I Said a Prayer for You Today

I Said a Prayer for You Today

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by Joan Y. Edwards

I said a prayer for you today.
I know God heard it fine.

I prayed your fears disappear from view.
I prayed God’s love encompass you.
I prayed that peace be in your heart.
I prayed calm fill your day at start.

I said a prayer for you today.
I know God heard it fine.

I prayed you have the best of health.
I prayed you have abundant wealth.
I prayed love follow you near and far.
I prayed you realize the gift of God you are.

I said a prayer for you today.
I know God heard it fine.

I thanked God for sending you as my friend.
I prayed you know God loves you without end.

You saw the answer to my prayer.
I know you saw it fine.

You saw the beauty in the face of a child.
You saw the wonder of an animal in the wild.
You saw a mother protecting her young with her life.
You saw the unselfish husband providing for his wife.

You felt the answer to my prayer.
I know you felt it fine.

You felt God’s presence within you.
You felt God’s warmth in your heart and soul.
You felt God’s energy and power from above.
You felt confidence from God’s acceptance and love.

You tasted the answer to my prayer.
I know you tasted it fine.

You tasted the absence of hunger.
You tasted the hope of compassion.
You tasted the healing of forgiveness.
You tasted the guidance of wisdom.

You smelled the answer to my prayer.
I know you smelled it fine.

You smelled the scent of friendship.
You smelled the sweat of employment.
You smelled the leather of toughness.
You smelled the woods of safety.

You heard the answer to my prayer.
I know you heard it fine.

You heard the voice of the needy.
You heard the music of kindness.
You heard the cries of the lonely.
You heard the footsteps of courage.

You heard God whisper in your ear.
I know you heard him fine.
He said, “I love you, my dear child.
I’m glad that you are mine.”

Copyright © 2002-2011 Joan Y. Edwards

Thank you for reading my poem.  I hope you liked it. I started writing it in 2002 and finished it in April 2011.

Prayer Beret and Scarf made by Lucille P. Robinson, Christmas 2012 Thank You, Lucille.

Prayer Beret and Scarf made by Lucille P. Robinson, Christmas 2012 Thank You, Lucille.

During the Christmas holidays in 2012, Lucille P. Robinson sent me a beautiful turquoise prayer beret and scarf. Her ministry is so wonderful. She makes prayer shawls and gives them to the sick or those who need comforting. She also sends them to say “Thank you.” I know the people are healed and their burdens made lighter by the love that Lucille puts in the making of the shawls, berets, and scarfs. It makes me proud and thankful to wear them as you can see in the picture above.

Lucille liked the poem I wrote in his blog post. She paid me so she could use it on a card she sends along with her prayer shawls. She sent the beret and scarf to me to say “Thank You” for writing the poem and for writing my blog. Isn’t that sweet?

Thank you, Lucille for warming the hearts of God’s people. Thank you especially for warming my heart with the prayer beret and scarf you gave me.

Here’s a link to Lucille’s website: http://www.lucilleperkinsrobinson.com/

Celebrate You.
Never Give Up!

Joan Y. Edwards

Copyright © 2013 Joan Y. Edwards

What Is the Secure Link for Your WordPress Blog?


“What Is the Secure Link for Your WordPress Blog?” by Joan Y. Edwards

When I signed up for WordPress in 2009, I let people know my blog by calling it: http://www.joanyedwards.wordpress.com. Perhaps you did, too. Don’t do that any more. It’s not secure. You and your readers might see this message:

“The owner of www.nnnname.wordpress.com has configured their website improperly.

To protect your information from being stolen, Firefox has not connected to this website.”

Now it is essential that you list your WordPress blog using the https:// on your business cards, websites, and emails:

Good Way: https://  No www:

Good way: https://name.wordpress.com

The “S” stands for secure.

When you use this with your WordPress blog title, you should be fine and dandy.


Make sure that all post links have the https in them and no www.

WordPress.com support helped me figure out how to stop receiving these messages. Thank you, WordPress support! https://en.forums.wordpress.com/forum/support

To share your experiences or leave me a comment, click comment below and scroll down to the bottom of the page. I’d love to hear from you.


Celebrate you. Live with vigor.
Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards
Copyright © 2016 Joan Y. Edwards




Do You Have the Latest and Greatest B.S. Meter?


“Do You Have the Latest and Greatest B.S. Meter?” by Joan Y. Edwards

One day a friend said this to me, ” I met a man who said he was a movie producer. My B.S. Meter didn’t go off. So I think he’s legit.”

I laughed and laughed. I had never heard of a B.S. Meter. It sounded like a great gadget to have. That got me thinking. I searched online and discovered that B.S. Meters have been written about on the internet for many years.

After I pondered this device more, here’s what I think about B.S. Meters.

You were born with a natural, 100% biodegradable B.S. Meter. It’s your gut instinct. I admit that sometimes you can be intimidated, conned, and charmed into believing a number of untruths. However, when you believe that your B.S. Meter will ring a loud alarm when someone’s trying to pull the wool over your eyes, you’ll do much better.

You have to be trained to realize when someone is pulling your leg. When I was a child, I asked my grandfather, PaPa Bruffey, “How do those cows stand on the hillside? He said, “That’s easy. Their top legs are shorter than their bottom legs.”

That was what I call a slow smiling situation. It took me years to figure out that PaPa Bruffey was teasing me and making a joke. That’s when I smiled and smiled.

