Janice’s Review Blog

Archive for August 2009

'2010 Writer's Market' provides answers for writers.

'2010 Writer's Market' provides answers for writers.

The new “2010 Writer’s Market” 89th annual edition provides not only markets for writers’ work, but also informative articles to help writers get started with a writing career or improve their existing career.

The beginning of the book shows readers how to use the book and get the most out of it.  Symbols and abbreviations inside the front cover and on a tear-out bookmark give readers the meanings of symbols shown throughout the book and explain dollar amounts paid and abbreviations used in individual listings.

The section on basics includes Before Your First Sale, Query Letter Clinic, which includes samples of good and bad query letters, Freelance Newspaper Writing 101 and Reasons for Rejection just to name a few.  The beyond the basics section lists information on Minding the Details, Launching Your Freelance Business and How Much Should I Charge?

The reader finds listings for literary agents, book publishers, Canadian book publishers, small presses, consumer magazines, trade journals, newspapers, screenwriting, playwriting, greeting cards and contests & awards.  The book contains over 3,500 listings.  A resource category directs writers to professional organizations within the industry and an alphabetic glossary defines terms.

Finally, readers choose from the book publishers subject index or the general index to find information.  This 1169 page guide contains a wealth of information.  Readers may also choose the “2010 Writer’s Market Deluxe”guide including online information.

Recently I had a chance to do some Web content writing.  I enjoyed it and decided to gain more knowledge about the search engine optimization part of Web content writing by enrolling in a Paradise Valley Community College noncredit online class.

The classstarted on Wednesday, July 15 and continued for six weeks with a new lesson posted every Wednesday and Friday for a total of 12 lessons.  The instructor Bob Viers started out with a step-by-step presentation of search engine optimization and encouraged students to drop by the discussion area to share assignment results or ask questions. 

Viers started each chapter with new terms and then launched into his lesson for that day.  The lessons contained useful information on how to successfully approach search engine optimization.  Viers gave us information on free Web sites to go to in order to complete the assignments he gave us, and these Web sites continue to be valuable after the class.

At the end of each lesson, students receive a list of supplementary material to expand and enhance the information covered in the lesson.  A frequently asked question and answer and a relevant assignment also get posted in this area.

I especially liked the discussion area because students post their findings, ask questions, answer other students questions or just browse through the posted questions and answers.  After the completion of each chapter, students take an online quiz which is graded seconds after submission to identify any areas that need further study or explanation. 

Viers provided an index for the lessons, which I appreciate, since I print out and put each lesson into a three-ring binder with labeled tabs.  He also gave two book recommendations, “Don’t Make Me Think” and “Google Analytics 2.0,” for further study.

At the completion of the lessons, students go online and take a final exam consisting of 36 questions.  After obtaining a final exam score of 65 percent or higher, students print out personalized completion certificates to file or frame.  At a cost of $99, this class provided the additional knowledge I wanted on search engine optimization while I learned and studied on my own schedule from home.

'Bruce Aiken's Grand Canyon: An Intimate Affair' records living in the Grand Canyon.

'Bruce Aiken's Grand Canyon: An Intimate Affair' records living in the Grand Canyon.

In Nov. 2005, Bruce Aiken retired and moved from his Roaring Springs home in the Grand Canyon after working for the National Park Service for 33 years and recording the Grand Canyon’s history in his art work.

In “Bruce Aiken’s Grand Canyon: An Intimate Affair,” author Susan Hallsten McGarry records Aiken’s journey from New York City to Arizona and life in the Grand Canyon.

In 1973 at the age of 22, Aiken, his wife Mary and their infant daughter Mercy moved to their Roaring Springs home on Bright Angel Creek.  While there, Mary gave birth to two more children, a daughter Shirley Jo and a son Silas, and home-schooled all three children.  Aiken worked to maintain the pump house and pipes that supplied water to the Grand Canyon facilities.  He and his family also became intimately involved with their neighborhood, the Grand Canyon.

Aiken hiked the canyon and photographed, painted and drew its beauty.  He recorded historic changes in the canyon such as the 1995 flood.  His paintings also reflected changes in his techniques.  In the book, Aiken tells of his obsession with rock formations, and how this led to different sorts of painting to show the color and shape within the rocks.

He shares the hardships of making the trip to Flagstaff for art supplies.  He writes that he left at 5 a.m. on his day off, hiked 21 miles, drove 300 miles and returned to his home around midnight.  The next day he completed a painting. 

A self-portrait of his mother, Margaret Davis Aiken, along with some paintings she made of Aiken and his wife, Aiken’s father and Roaring Springs make up Appendix A.  Aiken writes of her influence on him from the time he was a child and how she worked as a talented artist in every media.

The book contains 130 full-color examples of the images Aiken produced while living in the Grand Canyon-some taking up two full pages.  The images alone would make the reader pick up the book, but the story of determination of a man to live his dream completes the picture and makes this book an excellent read.

Dr. Wayne W. Dyer writes 'Change Your Thoughts-Change Your Life.'

Dr. Wayne W. Dyer writes 'Change Your Thoughts-Change Your Life.'

As the author of over 30 books, Dr. Wayne W. Dyer undertook the task of translating the 81 verses of the Tao Te Ching written by Lao-tzu over 2,500 years ago.  Dyer writes essays for each verse that explain and apply their meaning to modern problems in Change Your Thoughts – Change Your Life.

I read this book every morning, and it continues to give me a new outlook on life.  Dyer presents the verse and then writes a three or four page essay to explain the meaning and to tie the meaning to today’s events. 

In these hard economic times when we have more time on our hands, this book sends a reassuring message to appreciate the things we have and enjoy the beauty surrounding us.  Dyer uses familiar quotes from poems to make relevant points, he places bold-faced comments like “practice gratitude and contentment every day” throughout the essays, he uses personal analogies to illustrate points and he assigns tasks to practice the Tao at the end of each essay.

In verse 67, Dyer writes of the three treasures – mercy, frugality and humility- to live a successful Tao-styled life.  Verse 57 gives our leaders a dose of much needed wisdom on how to live without authoritarianism as he writes, “The essential message in this 57th verse is to allow rather than interfere.”  

The book gives readers hope and it imparts serenity while giving an understanding of the events they encounter and how to handle them in a beneficial way.  Reading this book starts the day off on a positive note.

Psychic medium Allison DuBois answers questions in "We Are Their Heaven."

Psychic medium Allison DuBois answers questions in "We Are Their Heaven."

In her second book, “We are Their Heaven: Why the Dead Never Leave Us,” psychic medium Allison DuBois explains in detail why the dead stay in the world of the living.

In this book, DuBois covers many topics with great success and clarity such as what happens to those gravely ill and in hospice and those taken from us by murder or suicide.

“This book addresses some of the various ways in which poeple die,” writes DuBois, “for example by suicide or accident, and the different ways in which they show us that they remain.”

DuBois also reveals more of her personal life with her family and how her daughters share her gift.   Even though she communicates with the dead, personal losses of her dad and other relatives affect her deeply.

Clients of DuBois share their personal stories and DuBois follows up with how she’s help them.  She also talks about other mediums, and one in particular, a Catholic priest shared his experiences with her over dinner.

Of course, there’s also a chapter on the hit television show, “Medium,” where she explains the truths and myths involved with the episodes.

I enjoyed the first book, “Don’t Kiss Them Good-bye,” but I truly enjoyed this book even more because of the topics and in-depth information DuBois shares.  I look forward to reading her next book, “Secrets of the Monarch: What the Dead Can Teach Us about Living a Better Life.”