What to expect leading up to your book launch

The day a book launches is one of the most exciting of an author’s career, but the weeks leading up to it can be nerve-wracking. Knowing what to expect can help give you a sense of calm as you move into “launch month.”

I like to describe the publicity leading up to your publication date like a snowball: it starts out rather small and moves slowly, but as you get closer, momentum and size build up.

First, many readers prefer to wait until launch day or launch week to cross-post reviews (Amazon actually doesn’t allow reviews to post before then, although other sites do). This burst of reviews in a short period of time can be beneficial; it’s similar to advertising, and the sudden, frequent exposure to the book’s cover and title can lead to more orders!

Second, local media publications in your area are more likely to post a review or blurb about the book near the launch date, in order to create a more timely hook for their newscycle.

So how can you help build the momentum?

Check in with your network of family and friends around this time to ask them to help spread the word about your book. They can do this through Goodreads reviews, social media outreach, or good old-fashioned word of mouth. Many of your supporters will want to help you during this time, but they might need you to tell them how.

Post regularly on social media. Prior to launch, you may have been posting about your book on social media less frequently in order to not overwhelm your followers. However, the weeks leading up to your launch is the time to really use those platforms to display your excitement and share this part of your journey! You should also use social media to share any reviews, and to thank the people who wrote them.

Make sure your website is fully updated and running smoothly. As more people hear about your book, your website is likely to have more visits. Make sure buy links (including IndieBound) are displayed prominently to give you the best chance at getting those orders! If you have a reader newsletter, make sure that you have a system in place to capture email addresses of anyone who wants to subscribe.

Be savvy about making your book launch event a success. Encourage your contacts in the area to come, and to spread the word about the event to their networks as well. Stores appreciate when events gather a crowd, and it gives you an opportunity to spread your message beyond your circle. Ask the store what format usually works best for them, whether it’s a short reading, a Q&A, a conversation, etc.

Bring bookmarks and extra pens for signing, and a notepad to take down any email addresses for contacts you may make. Plus some water and mints–you’ll be doing a lot of talking!

In the wake of COVID-19, many stores are offering virtual events instead of in-person events, which is a great option to reach a wider audience beyond where you can travel! Even if an event is virtual, we still recommend being strategic about when, where, and with whom you set up events: you want to make sure you can draw an audience, so that it is a good investment for you and the bookstore.

If the bookstore doesn’t set up a Facebook event for your launch, you should set one up yourself! It’s a great way to let a wide audience know about your launch, and you can include a lot of information in one place.

And most of all, remember to enjoy yourself! This is a special time, and at the end of the day, nothing can diminish your hard work, creativity, and the amazing accomplishment of releasing your own book!

What can authors do to make the most of their time stuck at home?

We at Books Forward know how important this time is for our authors and readers alike. People are going back to basics and reading more than ever (let’s take that good news where we can!).  Sitting at home, readers are wondering “What can I read today?” while Authors are wondering “How can these readers get a copy of my book?” We are here to be that clotheslines between the two! Grab your pegs and pulley that fresh book into their (hopefully) clean hands with a few of these easy tips!

Audience 

Start with your reader –  Who  are they?! And find them! 

  1. Who is your audience? What do they look like? What stores do they shop at? How old are they? Are they married, single,  young, old…  You get the point! Narrow down that audience as best as you can and go after that using hashtags and similar accounts.
  2. Comparable authors – This is a trick that can help you not only find your audience, but find out what works best for that author, which in turn could work well for you! What content are they posting? Where do they get the most engagement? Follow some of their audience and engage. 

Photos

We live in a very visual society – which *err* doesn’t really help us wordsmiths –  but if a visual photo is going to give them incentive to read your caption or better yet your book then we have to think about the immediate bait. With some extra free time at home, why not try to snap a few good photos for content? If a photo is going to get your readers hooked, then let’s reel them in.

Tips for photos:

  • Lighting! Lighting! Lighting! In this day and age, most smart phones carry a quality camera. However, to get the best quality of the camera, you need to take pictures in natural lighting. Move your camera around different angles to see how the light affects your photo. Shoot outside if that helps (*Insiders Tip*  A photographer’s favorite day, is overcast – not too bright and not  too gloomy)
  • Editing Apps: You can download free editing apps such as ColorStory, Afterlight and VSCO but to avoid being overly complicated, most phones have an editing option right in the photo. 
  • Editing Tips:
    • Lightning: Don’t brighten it too much, but adding a little extra can make your photo look extra professional!
    • Crop: Don’t be shy to take a photo as is and use the crop tool to clean it up!
  • Content: Not every photo has to be a perfect photo, people want to see the real you so feel free to share a recipe here and there, your writing setup, your morning coffee routine,, your family – anything that may pull readers in to who you are and how you write. Inspire them!

Easy Photo Examples:

1- Flat Lay: Greenery, or flowers can help bring color to your photo! Place your book on a stool, a chair or table – add greenery around it and voila!

2- Add in textures and colors that you have lying around the house! Where’s your reading spot? Maybe your writing desk? A fun angle: Hold out your book  below using one hand, and snapping the photo with your other:)

3- Use different covers and mediums of how you can listen or read your book!

4- Furry Friends are welcome! People love pets – sneak in those hashtags of your dog’s breed and find new followers that love books &  pets too!

5- Bookstacks – Share with your readers, what you’re reading or what inspires you! Sharing your name and associating with other authors always gives good perception. Tag them and see if they repost it!

6- Don’t be too shy to get in the shot! Set up a timer or have a friend/family member to take a picture of you writing or reading. Get that book plug in there too  by having it somewhere in the frame;)!

Instagram LIVE

This is a great new tool for creatives. Although, it may seem terrifying to go live – It’s a great way to  connect! *just remember to turn on AND off the camera*

Here are a few ways you can use this tool:

1- Pair up with another author! They can be in the Books Forward family or a fellow author you know. Schedule a time, share it with your fans on both socials and choose to ask each  other questions about the writing process, or any chapters in your book etc. You  can have a theme or it can just be a quick happy hour chat!

2- The new donation button – This tool is a great way to get readers to buy  your book on the spot. OR, you  can use this tool to pick a charity and raise money during your Live. Team up and Tag!

https://www.socialmediatoday.com/news/instagram-adds-live-donations-feature-for-fundraising-via-instagram-live/576951/ 

Facebook LIVE

Again, another great tool to reach out to people on that platform! You can do a  reading hour, where you read and discuss a section of your book, throw a launch party, cook your favorite meal- anything that helps create content, tags other accounts and promotes your book at the same time is a good recipe!