Experience plays a significant role in the use of your B.S. Meter. Believe in you and your ability to make good decisions. Study conversations. People who’ve been conned out of their money by charming B.S. flaunters don’t take time to study what they are hearing. Beware of how others want you to use your money.

Here are three times you need a B.S. Meter:

  1. When a contractor tells you it’ll only take $1,000.00 to build a screened in porch with a roof.
  2. When a salesman says, “It has a lifetime guarantee.”
  3. When a skydiver says: “It’s so easy, anyone can do it.

Here are five times when a B.S. Meter comes in handy for writers and illustrators:

  1. When you receive a critique that says, “There’s no way you can improve your manuscript/illustrations. It’s perfect.”
  2. When you receive a contract with legal lingo you can’t understand
  3. When you receive a request for a manuscript that says, “We guarantee you publication of your book in 24 hours!”
  4. When you go to a conference and hear a speaker say, “It’s easy to get published by a traditional publisher.”
  5. When someone says, “It’s so easy to write a children’s book, anyone can do it in 24 hours or less.”

If your B.S. Meter needs to be updated, I suggest you choose an image from the resources below or draw one to help you out. If you have drawings of your perfect B.S. Meter, please email it to me at joanyedwards1@gmail.com or share it with me on Facebook Joan Y. Edwards or Twitter @joanyedwards. Prayer helps your B.S.Meter become fully compliant with the high standards you want out of life.


  1. “Images of BS Meters:” http://photobucket.com/images/bullshit%20meter
  2. “Bla Bla Meter :” http://www.blablameter.com/index.php 
  3. Urban Dictionary. “BS Meter:” http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Bs%20Meter
  4. Dana Theus. “Three Ways the Millennial Generation Can Be Your Company’s BS Meter:” http://switchandshift.com/3-ways-the-millennial-generation-can-be-your-companys-bs-meter

Please share your lines of times when you’re grateful you have a good B.S. Meter by clicking the comment link below and scrolling to the bottom of the page.


Believe in you.
Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards
Copyright © 2016 Joan Y. Edwards



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11 Ways to Get Good Reviews for Your Books

How to Get Good Reviews for Your Books Copyright 2016 Joan Y. Edwards

“11 Ways to Get Good Reviews for Your Books” by Joan Y. Edwards

This is the third in a series of blog posts about reviews and reviewers. I hope you find it useful.

Due to technical difficulties, my interview with Stephanie Barko will be delayed for a while. Sorry for any inconvenience.

Many times the publisher will get reviews for your books. They may pay someone to do a review of your book. Many resources say authors shouldn’t pay for reviews. It’s up to you. Study and decide for yourself.

Authors will help themselves sell books if they set out to get at least 25 reviews. The more favorable reviews you get, the better your book looks to those who are studying your book’s reviews to help them decide to put down their money to buy online. Even if they plan to buy it in a bookstore, they will probably check the online reviews. Many people who are avid readers belong to Goodreads. Amazon bought Goodreads. Goodreads members are noted for creating a large buzz for books they love. You’ll want reviews on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Goodreads.

Amazon Prime members don’t pay for shipping. Barnes & Noble club members don’t pay for shipping. If people order a book from a Barnes and Noble bookstore in person, usually they don’t charge for shipping.

How can authors find people to do a review for them on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and/or Goodreads? Here are my thoughts after reading the articles in the resources area plus others.


  1. Write a good book.
  2. Tim Grahl says that when you make meaningful relationships with people showing you care about them and they care about you, then they will want to want to buy your book and share it with their family and friends.
  3. Almost all the resources I read tell authors to make online connections: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Instagram. (Choose three for your focus. Ask the followers of your blog, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Google Plus, or other Social Media, “Are you willing to do a review of my book for me? Would you do one for Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Goodreads?”
  4. Ask bloggers that you follow if they’ll do a review on their blog. Many times they’ll also post their review on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and GoodReads.
  5. Tell potential buyers: If you’re willing to do a review for me, I’ll be glad to give you a paperback copy or Ebook copy. I know sometimes life may interfere. When you give someone a review copy, you can’t control whether they actually do the review or not. Be ready to accept that they may do a book review for you, but they may not do a book review for you.
  6. If someone buys a copy, tell them you’ll give them another copy if they write a review for you.
  7. Check Amazon’s top reviewers list. Many reviewers list their email address or website  which may have their contact information. This is tedious to find out which ones do books like yours.
  8. Ask for reviews on the Amazon Forum for Authors http://www.amazon.com/forum/
  9. Ask people in your critique group.
  10. Both Amazon and Goodreads offer ways for you to do Giveaways. With Amazon’s giveaways, you can designate how many people have to respond before Amazon selects a winner or you can designate that the first 5 people to sign up win a copy of your book.  You can make a condition that they do a review or they follow you on Twitter. With Goodreads, you send the autographed copy of the book to the winner. So you can personalize it. With Amazon Giveaways, you pay for the book and the shipping. So the winners do not receive an autographed copy of your book.
  11. When you are giving presentations, ask anyone in the audience who might be interested in doing a review to stop by and see you afterwards.

I’m sure there are many more ways. These are enough to get your started. Brainstorm others. I listed eight resources to help you do a more in-depth study. I put five asterisks by number 8, as I believe it’s the most outstanding of all the ones I listed. I believe you’d enjoy most.


