Review of Klutzin’ Around the Christmas Tree: A Holiday Anthology: In A NUTSHELL


‘Klutzin’ Around the Christmas Tree’ is a wonderful collection of Christmas stories from places far away and earlier times to the present full of hope and wonder edited by Marie McGaha.
I couldn’t put this book down. I laugh aloud and mused over these stories remembering my own Christmas’ past.
I enjoyed the family antics of getting the tree decorated, Christmas on  the farm including birthing a calf, a group of children coming together to save Christmas, the heartwarming story of a boy’s best friend lost, a miraculous war-torn Christmas, the adorable mishaps of a Christmas pageant, and one on how many of us feel about the obligations of visiting our families at Christmas and with an idea that, I think, just might work on how to dealing with them.
The book is a gem written by a group of talented authors and published by Dancing With Bear Publishing. 
I plan to read the other two Anthologies in Dancing With Bear Publishing’s collection.

That's  Klutzin’ Around the Christmas Tree: In A NUTSHELL 
                                                                                              ~ J.D. Holiday 

About The Spy Game by JD Holiday

This is Page 9 from THE SPY GAME, my next book to be publishing.
This story is based on a puppy my brother, Ike's dog Sheeba had. He ask me to take this puppy he named, Sidney Reilly after a spy series he and I watched together and loved.  At the time I had a dog and didn't think my older dog, Snoopy would be happy with a new addition.
My bother said okay, but he felt sure this dog was for me and he kept it with that in mind.
When the puppy was 11 months old, my brother, Ike died of a heart attack. AND Sidney came to me!
I was wrong. Snoopy and Sidney got along, in their own way.
In this Picture I have Ike bringing Sidney to my house to live.
 ~ JD Holiday

Review of the children's picture book; Pep, Polish And Paint by Helena Harper: In A NutShell!


Pep, Polish And Paint by Helena Harper: In A NutShell!
Sammy the Sun was miserable because he lost his shine. He didn’t know what to do to get it back. Jimmy the spaceship told him about a pep-me-up drink and promise to bring some to Sammy.

Jenny the spaceship came by next and she said Sammy needed polish and she would bring some back to him. Then Jenny flew off too. Lastly, Johnny the spaceship came along and said Sammy needed new paint and he would bring some along the next time he came by.

Sammy wasn’t sure any of these things would help get back his shine. It all sounds so confusing to him. Sammy waited and waited a long time for them all to return. He began to think they forgot all about him. But all three did returned and they did help Sammy, but in an very unexpected way!

Pep, Polish and Paint is a delightfully clever story with an important message for children on how some things come from within us! Helena Harper uses her skill as a teacher to develop this charming fantasy all children will love. Malachy McKinney’s illustrations are engaging and imaginative.

THAT'S Pep, Polish And Paint by Helena Harper: In A NutShell!

Children’s worksheets and coloring sheets are available at
You can learn more about Helena Harper at:
Helena Harper's Blog:

~ Author and Illustrator, J.D. Holiday

Linda Weaver Clarke: Interview with Children’s Author JD Holiday

Linda Weaver Clarke: Interview with Children’s Author JD Holiday:

Monday, October 17, 2011

Interview with Children’s Author JD Holiday

J.D. Holiday is the author and illustrator of two children’s books: Janoose the Goose and The Great Snowball Escapade. A chapbook of her short stories called, Trespasses was published in 1994 and she has had short stories printed in literary magazines and numerous articles about writing and publishing. JD is a co-host of The Writing Mama Show on Blog Talk Radio. She is a member of both The Society of Children’s Writers and Illustrators, and Small Publishers of North America.
JD’s website:
JD'S Blog:

A goose that wears glasses, a fox up to no good, and a barnyard of farm animals make for a story that will delight young readers. Parents, be prepared to read it over and over to your children.” - Author Beverly Stowe McClure

Hello JD. Please tell us about your picture book, Janoose the Goose.

Hi Linda! Thank you for having me on your blog. I'm so happy to be here. Janoose the Goose likes life in the barnyard very much. She is there visiting her cousin, Molly Duck and her baby, DeeDee. Her vacation is over and Janoose must go home because there are no job openings on the farm. When her flight home arrives, the fox has begun a crime spree. Though the farm animals had a farm watch program once, they were no good at it! Janoose is the only one who can stop him.

Your book sounds fascinating. Where did you get your inspiration for this book? 

It comes right out of my childhood. My father gave me two nicknames. My first name is Janice and when I was very young, my father would tease me by calling me, Janoose the goose. I actually developed a life for the goose. That is what inspired my story! When I was in my teens my father began calling my JD. 