Example:

1 –  Authors, David & Julie Bulitt LIVE making their favorite drinks in the kitchen!

https://www.facebook.com/172783613413991/videos/235977604179931/ 

2- Author Katie Burke, jumped on a Zoom call with local bookshop The Booksmith and a few kids from her book “Urban Playground;  What Kids Say About Living in San Francisco.”

https://www.facebook.com/172783613413991/videos/235977604179931/  

REVIEWS

Don’t be shy to reach out to  Instagram, Facebook or any book reviewers and offer a copy of your book in exchange for a post! Now, on Amazon you can send an ebook as a gift, super easy and practical for social distancing! 

All in all, social media is a great tool but you have to be patient with it. The more time you spend engaging, creating content and connecting with people you will start to see your numbers grow – Remember, consistency is key! It’s a clothesline, where you need to hang each item up one by one –  give it time. Unfortunately, social media is not an automatic dryer. *welp*

Amplify Your Book: The Value of Radio for Authors

As an author, your first radio interview can feel daunting, exciting — maybe even frustrating if you worry the whole thing will be in vain. Radio’s dead, right? Or at least dying? Will it really help to promote my book? Like all media that isn’t deemed “social,” radio has been given a bad rap in the past few years. But just as print books haven’t keeled over at the sight of ebooks and audiobooks, radio seems to have carved out an essential place in our lives.

Debunking the Myth of “Drive Time” as Radio Royalty

If you’re like me, when you think of a time and place for radio listening, you think of your morning or afternoon commute. This is what’s known as “drive time” radio, which typically encompasses the hours of 6 a.m.–10 a.m. and 3 p.m.–7 p.m.

Many authors believe that drive time is the only time in which radio effectively reaches a large audience of potential readers. If you’re on air during any other time slot, you might as well not be on air at all. In fact, a January 2019 study from Advertiser Perceptions which surveyed 301 marketers and other agency professionals determined that advertisers feel the same way: advertisers believe that more than half of all AM/FM radio listening happens during morning and afternoon commutes. (Source: Advertiser Perceptions as cited in Westwood One).

Yet the reality of radio listening proves quite different. Nielsen Audio reveals that morning and afternoon drive times each comprise 21% of radio listening, which, while strong, actually ranks second to midday listening. Twenty-six percent of listening occurs between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Furthermore, this study reveals that, while advertising professionals assume that only 13% of radio listening happens during the weekend, the reality cited by Nielsen is 21%—the same percentage of listening held by one of the coveted drive times!

For a more thorough outline of the mythical superiority of drive time radio, check out this article from Pierre Bouvard, CIO at Cumulus/Westwood One.

Radio-Podcasting Crossover

When it comes to the potential reach of a radio interview, there is another factor worth considering. Many radio programs also publish their segments online via their website or a podcasting platform such as BlogTalkRadio, Spreaker, Buzzsprout, or Podbean. This creates a web link (or multiple links) of your interview that can be shared on social media, creating digital impressions and meeting more potential readers.

In addition to reaching an extended audience, podcast links also contribute to author branding. These links can be published on the media page of your author website where booksellers, librarians and media professionals can check up on your credentials. 

Relationship-Building with Hosts

Another important aspect of radio is the chance to make an impression on a host or producer that develops into a mutually-beneficial partnership. It’s not uncommon for a radio interview to lead to more coverage down the road, whether it’s a “part two” to your conversation that will be recorded next week or a follow-up interview set to take place when you release your next book.

Remember that radio is beneficial to you beyond the here and now. With SEO-serving web links and the opportunity to build your promotional network, radio can be an investment in your long-term branding.

Becoming Fluent in Your Own Book

At this point, I hope you see why radio is a valuable addition to your plan for book publicity! But in case you need one more reason to jump on the bandwagon: radio will also help you become fluent in your book. 

Writing is one remarkable skill that you have. Yet verbally communicating what you’ve written about in a way that is concise, relatable and entertaining is another skill altogether. Radio interviews operate as the perfect testing ground for you to share your elevator pitch (without seeming rehearsed!) and to answer some questions you may not have prepared for in a fairly low-stakes environment. These interviews will help you become fluent in your book so you can shine during future TV interviews, bookstore events, Q&As with book clubs, and networking events.

Radio interviews can be an extraordinary tool for authors—no matter the time of day! If presented to you, I would recommend seizing the opportunity to amplify your book, gain credibility, and make a lasting impression. 

JKS Communications celebrates 20 years with launch of Books Forward publicity and Books Fluent publishing

Veteran book publicity firm JKS Communications has been moving books forward for 20 years, and the company is proud to celebrate this anniversary with the launch of two new companies under its brand. Books Forward will continue the signature creative, customized book marketing and author publicity campaigns, and a new indie publishing division, Books Fluent, will provide professional editorial, design and publishing services. 

BOOKS FORWARD

JKS has promoted more than 700 authors, small presses, literary award programs and publishing houses since 2000. The Books Forward team will continue to represent both traditionally published authors and independently published books that meet high industry standards. Services include traditional publicity through mainstream and book-centric media, book tour development, author branding and digital marketing.

Books Forward has a particular passion for books that empower, inspire and move the world forward. Clients include New York Times bestselling author Andrew Maraniss, whose award-winning historical nonfiction examines race and social justice through sports; USA Today bestselling author Jenny Milchman, famous for the “world’s longest book tour”; YA author J. Elle, set to release her #ownvoices debut after garnering attention through a social media campaign; Mary Higgins Clark award winner and national president of Sisters in Crime Lori Rader-Day; indie published success story S.B. Alexander, who later helped Books Forward build its digital marketing division; “The World is Just a Book Away” anthology of stories from Nobel Peace Prize laureates, Academy Award and Golden Globe winning actresses and other world leaders; Chaithanya Sohan, who explores themes of home and belonging in the U.S. through immigrant stories; Holocaust survivor and scholar Laureen Nussbaum, who shines light on unsung heros; and #1 YALSA Top Ten Quick Pick author Cheryl Rainfield, an international child abuse and feminist advocate.

“Our foundation is built on veteran journalists, giving our team a unique strength. Through national media outlets, we share books to make the world a better and brighter place,” the company’s President Marissa DeCuir said. “And it’s that love of meaningful stories that powers our team to share authors’ important messages, and inspire readers with engaging fiction and nonfiction. The world needs some positivity, and readers crave books that matter — to them and to our world.”