  1. Book Promotion Hub “Three Simple Ways to Get More Book Sales from Goodreads:” http://www.bookpromotionhub.com/6199/3-simple-ways-to-get-more-book-sales-from-goodreads-marketing
  2. Empty Mirror Books, “Ten Ways to Find Reviewers for Your Self-Published Book:” http://www.emptymirrorbooks.com/publishing/10-ways-to-find-reviewers-for-your-self-published-book.html
  3. Goodreads. “Author Program-use Goodreads to Promote Yourself and Your Books:” https://www.goodreads.com/author/program
  4. Jodie Renner “Using New Amazon Giveaway to Promote http://jodierennerediting.blogspot.com/2015/03/using-new-amazon-giveaway-to-promote.html
  5. Megan Marrs. “Amazon Reviews:” www.wordstream.com/blog/ws/2014/04/10/amazon-reviews
  6. The Washington Post. “Why Amazon bought GoodReads:” http://www.bookpromotionhub.com/6199/3-simple-ways-to-get-more-book-sales-from-goodreads-marketing/
  7. Tim Grahl. “How to launch your book with at least 25+ Amazon reviews:”  http://timgrahl.com/amazon-reviews/ 
  8. *****Your Writer Platform, “Get Reviews for Your Book:” http://www.yourwriterplatform.com/get-reviews-for-your-book/

Thank you for reading my blog. I appreciate you very much. Let me know your ideas for getting good reviewers for your books. Click below and scroll down to the bottom to tell me your ideas for how an author can get someone to write a review for a book.


Never Give Up
Live with Enthusiasm
Celebrate Each Step You Take

Joan Y. Edwards
Copyright © 2016 Joan Y. Edwards



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Do Something New! Tube down the Tuckasegee River!

Tuckasegee Copyright 2016 Joan Y. Edwards

Tuckasegee Copyright 2016 Joan Y. Edwards

“Do Something New! Tube down the Tuckasegee River!” by Joan Y. Edwards

I went to the mountains of North Carolina with my daughter, Lorrie to take her daughter, Kylie for orientation at Western Carolina University. I went there, Lorrie went there, and now Kylie is the third generation to attend Western Carolina University. I went to hang out with Kirstyn, Lorrie’s younger daughter and high school Sophomore, while Kylie was busy with college stuff.

Kirstyn asked me, “Maw Maw Joan, do you want to go tubing with Mom and me?”

My thoughts went to when I went to Western Carolina College, students tubed down the Tuckasegee River using the inner tubes from tires. Other students thought it was dangerous at that time. Now it’s a sporting event worldwide.

I told them that I wanted to be with them, but I wasn’t sure about tubing. So I called to get  more information and find out whether the dam was releasing water. If it released water today, the river would be too high and dangerous for tubing. The number was busy so the lady called me back and stated, “Tubing down the Tuckasegee River…is like a lazy river.”

I said to myself, “I’ve been on the lazy river at the Landmark Resort in Myrtle Beach. If it’s like that, I’ll be able to do it just fine.”

Before I left the motel, I put sunscreen on. I had my bathing suit on. I put on sunscreen. Now mind you, I had on my socks and shoes. Later I took off my socks and donned a pair of boating shoes.

When we went for our safety tour before getting our tubes, I asked,   “How can I keep from going in circles like I did in a boat on a lake one time?”

They laughed and said, “Don’t use one paddle. Use your hands.” I kept that in mind.

I got on a strong very wide yellow tube with a back rest and two handles. Now feature this. I’m five foot four inches tall, but my arms are short. This floating tube was wider than my arms could stretch. My hands couldn’t reach over the edges of the float. If one reached over, the other was nowhere near the edge of the float.

The idea according to what I’ve watched is for you to flutter your hands behind you. Do you push the water forward with your hands? Do you push the water backwards with your hands? Do you do one hand and then the other? Do you do both hands at one time? Do you flutter kick your feet while you’re doing your hands? These are all skills you should know before you go tubing. After my tubing trip, I looked online to find tips to move your tube on the river. I didn’t find any. If outfitting companies did that, it would be enormously helpful.

The gentleman pushed me out towards the middle of the Tuckasegee. My hand paddling took me from the center of the river to the edge of the water near logs and fallen trees.

My plan was to be out in the middle and float gently down the river for three miles to the Get Out area before the next concrete bridge with cars crossing over on it. However, my plan didn’t work.

Three men shouted from the top of the ridge near the store like the people in Mr. Mom, “You’re doing it wrong.”

Did they think that I thought I was doing it right? They could have motioned how to move my hands, but they didn’t. So I was stuck with my trial by error detection strokes.

My daughter, Lorrie and my granddaughter, Kirstyn enjoyed the luxury of floating in mild waters in the center of the Tuckasegee, while I studied the pickup stick antics of the fallen logs, trees with branches that grabbed me as I floated along the edge of the waterway. I pushed myself off with my feet against the rocks and found myself happily in the middle of the water! I flutter kicked along nicely for about three minutes.

It was peaceful in the center waters of the Tuckasegee River. The sun’s beams touched me. My sunscreen worked great. My arms and upper legs were good. I didn’t notice my feet and lower legs getting pink where I forgot to put sunscreen.

A magnetic attraction on the left shore pulled me toward it. I pushed myself off with my feet against a huge rock this time. It was slippery but still afforded me the pleasure of scooting me back to the center lane of the river again. I flutter kicked merrily, merrily down the stream for three more minutes.

