Tag Archives: giveaway

Summer (Book) Tours & Giveaways!

How fortunate I am to be in touch with the fine ladies at WOW! Women on Writing.  WOW! has kicked off a book blog tour and I am one of their lucky hosts!

So, get your calendars ready:  here’s the line up of fresh authors who will visit Writers Inspired this summer to dish on their newest books and the journey they took to get them published. (Plus, you’ll have a chance to win a copy of these books when commenting after their interviews)

Wednesday, May 20:

AllMenAreCrematedEqual,coverElizabeth Fournier, author of All Men Are Cremated Equal: My 77 Blind Dates.

Genre: Memoir (reads like Chick Lit)

Elizabeth chronicles her true life dating spree as a marriage-minded mortician in her mid-30’s. Set off by her broken engagement, she enlists everyone in sight to set her up on blind dates in a passionate quest to meet just one really great guy. Armed with a 10-point list of dating criteria, skintight jeans, and flash cards on Nascar, football, and micro-breweries, she spends one full year doing the blind meet and greet. Names are changed to protect the rejected as she humorously dishes dot-com hotties, compulsive bloggers, and tattooed graduates of the Gene Simmons School of Dating. Bridget Jones would be proud of her American cousin.

Find out more about Elizabeth by visiting her website: http://elizabethfournier.com/

and her blog: All Men Are Cremated Equal Blog.

Tuesday, May 26:

VioletRaines-cover Danette Haworth, author of Violet Raines Almost Got Struck By Lightning

Genre: Middle Grade Fiction

Have you almost been struck by lightning? Eleven-year-old Violet Raines has, in more ways than one. And when she’s not dodging lightning or outrunning alligators, she’s trying to keep the prissy new girl from stealing her best friends.  

Visit Danette at her website at www.danettehaworth.com
and her blog: http://summerfriend.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, June 3:

Lovefrombothsides.coverStephanie Riseley, author of Love From Both Sides: A True Story of Soul Survival and Sacred Sexuality.

Genre: Memoir

Synopsis: In this memoir, memorial, and celebration, Stephanie Riseley shares the deeply emotional and powerfully physical story of the continued relationship between her and her husband Dan after his sudden death. Exploring the ways in which love and forgiveness can transcend the boundaries of life and death, the book intends to change perceptions of the emotional and spiritual relationships two people can share. Problematic marriages and challenging relationships will take on positive new dimensions.

Stephanie’s website: http://www.stephanieriseley.com/

Wednesday, June 10:

Secret Keepers.cover

Mindy Friddle, author of Secret Keepers

Genre: Southern Fiction

Synopsis: At age seventy-two, Emma Hanley plans to escape small-town Palmetto, South Carolina, and travel the globe. But when her fickle husband dies in undignified circumstances, Emma finds herself juggling the needs of her adult children. Her once free-spirited daughter Dora turns to compulsive shopping and a controlling husband to forget her wayward past. Her son Bobby still lives with her, afflicted with an illness that robbed him of his childhood promise.

Mindy’s website:  http://www.mindyfriddle.com/

Wednesday, August12:

FearlessConfessions.coverSue Williams Silverman, author of Fearless Confessions: A Writer’s Guide to Memoir

Genre: Writing

Synopsis: Everyone has a story to tell. Fearless Confessions is a guidebook for people who want to take possession of their lives by putting their experiences down on paper–or in a Web site or e-book. Enhanced with illustrative examples from many different writers as well as writing exercises, this guide helps writers navigate a range of issues from craft to ethics to marketing and will be useful to both beginners and more accomplished writers.

Sue Silverman’s website: http://www.suewilliamsilverman.com/


Filed under Advice, Author Interviews, books, characters, contests, Non Fiction, Novels, Platform/Marketing, writers, writing inspiration

Blog Tour: Author/Artist Rachel Dillon

r_dillon_portrait1 Today, joining us at Writers Inspired is Rachel Dillon, introducing her first book in a series on endangered animals: Through Endangered Eyes. Rachel not only wrote the poetry for this book , but illustrated the beautiful dot paintings on each page and cover. And, if you comment in today’s post (after the interview) you will have a chance to win a copy of Through Endangered Eyes.

Born and raised in Madison, Wisconsin, Rachel Dillon earned her bachelor s degree in art and graphic design from the University of Wisconsin Madison. She lives and works as an artist in the Southwest. Beyond design and fine art, Rachel holds a special interest in ecology, evolution, and extinction. Her passion for animals and endangered species has
led her to write about them in hopes that educating others will lead to a more conscientious treatment of these animals and their habitats.

book_cover_tee-squareBe sure to leave a comment or question for Rachel today (April 6) for a chance to win a copy of Through Endangered Eyes!

Interview by Mary Jo Campbell:

MJC: It is obvious you are an animal rights’ activist. How did you research for your book: how did you decide the poses you were going to paint and the information you were going to put into poetry?

RD: When I started the book, I chose animals that most people have heard are endangered: African elephant, giant panda, tiger, snow leopard, sea turtle, humpback whale. I had reference books, zoos and the internet to help me research these species. Some of the lesser known species: the Marbled Murrelet, the Channel Island Fox, and the Comoro Black Flying Fox, were more difficult to find information. For those I spent most of my time doing searches online for qualified information.

