Sunday Book Review – Allow Yourself To Be A Better Person – Balroop Singh

Book reviews by D.G. Kaye

Today’s book review is about a wonderful book, Allow Yourself To Be A Better Person by talented and rich in wisdom, author and friend, Balroop Singh. This is a book full of wonderful inspiration and with help from the author’s guidance teaches us to be inspired with reminders of gratitude and how to erase the negativity within ourselves and live in positive light.

Allow Yourself To Be A Better Person by Balroop Singh

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Do you think you are a good person? Would you like to meet your better self? Welcome to the vast vistas that this book unravels before you by highlighting the shaded areas that could never get your attention.

Enhancement of personality is a long process, which starts only when we acknowledge the need for it. Often we detest looking at our imperfections and if somebody is professionally successful, the thought doesn’t even strike.
This book enlightens you about the goodness, which lies dormant within us till we make an effort to explore it. It exhorts you to introspect and accept natural human failings. It guides you towards the metamorphosis that could make you an endearing personality.


My 5 Star Review:


Singh shares her knowledge and wisdom with us in this book of personal growth, showing us how to develop inner stability, self-love, self-esteem and self-love by learning to turn the negatives within ourselves into positives. These are the first steps we take which lead us to fulfilling new avenues.

Often the simpler things we often take for granted are God’s greatest gifts to us. The author demonstrates how to overcome emotions such as anger and arrogance and why it’s important to let go of past hurts while showing us the way to find forgiveness. The sum of our experiences build our personalities, but negative emotions within us can be changed. This book is a wonderful self-help book in the journey to finding fulfillment within. You can improve your life with Singh’s gentle reminders for your soul to thrive in harmony.


Visit Balroop Singh’s author page on Amazon to view all her inspiration books!

Guest Author Feature – Doris Heilmann of

Featured author of the week

I am thrilled to introduce you all to Doris Heilmann, author and publisher at 111 Publishing. Doris is the ‘woman behind the curtain’ at Many of you who like to stay current with what’s happening in the publishing world may be familiar with Doris and her most informative website where she contributes myriad of articles on current events in marketing for authors.


Doris is a freelance writer, writing coach and author of several books on book marketing. I recently wrote a book review on another book of hers, a most informative guide for writers, Book Marketing on a Shoestring, and today we’re going to get to know a little more about Doris and her latest book, 111 Tips to get Free Book Reviews, as well as learn more about Amazon and reading and writing reviews.


Doris Heilmann - 111 Publishing


About Doris:

Doris-Maria Heilmann has more than 30 years experience in writing, (German and English) publishing and book marketing (read also: Writing essays was what she liked most in school: “A chocolate bar was the first prize in an essay writing contest that I won when I was in grade 4 back in Europe. This was 50 years ago and I barely remember the exact topic, but it had something to do with fire, as I received the prize from a huge guy in full firefighter regalia.”

Doris started her writing and teaching career in the field of commercial aviation and pilot training. She published not only several books, but also her own flight and travel magazine “USA BY AIR”, which was a great success.


Magazine and Book Publisher
She learned a lot in this role during these years as a magazine publisher-editor-art-director-marketing-manager and later started also to self-publish (in German-speaking countries), mostly technical and non-fiction books in the world of aviation.


E-Publishing and Book Marketing
At Algonquin College in Ottawa, Canada, she studied e-publishing and marketing, including web and graphic design, professional photography, writing for the web, editing, investigative journalism, social media and e-marketing. As publishing evolves at a fast pace, Doris studies constantly the digital and print publishing market, and writes about news in these fields.


Seminars / Workshops / Public Speaking
Her seminars and workshops (on- and offline, see: and her consulting service cover among others: Publishing strategies, publishing contracts, print and digital production, pre-publishing, book design, establishing an author platform and brand, book marketing and promotional campaigns, social media as well as book and e-book distribution.

 111 Tips for Free Book Reviews



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111 Tips to Get FREE Book Reviews provides authors with more than 1,200 direct links to book bloggers and reviewers – clickable links to each website! This valuable guide book by Doris-Maria Heilmann provides authors on almost 200 pages with all aspects of finding, following, and networking with reviewers and influential bloggers.

Many important steps, such as researching which genre book reviewers prefer and how to connect with them, or how to get media reviews will help you successfully market your books. How to prepare professional ARC’s (advance review copies) in order to get reviews before your book’s launch, is described in detail.