Lorrie and Kirstyn floated way ahead of me in the center lane of the river. They had no trouble guiding their tubes. They were tubing professionals. They stopped in one area and waited for me.

“What’s been taking you so long? We’ve waited a long time for you. It seemed liked hours?”

I laughed and said, “I’ve been touring.”

We floated with each other for a while.

Afterwards I did a little left bank sightseeing, a little center lane floating, and a little right bank sightseeing in that order for a long time.

This time Kirstyn waited for me. We didn’t float together for long. The wind and current had a different plan of their own. They put random.org in charge of choosing sides for me.

One time I got locked in an area on a rocky area. I did a little rockin’ and rollin’ back and forth to get me back into the moving water. I was thankful that this was a sturdy tube.

I said to myself. “I hope when I get to the Get Out area on the left near the concrete bridge that I’ll be on that side.”

When I finally neared the Get Out area on the left, guess where I was? You’re right. I was clearly on the right side investigating that area. I said to myself, “What can I do? If the water’s not too deep, I’ll climb the bank and walk across the bridge dragging my tube behind me.”

But, alas and alack, the water on the right was deep, way over my head deep, and the rocks were too slippery to get out. So I did the best hand and feet movements to get to the center where Lorrie stood on a sandbar waiting to catch my hand. Hip Hip Hooray!

Lorrie reached toward me and I reached toward her. She grabbed my hand. Alas, one of her shoes came off and she said, “Reach out farther with your arm, Mom.”

When I reached our farther with my arm, my hat hit the back rest of the tube and flew off.

Lorrie said, “Oh no. I’m sorry, Mom. I’ll buy you a new one.”

I told her, “Don’t worry about it. A fisherman can use it as a net to catch fish or a fish can use it to lay eggs. And it’s biodegradable.”

A young man from the tubing outfitters named Jerrard came out to help Lorrie retrieve me. He grabbed my tube. I asked, “Would you hold onto my daughter, too? She lost one of her shoes and it’s slippery.”

He did. He pulled me in the tube closer to the shore and stopped. He announced, “It’s shallow here.”

I tried to get out and announced, “These rocks are very slippery. I can’t get out.”

Jerrard said, “I can take you up to the shore.”

I said, “That would be great. Thank you.”

When I finally got to shore, I climbed out. I was a little dizzy and wobbly. (two and a half hours of zig-zagging back and forth across the Tuckaseegee River can do that to you). There were no steps or staggered layers to climb at the Get Out area. I put my denim jacket on the ground and used it as leverage to climb. The denim wasn’t slippery. When I got to the top of the hill, I stood up and was no longer wobbly. I checked my feet. They were bright red from the tops of my feet up to the sock line. Uh Oh! I’d forgotten to sunscreen that area after I took my socks off.

Jerrard drove us back to the main store.

I was glad that I went. I just wished I had more control of where I traveled on the river.

My story had a heroine and a hero, Lorrie and Jerrard. They not only helped me but didn’t make fun of me either. “Thank you, Lorrie and Jerrard.”

I asked Lorrie what she was going to tell Carl if she wasn’t able to keep me from passing the bridge Get Out area. She said, “Last we heard, Mother was floating down the Mississippi River.”

If you’re fishing on the Tuckasegee and you find a pretty cloche straw hat with a black ribbon or a black boat shoe, let me know.

After this experience, I created a list of things to help you and others have a good tubing experience.

Joan’s Safety Checklist for Tubing

  1. Find out from the outfitting company if the dam is releasing water the day you’re planning to go. High water makes it too dangerous for tubing.
  2. Never go alone.
  3. Ask for written directions or a video showing how to move hands to keep your tube in the center flow of the water before signing the papers agreeing to go. If the place offers guided tubing, I recommend first time tubers might want to do that.
  4. Wear water or boat shoes that stay on your feet.
  5. Wear a bathing suit.
  6. Put sunscreen on after you put on your bathing suit and boat shoes.
  7. Wear a short sleeve white-color shirt to repel the sun and give you easy maneuverability.
  8. Wear a hat (one with a tie to go around your neck would be good)
  9. Bring a bottle of water (one that can attach to you) to drink.
  10. Go to bathroom right before you leave.
  11. Wear a life-preserver jacket. Make sure all buckles are secure.
  12. Make sure the tube is a strong vinyl plastic that will withstand branches, rocks, and logs.
  13. Leave valuables locked in your car.
  14. Leave the keys to your car with the outfitter in his safe (usually, they have a safe).
  15. Tell a friend or family member where you are, the phone number of the outfitter, and the estimated time you should arrive at the Get Out area. Call them when you’re out.

Please leave me a comment. I’d love to hear from you.

(To comment, click below and scroll down to the very bottom)


Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards
Copyright  © 2016 Joan Y. Edwards


  1. “Tube Haus/Guadalupe River – Tubing Checklist:”http://www.tubehaus.com/guadalupe_river_tubing_checklist.htm
  2. Kayaking on the Tuckaseegee River looks simple enough!
  3. Wikipedia. “Tuckasegee River:”
  4.  “Smoky Mountain River Rat:” http://smokymtnriverrat.com/
  5.  “How to Row a Boat:” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uHn94aJPSeo
  6.  “John Hazlett Loses His Drift Boat:”
  7. “Tuckasegee Outfitters:” http://www.raftnc.com



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“Characters Must Show Growth and Change:” Interview with Sarah Maury Swan, Author and Reviewer

Sarah Maury Swan, Author and Reviewer

Sarah Maury Swan, Author and Reviewer

“Characters Must Show Growth and Change:” Interview with Sarah Maury Swan, Author and Reviewer – by Joan Y. Edwards

This is the second in a series of blog posts on Book Reviewers and Book Reviews. My goal is to discover what makes book reviewers tick and learn the skills that writers need to keep reviewers reading until the end.