That is so funny. My husband uses rhyming names for our kids, also. I enjoyed the review by Jean S. Eisele. She wrote, “This could be the beginning of the Janoose the Goose detective stories - sort of like the Hercule Poirot sleuth of the barnyard.” Hercule Poirot? I love that series. Tell us your thoughts about this review.

I was surprised and pleased that it was clear that Janoose was a problem solver. In the story, Janoose is trying to figure out why the fox is coming to the farm and chasing her friends around. So she is somewhat of a sleuth herself. I had no intentions of having a series when I wrote Janoose but my 5 year old grandson has encouraged me to write a second Janoose book and I'm in the writing stages now. Janoose will be following the trail of her nemesis, the fox, in this one too.

I think a series like this would be fun. It would be something an adult would enjoy reading to her child or grandchild. You have another book called The Great Snowball Escapade. What is it about?

This story also comes out of my childhood. As a child, every winter day that snow was on the ground I would spend time on the hill in front of the high school near where I lived sledding. I loved sledding!

The Great Snowball Escapade is a chapter book for 6 to 8 year olds. The young girl in it is Wilhemena Brooks. Wil's, as she likes to be called, cousin Bud Dunphry comes to live with her family. Right around Christmas Wil finds her new pink pencil sharpener is missing. And Wil knows Bud has it! Who else would have taken it?

Bud has problems! He doesn’t like girls and in fact, Bud doesn’t like anybody. Wil tries to ignore him but he pulls her friends hair, takes over games at school, and when Bud is in trouble he makes his “you’re going to get it” face at her.

After a snowstorm closes school, Wil and her friends go sled riding. Bud shows up and starts a snowball fight, which lands Wil in her room for the rest of the day for fighting. When her pencil sharpener is found, right where she left it, on the piano, Wil decides she has to try harder to understand her cousin and stay out of trouble. Her mother told her to be nice to Bud and to treat him like she would like to be treated. Wil doesn't think this will work. And if she treats Bud nicely does that mean he'll be nice to her? Of course, you will have to read the book to find out! 

I like the message you’re giving your readers, that we should treat others the way we would like to be treated. Okay, now it’s time to tell us something about the real you that we’ll never forget. 

I developed the plot line for the published version of Janoose The Goose while shopping for pillows! The original version of Janoose The Goose was a nursery rhyme, and in the 1990's I had begun to think that the old type of nursery rhyme with what the fox was really going to do to the members of the barnyard was not what I wanted children reading my books to have to think about. And while pillow shopping I realized the farm community, especially those who have feathers, had another reason to be afraid of the fox and it gives Janoose the perfect reason to chase the fox away. This might give you a good hint as to what goes on in the story.

I love it! Apparently pillow shopping relaxes you so much that you can think more clearly and come up with great plots. So if you’re ever stumped with another plot, just go pillow shopping! Hahaha! Thanks, Jan, for this fun interview.

Linda Weaver Clarke

A Review of Cosi Fan Tutti by Michael Dibdin: In A NUTSHELL


I admit I had expectations about Michael Dibdin’s books with Aurelio Zen as the main character. I had been introduced to Aurelio Zen in the PBS Masterpiece Mystery series and loved all the characters which led me to buy other books in the series. In Cosi Fan Tutti, I was disappointed.

In general this story was a good one. Zen is a police inspector who tries to enforce the law in Naples, Italy where crime is part of every level of the police department.

I love the Aurelio Zen character who basically solves crime by stumbling into its resolution.

In this story I feel there was too much use of ‘tell’ not’ show.’ Much of what the reader learns is from a narrative by the author in many areas where a scene would have been so much more enjoyable.

Though Zen’s double identity comes off well, many other characters also have dual identities that are unknown to the reader and fall short of what the reader already believes about them.

I found, on the other hand, the end was somewhat disjointed and ran on longer than it should have.

This all said, I do enjoy Dibdin’s wit and style of writing. Readers can feel the atmosphere and want to keep turning the pages. I will surely read other books in the Aurelio Zen series.

That's Cosi Fan Tutti by Michael Dibdin: In A NUTSHELL
~ J.D. Holiday  :D

Finished painting!

I finished it up with just the color green and used the Impressionist Clone Brush.
Thank you for stopping by everyone!
 JD Holiday

Latest on this painting!

I finished the plants and fence using the Straight Tool to make the lines of the fence uniformed.
The painted most of the picture using the TaperedCamel and Captured Bristled brushes, both which I like a lot.
On the plants and dirt I also used Square Chalk Soft Sponge for texture and depth lightly blending with Just Add Water brush. For the sidewalk I will probably use the New Simple Water brush for a light color of pastels.

Continuing my Work in Progress of the third picture my picture book, The Spy Game.

