They Did It for Honor: Stories of American WWII Veterans is Hot Off the Press!

Wow! It’s done! My second book of World War II interviews is done!

They Did It for Honor: Stories of American WWII Veterans contains 34 stories of men/women who served in every branch from 1941-1946. The war ended in 1945, but many continued serving during the occupation period in Japan and Europe.

The book is available on Amazon —

BUT…

Since you’re good enough to read this post, I’ll tell you it will be offered at a sale price starting Friday, September 29 for one week only until Friday, October 6. The sale price will be listed at Amazon on Friday, September 29. This will only be available for one week so be sure to make your purchase then.

Hint: It might be wise to purchase your book on Amazon rather than at the book launch as then you can immediately begin talking to the vets. Of course, I’ll be sure to sign your book that day as well!

If you can’t find the book on Amazon, search under my name. Some of you might be surprised to find I’ve also written children’s books for traditional publishers!

I’m preparing a book launch event – dare I say party? The best part is several of the vets from the book have agreed to attend as our guests of honor! This is one who will be there — Al Lefevra served in the Navy in the Pacific. He picked up this great hula skirt along the way and loves to model it!

aLefevra hula good

Yes, something could prevent them from being able to be there, but as of today, about a dozen of them will be at the downtown public library in Ft Wayne, Indiana, on Saturday, Nov 4, from 1-3pm in Meeting Room C.

They will greet the public and sign books which will be available for purchase. These are some of our nation’s oldest vets, having served 70+ years ago. I’m proud to know each one as they are humble people who obeyed orders and loved their country and its people enough to often put their lives in danger.

A couple of vets who are deceased will have family members representing them.

I’d recommend arriving early to be sure to get an opportunity to meet with them.

This is a unique opportunity! Be sure to put it on your calendar. Bring young people to enable them to experience this once-in-a-lifetime gathering!

Veteran’s Day-Opp to Honor Our Heroes

241 Remember sign

It’s been a busy couple of weeks for us and many other military families around the nation. Veteran’s Day is perhaps the biggest day of the year for all vets. It gives the public the opportunity to honor them in so many ways.

Vet Day bus

John & I participated in Fort Wayne’s Veteran’s Day Parade. He rode the Air National Guard bus while I walked with the Blue Star Mothers. I had more fun handing out candy to children along the mile-long route, but guess who was more tired at the end of the parade?

Thanks to everyone in the Fort Wayne area – Boy Scouts, school bands, military groups and supporters – for going to the effort of showing our vets how much we appreciate them!

Lineberry class

Speaking opportunities for me to tell people about my World War II book of veteran stories abounded. These are pictures of some places I’ve been.

Belmont Lineberry K

Brian Lineberry allowed me to speak to his class at Bellmont High School in Decatur. The class is studying World War II and preparing to write profiles of fallen World War II soldiers from the area. Cool! I gave them tips on research and what they might discover.

Lani 2015

Lani Mahnensmith asked me to speak to a grief support group that meets at Kingston Retirement Center in Fort Wayne. Met some vets there I’ve interviewed and ate lunch with them. Double cool!

K display

The Allen County Public Library Author Fair was well attended. Several people stopped by to ask about the book and we chatted about World War II vets in the area.

Laurie Gray auth fair

It was fun seeing author friends Laurie Gray (above) and Doris Rapp (below).

Doris Rapp

We all were asked to speak on panels about writing.

Amn 241 fallen heroes display

one last thing to mention—the American Legion 241 Post in Fort Wayne hosted an exhibit that I’m sure moved everyone who viewed it.

It displays names, photos and mementos from family / friends of fallen soldiers from Indiana. The display was organized by a father who feared the public would forget his soldier son after his death. It is respectful and maddening to think of our loss because of their sacrifices on our nation’s behalf.

Hiester

The display is especially meaningful for me as there is a photo of a man who grew up in my church. See lower left.