Thank you, Sarah Maury Swan for agreeing to let me interview you.  What an honor it is to have you with me on my blog!

You’re welcome. Let’s begin.

1. Where were you born?

I was born on May 29th, 1941, in the base hospital at Ft. Lewis, Washington. That was supposed to be the day my father left for duty on Bataan, Philippines, but the army gave him two extra days. I was due in June after my mother moved us all to Los Angeles, CA. But, instead of being nine months pregnant and the mother of three other children, Mother had to move four of us, all under the age of six. I think it helped that all four of us had flame-red hair and that Mother was a beautiful natural platinum blonde because we evidently had lots of people helping us along the way.

2. Where was your favorite place to live as a child?

Garrett Park, Maryland. Although I liked where we lived in L.A., we were only there six years. So most of my life was spent in Maryland. Garrett Park is a charming little town nestled in amongst much more bustling places, such as Bethesda and Rockville, Maryland.

It’s on the Baltimore & Ohio (B&O) railroad line to Washington, D.C. We kids took the train to D.C. and spent the day wandering around the city. Trips to the Smithsonian were great fun, or tramping around the Mall could always provide adventure.

Garrett Park is an incorporated town, one of the first in the state, with its own post office/general store. Walking there from my house took about 20 minutes, if we didn’t dawdle. It was a daily occurrence to pick up the mail. I liked being there early to watch Mr. Chamberlin catch the mail sacks as the train hustled by.

The streets are shaded by large oak and poplar trees and there were open fields in which to play. It’s still a quiet little enclave that many people have driven through for years and never even realized what a gem it is. The older houses are mostly Victorians, but there are smaller houses which are part of American architectural history. They’re single story houses, with a small attic and a basement. And the promise was that if you bought the smaller house, you got a Chevy to go with it. So they were called Chevy Houses.

As kids, we walked pretty much everywhere, which is a good way to stay in shape. The beginnings of Rock Creek ran along the eastern border of the town and we would mess around in the creek paddling boats the boys made and roasting hot dogs along the sandy shores. Dogs and kids all played together. Rock Creek, by the way, flows into D.C. and in the city there is a beautiful park that protects the creek as it flows from the DC/Maryland border and dumps into the Potomac.

This was a time when all parents kept watch over the children, which meant we had much more freedom. It was a great place to grow up. Later, we had our very own community swimming pool.

3. Did you have a favorite place to read a book as a child?

In the summer, I read on the screen porch because it was cooler. I shared a room with my sister, so privacy was a precious commodity. In nice weather, I climbed out our bedroom window and sat on the porch roof. My grandmother was head librarian at Garrett Park’s library. so we had constant access to books. Plus, Mother bought books for us. She read to us or we read to her. I remember reading poetry to her and on snowy days, we acted out parts of Shakespeare plays. I learned how to read with emotion and inflection because of that.

4. Where is your favorite place to read now?

I like to have plenty of light when I read and I like to be comfortable. So, in the winter, my favorite place is the living room sofa with the fireplace on. Because it’s just the two of us, the house is generally quiet. Dale plays music in his office/music room which adds to the serenity of our house. In the spring and summer, I like to read in our Carolina Room which has lots of natural light streaming in and a close up view of our bird feeders. Sometimes I like to read in our bedroom where we have an ancient chocolate brown recliner by the front windows. And, if the weather is cooperating, I like to sit out on the deck to read.

5. What is your favorite genre to write?

I especially like to write picture books because they challenge me to write succinctly and that skill makes my writing tighter no matter what genre I’m writing.

6. Tell us about your new book.

Terror's Identity by Sarah Maury Swan

Terror’s Identity by Sarah Maury Swan

My published book is Terror’s Identity. It is about a sixteen year old boy who has to go into witness protection with his mother and sister because his father is investigating a group of terrorists who are causing problems in the U.S. The terrorists target his family.

The book is selling quite well and getting very good reviews. I’m discussing doing a second printing run with the publisher. It is available from the publisher, www.sablebooks.org, Amazon, and from me at dale4sarah at suddenlink dot net.

7. How do you keep yourself physically fit?

Who says I’m physically fit? I do try to get to the gym several times a week, but some weeks that works out better than others. I also try not to eat junk food or too many cookies. My downfall is ice cream. I also play golf and kayak in nice weather. I have to be careful about too much exposure to sunlight since I’m so fair skinned.

8. If you go to an amusement park, which ride do you go to first?

I’m not a big fan of amusement parks. They’re loud and crowded. If I go, I’d prefer to ride the Merry-go-Round. Which ride do you ignore at all costs? When I was 11 or 12, I went with my sister and first cousin to Glen Echo amusement park and the three of us scrunched into one car on the roller coaster ride. My sister and cousin each weighed about 160 pounds and I weighed about 80 pounds. They put me in the middle, so every time the car headed down a hill, their thighs spread out and popped me right out of the seat. Never liked roller coasters since!

9. Do you love the beach or the mountains best?

I lean slightly toward the mountains because I like the majesty and wonder of them, along with the serenity of the wind whispering through trees. Riding a horse in the mountains is a thing of joy. But on the other hand, walking along the seashore and being lulled to sleep by the sound of breakers thumping onto the shore and shushing out to sea again is very soothing.

