Monday, January 31, 2011


Do you know a young, aspiring writer? Then that person needs to attend DevoFest!

I’ve known the founders of Christian Devotions Ministries and DevoKids for several years now, and this is an outstanding opportunity for young writers!

 From their website:

Kids! Ignite your creative spirit with DevoFest! This powerful three-day conference (June 17,18,19, 2011 ) will encourage youth ages 7-17 to discover and develop their interest and talents in film, print and public speaking.

As part of the DevoFest writers’ contest, one lucky youth will receive a book contract!
Beginning Friday afternoon, teens, tweens, middle-graders and younger will mingle with and learn from professional actors and best-selling authors in an intimate classroom setting.

Workshops include: novel writing, graphic-novel creation, acting, film production, script-writing, story telling, the production of musical videos, creative cooking, drama, science exploration, and suspense-filled adventure walks where youth will explore the scary and fun facts about nature. (Bring your bear whistle!)

Held on the grounds of the LifeWay Ridgecrest Conference Center in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, this sprawling 1,300 acre campus offers hiking trails, scenic brooks and nature walks.

DevoFest has a program fee of only $85 per student, which includes all sessions and breaks. A meal package is also available for on-campus dining covering all meals from Friday evening, through Sunday lunch. Convenient, on-campus lodging is available at Ridgecrest. Deluxe Room Rate: $90 per night, per room and kids stay free when accompanied by an adult.

Part of the Christian Devotions Ministries, this event will take place in Ridgecrest, NC. (Just outside of Asheville.)

For more information on the workshops and to sign up for this great event, visit DevoFest

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Promoting a Book with Author Michelle McLean!

Today please welcome author Michelle McLean!

She’s here to talk about what she is doing to promote her latest book. Homework Helpers: Essays and Term Papers.

Nowadays, promoting your own book, especially when it comes to non-fiction, is something every author is going to need to do. Publishers do help (for instance, my publisher hired a publicity firm to work with me) but a lot of promotion responsibility rests on the author’s shoulders.

There are a lot of things you can do; some you are probably already doing (like blogging) and some that are fun things you can do once you have a book on the way. Since my book, Homework Helpers: Essays and Term Papers, is geared toward students, teachers, and homeschooling parents, I try to connect with those readers as often as possible. Here are some of the things I’ve been doing to help promote my book:

* This blog tour :)

* I created an Author Page on Facebook, Amazon, and Goodreads

* I began promoting my upcoming book through my blog and website and focused on building my readership

* I’ve printed bookmarks and postcards featuring my book to leave on the counters of my local library and bookstore – and I recruited as many friends and family members as I could to do so as well. I will also be mailing the postcards and press kits (see next bullet) to schools and other institutions that might be interested in my book

* You can create press kits to send to newspapers, radio stations, and any other venue that might either plug or be interested in your book

* I spoke with my local bookstore about making appearances and will appear with my book at their bi-annual teacher convention

- Any appearance opportunities you can find will be a great help in promoting your book. Whether it be visiting schools or speaking at conventions, these are a great way to get yourself and your book known.

- Online appearances like Twitter chats, blog and website guest posts, Skype chats, forum chats, and any other venue where you can connect with your audience are great

*I even have family members wearing T-shirts with a picture of my cover to their English classes and Disneyland :)

Bottom line – connect with your audience. Let them know you have a book they need :)

Homework Helpers: Essays and Term Papers is a fun, user-friendly book that guides the reader, step by step, through writing a dozen different types of essays, including the dreaded SAT essay. Using straightforward, plain English, this book shows the reader exactly what they need to do, from start to finish, and includes rough draft, edited, and final draft versions of every type of essay discussed. This book also provides chapters that include tips and instruction on researching, proofreading, and citations.

To purchase Homework Helpers: Essays and Term Papers:
Barnes and Noble

Michelle McLean is a writer and the Chief Editorial Consultant for PixelMags, LLC. In addition to her non-fiction work, Michelle writes YA historical novels and other children’s books. If she's not editing, reading or chasing her kids, she can usually be found in a quiet corner working on her next book.
Visit Michelle at her website, blog, Twitter, or Facebook page.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Top Ten Countdown Music Blogfest

Hosted by Alex J Cavanaugh - visit his site for a complete list of participants!