Master Sergeant Michael Hiester, 33, was killed in Afghanistan in 2005 by a mine explosion. He left behind a wife, son, daughter, parents and two sisters, a church who loved him and many, many friends. I love them and respect them so much for carrying on. I don’t know how family get through those painful experiences. The least we can do for our fallen heroes is to show respect for every veteran we meet.

Learn more about this unique exhibit here.

If you have a chance today, thank a veteran for his/her service!

 

 

7 Tips to Getting Published

Meeting famous authors like Tracie Petersen offers chance to ask writing questions. Tracie is in middle.

Meeting famous authors like Tracie Petersen offers chance to ask writing questions. Tracie is in middle.

These are tips I’ve shared with beginning writers at workshops I’ve conducted. There are other facets to establishing yourself as a writer, but these are good to start with.

1. Decide what you want to write
I loved reading fiction and thought that was what I sh write. But I don’t have any people talking in my head. That’s how I’ve heard fiction writers describe their lives – characters are up there just screaming to get their dialogue on a page!
I prefer writing non-fiction since while a few fiction writers are well-known and have thousands of fan, non-fiction sells better – always has and always will.
Look at magazine racks – nearly all filled with non-fiction articles—essays, how-to’s, research.
Decide what you like to read and study those publications to help develop your own style of writing.

My two good writing friends Cathy Shouse, Shirley Jump & me at Shirley's former writing club meetings.

My two good writing friends Cathy Shouse, Shirley Jump & me at Shirley’s former writing club meetings.

2. Learn everything you can about the craft of writing.
Read writing books (your public library probably has many!), also The Writer and Writer’s Digest Magazines.
Take online writing courses. Sign up for writing ezines. Join writers groups. Ask about them at your public library, watch for signs posted on bulletin boards around town, check online for Meetups. I host two writing clubs which meet monthly.
Attend conferences—this can be an expense, but by putting yourself out there, you’ll meet people that will encourage you and help you discover the joys of writing, especially for publication.

It was fun meeting writing friend Maura Oprisko at a writing conference.

It was fun meeting writing friend Maura Oprisko at a writing conference.


3. Network with other writers. I touched on this in the previous point but I find this is the most helpful aspect of writing today. Writing can be a lonely occupation. By working with other writers you’ll be more inclined to stick with a tricky project.
Whether you write fiction or non-fiction, you’ll feel more inclined to continue writing when you’re in touch with other writers.

4. Get your name out there!
Look for places that will publish your work. Newspapers will publish editorials and columns on Faith/Religion pages for viewpoints. This can be a good experience and exposure for friends and family to understand your determination and talent.

Women’s magazines are another source. My first sale was two paragraphs to a religious publication I read regularly about our daughter’s wonderful, effective Sunday School teacher. I’ve also sold recipe tips, kids’ sayings, travel tips, holiday tips. The pay would not finance my vacation, but it’s pretty fun to show my family my name in Ladies Home Journal!

5. Develop a thick skin.
You will get rejected- every writer does. It’s not personal. Don’t quit! Keep writing and seek encouragement from other writers. It’s a bold move to write for publication. I tend to dwell on negative comments (though rare) instead of dwelling on the compliments I receive. I’ve posted thank you notes from people I’ve written about around my writing area so I can focus on them when I’m stuck emotionally or mentally.

6. Write regularly.
Make writing a habit. Try to fit it into your daily schedule. The more you write, the more your subconscious will help you! If writing is important to you, you will find time to write! I like to write in the morning when I’m fresh so I’ll often write before going to my school job. I’m writing this now at 6:40a.m.

7. Call yourself a writer.
If you practice all of the above, you are a writer! Be proud!

Are you starting out on this marvelous road of writing? What is your goal as a writer?

New Children’s Books Promote Health & Good Role Models

Cuba cover--GOOD

Big Time Rush is a popular singing group with a comedy show on Nickelodeon channel

Big Time Rush is a popular singing group with a comedy show on Nickelodeon channel


For the past several months I’ve worked with a new children’s book publisher, Purple Toad Publishing (http://purpletoadpublishing.net/). The editor, Cynthia Cope, is great! She replies to my emails and is friendly and pays promptly—something every writer enjoys!