Dozens of other valuable insider information, such as how to get endorsements for a nonfiction book, how to leverage your reviews, how to deal with negative book reviews, why join reader communities and plan book blog tours – including tips from bestselling authors and the publishing industry will help you to get lots of free book reviews.


Welcome Doris, it’s a treat to have you here today to share some of your expert marketing knowledge with us and give us some insight about your latest book.


You are a walking wealth of publishing information. Please tell us what types of articles we can expect to find on your website,


There are actually two websites with this name: and the “old” one as well as one, which is not entirely about publishing, but more about books worth reading.

I like to write in my blogs about everything books, publishing and book promotion, as well as the traps in publishing, authors need to avoid. Most of my advice is on how to use one’s writing skills to promote books: writing not only books, but also shorter works – and to cross-promote.

Another of my favored blog topics is how to leverage everything you write and to make money with writing (other than books), which is the title of an upcoming  at Amazon – again with lots of direct links.
Furthermore: advice on pre-publication steps for ebooks, audio and print books, distribution providers, selling from an author’s website, and how to get titles into libraries or bookstores are covered in many useful articles.
Social media and all aspects around it, such as how to connect your social media accounts, as well as how to get funding, grants, fellowships and free writers retreats, even free photos, music and other goodies can be found on the blog posts.


What inspired you to go from aviation magazine writing to becoming an author of all things publishing?


I was a commercial pilot and flight instructor in Europe, and wrote for several aviation magazines. The largest of them was acquired by one of the big five publishers, and the first thing they did, was to shorten the revenue payments for all freelancers. So, I decided to publish my own magazine instead of writing “for peanuts”. It was a mixture of aviation training articles, aviation news and leisure travel with small airplanes in North America. Most subscribers and magazine retailers were in Europe. I also took an assignment to write a flight simulator instruction manual (later sold to Microsoft).

As I was overwhelmed with questions from pilots how to manage flight training and to become an airline pilot, I wrote a book (in German language) about the “Dream Job Pilot?” – which is now in its fourth edition and will be available as an ebook next month on Amazon. I also wrote a book about “Seaplane Flying” and “Flying Communities”.

Due to better book sales channels and a targeted readership, I decided to start my own publishing company and to invest in the cost of large print runs. I also had the experience of magazine publishing and print promotion, so it turned out very successful.

With the advent of ebooks and moving in 2001 to North America, I needed to learn more: I went back to college for two years to learn about e-publishing, investigative journalism, photography, web design and graphic, improved my English (which is still not perfect), and since then I am constantly studying everything about digital publishing.

When I discovered that many new writers struggled with self-publishing, I used my marketing experience and wrote many useful blog articles (almost 2,000 in the meantime) about all aspects of the publishing process and book marketing. My local library asked me if I could not offer a workshop for writers, which I happily did. From there I facilitated many more – from the north of Canada to Southern Florida and on the West Coast, as well as consultation via Skype and one-on-one in-person.
I am right now about to publish the fifth how-to guide book (and work hard on the sixth) about topics that are helpful and interesting for writers.



How do you manage to do research, write so many informative articles, conduct seminars, and publish books?


As older you get as more time you have : )  and I do not waste time watching TV… For me, all work I do is at the same time my full-time hobby and I like to read, write and talk about everything books and publishing. I am in the lucky position to get up in the morning and can’t wait to hit my computer desk. For the future I would like to travel more overseas and write travelogues, becoming a full-time traveler and “blogging from paradise”.


I know youre also a great advocate for authors. You wrote an article not too long ago titled Amazon USA vs the Rest of the World. Whats your feeling about Amazon getting on board with fair practice to even the playing field for all authors in all the countries they distribute to?


Amazon became big with the www – the worldwide web. But in many regards they are acting like a mom-and-pop store. Not seeing trade as a global benefit. What they don’t realize is that they shoot themselves in the foot: If book reviews would be added universally to all Amazon platforms and for example, readers in the UK could see a review from a US or Canadian reader, sales of this book in other countries would improve – making more money for Amazon.

Some of these fair and smart practices we all wish, are requiring to think and maybe to spend a bit money or employee resources to establish better conditions. I am just mentioning the problem of constantly changing world currencies, which results in accounting problems, and prevents Amazon from accepting gift cards worldwide, as they have splittet their operations in single countries.  It would also help if the whole world would have only one currency, such as the dollar.
As books only count for 2% of their business, it needs the concerted effort of many writers and publishers to get them moving. At the moment Amazon seems to focus more on tourism to the moon…



Do you see Amazon offering the same opportunities in the future across the board for authors such as: Kindle countdowns available for everyone, universal gift cards used on any countys platform, or them creating broader access for reviews to be shared across all countrys platforms in the near future?