I really wanted to keep the facts for the animals simple and direct, so young readers and listeners could understand. I think the fact that I am not a scientist helped me to keep it simple. I wanted to really find something unique and special about each species that I could convey in a poem. What feature or behavior was different about the animal and how can I capture a child’s attention with words?

I think I leave the painting question for last, because my paintings mean so much to me. When I shopped for a publisher, I mentioned they didn’t have to take my artwork, if they only wanted the content. Looking back, I think that was an insecurity I had about the quality of my art. Even though I knew how fascinated children were with my paintings of animals, I wasn’t sure if it was too unique for the general public.

Some of my earlier paintings in my book (the African elephant, tiger and sea turtle) were poses of animals I had already painted or drawn before.  As I progressed further into the book, the story telling in my paintings or the complexity in the detail of the paintings improved: examples are the Grevy’s zebras, snow leopard, polar bear, and Karner blue butterflies. These paintings were more than just portraits, the animals are interacting with each other or their environment.

MJC: I love that your kids are so involved in your writing experiences, like the mention of your daughter wondering if a stranger on the street knew who you were because “you were in the newspaper last week.”  How do you, as a mom and artist influence these artistic passions in your kids?  Do you have any projects that you work on together?

RD: I certainly try to encourage my kids’ creativity. My daughter is a doodler, so she has paper at the table and is constantly drawing. I give her drawing instruction books too so she has guidance. I also go into her first grade class and work with the kids twice per month on art concepts: perspective, complementary colors and painting styles.

My son is five, and he is less confident with drawing, but loves to paint. He mixes beautiful colors and just enjoys the freedom of the abstraction. I go into his classroom once per week and work with the pre-k and kindergartners on painting. They love to get messy and some have never had that experience.

Together we (my kids and I) pull out the watercolors and play with the paint. When I am getting some of my promotion materials together for the book, they help me paste and stick, organize and fold things. I also like to work on my paintings in front of the kids. They watch me paint and they’ll ask questions, so I know being exposed to the process is also essential in their learning.

MJC: Artistic expression, I believe, is vitally important to our society, our children and ourselves. I applaud you for combining your paintings with your poetry.  Do you consider yourself an artist first and an author second, and how do the two compliment each other?

RD: I feel more comfortable calling myself an artist first, since I have had training and a lot of time to build that image of myself. I am still getting used to the idea of being an author but farther from calling myself a poet. I feel that writing and poetry come naturally to me, but have not studied them thoroughly enough to feel proficient. I come from a line of published authors – my father, and my grandfather to start, I am excited to be finding my own path as a writer, and know how proud my parents are.

I completely agree with your comment about the importance of artistic expression. It is important to me to expose my children to galleries, theatre, dancing, music and other performances as much as I can. All of these arenas can hold such wonderful examples of expression.

MJC: Can you tell us about the marketing and publication process of Through Endangered Eyes, and how you were involved as both the illustrator and author?

RD: Luckily, I have had career experiences that taught me about marketing and PR. I think my publisher is doing their part in the process of publicizing my book, but I am determined to take it a step further. My Web site, blog, Facebook page, and network of friends and family have been a wonderful start at getting the word out about my book.

If I have a book event, I send a press release to the local paper, get on their Web events list, update my Web site, send emails to the people I know locally and postcards if I have mailing addresses. I definitely know that exposing people three times to something, helps keep it in the front of their mind.

As the artist, I have made note cards and prints of the book illustrations and offer the actual illustrations for sale on my Web site. As give-aways, I hand out bookmarks and magnets showing one of my illustrations and I have started making t-shirts of the book’s cover image. Wow, I feel like Walmart when I list it out. Not sure if I am commercializing the product too much or just enough. I know that my goal is to make an income at this, so I can live the dream of being a full time artist and author.

This blog tour has been an amazing way to publicize the book as well. No matter what, my motivation for creating the book always remains the same, I want to get as many kids thinking about endangered species as I possibly can.

MJC: Please tell us about book two in this series and your plans for marketing more through your blog (videos of reading and painting.)

RD: I feel like a rookie in the blog world, as much as a new author on a steep learning curve. So, seeing what other authors write on their blogs and how they share information certainly helps me to see the possibilities.

I want to add a few things to my blog: more classroom photos; a video of me reading the book; an audio of the book’s poetry; and video of me painting. Now, I just have to figure out how to do that.

As I start the process for the next book I will definitely post the images of the new animals I am working on and the species I choose to write about. I also want to work with mores specialists and shoot more of my own stock photography of the animals I want to paint. I know several of the species in the next book, will be impossible to find in a location I can take pictures, so I will rely on stock photos I purchase or combining several photos together I find online, to create an original image. Keeping people updated and interested in learning more about the next book, is a great way for me to share the process and increase their enthusiasm to go out and get the next one!

Thank you so much for the opportunity to participate in your blog and great questions!

www.RachelDillon.com – you can purchase the original artwork, notecards and prints from the book
Blog: throughendangeredeyes.blogspot.com
You can order a print from: Amazon.com
Publisher is http://www.finneyco.com/endangered_eyes.htm
Artists for Conservation: http://www.natureartists.com/rachel_dillon.asp

Post a comment or question for Rachel and one lucky winner will be randomly selected and announced tomorrow!


Filed under Advice, Author Interviews, books, Give Aways, Platform/Marketing

Blog Tour: Wendy Burt

Today we have a Q & A with Wendy Burt-Thomas. She is a full-time freelance writer, editor and copywriter with more than 1,000 published pieces. Her third book, “The Writer’s Digest Guide to Query Letters” hit stores in January 2009.