Better yet, she has assigned me to write two Middle Grade books for her company that were recently published. I’m so excited about both of them! The first was a biography of Big Time Rush, the wildly popular boy band with a hit TV show on Nickelodeon channel. These boys are not only cute but funny and talented! I think they’re great role models and look forward to promoting their music via this book.

The Big Time Rush book, part of a series called Beacon Biography, has beautiful full-color photos of the group with interesting text that tells how the group got started. Did you know which member of Big Time Rush won a part in a Super Soaker water gun commercial which helped him decide on a career in show business? I’ll post the answer here in a few days. Watch for it!

**

My second book to be released from Purple Toad Publishing is Now You’re Cooking: Cuba. Talk about food to make a person hungry just by reading about them! These 10 recipes are healthy, affordable and fun to make!
They include traditional dishes like Arroz con Pollo and some not-so-traditional dishes like Praline Coffee Soufflé. Yum! The layout in this book is so attractive that women have purchased it, even though it is written for kids in grades 4-8. Go for it, Grown-ups!

Both of my Purple Toad Publishing books are also available as EBooks. Hurray!

Here’s specific information for purchasing:

Big Time Rush
ISBN 10 digit ISBN: 1624690105
ISBN 13-digit ISBN: 9781624690105

EBook 10-digit ISBN: 1624690297
EBook 13-digit ISBN: 9781624690297
Big Time Rush is offered as part of a 7-book series.

Now You’re Cooking! Healthy Recipes from Latin America: Cuba
Cuba ISBN: 9781624690402
Cuba EBook ISBN: 9781624690419
Cuba is offered as part of a 4-book series.
Both are library-bound, 32-page, full-color and published by Purple Toad Publishing
http://purpletoadpublishing.net/

I’m lining up speaking engagements, cooking demos, and book talks now about my 11 books. Please contact me at xxxkjreusser@adamswells.comxxx (delete the x’s which were added to minimize spam). I can do talks on my 3 Greek gods books (Hades, Hephaestus, Hermes), the importance of volunteering (Celebrities Giving Back); crafts & recipes from the country of Indonesia (Recipe and Craft Guide to Indonesia) and the importance of setting goals, featuring biographies of Taylor Swift, Selena Gomez and Leona Lewis.

Now a question for you. What children’s book would you want to read or see in print? I’m anxious to read all of your responses and may pass them to Cynthia for a future assignment!

Indy Author Fair Offers Opportunities for Writers, Readers

Book signing at Indy Author Fair was chance to  offer my books to new readers.

Book signing at Indy Author Fair was chance to offer my books to new readers.


Recently I was honored to be chosen to participate in the Indy Author Fair. It was held at the Central Library in downtown Indianapolis. The Indy Author Fair is presented by the Eugene & Marilyn Glick Indiana Authors Award and The Indianapolis Public Library. The fair was free and included other free activities including a panel discussion of award-winning authors.

While I did not participate in the discussion as a panelist, I did enjoy the book signing session and meeting other authors from the state of Indiana who have published books.

James Alexander Thom is Hoosier author of historical novels.

James Alexander Thom is Hoosier author of historical novels.


One author I was especially privileged to meet was famed historian James Alexander Thom. I read his book Follow the River in the 1970s and loved it.

As luck would have it, I was seated near Mr Thom and took the opportunity to tell him of my admiration for his research in the historical novels he’s written about Native Americans. We chatted several minutes and it was a highlight of the day for me. I purchased his book, Red Heart, about the story of Frances Slocum, a white child kidnapped and raised by Miamis. She was eventually found living in Peru, Indiana, with the tribe and refused to leave them when her white family begged her to return with them to PA. Interesting!

Another highlight was meeting a ‘fan’ of mine of sorts.

Meeting readers is a fun part of author fairs.

Meeting readers is a fun part of author fairs.


