Saturday, December 31, 2011

Allbooks Review January 2012 Newsletter

Shirley A. Roe’s, Dreams and Nightmares received a Bronze Award from Reader’s Choice. Shirley A. Roe has been interviewed see it here:

FEATURE: Do you write for an international audience? Ever wonder about spelling? At Prompt Proofing we offer spelling in Canadian English, American English or British English depending on the location of our clients, or our clients' target audience.

This week, we try to give a simplified guide to the main differences between Canadian, US and British spelling. That said, even each respective country's dictionary allows for variations!

1. colour / neighbour/ flavour
2. recognize / organize
3. travelling / traveller
4. jewellery
5. practice (noun) / practise (verb)**
6. licence (noun) / license (verb)**
7. defence / offence
8. theatre / centre / metre
9. programme ***
10. catalogue
11. tire (on car or bike) UK tyre

1. color / neighbor / flavor
2. recognize / organize
3. traveling / traveler
4. jewelry
5. practice (noun) / practice (verb)
6. license (noun / license (verb)
7. defense / offense
8. theater / center / meter
9. program
10. catalog ****
11. tire

The asterisks explained:

Sorry, but it's not always cut and dried - for explanations of asterisked spellings please see below:

* recognise / organise etc. This is the accepted norm in British spelling, also extending to nouns: organisation, civilisation, etc. However, interestingly the Oxford English Dictionary offers only the ize spelling, no alternative. Despite this, British media and most British educational institutions still use ise and the vast majority of British people will consider ize to be incorrect or an 'Americanism'. Go figure!

**Canadians (being the accommodating people they are well known to be) also accept the ce spelling for the verb form of these words (as an alternative)

*** programme is spelled with the mme ending in both Canadian and British English when it refers to a theatre or concert programme. However, when referring to a computer program, American spelling is always used.

**** catalog is widely used in American English; however, catalogue is also used and both are acceptable!

Prompt Proofing is based in Vancouver, BC, Canada and was officially launched in 2010 by a team of editing and writing professionals who have over 40 years of experience in the education, news media, public relations and recruitment fields.


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Allbooks Reviews INTERVIEW:

Allbooks Reviews INTERVIEW:

Please state your name and location. (city and State or Province, Country)

Stella Vance, Ecuador

Tell us the title and publisher of your book:

Dancing with Duality: Confessions of a Free Spirit

Tell us about yourself:

Stella Vance is the author of Dancing with Duality: Confessions of a Free Spirit, a memoir dealing with a woman who faced eating disorders, divorce, betrayal, physical abuse, abortion, date rape, and more--but found that life is just a game and was able to move on, forgive, and celebrate life with its ups and downs.

When was the book released?:

Sept, 2011

Give us an overview of your book.
Dancing with Duality: Confessions of a Free Spirit
Betrayed at the age of 21 by the first love of her life, Stella Vance embarks on a life of fearless adventure. She travels the world, adding notches to her lipstick case with lovers from all over the world, and surviving harrowing experiences, including abuse, addiction, abortion, date rape, and cult involvement. Along the way, Stella undergoes a spiritual transformation. Once awakened to the reality of nonduality, she gradually realizes that life is just a game, that death is just another dimension, and that nothing “out there” can really hurt her.
This inspiring page-turning memoir begins in the 1970s, with Stella as a Christian zealot. Subsequently questioning all religious dogma, Stella’s mystical quests leads her to delve deeply into the realms of dreams, psychic readings, astrology, tantric yoga, reincarnation and her own past lives, the entheogen ketamine, Indian holy men and women, revolving-door relationships, the seeker culture of southern California, and finally, the ultimate path of Advaita Vedanta. At the same time, she deals with anorexia and bulimia, addictions to cigarettes, marijuana, and alcohol, unwanted pregnancies, teaching in public schools, the death of several loved ones, foreclosure, and emigrating to South America.
The life of Stella Vance embodies all the adventure, drama, romance, humor, and philosophy of a free spirit set loose in the ’70s and finding its way into the new millennium. Reading Dancing with Duality provides evidence that life is meant to provide entertainment, as well as to teach us how to be grateful, forgive, and heal from all its vagaries.
In the end, Stella’s free spirit journey takes her on the path to the ultimate freedom: freedom from the mind with all its fears, judgments, limiting beliefs, and worries.

What inspired you to write this book?