I am not overly optimistic. As long as not a huge number of writers are banding together and pestering Amazon, not much will happen. So it depends on each of us to put pressure to the “nationalistic” approach of Amazon, and let them know about their unfair practices, that are in some cases not even comply with trade laws – such as the “gift card issue”. But I invite everyone to use the facts and arguments in my blog article ‘Amazon vs the Rest of the World’ – and write to Amazon by email and even better: in a registered letter.



Whats the best piece of advice you can give authors to begin creating visibility for them and their books?


Write, write, and write even more!
Prequels and sequels for your novel, magazine and newspaper articles, frequent  blog articles, short stories or practical advice on Google+ and LinkedIn, guest blogs, uploading of single chapters to Wattpad or Booksie – and certainly more  books – all this will deliver visibility to your author platform. Some of these even pay – which means you are paid to promote your books!

Connect with other writers.
Join writer communities at Wattpad, LibraryThings, Goodreads and GooglePlus. Meet-up groups are practically in every large town and city and offer critique groups and writers circles. Find writer friends at workshops and conferences and promote each other! Social media sites usually have writer groups in many genres, such as LinkedIn, Google+ or Facebook. There is no shortage on like-minded writers that are all looking for pals. Just say hello!



How long did it take you write 111 Tips to get Free Book Reviews, with all the research involved and create the many links you offer in the book?


Well, it’s the work of at least three years of research, writing, fact-checking, writing, fact-checking… But at some point I had to stop. New reviewers show up all the time and older ones quit if their lives become too busy or for other reasons.

I am continuing to collect new book reviewer links, and readers of 111 Tips to get Free Book Reviews can get periodically new reviewer addresses. There is a link at the end of the book where readers sign up for the free service.
Please keep in mind that some reviewers, when overwhelmed with inquiries often close submissions for a couple of weeks, until they have read through their current lists, and then open for pitches again.



Please tell us a bit about the book and share an excerpt with us.


To sell your books, you need reviews, and to get reviews, you need to sell more books… But where to find reviewers, and how to approach them?

111 Tips to get Free Book Reviews describes the possibilities to connect with reviewers first and network with them on social media in order to establish a positive relationship. Once you are “known” by the reviewer, blogger or media editor for a while, you might ask for a review. The most important advice is to read their former reviews and the submission guidelines carefully before you pitch. After all, they are working for free and promoting your book, and certainly prefer to do it for someone they know – rather than for a total stranger!

Another topic is how to get book reviews by the media and how exactly to approach them. There is also chapter that exposes how trade publishers get reviews for their titles, if it’s worth to pay for trade reviews and which kind of reviews are read by librarians.
How to deal with virtual blog tours, ebook and print giveaways, reader forums and groups, review invitations after the last book chapter, editorial reviews, media and press kits, audio-book reviews, and how to save and leverage your reviews are other important topics in the book.
Equally important are the chapters “How to Get Reviews Before Book Launch” and “How to Avoid Rookie Mistakes” when contacting book bloggers and reviewers. And not to forget: how to write reviews yourself. Authors should not only request reviews from readers, but also write a review after each book they finish!



In a poll, 70% of book purchasers admitted to buying books after checking the reviews. Surprisingly many did not pay too much attention to 5-star or 1-star reviews, rather more to the number of reviews and the average rating. A 5-star could be from a good friend and 1-star by someone from the competition, right? Check the history of the reviewer. How many books has he or she reviewed? Click on the reviewers name and go to their Amazon or Goodreads site to find out more.

Like many other products on the market, people rely on the recommendations of others when they choose a book to read. In traditional publishing, endorsements by well-known authors and public figures are a key element in marketing. In the self-publishing world, success rests on the number of readers on Goodreads, on Amazon, and on blogs who will give your book a 4 or 5-star review.


Thanks for having me over to talk with you Debby.


Connect with Doris at any of her many platforms to learn what’s new in the publishing world and keep current with the ever-changing industry.



Visit Doris’ Amazon Author Page to view and purchase all her books.


