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Issue #13: March 25, 2003
Publisher: Mind Like Water, Inc.

Welcome to another issue of our newsletter. If you want to catch up on back issues, please visit http://www.mindlikewater.com/newsletter.html.

It's Spring here in the Northern Hemisphere and the beauty of nature in our protected environment contrasts quite vividly with the images of war in Iraq. I feel almost strange going to the park or out for ice cream when others are struggling to survive. 

Of course, war is not new. Throughout history man has fought and killed. Some would say that we kill every day by eating a cheeseburger or swatting a pesky fly. Most of us would like to think that we are somehow different or better than the rest of the animal kingdom, but I fail to see the difference. In some ways we are much worse, because we fully understand the results of our actions.

I'm not trying to make a political stand through this newsletter, but I do like to discuss human nature and use it as a way for the ebook community to create better ebooks, market and sell easier, and generally spread knowledge and understanding. 

Nearly two years ago, Mike Disario came to us with a book he had written about his experiences as an Army Medic. Mike had some amazing stories to tell. He narrowly escaped death several times. His story is just a small piece of what each serviceman or servicewoman goes through. Their bravery and servitude are sometimes forgotten in political debates. Here is a small passage from his ebook called DUSTOFF:

"I realized almost immediately upon the helicopter's departure that I was alone in a desert valley full of unexploded bombs. I gave my attention to the F-4 that was burning no more than 300 yards from me. No sooner had the helicopter departed than the flaming wreckage began shooting off its highly explosive anti-tank rounds. The exploding rounds were flying all around the desert floor. I found a small boulder, the only cover around, and crouched behind it...."

If you are interested in Mike Disario's ebook, I invite you to visit http://www.mindlikewater.com/ebooks/dustoff/index.html.

I highly recommend DUSTOFF.

Okay, What's New at Mind Like Water?

Well, we just launched a new search engine ebook. Bryan Rundell (co-founder of Mind Like Water) is the author. The search engine ebook is unique in that it comes with email support. So you can read the book, implement the strategies and if you need to ask him questions, fire away.

I'll tell you one thing about marketing on the Internet: You either live or die by search engines. This may change some day, but for now it is the cold, hard truth. Through mere necessity, we at Mind Like Water have become search engine "experts."

Our sites, including Mind Like Water, continue to rank very high on search engines and we have greatly reduced our dependence on advertising, especially pay-per-click advertising. We also have helped many other clients achieve top 10 search engine rankings on Google and other search engines.

I'll be contacting you in a week or two with all of the information, but if you can't wait, you can visit http://www.mindlikewater.com/ebooks/search_engine_ranking.

Please enjoy our two featured authors and our feature article, "Make Yourself Unique."

Best wishes,

Michael Williams

Table of Contents
1. Feature Article: Make Yourself Unique
2. eBook Author Interview: Celia Ann Leaman
3. Library Initiative Update
4. eBook Author Interview: Bonnie Doss

Feature Article: Make Yourself Unique
Make yourself unique. Are you kidding? Society tells you not to be unique. As kids we are taught to color within the lines. As teenagers we are advised against tattoos and body piercing. Adults are forced to sign policies and procedures that establish boundaries at work. Everywhere you turn, someone or some entity is telling you to conform.

At the same time this is going on, we reward superstar athletes with big fat contracts. Would you say that Dennis Rodman conformed? Movie stars like Robin Williams continue to star in movie after movie. Would you say that Robin Williams conformed? Even superstar business men like the late Sam Walton of Wal-Mart ignored common business strategies and focused on small markets of under 50,000 people. Walton even kept his headquarters in a small town in Arkansas (Bentonville). Again, would you say that he conformed?


So society is telling us one thing, but rewarding another. Boy, that sounds like human nature. Do what I say, not what I do. My kids are living testament to that. I keep telling them to be patient and not lose their tempers, and then I lose my temper. Guess what advice they really hear or see?