I added some plants to the background up against a fence:
Black-eyed Susans, mixed Caladiums (painted) and a Purple Hydrangea bush.
I used the New Simple Water brush to add color to the sky behind the fence.
The New Simple Water brush as you can see does NOT disrupt the painting in from of it! It is the same brush that can be used to add the green tint to sunglasses on a pair of finished eyes such as in my painting The Swim Party or add a bit of red to sky in my Early Morning Mist
~ JD Holiday

My Work in Progress! The third picture for my third book, The Spy Game. 8-12-11

I haven't a clue what the background for this picture with be. I'll come up with it though.  :D

Corel Painter has a cool tool called Straight Line Strokes which I used to make the rope in the picture straight in places. For the color I used an orange with high lights in yellow using the scratchboard Tool and then
used a tint blender to mix in the colors.

Using what is called a Scratchboard Tool, much like a fine felt marker, I darken Eddie's hair. For the shirt, I used French
Ultramarine (a blue) :D with a captured bristles brush and used a darken blue with New simple water brush which I shaded the shirt with. I love this brush. You can add shadows to anything with it. You can even add the shaded glass to a pair of sunglasses!

Using Corel Painter Essentials 4, an digital art program, I started with the puppy painting it a mix of yellow ochre, lemon yellow and touches of orange. For Eddie's hair I started with copper. I used a fine camel brush and a tapered camel brush.

This is the original drawing for the third picture.

My Second Picture is done for my next children's picture book, The Spy Game.

This is my second picture for my next children's picture book, The Spy Game!

View the first picture for The Spy Game at:

                                                                                              JD Holiday

Manic Network Interviews: An Interview with J.D. Holiday

Manic Network Interviews ME, J.D. Holiday: J.D. Holiday is the author and illustrator of two children’s books: Janoose the Goose, picture book and a chapter book for six to eight year olds, THE GREAT SNOWBALL ESCAPADE. A chapbook of her short stories called, Trespasses was published in 1994 and she has had short stories printed in literary magazines and numerous articles about writing and publishing published. She is a member of both The Society of Children’s Writers and Illustrators.

JULY 7, 2011

An Interview with J.D. Holiday

J.D. Holiday is the author and illustrator of two children’s books:  Janoose the Goose, picture book and a chapter book for six to eight year olds, THE GREAT SNOWBALL ESCAPADE. A chapbook of her short stories called, Trespasses was published in 1994 and she has had short stories printed in literary magazines and numerous articles about writing and publishing published.  She is a member of both The Society of Children’s Writers and Illustrators, (SCBWI) Small Publishers of North America, (SPAN) and a c-host on The Writing Mama Show on BLOG TALK RADIO’S World Of Ink Network.

As well as being an author you're also an illustrator. Does this effect the way you write your books? 
I think so. I see everything I write as a picture or scene and I find it easy to tell what scenes should be pictures for my children’s picture books.

How did you get started writing and how long have you been drawing and painting? 
My father wrote every weekend for as long as I can remember though I never thought of writing myself while he was alive. 
I had problems reading and spelling as a child which didn’t start to improve until high school. Also I was so self-conscious about my spelling difficulties that I didn't think I could write seriously. But in the sixth grade I did write a story on a rainy afternoon by myself and loved it.
It wasn’t until 1983, years later that I started writing when a friend asked me to read a few pages from a historical romance she was writing. I told her what I thought about it and she asked me to help her write the book. We did finish it and sent it to an agent who was kind and sent the manuscript back with a detailed account of what was wrong with it. My friend went on to other things while I found that I loved writing and did not want to stop. I’ve been writing for years now. 
I started drawing and painting in high school! I had a teacher who saw something in my artwork I didn’t know myself and encouraged me to draw and paint. 

What's the hardest thing for you to draw?
People. I have to study faces for a long time and even then I might get them wrong.

How long does it take you to write and illustrate a book? 
That always depends on what is going on around me. Most of my stories I wrote years ago, but I think most of them took a few months to write and even up to eight months for the longer stories. 
My latest published book, The Great Snowball Escapade, is a chapter book for 6 to 8 year olds which I wrote in 1989. The illustrations took about 6 months fitting them in around my family, work, cooking and pets who all come first. 

Do you illustrate other peoples books too or just your own?  
So far I’m only doing my own books because I have about 10 more manuscripts of my own to illustrate. I don’t have plans of doing illustrations for others. 
Why do you write children's books? 
I have many stories to tell for children. I had a fun childhood and many stories have come out of it. 

Do you feel that fewer children are reading today--or is it about the same? 

I think that more children are reading and it has become somewhat important to kids today because of  the use of computers. Kids have to know how to read to use them. Kids wanting to use them to play games and keeping in touch with  their friends as well are looking up information on things they just want to know about. 