Relationship Repair when Apologies are Due | ADD . . . and-so-much-more

Blog sharing


Why is it some people have problems with apologizing, or find it hard to forgive? Below is an interesting post on the subject by ADD Coach, prolific blogger, and friend Madelyn, of the blog – ADD and So Much More


Just because we didn’t do something intentionally (“on purpose”), doesn’t mean the injured party is not entitled to a sincere apology for the reality that we were involved and that something was damaged – or somebody was hurt – as a result.

Apologizing doesn’t mean that you have been purposely wrong and that the other person is absolutely right. It means that you value your relationship more than your ego.


ADD/EFD oopses


Far more often than many of the neurotypical members of society, those of us with what I refer to as Alphabet Disorders (AD[h]D, EFD, TBI, OCD and more) tend to say and do things that get us into hot water with our friends and loved ones.


  • Unfortunately, according to a great many of my clients through the years, instead of cleaning it up and asking for forgiveness, we tend to allow hurt and resentment to fester as a result of our reluctance to apologize.
  • Even more often, we make things even worse by our bungling attempts at taking responsibility for our actions when we do attempt to say we’re sorry – making it even more difficult for us to decide to apologize in the future.

While we might argue that the above points are two sides of the same coin, shame (certainly a factor), I have observed that only a few of us truly understand HOW to apologize – so we tend not to offer them as often as they are deserved.


That’s unfortunate, because apologizing costs us nothing, means a great deal to those we have disappointed or offended, and is a relatively easy thing to learn to do in an effective manner.


8 Reasons we don’t apologize more readily & more often . . . Please continue reading


Source: Relationship Repair when Apologies are Due | ADD . . . and-so-much-more

Memoir Bytes – Miss Toronto 1926 – My Grandmother

Memoir Bytes:

Vision perception


I’ve written a lot in my books about my relationship with my mother and had touched on tidbits about her mother, my grandmother Dorothy who died shortly after my mother’s 15th birthday .


My mother had a knack for ‘expanding the truth’ whenever she chose to share a snippet of her life, so as I got older and caught on to her delusional stories, I had to do my own searching around for truth, mostly from my aunts while they were still living. But luckily, my sister-in-law, Katy, is a great FBI sleuth herself. She obviously found our erratic and dysfunctional family history fascinating when she married my brother and conducted her own search and found out much more than even I was told.


One story in particular was about my grandmother apparently, winning the very first Miss Toronto Beauty Contest in 1926 held at Sunnyside Amusement Park. Pictured below is my grandmother standing as a runner up to the far right. The story told to me by mother was that her mother had actually won the contest and was deemed the first Miss Toronto until she was disqualified and became a runner up when it was discovered that she was married when she entered. This of course turned out to be another lie my mother loved to boast about because of course if her mother didn’t win, there had to be a reason. In the photo my grandmother was 21 years old. (Late correction, either the newspaper got it wrong, or my grandmother fibbed about her age because she was only 17 in the pageant)

Miss Toronto beauty pageant 1926
My grandmother, Dorothy (nee) Asling , far right, sporting a bob hairdo. Photo was sent to me from the Toronto Star Newspaper.


Back in the day, being skinny wasn’t a factor required to either enter or win a beauty contest. And despite my mother telling her tall tales, anybody who knew my grandmother had told me she was considered a striking beauty. In fact, Katy sent me this article clipping from an interview the Toronto Star did with my grandmother before the final competition when it was down to 5 contestants.


This is all I know of my grandmother, from how she spoke in the article interview in this post I can almost hear that little air in her voice that my mother had of herself. Dorothy was apparently a very popular girl who had many men vying for her attention, and although she tried to sound modest and naive in this article, I could hear my own mother in her words, particularly in the paragraph where the journalist seemed to detect the same thing when they thought Dorothy knew well that this would be printed.

Dorothy Asling interview Miss Toronto 1926 Article interview with Dorothy Asling from Toronto Star Newspaper August 16, 1926, journalist unknown. From the archives.


I’ve heard so many controversial stories about the life of my grandmother and have had to make my own deductions from comparing versions of stories my mother told me and relaying them back to my aunts for verification and authentic versions. Apparently, my grandmother was a real live wire, who, according to this article, may not have smoked, but loved to drink, party and gamble. She was the life of all parties, and the complete opposite of what I know of my grandfather, who was meek and mild mannered, and a very handsome man. Dorothy was the love of his life and he never married again because he never stopped loving her.