My point is this: To succeed in business and in life, you have to be unique. You don't have to be a criminal or a recluse, but you have to set yourself apart from the crowd.

Ebook authors and business owners take heed. Make your product unique and make your sales strategy unique. 

Marketing professionals call it a "unique selling promise." It is what you or your product has that is unique. It is the "sizzle, not the steak."

If you can find your unique selling promise, you are well on your way to financial victory. Dominoes Pizza makes average pizza, but they promise to deliver it in 30 minutes or less or you get it for free. A good friend of mine started a heating and air conditioning business, but he never really kicked it into full gear until he offered to work on weekends or in the evening at no extra cost. A client of ours builds spa covers and he thought that price was the reason for lackluster sales. We advised him to focus on his spa covers as being safe. His online sales have increased dramatically as a result.

My challenge to you is to stop all of your marketing efforts until you come up with a unique selling promise. 

How do you come up with a unique selling promise? Ask your clients or customers what they want and why they bought from you or used your service. Probe even deeper and find out what really irritates them. Solve their problem (see last month's issue, #12).

Make Yourself Unique.

** Cooking Recipes That Take Only 10 Minutes **
Are you kidding me? I can have over 1,160 mouth-watering recipes along with Cajun stories, and the best part is they're all quick to make.

Da ol' mon Caj is down and clean; get it done, like now. If it takes over 10 minutes of prep time (or multiples thereof), you might just as well forget it. In other words, cooking feeds the taste buds, fills the belly, and shouldn't be a daily, time consuming task, not when you have to make an appointment with yourself to get to the grocery store.


eBook Author Interview: Celia Ann Leaman
Diane: UNRAVELED is your first book in the Gale Island series (http://www.twilighttimesbooks.com/Unraveled_ch1.html). In what's been described as a new-age comedy, a "repressed Millicent becomes acquainted with her quirky neighbors, discovers her husband's infidelities and contemplates an affair with a younger man while the planets Uranus and Pluto are going through an unusual configuration." Where did the idea for this story come from? Is there a particular theme you are exploring in UNRAVELED? What's in store for us in the next Gale Island book, due out in August?

Celia: My ideas for the Gale Island books come out of my experiences of living on a Gulf Island -- that is, one of the islands that lie like precious jewels between mainland British Columbia and Vancouver Island. It may look small on the map, but Vancouver Island is as large as England!

Living on a Gulf Island is like being nowhere else. Once the ferry leaves the dock, taking away the visitors, the rest of Canada seems to go with it. Perhaps it is that relief that brings about a sort of euphoric hysteria; a powerful thought that you are less ruled by convention. You can almost taste the freedom. I have always thought that the islands are places where little people can become big. Although I believe things have changed somewhat, in the 1980's it was certainly that way, and a place where people could more or less ignore the rest of the world and drop out of the rat race.

Because of a life change, which I have written about in THE WINNOWED WOMAN (http://twilighttimesbooks.com/Winnowed_ch1.html), I left my gulf island in the early 1990's and I think it was a certain heart and homesickness that brought to fruition my ideas and characters for the Gale Island books. To a certain extent I still enjoy a fairly Bohemian lifestyle, living aboard a floating home (that is, a cedar cottage on pontoons that is moored in a marina). The atmosphere surrounding me helps to feed my ideas, because in a way, this small community of eccentric and talented people reflects island life.

There are many themes running through the Gale Island books. Chock full of weird characters and strange happenings, plots and intrigue, the underlying story in UNRAVELED is about a certain planetary configuration disrupting peoples' lives. This includes the poor, downtrodden Millicent Snood, who discovers just how deceitful her husband has been over the years. She's further dismayed when a young lawyer, Chance McColl, falls in love with her. (I used this from my own experience, and I have woven some of the challenges of such a relationship into the stories in NO MORE REGRETS AND OTHER STORIES at http://www.twilighttimesbooks.com/ttbcurrent.html#NoRegrets.)