When you write, do you plot or do you write by off the top of your head?
I plot all my stories heavily. I write detailed outlines of about four pages and make notes on anything available to scribble on as things come to me. The notes are clipped, stapled or taped in a binder that no one else would want to try and read through. But I wade on through the mess to write out my story on loose leaf paper that is then added to the binder until the story is done. That’s the first draft. Then I type it on the computer and begin again to edit. This can not be changed, I’ve tried. This is what works for me!

Are you currently working on or have plans for future projects?
Yes. Besides the two books I mentioned, I have about four other picture book manuscript already written that I have to do the illustrations for, and a second  young adult novel that needs to be written.
What was your road to publications like?
It wasn’t easy. For many years I submitted my manuscripts to the big publishers getting many rejection letters. Though during all that time I had some short stories and a Chapbook published, some editors were interested in my children’s stories, and I even had an agent for a time, but none of my children’s books made it into print. 
In 2002, I decided to try one of those print services, which for me, was a disaster. I had my publicity plan ready to go but the print service had made a mess of my book and the galley was not ready for printing. I tried working with them to fix it, but the next galley had the same problems and the deal collapsed.  
At that point, POD publishing, or Print On Demand had come along and was affordable to get books into print. That was when I decided I could do the job better myself and I started my own publishing  company, Book Garden Publishing, LLC. 

Why did you pick the publisher that ultimately published your book?
That’s easy. My publisher is me! After years of submitting manuscripts to the big publishers and waiting for the rejection letters I was giving up on getting published.  I had a agent and editors along the way that were interested in my work, but no books published. Then, POD publishing, or
Print On Demand came along and was affordable to get books into print. I decided that was what I was going to do.
I tried one of those print services, which for me, was a disaster. I had my publicity plan ready to go but the print service had made a mess of my book and the galley was not ready for printing. I tried working with them to fix it, but the next galley had the same problems and the deal collapsed.  That was when I decided I could do the job better myself and I started my own publishing  company, Book Garden Publishing, LLC. 

What’s your next project?
I have three book manuscripts I’m working on at the moment. One is a picture book I have done the drawings for and am now digitally painting them in Painter Essentials 4 which I love. It is a story about a boy who wants a puppy but gets a dog that is older. It's what they do together that makes them pals. 
The other book is a young adult novel titled, ‘Christmas in the City.’ This story about two girls, one with a family and one without and both searching for what is important to them. 
And my third project is a sequel to my first children’s picture book, Janoose The Goose which I’m still in the writing stage.

Lots of people make dire predictions about kids & reading & new media. Can you offer one *counter* prediction for where your current readers might be 10 or 15 years from now?
This is a hard one! It’s hard to tell how things will be in the future. I went to the 1960’s Worlds Fair where many predictions where made on the future. Some of their predictions were correction but many were not and some we have surpassed. 
I do know that we are in the e-book reader future now and see that continuing. As for books themselves, I think, they will always be around. I can’t see a world without books, though they may be printing less and/or for special reasons. And with the invention of machines like the Espresso Book Machine where a whole book can be printed on demand, in fifteen minutes!, one at a time, just because you want to have that favorite in your own book library.

Where can members and visitors to Manic Network find out more about you and your work? 
People can find out mostly everything about me on my website: and my blogs: &

Thank you so much Michelle for having me as the first interview on Manic Network. I enjoyed it! 
                                                         ~J.D. Holiday

J.D. Holiday’s two books, 'The Great Snowball Escapade,' a chapter book for 6 to 8 year olds, and ‘Janoose the Goose‘, a children’s picture book, are both available online at B&N and Amazon or order in bookstores as well as order in bookstores everwhere.

‘Janoose the Goose‘ is $10.00 at:

'The Great Snowball Escapade' is $5.99 at:

Read an excerpt from the children's chapter book,

Celebrating Freedom and the Book Launch of: Montezuma Intrigue by Linda Weaver Clarke

The search for Montezuma's treasure, mysterious events, family secrets, and a good-looking rogue in Montezuma Intrigue written by Linda Weaver Clarke
In celebration of our country’s “Freedom” and  Linda Weaver Clarke's Official Book Launch for Montezuma Intrigue, Linda Weaver Clarke is having a

~When a leather parchment of Montezuma’s map is found in great-grandfather Evans’ old chest, April and the twins know this summer is going to be a memorable one. The girls want to search for it but their father is against it for some mysterious reason. With Julia’s help, she and the girls convince John to go on a treasure hunt. Is Montezuma’s treasure a legend or reality? Whatever the case, John insists on keeping their little treasure hunt a secret. If certain people find out about it, the family could be in danger.