Mandy Suhre attended my workshop in 2012 of the National Missionary Convention in Indianapolis on ‘Writing That Praises God’. She’s kept in touch with me during the past year and is pursuing her ambition of being a published writer by meeting authors at the fair. Although she didn’t know I would be at the fair, she did introduce herself to me. I was thrilled to see her and wish her God’s grace on her future as a writer.
Laurie Gray has authored books for children and teens.

Laurie Gray has authored books for children and teens.


Still another highlight was spending time with my friend Laurie Gray who is the author of books for children and teens—Summer Sanctuary and Maybe I Will. She has other books being released by Luminis in 2014.
Plan now to attend the next Indianapolis Author Fair. http://www.indianaauthorsaward.org/
What opportunities are you using to expand your knowledge of writing and book publishing? The year 2014 might just be your time to shine!

Six Tips for Writing Celebrity Profiles

Bill and Gloria Gaither, famous Christian singers & songwriters, were easy to interview.

Bill and Gloria Gaither, famous Christian singers & songwriters, were easy to interview.

Articles about celebrities are one of the easiest types of articles to sell. Editors know readers want to learn what makes well-known people tick.

The good news is that you don’t have to be famous to interview celebrities. My name isn’t Barbara Walters, yet I’ve interviewed Bill and Gloria Gaither, Joe Bonsall of The Oak Ridge Boys, singers BarlowGirl, Tobi Mac and Steven Curtis Chapman, and comedian/singer Mark Lowry.

Interviewing celebrities takes skill, timing and practice. I interviewed dozens of people before attempting to talk with a celebrity. In addition, most celebrities are on a strict time schedule; each question and minute must count. A third challenge is accessibility. The more famous the celebrity, the more difficult it is to procure the interview.

Jerry Jenkins, author of Left Behind books, was full of information about writing books.

Jerry Jenkins, author of Left Behind books, was full of information about writing books.


Despite all of these obstacles, a celebrity interview is easier to conduct than you might think. Following these steps will help to produce sellable interviews with famous people.

1. Get an assignment

Famous people pay managers and agents great amounts of money to screen interview requests. Only the most deserving writers, i.e. those with an assignment from a publication’s editor, will be worked into the client’s schedule.

After publishing dozens of profiles on ‘regular’ people, I contacted the editor of the Ticket! Section of the Fort Wayne (Indiana) News-Sentinel newspaper and was hired to write freelance articles for them.

Now when I email a celeb’s publicist for an interview (having gotten the information from my editor), I begin, “Hi. I’m Kayleen Reusser from the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel and I’m calling to request an interview with Steven Curtis Chapman to promote his upcoming appearance in our area.” I may ask for a copy of the celeb’s latest work, be it CD or book, to be sent to me. Fortunately, with the advent of personal websites where celebrities’ public relations departments post press releases, the need to ask for hard copy press kits is extinct, saving time and expense.

Tracy Petersen has written dozens of popular Christian novels. She is seated in middle.

Tracy Petersen has written dozens of popular Christian novels. She is seated in middle.


If you’d like to write celebrity articles on assignment, send a few published clips from profiles you’ve published on Average Joes to the entertainment section of your local newspaper. Cutbacks in staffing at newspapers can mean more opportunities for freelancers. Tell the editor you’ve heard Joe Piper of 90 Minutes in Heaven fame has scheduled a book signing in your area. You’ve read the book and would love to do an interview with Joe and write a 500-word (or whatever word length they specify) article for the newspaper.

2. Be flexible

A celebrity’s time is tightly structured. You must be willing to work around whatever time the publicist offers you for an interview. If you work another job during the day, as I do, this can be challenging. I try to schedule interviews for evenings or weekends. When the publicist for Michael Tait informed me he could only talk on a certain week day at noon, I interviewed him during my lunch hour. The resulting article appeared in Whatzup!, a local entertainment guide.

3. Prepare

Find out everything you can about your subject before the interview to prepare your questions. Be aware of biographical information, career beginnings, discography, number of sales of hit records or best-sellers, family life, and quotes.