“Query Queen,” Wendy Burt-Thomas, will be stopping by Writers Inspired today to answer your writing and publishing related questions.  Post a comment today which is relevant to the topic for a chance to win your copy of The Writer’s Digest Guide to Query Letters.  (US postal addresses only, please.)

To learn more about Wendy or her three books, visit www.GuideToQueryLetters.com. If you have a writing-related question, you can also post it on http://AskWendy.wordpress.com.

1. Q: Can you tell us about your book?  querybook-copy

The book was a great fit for me because I’d been teaching “Breaking Into Freelance Writing” for about eight years. In the workshop, I covered a lot of what is in this book: writing query letters to get articles in magazines, to land an agent, or to get a book deal with a publisher. Since I’m a full-time freelance magazine writer and editor with two previous books, this was incredibly fun to write because it didn’t require tons of research. I was lucky enough to receive lots of great sample query letters from writers and authors that I use as “good” examples in the book. I wrote all the “bad” examples myself because I didn’t dare ask for contributions that I knew I’d be ripping apart!

In addition to the ins and outs of what makes a good query, the book covers things like why (or why not) to get an agent, where to find one and how to choose one; writing a synopsis or proposal; selling different rights to your work; other forms of correspondence; and what editors and agents look for in new writers.

It was really important to me that the book not be a dry, boring reference book, but rather an entertaining read (while still being chock full of information). I was thrilled that Writer’s Digest let me keep all the humor.

2. Q: Why are query letters so important?

Breaking into the publishing world is hard enough right now. Unless you have a serious “in” of some kind, you really need a great query letter to impress an agent or acquisitions editor. Essentially, your query letter is your first impression. If they like your idea (and voice and writing style and background), they’ll either request a proposal, sample chapters, or the entire manuscript. If they don’t like your query letter, you’ve got to pitch it to another agency/publisher. Unlike a manuscript, which can be edited or reworked if an editor thinks it has promise, you only get one shot with your query. Make it count!

I see a lot of authors who spend months (or years) finishing their book, only to rush through the process of crafting a good, solid query letter. What a waste! If agents/editors turn you down based on a bad query letter, you’ve blown your chance of getting them to read your manuscript. It could be the next bestseller, but they’ll never see it. My advice is to put as much effort into your query as you did your book. If it’s not fabulous, don’t send it until it is.

3. Q: You’re also a magazine editor. What is your biggest gripe regarding queries?

Queries that show that the writer obviously hasn’t read our publication. I’ll admit that I did this when I was a new writer too – submitted blindly to any publication whose name sounded even remotely related to my topic. One of the examples I use was when I submitted a parenting article to a magazine for senior citizens. Oops! A well-written query pitching an article that’s not a match for the magazine isn’t going to get you any further than a poorly written query.

4. Q: There’s an entire chapter in the book about agents. Do you think all new writers should get agents?

Probably 99% of new writers should get an agent. There are lots of reasons, but my top three are: 1) Many of the larger publishing houses won’t even look at unagented submissions now; 2) Agents can negotiate better rights and more money on your behalf; 3) Agents know the industry trends, changes and staff better than you ever could.

5. Q: You’ve been a mentor, coach or editor for many writers. What do you think is the most common reason that good writers don’t get published?

Poor marketing skills. I see so many writers that are either too afraid, too uniformed, or frankly, too lazy, to market their work. They think their job is done when the write “the end” but writing is only half of the process. I’ve always told people who took my class that there are tons of great writers in the world who will never get published. I’d rather be a good writer who eats lobster than a great writer who eats hot dogs. I make a living as a writer because I spend as much time marketing as I do writing.

6. Q: What are some of the biggest misconceptions that writers have about getting a book deal?

That they’ll be rich overnight, that they don’t need to promote their book once it’s published, that publishing houses will send them on world book tours, that people will recognize them at the airport. Still, you can make great money as an author if you’re prepared to put in the effort. If it wasn’t possible, there wouldn’t be so many full-time writers.

7. Q: What must-read books do you recommend to new writers?

Christina Katz (author of “Writer Mama”) has a new book out called “Get Known Before the Book Deal” – which is fabulous. Also, Stephen King’s “On Writing” and David Morrell’s “Lessons from a Lifetime of Writing.” Anything by Anne Lamott or my Dad, Steve Burt.

8. Q: What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned as a full-time writer?

Seize every opportunity – especially when you first start writing. I remember telling someone about a really high-paying writing gig I got and he said, “Wow. You have the best luck!” I thought, “Luck has nothing to do with it! I’ve worked hard to get where I am.” Later that week I read this great quote: “Luck is when preparation meets opportunity.” It’s absolutely true. And writing queries is only about luck in this sense. If you’re prepared with a good query and/or manuscript, when the opportunity comes along you’ll be successful.

9. What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

Writing the “bad” query letters. I’ve read – and written! – so many horrible ones over the years that it was a little too easy to craft them. But misery loves company and we ALL love to read really bad query letters, right?

10. Q: What do you want readers to learn from your book?

I want them to understand that while writing a good query letter is important, it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. You can break it down into parts, learn from any first-round rejections, and read other good queries to help understand what works. I also want them to remember that writing is fun. Sometimes new writers get so caught up in the procedures that they lose their original voice in a query. Don’t bury your style under formalities and to-the-letter formatting.