My mother always said I had an interesting life and should write my memoirs. When I read Eat, Pray, Love, I got inspired to do this. I like how she weaved in nonfiction and reflective essays, and I did the same to educate (not just entertain) the reader.
How is your book different from other books in this genre?

It’s my unique story which involves the confusion and excitement of being in the first generation of “sexually liberated” women, and the pain involved in making tough decisions. It also entails my spiritual quest and how I had to leave the traditional Christian dogma to go deeper spiritually. It entails world travels to Latin America, Europe and Asia, and dating men from all over the globe. It includes my experience with many women’s issues, such as abortion, date rape, sexual harassment, being in a physically abusive relationship, eating disorders, and more. Yet the tone is upbeat because I survive and thrive at the end, realizing that life is just a game, and I am able to forgive everyone—including the hardest to forgive, which is myself.

Where can people buy your book?
It can be purchased on amazon or ordered at stores, requesting
ISBN-10: 1466326654 or ISBN-13: 978-1466326651
Check it out on here, with its Look Inside feature:

Are you working on another book? If so when do you expect it to be published?

At this point I am focused only on marketing.

If you self published, what advice can you give to fellow writers?

There has never in history been a better time to self publish! Sure, it is more prestigious to get a big name publisher backing your book. But that’s like winning the lottery, especially in today’s economy. The stigma of self-publishing is beginning to fade! Self-publishing is inexpensive with print-on-demand. And either way, you will have to do the marketing—so why not earn 30 to 70% of the profits instead of just a dollar a book? You will need to spend a few thousand dollars on getting the book edited, formatted, uploaded, as well as having a professional cover. But you will keep the copyright and the lion’s share of the profits. It is CRUCIAL, however, to get rid of the amateur look and have the book edited by a pro, and get a professionally done cover. People DO judge a book by its cover.

Can you share one of your marketing successes with us?

The first step is to get reviews, since most people will not buy a book that doesn’t have good reviews. Also no one wants to review an old book, so this needs to be done first. In two months I got 33 5-star reviews by spending three hours a day emailing sites and top amazon reviewers, offering a complimentary book in exchange for an honest review.

How did you find Allbooks Reviews and what are you hoping for in your relationship with us?

I plugged into google “book reviewers” and also used various other search engines. I am always thrilled to get a positive response. I find I may get only one or two per day after spending hours. It’s a numbers game.

Thank you for this interview.

If you would like to see your interview here, contact us at:

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Review of The Story in the Stars by author Yvonne Anderson

Atarah Hadassah Haga Natsach, or Dassa, has just finished her quest. She carries with her the precious mossberries that she must not eat until she presents it to her toqeph, Gannah’s ruler. Now that she has completed this very difficult rite of passage, Dassa will become Nasi, a knight of high honour on her planet, one with considerable skill and power. All is not well upon her return. She senses the disquiet; but she mustn’t stop until her quest is complete. Little does she know that the Gannah she once knew is no more and that she, barely a Nasi knight, will soon become not only its sole survivor; but also its toqeph, its spiritual leader and a powerful spiritual leader in the universe.
On a medical space ship stationed at a relatively nearby planet, one Karkar doctor, Pik, has been told that he must swallow his Karkar pride and inbred hatred of the Gannahan’s in order to do what his training has taught him to do. As Pik learns to heal his enemy, he learns to forgive. It is a long and difficult journey for him, not just in planetary space travel; but also in light years of understanding and appreciation, to love and honour more than himself, more than his race; to love, as well, a supreme deity, God, the Creator of the entire universe. Pik is the only non-Gannahan who hears the music on Gannah. The music is the key to this deep faith that he must embrace.
The Story in the Stars goes beyond the mere science fiction novel. One is soon caught up in the story of stars and constellations and planets way beyond the known galaxy. It quickly leads the reader into a story of faith, a faith that connects all of the planets of the universe. It is an interesting theory. As one of the main characters, Dr. Pik, quickly learns, it is a theory that even science cannot find a reasonable explanation for it not to be true.

Yvonne Anderson was recently inspired by Joseph A. Seiss’ 1882 publication, The Gospel in the Stars. This book became the inspiration for The Story in the Stars, the first book in her Gateway to Gannah series. She created a of cast fictional characters and fictional planets to weave her story of faith into an intergalactic fantasy, science fiction, Christian inspirational novel.

