha, these books sound wonderful. They are on my “To Get” list for my grandsons.

To learn more about Martha and her books, please visit:


Well, that’s it for my touring part of the VBT – Writers on the Move November 2009 Anniversary Tour. I want to thank Martha for being my guest on this special tour. It’s great to have her as part of our group!


Be sure to take a look at the tour schedule, visit the hosts on their posting days, and leave comments – it will put you in the running for winning a prize!

To you authors out there, if you want to get your books noticed, create visibility and increase readership join our marketing group. If you are interested please contact: Karen at karenrcfv@yahoo.com.

You can also check out our site at: vbt-writersonthemove.blogspot  

Thanks for stopping by; please be sure to leave a comment!

Talk to you soon,
Karen