Wendy’s credentials include more than 1,000 published articles, essays, short stories, greeting cards, reviews, columns and poems. She is a full-time freelance writer, editor, copywriter and PR consultant. Wendy taught “Breaking Into Freelance Writing” for eight years and her three books include:

* Oh, Solo Mia! The Hip Chick’s Guide to Fun for One (McGraw-Hill)

* Work It, Girl! 101 Tips for the Hip Working Chick (McGraw-Hill)

* The Writer’s Digest Guide to Query Letters (January 2009, Writer’s Digest Books)


Filed under Author Interviews, books, contests, Get Published, Give Aways, Non Fiction, Queries, writing inspiration

Guest Blogger: Christina Katz

If you’re a follower of my blog, then Christina Katz needs almost no introduction.   But I’m gonna do the formals, anyway!

Two years ago, I read a concise yet very informative article in Writer’s Digest on how to raise your kids while still raising your writing career. Writer Mama became a part of my vocabulary. I entered (and lost) Christina’s essay contest, which made me realize how much I needed that book. I became a regular visitor on the Writer Mama Riffs blog (before the book’s logo was even in the header!)

I applied for Christina’s scholarship to her Writing & Publishing the Short Stuff class, and lost. I applied again and Won! That was the beginning of a whirlwind of writing-related successes for me.

See, everywhere I read or browsed, I’d see Christina’s name and I wanted that for myself. Never give up, ask lots of questions and heed the advice of those who’ve been there and are going where…you want to go!

Welcome Christina. And thanks for including Writers Inspired on …

The Writer Mama Two-Year Anniversary Blog Tour Giveaway!

Post #11 Success! The Verbal Offer

Jane Friedman called me on the Friday morning before Labor Day weekend to make me the offer on my proposed book. Along the way the name of the book got changed to Writer Mama. And thank goodness!

Which title do you think is better: The Busy Mom’s Guide to Freelance or Writer Mama?

I think Writer Mama is infinitely better. And the new title also opened up some exciting writing possibilities for me. You see the world really didn’t need another freelancing book. There are plenty already. But the world really needed a book that would tackle the idea of how to grow a writing career alongside your kids. And with this new focus, I was able to craft a totally unique book. A book not just based on my personal experience but also based on the wisdom of a larger group of successful mom writers.

So, now seems like a good time to bring up the issue of collaboration. When you self-publish a book, there is only one captain steering the ship. Some people think that this is preferable. But here’s the problem: there’s only one person steering the ship. Doesn’t any book benefit from input from multiple sources? I think so. And I think a problem in some self-published books is that they would have benefited from more editorial planning at the early stages.

Please note: I’ve seen some high-quality self-published books, as well. However, they might have benefited from help in other aspects of the process. Like a better cover design. Or the insight that the photos used would become dated. Or help with distribution, promotion, and shipping. There are so many aspects of book publishing. I could have never crafted a book that would go on to receive thirty favorable reviews on Amazon if I’d had to concern myself with these other issues.

So yes, once I struck a deal with Writer’s Digest, my book became a collaborative process. And it’s such a better book because of all of that collaboration. The fact that others were doing the heavy lifting on the book production end helped me keep my focus on writing the best book I could possibly write. And that was my primary objective.

Today’s Book Drawing: To enter to win a signed, numbered copy of Writer Mama, answer the following question in this blog’s comments:

How would you feel about collaborating with a publisher about such issues as title, cover design, book content, and marketing strategies? Are you up for it?

Thanks for participating! Only US residents, or folks with a US mailing address can participate in the drawing. Please only enter once per day.

Where will the drawing be tomorrow? Visit http://thewritermama.wordpress.com/ to continue reading the rest of the Writer Mama story throughout March 2009!


Writer Mama, How to Raise a Writing Career Alongside Your Kids by Christina Katz (Writer’s Digest Books 2007)

Kids change your life, but they don’t necessarily have to end your career. Stay-at-home moms will love this handy guide to rearing a successful writing career while raising their children. The busy mom’s guide to writing life, this book gives stay-at-moms the encouragement and advice they need including everything from getting started and finding ideas to actually finding time to do the work – something not easy to do with the pitter-patter of little feet. With advice on how to network and form a business, this nurturing guide covers everything a writer mama needs to succeed at her second job.


Filed under Advice, Author Interviews, books, Get Published, Give Aways, Perseverance, writing inspiration

Announcing the winner…

…of Kim Hix’s children’s book No One is Perfect and YOU are a Great Kid! is…

bronzeword!! Congratulations!  Please email me your snail mail and I’ll ship the book to you.

mjcwriter at comcast.net

Leave a comment

Filed under Author Interviews, books, Give Aways

Kim Hix: Blog Tour & Book Giveaway!


Kim Hix, Author of: No One is Perfect and YOU are a Great Kid

About the Author:
Kim Hix is a native of Columbia SC. She graduated Lander University with a BS in Psychology 1988. She worked at various capacities at Marshall Pickens Hospital in Greenville SC from 1990 until 2004. She is now employed part time by Greenville Hospital System as a Patient Family Liaison (Advocate) and also as a part time personal trainer for Sportsclub Simpsonville. She has been Married 15 years to Doug Hix and have two children Zack 12(dx OCD, Tourettes Disorder Spectrum, and PANDAS) and Kelsie, 8, a real girly girl! She currently reside in Simpsonville SC with her family and 3 dogs.