Anderson’s The Story in the Stars is a captivating story, a real page turner as well as one that makes us mere Earthers (as she calls us) really wonder: what is out there and, do they, the terrestrials, share some of our beliefs? One can only hope. Well done! The Story in the Stars is highly recommended by award-winning author and Allbooks reviewer, Emily-Jane Hills Orford, Allbooks Reviews.

Available at: Amazon
Title: The Story in the Stars
Author: Yvonne Anderson
Publisher: Risen Books
ISBN: 978-1936835041
Pages: 282 pages
Price: $16.99

The Days of Laméch written by Jon Saboe

Young and cocky Laméch is showing off in Matusalé City in an effort to draw attention to The Path, and the overthrowing of the ruling Semyaz, wise ones from afar that have come to rebuild after the Family Wars. Laméch’s friend Ruallz is a commoner, a city worker. The wealthy and spoiled Laméch often drags Ruallz into adventures that he would rather avoid. One such adventure finds the two drugged and on a strange vessel being propelled across the sea, accompanied by a true anti-Semyaz warrior, Lyn-Golnan. This was to be the beginning of a life- changing journey for Laméch. He meets his grandfather for the first time and is sent on a spy mission that will challenge this brave, danger- loving young man. How does the jade-eyed, Keziah factor into Laméch’s journey? Gaw-Bolwuen, a thirteen-year-old student, is tricked, captured and taken from her home. She is groomed by the Semyaz for a specific purpose. How does she factor into our protagonist’s journey? Read of the struggle to save thousands of innocents and destroy the Semyaz. Readers will travel through the generations as they struggle to save humanity.
In-depth historical, scientific and biblical research, mixed with imagination and conjecture has produced an amazing tale of earth’s early inhabitants, their lives and their beliefs. An entertaining and thought provoking read by author Jon Saboe.
The Days of Laméch is the long awaited prequel to Saboe’s, The Days of Peleg. Author Jon Saboe is an author, a concert pianist and guest lecturer. He lives in Baltimore.

Once I started reading this book, I couldn’t put it down! Recommended by Shirley A. Roe, Allbooks Review,

Title: The Days of Laméch
Author: Jon Saboe
Publisher: Outskirts
Price: $17.95
Date: July 2011
For more info:

Review 'Spring' by author Emily-Jane Hills Orford

Set in the early 1980’s, Lady Jane and Melanie are childhood friends who know each other’s deepest held secrets. Lady Jane escaped her past by marrying into a prominent British family and Melanie focused solely on her love of music to the exclusion of family and friends. In Spring, they reunite as adults, each trying to accept and support the life paths they have chosen.

“Both ladies would have to be careful and always watch what they said whenever there were others around. But Lady Jane was prepared to do so with her usual sense of purpose and poise befitting the noble lady that she had become. She realized that she had missed her friend. The benefits and joys of her old friendship far outweighed the risks involved.”

Using Antonio Vivaldi's The Four Seasons as the backdrop, in Spring, Emily-Jane Hills Orford focuses on Melanie's story. Melanie is a headstrong young woman who had put her love of music before all else refusing to take the traditional role expected of a woman. Instead she traveled all over the world with absolute freedom, like the season of spring - a time of birth, growth, and adventure.
As Melanie’s life matures, mirroring the seasons as they turn to a more aged and wizened time, she returns home to find she must “face the music” she has made of her life. Melanie is forced to both acknowledge and make peace with the choices she has made and the resultant losses.
A touching story with believable and compassionate characters, Orford does a wonderful job of bringing us into the lives of two close friends who have both made unconventional life choices. We are privy to the secrets and stubborn actions of these women that must be kept hidden and controlled to ensure that current life styles are not disrupted.
The great attention to period detail makes this book a pleasure to read. Orford, by referencing the music and art of the time, makes Spring a believable and compelling story that draws you into the women’s secretive lives and which makes you want to follow them to their resolutions. Exciting and evocative, Spring brings us two new independent, intelligent, and feisty women characters which whom you’d love to sit down and share a glass of wine or two. Highly Recommended by reviewer: Wendy Thomas, Allbooks Reviews.
Title: Spring
Author: Emily Jane Hills Orford
ISBN: 978-1-4560-9465-2
Price: $25.16
For more info:

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Amazing Women by Dr. C. Margerison