BOOKS FLUENT

JKS’ new indie publishing company, Books Fluent, transforms manuscripts into high-quality commercial books that equal or exceed industry standards. 

Having guided authors through the self-publishing process for years, Books Fluent’s team of industry experts expands upon these services. The company offers professional book editing, on-trend cover design and interior layout, savvy distribution plans, and management of ISBNs, copyrights, and other nitty gritty tasks.

Books Fluent’s expertise empowers authors to learn the unique language of this industry and become successful publishers, rising above the competition of more than 3 million books released every year.

CELEBRATING 20 YEARS

Books Forward and Books Fluent will celebrate their launches throughout 2020 with prizes, special announcements and exclusive opportunities for authors and readers alike — including one grand prize of a free book publicity campaign for an author working to help move the world forward. To enter, submit an application here

As part of the company’s continued mission to elevate voices, Books Forward is also launching the #booksforward campaign to celebrate all the incredible ways stories have made the world a better place. Book lovers are encouraged to join the conversation by using the hashtag and sharing about literature that has impacted their lives.

Social media:
Twitter: twitter.com/booksforwardpr
Instagram: instagram.com/booksforwardpr
Facebook: facebook.com/BooksForward

Walt Gragg wows readers with debut novel

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

New Debut WWIII Military Thriller Sweeps Readers to Frontlines of “New Cold War” as U.S. Spars with Russia

The next read for fans of Tom Clancy, Red Storm Rising, and The Third World War

NEW YORK CITY – Walt Gragg explodes onto the literary scene with an electrifying debut military thriller about the outbreak of World War Three, as Russia and The United States enter a new Cold War in The Red Line (Berkley, Paperback, $17.00, May 2, 2017), which will thrill lovers of Red Storm Rising and The Third World War.

John Batchelor (Host, “The John Batchelor Show”), praised the novel’s gripping style and eerie similarity to current world events, saying, “It reads brilliantly. It’s a techno thriller in the school of Tom Clancy.” The novel breaks genre stereotypes and is enjoyed equally by men and women.

The Red Line: World War III explodes in seconds when a resurgent Russian Empire launches a deadly armored thrust into the heart of Germany. With a powerful blizzard providing cover, Russian tanks thunder down the autobahns while undercover Spetsnaz teams strike at vulnerable command points.

Standing against them are the woefully undermanned American forces. What they lack in numbers they make up for in superior weapons and training. But before the sun rises they are on the run across a smoking battlefield crowded with corpses.

Any slim hope for victory rests with one unlikely hero. Army Staff Sergeant George O’Neill, a communications specialist, may be able to reestablish links that have been severed by hostile forces, but that will take time. While he works, it’s up to hundreds of individual American soldiers to hold back the enemy flood. There’s one thing that’s certain. The thin line between victory and defeat is also the
red line between life and death.

WALT GRAGG lives in the Austin, Texas area with his family. Prior to law school, he spent a number of years in the military. His time with the Army involved many interesting assignments including three years in the middle of the Cold War at United States European Headquarters in Germany where the idea for THE RED LINE took shape.

###

 


About the Book

Red-Line-coverWWIII explodes in this electrifying debut military thriller in the tradition of Red Storm Rising and The Third World War.

“Delta-Two, I’ve got tanks through the wire! They’re everywhere!”

World War III explodes in seconds when a resurgent Russian Empire launches a deadly armored thrust into the heart of Germany. With a powerful blizzard providing cover, Russian tanks thunder down the autobahns while undercover Spetsnaz teams strike at vulnerable command points.

Standing against them are the woefully undermanned American forces. What they lack in numbers they make up for in superior weapons and training. But before the sun rises they are on the run across a smoking battlefield crowded with corpses.

Any slim hope for victory rests with one unlikely hero. Army Staff Sergeant George O’Neill, a communications specialist, may be able to reestablish links that have been severed by hostile forces, but that will take time. While he works, it’s up to hundreds of individual American soldiers to hold back the enemy flood.

There’s one thing that’s certain. The thin line between victory and defeat is also the red line between life and death.


Praise for THE RED LINE

“A superb political as well as military thriller, THE RED LINE stitches an all-too-plausible doomsday scenario that pulls no punches in scoring a literary knockout. Terrifyingly prescient in its premise and scarily spot-on in its execution, Walt Gragg’s debut novel channels both Tom Clancy and W.E.B. Griffin in crafting a masterfully researched tour de force of a tale.  Gragg puts his own military experience to great use in focusing on a war-time mindset in which the time, place and people change, but not the stakes or nature of heroism itself.  Riveting and relentless.” —Jon Land, USA Today bestselling author

“The Best World War Three Epic I’ve Read Since RED STORM RISING.” —Grant Blackwood, New York Times Best Selling Author of TOM CLANCY DUTY AND HONOR

“You’re going to hold this book so tight you’ll leave thumbprints on the page.” —Mark Leggatt, Author of THE LONDON CAGE

“It reads brilliantly. It’s a techno thriller in the school of Tom Clancy.” —John Batchelor, Host, “The John Batchelor Show”

“The best World War Three epic I’ve read since RED STORM RISING.”  —Grant Blackwood, New York Times Best Selling Author of TOM CLANCY DUTY AND HONOR

“You’re going to hold this book so tight you’ll leave thumbprints on the page.” —Mark Leggatt, Author of THE LONDON CAGE

 


Q&A with WALT GRAGG

1. Where did you receive inspiration for THE RED LINE?
I have probably always had a strong anti-war view of the follies of needlessly killing our fellow man.  I’m not saying war is never justified (World War II for example where we had no choice but to defend ourselves) but that we are far too casual with the lives of others and the cruel toll such events take on all of us.

My favorite boWalt-Gragg-Author-Photook in high school was Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front – a story about the reality of being an ordinary soldier in the trenches of World War I.  It is by far the best anti-war novel I’ve ever read. Although told from the perspective of a German soldier it easily transfers over to being a story about all soldiers caught in that nightmare and in all future wars. It was Remarque’s admirable attempt, after seeing what was happening in Germany in the period between the two World Wars, to warn his country away from making the same mistake again. Of course, he failed miserably. Hitler came to power and 70 million of this planet’s citizens ended up dying because of his perversion. But, at least, Remarque tried.