A CLEVER WIFE, which is the next Gale Island book due out in August, isn't about Millicent's relationship with her young lover, however, but focuses on her somewhat unwitting revenge on Pug, her spoiled, pompous and manipulative ex-husband. This has to happen because it's a stage in Millicent's development of becoming a new woman. She's still very fragile after such an unhappy marriage, and needs to build her self-esteem and become her own person before she steps into a full-blown relationship with Chance. (However, I don't think they'll wait that long.) In this book, Pug really gets his just desserts -- it's rather delicious actually, and quite unplanned by Millicent, who hits him where it hurts the most, which is in the pocket book. Things just seem to fall into her lap, which just goes to show that there is justice in the universe after all.

Diane: Your first published book, a historical romance titled MARY'S CHILD, was inspired by a legend of Dartmoor, a vast moorland near Devon, where you grew up in England. I understand you are writing another novel based on a different Dartmoor legend. Tell us about this book. What is it about Dartmoor that draws stories from you, even 20+ years after leaving England for Canada?

Celia: I enjoy writing about Dartmoor because it is such a part of me. I was such a moorland child, and grew up very near Jay's Grave, around which the series is written. My childhood, deficient in some aspects, was very enriched by the beauty and safety of my surroundings. 

MARY'S CHILD is the first book of three. It didn't start out that way, but circumstances in my own life, plus something that someone said to me about family habit and karma, inspired another book that has become two books because of the size. MARY'S CHILD is set in the 1800's, and is the story of Kitty, whose mother was sent to a workhouse at an early age. Through her courage, Kitty avenges her mother's death, and takes her true position in life.

At the beginning of the next book, PASTPRESENT I: AWARENESS, I write this: "Sometimes a family will keep repeating a situation generation after generation, and each time more karma is built up and there is more to undo and set into balance. If one person can break that karmic chain, not only future, but past generations will be released."

That idea brought this story into being. In the book, Anne, who is the writer of "Mary's Child," moves into an old manor house where she finds herself being drawn into the past to meet her characters, which appear to her as ghosts. What is more disturbing is that their lives seem to be running parallel to hers. Anne feels that Kitty is trying to tell her something, but can't figure out what it is. She ends up moving to Canada to live with her father, leaving behind her some dreadful events, including the adoption of her child.

In PASTPRESENT II, RESOLUTION, the time comes in Anne's life -- approximately twenty years later -- when she can no longer ignore the guilt that continues to haunt her. She returns to Devon where she discovers some startling details about the past. This reveals why Kitty was so upset, and Anne seeks to resolve the issue. 

(MARY'S CHILD is currently unavailable, and the two sequels are not yet published due to a change in publisher. Readers may bookmark my webpage at http://www.devonshirebabe.com where I will post information as soon as it becomes available.)

Diane: What do you believe your greatest strength is as a writer? What aspect of the creative process do you enjoy the most?

Celia: I simply love to write, and I'm champing at the bit right now because I made myself take the beginning of this year off, mainly because of other commitments. I also needed the rest; creative writing can be very draining. But I have missed it and can't wait to start again soon. Without it in my life I feel as if I've lost a friend. Writing helps me to cope with a less than perfect family life, and I thank God I have that comfort and place to return to.

I enjoy exploring personalities, and as I write I see my characters take on a life of their own. Yet none of them are ever mirrors of a real person. Real people would intrude on my imagination. I think perhaps my greatest strength is my imagination.

Diane: Besides writing, you also work as a Library Assistant at a public library in British Columbia, Canada, where you now live. Many ebook authors are interested in this potential market. From your vantage point, what can you share with us about ebooks and libraries? What advice would you give an author who wanted to approach a library about carrying his or her ebooks in the library's collection?

Celia: Unfortunately, in our system we don't yet have ebooks, and I sense some aversion and resistance to them from my superiors. My peers are aware that I am a writer, and yet I'd say few of them feel I'm a "proper" writer because I haven't been published in paper. This is terribly sad, but shows what conditioning, or habitual thinking, can do.