Genre: Non-Fiction/Inspirational/History
Title: Amazing Women
Author: Dr. Charles Margerison
Let’s face it. Women have come a long way, but we still have quite a distance to go before we are considered on equal footing with men. One way to further this progress is to inspire women, young and old, to reach for the stars and fulfill their dreams, and what better way to inspire than a book that focuses on the accomplishments of famous women in history. Amazing Women by Dr. Charles Margerison fits the bill perfectly.
Amazing Women is part of a series of BioViews, a form of literature created by Dr. Margerison to resemble autobiographies of famous people as if they were alive today and either writing their stories themselves or relaying them to an interviewer. Each story in Amazing Women revolves around a woman in history, who took the bull by the horns and let nothing stop her from reaching her goals. Each account is short and sweet and to the point. They give the essence of each person – what made them tick, what was important to them, and how they achieved their goals. Granted, some liberties have probably been taken in the interpretations of these women’s lives, but the author makes a point to also list the historical facts at the end of the book, as well as each woman’s known contributions to history.
In this collection, among many others, we meet Elizabeth Blackwell, who tirelessly fought the prejudice over women in medicine and became the first woman to qualify as a medical doctor in the United States, even though no hospitals would hire her. She believed in educating, not just doctoring, and fought to convince people that social conditions were the cause of much disease. She even opened a clinic in the slums where the most help was needed. We also meet Marie Curie, who helped to discover ways to cure illness with radiotherapy treatments, and was the only woman to win two Nobel Peace Prizes, and Elizabeth Macarthur, one of the founding mothers of Australia, who helped develop the colony and established agriculture and commerce there. Readers will be in awe of Irene Sendler, who risked her life on numerous occasions to smuggle children out of the ghetto in Warsaw where the Jews were held, and Mother Teresa, who lived among the poor and devoted her life to helping those in need. The list goes on and on, but one common thread emerges. Each woman was a trailblazer who led by being a pioneer and paved the way for future changes in the world. For each of them, the cause was always worth the trials and tribulations, and they were all incredibly tough, resilient, and determined. Most of them lived in a time where women were still expected to get married and stay at home and have babies and education was not an option, but they refused to accept this. They wanted to make a difference in the world and all thrived on challenge, and so somehow they balanced their personal lives and work lives and still made huge impacts on the world. Some had the support and encouragement of family and/or friends while others had to go against family to achieve their goals. Although I was familiar with some of the names in this book, I found it amazing how many women were behind great ideas in history but were left virtually unknown. It is wonderful to see them recognized.
What is truly beautiful about this book is that Margerison is a natural storyteller who doesn’t bog the reader down with unnecessary details but provides a neat summary of the accomplishments of each of these incredible women in flowing story format. There are some people who enjoy losing themselves in a lengthy history tome, but the average person just becomes bored by drawn-out accounts of history. Therefore, Amazing Women provides an effective tool for people to learn without feeling overwhelmed. What a wonderful inspiration to women of all ages everywhere in the world but especially to the up and coming female success stories. Anyone lacking in confidence, but especially females, can read this book and come away with the knowledge that any dream is possible. I would love to see this book in the school systems to be utilized as a tool to encourage girls who don’t have the courage to chase their dreams. Turning the last page of this book, I was left with the knowledge that the battle was worth it and must continue!
Dr. Charles Margerison is a Chartered Psychologist and a member of the Royal Institution and the Royal Literature Society. He is Chairman of Viewpoint Resources Ltd. and was previously Professor of Management at the Universities of Cranfield (UK) and Queensland, Australia. He was also a co-founder of Emerald, the world’s leading publisher of management journals and databases.

Reviewer: Cindy Taylor,
Title: Amazing Women
Author: Dr. Charles Margerison
Format: ebook
Publisher: Amazing People Club
July, 2011

