Monday, August 29, 2022

Energizing Marketing &Technical Strategies - by Jeanne Burrows-Johnson


It’s summertime, and in Arizona that means finding ways to survive extremely hot weather. If you’re inside on most days, you may not relish the thought of your usual hours spent in research, composition, and editing. Here’s a project that may prove useful in wading through the next couple of months … For regardless of whether you’re a newbie or established author, a single question can effectively measure the potential for success of current and envisioned marketing materials and promotional campaigns: Can your promotional elements be recognized and appreciated by the readers of your genre?

Self-Awareness ~ Market Savvy Readership-Appropriate Promotion 

No one lives in a vacuum. Like any business professional, an author needs to ensure that their target market recognizes their name, art elements, and components of any logo and/or slogan they use! Remember, you ARE where you are BECAUSE of your past. And, considering what you’ve already paid in time, energy, and resources, it’s worth reviewing your life journey periodically! 


Periodically, I write about reviewing materials in old hardcopy as well as electronic files. This can be especially useful if an author has had a variety of careers. Samples of past bios, job descriptions, and marketing materials we may have created in those jobs can demonstrate interesting insights into our lives. Shifts of focus in one’s life may not seem related to our current work as an author of fiction as well as nonfiction, but this is not true—for reviewing the phases of one’s life should reveal developmental patterns and an expanding flow through the years.

As you work your way through the myriad files that reflect the essence of your life, keep a pen or electronic means of notetaking available, as well as a folder for any gems you may wish to include in new promotional projects. While reveling in past accomplishments that may prove useful again, don’t forget to note past shortcomings that you will want to avoid in the future. The following considerations should help shape your progress to new heights of accomplishment. 

~ Are there key words and phrases that you and others have utilized to describe the dynamism of you and your work?

~ Have you received awards or other forms of recognition that express the essence of your personhood and work? 

~ Is there material that reflects the nature of your genre(s) and/or the work of fellow authors... Remember that you cannot plagiarize another’s writing, but you can draw inspiration from them.

~ Are there statements of desired short- and long-term goals...regardless of whether you have accomplished them? 

~ Are there color or grayscale photos that might be used again? If not, are there poses, garments, accessories, and elements of hair and makeup styling that can be updated?


As you conclude the review of your life’s work, determine whether there are words, phrases, and sentences on which you might base a survey. Some “experts” assert that surveys may not be useful as they can yield unwelcome responses. I propose that even negative responses can fortify one’s sense of purpose and indicate a clear direction in imageenhancing strategies! By effectively surveying members of your support team (readers, editors, publishing staff, family and friends), you may find a fresh perspective on shaping a positive image of yourself, as well as utilizing unexpected ideas for achieving greater success. How you conduct the survey may vary from sending out copies via Email to employing conversations by phone or Zoom. 


~ Photos [you will need both color and grayscale in several formats, i.e., TIFF, JPG, PNG, GIFF] Letterhead for hardcopy, Email, and social media communication 

~ Business cards, postcards, posters 

~ Art consistently appearing in your books, website(s), blog [such as logos, banners, folios] 

~ Colors [verify correct numeration for print vs. electronic colors] 

~ Fonts [you may want to check with your fine/graphic artist and publisher


With your notes and folder of samples from your past, you are ready to begin anew, perhaps listing the elements you included in your survey. With elemental choices determined, you can begin shaping new marketing projects—on your own, or by turning to artistic consultants whose talents you have previously utilized. With a firm sense of who and where you have been and where you want to be, your promotional efforts should prove successful and cost-effective!

And so we return to our fundamental question: What will ensure your target market recognizes you in the words and images utilized in your marketing materials and promotional campaigns?

Aloha, Jeanne Burrows-Johnson
author, narrator, motivational speaker, and consultant 

P.S. I invite you to see examples from my own work at:

Author Website:

Author Blog:

Marketing Website:

Jeanne Burrows-Johnson is an author, narrator, consultant, and motivational speaker who writes works of fiction and nonfiction. She is the author of the award-winning Natalie Seachrist Hawaiian Mysteries, featuring pan-Pacific multiculturalism and history in a classic literary form that is educational as well as entertaining. She was art director, indexer, and a co-author of the anthology Under Sonoran Skies: Prose and Poetry from the High Desert. Drawing on her interdisciplinary experience in the performing arts, education, and marketing, her authored and co-authored articles have appeared in literary, professional, and general readership publications such as Newport This Week, Broker World, the Hawai`i Medical Journal, and The Rotarian.

Monday, August 22, 2022

New release: Death at Hell’s Canyon Quarry - by Elizabeth Ajamie-Boyer

Find this book on Amazon HERE - in eBook and Paperback

Ash Fork, a sleepy hamlet in northern Arizona, becomes the location of several serial murders as body after body is found in Hell's Canyon Quarry.

