Tuesday Book Review: “When is Sylvia Wallace”

Book reviews are a great way for self-publishing authors to gain exposure. After all, how can someone buy your book if he or she doesn’t know it exists? Paired with other elements of your book promotion strategy, requesting reviews is a great way to get people talking about what you’ve written.
When we read good reviews, we definitely like to share them. It gives the author a few (permanent) moments of fame and allows us to let the community know about a great book. Here’s this week’s book review:


When is Sylvia Wallace

by Brad Anderson

Publisher: Outskirts Press

ISBN: 9781478763949


Her new world began in complete silence and absolute darkness. It wasn’t supposed to happen. It wasn’t even supposed to be possible. All the science and technology said so, but a freak accident changes everything and Deputy U.S. Marshal Sylvia Wallace finds herself sometime in the future when the Janus Project does not exist and most of the people around her are prison escapees. All is not forsaken, however. A note from the past gives her hope. Deputy U.S. Marshal Robert Mackie (the Guardians trilogy) and Colonel John Callan (The Janus Project) are coming to take her back to her time. All she has to do is stay alive until they find her, which becomes the most dangerous time of all.

 * courtesy of Amazon.com

Featured Review

“When Is Sylvia Wallace? from The Janus Project files,” by Brad Anderson is a roller coaster ride from the time U.S. Marshall Sylvia Wallace wakes up in an abandoned mine. The Earth has undergone a geomagnetic shift and is tilted on her axis, sending most of the planet into an ice-age when, in a Western-style shootout, friends Robert Mackie (from the “Guardians” trilogy) and Colonel John Callan (from “The Janus Project”) attempt a retrieval to take her back to her own time.

Brad Anderson does a wonderful, thorough job at describing this cold, nearly barren world Sylvia now finds herself in. The dystopian society she is surrounded by is so believable and realistic that one shudders to think how easily circumstances could devolve into the very struggle for day-to-day existence he so graphically portrays in this tale. With a style reminiscent of Stephen King, note how he describes one of his protagonist’s actions.

Escaped criminal and self-appointed mayor Rich Witkowski has realized that he must dispose of the bodies of his abducted victims quickly and chooses dismemberment:

The ulna and the radius just above the left wrist were exposed because that was where he had first grasped this corpse. He slipped the joined bones into the cutter opening. “Good. Just wide enough. I can save the hatchet and the hacksaw for the larger bones.” He lay the used shop towel on the concrete near the hand. “But first, the fingers.”

This novel is not just for those who wonder about the possibility of time travel, but also for those who enjoy dystopian tales, psychological thrillers, or high drama. Personally, I’ve always been fascinated with science fiction and time travel in general. But, what I most enjoyed about this story was the minute details concerning survival itself. With both John Callan and Sylvia, Anderson goes into extensive description of just what is necessary to survive in an arctic environment. From the character’s step by step thought processes on deciding how to wrap one’s head for protection against the harsh elements, to the lengthy descriptions of ice walls and submerging into below-freezing water, to the panoramic detail of the physical environments the characters encounter.

Without having read The Janus Project, the connection, the familiarity and loyalty between the main characters nevertheless came through loud and clear. “When Is Sylvia Wallace? from The Janus Project files” works perfectly as a stand-alone novel, and will encourage readers to seek out the original story. However, in my opinion, the author could spin this into a series of its own: “From the Janus Project files, volume XX,” because this is a topic and genre that could garner an increasing fan base. With the blurring of genre lines, Brad Anderson has written an engrossing story that will grab readers of science fiction, action and adventure, and psychological thrillers.