10. What genres do you prefer not to read or review?

I’m very tired of reading dystopian fantasy. I’m not fond of reviewing girly-girly snarky fashion stories or heavy-handed teen angst.

11. What are three of your favorite books?

Oh my, only 3? When I was growing up, I’d pick Wuthering Heights and books by Jack London and Mark Twain. I liked horse stories, especially those by C.W. Anderson.

Of the modern books I’ve reviewed, I’d choose: Forever Changes, Want to Go Private? and One Silver Summer because they are well written with compelling characters and set in easy to picture settings.

I have a couple of interesting personal anecdotes about Jack London and Mark Twain. My paternal grandmother, Grandmaury, had an intense dislike for Jack London personally, though she did admire his writing. She felt he was leading my grandfather astray when they were friends in San Francisco. My maternal grandmother, Granny, did not like Mark Twain personally because when Twain got in trouble during his travels in Europe, my great grandfather, Naval Attaché to Kaiser Wilhelm, had to go bail Twain out. Granny did like Twain’s writing.

12. Where is your favorite place to visit?

I especially like visiting Scotland because part of my heritage is there, but I also like visiting places in the U.S. The Shenandoah Valley in Virginia is beautiful. Dale and I tend not to like cities, though a three day trip to the Big Apple is always fun. I don’t like crowds and lots of noise.

13. When did you decide to become a book reviewer?

It seemed like a good way to see what editors and publishers were buying in the way of children’s books. I enjoy the mix of styles I get. Generally Emily Griffin from The Children’s Literature Comprehensive Database (http://www.clcd.com/#/display/1),will send me two or three picture books and a middle-grade and YA selection. I do get frustrated by the number of writers who have no understanding of American-English grammar and I don’t like stories that have to do with self-centered “Valley Girl” types. There are so many talented writers who struggle to be noticed and who have original stories that go unread. Probably, it’s jealousy on my part.

14. Where can we find your reviews?

The books are sent to me by Emily Griffin at The Children’s Literature Comprehensive Database five books at a time. I have a month to read and review them. Emily is always looking for new reviewers (eggriffin@gmail.com). I get to keep the books and do with them as I please. After the reviews are posted on CLCD, I may post them anywhere. The best place to see my reviews is on my blog, http://sarahsbookreflections.com.

15. Do you charge for your reviews?

I haven’t set up a system of doing reviews for authors other than those whose books are sent to me by CLCD. But, now that you mention it, maybe I should start reviewing other people’s books.

16. Who or what has inspired you the most?

My mother and my grandmothers inspired me a great deal. My mother, in particular, since she was widowed during WWII, and also lost her father and one brother. But she didn’t let that stop her. During the war, she worked at Lockheed and was promoted to Tool and Dye Designer. She was the first woman to have that position and since she was also beautiful and a war widow she was used as a “Rosie the Riveter” type on the posters and other promotional activities to encourage people to help with the “War Effort.” When the war ended Lockheed fired her, so “a man coming home from the war could support his family.” Never mind that she needed to support her family. Anyway, she showed a lot of grit during her life. She loved to read and sew and act in little theater productions. After she retired, she took up painting and sculpting. She was also very bright, having gotten her B.S. from M.I.T. because her father was stationed in the Boston area. She was one of three women in the whole school. Her degree was in physical chemistry.

17. What has been the most exhilarating moment as a reviewer and as a writer?

That’s easy. When I get a book that I can’t put down, that tells a story so provoking I can’t get it out of my heart. As for exhilarating moments as a writer, when a character pops into my head and starts telling her or his story.

18. What are five main ingredients of a good book review?

As with a good critique partner, a reviewer should start and end with something positive to say about the book. Sometimes that’s easy to do, but sometimes I have to think about it and use my diplomatic skills. There is always a nugget or grain of good in any book. Each reviewer goes about the review differently, but it is important to give the gist of the story and a feeling for the characters. I like to let the tone of the book set the tone of my review. If it is a humorous picture book, use humor in how you describe it. If it is written in rhyme, try to keep that rhythm going. For an older audience, try not to be judgmental about what the characters are doing. For the CLCD, if possible, I must give an idea of how the teacher or librarian could find teachable moments in the book. For instance, in Swim that Rock, I learned a great deal about commercial clamming and about quahogs in particular. So I made note of the commercial fishing information at the end of my review so teachers could use that information for classroom discussion.

19. How can authors get reviews for their books?

If a trade publisher is putting your book out, that marketing department will send out copies to reviewers and The Children’s Literature Comprehensive Database(CLCD), or some other such organization. If you’re going it alone, there are lists of freelance reviewers who might review your book. Some charge a fee, but others get a fee from whomever publishes the review. For children’s book writers, check out the SCBWI website and you’ll find a list of freelance reviewers.

20. What are three things that a book must do to entice readers to read to the very end?

For me, I must have sympathy/empathy for the main character and a feel for where the story is taking place and a feel for the atmosphere of the story. The character must show growth and change. Books that come to mind, other than the ones I mentioned earlier, are National Velvet, Of Mice and Men, Sometimes a Great Notion, The Book Thief and the one I’m reading at the moment, The Nightingale.