Monday, December 19, 2011

Review of Her Dear and Loving Husband by Meridith Allard

Sarah Alexander, divorced and looking for a fresh start, accepts a position in the Humanities department, at Salem State College. Her friend and boss, Jennifer, introduces Sarah to Professor James Wentworth. She settles in to her new life in Salem with her new friends.
Wanting to find information on a relative that she believes was killed during the Salem Witch hunts in the 1600’s, Sarah visits the many Salem sites of the hangings, tortures and incarcerations of the witches. Professor Wentworth is happy to be her guide, but Sarah begins to want more from the Professor. Unfortunately, James Wentworth is still in love with his dead wife. Is Sarah falling for him? Does he feel the same?
James Wentworth is hiding a secret, a deep dark secret that only a few people such as Jennifer, know. When a news reporter, Mr. Hempel of the Salem News begins to investigate James, things start to take on a different energy. One that Sarah finds hard to define, but that seems to be drawing her into things she doesn’t understand.
Author Meredith Allard is a true master of the written word. The characters are realistic and easy to know. The descriptions are vivid and enriching. She received a B.A and M.A in English from California State University and teaches writing to students of all ages. Watch for the sequel, Her Loving Husband’s Curse.
An excellent read that will keep you involved until the final page, most enjoyable.

Highly recommended by Shirley A. Roe, Allbooks Review,

Title: Her Dear and Loving Husband
Author: Meredith Allard
Publisher: Copperfield Press
Date: July 2011
For more info:

Monday, December 12, 2011

Review of This Mobius Strip of Ifs by Matt Freese

Before I begin, I will state that I am a huge fan of Mathius Freese. His novel, The “i” Tetrology still sits in a place of honor on my bookshelf as one of the books I shall never forget. This Mobius Strip of Ifs is a collection of essays written by the author over a long period of time and finally brought together in a fascinating work of literary genius. I sit and read the essays and sometimes I find myself in a place of deep soul searching and discovery, other times I am simply entertained, but never disappointed.
Each essay has something truly unique and heart wrenching. The following quote is only a small part of the therapist’s relationship with the client. However, as you read, it permeates your core as very sound advice for any relationship.
Therapist as Artist: “Some comments about the relationship with the client. As you fade, the client becomes clearer. Think of yourself as the Cheshire cat in Alice in Wonderland.
Use yourself as an instrument. Use images, analogies, metaphors; be nimble on your feet. Use words gracefully, cunningly, but never deceitfully. Be multiplex. Think and be in large, not small, measures. Give and ye shall receive twice-fold.
As you feel, sense and intuit the client, feel his impact upon yourself. Think of meteors raining down upon the moonscape and the lunar quakes that ensue and seismic waves that are issued deep down to its core. Engage and motivate.” Truly thought provoking!
To quote Jane Freese, who puts it beautifully in the introduction, “A Möbius strip is essentially a ribbon with a twist. A mathematical model, it is used as a metaphor by physicists to describe why we, living within four dimensions, are unable to perceive other dimensions outside of the single boundary of time. “ The collection covers religion, the Holocaust, publishing, writing, movies, actors, therapy and life in general, from the author’s point of view. Readers will be entertained, challenged, and yes, shocked by some of the writings. Another winner from Matt Freese that I have thoroughly enjoyed from start to finish and I am sure will return to often in the future.

Highly Recommended by Reviewer: Shirley Roe, Allbooks Review.

Title: This Mobius Strip of Ifs Essays
Author: Mathias Freese
Publisher: Red Willow Digital Press
Pages: pre pub
For more information:

July. 2011

Review of An Unusual Journey Through Royal History by Victoria Martinez

Have you ever wondered about the basic hygiene of your favourite royal? Or, how about their body-piercings? Not to mention their bloodline, which, at one point, royals claimed came directly from Charlemagne, the first Holy Roman Emperor. Certainly their insistence in the past, for royals to only marry royals, has created a long line of royal successions for each and every monarchy. Did you know, for example, that Queen Elizabeth II is indirectly, or directly, depending on how you look at it, in line of succession to a whole list of other monarchies? If any, or indeed all, of these monarchies were to suddenly run out of hundreds of eligible candidates, Britain’s Queen could step up and take these thrones. It makes you wonder what her ancestor, Queen Victoria, would think; perhaps another British Royal Empire in the making? Queen Victoria would certainly think that it was about time, being one who, with great dignity, believed that her ancestry, and that of her descendents, dated back to Israel’s ancient monarchy, in particular, King David. In fact, there are those who believe that the British people were descended from one of the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel. That probably explains the royal obsession with the Jewish ritual of circumcision.
An Unusual Journey Through Royal History is exactly what its title suggests. It is a compilation of historical royal trivia: noteworthy, perhaps, definitely rare and, at times, inconceivable. It certainly makes the study of royal history an interesting quagmire, a Pandora’s Box, of the strange, the unusual and, perhaps, sometimes the sordid anomalies of very public lives.
Victoria Martinez is a royalist. More important, though, she is an historian of royalty. Her freelance public relations employment allows her to travel extensively and to research the history that fascinates her: royal history. She is a regular columnist for the online site, Unofficial Royalty ( and Time Her articles also appear in print journals such as The European Royal History Journal, Royalty Digest Quarterly and The Duke and Duchess of Windsor Society Quarterly. An Unusual Journey Through Royal History is a compilation of Martinez’s essays and articles, which have appeared in various online and print publications.
Martinez writes in an inviting style, with interesting descriptions and commentary, coupled with lots of well-researched historical facts. An Unusual Journey Through Royal History is a fascinating collection of royal trivia, well written, well researched and well presented. Well done! An Unusual Journey Through Royal History is highly recommended by award-winning author and Allbooks reviewer, Emily-Jane Hills Orford, Allbooks Reviews.