– reviewed by Judy Derby for Reader Views

Other Reviews

This is a time travel novel and an adventure.
Sylvia Wallace is a Deputy US Marshall who works with the Janus Project in protecting people who were put in the Witness Protection Program. Unfortunately, she was in her pod when something happened and her pod crashed. She finds herself in the year 2036 in a coal mine. This is one of the areas where the program had a base. She knew the procedures to follow and did. She found her way out of the mine to the headquarters building where she found a number of men who were dead. They had died trying to take another man who had killed most of them. The others died in a blast from a sabotaged metal box. Past them was the entrance to the headquarters emergency base. Here she found food, clothing, shelter, and other equipment. She knows the protocol is to find her way to Alexandria to the main headquarters so they will know where to find her. To do this, she must walk out in the middle of a snow and ice storm.
John Callan is called back into action by Rob Mackie to help find Sylvia. First, they had to search many years from 2015 to find her. Once they found her, John and Rob were taking a risk to go into the future. No one had ever gone into the future. Would they make it in one piece? Would they be in the same year as Sylvia and the same place? If they did find her, could they get home?
This novel was excellent and just as good as the first one. I am not usually a fan of science fiction but with Brad Anderson’s books, I am definitely caught up in this series. I certainly hope there will be more. Be careful or you will find yourself staying up all night to finish it!

– Amazon reviewer P. Blevins

The story, “When is Sylvia Wallace” is engaging. Even the title is intriguing and draws you into wanting to know exactly what that means. Brad’s detailed descriptions of the physical and emotional allows you to become fully immersed into the story. Mr. Anderson helps you feel the cold, smell the natural gas in the tunnel and take part in the action. “When is Sylvia Wallace” is one of those books that is hard to put down and will leave you wanting to know more about these characters and follow them into future or past (in the case of time travel) adventures.

– Amazon reviewer NeoTheOne


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From the Archives: “Book Review Leads for the Self Published Author”

Welcome back to our Tuesday segment, where we’ll be revisiting some of our most popular posts from the last few years.  What’s stayed the same?  And what’s changed?  We’ll be updating you on the facts, and taking a new (and hopefully refreshing) angle on a few timeless classics of Self Publishing Advisor.


[ Originally posted: September 12th, 2008 ]

Getting your book reviewed is an important part of book promotion for the self-published author.

If you are seeking book reviews: BookPleasures.com is a website you may want to investigate. They’ve been known to write book reviews and even interview authors for additional exposure. There is more information on their site at www.bookpleasures.com

Another opportunity exists at http://www.reviewyourbook.com where you can submit your book for a possible free review and listing on their website. There’s no fee (that I could see) and every little bit helps.

If you’ve written a travel log, or a book that fits the description of “travel log” (a memoir involving a foreign locale, for example), you may also want to look into: sketchandtravel.com

Good luck and have fun!

– by Kelly Schuknecht

A lot of time has passed since 2008 when I first posted some go-to reviewing resources to our blog, and while some stalwarts are still in business (including BookPleasures and SketchandTravel) several others are no longer in operation–at least not in any incarnation which would be useful to you, our readers. Hence the line through one of the sites listed above.

There are, however, quite a few new and wonderful resources, many of which remain free, including:

  1. www.ReadersFavorite.com (free!)
  2. www.digitalbooktoday.com (offers a slew of options, some paid, some free)
  3. www.SelfPublishingReview.com (charges a fee, with multiple packages)
  4. www.IndieReader.com (expensive, but offers a “rush” option which is useful)
  5. IndieBRAG at www.bragmedallion.com (charges a small fee, ebooks only)
  6. www.BlueInkReview.com (charges a small fee, but flexible)
  7. www.MidwestBookReview.com (charges a small fee, but gives great exposure)

There are, of course, a thick pile of reviewers who are always willing to review in exchange for free book copies, but these are scattered throughout the internet and in no one place.

Just because a book review is free doesn’t mean it’s the only review you’ll want … or need. So consider your options–all of your options!–and pursue the ones that are both time and cost effective for you!

(And if you have any review websites we’ve missed that you’d like to see posted here, drop me a line!)

book review

Thanks for reading.  If you have any other ideas, I’d love to hear them.  Drop me a line in the comments section below and I’ll respond as quickly as I can.  ♠


ABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the Executive Vice President of Outskirts Press. In addition to her contributions to the Outskirts Press blog at blog.outskirtspress.com, Kelly and a group of talented marketing experts offer book marketing services, support, and products to not only published Outskirts Press authors, but to all authors and professionals who are interested in marketing their books and/or careers. Learn more about Kelly on her blog, kellyschuknecht.com.