I notice similarities in Dorothy’s physical stature to my mother and some of her siblings.


My mother was a dark beauty like her mother and she even had the same mole on her left cheek, which she emphasized with a black kohl eyeliner as it appears her mother did too. Back when I was a child I remembered that mole as my mother’s ‘signature’ beauty mark.


Another prominent feature of my grandmother was her ‘thick’ upper arms. I wrote in humor in my book, Menowhat? A Memoir, about the women in our family nicknamed ‘the arm family’, which I had crowned the name to all of us – sister, female cousins and aunts, because no matter how slim any of us could be, we all had thick upper arms. Thank you grandmother Dorothy, not.


I’ve never seen another photo of my grandmother other than this photo that my Aunty Sherry ordered copies of years ago from our Toronto newspaper to give one to each of her nieces. So naturally, I’ve looked at it a million times and analyzed the heck out of it.


My sister-in-law Katy had done research on my family tree and had obtained copies of my mother’s lineage when she got curious about the ongoing lie my mother had told me and stood true to till the day she died, that I wasn’t conceived out of wedlock, and that her mother was Jewish. In fact, Katy had given me a copy of my parents’ marriage licence she obtained, confirming my suspicion that my mother was indeed 2 months pregnant with me when she married my father. I was also flabberghasted to find that in the little box where they tick off and state their religion, my grandmother was born and raised as a Baptist. I’d already obtained confirmation from my aunts on these factors, but looking at the actual document was a confirming piece of my family history.


There were so many tales spun by my mother to create dramatic effect to every story she told. And still, I truly believe her stories were not only to attract wow factors or sympathy, but also that she had spent her life creating stories to the point where I honestly believe she believed her own stories. She had such a dire need to be more than what she was.


Below are a few photos I plucked out of an old photo album – the women in my life as well as 2 more clippings of Dorothy that my sister-in-law managed to get copies of.



D.G. Kaye at 2 yrs old
Me at 2 years old. I’m thinking the look on my face says something about my mood and environment.


My mother at my Sweet 16
The ‘dark’ beauty, my mother at my Sweet 16


Me and Aunty Shirley my Sweet 16
My hero, my beautiful Aunty Sherry (Shirley) at my Sweet 16 having a toast together


My beautiful Aunty Lee
My beautiful Aunty Lee at my Sweet 16


Dorothy Asling Miss Toronto runner up
Dorothy Asling my grandmother, 2nd from the right.


Dorothy Asling interviewed

A ‘popular entry’ Dorothy Asling


Sadly, all I know of my grandmother is from these articles, and they are the only photos I’ve ever seen of her. Had she not been a beauty contestant, I wouldn’t even know what she looked like.




Sunday Book Review – The Body in the Snow – Christoph Fischer

Book reviews by D.G. Kaye


Today’s review is on another book I recently read from by a friend an author whose books I enjoy very much, Christoph Fischer’s , The Body in the Snow. Christoph is known for his writing in the historical fiction genre and dived into a new genre with this book, a cozy mystery, which I thoroughly enjoyed!


Body in the snow by Christoph Fischer

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Fading celebrity Bebe Bollinger is on the wrong side of fifty and dreaming of a return to the limelight. When a TV show offers the chance of a comeback, Bebe grabs it with both hands – not even a lazy agent, her embarrassing daughter, irritating neighbours or a catastrophic snowfall will derail her moment of glory. But when a body is found in her sleepy Welsh hamlet, scandal threatens.
Detective Sergeant Beth Cooper has a string of unsolved cases to her name. Her girlfriend left her and she’s a fish out of water in rural West Wales. Things couldn’t get much worse – until the case of the Body in The Snow lands in her lap.

Can Beth solve the case and save her career and can Bebe make her comeback? All will be revealed in this light-hearted, cosy murder mystery by best-selling and award winning historical and crime fiction novelist Christoph Fischer.


My 5 Star Review:

I found this book a thoroughly entertaining read with characters who we can both, love and some we’ll want to smack.

This delightful and sometimes comical whodunit will keep you guessing to the very end. We get to know the players who reside in this cozy hamlet when a huge snowstorm hits, and the normally unfriendly among each other neighbors come together when in need of the necessities of a power outage such as – food, heat, and sometimes just for company.