I think that one of the reasons ebooks haven't yet caught on is because of that attitude, and in my part of the world, there seems to be little promotion of them in the media, only negative comments about how uncomfortable they are to read. Sadly, in today's world, success of anything is often judged by how much money it makes, and that is dependant on how much, or which type of, publicity it gets. If the publicity doesn't hype something up, then people may not try it.

I hate to say this -- and it is a generalization -- but many people are rather sheep-like in their reading habits, and are reluctant to try something new. I see it all the time in the library where patrons borrow books that are classed as "best sellers," yet complain when they return them because they didn't like them! People are very hungry for books they like to read, but they are forced to read what is available. It will be a grand day for ebooks when they are more acceptable and can be easily read. Readers are going to get a real treat!

There is also a lot of snobbery in the arts world, and I think that's also another reason why ebooks haven't caught on. They aren't "quite the thing," and at the moment are receiving much of the same stigma as paperbacks once did.

I have been in touch with a library in this area that does carry a few ebooks, but it seems they are experiencing stumbling blocks regarding reading devices and copyright issues. I am pursuing the issue.

Diane: You currently teach information sessions on ebooks at a local adult education center. How did you become involved in this, and who typically attends these sessions? Are there misconceptions about ebooks that people bring to class? Based on feedback you've received, what appears to be the greatest difficulty ebooks face in becoming more mainstream? What solutions have been suggested for removing this obstacle?

Celia: I really began the ebook information sessions as a way to educate people about ebooks, but I have changed the focus slightly towards being epublished. This has increased the enrolment slightly because there are a lot of people out there who wish to be published, and don't really know what epublishers are, or how they operate. Students vary in age, gender and profession. Some are retired. So far all of them have only had a very vague idea of what ebooks are, and have been amazed with the amount of information I can give them.

I think there are three main problems preventing ebooks from becoming mainstream. One, as I've already mentioned, is that there isn't enough positive advertising about them. Secondly, really there are no cheap Readers on which to read them -- that is, something that resembles a book and which is affordable. People can read on their handhelds I know, but many people won't, or don't want to, do this. Many of the readers are older and are used to, and like, paper books. We also have the problem that the younger generations aren't reading as much. Many of them don't have the time, or the interest. 

People are slow in any case to change their habits, and I think the first positive move would be to have a Reader that is more book-like. Electronic ink is being developed (see http://www.howstuffworks.com/e-ink.htm) and I think perhaps once a device emerges on the market that will ease the transition from paper to an electronic reading medium, ebooks will flourish, and publishers will see their sales rise.

Then there is that little devil, stigma. The feeling that ebooks aren't quite real, aren't here to stay, or aren't very good. It seems to me they are considered in the same light as self- publishing and vanity press -- no matter that some self-published books have done extremely well. I think part of the problem is that many ebooks haven't been edited properly and people find a lot of mistakes in them. Unfortunately that gives the impression that anyone can publish anything, and that standards are low and trashy. It gives no credence to this new market. So I think it's very important for writers, editors and publishers to ensure they put out the best product they can. I know you can say that all books have errors in them these days, but that's no excuse, and nothing gives a worse impression. Besides, literacy skills are declining and I think each writer and publisher has a responsibility to keep standards high. In my mind, mistakes do matter.

Hopefully, as things develop, the publishers who don't make the effort will fall by the wayside, and only the diligent ones will survive. People may disagree with me, but I feel that only when there are some standards in the industry will we as eauthors, and epublishers, receive any respect, and in turn, reap some rewards. 

Thank you for this interview, Diane.