My view was strengthened further by being drafted during the Vietnam War. With hundreds of others I showed up at the induction station in Portland, OR on the morning of June 12, 1968. We were lined up alphabetically in a huge formation. The guy on my left as we were being processed into the Army was named Mark Gorman. We were in the same basic training platoon and were together for over two incredibly intense months. So I got to know him fairly well. With basic training over, we then went off to our further training – Mark across the parade field at Fort Lewis, WA to advanced infantry training and me to the signal school at Fort Monmouth, NJ. By Christmas, while I was still in training, 19 year old Mark was dead in the rotting jungles of a place none of us had ever even heard of until the war began. A number of others from our basic training platoon and company also had their lives cut short for some vague purpose we did not understand. They were just ordinary guys, nothing special really, but they were all great people. They all had reasons to live long, happy lives. My suspicions about needlessly killing were confirmed by those events. Even so, I agreed to remain in the military as a trade off for being allowed to spend most of my weekends and lunch hours for a number of years working diligently through the on-base education programs they offered. I received both my Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees that way.

I actually came up with the idea for THE RED LINE while serving at United States European Command Headquarters. in Germany in the mid-1970s at the height of the first Cold War. In my 38 months there, I was able to gain a great deal of insight into how such a ground war in Europe would look and what the American military feared most about a Russian attack. What I saw was a potential nightmare of unspeakable proportions. But at that point I wasn’t ready to become a writer. So I tucked the story into the back of my mind and continued on with my life. After our easy victory over a weak Third World country in Desert Storm, like Remarque, I began to grow concerned by the casual attitude my countrymen were developing about war and its consequences. America was invincible. America could never be beaten on the battlefield. Along with that it was all becoming so impersonal and detached to the average person.  War was being transformed into little more than video games and home entertainment. So in 1994 I decided THE RED LINE needed to be told and began putting together the story of this future war. It was my turn to try.


2. The events of THE RED LINE—particularly the outbreak of the “new Cold War” between a resurgent Russian Empire and The United States—seem especially poignant given recent headlines and our current sociopolitical climate. Do you see similarities between your fictional plot and current politics? Do you think it’s possible that fact may mirror fiction in the future, and we could enter a new Cold War?

You need to remember I actually created the political backdrop for this fictional war in 1994 and at least 90% of what I wrote over 20 years ago remains intact in the story. At that time, Russia gave every appearance of successfully progressing through the difficult transition to democracy. Even so, it was quite obvious that given Russia’s history and the immense pride of the Russian people, they would carry the deep scars of losing the 1st Cold War with them for a long time. You can see those wounds being reflected right now in Putin’s actions.

I cannot deny there are certainly elements in the novel playing out. And I do not expect things to suddenly get better. Russia’s aggression in the Ukraine was just a foreshadowing of things to come.  They are strengthening their nuclear arsenal. They are rebuilding a powerful military and modernizing their conventional weapons. They are engaging in cyber-warfare. The Russian leadership is looking with envy at their neighbors. Putin would like nothing more than to return his country to the preeminent place it held prior to their defeat in 1989.  With our present administration, the NATO alliance is under attack from within that may forever cause it to splinter. Should that happen, Russia will seize the opportunity. The chances of having to face a reconstituted Soviet Union in a 2nd Cold War certainly was something I hoped we would never address but the scenario now appears plausible and growing stronger with each passing day. Hopefully, such an eventuality won’t lead to the occurrence of anything close to what has been foretold in THE RED LINE. Still, given the events that have occurred in the past couple of years it cannot be entirely discounted.


3. What was your publishing journey like?

Unlike many of the writers I know, I never dreamed of being published from an early age. Many of them are compelled to write and to continue writing. Writing to them is as natural as breathing. That’s not me. I write solely because of the belief I have a few stories to tell based on the world I’ve been fortunate to see. I will stop my efforts when my tales reach their natural end. I have written a 2nd novel that Penguin Random House is presently considering. And am part way through a 3rd one.  Nevertheless, my books don’t come from an innate need to write but from a desire to address issues and examine the difficult world that challenges us all.

When I began in 1994, it took a great deal of time to learn how to do this. I certainly wasn’t a natural and since I had never planned to be a writer had given such classes little emphasis in college. The story was there, but getting the words on paper in a manner that people would enjoy took a great deal of time to develop. And as the reader will see, THE RED LINE, describing an entire, complex war in one book, was not a simple one to create. Fortunately, I discovered through trial and error that writing is a skill that can be developed and polished if you’re willing to put in the long hours.

It took me 3 years, but by 1997, I finally had the basic skills to revise the manuscript to a point where it was ready to be seen. So I entered it in a writing contest. It ended up taking 2nd place and while attending the writers conference and receiving the award, I met an editor from what was then Putnam Berkley. He asked to see the entire manuscript so I gladly sent it to him unagented. Three months later to my great surprise he called – he absolutely loved it. The book was “tremendous,” and I was an “incredible talent.” A week later he called again to tell me his publisher had rejected it.  War with Russia wasn’t exactly a hot topic and this was a book filled with controversy the publisher didn’t believe readers would embrace at that time. Even so, this was validation that I had the story I’d hoped to have written. It had clearly made an impact on the editor. I began shopping it around to agents. What I didn’t know, however, was I’d broken a cardinal rule for debut writers – never write a manuscript over 100,000 words. Mine was 150,000.  But it told five different occasionally intertwining stories of the ordinary soldiers and airmen caught in extraordinary events and covered the entire war from beginning to end. Not one of its words were wasted. Yet, none of that mattered.  No one would look at it. I wrote my 2nd novel, still unaware of the length rule. It was just as long as the first. Nothing changed. After a number of years of trying, I set both manuscripts on my shelf where they gathered dust for over 10 years. I promised my wife and my test readers that when I retired we would try one more time. But to be honest, I wasn’t sure if I could stand the endless rejection another time.

In late 2012 I retired. Reluctantly, I tried again – more query letters, and unfortunately, more rejection.  Still we were convinced we had a great book, and my wife continued to push me to not give up. We talked about self-publishing but weren’t quite ready to go there just yet. That’s when my big break came. In early 2014, I stumbled across the ThrillerFest writer’s conference held in New York City every July. I wrote military thrillers and this looked like a conference made for THE RED LINE.  One of the elements that fascinated me was PitchFest – an entire afternoon to speak with some of the 50-60 agents who came to listen to pitches. I put a significant amount of time polishing my pitch and preparing for whatever was about to happen. Along with 400 other aspiring writers I was there, standing in the lines fully prepared to pitch in the 3 minutes I was given a story they would find was like no other. I was able to pitch 9 agents in the time given, with 3 asking for the entire manuscript and 4 others requesting partials. Little did I know, however, that my real break was still to come. The next day, much to my surprise, the editor who had loved it so many years earlier was on a panel. Afterwards, I approached him, reintroduced myself, and thanked him for his kind words. Of course, he didn’t remember me or my novel after 17 years, but that was okay. The next morning, quite by accident, we ended up having breakfast together and talking about my book. Two weeks later, with his help, I had an agent. Three months after that he called, The Berkley Publishing Group at Penguin Random House wanted to publish THE RED LINE.