The clash in characters makes for an interesting story. There’s Bebe, the aging singer trying to make a comeback, when her plans go awry due to the storm, Dora the happy divorcee who is carefree and kind and has no shame parading around her garden in her nightie, and Ian, the helpful neighbor who is married to the neighborhood busybody and watchdog, Christine. These neighbors are brought together when they become suspects of the body found in the snow, a murder victim found on Ian and Christine’s front driveway. This comical romp of shenanigans and investigation will keep you reading with curiosity and hoping that Bebe still gets her last shot at renewed stardom. A fun read!


Visit Christoph’s Amazon author page to visit and purchase all his books!

Who Has a New Book? – Guest author Sally Cronin – What’s in a Name?

Featured author of the week


I’m delighted to have over here today, author/blogger and great supporter of other artists, the talented Sally Cronin.


Sally always amazes me because she reads many blogs, shares many on her own blog,  hosts various series and promotions, and writes her own posts in various categories such as: short stories, health and nutrition, and more. And Sally still manages to get her book writing done. So today Sally is here to share some of her knowledge and tell us about her latest book, What’s in a Name?

Sally Cronin

About Sally:  

My name is Sally Georgina Cronin but you will find that I have had a number of variations online and for my books including Georgina Cronin and Sally Cronin.

After working in a number of industries for over 25 years, I decided that I wanted to pursue a completely different career, one that I had always been fascinated with. I began studying Nutrition and the human body twenty years ago and I opened my first diet advisory centre in Ireland in 1998. Over the last 18 years I have practiced in Ireland and the UK as well as written columns, articles and radio programmes on health and nutrition. I published my first book with a Canadian self-publisher in the late 90s and since then have republished that book and released eight others as part of our own self-publishing company. Apart from health I also enjoy writing fiction in the form of novels and short stories.

What's in a Name by Sally Cronin

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There are names that have been passed down through thousands of years which have powerful and deep-rooted meaning to their bearers. Other names have been adopted from other languages, cultures and from the big screen. They all have one thing in common. They are with us from birth until the grave and they are how we are known to everyone that we meet.

There are classical names such as Adam, David and Sarah that will grace millions of babies in the future. There are also names that parents have invented or borrowed from places or events in their lives which may last just one lifetime or may become the classic names of tomorrow.

Whatever the name there is always a story behind it. In What’s in a Name? – Volume One, twenty men and women face danger, love, loss, romance, fear, revenge and rebirth as they move through their lives.

Anne changes her name because of associations with her childhood, Brian carries the mark of ancient man, Jane discovers that her life is about to take a very different direction, and what is Isobel’s secret?


Welcome Sal. I’m so happy to have you over today and share more of yourself and your writing with us all. So let’s dive in!


Can you share with us where your story ideas came from for this book?


I was fascinated with the origins of my name when I was young, and I asked my mother why she had called me Sally Georgina. Apparently she just liked the name Sally, but Georgina was after her mother. My grandmother was a very petite woman with small hands and feet and very ladylike.  As I grew, and grew to nearly six feet tall, with very large feet and hands I felt increasingly embarrassed by my middle name.

However, as soon as I read Enid Blyton’s Famous Five with my namesake known as George, I immediately felt much better.  Since then I have enjoyed a fascination with the origins of people’s names and this book is the outcome.


Is there any ‘nonfiction’ in some of the stories in this book about people you actually know, or perhaps about yourself?


I have used locations that I have either visited or lived in for a period of time. There are also some elements of my own experiences in those places since it is sometimes more authentic to bend the truth rather than create a new one.


Once again, you’ve published many of these stories on your blog as you wrote them, just as you did with The R’s of Life. Can you share you strategy with us for wanting to publish these stories on your blog first, and the benefits you found by doing so?


I find that it is very valuable to share the stories as early as possible for a couple of reasons. Beta readers are important to iron out elements of a story however long it might be. Faced with the task of writing 52 stories with each letter featuring a female and a male with the same letter of the alphabet, I thought that I should find out early on if the concept was going to be interesting for readers. There are a number of themes associated with the stories and it was also useful to see which themes seemed to be the most popular. Whilst you are looking at 75 to 100 people reading the post, about half might like or comment. Those stories which did not elicit the average response obviously needed some tweaking.


You’ve led such a creative and colorful life. Have you ever considered writing a memoir about some of the adventures you’ve experienced?


I think that my life has been wonderful but as everyone does, I have had my share of ups and downs regarding relationships and events. However, I feel that integrating those elements into the fictional stories instead gives me an opportunity to revisit them and change the ending to perhaps a more preferred outcome. I have used visualisation techniques in the past for myself and for my clients and using my own experiences in fiction but adapting them is actually quite therapeutic.