“My name is Kim Hix and I am the mother of a very special young boy who struggles with emotional difficulties. He has experienced an array of moods from an early age, which include rages, depression, anxiety, and drastic mood shifts. In our journey to find help, we’ve encountered many specialists and interesting people. During this time, my son dealt with feeling different from his peers, isolated, and at times, rejected. My son would express to me that he felt no one understood him and that he was the only kid in the world with these problems. What started out as a project to help my son, cultivated a desire to let other kids and parents know that they are NOT alone. In fact, millions of children are suffering with mental illness, neuropsychiatric disorders, and behavior disorders. They long to be accepted, to be normal, and just fit in. They suffer, and we, the parents, suffer all the while our hearts are breaking.

“This is why I wrote a book for Zack and kids like him, who struggle with feelings of being different. It is my hope that this story will offer some measure of comfort and belonging to the children who read it.”

Author’s Websites:

Kim Hix’ website: Intense Kids, Great Kids
Book available for purchase: No One is Perfect and YOU are a Great Kid
Best Children’s Book Award: Reader Views


Synopsis: No One is Perfect and YOU are a Great Kid is a lovely book written about Zack, a young boy who struggles daily with ever changing moods. He tries to understand why he gets very sad, upset, discouraged and angry in response to what most would consider insignificant events. Zack often feels different, left out, and isolated due to his moods. He poses thought provoking questions to his audience that can spur some meaningful conversation.

This book will touch your heart and anyone who has a special child in their life who struggles with any degree of emotional, behavioral, or psychiatric disorder.
Winner of Best Children’s Book for ages 6 and under, Reader Views Award for 2007 Annual Literary Awards

ISBN: 1419631489

To purchase No One is Perfect and You are a Great Kid, please visit Amazon.com.

Genre: Children’s Nonfiction/Special Needs

Kim Hix will be here all day answering questions! Post a question and/or comment for a chance to win her book!

Interview by: Mary Jo Campbell

MJC: Kim, your son, Zack, who is adorable by the way, struggles with emotional difficulties.   Do you feel that your BS degree in Psychology was helpful in diagnosing Zack, especially with PANDAS, which I read is difficult to diagnose?

Kim: I choose to think someone or something bigger than me pushed me into the field of mental health, knowing I would really need that information some day. My first job out of college was at a Psychiatric hospital, so that experience and especially the professional contacts I made were a wealth of help as we began this journey. I knew from a very early age that something was wrong. Zack was not diagnosed with PANDAS until 2007, by a specialist, and once I began to read more about it things really made sense. He developed Tics and Tourettes disorder in 2006, after a strep infection.

MJC: As a parent, this is a very sensitive and personal topic.  At what point did you decide this book needed to be written and did Zack ask to be involved in the writing or editing process, since it’s told from a child’s point of view?

Kim: It is sensitive, and so many people are uncomfortable talking about mental illness, especially in children, but I have always felt that this is nothing we should be ashamed of. If his disabilities were of an obvious physical nature, or diabetic or something like that then there is not shame, why is there shame if your illness is of your mind, thoughts or behavior? There is shame because the behavior is usually so extreme, so outside the “socially accepted”. I know my child does not choose to behave or react in such an extreme way when upset, frustrated or anxious, yet he is treated like a bad, mean boy by strangers and peers, simply because they do not know him or what he is dealing with internally. Yes, his behavior has caused a great deal of stress for us all, embarrassment (especially in public). If you love a child suffering with a behavioral or mental illness you know all too well the chaos that is ever present in your home and life. The book was easy, simply conversations we have had after various difficult and upsetting situations he has encountered. Zack has always struggled with feeling different, knowing that his rages, mood swings and anxiety are not what other kids deal with on a daily basis. He often asks why me? Why am I like this? Why do I have these problems?  Why did GOD make me like this? All very difficult questions to answer.

MJC: You’re a married mom of two with two part-time jobs. How did you find the time to write this book?  What was the time line, from idea to publication?

Kim: I am embarrassed to say the story came very quickly. We were playing in the playroom, he had an “episode” of becoming overly upset, angry, raging over a very minor thing, our of frustration, then once he was calm he began asking, again, why am I like this? Why am I different? No one else has these problems, why are the other kids in class perfect? I had the whole story written in about 30 minutes. I have recently gone back and added some about the Tourettes, which surfaced after the book was written.

MJC: Congratulations on winning the Best Children’s Book for ages 6 and under, Reader Views Award for 2007 Annual Literary Awards.  How wonderful to win an award from the very readers you wanted to reach with this book. Can you tell us how your book was nominated and how you felt upon receiving the good news?

Kim: The publishing agent from Booksurge suggested I enter the contest, there are many categories you can enter in and I chose this particular category that targets the younger readers. It was fun to hear our book was picked.

MJC: No One is Perfect and YOU are a Great Kid is a children’s book to bring understanding and comfort to the children that read it.  Do you have any plans to write an adult book on this topic from a mom’s perspective?

Kim: I have thought about it, but if I write another book, and I already have the title (it’s a secret) it would be from the perspective of the sibling who lives with a brother or sister with a disability. My daughter has struggled to a great extent in her own life just living in a home that is so chaotic, being taken to as many as 5 doctor appointments a week with her brother, many hours in waiting rooms, many plans ruined because “he’s not stable”. The trauma of watching him throw things, cry, scream, hit himself, it has caused a very strained relationship between the two of them. He is a very loving, caring, HUGE hearted boy who wants so much for his sister to love him back, and at this time she is still very angry about her life, even though she knows these things are out of his control. It is tough on everyone.