So 20 years after I began writing the story I’d first thought of nearly 20 years before that the difficult journey ended. And a new journey began. On May 2, 2017, THE RED LINE finally will be released.


4. Who are your greatest literary influences?

Remarque (see above)
Along with that I liked the big, bold books, often with multiple storylines, from the 1970s and beyond – Clavell, Uris, and Michener stand out although there were certainly others.


5. What is the number one thing you hope readers take away from your novel?

The thing I personally like most about the book is that the style is entirely mine. I’m not aware of anyone who writes quite like I do. When I started, I was determined to become the first me, not the 10th someone else. And I’m told I succeeded.

Readers are going to first find that THE RED LINE is highly entertaining, and filled with non-stop, edge of their seat action. This is a book whose vivid scenes are going to stay with the reader for a long time. It is a story with depth. If you let it, it will rock you to your core. It is stark, alive, and filled with realism. Multiple test readers have said they would suddenly find themselves shivering in the snow alongside the American soldiers as the Russian tanks came toward them.

What I would like the potential reader to do is to realize that just because it falls into the techno-thriller category, it really was written as a book that can be enjoyed by a vast audience. Once they begin to read, I hope they will start to analyze what their mind is seeing. After they complete the final page, I hope they will pause, reflect and discuss.

More than anything, I hope when they reach the story’s end, they understand that war, the killing of others, is never something any of us should ignore or take lightly.

 

Taayoo A. Murray helps others to reach their potential

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Youth mentor, nonprofit fundraiser Taayoo A. Murray releasing
new book to help teenagers, young adults maximize their strengths

NEW YORK CITY – Troubled by the lack of drive she has seen in teenagers and young adults, Taayoo A. Murray is setting out to teach the next generation the benefits of goal-setting, a skill that she strongly believes is necessary for a successful future. Her new book, “Making Me Happen,” blends Murray’s personal experience as a mother and her professional career as an educator and major nonprofit fundraiser to create an easy-to-use goal-setting guide.

Releasing on April 25, 2017, “Making Me Happen” is more than just a theory; it incorporates real practices and methods Murray has used successfully with her own children. Murray had a “eureka moment” when teaching her sons how to set their own goals, leading them to develop a sense of self motivation, integrity, work ethic and discipline.

“I was amazed by what their little minds wanted to achieve and secondly, given the opportunity, they knew how to get it done,” Murray said of working with her children.

“Making Me Happen” is a fantastic resource for parents, educators, and anyone looking for a system for success. Murray emphasizes the importance of developing healthy goal habits.

“I sincerely believe that when youth master the ability to set goals and it becomes a habit, they can take control of the direction of their lives,” Murray said.

“Making Me Happen” is an interactive workbook that leads teenagers and young adults through a personal SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis for goal creation, giving them tools they need to succeed.

Born and raised in Jamaica, Taayoo A. Murray is an innovative youth coach, mentor and public speaker in Brooklyn, New York. She has successfully worked with at-risk youth to create and implement programs that redefined and changed the trajectory of their lives. Murray served as educational director at Children of the Future and a corporate trainer at Mana Group in New York. “Making Me Happen” is her first book.

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About the Book

Making-Me-Happen-coverMaking Me Happen
Taayoo A. Murray • April 25, 2017
$19.99 (paperback)
Self-Help

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Q&A with Taayoo A. Murray

Taayoo-A-MurrayHow did your work with nonprofits influence “Making Me Happen?”
In an effort to meet targets, I was trained to set daily and weekly goals. This systematic approach to achieving preset targets influenced how I operated in other areas of my life. I quickly saw this newfound skillset/habit revolutionizing my entire life. I modified the system and applied it to parenting my sons. “Making Me Happen” was born from that.

What is the biggest setback to success you see with teens and young adults?
The absence of goals in their lives. Teens and adults need goals, no matter what they may be, to keep them focused and prevent aimless meandering throughout life. Absence of goals gives them nothing to look forward to and works toward, so they attach themselves to anything that comes along and is convenient at the time.

How did you develop the eight steps to success?
I am a kinesthetic learner; I learn by doing. I teach the same way and always try to find the easiest and most interactive methods to impart information. So, the 8 steps are “Hey Billy Bob What Would Donkey Kong Think – HBBWWDKT.” This stands for:

  1. Have an A+ attitude
  2. Be on time
  3. Be prepared
  4. Work your full 8 hours
  5. Work your plan
  6. Don’t lose your attitude
  7. Know why you’re here
  8. Take control

What goal-setting exercises have you used with your own children?
The most effective goal setting exercise I use with my children is their goal boards. Every week they set three goals that they write on their goal boards. I don’t influence these goals, they set them, so they own them. They must however be S-M-A-C-able (Specific, Measurable, Attainable yet Challenging). They then have to articulate to me how they’re going to achieve these goals, detailing specific activities. I then follow up, remind and encourage them.

What would you recommend to parents who are trying to inspire their teenagers to achieve their dreams?
Don’t get overly concerned about what your teens’ dreams and aspirations are (unless they pose imminent harm to themselves or others). Be grateful they have dreams! Focus more on helping them develop the habit of consistently working toward achieving something. This is an invaluable skill and character trait that will transfer into other areas of their lives.

What are some common mistakes parents make when trying to teach their kids about setting goals?
The biggest mistake often made is trying to set goals for our children or trying to make our goals theirs.

How do you think “Making Me Happen” could be incorporated into a classroom?
The “Making Me Happen” program can be incorporated into the classroom as a character

Idabel Allen Explores Rural Family Secrets

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Iowa Writers Workshop Alumnus Idabel Allen’s New Southern Literary Novel Explores Rural Family Secrets

Idabel Allen developed her distinctive, arresting literary voice at the Iowa Writers Workshop, and is now making her debut in the world of Southern literary fiction with her new novel, Rooted (May 2, 2017), about a punk musician who crash lands in a small Southern town in the late ‘70s while searching for an inheritance—and discovers much more than he bargained for when he becomes entangled with the mysterious McQuiston family.