Death at Hell's Canyon Quarry—a story about Detective Alan Anderson, late of the Dallas, Texas police force, but now in Ash Fork, Arizona. A woman is found floating in Hell's Canyon Quarry. Her death is deemed accidental, but suspicious. All leads go cold, and the case is filed away. Three years later, a spate of deaths, all similar, occur. Still looking accidental, Detective Anderson has deja' vu, feeling these can't all be accidents. Do we have a serial murderer? How are these people linked together? Why would anyone want them dead? How does his team, including Becky Tsosie, a Navajo college student, figure out who the murderer is? 

An avid reader since childhood, Elizabeth Ajamie-Boyer is from the Phoenix, Arizona. She is married to, and co-writes with TJ Boyer, primary author of The Mirror Gate Chronicles series. As a Christian writer, Elizabeth feels called to write about the accomplishments of other Christians to make the United States of America a great country. Her novella, Memories of War is her first solo project..

Monday, August 15, 2022

How I end up with good book covers - by Vijaya Schartz



Find my books at amazon B&N - Smashwords - Kobo 

I write in various genres, and as I am a very visual person, book covers are important to me.

Except for one or two fails with now defunct publishers, I’ve always been blessed with great book covers. Other authors think I’m lucky, but I cultivate an open line of communication with the publisher and designer. I know they did not read the book, so I work very hard to give them the elements I envision for my book covers, to communicate the spirit of the story.

I was often told I have a good eye for color. And if you look at my sci-fi covers, you’ll notice a lot of blue.

For many of my current covers, I went online to the stock photo companies used by my publisher, to look for the perfect cover model to represent my hero and my heroine’s personality and state of mind, as well as the best background. Then I sent these pictures and suggestions to the publisher for the cover designer. I was always thrilled with the resulting cover.

This time, however, as I am polishing my next novel, a new publisher rule emerged that except for Historical Novels in period costumes, the covers would no longer portray people with faces, but instead we should use backgrounds, silhouettes, or other elements to create a mood.

At first, I cringed. I had already picked my heroine for the cover, and I so loved my characters, I had found the perfect cover models with the right faces and personalities among the stock images. But I was up for the challenge. My October release, ANGEL SHIP, Book 1 of a new science fiction series Blue Phantom, is about a ghost ship, an Angel captain, a noble heroine, and of course, a big cat with an attitude. It contains lots of action, evil sorcerers, space battles, and romantic elements.

Here are some of my older BWL covers with people on them. Find them on my author page at: amazon B&N - Smashwords - Kobo 


As I scrolled through thousands of background images, I selected a few representing the best approximation of the inside of my glowing angel ship. Then I found a big cat like my heroine’s bodyguard, and a pair of cool angel wings.

When asked to send my cover suggestions, I almost panicked. How would the artist make a kick-butt cover with the meager elements I had selected? It seemed impossible, so I prepared myself for the worst.

What I didn’t count on, was the immense talent of the artists who create these book covers, their knowledge of the genres (science fiction in this case), their years of experience and their awareness of industry trends. But most of all, I underestimated their ability to visualize what I couldn’t.

The artist made it all come together by using the background in ways I didn’t think of, finding the perfect font, in the perfect spooky glow, to give the impression of a phantom ship. And the result is extraordinary. I absolutely love this cover. And the next books in the series will have the same background and same fonts, but with a different cat. Yay!

My hat’s off to the BWL Publishing team. I love you guys. You are my heroes.

The book comes out in October, but in the meantime, you can catch up with the Azura Universe with these two sister-series, Byzantium, and Azura Chronicles. Hint: Captain Blake Volkov, the hero of ANGEL SHIP, was a secondary character in ANGEL BRAVE. 

amazon B&N - Smashwords - Kobo

Happy Reading! 

Vijaya Schartz, author
Strong Heroines, Brave Heroes, cats

Monday, August 8, 2022

New release: My Saddest Pleasures: 50 Years on the Road - by Mark D. Walker


Find this book on Amazon HERE, in paperback and in kindle.

In his new book, Mark Walker reflects on his fifty years of travel miscalculations and disasters. As a young Peace Corps volunteer with no overseas travel experience, the world was his oyster, and he figured he could go anywhere if he set his mind to it—with little or no money. Then he married a Guatemalan lady and had to think more about “our” needs; then, three children meant additional requirements and responsibilities. 

 Later, as a professional fundraiser, he would set up donor visits to program areas where the organizations he represented needed funds, which meant considering the needs of up to fifteen individuals of all ages, including children and some donors in their 70s and 80s. 

 He’s become a savvier trekker, although he is still prone to the occasional snafu. This book is part of the “Yin & Yang of Travel” series of ten essays. It’s an invaluable portal into the world of timeless travel and what can go wrong.

Walker was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Guatemala and spent over forty years helping disadvantaged people in the developing world. He came to Phoenix as a Senior Director for Food for the Hungry, worked with other groups like Make-A-Wish International, and was the CEO of Hagar USA. This Christian-based organization supports survivors of human trafficking.
earn more at and follow him on Facebook at