Be sure to post your questions or comments for Kim before 12midnight Central Time for a chance at the random drawing to win her book!


Filed under Author Interviews, books, Give Aways, Inspiration

Read an ebook Week is coming!

Who doesn’t love FREE books?!  Read an ebook week is coming…

ebookguru.org and ebook publisher, Champagne Books, have partnered to give away 2 FREE ebooks during the week of March 08-14.

Click here for more info on how you can be reading “e’s” for free!


Filed under books, Fun Stuff, Give Aways

And the winner is…

Liz S. !

Congratulations, Liz, you’ve won a copy of Ruth Hartman’s ebook: My Life in Chains: My Struggle with Obssessive Compulsive Disorder.

Please email me your snail mail and I’ll get this out to you!

mjcwriter at comcast.net


Thank you to everyone who commented – it was a lively and inspiring discussion!

The next Blog Tour will be Thursday, Feb 12, when Kim Hix answers questions on the writing and publishing process of her children’s book: No One is Perfect and YOU Are a Great Kid!

Leave a comment

Filed under Author Interviews, books, contests

Ruth Hartman: Blog Tour

Author of   My Life in Chains: My Struggle with Obssessive Compulsive Disorder


Ruth J. Hartmanwas once “normal.” She perceived the world around her as any other person would—until she turned 27. That’s when Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) dug in its claws and refused to let her go. Her world (and her family’s) was turned inside out.

Working as a dental hygienist was difficult enough, but trying to balance her work life with the challenges of OCD was overwhelming. Ruth’s family, friends, and co-workers didn’t understand why she suddenly acted so bizarre. She wanted to help them understand, but she couldn’t. She didn’t understand it herself.

My Life in Mental Chains is moving and tragic, yet in the end, it’s an uplifting story of personal faith and inner strength. Ruth’s insight will be a great comfort to OCD sufferers, their families, and their friends.

Ruth graduated from the Indiana University School of Dentistry with a degree in Science/Dental Hygiene. Her interest in writing, which began in high school, led her to earn her diploma from the Institute of Children’s Literature in “Writing for Children and Teenagers.”   She lives in rural Indiana with her husband and two cats.

Visit her website at www.ruthjhartman.blogspot.com, or contact her at RGHartman@aol.com.

My Life in Mental Chains by Ruth J. Hartman

Published by Pipers’ Ash Ltd., $13.00

Publication Date: November 1, 2008

Non-Fiction, True-Life Story Chapbook

ISBN# 9781906928001

An easy way to order the book is: http://www.supamasu.co.uk/glos.html

(then scroll down to the third book) Or you can e-mail them at pipersash@supamasu.com and request the book.
Interview by Mary Jo Campbell:

(Ruth will be replying to your comments and questions all day, so ask away! And you’ll be entered in the random drawing to receive free a copy of her e-book.)

MJC: I see that you’re a graduate of Institute of Children’s Literature.  I’m a former student as well.  Can you tell me about your experience with this correspondence school for those who are contemplating this form of education?

Ruth: I had a very good experience with them. My instructor was friendly, yet very professional. I was supplied with study guides, practice exercises, and even sample children’s books. I was given deadlines for homework completion, but she was patient with me if I needed a little more time. If someone wants to learn the craft of writing for children and teenagers, I would definitely recommend them.

MJC: As writers, we seem to obsess over everything in the process: plot, theme, wording, characterization and more.  What are the true signs of having an Obsessive Compulsive Disorder? Can you offer any tips from your book on how you are overcoming this disease?

Ruth: Many people have slight OCD tendencies. It’s when those tendencies grow and begin to take over your life that you’ve got a problem. Mine were so severe; I had to quit my job as a dental hygienist. I couldn’t cope at work anymore. I developed a fear of germs at work. In my line of work, you can imagine how often I came in contact with those! Then the problem started to take over my home life. I washed my hands so often, they were cracked and bleeding. It affected every facet of my life.

Thankfully, I found an excellent psychiatrist who helped me tremendously. But even more than that, I was able to find a medication, Prozac that allows me to function normally again, with only occasional, short-lived occurrences.

MJC: How do you feel that your OCD has either helped or hindered your writing?

Ruth: I think sometimes it actually helps. Although I’d never wish it on anyone! When I have an assignment or story to write, my OCD kicks into overdrive and pushes me to stick with my project until it’s finished. My husband is afraid that one of these days I will actually become physically glued to my laptop! On the flip side, It’s easy to obsess about what people think of my work. Will they like what I’ve written? Will they like me? I just have to remind myself that I can’t please everyone. If I’m happy with my work, that’s enough.

MJC: You’re a published writer of both fiction and nonfiction.  Can you tell us your experience in publishing both types of work?

Ruth: Actually, I’ve only been published in non-fiction. My short story, “A Tale of No Tail” will be published in the January-February issue of “I Love Cats” magazine. It’s about my cat Arthur, who lost his tail when I accidentally closed a screen door before he was all the way in the kitchen. I still feel awful about that! My experience with that magazine was positive as well. But fiction is what I really love to write. I just haven’t found the right publisher for my stories yet.