Saturday Book Review: “It’s Me, Achilles B: It’s Time to Say Hello”

Book reviews are a great way for self-publishing authors to gain exposure. After all, how can someone buy your book if he or she doesn’t know it exists? Paired with other elements of your book promotion strategy, requesting reviews is a great way to get people talking about what you’ve written.

When we read good reviews, we definitely like to share them. It gives the author a few (permanent) moments of fame and allows us to let the community know about a great book. Here’s this week’s book review, courtesy of Midwest Book Review:

its-me-achilles-b-its-time-to-say-hello by michelle bravo

It’s Me, Achilles B: It’s Time to Say Hello

by Michelle Bravo

Publisher: Outskirts Press

ISBN: 9781478755258


Achilles B Is New in Town, and Ready to Meet You! Achilles B is friendly, sweet, and up for just about any adventure. He’s here to delight and inspire kids as he navigates challenges such as making new friends and starting school. He also gives fun, positive examples of how to make healthy decisions and keep an upbeat, kind outlook on life. Achilles’ intelligence and charm endear him to everyone he meets in this charming story for readers of all ages.


Achilles B is a fun loving little dog who tells what it is like for him to adopt a family. In his own words he reveals his life with his furry friend Coco and the many adventures he is able to have in his life. “It’s Me, Achilles B”. is fun reading for any dog owner to enjoy. Though a kid’s title readers of all ages can enjoy Achilles B’s story.


reviewed by Gary Roen of Midwest Book Review ]

Here’s what some other reviewers are saying:

Many of us have dogs that are part of the family. We call them our “fur-babies” or the “grand-dogs.” And we’ve all seen (or heard stories about) dogs that are jealous when a human baby arrives on the scene and the dog is no longer the only little person in the house. But there are also those dogs who are incredibly close to their human siblings and treat the whole family as their pack.

Achilles B. definitely thinks of himself as an equal member of the family. He talks about his parents, and his friends (the kids), and the family pet (a cat named Coco). With the direct address style that young readers enjoy in books like Junie B. Jones, Achilles tells about his family’s move from Texas to Connecticut. He shares what his favorite activities are and how he helps with the family cat by chasing her around the house to make sure she gets enough exercise. He even enjoys having pancakes on snow days. (Who doesn’t love snow days?)

The friendly and positive tone of his explanation makes a move to a new home seem like an adventure rather than something scary. Achilles explains that his father got a new job, so he gets to meet new kids. He also finds out that kids are alike no matter where you live; they all enjoy having fun. His discussion of how the family chose their new cat and shared out the responsibilities for her care is a good introduction to talking about being good pet owners. Young readers will probably laugh when Achilles says that he volunteered to play with her, and they may even point out that he can’t feed her because he can’t open the cans of cat food.

Readers may want to write out stories from the viewpoint of their own pets. How do pets see their human family? What do they think of all the things that humans do, but pets don’t? With the popularity of the recent movie, “The Secret Lives of Pets,” there is plenty of inspiration. Others may want to write a story about a time they moved to a new home with their family.

Whether it leads to new stories and artwork being created, or simply creates an enjoyable reading experience, the book and Achilles will leave you feeling warm and fuzzy.

– Amazon Reviewer Suzanne R. Costner

Michelle Bravo’s story is full of emotion, magnetism and surprise. Through Achilles, we learn about the closeness of family and the love children and adults have for their pets. More importantly, we learn that family is ever changing, but love for one another, including the family pet, remains constant. After reading this book, I want to know more about this family and their day-to-day interactions with the world and one another. A truly delightful book for children. Adults will enjoy the read as well.