Lovers of Southern Literature, Americana and the 70’s New York punk scene will rejoice in this masterfully penned family drama, rooted in the works of Southern storytellers such as William Faulkner, Eudora Welty, Truman Capote, Flannery O’Connor and more.

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About the Book

ROOTED

ROOTED: Washed up and drugged out, punk’s poster-boy descends on the southern town of Moonsock like a bat out of hell.

In the late 1970’s, Slade Mortimer is on his last leg. Running from the memory of his dead girlfriend, her revenge-seeking father and the childhood abandonment of his mother, Slade descends on the southern town of Moonsock desperately seeking an inheritance and a new start on life. What he finds is the fractured McQuistons, the family he never knew he had or needed.

Slade’s unexpected arrival blows the door off the McQuiston closet, loosing skeletons and resurrecting questions about the mysterious disappearance of Slade’s mother twenty-five years before.

If the family is to survive, they must account for their past sins. Only then can the McQuistons begin to forgive themselves. Only then can they begin to heal.

IDABEL ALLEN serves up the best in new home cooked Southern Literature. First and foremost a storyteller, Idabel’s books are grounded in the same character-driven reality that holds the reader’s attention long after the story is finished. Idabel brings over fifteen years of experience as a professional writer and editor to the literary table. She attended the Iowa Writer’s Workshop Fiction program and is the author of Headshots, available on Amazon.

 


Q&A with Idabel Allen

1. How did punk rock and country/Americana music influence Rooted?
Music permeates everything in the South – from New Orleans Jazz, Rhythm and Blues, Rock and Rockabilly, to Gospel and Hip Hop. In rural areas, Country music, including Bluegrass, is as much a staple as beans and cornbread. To this day, children are raised up on the music of Hank and Haggard, Willie and Waylon, Patsy, Loretta and more.

In the mid 1970’s, years of mellow, hippie rock and smooth, studio country gave way to punk rock and outlaw country. Both were anti-establishment movements and embraced a DIY attitude that gave musicians freedom to say and do whatever they wanted. While these musical revolutions had many things in common, they were not so visible to the naked eye staring at spiked hair and face piercings for the first time.

As a child in West Tennessee in the late seventies, I caught bits of information about the Sex Pistols. There was a sense that the band, and their music, was a clear sign that the world was going to hell in a hand-basket.

When it came time to write Rooted, I was taken with the idea of stranding a New York punk in a small Southern town. I wanted to see how the differences and similarities between a conservative, country culture and the more radical punk culture played out.


2. Are there any specific songs or artists that influenced this story?

There were many songs and artists that ran through my mind when writing Rooted. Music is one of the best ways to set a tone or mood of a story, even the setting.

Slade Mortimer’s character was loosely based on legendary punk rock pioneer, Richard Hell – founding member of Television, the Heartbreakers and Richard Hell and the Voidoids. The originator of spiked hair, ripped T-shirts and safety pins, it was Richard Hell’s look that Malcolm McLaren exported to England and outfitted the fledgling Sex Pistols.

The music of Hank Williams Jr. was used to give the story a sense of the pride and independence that runs strong in Southern communities. The Allman Brothers’ dark, bluesy soundtrack complimented the characters’ struggle to understand their own failings and explore the possibility of redemption.

The music of Memphis Minnie, The Mississippi Sheiks and other artists from the late 1920’s and early 30’s shields Sarah Jane, a reclusive young writer from a world she has seen too much of at too young an age.

A major influence on Rooted was a song called, Come to Jesus, by Mindy Smith. I had just completed the rough draft when I first heard this song and was struck by how well the song captured my characters’ despair and desperation – in who they were and what they had become. Like Rooted, it is a song about being alone and afraid at the end of your rope and discovering there is help and hope available. This song did not make it into the book but was still a big influence.

Instead, I used the old hymn, Washed In The Blood Of The Lamb, at various points in Rooted to help characters come to terms with the past traumas that threaten to destroy them. While these characters are not particularly religious, the song helps them begin to heal.


3. How did growing up in the south influence your storytelling?

If you are Southern, I can almost guarantee you are a storyteller. It’s in your blood. When you get together with friends or family stories just seem to bubble up to the surface. Some new, but many are the same old stories that have been rehashed and regurgitated for years, and are just as loved with each telling.

Children idle up and become part of the circle, listening with big ears and turning questioning faces to this speaker and that. In this way, the love of storytelling is handed down.

Telling stories at gathering’s is such a natural occurrence that I never considered how special this was until I lived out of the South for several years and found myself dying of thirst. I was among a wonderful non-Southern culture that did not play with words the way we do in the South. They did not say, “gettin’ my nails did.” Had never heard the terms, “showing your tail,” or “acting a fool.” When they spoke, they used proper words for things, and it liked to drive me crazy.

And when we gathered together after a potluck or over drinks, stories did not flow. We talked about things like the new transportation bill at the state house.

Each time I returned to the South, I hurried to some kitchen table or backyard fire-pit to hear the stories and say a few of my own. In doing so, something deep in my core was satisfied.

But it’s not just me. How else can you explain the canon of Southern literature and the popularity of country music? The South loves telling stories. And more than that, people love hearing them.


4. Rooted tells the story of a rural American culture clashing with urban American culture in the 70s – how do you think people can still relate to this today?

It must be human nature to be suspicious of things outside your protective circle or control. The world has always been full of “us” against “them”. That’s fine; we don’t all have to agree. But what is important is how the “us” and the “them” learn to work together and keep things going in a way healthy, productive way.

The cultural conflicts in Rooted go beyond that great Shakespearian question: to nose-pin or not to nose-pin?

Slade’s world is all about rebellion, anarchy, and change. It’s about smashing the old rules and ways of doing things and demanding to be heard. Slade’s world doesn’t care about the moral restraints holding tradition in place. They want to force change on the world.

Grover’s world is about working within and protecting those same moral constraints. It is about self-reliance, and self-improvement. About minding your manners and your business. Grover’s world is intent on taking care of itself and does not want outside influences forcing change on them.

These philosophical differences were clearly displayed in the 2016 election results. Maybe these differences have always been there and always will. Perhaps it is the country’s ability and willingness to work together that has changed.

In Rooted, the clash between urban and rural cultures works itself out. But Rooted is a novel, and far easier to bring about a resolution that gets past the “us” against “them” mentality than in real life.


5. What do you want readers to take away from this story?

Rooted is a story about the importance of belonging to a place and a people. The characters in this story are lost souls, alone and at odds with the world and themselves. Disconnected, they struggle with identity: who they are, where they come from and what they’ve become. When the pain and shame of their existence are too much to bear, family roots take hold. Unable to run or hide any longer, the characters are forced to confront a brutal past in the hopes of a better future.