-- Celia Ann Leaman
UNRAVELED: http://www.twilighttimesbooks.com/Unraveled_ch1.html
MARY'S CHILD: http://www.devonshirebabe.com 

Library Initiative Update
Our on-going library initiative is about to come into full swing as we contact over 1,000 public libraries in April. After meeting with staff at public libraries here in Kansas City, one thing became apparent: the need to educate library staff about ebooks. With that in mind, Mind Like Water has decided to launch a newsletter targeted to public library staff, with education about ebooks as its goal. The newsletter will include a feature article discussing an aspect of ebooks, a featured librarian discussing the role of ebooks in his or her library, and an interview with an ebook author or epublisher. We plan to send the first issue of this newsletter to over 1,000 libraries across the United States in April. This first issue will also serve as an introduction of Mind Like Water and our ebook catalog to these libraries. It is our feeling that establishing rapport and industry expertise with those in the library field is necessary in order to effectively market our ebook catalog.

Thank you everyone for your feedback on our library initiative. In response to the two main requests we received, we are changing our forms to (1) allow the submittal of more than 3 ebook titles (price to be determined), and (2) allow the selection of genre subcategories (approximately 215 nonfiction and 240 fiction). Once the forms are updated, Diane Faile will be contacting all of the library initiative participants so that you can make any necessary changes.

Once we have published the first issue of our library newsletter and updated the ebook catalog based on the changes mentioned above, we will offer a downloadable version of the ebook catalog. In the meantime, the ebook catalog is online at http://www.mindlikewater.com/ebook_catalog.html.

For more information and to get your ebooks in our catalog, visit https://www.mind-like-water.com/library_offer.html or email Diane Faile at dino@mindlikewater.com.

More next month...

eBook Author Interview: Bonnie Doss
Diane: You began your writing career at age 50. An abused child of an alcoholic, your first published book, CHOCOLATE DAYS & SHADOWS (http://www.dlsijpress.com/doss/index.shtml), was a memoir of your journey towards wholeness and acceptance. Was CHOCOLATE DAYS & SHADOWS a story that had to be told, and you were thus compelled to become a writer, or were you already a writer before you began this book? Where does the book's title come from?

Bonnie: Aloha Diane. Do you believe in true seers? What if I told you that a gypsy tealeaf reader "saw" me sitting at a computer writing two books twelve years before their conception? 

She said, "You have a powerful story and the world needs to hear your voice." She predicted my writing "teaching books."

My vocation is not teaching. Not to mention that I did not possess the computer symbolized in her hand-painted china teacup, or the necessary wisdom to discern whether people would listen to or learn from the pitiful voice of a lifetime victim. From time to time, the divination flashed across the screen of my consciousness, but I am certain you are aware of this truth Diane -- we're not ready until we are. When we are ready, we proceed to accomplish our souls' mission.

We are born to serve. In a perfect world I would have arrived in a "normal" family of origin for the nourishment of my talents. This is not true of abused children where the perpetrator repeatedly reinforces our unworthiness and any expression of creativity is stifled. My writing was a safe survival mechanism, a closet occupation, which could not evolve into a vehicle of service to humanity until I embarked on the journey of self-transformation. Twelve-steps twice and twelve years later, the Creator awakened my Real Writer identity.

Now, about CHOCOLATE DAYS & SHADOWS, I didn't just write it, I told it over a period of four years to my granddaughter, Ashley and my children, Jackie and Steve. In essence, the stories birthed the book.

Regarding the title, Ash experienced "chocolate days" when Steve took her to the movie or somewhere, stuffed her full of chocolate, and afterwards she transformed into a tiny terror. That's the first part...

"I don't stand in Mommy's shadow anymore." I wrote the last line first, for two reasons -- one, by beginning with the end, I validated a personal commitment to write the beginning and middle and two, by virtue of action the victim transformed into a victor.

In addition, the title conveys the book's message by metaphor. The victim is invited to "get thee out of the shadows and give thyself permission to eat chocolate, or do whatever soothes thy wounded spirit."