– Amazon Reviewer Gale Bellas-Papageorge, PhD


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Saturday Book Review: “The Complete Mystery of Matthew Alcott”

Book reviews are a great way for self-publishing authors to gain exposure. After all, how can someone buy your book if he or she doesn’t know it exists? Paired with other elements of your book promotion strategy, requesting reviews is a great way to get people talking about what you’ve written.

When we read good reviews, we definitely like to share them. It gives the author a few (permanent) moments of fame and allows us to let the community know about a great book. Here’s this week’s book review, courtesy of BlogCritics.org:

The Complete Mystery of Matthew Alcott michael osborn

The Complete Mystery of Matthew Alcott

by Michael Osborn

Publisher: Outskirts Press

ISBN: 9781432788933


Matthew was fired from his job as church historian. His wife divorced him. At the funeral of his father, he realized it was his excommunication that killed him. Does Caitlynn have to die also, because Matthew was a naughty boy? Can he find her before it’s too late? They took everything from Matthew. All he had left was his rage.


I was interested in how a book written in the thriller genre could answer “Was Joseph Smith the Hugh Hefner of the early 1800s?” and was soon to find out.

The beginning of the plot finds Matthew Alcott in the desert, naked and beaten. He makes his way to a small New York town, Resurrection Corner, and settles in find solace in a 12-step meeting for alcoholics. Alcott writes a book, gleaned from information gathered while he was a historian for the Mormon Church, which exposes Joseph Smith and revelations that were hidden by the church. The hierarchy of the church finds out about the manuscript and uses unscrupulous ways to prevent its publication.

That is the premise and the mainstay of the plot, but there is another side to the story and that is the struggles of an alcoholic and how the disease influences life. There was a complete sub-culture that readers, especially men in recovery, would relate to and get pulled into the story.

Personally, I found the exposed information on the Mormon Church interesting. Being this is a fiction book, I’m not sure how much of the information is embellished, but I would assume the basis is true. The power of the church and those running it are viewed as being corrupt with political and cultural clout.

The beginning of the book was very difficult to read because it in written in staccato style. The overuse of fragmented sentences presented flow issues and got boring. I also found redundant and irrelevant parts of the book that could be left out. These alone were burdening. As well, there were a significant number of editing issues that a professional editor would catch and polish up. Because of these issues, it was hard for me to convince myself to continue reading, but after reading reviews of the book, I continued with the challenge.

The second half of the book became more urgent than the first half, and the writing style changed to give the plot more flow and begged interest to move forward. I enjoyed reading the second half because the writing was more grounded. In fact, a few chapters did end up being page-turners, but the whole book fell short of the thriller genre.

I believe Michael Oborn has a gift of writing and could have his work developed into thrillers worth mentioning. His dedication to research the topic is noted and his knowledge of alcohol dependency and addiction certainly comes through in his writing. Although fiction, I do encourage readers interested in some aspects of the Mormon Church to check out The Complete Mystery of Matthew Alcott: Heritage of Secrets I think you will find it fascinating.

reviewed by Cristina Lanzi of BlogCritics.org ]

Here’s what some other reviewers are saying:

This somewhat fact-based, action packed fiction, is suitable for any ‘thriller’ reader – and you do not have to be Mormon or ex-Mormon to understand or enjoy it. Other reviews have already explained the storyline, and I don’t like to write ‘spoilers’, so I will in the main concentrate instead on the actual ‘read’.

One reviewer commented that they did not like the clipped sentence style but I found it dramatic and compelling. One or two other authors are renowned for it but it must be difficult to make it work as the style is rare. Mike Oborn has no such problem and I found it refreshing, quite appropriate for the story, and absolutely delightful to read. For me it added a quality to the work which is somewhat unique and I found it very enjoyable.

The book contains a book within a book, a story within a story, as our hero tries to publish a book which his Church would rather did not see the light of day. Another review describes the work as being similar to ‘Angels and Demons’; something I very much doubted – until I read it. Turns out that it is that good and it would make a very powerful movie. I simply could not put it down – all the time captured by where we were and wondering what happens next – just the way a good thriller should be.