MJC: Your book, My Life in Mental Chains: My Struggle with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, is published by Piper’s Ash, a UK based publisher, yet you live in Indiana (USA).  How did you find this publisher and what was your experience like working with a publisher from overseas, especially since they work with a different currency?

Ruth: I found their listing in the “Magazine Markets for Children’s Writers.” My original query was for a fictional story about a girl with OCD. They replied back that serious subjects such as OCD were better suited for their “True Life Series.” I re-queried with my own experience, and it was accepted. They’ve been wonderful to work with. They’re a small, non-profit publisher, so they only work with a few clients at a time. I’ve gotten personalized attention and they’ve been extremely patient with me. Especially since this is my first book!

There were a few differences between this publisher and an American one. It takes longer for me to receive regular mail from them. I waited six weeks for my five complimentary books. I learned that when their web site lists a certain amount in pounds, as opposed to dollars, I’d be paying twice as much. I guess the good news is, when I get paid an amount in pounds, it will end up being more in our currency! (NOTE: When ordering direct from Pipers Ash, readers should expect to recieve their e-book in the mail within 1-2 weeks.)

Also, one thing I had to get used to: when we use quotation marks, they’re double. In England, they often use single quotes. When I got my page proofs from them, I thought it was a mistake at first. Then I researched it on the Internet and found out that’s a normal practice in the U.K.

MJC: Thank you so much for sharing your writing experiences and your struggles with OCD with the readers here at Writers Inspired.

Be sure to leave your comments for Ruth on today’s post before 12 midnight (CENTRAL) for a chance to win your own copy of Ruth’s e-book: My Life in Chains

MJC:  I s


Filed under Advice, Author Interviews, books

Janice Lynne Lundy: Blog Tour


Author of Your Truest Self: Embracing the Woman You Are Meant to Be

Janice Lynne Lundy is an inspirational speaker, interfaith spiritual director, syndicated magazine columnist, and the author of four self-help/spiritual growth books for women.

Her newest book, Your Truest Self: Embracing the Woman You Are Meant to Be, has just been released by Sorin Books. your-truest-self-cover

Within every woman there is an essential Truth waiting to be claimed, a Truth that will empower her to claim a spiritual life that is real and authentic, one that will nourish and sustain her every day. Janice Lynne Lundy thoughtfully guides readers toward finding that essential truth for themselves. Drawing from her personal encounters with twelve spiritual mentors—Frances Moore Lappé, Daphne Rose Kingma, Iyanla Vanzant, Naomi Judd, and more—she has created twelve Transformational Truths to guide and enable women to live more peaceful, confident, and open-hearted lives.


Jan is the author of three previously published personal and spiritual growth books: Coming Home to Ourselves: A Woman’s Journey to Wholeness; Awakening the Spirit Within; and Perfect Love: How to Find Yours and Make It Last Forever (co-authored with her husband, Brad Lundy).


The mother of three, stepmother of four, and grandmother of three more, Jan resides on the peaceful shoreline of Grand Traverse Bay in northern Michigan with her husband, Brad, her creative partner and soul’s companion.


Learn more about Jan at her website: www.awakenedliving.com.

Register for her newsletter and she’ll send you her new, inspirational 90-page e-book, The Awakened Woman’s Guide to Life. Visit her blog: www.awakeisgood.blogspot.com. She enjoys hearing from her readers and responds personally. Email: jan@awakenedliving.com.

Interview by Mary Jo Campbell:

(Jan will be replying to your comments and questions all day today, so ask away!)

Jan, thank you for stopping by Writers Inspired on your blog tour to discuss the writing process of and the message conveyed in your newest book, Your Truest Self: Embracing the Woman You Were Meant to Be.


MJC: Writers are often told to “tell the truth” in their writing. How important is it that we find our “Truest Self” in order to make our writing shine?

Jan: Very important! The best writers I know are living as their truest selves, or in the process of “remembering” how to do so. The mentors featured in my book, most of whom are authors themselves, are shining examples of this. As they have become more peaceful and centered, joyous, grateful, and connected to their spirit, their careers have taken off.

I have a 3-part process I’d like to share that can help any of us arrive at this place of empowerment.

First, we must be able to access inner calm. Without it, we’ll remain a jumble of unorganized thoughts and feelings, a bundle of nerves, a mere shadow of our truest self. We may also feel a profound lack of confidence, even fear, about our ability to express ourselves. Spiritual practices help. Chapter Four of my book, “I Engage in Daily Practices that Nurture My Spirit,” explores how to uncover and implement our unique spiritual practices for experiencing greater calm.

Second, once we have begun to access more peace peace, clarity will come. We feel clear, open-minded, and possibilities bound! Our thoughts are lucid, focused; our intuition is on alert. Obviously, this is an ideal place from which to write.

Finally, with clarity comes wisdom. Wisdom is the root of all great endeavors. Wisdom allows us to make optimum choices and operate in the world in beneficial ways. A wise woman is one who displays the “virtues” of Spirit itself: generosity, confidence, joy, and compassion. Now that’s living as your truest self!

MJC: Many writers, myself included, want to back into a hole and lick our wounds when those rejection letters come in. What steps can give us to regain our self-confidence and find the courage to forge ahead?

Jan: On occasion, I still fall prey to this one myself. A lackluster review on amazon.com can send me tumbling into despair. Most writers are sensitive sorts; I know I am. On the other hand, if we didn’t feel so darn much we wouldn’t be insightful writers!