Book Give-Away from June 27 – July 7:

Win a mystery/adventure novel with a touch of romance at:
But that’s not all! MS. Clarke has more gifts for you! There will be a drawing for 2 children’s books: The Magic Word by Sherrill S. Cannon and The Donkey and the King by Lorilyn Roberts. If you have already bought Montezuma Intrigue, you can get 4 free e-books (pdf):

1. The Treasure of Isian by Serena Clarke. This is a fantasy/adventure novel with a touch of romance. This story is full of intrigue as you watch Garin and Elani search for the treasure of Isian.

2. Reflections of the Heart, which has 13 chapters of inspirational writings such as: The secret of Happiness, Laughter is the Best Medicine, Parenthood – A Great Responsibility, Equal Partners in Marriage, and Music Soothes the Soul.

3. Writing Your Family Legacy, in which Linda Weaver Clarke will teach you how to write your family history or autobiography. Ms. Clarke travels all over the U.S., teaching this class.

4. The Donkey and the King by Lorilyn Roberts, a beautifully illustrated children’s book about a donkey named Baruch who longs for an easier life beyond the stable.

Linda Weaver Clarke's site:

BOOK REPORT: Lucy's Purple Pullover by author and illustrator Kavitha Punniyamurthi ~ IN A NUT SHELL!

Lucy's Purple Pullover  by
Kavitha Punniyamurthi                       

Lucy gets a Christmas gift that she knew would cause her no end of trouble from the kids at school. It is an oversized purple pullover sweater her aunt knitted for her with what looks to Lucy to be a pink gorilla in the front of it!

Groaning, Lucy thinks she looks like a giant furry grape but she did promise her aunt she would wear it.

The class bully and his friends have a great time spending the day taunting her. Lucy is embarrassed by their teasing and the monkey noises they send her way but she tries to ignore them.

Kavitha Punniyamurthi
On the way home after school, Lucy and her friend, Jenny, are catch unaware by a surprising discovery and a NEW use for the purple Pullover!

If your kids or grandkids have ever received a gift they did not like and know what to do with, Lucy's Purple Pullover will certainly light their imaginations. Kavitha Punniyamurthi's illustrations are charming and she has written a story that shows children compassion and caring for other creatures.

Kavitha's site:

Her blog:

BUY AT Amazon:

Buy AT B&N:


That's The Book Report:  IN A NUT SHELL
JD Holiday

TODAY ON The Writing Mama Show with VS Grenier, Marsha Cook and ME, JD Holiday we'll be talking with Bennet Pomerantz 06/03 6PM EST

Bennet Pomerantz

Blog Talk Radio’s World of Ink Network Show: The Writing Mama with hosts VS Grenier, Marsha Casper Cook and ME, JD Holiday will be chatting with Bennet Pomerantz about censorship and the banning of books, among other things.
Bennet Pomerantz has covered the Audio medium for the last 28 years and has a syndicated newspaper column AUDIOWORLD and Movies of Your Mind in Affaire De Couer Magazine. This is where he highlights his vast and diverse knowledge of the spoken word medium. Bennet also has his weekly column TO BE OR WHAT, which appears in 200 newspapers across the country, as well as his monthly internet self-help column for writers, A PIECE OF MY MIND, which appears in the pages of Night Owl Reviews Magazine. He also is a top 1000 reviewer for show will air live, June 3, 2011 at 6pm EST.
The Writing Mama Show with VS Grenier and Marsha Cook 06/03 by WorldOfInkNetwork Blog Talk Radio



Dan Quixote Boy of Nuevo Jersey
by Shevi Arnold ~ IN A NUT SHELL

Sandra Goldberg and Dan Tyler are best friends but they deal very differently with their problems. Dan is an artist and a dreamer who loves to use his imagination while Sandy is serious and sensible. Dan wants to slay the dragons and sing to the princess. Most of the time, Dan is able to imagine the best outcome. While Sandy wants to take the path well trodden and safe. Sandy would much rather go with the flow even though the flow is always changing with new rules at every turn. With high school just around the corner there will be a whole new set if rules. But is it the best choice for her?

Sandy wants to get good grades, grow up and be a lawyer so that one day she can become a judge who can right wrongs taking on those who hurt others. But Sandy and Dan struggle to fit in and not be bullied.
Bullies are all around them, kids their own age, and adults as well. They are made fun of, pushed around, beaten up, and have lies spread about them in the attempt to ruin their reputations while the bully’s followers laugh.

Dan is called the King of the Geeks. Sandy is called the Invisible Girl and is told that she doesn’t actually exist. How can she not believe it?

With lessons learned from all they have read and have heard, these two friends research their enemies and  learn their weaknesses as they try to change things for the better, not only for themselves, but for others around them. Will they find that they are not too small to make a difference? That the pen is mightier than the sword or would the gleaming sword swing down and smash the pen as you might think?
Image of "Shevi Arnold"With Dan Quixote Boy of Nuevo Jersey author Shevi Arnold gives her young readers essential lessons for life and brings new interest to some very important literary classics.
Shevi's World
Buy at Amazon for Kindle
Shevi Arnold's Site

That's Dan Quixote Boy of Nuevo Jersey:
~ J.D. Holiday

The John 3:16 Marketing Network Facebook

MAY 24, 8-9PM EST!