I know the author suffered at the hands of the Mormon Church and left the fold several decades ago and it has taken this long for him to find a way of putting the past behind him – he finally found it in the form of writing. This I can thoroughly empathise with as I am a fellow ex-Mormon. I resigned membership and wrote my own way (non-fiction) through the trauma that follows such action, with the loss of friends and family who reject you as an apostate. Unconditional love is preached, but not practiced with someone who discovers that Mormonism is a provably hoax religion in which the conspiracy to deceive modern day members and investigators is alive and well. Only those who have experienced discovery of the truth and subsequent rejection could ever empathise with what Mike Oborn has been through in real life.

The main storyline is current, but to clarify and update background as we go along, the author constantly takes us momentarily back in time to several points, from the early 1800s and Joseph Smith’s depravity, to Matt’s (our lead character’s) earlier life and to what was happening a few years previously, to him and also to other characters in the book. This again is criticised in another review, but I thought that was harsh as it is not an unusual style of writing and I was very happy with the way this not only helps the reader understand appropriate background right at the point where such understanding is required, but I was also impressed by the way the author cleverly integrated such departure each time in a succinct and meaningful way – always tying in such links clearly and professionally, and quickly – back to the present.

I for one was never confused, never lost – and always on the edge of my seat with anticipation. It was a very satisfying way of bringing essential background into the story. I didn’t have to try to remember anything important for later in the book – it was brought in at exactly the right point in a ‘short and sweet’ manner. The fact that there is indeed quite a lot of such departure was clearly a deliberate style adopted by the author in order to enable the reader to understand everything in context and it worked very well; it enhanced and explained – but never detracted. All the threads were carefully and expertly brought together in a very satisfying manner.

In short, I cannot say enough about this work. Whilst writing it was an outlet for the author’s grief at the loss of so much – the outcome, regardless of what is ultimately true and what is fiction – is a masterpiece of writing and will be enjoyed by anyone who loves a good thriller. The Mormon aspect in this work detracts no more than the Catholic aspect in Angels and Demons – it is a natural integral part of the plot which is as easy to understand for someone who has no idea what the Mormon Church believes as for someone who does. All I can say in conclusion is – just get the book and enjoy the ride – you won’t be disappointed.

– Amazon Reviewer Jim Whitefield

A classic novel starts with a crisis. As this book begins, Mathew Alcott has been divorced, fired, robbed, drugged and left naked in the Nevada desert. Powerful forces want him silenced, but have stopped short of killing him. Having already fled his native Utah and cut ties with his family, Mathew resolves to change his identity and disappear altogether.

He sets off on a drunken odyssey across the country. Arriving at random in New York State, Matthew goes to ground in a small town called Resurrection Corner. There he finds rest, companionship and a measure of peace. I enjoyed how Oborn built up slowly the relationship between Matthew and his new lover Cate. She is intrigued but disgusted by him at first, a drunk trying not-too-successfully to sober up. The description of their first night together is original and beautiful. But Matthew has brought with him burdens that he cannot easily put down.

A former newspaper journalist, he is determined to write a book examining critically the foundations of the Mormon Church. Matthew sees something of himself in Joseph Smith, the Church’s charismatic founder. And Matthew is determined to bring to light discoveries he made while working in the Church archives. The novel alternates between vignettes of Smith’s life and Matthew’s.

I cannot vouch for the accuracy of Oborn’s portrayal of Mormonism in general or Smith in particular. Suffice it to say that the Church and its members portray the rich, powerful and morally challenged opposition, a role played in other novels by capitalists or politicians depending on the author’s taste. We are meant to despise the bad guys, so they are made loathsome.

As a Chemical Dependency Professional, Oborn writes with passion and compassion about Matthew’s struggles with alcoholism. Other characters in the story -fellow addicts, counselors and caregivers – share this theme. The novel’s climax and conclusion feature an ensemble of unlikely heroes.