Rejection is difficult. Early on, I experienced much rejection from agents and publishers with this book. But we cannot give up; I didn’t. If we believe in our message, are faithful to honing our craft, and willing to work with constructive criticism, experiences of rejection can actually build self-confidence.

We learn courage, I believe, through patterning ourselves after bold others. Activist Frances Moore Lappé was one of those for me. She helped me formulate the message in Chapter Eleven, “I Courageously Live and Speak My Truths.” Frankie reminded me that people who appear to be fearless have actually been intimate with fear. Facing our fears and walking through them is key to living as our truest selves.

We must also remember that fear is a trait of the ego (our false self). It is not a reflection of our true nature, which is love and peace. We can begin to make conscious choices to move away from the disempowering messages of the ego and re-align ourselves with those of our spirit, and the greater Spirit (that some call God). My book offers an interfaith roadmap for doing just that.

MJC: Do you believe that all women can tap into their “Truest Self?” Or are there some who are buried too deep in toxic thoughts and actions?

Jan: Yes, I believe all women can tap into their truest self. Our truest self is not a version of ourselves for which we must seek; it is who we are by birth and destiny. We all have an innate core—an essence—which is characterized by peace, love, joy, and other qualities of Spirit. This is our truest self. We simply need to uncover her and bring her into the light of day.

Doing so, however, is a matter of readiness. It is true that some women may be too buried in toxicity to perceive the glory of their own being. But their “stuckness” may be temporary. There is an ancient Taoist saying, “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” Any growth we may experience in life depends on readiness—our willingness to grow and change. Until we are ready, we’ll likely remain mired in old patterns, thoughts, and behaviors that do not serve our truest self.

A statement by diarist Anais Nin rings true here: “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was greater than the risk it took to blossom.” Profound statement, isn’t it? (I mentioned later to Jan, that this very quote is my tag-line for Writers Inspired!)

MJC: Time seems to always be in demand, especially for busy mom writers. How can we encourage our families and significant others to give us the time and space we need (without the guilt trip)?

Jan: I adhere to the maxim that we teach others how to treat us. As we begin the journey of valuing ourselves—especially our creative selves—we’ll need to educate (or re-train) others to do the same.

We begin with baby steps. We get clear about what it is that we need to do to honor our creativity. I love how author/photographer Jan Phillips explained this in Marry Your Muse. Jan is one of the twelve “Holy Women” featured in my book. The “Artist’s Creed,” which is the foundation of her book, states (in part), “I believe I am worth the time it takes to create whatever I feel called to create.”

Upon reading those words, I finally believed all my efforts were worth it, and once that happened, I could ask for my family’s assistance. I was very clear with them about what I needed—time, space, support. I began by taking one hour in the evening just for ME. This increased over time as my children became of school age and were more self-sufficient.

Letting go of guilt is key to embodying our truest self. It’s important to remember that our needs are just as important as those of any other family member. In fact, our temperament—our health and well-being— may determine the well-being of our entire family. Remember the old adage, “If momma ain’t happy, nobody’s happy”? It’s true!

MJC: You mentioned in a previous interview that you self-published three of your books. Can you tell us how getting “Your Truest Self” purchased by a publisher differed from self-publishing?

Jan: First let me say that self-publishing has been an enjoyable experience. I highly recommend it if someone has the means (time and finances) to do so. Self-publishing prepared me well for working with a publisher. Especially when it came to marketing. The creation and marketing of a self-published book is a full-time job, a challenge for many writers who simply want to write—not design or sell!

In today’s challenging market, most publishing houses expect their authors to do most of the marketing work anyway. The publisher will do the initial work of launching the book, but getting it noticed and sold to the public is primarily the author’s job.

There are trade-offs with being published. An issue for some writers is loss of control of the book’s content, format, cover, and layout. Ideally, a team approach is used in publishing and the author’s input is respected. In my case, I appreciated the vision Sorin Books held for my project. It matched my own and we worked well together. It was wonderful having an editor who edited gently. The design team created a lovely product (inside and out) and, for the most part, was receptive to my input. (Though you do get only so many cover choices!) This is not the case for many authors, so I feel fortunate that my experience has been a good one.

Of course, having a publisher purchase your work is a thrill, a powerful affirmation of your course in life. The day I was finally able to hold a copy of Your Truest Self in my hand was one of the proudest moments of my life.

May publishing success be yours, as well!

MJC: This is absolutely wonderful!  Your answers are so passionate and in-depth. I can’t wait to see all the comments they stir up!  REMEMBER:  One lucky random winner will receive a copy of Jan Lundy’s latest book Your Truest Self.  BUT, you have to comment here today to win!

more on Jan…

Described by her readers, audiences, and colleagues as “practical and poetic, possessing deep and gentle wisdom,” Janice Lynne Lundy serves as an interfaith spiritual guide to tens of thousands of women throughout the United States through her nationally syndicated magazine column in Women’s LifeStyle, as a professional speaker and retreat facilitator, and as a Spiritual Director. She has been recognized for her sensitive and compelling interviews as well as for her gift for connecting with soul-searching women. Jan is an adjunct staff member for the Institute of Spirituality at the Dominican Center in Grand Rapids, Michigan.



Filed under Author Interviews, books, emotion, Give Aways, Inspiration