 

Author Annette Libeskind Berkovits shares wonder of wildlife

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Conservationist who transformed public education at the world-famous Bronx Zoo shares the wonder of wildlife in fascinating new book

Annette Libeskind Berkovits releasing ‘Confessions of an Accidental Zoo Curator’

NEW YORK – A champion and expert on conservation education, Annette Libeskind Berkovits is taking readers behind the scenes of one of America’s most renowned zoos in her new book, “Confessions of an Accidental Zoo Curator” (April 22, 2017).

confessions-book-cover-artFilled with fun anecdotes about a variety of animals from pumas to king cobras, “Confessions of an Accidental Zoo Curator” is the perfect book for animal lovers everywhere that have ever wondered about what goes on behind the scenes at a zoo. Berkovits pulls back the curtain on fascinating, little-known facts about the Bronx Zoo, including a secret classroom with gorillas, employees who live at the zoo, unpublicized animal escapes and controversial exhibits.

When Berkovits started working at the Bronx Zoo in New York in 1972, she trod a nearly virgin territory. Public education had not yet found its way into the zoo’s philosophy or strategies, and very few women worked in zoos. True, the Bronx Zoo was the first in the world to launch an education department, but its activities were limited to a bevy of young women clad in miniskirts who roamed the park providing tidbits of information that may have been entertaining but hardly educational. Nevertheless, Berkovits was the right woman for the job. She took the zoo’s public education initiatives to the next level not only at her zoo but nationwide and worldwide.

A pioneer for women in the field of conservation and the creator of award-winning conservation education programs recognized for excellence by the National Science Foundation, Berkovits shares a unique and insightful perspective on everything from the zoo’s inner workings to the dilemma of preserving nature for the next generation. From giraffes to supersize snakes and fugitive pigs, “Confessions of an Accidental Zoo Curator” takes readers on a fascinating journey told with the charming wit of a woman who worked her way up to serve as senior vice president at the Wildlife Conservation Society, which today conserves the world’s largest wild places in 15 priority regions, home to more than 50 percent of the world’s biodiversity.

Berkovits-photoAnnette Libeskind Berkovits was born in Kyrgyzstan and grew up in postwar Poland and the fledgling state of Israel before coming to America at age 16. In her three-decade career with the Wildlife Conservation Society in New York, she spearheaded the institution’s nationwide and worldwide science education programs. Her achievements include the first-ever agreement to bring environmental education to China’s schools. The National Science Foundation has recognized her outstanding leadership in the field. Now retired, she is pursuing her life-long love of writing. She is the author of “In the Unlikeliest of Places” and “Confessions of an Accidental Zoo Curator.”

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About the Book

Advance Praise

“Berkovits tells a remarkable story, fascinating and unique. With a deft blend of personal insight and eloquent story-telling, she takes us from a remote village in Kyrgyzstan to the Bronx Zoo, from accidental zoology to innovative environmental education and describes her adventures as she evolved from neophyte to international leader in her field.” —William Conway, Senior Conservationist with the Wildlife Conservation Society; former President of the Society and Director of the Bronx Zoo

“‘Confessions of an Accidental Zoo Curator’ is a story that goes far beyond its title. While I am not a fan of reading people’s life stories, the trajectory of the life of Annette Berkovits as she develops through a difficult childhood devoid of any real animal connections, to become one of the world’s foremost leaders in zoo-based wildlife conservation education is both fascinating and inspiring. This is a story that shows how love and passion for the natural world can grow and blossom out of experience and a desire to inspire others. Annette’s career and her accomplishments were no accident, but instead arose out of a willingness to take on opportunities and experience life to its fullest.” — Alan Rabinowitz PhD, zoologist, author and CEO of Panthera, a conservation organization working to protect the world’s wild cats and their ecosystems

“Reading this book, I’m pleased to discover anew the passion, curiosity and humorous sensibility that have always characterized Annette’s work and her life. ‘Confessions of the Accidental Zoo Curator’ is simply a delight.” —Lee Ehmke, Houston Zoo Director and CEO;  President, World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (2013-2015)

“…As one of the most creative and innovative educators in the zoo community, Annette faced the challenge of educating, rather than entertaining young zoo visitors to return to their homes with a greater appreciation for the importance and value of wildlife and wild places. To be successful in getting her messages to the students required that the work be interesting, stimulating, and fun too. Go behind the scenes in a major zoo and see it through her eyes.”
—James Doherty, retired general curator at the Bronx Zoo; Carter Chair in Mammology; species coordinator for the AZA Sumatran Rhinoceros Species Survival Plan


Q&A with Annette Libeskind Berkovits

For people who are not familiar with your line of work, what does a zoo curator do?
An animal zoo curator designs strategies to best care in captivity for a particular species of animal based on its biology and ecology. Some curators extend knowledge about that species to conservation strategies in the wild. An education curator at a zoo was a completely novel concept in the 70s. It was meant to designate a professional who understood animals but also knew how to present the information about that animal species in the most engaging and scientifically accurate way and to measure impact on the audience. In my case, for a time I also had responsibility for all the Bronx Zoo’s animals in the children’s zoo and its handleable teaching collection of animals.

Download the full Interview with Annette Libeskind Berkovits

 

Author Interview with Sara Alexander

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

“Like Sardinia’s Emerald Coast, Sara Alexander’s Under A Sardinian Sky will dazzle you with its glittering descriptions of the Mediterranean island, its exquisite culinary treasures, and authentic, beautiful people. But it is the heroine Carmela’s courage and heartbreaking choices that will leave you the most enchanted and racing through the novel to learn her extraordinary fate.”Rosanna Chiofalo, author of Rosalia’s Bittersweet Pastry Shop

Sara Alexander’s Dazzling Debut Novel Weaves Family Secrets and Sweeping Romance in Post-WWII Sardinia

London actress and performer Sara Alexander has cultivated a successful career in television, movies, and theater, and now she is bringing her passion and talent for storytelling to the world of fiction with her gorgeous debut novel, Under A Sardinian Sky (Kensington Books, Paperback, $15.00, April 25, 2017). Set against the beautiful backdrop of post-World War II Sardinia, this evocative novel follows a travel writer as she unravels a family mystery and discovers the star-crossed romance between an American lieutenant and a local girl.

under-a-sardinian-sky-coverUnder a Sardinian Sky: Sometimes a family’s deepest silences hide the most important secrets. For Mina, a London-based travel writer, the enigmatic silence surrounding her aunt Carmela has become a personal obsession. Carmela disappeared from her Italian hometown long ago and is mentioned only in fragments and whispers. Mina has resisted prying, respectful of her family’s Sardinian reserve—but now, with her mother battling cancer, it s time to learn the truth.