Like the Da Vinci Code, Oborn’s novel is at one level a long-running battle between Mathew Alcott and a secret society allied with the church. At another level it explores men’s use of religion to subjugate and control women. One may read it for entertainment, or to ponder deeper questions not limited to fiction.

– Amazon Reviewer David K. Stone

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Saturday Book Review: “Paradox Effect”

Book reviews are a great way for self-publishing authors to gain exposure. After all, how can someone buy your book if he or she doesn’t know it exists? Paired with other elements of your book promotion strategy, requesting reviews is a great way to get people talking about what you’ve written.

When we read good reviews, we definitely like to share them. It gives the author a few (permanent) moments of fame and allows us to let the community know about a great book. Here’s this week’s book review, courtesy of Amazon reviewer faience:

Time Travel and Purified DNA Merge to Halt the Collapse of Human Existence gabriel koch

Paradox Effect: Time Travel and Purified DNA Merge to Halt the Collapse of Human Existence

by Gabriel F. W. Koch

Publisher: Outskirts Press

ISBN: 9781478756224


In 2554, the World is Coming to its End, unless an impossible mission through 600 years of time travel succeeds. Maternal instinct knows no boundaries, including the nano-neural-net intravenously installed in Dannia Weston’s mind to repress her identity, allowing her to perform a mission 300 years before her time. Transported to the year 1954, Dannia becomes a woman with a mid-twentieth century persona, college educated with an aptitude for mechanical invention. Due to her work during the war, she is employed by the U.S. government on a secret project. But what no one knows-including Dannia or those who sent her back to tinker with the mechanical past to reduce future pollution-is what might happen should she become emotionally involved in 1954. The 2254 science team programmed the nano-net to prevent the possibility of pregnancy, but each person reacts to strong emotional stimuli differently, and using birth control not available in 1954 is out of the question. When Dannia falls in love with Peter Hersh and becomes pregnant, her hormones erode a small section of the nano-chained network that stabilizes her new identity, triggering a mild memory rebirth…and threatening her mission and the fate of the world.


I’m picky about science fiction, but this time travel novel does three things that won me over. It willingly faces the question of whether changing history is an absolute wrong. The plot and the characters are complex. And the heroine is awesome.

In the year 2254 CE humanity has had a brush with near-destruction. The surviving remnant of political order decides it’s not only right, but vital, to develop time travel and use it to tweak history. Carefully chosen people with skills that can nudge humanity toward a better end are sent back to various times in history where they can make a difference.

One of those people is Dannia Weston, a government researcher working a top secret technology project in 1950’s America, and thank heaven the novel does NOT dredge up cliches about gender roles in the ‘fifties. Dannia, and the people she encounters and works with, are still the generation that worked together during World War II and earned each other’s respect.

Transplanting people from 2254 CE to the extinct culture of 1954 is tricky business. Their own memories are suppressed and replaced with personal histories that fit in the historic period to which they’re sent, and their knowledge is tailored to the period as well, advanced enough to dial back the doomsday clock, but not spectacular enough to draw dangerous attention.

Dannia’s particular assignment is an invention that will advance energy efficiency. If it can be implemented in the 1950s, the benefits for both environment and world peace are huge.

But a glitch occurs in this little interference with history. Dannia’s suppressed memory begins to awaken. Why? The answer – her unplanned pregnancy – comes early in the book, but produces more dangerous paradoxes that need delicate handling. Can this child be born? Can Dannia be extracted and brought back to 2254? Can her child? The passage in which the project directors talk about the paradox that would create was a mind-bender.

The other thing I liked is that the story doesn’t build its plot on stock-character bad guys. At worst, the man sent to hunt her is overzealous and ill-equipped to make the judgements he has to make, and his commanders are naive. What seems like a simple question of conflict between Dannia’s two lives in different centuries is actually a multi-layered, multi-century problem in which authorities are flying blind.