Available at: Amazon
Title: An Unusual Journey Through Royal History
Author: Victoria Martinez
Publisher: Who Dares Wins Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-935712-45-9
Pages: 82 pages
Price: $2.99 (ebook)
For more info: and,
July 2011

Monday, December 5, 2011

Review of The Tree Singer by Danny Fahey

“How we act. The choices we make. The loyalties we keep.” Pg. 317

In this fantasy of faith, healing, love, loss and betrayal, a young man dreams his future. Jacob is destined to leave his destitute fishing village to become a prosperous, if not famous, flute maker.
His Mother, Juliana had been well known for her sharp tongue, but since her husband’s death, she had become a bitter, angry woman. She had even accused Jacob of having something to do with his father’s death. Life would never be the same as he remembered it.
The town’s fishing industry was dormant, trying to farm the boulder- laden land proved futile. The sickness that had spread through the town left the villagers sapped of life and hope.
There was little laughter now as they merely eked out an existence.
Simon, the ‘Healer’ strolled leisurely into their lives. His origin or future was unknown. For now he had been sent to the village with his powerful healing hands and teaching skills.
Juliana and Jacob welcomed him into their home where he begins his healing. Over the course of time the village prospers, becoming alive again with the salt lake full of fish and the land bearing food. Miracles seemed to happen every day with Simon around.
Simon nurtures Jacob’s dream of becoming a flute maker, teaching him worldly, as well as magical skills, such as learning to ‘sing wood from trees.’ Harrod, the carpenter patiently teaches Jacob how to carve, drill and care for the wood as he makes his first flutes. His daughter, Maddie’s tortured mind has been released by Simon, and the bond between Jacob and Maddie grows into love. The outside world becomes aware of the location of the ‘Healer’ and Jacob sees the toll that healing is having on Simon.
Years pass before the day when Simon announces he must be on his way. “Life moves forward, always forward.” Pg .225
At twenty-three, Jacob and Maddie decide he should go to the city called Cathel before they marry. He hopes to see Simon again and has an appointment to show a famous musician his talent for flute making. Amazing experiences come to Jacob, and he becomes well known for the lost art of ‘tree singing.’
This story is well laid out, easy to follow and an enjoyable read. The author, Danny Fahey magically has the reader feeling the intense emotions throughout the novel.
Reviewer: Cheryl Heinrichs, Allbooks Review @

Title: The Tree Singer
Author: Danny Fahey
Publisher: Dragonfall Press
ISBN-13: 978-0-9806341-5-0
Pages: 362
Price: $19.95 June 2011
For more info:

Review of Get Er Done: The Green Beret Guide to Productivity

Author: Michael Matel

A business productivity book that models itself after the Green Berets? That's definitely going to be all about shouting, punishing people harshly for getting out of line, and forcing individuals into the same mold, right?

Think again.

Martel's purpose isn't to bully people like a stereotypical drill sergeant. That's basic training you're thinking of. Instead, he's offering much more advanced military tactics, like goal-setting, maintaining focus, and building a support team. “Green Berets do not have superpowers,” he says; what they do have is the ability to adapt to changing circumstances without losing sight of the original goal.

Each chapter walks the reader through a concept with at least one Green Beret anecdote and several examples of how and why the tactic is useful in civilian life. Each concludes with a “mission” to follow through on the information.

For example, chapter six talks about the “point of no return,” literally the moment at which it's easier to follow through with a commitment rather than give up. Martel explains how the idea relates to C-130 troop transport planes, and then ties it in to the competing commitments we each have in our daily lives. He offers up a mission to help maintain focus on a recent commitment, rather than get sidetracked by focusing on what could go wrong.