For those who don’t yet know you, you write not only short fictional stories, but you have a fantastic series on health on your blog, among many other series. What inspired you to educate yourself on the functions of the human body? And where did all the knowledge come from?


In my early forties, I was told that making 45 was touch and go if I did not get my weight and health issues under control. I had followed many diets touted by others, but apart from basic biology at school, I had very little knowledge of how the body worked and how to provide it with what it needed to be healthy.  That was in 1995. I spent the next two years reading books on the body and its structure and organs, and also every nutritional handbook I could get my hands on. During this time, I took what I had learned, adapted and applied it. The one thing that struck me was that most of the information available was written by academics for academics.

As I lost weight and regained my health I kept a journal in ‘plain English’ so that I could explain how the body worked and what it needed clearly; in what I hoped was an interesting and entertaining manner. My first book was followed by a monthly magazine on health covering a number of topics, which ended up being my third health book. I am inspired to continue this on the blog to spread the message of how we can take back responsibility for our body and health as far and wide as possible.


Your blog is titled ‘The Smorgasbord Invitation’, aptly titled for the variety of articles readers can expect to find on your blog from health to laughter to various series including, but not limited to musical featured artists, and your Blogger Daily where you share some of your favorite picks of other’s posts of the day. Besides all of this, you generously offer other writers to have their work promoted on your blog and your Virtual Book Café. I know what it takes to prepare just one blog post and I commend you for keeping up with it all besides writing books. Would you like to share anything about how readers can go about taking advantage of your generous offer, and note anything you may request in return for promoting the works of others?


The current promotions that are available on Smorgasbord are in this link.

My blogging and my books would be the poorer if it were not for the supportive community we all belong to. I know how tough it was to promote a book before social media and blogging and if I can help another writer to get some exposure then I am only too delighted.

Of course, when it comes to my own books I am very grateful for an opportunity to promote it.  Your kindness today is a prime example of that. However, one of the key elements that I really do ask for is that authors and bloggers participate in their own promotions on Smorgasbord.

There have been occasions when an author has asked me to promote their work but then does not share on their own social media or respond to any comments. This cuts down the effectiveness of the promotion considerably.  It also discourages the readers of the promotion to share or comment the next time that author is featured.

None of us can write a book, upload to Amazon or any other site and expect readers who buy our books to flock immediately to the page and spend money.  People buy people first and they will respond much more positively to an author who communicates well than they will to silence.


Now, getting back to the book, What’s in a Name, please give us a little introduction to the book and share an excerpt with us.


There are names that have been passed down through thousands of years which have powerful and deep-rooted meaning to their bearers. Other names have been adopted from other languages, cultures and from the big screen. They all have one thing in common. They are with us from birth until the grave and they are how we are known to everyone that we meet.


An excerpt from the story of Clive.

The boy stirred in his cot and waved his chubby fist in the air. The mid-afternoon sun was barred from his room by the rattan blinds at the window. The slowly moving blades of the fan above his cot sent a welcome and cooling breeze across his hot skin. The rest of the house was quiet, except for the gentle snoring of his amah as she dozed fitfully on the pallet on the other side of the room.


The boy was called Clive and was the fourth child and first son of a naval officer and his wife who were stationed here in Trincomalee. He was three years old and his curly blonde hair now lay slick against his scalp as he recovered from the fever. It had been a worrying few days with the doctor calling in every few hours to check on his condition. The household, including his three older sisters and his parents, were exhausted having had little sleep for the last few nights.


Measles in this climate could be very dangerous for a child Clive’s age and he had been restricted to his cot in the darkened room to prevent the risk of blindness. Thankfully his fever had now broken, and the family having enjoyed their Sunday curry lunch, had retired to their bedrooms to sleep the afternoon away beneath their ceiling fans.


Clive had been woken every hour or so to sip his favourite fruit juice and water from his beaker and the doctor was now happy he was past his crisis. But, the child was now hungry and the lingering smell of the chicken curry that the family had consumed at lunchtime drifted into the room.


