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Saturday, December 25, 2010

This Book May Become the Most Useful Book on Your Desk!

It was the best of sentences, it was the worst of sentences

Subtitle: a writer’s guide to crafting killer sentences
By June Casagrande
Ten Speed Press (2010)
ISBN: 9781580087407
Nonfiction/How-To (Writing)
Buy Link:
Publisher's Site:

New Book May (Should!) Replace Your Stunk and White!

Grammar Guru Offers Advice
Like None You’ve Ever Seen—All in One Place!

Reviewed by Carolyn Howard-Johnson, award-winning author of This Is the Place and Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered, Tracings, a chapbook of poetry and the How To Do It Frugally Series of book for authors

Rules. Rules. Rules. I didn’t realize how tired I was of the same old writing advice until this little black book landed in my mailbox. I promised to review it fast, but this It was the best of sentences, it was the worst of sentences book by June Casagrande isn’t a book a serious writer wants to flip through fast.

I could see from the subhead in the first chapter that this book would include something better than most. It read, “Thy Reader, Thy God.” What a concept that is! The Reader and not The Rule Book! Ahem! And it got better and better as Casagrande explored all the subjects I knew everything about. Or thought I did. She uses examples so a writer can see the differences between OK writing and acrylic-clear writing.

By the time I got to “Are Your Relatives Essential?” I was really sold. This is a Wow- Chapter, even for accomplished editors. The writing tips she gives in Chapter Twelve for using tenses effectively are just what I need to convince my students that I’m not the only editor/teacher in the world who believes that tenses needn’t match all the way through a story (or even a paragraph, for that matter!). That chapter is called “You Will Have Been Conjugating.”

I could go on and on, chapter by chapter. What isn’t new to a writer or what doesn’t elucidate will remind and amuse Casagrande’s God, The Reader. For those who know Casagrande’s work, this book isn’t as funny as her first one, Grammar Snobs Are Great Big Meanies ( ). Nevertheless, the reader will still occasionally get a good laugh. For chuckles read Chapter Nine, “Antique Desk Suitable for Lady with Thick Legs and Large Drawers.”

For Casagrande, the lesson is always that grammar needn’t be dreary. Why should it be when we love writing? How could it be when grammar is the nails and tacks, the color and structure of what we love? Writing.


Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s first novel, This is the Place, has won eight awards.
Her book of creative nonfiction Harkening, won three. A UCLA Writers' Program instructor, she also is the author of another book essential for writers,USA Book News' Best Professional Book of 2004, The Frugal Book Promoter: How to Do What Your Publisher Won't.( ). The second in the HowToDoItFrugally series, The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success ( ) covers writing successful query letters and includes helpful hints from twenty of the nation's top agents. Her book Great Little Last-Minute Editing Tips for Writers: The Ultimate Frugal Booklet for Avoiding Word Trippers and Crafting Gatekeeper-Perfect Copy ( ) will appeal to the same crowd that falls in love with Casagrande’s books. Learn more about Howard-Johnson at her new site .

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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Free Webinars Offered by BookBuzzr for Authors

BookBuzzr Offers New Learning Ops for Writers or How to Avoid Becoming a Book Marketing Dinosaur by Marketing Your Book with Emerging Technologies.

The technology landscape and associated opportunities for marketing your book is changing at an unprecedented pace. Online games, mobile marketing, Facebook, Twitter, the Kindle, the iPhone, the iPad and the Android are pushing the boundaries of what is possible when it comes to promoting and marketing your book.

As an author, it is important that you keep abreast of these emerging trends and technologies so that you can take advantage of these opportunities. You don't want to become a book marketing dinosaur, do you! Ha!

The first step in avoiding the fate of the dinosaurs is to spend some time to educate yourself, and Bookbuzzr is providing a perfect place to do just that. It's a new kind of online learning environment … one that was focused on getting practical, actionable information from industry leading experts to authors in the most efficient manner.  I will be participating so I'm especially eager for you to know about it early enough to include it in your new year calendar. Here is their announcement:

Announcing BookBuzzr’s Book Marketing Technologies Center (BBMTC)

In order to help you to successfully navigate through the swarm of new technologies and separate the noise from the signal, we at BookBuzzr are launching the BookBuzzr Book Marketing Technologies Center (BBMTC.)