The John 3:16 Marketing Network Facebook Page HERE!!!!!!!
If you sign up to join the John 3:16 Marketing Network on Tuesday, May 24, ONE DAY ONLY, you can download free egifts including the following:


Roaches That Eat Your Best-Seller Dreams: Part Three of Six

Roaches That Eat Your Best-Seller Dreams
Part Three of Six  BY Guest Blogger  Lorilyn Roberts
John 3:16 Marketing Network
Many years ago my ex-husband and I drove to Gainesville, Florida, from Augusta, Georgia, when he was finishing medical school and applying to residency programs. We had brought along our dog, Shelley, and it was dusk after the long eight-hour drive before we arrived at the motel.
As I headed into the bathroom exhausted, I was aghast to discover the ugliest creepy crawler I had ever seen—a huge, brown roach with antlers (okay, they were feelers, but they looked like antlers), crawling around on spiny, hairy legs, and the worst part—he turned his head and stared at me with dark beady eyes.
I ran out of the hotel room screaming at my husband, “I saw a roach.” After calming me down, we went back in so he could murder the invader. But the roach had scampered away. Of course, I insisted that we find him. As we examined the room in minute detail, we started seeing roaches everywhere—on the walls, on the floor, in the bathroom, crawling on the bed—I stood there and cried, “I can’t stay here.”

It was a football weekend, and if you know anything about Florida Gator football, you know that means almost every motel is full. We went from motel to motel for hours after driving all day to find one that had a vacancy that would accept dogs.

While my husband was contemplating an important interview for his residency, I was facing the horror of sleeping in a roach-infested hotel room. It was many years after that experience before I could stay in a hotel and not do the standard “roach check” – inside the bed sheets, under the bed, the dark bathroom, the closet—I would turn out the lights after I got into bed and then five minutes later turn them back on again to make sure one hadn’t come out of hiding.
As I learned later, because my husband did accept that position at the University of Florida, there are many species of roaches besides those big ones. There are little ones, ones that fly, ones that hide in dark places, and ones that fall into the water while you take a bath (I would know).
What does a roach-infested hotel have to do with book marketing? When my husband finished medical school, I had huge hopes and dreams. I had spent the first five years of our marriage supporting him while he was in medical school in a job which was less than satisfying. I couldn’t wait to take the next step toward my dream of earning that elusive college degree, which didn’t include meeting a roach upon arrival.

The roaches of life have a way of catching us off-guard. They appear out of nowhere when we least expect them, and usually at the worst opportune time. Recently I had my one-another group over for prayer and put out a nice spread of food. While enjoying the sweet fellowship of Christian believers, one of my guests pointed out a large handsome roach crawling across the floor toward the table of food. That pang of embarrassment at an unexpected moment, we have all been there. I ran and fetched the roach spray. Such is life in Florida for those folks who live in Canada and the hinterlands.
As authors, we hope that story we have been mulling around in our heads becomes the next best-seller. But what about those marketing roaches? Have you met one? They are those “horrid things” that threaten to make an even bigger mess of your best-seller dreams. They rob you of sleep, steal your money, destroy relationships, and take away your peace of mind, filling you with worry, apprehension, and doubt.
I encountered my first roach in marketing when I went to a writer’s conference in the Southeast. “No one reads memoirs” several people commented. Many attendees ignored me when they found I wasn’t a VIP—an editor, agent, or well-known author. Others sounded judgmental with comments like, “Did anyone edit your book?
I came home and wanted to crawl back into my little cubbyhole and forget all about marketing. The experience squelched my creativity and motivation in one fell swoop. Even the proposal that I spent several days working on that an agent asked me to send him following the conference was never looked at.
I’ve learned there are a lot of roaches in the publishing business, and I have by no means met them all. On the forum, some of my fellow authors have shared some of their experiences with other kinds of roaches that I didn’t even know existed.
My first step to a healthier mindset was to quit focusing on all the things I couldn’t do or control and figure out what I could do. I found I could do a lot more than I thought if I just took the time to learn how and wasn’t so impatient. Your roaches are probably different from mine, but whatever they are, they will handicap you more than you realize unless you deal with them. You will be able to do more than you think if you have a teachable spirit, a positive attitude, and invest some time in helping others. When you help others, you are really helping yourself. How? I don’t know how, except it’s one of the laws of nature that seems to work itself into equations that have eternal value. God sees it all and rewards us in ways we least expect it.
I had to go back to my faith and recommit my dreams. There is nothing anybody can do to prevent God’s perfect will from being accomplished. No one has any power over my mental state except if I willingly relinquish that power to them. In the process of adversity and difficulties, God makes us strong. Nothing is ever wasted without serving a useful purpose.
Nevertheless, it’s important to be aware of the more common kinds of roaches in marketing. A couple of months after my book was published, I bought two pricey email blast services—the kind where companies send out book announcements to their email lists, including subscribers, libraries and bookstores. Beware—these pricy roaches in the end were worthless. I sure wish I had that $600 back.
There are some other not-so-subtle roaches in marketing—laziness. If you are not willing or you don’t want to work hard at marketing, I hope you have some influential contacts. You’ve probably heard this before but it’s worth repeating: Nobody cares about your book. Your job is to make other people care. How do you do that? Through building relationships (I won’t say anymore about this for now, but will address this again in the sixth article).
For those who have day jobs, kids, school, and major commitments outside of writing, I feel your pain. And this is where my concept of “process” comes in. I must focus on what I can do and leave the outcome in God’s hands.

