Monday, November 9, 2015

“one good deed deserves another”

The following inspiring story is by guest writer, Lori Leonard.

Fred Levine lives in Montreal, but spent much of his childhood in the Laurentians. He has fond recollections of cherished family time.   

When Fred was young, he enjoyed writing, drawing and “cartooning.” When school was on strike, he initiated a stationery company and created unique memo pads.  

Raised in Beaconsfield, Fred’s family later moved to Westmount. He attended Brandeis University and graduated Cum Laude in psychology, with a minor in philosophy. He moved to Toronto, met his wife and pursued a career in advertising. His family began with daughter Jordyn, followed by triplets Jaimee, Jesse and Justin. Family life was hectic. They  lived in Toronto for 20 years.   

As time passed, Fred realized he still enjoyed writing and thought it would be fun to write a book about his triplets, but had no intention of illustrating it.  

Tragically, life for Fred and family turned upside down when he suffered a seizure and was diagnosed with anaplastic astrocytoma, a rare cancerous brain tumor. Fred was forced to endure difficult treatments and was susceptible to seizures which he still experiences today.

Unable to work, Fred focused his energy on completing his children’s book and decided to illustrate it which provided a welcome form of “therapy.” 

 Fred Levine’s first book, Triple Trouble: One Good Deed Deserves Another was published in 2013. In 2015, Fred published another book Triple Play about his family being part of a baseball team. Both are “feel-good” children’s books for ages 6-12.  The books include poems with humorous cartoons; pay-it-forward life lessons of “being there for each other”. 

Fred donates all proceeds from these books ($25), to the Gerry and Nancy Pencer Brain Trust. Fred says cancer was never his first choice, but he wanted to use it to create an optimistic outcome.  

Fred’s message: “Remain optimistic, live your life and do what you want to do. Remember a very important life lesson - one good deed deserves another.”  

If you are seeking a uniquely illustrated children’s book, and want to share Fred’s message of kindness, order via .

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Attending Writers’ Conferences Put Authors on the Road to Success

The information below is a GUEST BLOG POST by book publicist Scott Lorenz.
There are several good reasons why writers should invest the time and effort required to attend writers’ conferences.
Attending a writers’ conference only takes a few hours, or a couple days at the most, a small investment, and a little effort to register and arrange travel and lodging, but the payoff can be big.
Attending a writers’ conference gives you a great chance to pitch your book, learn about the major publishing houses, meet book editors, agents and book marketing specialists. If your book is six months or a year from being finished, you can meet people who will give you valuable ideas on shaping your book and provide other advice to help you wrap up your project when you return home.
Or maybe you have been working on your book for a few months and are feeling insecure or unsure whether you really can be a published author. Attending a conference is a good way to get a reality check from book editors to get a professional opinion on your plot and characters and to determine whether you are on the right track.
Most importantly, attending a writers’ conference provides you with an opportunity to learn about the publishing business from fellow authors.  You will also get honest and helpful professional assessments from book editors that will be more than worth the cost and effort of attending the conference.
Of course, you will want to prepare for any writers’ conference you attend by having a plan of what you want to find out and what you will do while there. You will want to develop an ‘elevator pitch’ of your book that you can deliver in 30 seconds. Have a one pager available with your book cover, author headshot, short 50 word synopsis, short bio, website URL, Twitter handle and your contact information. You never know who’ll you’ll meet so be prepared for that moment.
Now that you are ready, here are some writers’ conferences that you should consider attending:

Willamette Writers Conference
Aug 7-9, 2015

Fifth House Lodge:  The Remembered Self: A Weekend Workshop
Aug 15 - 16, 2015

San Francisco Writing for Change Conference
Sep 12, 2015

Kentucky Women’s Writers Conference
Sep 11-12, 2015

American Christian Fiction Writers Conference
Sept. 17-20, 2015

Florida Heritage Book Festival & Writers Conference
Sep 24-26, 2015

Southern California Writers’ Conference
Sep 25-27, 2015

Chicago Writers Conference
Sep 25-27, 2015

St. Augustine Writers Conference
Oct 1-6, 2015

Write on the Sound Writers’ Conference and Pre-Conference
Oct. 2-4, 2015

Breathe Christian Writers Conference
Oct 9-10, 2015

New York Writers Workshop: Pitch Conference & Workshops
Oct 16-18, 2015      Nov 13-15, 2015

Castle Rock Writers Conference
Nov 6-7, 2015

Select a writers’ conference of interest to you and be prepared to enjoy the benefits of meeting other writers, acquiring knowledge you can use immediately, learn about different genres, find a new market for your book, elevate your professional effectiveness, meet editors, agents and publishers, become inspired and return home energized.

The Bottom Line: Make a commitment to attend at least one writers’ conference in 2015. You’ll be glad you did!