You’ve heard it before — don’t assume everything on the Internet is accurate. If something sounds questionable, ask the celebrity about it. When I read several years ago that Joe Bonsall, lead singer of the Oak Ridge Boys, had published a children’s book, I was puzzled. He enthusiastically explained his interest in writing for children. This all went into the article, creating an avenue of information readers probably were not familiar with. My editor was pleased.

Use your library to check out other sources of information about your celebrity. While preparing to interview Dick Smothers, I noticed his website skimmed the surface of his career during the 1970s with his brother. More information was available in books at my local library. The resulting article contained several of these facts. Databases are also helpful.

4. Record the interview

Years ago, I taped record every phone interview with a recording device from Radio Shack. It connected from my tape recorder to the phone. I always informed the celebrity that our conversation was being recorded, which is required by law. Today, I’m a faster typist and can get the conversations in the computer without using my device. This saves time and effort in transcription. Again this takes practice so don’t rush it and risk misquoting.

5. Think on your feet

Keep in mind that celebrities don’t live in ivory towers. They like to mingle with people. A writer must be ready for these opportunities.

Several years ago, while living in Port St Lucie, Florida, the town where the New York Mets hold their annual baseball spring training camp, I met one of the Mets, Tim Teufel, at church services one Sunday evening. After chatting with the outfielder for several minutes, I realized he’d be a good interview subject. He consented to an interview for an article about his Christian faith. He called me at home the next evening. The resulting article, “A Different Ballgame,” was published in Evangel, Gem, Live, and Sharing the Victory.

6.One more step

Okay, you’ve done your homework and got the interview. You prepared well and wrote an interesting article. Your work isn’t finished. Now you must send a copy of the published article to the publicist who helped you arrange the interview. She may decide to include it in the online press kit for her client. Someone’s articles have to appear there. Why not yours?

The End

Guest Speaking for Michelle Medlock Adams at Taylor University

Talented, prolific and kind Michelle Medlock Adams is my children's book mentor.

Talented, prolific and kind Michelle Medlock Adams is my children’s book mentor.


Most writers owe their success/ progress to another writer or two.

I could list several from the former Fort Wayne Christian Writing Club who helped me get started writing—Jim Watkins, Linda Wade, Rosa Liston, to name a few. They patiently helped me learn the ins/outs of how to create something editors would want to publish. Thanks to all of you.

Jim Watkins is a talented Christian author and speaker.

Jim Watkins is a talented Christian author and speaker.

Taylor Swift Day by Day by Kayleen Reusser

Taylor Swift Day by Day by Kayleen Reusser


Taylor Swift Blue Banner Bio (Mitchell Lane)

Taylor Swift Blue Banner Bio (Mitchell Lane)


I took her advice and am I glad I did! I sent a letter of interest to the publisher and a sample of my work – a magazine article I had written about a child. We exchanged emails and soon a contract was on its way to my home! I had barely heard of the 16-year-old country singer they wanted me to write about. What could she have to say that people would want to know about? I thought. But I agreed to write the book.

The Blue Banner Biography on Taylor Swift is still in print today.

Since then, I’ve written 10 other children’s books—9 total with Mitchell Lane and 2 with another publisher to be released in 2014.

Publishing books changed my writing world. I’ve been a keynote speaker, guest on radio, TV, Internet shows, guest blogger, and asked to speak at libraries, schools, churches and civic groups.

Speaking to 5th graders at Park El. School in Fairmount. Photo by Cathy Shouse.

Speaking to 5th graders at Park El. School in Fairmount. Photo by Cathy Shouse.


So it was an honor to reciprocate Michelle’s help to me by guest speaking to her children’s writing class at Taylor University in Upland, Indiana, last week.
She has been my writing mentor and I’m proud to tell people about her and her success. She has written dozens of children’s books for all ages from board books to Middle Grades. She also speaks and leads workshops at writing conferences.

Thanks, Michelle, I had a great time and your students were attentive and interesting. I wish all of you great success.

Who is your writing mentor? How has that person helped you in your career? What advice of theirs has helped steer your writing to the next level?