The roach of discouragement: Quit complaining and ask God to help you. The John 3:16 Marketing Network is all about encouragement and lifting each other up. If you are hoping that “best-seller” status will bring you happiness, it won’t. There is truly nothing “out there” that will fulfill you. Only your relationship with God, family, and friends can bring you happiness.
Now that we have dealt with some major roaches in marketing, let’s look at some things you can do to start marketing effectively. Before we begin a best-seller program, we need to look at what goes into launching a book, focusing on Amazon.
What you must do—long before you approach anyone to help you. We’ve had authors come into the network who did not have these things in place. Without fixing them, their book launch was doomed to failure.

1. Make sure your book has been edited completely—no ifs, ands, or buts. In addition to a professional editor, ask twenty people to read your book and look for things that are wrong, unclear, or misleading—from grammatical errors to content issues to structural problems. I guarantee you, honest people will find the problems—even though your mother will tell you it’s wonderful the way it is. All the networking and promoting in the world won’t salvage a poorly written book.

2. Make sure your book is not overpriced. Nobody will buy a book that is too expensive. There are unscrupulous companies out there that will overprice your book—roaches feeding on your desire to get published that care nothing about making your book salable. They will take your money up front and offer empty promises. Don’t fall for it. Be wise. Remember the Proverb, “A fool and his money are soon parted.” Go to Amazon and compare your book with others of similar content and length. Make your book cheaper if it’s possible (and some publishing companies do listen. I asked that the price of one of my books be reduced and they did it).

3. In my opinion, e-books are the wave of the future. Price e-books lower and you will sell more copies. Remember, you must be competitive to sell books. Not only publish your book on Kindle, but in other e-formats as well, including Nook and Sony. Smashwords is an excellent service for publishing all types of e-books.

4. Get as many reviews of your book as possible. If you are an unknown author, you should have at least 5 four/five-star reviews before asking others to help you. We ask for two reviews on the John 3:16 Marketing Network now, but we will probably increase it to five soon.

5. Here is a screen shot of my reviews for Children of Dreams. Reviews are important—both good ones and bad ones. My worst review was one three-star review. Why? The reviewer thought I had too much Bible content. I thought it was actually a good review—after all, it’s an accurate assessment of my book for someone who is thinking about reading it. The reader will know what he is getting before he buys it. That’s what reviews are for.
6. Take advantage of all the functionalities of to market your book; i.e., the inside-the-book program. It allows others to sample your writing before buying your book.

7. Upload a nice photograph of yourself for your Avatar. While I love those goofy animal shots, I am not so sure if they pass the screen test for promoting oneself as a professional.

8. You will notice on Amazon all of the author names are hyperlinked to something called an Author Page. These are set up through the Amazon Author Central portion of Amazon. The Author Page will show your profile, bibliography, published books, a book trailer if you upload one, and a link to the Amazon Associates Program. The Amazons Associate Program will allow you to sell Amazon books on your website or blog. All these things can sound very intimidating at first and overwhelming, but if you take it one step at a time, anyone can learn how to use these tools effortlessly. Because they are technical in nature rather than creative, all an author has to do is switch to the other side of his brain, which is where most adults spend their life anyway. Again, I repeat, anybody can do these things.
9. Make sure you list your book correctly in the subcategories on Amazon, going from the largest category to the smallest. It is more difficult to reach best-seller status in a huge category like fiction than in the subcategory Christian Romance Fiction. The biggest roach-killer for the John 3:16 Marketing Network authors has been not optimizing the best-seller categories to enhance the probability of reaching best-seller status on book launches.
10. Again, don’t let the laziness roach eat at you. Persistence pays off.

11. Don’t let the discouragement roach take away your dreams. As long as there is life in you, give it your best shot. Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you will land among the stars.