21. As a reviewer, does research play a part in your reviews?

Seldom, but if the story doesn’t ring true for the area or time period, I might do a little research. My sister stopped reading Charles Frasier’s Cold Mountain because one of the characters ate an apple variety that hadn’t been developed yet.

22. What kind of books are you interested in reviewing?

I have only reviewed children’s books because that’s my own writing interest, but I could probably review grown-up books as well. I do review non-fiction because I write some.

23. How should authors or publishers contact you if they would like for you to consider doing a book review for them?

Please contact me at dale4sarah@suddenlink.net

24. How do you decide which books you’ll review?

Since I’ve only reviewed books that are sent to me by Emily Griffin with The Children’s Literature Comprehensive Database. I have to review each book she sends whether I like it or not. If I were to review other books, my criteria would be that the grammar be good; that the book be professionally edited by someone other than the author’s family; that the book look as if the author took the time and/or money to have a professional looking cover produced; and that the first 5 pages grab my attention.

25. Do you post your reviews on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Goodreads as well as on your blog?

I just joined Goodreads and intend to post my reviews there. I do review books that I’ve bought through Amazon, but I’ve never done reviews through Barnes and Noble.

26. Do you have any advice for people who may be interested in “self-publishing?”

For anyone interested in “self-publishing” a book, be sure to check out the publishers on sites such as “Preditors and Editors” at http://pred-ed.com/.  I highly recommend my publisher, http://sablebooks.org

27. How can others connect with you on social media?

I have a Facebook page and at LinkedIn page.


Sarah Maury Swan’s articles and letters have appeared in many magazines, newspaper and literary journals. The first chapter of Terror’s Identity was published in the 2014 Shoal, after placing first in the fiction category of the Carteret Writers contest. She is also the editor of Carteret Writer’s Write Stuff newsletter.

Recent transplants to lovely New Bern, N.C., Sarah and her handsome devil husband generally enjoy retirement by playing golf, kayaking, and giving house concerts featuring well known folk/blues singers. They do miss the horses and dogs they nurtured in Maryland, but Kilroy, the cat, gets as much attention as he wants. Their children come to visit when they can get away from work.

Published books:

Terror's Identity by Sarah Maury Swan

Terror’s Identity by Sarah Maury Swan

Terror’s Identity At sixteen life is hard enough, but for Aidan Knox add the extra problem of becoming a different person in an unfamiliar city. How will he remember his new persona, cope with the danger his family is in, and find someone he can trust?

Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to interview you, Sarah. 

Thank you for reading this interview. Sarah and I would love to hear from you.




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What Makes a Book Reviewer Tick? Interview with Page Inman

Page Inman, Book Reviewer

Page Inman, Book Reviewer

“What Makes a Book Reviewer Tick? Interview with Page Inman” by Joan Y. Edwards

This is the first in a series of blog posts about what makes a book reviewer tick and how writers can entice reviewers to read to the very end.

Thank you Joan for this opportunity to introduce myself and my blog As The Page Turns.

You’re very welcome. It’s my pleasure to share ideas from the mind of a book reviewer! You provide a wonderful service for readers, authors, and publishers.

Thank you very much. I’ll tell you a little about myself.

I am a retired librarian who lives in NC and I started the blog in 2010 to share my love of reading with others. I was born in Georgia, but have lived in NC most of my life. I am the fur mama of 4 cats. I love reading and have been an avid reader since childhood. My parents are readers and nurtured that as I was growing up. I always wanted to be a librarian since the age of 13 and was lucky enough to do it for over 25 years. I believe that reading can take you anywhere you want to go for little or no cost. I get a lot of my books at the library or at used bookstores.

What genres do you like to read?

I like to read thrillers, suspense, fantasy, sci fi, historical, non-fiction, and some romance.

Who are your favorite authors?

I have too many authors to pick just one favorite. I like Margaret Atwood, Steve Berry, Nevada Barr, Terry Pratchett, Paul Christopher, just to name a few.

Where can people find your reviews? 

You can find my reviews at http://asthepageturns-page.blogspot.com/. I don’t do advertising on the blog because I just want to highlight the books and to keep things simple. I don’t have a system for which books I review. I only review those I want to share. I like to highlight indie authors.

Do you do digital book reviews?

I don’t do digital books, as I like the smell and feel of a real book.

Do you charge to do a book review?

I do not charge to review your book. I may not review all the books I receive because I didn’t like the book, or I didn’t finish the book. I don’t do negative reviews because I only want to be positive. If I don’t like the book for some reason, I’ll contact the author and explain it to them without embarrassment.

Here are three of your reviews that I liked:

  1. Sunshine Beach
  2. American Dermish
  3. Violins of Venice

How can authors and publishers contact you to see if you’ll do a book review for them?

You can visit my blog to see how to contact me. I hope you visit my blog and share your reads with me and my readers.

Happy Reading!

I hope you’ll leave a comment for Page Inman. 


Believe in You
Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards
Copyright © 2016 Joan Y. Edwards 



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Valuable Tips for Artists/Illustrators from Aidana WillowRaven

Aidana WillowRaven

Aidana WillowRaven, Cover Artist/Illustrator/Graphic Designer

Copyright 2016 Aidana WillowRaven and 4RV Publishing

Copyright 2016 Aidana WillowRaven and 4RV Publishing

“Valuable Tips for Artists/Illustrators from Aidana WillowRaven” by Joan Y. Edwards

Thank you, Aidana for doing the cover for Joan’s Elder Care Guide published by 4RV Publishing on April 15, 2016, for sharing it on your website, blog, and social media. I am honored that you agreed to let me interview you for my blog. 