I love music! Music inspires me and sets my mood. It inspires my writing and my main characters all have theme songs.

For me, this was an easy blogfest, as my favorite songs are on a series of "Favorites" CDs and all in order. All I had to do was grab the first disc! It's been a few years since I updated these discs (although my top songs haven't changed in years) so I decided to make the last song on my list a wild card pick of a more recent song.

Thus I give my Tope Ten Favorite Songs:

1 - Last Chance by Shooting Star
This has been my most favorite song in the world since 1981, becoming my mantra, and I doubt that will ever change.
"This could be your last chance
To believe in yourself
Your last chance
To yell
Your last chance
To be good to yourself
Your last chance
To drink from life's well."

2 - Icehouse by Icehouse
Another song from 1981. The very first time I heard this haunting melody, I fell in love. (Ironic, because as the lyrics state, "There's no love inside the Icehouse."

3 - Voices of Babylon by The Outfield
This song packs so much energy, and I've always loved the video. It inspired a dystopian story I doubt I'll ever write. Besides, the idea isn't as fresh now as it was back in 1989...

4 - Learning To Fly by Pink Floyd
Floyd has always been a favorite band and I just love the strength of this song. It came at just the right time in my life.

5 - Empty Rooms by Gary Moore
Both studio versions of this song will tear at your heart, and I've always envisioned a clear, cold autumn day shrouded in sorrow. The live version is perhaps the saddest thing you will ever hear...

6 - Chronologie 4 by Jean-Michel Jarre
If I had to name a favorite artist, it would be new age composer Jarre. His music is so unique and this song crackles with boundless energy!

7 - 10538 Overture by Electric Light Orchestra
ELO was the first band I ever loved. I collected all of their albums and the first time I heard this 1971 tune, I connected. Very moving song.

8 - Bringing on the Heartbreak by Def Leppard
Yes, it's overplayed and cliche, but this song cemented my love for Def Leppard and is still my favorite.

9 - Pride by U2
Just so much passion and emotion in this tune!

10 - Get Some by Chevelle
A dozen songs came to mind for my last, more current pick. I love Chevelle and selected this song for it energy and strength.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Significant Other Blogfest

Today is the Significant Other Blogfest, hosted by D L Hammons and Talli Roland!

I was a last-minute signup, as I didn’t want to pressure my husband into participating in my blogging world. So I was simply amazed and touched when he gave me this post…

“How to best describe my wife? The adorable ball of energy or the cutest Energizer bunny ever! Diane is a marvel to me. The attribute that I've always admired in my wife is her dedication to a goal. I had no doubt when she began writing "The Circle of Friends" that she would make it happen. And it's been fun watching her mature as a writer along the way. There have been many hurdles along the way, but Diane handled them like an Olympic track star. I can honestly say that quitting was never an option. Diane takes hard work to levels I never thought possible. I wish I had half that focused drive and determination that she possesses. A bright, shining star and the love of my life, I will always be her biggest fan!”

Thanks, honey - you’re my hero!

Please visit D L Hammons and Talli Roland’s sites for the rest of the participants!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Book Trailers, Images, Music, and Copyrights

Before I get to the copyright issues where trailers are concerned, I wanted to give you an update on the book trailer contest.

All winners were to send me the address of a local library (to receive the donation of books) as part of the prize.

Third place winner, Mary Montague Sikes, selected West Point High School in West Point, VA.

First place winner, Alex J Cavanaugh, selected the Fayetteville Public Library in Fayetteville, NC.

For a full description of the contest results, go HERE

And in viewing all of these trailers, something came to mind - online images, music, text, and copyrights.

Actually, I need to give credit to my husband. We were discussing book trailers and how some authors create their own by using online images and music. He made this observation - “I wonder how those people would feel if someone used their writing to promote a product without asking permission?”