12. Start a blog and post to it as often as you can. To be a member of the John 3:16 Marketing Network, you must have an active blog. Write about what stirs you, interview other authors on your blog, review books, and post your reviews on your blog, Good Reads, Amazon, and other social networking sites.

13. Build up your Facebook contacts, Twitter followers, and create a Fan Page on Facebook.

14. Seek out positive people to interact with on the Internet. Avoid roach people—those who are self-centered, negative, bitter, or judgmental. They will pull you down into a funk you may never get out of.

15. Enjoy the journey. If you feel overwhelmed, pull out the roach spray. What do you need to kill? Examine what you are doing and consider what isn’t working. Know yourself, your limitations, and your strengths. Focus on process, not on outcome, and ask God to give you wisdom.

16. Finally, don’t give up. Join the John 3:16 Marketing Network today and experience the blessing of sharing your marketing journey with others.

From Wednesday, May 18th through Tuesday, May 24th, we are hosting a membership launch featuring some of our members in a blog tour. Our Facebook party will include many events which you won’t want to miss. Mark your calendar—Tuesday, May 24, 8-9pm EST, when you will have an opportunity to win at least eight free books. During that hour, we will have members online to answer your questions, and we will be offering tutorials on how to do some technical operations for internet marketing. These tutorials/tips will include:
1. How to upload a .jpeg to Facebook/blog
2. How to resize a .jpeg and load it Facebook/blog
3. How to copy and paste widgets on websites
4. How to set up a twitter account.

The information will be useful whether you apply to the John 3:16 Marketing Network or not.
In addition to an opportunity to win a lot of books, on Tuesday, May 24th, if you submit an application to join the John 3:16 Marketing Network, you will be able to download free e-gifts
For more information or to submit an application to the John 3:16 Marketing Network, please visit my website at Lorilyn Roberts.
Again, Tuesday, May 24, will be the membership launch day. If you summit your application on Tuesday, May 24th, you will be able to download free e-gifts offered by some of our authors.

Today on our Blog Tour we will meet Dr. Robert McGinnis.
The Author Jeopardy Question to win Dr. McGinnis’ Young Adult book, Paradise is Where You Find It during the Facebook Party on Tuesday, May 24, 8-9pm EST, will come from our discussion below:
Kids read so much garbage these days, how about a YA book with clean language, no sex or extreme violence, a book that has adventures galore, and teaches values for life. Joy, my twelve-year-old daughter, calls Dr. McGinnis’ Books “Fun and Thrilling to Read!”
Question: Dr. McGinnis, you are one of the most complex, yet simple and fascinating authors I have met. You have a beautiful family with lots of children and grandchildren, and from what I have seen, two passions: Writing and family. In the midst of the joys and pleasures that those blessings bring you, you try to figure out the complexities of how God created us. What are two things you could share with us to help us know you even better?
Dr. Robert McGinnis: There are two things about life that I have always loved most.
1: Each of us is an individual and completely and totally different from anyone else, and there is no one exactly like us and never will be.

2: We are just like everyone else even with our differences, and we are totally and irreversibly exactly like everyone else.

If you can understand this, then you are way ahead of the game.

It can't be explained, it has to be felt, but let me give an unsatisfactory example. Every person is paddling a small boat every which way they choose while floating on a huge sea in a universe going in a preplanned direction of which the small boats have no control.

That doesn't do it, but try to think of the insignificance of all the smalls and the power of the large.

If that is not good, try this: No matter how hard you try, you are going somewhere over which you have no control at all and everyone else is going, too.

Well, I guess I will leave this for some of you to explain to me. I am trying to understand how I got here, where I am going, and what does it all mean?
Don’t forget, during our Author Jeopardy Game, you will have an opportunity to win Tuesday night, Paradise is Where You Find it , May 24, 8-9pm EST during our Facebook party at
Saturday we will be featuring What is a Book Launch Anyway—and Slowly, Please, I am New at All of This, Part Four, from the John 3:16 Marketing Network. Our guest author will be Elaine Marie Cooper hosted by Janet Eckles (on her website).

If you missed the previous postings on this blog tour, here is the information which hyperlinks:

Wednesday, May 18
Location: Lorilyn Roberts
Featured Author: Jay Miller
Featured Book: Sal and Sally
Featured Author: Sherrill Cannon
Featured Book: The Magic Word
Featured Article: Are There Secret Formulas or Short Cuts for Making the Best-Seller List on Amazon-Part One of Six on the John 3:16 Marketing Network

Thursday, May 19
Location: Paulette Harper
Featured Author: Dr. Ray W. Lincoln
Featured Book: Innerkinetics™

Featured Article: What it Takes to Have a Winning Team - Part Two of Six, John 3:16 Marketing Network

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