The book raises questions about fate and choice, about how many of the cards we deal ourselves and how many are dealt by an unseen hand. The story is exciting, mind-expanding, and often funny, with some amusing cameo appearances by historic figures, and the secondary characters are as unpredictable and interesting as the main ones. It’s a fun read.

reviewed on Amazon by faience ]

2016 CIPA EVVY Awards

3rd Place Winner in the Science Fiction/Fantasy Category!

CIPA EVVY Award 3rd place

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“Skinny Little Tree” : A Saturday Self-Published Book Review

Book reviews are a great way for self-publishing authors to gain exposure. After all, how can someone buy your book if he or she doesn’t know it exists? Paired with other elements of your book promotion strategy, requesting reviews is a great way to get people talking about what you’ve written.

When we read good reviews, we definitely like to share them. It gives the author a few (permanent) moments of fame and allows us to let the community know about a great book. Here’s this week’s book review, courtesy of Between the Pages:

skinny little tree by jayme martin

Skinny Little Tree

by Jayme Martin

Publisher: Outskirts Press

ISBN: 978-1478708131


Author Jayme Martin has created a pretty picture book describing the seasons through the eyes of a skinny little tree. Through questions asked by a curious little boy, skinny little tree shares answers that highlight the passing of the seasons. There is the happiness of summer, the fading of fall, the loss during winter, and finally renewal as spring returns.

Colorful drawings correspond with the text to illustrate the tree’s answers. Martin adds a unique touch by including occasional blank pages offering the reader a chance to try his/her own hand drawing things referenced in the story such as a blue bird, little leaves, and the moon.

The simple story and friendly image of the skinny little tree make reading and sharing Martin’s book a pleasure. Young children can look back at their own additions created in response to the drawing prompts and perhaps imagine further images as the seasons change.


I really enjoyed this interactive children’s book. First I want to comment on how special it is that this book allows children to draw on some of the pages, this helps to keep them intrigued. The story was short and simple which is perfect when reading it with young children. I enjoy sharing this book with my daughters because the author takes something familiar to children and creates a simple story which is essential in keeping their interest. My favorite part was the illustrations. I felt as though the artist did a great job conveying the emotions the tree was feeling in the story. This is a great addition to any young child’s library.

reviewed by Lynda Coker at Between the Pages ]

Here’s what other reviewers are saying:

At twenty-eight unnumbered pages, this letter-sized paperback is targeted toward preschool aged children and beginner readers, especially those who enjoy interacting with books by drawing as they follow along with the story line. With no profanity or scary scenes except perhaps a few dark-looking trees at night, it is an ideal book to read and use right before nap time or bed time. Artist Clark Andrews Jr. uses full page, colorful illustrations with enough engaging details to keep readers interested.

After fill-the-blank ownership and acknowledgement pages, this imaginative tome is about a little boy who speaks to a tall, green tree that looks happy and contented on the front cover. The boy asks the tree lots of questions such as why it is smiling at him, why is it weeping or worried, why does it dance with glee at night, and why is it smiling again. Promoted as a book discussing all the seasons of life, it is more about emotions like being happy, sad, worried, or cheerful.

With each question the boy asks, the tree responds with reasons such as being tickled by wiggly worms, having a friendly blue bird fly away, shedding little leaves who would rather play with the ground, listening to the moon sing, or having all its friends back, surrounding it.

Also with each answer there is a blank page to have the reader create and draw his or her own wiggle worm, blue bird, leaves, moon, smile, and even a skinny little tree. By engaging readers through artistic interaction, they learn not only how to imagine and draw their own designs, they are educated about a few emotions, what insects and animals are near trees, and that trees shed their leaves.

Although the book is very short in length and there are only six drawing applications for readers, the concept of interacting with the story is helpful and fun. Due to the word repetition, beginner readers can focus on specific word groups and learn new, more complicated words and their meanings.

– Amazon Reviewer Conny

Learning that all seasons of life are worth living is the focus of author Jayme Martin’s delightful tale, SKINNY LITTLE TREE.