Relieved that her charge was out of danger but extremely tired, his devoted amah had failed to latch the side of Clive’s cot securely. Seeing that there was a means of escape; he lifted his body up into a sitting position and swung his bare legs over the side of the mattress. It was easy enough to slide down onto the stone floor with its fibre matting where he held onto the side of the cot for a few minutes; his legs wobbling beneath him. But he was a strong little boy who spent hours on his tricycle and swam most days and this was evident in his recovery from this recent illness. Of course his growing hunger was a great motivator.


Carefully he moved across the matting intent on seeing if his friend the family cook had a special plate of his favourite mild curry and banana. He moved into the hall but was disappointed that the door to the kitchen was firmly closed and the handle was out of reach of his eager fingers.


The door to the long veranda however was much easier to open and Clive pushed his way through into the stifling heat and the raucous sound of the monkeys in the trees in the garden. He loved the little macaques and often sat on the veranda in the cooler mornings and watched them play fight over the ripened fruit. He drifted across the wooden floor and down the two steps onto the dusty path. He was now in uncharted territory.


Link for book:


Thank you so much Debby for this wonderful opportunity to talk about my blog and my latest book.. It is always a wonderful experience being here on your blog.


It was a pleasure having you over Sal. ❤


Sally Cronin's books



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The Single Most Useful Editing Tool I’ve Used – #NaturalReader | The Write Stuff

writing tips


Today I’m sharing a fantastic post from friend and author Marcia Meara, about a useful editing tool she’s discovered for reading our work in Natural Reader back to us aloud. Please have a look at Marcia’s post below and feel free to let us know if you’ve tried this app and what you like and/or don’t like about it.


Reblog and featuring


Let me preface this post by saying that in my opinion, there is no app anywhere that will ever replace a good editor. Not everyone agrees with me, but I think the writers out there who can get away with skipping a professional editing are few and far between. If you are one of them, I apologize, as I don’t mean to imply there are none. But generally, I believe in a final edit by a qualified human being, the two operative words being “qualified” and “human.” ? Now, having gotten that out of the way, on to what I wanted to share with you today.


I use beta readers (9, actually on a private blog) and they read my draft, chapter by chapter, as I write. This lets me know when a chapter is doing what I need it to do, so I can make immediate tweaks or changes, if I’ve failed to get my points across. After my draft is complete, I submit my work to my editor, also chapter by chapter, because that’s how I like to work, and she accommodates me, thankfully. But between the completion of my draft, and any submissions to my editor, I revise each chapter myself, making any obvious corrections I spot, rephrasing here and there,  and running the chapter through editing software. I use SmartEdit most of the time, but there are quite a few out there.


The last thing I do before sending the chapter to my editor is listen to it on NaturalReader. . . Continue reading


Source: The Single Most Useful Editing Tool I’ve Used – #NaturalReader | The Write Stuff 


*Note: Alternatively, you can also you the text to speech function in Word, which was mentioned by a few writers in comments. When I finish writing my next book and begin edits, I’ll be trying both. I’ll keep you posted. Below is a link which will explain how to get the ‘text to speech’ function going in your Word program.

Introduce Yourself – Promotional Opportunity for New Authors | Pearls Before Swine



EC (okay, that’s what I like to her call her), Yecheilyah from Pearls Before Swine  has a generous promotional offer for authors to be interviewed on her blog!


“Introduce yourself, hey hey! Introduce yourself…hey!

My name is___________.”

At the end of last year, I told you all that I was looking to implement another promotional opportunity for authors on this blog. It has taken a long time but is finally here!

At the moment, I run two:

  • Book Reviews (currently closed for registry but returning soon. Stay tuned.)
  • Book Promo. – Where I promote book covers in my email list FREE. Send me your cover, blurb, and buy links to be featured to my email HERE.

Now I am implementing a third opportunity. Something I am hoping will give you a bit more exposure. I am calling it Introduce Yourself, inspired by the children. Here’s how it works:

Introduce Yourself – a promotional opportunity for new authors on The PBS Blog. It is an interview conducted by me with questions specifically tailored to helping us to get to know you better.

I enjoy thought provoking conversation and so is the tone of this blog so please be as detailed as possible in your answers. People are less likely to support people they don’t know anything about so dig deep and let us get to know the real you!

How to Get Involved

All you have to do is choose at least 10 questions from the list below and email them to me with your social media handles, photos, a brief bio, and a link to your website or blog. Email me HERE . Once I receive your email, I will respond in 2-3 business days with the date of your feature.  . .Continue Reading Here


Source: Introduce Yourself – Promotional Opportunity for New Authors | Pearls Before Swine