BBMTC is the world’s first and only online, free, learning program designed to help authors learn about emerging new technologies and associated opportunities for book promotion. BBMTC features a monthly online seminar or roundtable (aka webinar) featuring industry leading book marketing experts. Each month they will cover a new technology or emerging trend.

Our panel of experts will talk and share about technologies with authors and writers through webinars and blog posts to cover it comprehensively. This is our way of getting different viewpoints to the table about what is the latest trend emerging for authors in technologies that will help them reach out to more people.

We will have one webinar each month on the topic and as many view points as possible from industry experts as article/blog posts.

For each webinar the panel will share their views about the topic and discuss it in detail. The latter half of the webinar will be dedicated to answering questions from authors and writers. Questions can be asked before, during, and after the seminar on Twitter (with Hashtag #BBMTC) or on our BookBuzzr Facebook Page.

How much does it cost?

You can attend any workshop for free. Our generous expert partners are giving away much of their knowledge for free. Why is BBMTC free you ask? Our expert partners are doing this in the hope that at least some of the attendees will become their clients in the future. Also its our and our experts way of giving back to the author community. Of course you are under no obligation to purchase anything.

What is the schedule and what are my next steps?

The schedule is outlined below. Please bear in mind that the schedule may change and we may make changes to the format of this program or the schedule based on feasibility and opportunities. Simply sign-up to our monthly newsletter to get notified about upcoming BBMTC events.

All seminars/webinars at 2:00 p.m. Eastern / 11:00 a.m. Pacific / Noon Arizona

January Facebook Fundamentals for Authors Wednesday, 12th Jan 2011

February Using Twitter to Market your Book –I’ll be participating on this panel. I love Twitter for authors! Wednesday, 9th Feb 2011

March Formatting for the Kindle and other readers Wednesday, 9th Mar 2011

April Marketing Your Book in an Apple World Wednesday, 13th Apr 2011

May Blogger Relations for Authors I’m a panellist for this topic, too. Lots of us aren’t using our blogs to their capacity. Wednesday, 11th May 2011

June How to Create Good Book Trailers Wednesday, 8th Jun 2011

July Podcasting Fundamentals for Authors Wednesday, 13th Jul 2011

August Online Gaming - Why it Matters for Authors Wednesday, 10th Aug 2011

September Marketing Your Book in a Mobile World Wednesday, 14th Sept 2011

October Networking on Forums and Reader Sites for Authors Wednesday, 12th Oct 2011

November How Authors can Use Technologies to Market Their Books Wednesday, 9th Nov 2011

December How Authors Can Succeed in the EBooks Universe Wednesday, 14th Dec 2011

Feedback Requested

If you find a topic interesting or believe that you have the expertise to participate on a particular topic, or if you’d like to contribute and be a part of this program – drop us an email at freya [at] BookBuzzr [dot] com. We’d love to hear from you – the more views on a topic the clearer it gets : )

Our BBMTC panel page is up. Do take a look:

Note: For an inexpensive way to educate yourself on the publicity basics please consider my The Frugal Book Promoter: How To Do What Your Publisher Won't. You'll get the basics for publicity, writing media releases, assembling media kits and promotion ideas that don't necessarily require high-tech skills.  By the way, for newbies, the word "publicity"  is synonymous with the word "free."  There are ways to get more of it than you ever imagined.

~Submitted by your MWSA blogger, Carolyn Howard-Johnson,

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Friday, December 3, 2010

Give Yourself a Gift This Holiday Season

I thought I'd drop by and name drop. (-: "Usage books" is a term not many of us know. And a term we should know. In fact, we should have at least one on our desktop (virtual or the real thing!). Treat yourself to one for the holidays. Learn more about what they are and your choices at

~Your MWSA blogger, Carolyn Howard-Johnson
Blogging writers' resources at Writers' Digest 101 Best Websites, and
providing lots of writers' resources at http://www.howtodoitfrugally.coml/
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