A youngster finds a skinny little tree smiling and ask why. It says Wiggly Worms are tickling its toes. Then the tree cries because its friend the Blue Bird leaves.

Next the tree becomes worried when its leaves begin to fall. But then the tree dances with glee under the moon. Finally the tree is happy again when all things return.

With each new find, Martin has left a page for readers to draw what the tree is discussing. This enables the reader to participate in the story in their own way. This enchanting story follows the seasons of the tree with great detail and insight. Martin has a delightful way of showing how life changes giving parents and children a fun way to talk about it.

The beautiful illustrations by Clark Andrews Jr. enhance the fun story. The vivid drawings will capture readers attention as they follow the tree’s story.

Youngsters will learn as they enjoy this entertaining story. It’s a fun read for all ages.

– Amazon Reviewer Mason Canyon

Book Trailer:

* = courtesy of Goodreads reviewer Sally Kruger.

saturday self-published book review

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Self Publishing Advisor


In Your Corner : Putting the Pieces Together

Figuring out how to navigate the world of book marketing can be a hazardous task, with many unmarked dangers–and shortcuts to safe passage–awaiting the self-publishing author. Over the last three weeks, I have introduced some of those campaign components which I happen to think are vital and important:

The problem, of course, is that while all of these probably sound like good ideas, they also require a lot of work.  And by “a lot of work,” I mean they require both time and a fairly discrete set of skills––each.  That is, the skills and even equipment required to craft that polished press release may have very little natural overlap with the skills and equipment required to craft an impactful video trailer.

“Well, what about Google?” you ask, and fairly.  “What about YouTube?  Can’t I look up some tutorials and put something together myself?”

Yes, yes you can!  And there are some really fantastic free guides out there.  I always recommend looking to the “making-related” articles in peer-reviewed periodicals like Publisher’s Weekly and WIRED throughout the year, even when you’re not working on a specific project, to see what sorts of new ideas and tools are being put out there.  And the quality of instruction on YouTube videos has improved greatly!  I’m not going to lie: the Internet is my go-to place when I need to learn how to do something for the first time, whether it’s to refine my (practically nonexistent) origami skills or how to snake my toilet.  (Don’t ask.)

But some of the “barriers to entry,” as we like to call them, are still up–even with the Internet and YouTube and Google in play.  I successfully snaked my toilet … after an hour of “practicing.”  (Read: “flailing wildly.”)  I know I didn’t have an hour to burn that day, but the toilet needed to be done.  And snaking is a relatively simple task compared to some of the many involved in, say, acquiring the rights to an audio file you want to play behind your book trailer video.  Or tracking down email addresses for booksellers, reviewers, and other industry influencers to create an email distribution list.  Templates and virtual instructions can sometimes fail us at crucial moments–or inflate the time required to accomplish what needs accomplishing beyond what we can spare.

If only there was somewhere we could turn that provided professional insight and assistance with our marketing campaigns!  Okay, okay, I know it’s a little on the nose, but I really do recommend paying for at least one consultation with a PR Publicist when you’re looking to put out a press release, a graphic designer or videographer when you’re crafting your book trailer video, and someone on the inside–with real experience–when it comes to tracking down credible book reviewers.

There are, as always, several ways you can go about this–you can contact these people individually, or you can opt to pay for a bundle of services that put all of these professionals under one roof (digitally speaking, at least).  Do your research, shop around for the best deals, and weigh your priorities against your marketing budget.  (Yes, you need one of those!)  Do what needs to be done to get you back to what you really love–writing–and cuts down on the time you spend fumbling around with that toilet snake.

You are not alone. ♣︎

ElizabethABOUT ELIZABETH JAVOR: With over 18 years of experience in sales and management, Elizabeth Javor works as the Manager of Author Services for Outskirts Press. The Author Services Department is composed of knowledgeable publishing consultants, pre-production specialists, customer service reps and book marketing specialists; together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Elizabeth Javor can put you on the right path.