The layout makes it easy to scan for the key points, and makes this 98-page volume an even easier read than its length suggests. A rare treat is that the breakout text – those little driblets of wisdom found in many business books – don't actually repeat any of the text on the page. I can't recall the last time I read a book where those space-hogging snippets added any value whatsoever.

From organizing a multinational company to simply achieving personal goals, this book provides clear, specific tactics to “get er done,” without making you feel like you're trapped in boot camp.

Recommended by Terence P Ward, Allbooks Review.

Title: Get Er Done: The Green Beret Guide to Productivity

Author: Michael Martel

Publisher: PCG Business

ISBN: 978-1-936417-17-9

For more info:

June 2011

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Allbooks Review December 2011 Newsletter

Check out our ongoing blog Allbooks VS Amazon

Writing Great Blurbs by Mayra Calvani

A great blurb can make the difference between a customer taking out his/her wallet to buy your book or putting the book back on the shelf. Great blurbs sell books.

But what is a blurb, exactly?

A blurb is the copy on the back cover of your book. After the cover, the blurb is the first thing a customer will check when considering to buy a book. It should hook, intrigue and grab the reader right away.

“Book blurbs are eye candy to the consumer,” says publicist Penny Sansevieri, founder of Author Marketing Experts.

Not only to customers. A great blurb can help you find a publisher or an agent, too.

A few years ago, I sent dozens of query letters in my search for an agent. As you probably know, most query letters are composed of a blurb of the book (the hook), some info about the book (genre, word count, etc), and a short author bio or list of qualifications. The agents who responded said “No, thanks.” I’m not surprised. The blurb was as flat as a French crepe. One of these agents wrote to say she wasn’t particularly excited about my book, but asked if I had something else to show her. By this time I had improved my blurb and had a completely new version. I mentioned this to her and asked her to consider my edited blurb, which she did. Her response was “Well, I have to admit this is a pretty convincing blurb.” She requested the first three chapters. To make a long story short, she took me in based on the strength of those three chapters. In this case, my blurb was the key factor in getting the agent’s attention.

This is the blurb I first included in my query letter:

Can a good man be persuaded into committing murder and still retain his goodness?

Lullaby is about the restless soul of an aborted infant who, in order to become powerful enough to be reborn, must tempt humans into committing evil acts. Having temporarily acquired the form of a beautiful woman, this being plays mind games with the protagonist, bringing back memories of his tragic childhood. As deeply buried feelings of hate and revenge spring to the surface, the protagonist must struggle with his conscience to do the right thing. But will he, when his own ideas about justice and the higher good tell him it is right to kill?

Now compare it to the second one which got the agent’s attention:

At a trendy Turkish tavern one Friday night, astrophysicist Gabriel Diaz meets a mysterious young woman. Captivated out of his senses by her physical perfection as well as her views on good and evil, he spends the next several days with her. After a while, however, he begins to notice a strangeness in her—her skin’s abnormally high temperature, her obsession with milk products, her child-like and bizarre behavior as she seems to take pleasure in toying with his conscience.

The young woman, Kamilah, invites him to Rize, Turkey, where she claims her family owns a cottage in the woods. In spite of his heavy workload and the disturbing visions and nightmares about his sister’s baby that is due to be born soon, Gabriel agrees to go with her.

But nothing, not even the stunning beauty of the Black Sea, can disguise the horror of her nature. In a place where death dwells and illusion and reality seem as one, Gabriel must now come to terms with his own demons in order to save his sister’s unborn child, and ultimately, his own soul…

Here are some guidelines to help you create great blurbs:

*Keep it short (100-250 words). The aim is to convey what makes the book unique in a small amount of space.

*In it set the mood, the scene, and the conflict or enigma.

*It should have mounting tension. The beginning should have a “hint” of the conflict or threat, yet remain pretty innocuous (look at my blurb number two: boy meets girl in a tavern). By the end of the blurb, the conflict or threat should be imminent (protagonist must save his sister’s unborn child and his own soul).

*Think of the best angle to approach your story. Both of my blurbs describe what happens in my novel, yet the second one sounds much more exciting.