When someone does that or copies our work and calls it his own, we writers call that plagiarism. But the copyright law applies to music and images, too. When someone uses (without permission) an image, photo, or musical piece (one he simply ‘found’ on the internet) to advertise, it’s a violation of copyright. We in the art world call it THEFT.

This problem has grown with the internet. Many people post images online. However, this does not give others the right to use those images without permission. After many years of book and speaking promotions, not to mention over twenty years as a professional photographer, I am very conscious of the copyright laws. (Which is why the images I post here on my blog are all from my own stock collection.)

My advice for writers and authors - when considering images and music for your book trailer (or book cover, website, blog header, advertisement, etc.) be smart about it. Get permission! You may have to pay for the image or song piece, too. Sites that claim to offer free images usually don’t, so be prepared to pay a royalty fee. Better to acquire written permission of fair use and pay for the image or music than to risk a lawsuit.

Besides, how would you feel?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

A New Twist on Book Promotion

Today I welcome author Jamieson Wolf! Jamieson and I ‘met’ online several years ago and I’ve always admired his honesty, determination, and creativity - not to mention the fact the man writes like a maniac! I swear he gets an extra ten hours a day that passes by the rest of us.

I asked Jamieson to elaborate on some of this online promoting success and a new twist that just might spur your imagination...

The Scent of Success
Jamieson Wolf

I’ve had a lot of readers ask me why I decided to design my own cologne. They seem confused by it. But to me, it seems like a natural extension of my words. But I’m getting ahead of myself, let me explain.

I have been a writer for many years and have done everything and then some to promote my work. I’ve done chats and interviews, blogging, web sites and mini-sites. I’ve done book trailers, soundtracks, character Tweets, Facebook fan pages, contests and give aways and free ebooks.

I’ve done blog tours, physical tours, speaking engagements, had my work published in magazines and anthologies. I did guest posts, podcasts, press releases. And all for nought. Well, that’s not true. The promotion did help. But after a while, I began to wonder if there was anything else I could do to promote my work having already done everything I could think of.

I have always loved cologne. Growing up, my mother always told me that a boy has two things they must always do: ensure they obey hygiene and ensure they smell good. Thankfully the second piece of advice has given me a love of scent.

Cologne is used for more than making us smell good. It expresses how we are feeling, enraptures a romantic love interest, makes people turn and pay attention (hopefully because the cologne smells good rather than like a dead skunk). And the same can be applied to books.

When the first novel in my Hard Series (aptly titled HARD) became a Number One Best Seller (I just love telling people that), I knew I had to do something different to mark this occasion. So I decided on making my own cologne for men that would help to promote my work at the same time.

Working with the designer, I was able to create a scent that had hints of lavender, coffee and amber. The result is a scent that is alluring, engaging, light and spicy. And the response has been incredible.

I’ve gone through two shipments already and have been shipping out more. At first, I was baffled by the cologne’s success but then one reader summed it up perfectly for me: It’s like you’ve captured the scent of romance from The Hard Series and put it in a bottle.” She said. “And what brings a book to life more than a scent that exists outside of our imagination?”

I couldn’t put it better myself.

I’ll always be looking for new ways to promote (QR Codes being a recent fascination) but thus far, my Hard Cologne is by far the most successful. I’ll always be looking for new ways to promote.

But thankfully I’ll smell good while promoting!

Words that satisfy every need…

Monday, January 10, 2011

Book Trailer Contest Winners!

The votes have been counted!

Based upon the following criteria:
Perfect length
Perfect amount of information
A great teaser (like a movie trailer)
Makes you want to read the book
(And the support of fans and family)

I announce the winners of my Book Trailer Contest for 2010-2009 trailers:

With 19% of the votes…
Winning the donation of my YA series to the public or high school library of her choice…

Night Watch by Mary Montague Sikes

With 25% of the votes…
Winning the donation of my series PLUS a dozen other new books to the public library of his choice.

A Note from an Old Acquaintance by Bill Walker

With a whopping 46% of the votes…
Winning the donation of my YA series PLUS a $25.00 Amazon gift card…

CassaStar by Alex J Cavanaugh

Why was CassaStar voted the best trailer overall?

Here’s a comment from one of the voters -
“…his publisher put money into this trailer. The rest are just clips and pics put together with music and subtitles.”

In this business, quality and uniqueness stands out!

Congratulations to the winners! Please contact me - wolferock AT earthlink DOT net

And thanks to all who voted and participated!

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Book Trailer Contest Voting - Final Round!

Final round of voting in the book trailer contest!

We are down to seven now. Select ONE trailer as the overall best. (One vote per person and no voting for yourself.)

Remember, you are judging the TRAILER, not the BOOK, AUTHOR, or GENRE!

Judge the trailers on:

Perfect length
Perfect amount of information
A great teaser (like a movie trailer)
Makes you want to read the book

The voting widget at the bottom. Please view all of the videos before casting your vote. (Since everyone seems to prefer short trailers, it shouldn’t take too long!) No voting for your own trailer! Voting ends at 9 pm on Sunday, January 9. Winners will be announced Monday, January 10th.

3rd - The donation of my YA series to the public or high school library of your choice.
2nd - The donation of my series PLUS almost twenty other new book to the public library of your choice.
1st - The donation of my series PLUS a $25.00 Amazon gift card.

1 - CassaStar by Alex J Cavanaugh (October 2010)

2 - Three Daves by Nicki Elson (February 2010)

3 - A Note from an Old Acquaintance by Bill Walker (June 2009)

4 - Fire and Cross by Enid Wilson (December 2010)

5 - Dead is Just a Rumor by Marlene Perez (August 2010)

6 - Dead Politician by Robin Spano (September 2010)

7 - Night Watch by Mary Montague Sikes

Voting closed!

Winners announced Monday morning.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Book Trailer Contest Voting Begins!

Let the voting begin!

Since there are SO many entries, we’re going to do this in two rounds.

Round One will be from Jan. 1 - 4. Ends at 9pm EST tonight! The top seven will advance to the final round. (Voting will be Jan 5 - 9.)

Voting Rules:

Select the top THREE best book trailers. Only one set of votes per person. No voting for yourself. If you’ve entered a trailer, you need to be one of my blog followers in order to advance to round two. And please only select THREE trailers. (Honor system here!)

Judge the trailers on:

Perfect length
Perfect amount of information
A great teaser (like a movie trailer)
Makes you want to read the book

Remember, you are judging the TRAILER, not the BOOK!

The voting widget is just to the right in the sidebar. Please view all of the videos before casting your vote.

Happy viewing!

1 - Gringa: A Contradictory Girlhood by Melissa Hart (October 2009)

2 - CassaStar by Alex J Cavanaugh (October 2010)

3 - River Passage by p.m.terrell (Fall 2009)

4 - Dead is Just a Rumor by Marlene Perez (August 2010)

5 - Dead Politician by Robin Spano (September 2010)

6 - A Note from an Old Acquaintance by Bill Walker (June 2009)

7 - 24 Hours London' Guide Book: Top Tips from London's Only Hour-by-Hour Guide By Marsha Moore (June 2009)

8 - Fire and Cross by Enid Wilson (December 2010)

9 - Dream Man by Nancy J. Parra (January 2010)

10 - Night Watch by Mary Montague Sikes

11 - Three Daves by Nicki Elson (February 2010)

12 - Freezer Burn by Gayle Carline (July 2009)

13 - Bella by Steve Piacente (August 2010)

14 - In Celebration of Elastic Waistbands by Christee Gabour Atwood (October 2010)

15 - Leaving Home, Going Home, Returning Home by Jason Alster (December 2009)

16 - The Seventh Blessing by Melissa Buell (December 2010)

17 - Santa's Village Gone Wild! by Christopher Dearman (November 2010)

18 - Game Boys by Rochelle H. Ragnarok (November 2010)

19 - Dystopia: What is to be done? by Gary Potter (November 2010)

20 - American Smile by Cody Young (November 2009)

3rd - The donation of my YA series to the public or high school library of your choice.
2nd - The donation of my series PLUS almost twenty other new book to the public library of your choice.
1st - The donation of my series PLUS a $25.00 Amazon gift card.