In 1952, Simius is a busy Sardinian town surrounded by fertile farms and orchards. Carmela Chirigoni, a farmer’s daughter and talented seamstress, is engaged to Franco, son of the area’s wealthiest family. Everyone agrees it’s a good match. But Carmela’s growing doubts about Franco’s possessiveness are magnified when she meets Captain Joe Kavanagh. Joe, an American officer stationed at a local army base, is charismatic, intelligent, and married. Hired as his interpreter, Carmela resolves to ignore her feelings, knowing that any future together must bring upheaval and heartache to both families.

As Mina follows the threads of Carmela’s life to uncover her fate, she will discover a past still deeply alive in the present, revealing a story of hope, sacrifice, and extraordinary love.

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Sara-Alexander-photoSara Alexander graduated from Hampstead School in London and went on to attend the University of Bristol, graduating with a BA hons. in Theatre, Film & TV. She followed on to complete her postgraduate diploma in acting from Drama Studio London. She has worked extensively in the theatre, film and television industries, including roles in much loved productions such as Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows, Dr. Who and Franco Zeffirelli’s Sparrow.

 

 

 

 

 


Q&A with Sara Alexander

How has your acting career influenced your writing?
I think the two are a complimentary pair. I’ve had the opportunity to work through a lot of wonderful texts by great writers and slip into the skin of others. This helps writing a great deal. There are many new skills that I’ve had to hone (and continue to do so!) however, which are not directly related. It’s a wonderful thing to work in two mediums that require you to travel both outside your world and very much into the heart of an internal world at the same time.

What is the inspiration behind Under a Sardinian Sky?
My Sardinian family. There are a lot of very strong women in my family who filled me with stories from since I can remember. This story is for them.

Why Sardinia?
It’s my true homeland. It’s the place I feel most grounded and inspired. I have felt bewitched by the place since I was a child.

Have you always wanted to be a novelist?
My first response would be “no”, but when my son asked me the same question just the other day, I remembered how much I loved creating stories at school, how I couldn’t wait to get my stories written for homework. Recently I found my first “books” in my attic, which I’d typed up as a child. So I think the true answer is “yes” though I never couched it in those terms, I just felt compelled to dream up tales. Stories make the world go round.

What are you working on next?
I’m almost half way into my second novel, which is set in Positano on the Amalfi Coast of Italy. A dear friend inherited a house there and I have had a story rattling around my mind, set in that house, ever since I visited. I have a third book in mind which is also set in Italy, this time Sicily and Rome and will have a theatrical undertone. These stories are for a further two book deal with Kensington.

JKS Client Claire Applewhite recognized as a 2017 Woman of Achievement

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Women of Achievement Announces 2017 Award Honorees

10 area women recognized for their outstanding commitment to volunteer service and leadership

ST. LOUIS, MO – Women of Achievement is pleased to announce the 2017 Women of Achievement honorees—a selection of 10 extraordinary volunteers from the St. Louis metropolitan region. Founded in 1955, the St. Louis Women of Achievement Award is the oldest, ongoing program in the area whose sole mission is to honor and recognize the volunteer service and volunteer leadership of women. The recipients will be recognized at the 2017 Women of Achievement Luncheon on Tuesday, May 16 at the Ritz-Carlton, St. Louis. Doors open at 11:15 a.m. and the luncheon runs until 1:30 p.m. This year’s luncheon chair is Gin Wachter and the vice chair is Phyllis Langsdorf. Luncheon reservations are $60 per person and can be made online at www.woastl.org/luncheon-reservations or by contacting Women of Achievement at 314.896.4962 or woastlouis@gmail.com.

The 2017 Class of Honorees includes:
Claire ApplewhiteEducational Enrichment
Christine Buck — Youth Dedication
Adrienne D. Davis — Arts Advocacy
Marlene Hammerman — Social Justice
Rosemary Hanley — Youth Services
Margaret Hopkins — Community Betterment
Kathy Lambert — Social Enterprise
Elizabeth Mannen — Volunteer Leadership
Colleen Kelly Starkloff — Human Welfare
Asha Zimmerman — Caring and Compassion

“Volunteers are the unsung heroes of our community,” said Women of Achievement President Joni Karandjeff. “The strength and longevity of the region’s nonprofit organizations and programs rely heavily on dedicated volunteers. We take pride in honoring some of these outstanding unsung heroes—women volunteers who have dedicated their time, energy, and leadership to helping the community in tremendous ways and inspire others to do the same.”

“The luncheon is a special way to honor and highlight our award winners,” said Gin Wachter, chair of the 2017 Luncheon. “Surrounded by family, friends, past Women of Achievement, and those affiliated with each honoree’s nonprofits and charities along with the general public, the feeling in the room is joyous and delightful. In addition to a delicious lunch and awarding the honorees, we also feature a dynamic 30-minute video about the volunteers and their history of service, which really hits home the message that helping others makes an enormous impact in our community.”

Women of Achievement honorees are selected from nominations from the St. Louis metropolitan area, including Metro East Illinois, who have demonstrated outstanding commitment to the betterment of the St. Louis region through voluntary contributions, volunteer leadership and a significant breadth of a volunteer career. Women of Achievement considers nominees with significant volunteer impact in areas such as, but not limited to, education, arts, health and human services, youth and family, philanthropy, social justice and advocacy. For additional information about the awards, luncheon and honorees, please visit www.woastl.org.

About Women of Achievement
In 1955, the St. Louis-Globe Democrat newspaper created an awards program that became known as the Women of Achievement Award, to recognize and honor the achievements of women who, through their volunteer efforts, have demonstrated their dedication and commitment to improving the quality of life in the St. Louis community. The St. Louis Women of Achievement organization, a 501c3, not-for-profit organization, was established in 1993 by former Women of Achievement who wanted to ensure the longevity of the award for future generations of St. Louis area women. The organization’s Board of Directors, comprised of past recipients of the award, continue to plan and implement the nomination, selection and award presentation process ensuring that this award will continue to enhance and honor the women volunteers in the St. Louis metropolitan region who positively impact the community, for many years to come. For more information visit the Women of Achievement website at www.woastl.org.

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