Book publicist Scott Lorenz is President of Westwind Communications Book Marketing, a public relations and marketing firm that has a special knack for working with authors to help them get all the publicity they deserve and more. Lorenz works with bestselling authors and self-published authors promoting all types of books, whether it's their first book or their 15th book. He's handled publicity for books by CEOs, CIA Officers, Navy SEALS, Homemakers, Fitness Gurus, Doctors, Lawyers and Adventurers. His clients have been featured by Good Morning America, FOX & Friends, CNN, ABC News, New York Times, Nightline, TIME, PBS, LA Times, USA Today, Washington Post, Woman's World, & Howard Stern to name a few.

Learn more about Westwind Communications’ book marketing approach at  or contact Lorenz at or by phone at 734-667-2090. Follow Lorenz on Twitter @aBookPublicist 

Monday, May 11, 2015

Be humble and write your way to success

*Note: for clarity and brevity the male pronoun has been used in this post.

Whether you are an aspiring writer or an established one, your writing can only get better by two obvious factors: writing as much as you can and being open to constructive criticism.

A lot of amateur writers make the mistake of not paying heed to feedback from fellow writers and/or mentors. Even when they’ve published some of their work (i.e., short stories, articles, novella, novel, etc.), they still need a support system.

A humble writer is a smart writer; he is more interested in honing his writing skills than tooting his own horn. Leave the ego at the door! Even great writers need an editor and a healthy dose of criticism from his peers.

Carver was known for his realistic portrayals of characters and his minimalist style. Nonetheless, Carver still needed an editor to bring his work to the next level. Remember, editors work hard to improve fiction, and as writers, you don’t want to get reputations of being difficult to work with. Although the story is indeed yours, you still want to put your best work out there. What good is it to write it if it’s not worth publishing it?

Ernest Hemingway also believed that writing in the euphoria of the moment (whether you're drunk or not) is advisable, but editing should be done when the ecstasy of writing has left you. Edit your work after you’ve taken a break from writing. If you can't edit your own work (for whatever the reason: lack of time, inspiration, or skills), ask a colleague to do it for you or hire a professional editor.
In conclusion, a good writer will not only write as often as he can but will also be open to constructive criticism. A good writer invests time in researching, writing, getting feedback, editing, and re-writing the piece (if necessary).

As Indian composer and singer-songwriter, A. R. Rahman said, "Success comes to those who dedicate everything to their passion in life. To be successful, it is also very important to be humble and never let fame or money travel to your head."

Sunday, April 5, 2015


A hybrid or cross-genre book is a genre in fiction that blends themes and elements from two or more different genres is the definition I found in Wikipedia. This type of genre is a hot trend in the current marketplace. A caveat when writing a hybrid genre is that you need to be aware of who you’re writing for. Where in the bookstore would your target reader go in search of books like yours? In its most basic sense, genre is all about audience expectations. Genre fans turn to their books for a particular kind of escape, whether it be solving a mystery, becoming lost in another world or feeling swept up in a romance.

First and foremost, there needs to be a base. The most popular flavors are mystery, romance, fantasy, science fiction, literary, horror, historical, thriller, comedy and drama. The first thing you need to do is decide where your story fits best. To pick your base—your focus—start by asking yourself this key question: At its core, what is the plot of your story centered on?

Any ingredients you add to your base should enrich it, not overpower it. Remember, your story may have elements of a romance, a murder mystery and a new fantasy world, but that doesn’t mean it falls under all three genres. You have to decide: Which one is the focus?

Your book can’t be in two places at once—and knowing where it will likely end up can reinforce that critical element of understanding who you’re writing for.

Don’t try to force your book into any given genre—or subgenre—because it’s the hot new trend. To enhance a story, the introduced elements have to play a part in the story.  

Sunday, February 8, 2015

5 Smart Methods for Solid Research

As with writing skills, though, research skills are rarely taught — professors and mentors assume aspiring writers and students know or can figure out how to do good research. Thank heavens for Google, right? If you took a bibliography course in university, like me, you might still remember your “real” research skills ―that doesn’t include Wikipedia, Google, or any search engine. Before you start doing all the research for your next novel, you first need to keep in mind what ALL professors and publishing companies despise: plagiarism.
1. Be Diligent. Nobody said that being a sleuth was going to be easy. The Internet is not the only source of information. Libraries (remember them?) have a myriad of resources, including DVDs, microfilms, CDs, good old books, etc.
2. Do research of your research. I know it seems redundant but it’s important to double check your facts, especially when the information obtained comes from a dubious source.
3. Be selective. Use information effectively for a specific purpose.
4. Develop a scheme for tracking your work. Whether you audio/video record or take notes of your findings, make sure you save them in two different places and always back up your computer.  
5. Avoid cutting and pasting.  This could lead to plagiarism. Remember to cite properly and give credit to your sources.