Diane: The promotional text for CHOCOLATE DAYS & SHADOWS states that this "is an autobiography, and yet..." And yet, the text continues, it is "about you," "by you," and "for you." Can you expand upon this?

Bonnie: Does not my voice symbolically speak about, through and for every abused child, everywhere? Are not our stories the same -- the physical pain hurt and the emotional pain wounded our psyches.

I am one abused child that finally found the courage to speak on behalf of and in tribute to the frightened and timid among us who were conditioned to keep the secret. My aim is for the world to hear not one small voice, but many. I hope that in some phenomenal way we, the abused children, can help raise collective consciousness to the point that people recognize abuse for the ugly monster it is and compel them to do something, anything, to prevent or halt witnessed or suspected abuse.

If CHOCOLATE DAYS & SHADOWS incites one victim to get out of an abusive situation, I urge them to help one person, and that person to help one person, ad infinitum. All is circles.

Diane: I read that you made "a divine promise" to use CHOCOLATE DAYS & SHADOWS as a vehicle to help abused children. In fact, a portion of the book's proceeds are donated to this cause.

Bonnie: And so it is!

Diane: What do you hope to achieve/impart with your sequel, CIRCLES BEYOND THE SHADOWS, which I understand you are currently writing?

Bonnie: Sweet serendipity intervened to create the sequel's demise; however, all that might have been said in CIRCLES is in THE BOOK.

The universe is generous with second chances. I'm excited about my current project. Inscriptions of Hope, a new publishing company, contacted me to write booklets for abuse survivors. I'm grateful for the opportunity to continue my mission of "helping the children." 

Diane: You have also written THE BOOK: A PRIMER FOR SEEKERS OF HIGHER CONSCIOUSNESS (http://www.dlsijpress.com/doss2/index.shtml). According to reviewer Judine Bishop Slaughter, you combine "ancient wisdom from many cultures to teach a systematic approach to higher wisdom." Tell us more about this book, and what readers can learn from it. How did your interest in this subject matter develop?

Bonnie: We've all experienced them -- chance encounters, synchronicities, meaningful coincidences, events which defy explanation using the rational mind, yet impact our lives on a spiritual level. My epiphany happened when a high school friend and I reunited on the Internet after 40 years.

During our separateness, Avatar (as I have named his energy) was busy becoming a man of super-consciousness. When this became evident to me, I asked and he agreed to assume the role of my mentor.

First, he assigned rare books way, way beyond the comfort of my consciousness level. I struggled to translate fragmented and obscure wisdom teachings into a workable and understandable modern-day system.

Then, he assigned life. I observed my surroundings and examined my every thought, word and deed. When he assigned nature, I sat in lemon-yellow sunrises and deep purple sunsets until I could see with "new eyes." I explored opposites -- touching soft feathers and hard rocks; tasting sweet dark chocolate and sour grapes; hearing harsh and subtle sounds; seeing dim and bright. When I understood that a speck of light is in the darkness and vice versa, I could comprehend an unchanging world of no opposites.

Avatar contends that in higher consciousness, we live meditation, so that instead of a mantra, he designed my personal position. I spent many hours in this position until I could remove myself from surround sound and hear wisdom in solitude.

For a long, long time, I sought the gap between thunder and lightening and when I found it, Avatar said, "Aureole, it's time to write The Book."

Finally, Avatar wrote the chapter titles, and I wrote our Truth. 

What can the reader learn? As much as his or her potential allows!

Diane: What advice has been most useful to you with regards to attaining success as an electronically published author?

Bonnie: I am the real wrong person to answer this question. As Frankie sang, "I did it my way." I wrote both books without illusion of grandeur, with the humble and high honor of serving. 

I would say to the aspiring author -- Do not worry about success. Search your intention until it is pure, write simple words and trust the Power that is greater than we are to provide. 

Diane, I appreciate the opportunity to speak to your audience. To you, the staff at Mind Like Water and your devoted readers -- Namaste.

-- Bonnie Doss

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