You’re welcome, Joan. I’m looking forward to it.

Let’s get started.

  1. Where were you born? Harlingen, Texas, USA
  2. Where was your favorite place to live as a child? Why? That one is really hard to say because everywhere I lived had it’s own influence on me as a person and eventual artist.
  3. Did you have a favorite place to draw as a child? Where and why? I rarely drew as a child. I wasn’t good at it so usually quit in frustration. 
  4. Where is your favorite place to draw now? My favorite places change depending on my mood, but it’s also a convenience issue.
  5. How do you keep yourself physically fit? Me? Fit? I love your sense of humor.
  6. What do you do when you think about giving up? I don’t. I have a big stubborn streak, lol.
  7. If you go to an amusement park, which ride do you go to first? Which ride do you ignore at all costs? Rollercoaster!!! I like water rides, too. Anything fast is fun, but I even enjoy monorails and slower activities.
  8. Would you share 3 covers that you designed? It’s hard to pick a favorite, especially since I work with so many genres, but here are three more recent favorites for three different genres:
    Weaver of Dreams Cover by Aidana WillowRaven

    Weaver of Dreams Cover
    by Aidana WillowRaven


    A Family for Leona Cover 9000841

    A Family for Leona Cover by Aidana WillowRaven (4RV Publishing)


    Honourable Lies Cover by Aidana WillowRaven

    Honourable Lies Cover by Aidana WillowRaven

    Weaver of Dreams, A Family for Leona, and Honourable Lies. Your covers are amazing.

  9. What is your favorite novel? Why? Again, with the impossible questions, lol. I’m going to have to go with a favorite series rather than a single book. I think I’ve reread the entire Wheel of Time series, by Robert Jordan, more than any of my other books in my library.
  10. What is your favorite picture book? That’s easy … Alice in Wonderland
  11. Do you set goals for yourself as an artist/illustrator? Do you reward yourself when you reach them?  Goal? Yes. Rewards? Who has time? I just keep going. lol
  12. What are three craft books about drawing and illustrating that you recommend for study by other artists/illustrators? That really depends on what genre and style one’s goal is as an artist. For me, I study anything Michael Whelan does. I also study the works of Todd Lockwood and Frank Frazetta and too many others to list. I don’t want to limit anyone to any three books, though. I study all I can from many genres and styles. I even take pictures of book covers I like at the grocery store to study later, lol.
  13. Where is your favorite place to visit? Why? Downtown Memphis. There is such a vibe that I’ve never felt anywhere else I’ve lived or visited. That same vibe is probably why there are so many songs written about it, too. But even the swamps in Memphis have a wonderful mystique.
  14. Did they have art courses when you were in High School? We had one art class a week, which I all but failed. The art teacher told me, in front of the entire class, that I had no talent and apparently art was not my ‘thing’, lol. In my art teacher’s defense, my Mom said pretty much the same thing, and even my best friends in high school, reuniting with me decades later via Facebook, were all like, “Sooo… Where did this art thing come from?” As a result, I don’t believe in abstract terms like ‘talent’. I believe in drive, determination, training, and skill, which anyone can acquire when the first three are part of the recipe. I like that you believe in drive, determination, training, and skill rather than being born with the talent. I admire you and your determination to be an artist.
  15. When did you decide to become an illustrator? Why? After my second failed marriage, I was really into epic fantasy books and found myself fascinated with the cover art. I started recreating book covers with visuals I felt better portrayed the stories. Next thing you know, I was standing at a college registrar’s office wondering what major to study, and the only thing I could think of was wanting to create book cover art. Floored EVERYONE who knew me that I chose to study fine art.
  16. Who or what has been the most help and inspiration to you as an illustrator? Michael Whelan
  17. Where do you get your ideas for your illustrations? The books, music, movies, everything … lol.
  18. What are you illustrating now? I keep several projects going at once, so that’s hard to answer.
  19. What has been your most exhilarating moment as an artist/illustrator? When Michael Whelan, my idol, actually responded to one of my tweets, lol. I know that made your day.
  20. Does research help your illustrations? How? Absolutely. I like to be as accurate as possible. One time, I even found a discrepancy within the text that contradicted the period and culture. The author and publisher made the necessary correction to the text.😀 They were lucky to have you working on this project for them.
  21. What are your top ten tips for illustrators? Study, Study, Study, Draw, Draw, Draw, Paint, Paint, Paint … repeat :D 
  22. What are three marketing tips for illustrators? Get used to talking about your work on social media. Also, never give up. Keep looking until you find your place.

Connect with Aidana through links on her website:  http://willowraven.weebly.com  

Aidana’s Blog: http://aidana.willowravenblog.com


Aidana WillowRaven, tradigital artist (hybrid artist who combines traditional training and techniques with digital tools and applications) and mother of three, trained in Fine Art, Studio Design, and Animation at NSU and ODU. WillowRaven works with traditional publishers, as well as, independent authors. In addition to her freelance business, she’s Art Director and VP of Operations at 4RV Publishing.

Working in most genres, from picture books to novels, she has illustrated and/or designed over 500 books and ebooks since 2007 through her company, WillowRaven Illustration & Design Plus, in Memphis, Tennessee.

Thank you again, Aidana, for letting me interview you for my blog. You are amazing!

Believe in You
Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards

If you would like to leave a comment or question for Aidana, please click here.


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