*As with a good book review, never put “spoilers” in the blurb. You can do this in a book summary or synopsis, but never in a blurb. (Look again at my blurb number one. In it I make the big mistake of revealing the nature of my “evil” female protagonist—she is the soul of an aborted infant. In blurb number two, you suspect there’s something wrong with her, but you don’t know what. You’re left wondering).

*Think about what makes your book different.

*Question marks can be used to leave the reader intrigued.

*Often ellipsis are used at the end to leave reader asking questions.

*Keep adverbs and adjectives to a minimum and use action verbs.

*Needless to say, make sure there are no spelling or grammatical errors.

*If your book is non-fiction, does it have special features like pictures or diagrams? What is the aim of the book? What are you trying to accomplish? Does it teach anything? How is this book different from others in the field?

*Remember that blurbs are not summaries! Don’t tell the whole story—only the exciting part of it so that the reader will want to know more.

*Don’t exaggerate or sugar coat it. Be professional.

*Study the blurbs from your book shelves, paying special attention to their style, language, and content.

*Write and rewrite, rewrite, rewrite. Then show it to people who can offer honest feedback.

One last tip:

Do you know that powerful, dramatic voice that you hear in the cinemas during movie trailers? That alluring voice, often exaggerated, that describes the movies? Well, read your own blurb with this voice in your mind, matching its tone and pitch. You’ll be surprised to find out how much that helps!

About the author:

Mayra Calvani writes fiction and nonfiction for children and adults and has authored over a dozen books, some of which have won awards. Her stories, reviews, interviews and articles have appeared on numerous publications such as The Writer, Writer’s Journal, Multicultural Review, and Bloomsbury Review, among many others. A reviewer for over a decade, she now offers online reviewing workshops. She also offers workshops on the art of children’s picture book writing. When she’s not writing, reading, editing or reviewing, she enjoys walking her dog, traveling, and spending time with her family.

Visit her website at, join her mailing list, and automatically receive the free ebook, Reviewers Talk about Their Craft and the first lesson from her Slippery Art of Book Reviewing Workshop.

To receive two free lessons of her popular Walking on a Rainbow, a Fiction Picture Book Workshop, visit

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


Does the title lead you to believe this book is quirky? Well, that’s what I figured and I wasn’t disappointed. In fact, I’m forced to admit that it’s almost too quirky for my limited intelligence. Although extremely well written and intelligently plotted, this novel was difficult for me due to the cyber/sci-fi blend of jargon—almost as if half of it was in a foreign language. However, readers who are up to speed with this genre will love it, and for the rest of us? Why, there’s plenty of mystery, murder, spooks, good old detective work and even a little sex. In fact, when you pick up this book, fasten your seatbelt, because you’re in for a thrilling ride filled with page-turning adventure in the q-verse—a digital and primitive, half-cyber, half-real world of primordial computer code and digitally constructed beings.

Harmonica is the q-verse handle for Harry, a remarkable woman protagonist and the supreme hacker. How does she know she is ‘self”? Because she thinks. Whoa, heavy. Gig is her boyfriend. Sort of. Along with a “neurotic online transvestite who sublimates his fears with alcohol” these colorful characters don many disguises as they investigate a murder, together and separately. Disguises? Skins is the author’s word. We get tortoises, chameleons, vampires, dragons, rabbits, and body-builders. And the default skin? Human. They can even hack into each others’ bodies. Like I said, quirky. Sublimated, there’s a wonderful ‘Alice in Wonderland’ feel to all of it (in fact Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum skins are featured).

Regardless of the genre and jargon, good writing should make the reader feel immersed in a conflict filled, make-believe world. Believe me—the author’s exemplary literary skills deliver plenty of tension while his vivid sensory descriptions and crisp, scene-setting narrative put us right there in the q-verse. His unusual characters leap right off the page and the rush to climax is satisfying. Throughout, I admit I was confused at times but never off course, even with my limited cyber-knowledge. Unfortunately, nowhere on the book jacket or inside is a bio of the author, R.J. Astruc so I can’t tell you anything about him (or her). However, I can tell you this: here’s an Australian writer who is extremely intelligent and talented. Fans of the genre should look forward to anything written by R.J. Astruc.

A Good Read, by reviewer: Jan Evan Whitford, Allbooks Reviews Int.

Published by: Dragonfall Press ©2004, 2011

ISBN978-0-9806341-4-3, Trade paperback,

365 pages

$19.95 Australian

June 2011

For more info: