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A Short Story by David Bellin

For one sweet moment, Pinkie Auslander was more famous in the chess world than Bobby Fischer. To make sense of the events that brought this on I have to start aboard the El – trust me here – the El, for elevated, the stretch of subway line that bursts from an oppressive underground tunnel into the tranquilizing, low-rise landscape of one of New York City’s outer boroughs. Brooklyn in this case.

I’ll tell you how to spot a native: no change in expression when the El emerges into natural light. Watch, I wanted to tell them. Think Dorothy, think Toto, stepping from black-and-white into glorious technicolor. Well, there’s little to be gained from that. New Yorkers in every borough know when to play deaf, so the best I could do was nudge Pinkie sitting next to me and say, “I hear munchkins,” our private code for the scenery change, to which Pinkie would murmur, “What a world, what a world,” pretend to melt and lift his eyes from the pocket chessboard in his lap.

He’d favor me with his laugh, a rather wistful snuffling sound, and return instantly to nudging the dime-sized magnetic discs around with the little finger of his right hand. Even in chess tournaments with big wooden sets, he’d move his pawns that way in the opening, an almost timid touch, thus the nickname, Pinkie, and thus a long string of flattened opponents lulled by the seemingly unsure manner.

His appearance helped the deception. Short, thin to the point of seeming breakable, sparse sandy hair hanging limp on his forehead, a smile that seemed to apologize for its presence – all together, the least menacing opponent you could picture, except for those who discovered over the chessboard that a panther lurked inside.

The City College team discovered it in Pinkie’s freshman year, back in the days of annual Brooklyn-City matches. Playing first board, Pinkie faced Marc Marcus, a senior who defied chess stereotypes by resembling a young Brad Pitt. He made his usual late entrance into the hall, nodding with pretend absent-mindedness to the onlookers while managing to make eye contact with each of the half-a-dozen or so girls present.

He made a little salaam to Pinkie when he noticed his clock had not been started. Pinkie was playing white, giving him the first move, and he could have begun the game, causing Marcus’ clock to tick away some of his time. A late player runs that risk and Marcus usually shrugged with casual superiority at clock and board and made his answering move as he sat down, all in one fluid motion. So his salaam to Pinkie was a show of gratitude, slyly belied by the mocking smile that accompanied it.

Let me be fair here. Marcus could afford mockery; he actually played well. His game relied on traps and trickery, the strategems used by the chess hustlers of the city’s parks, but honed over the years of high school and college competition into a swift and aggressive style that inspired nervousness, even panic, in opponents. On this particular night, he could assume the pale and underweight freshman sitting opposite was the customary victim.

Pinkie fidgeted in his chair to confirm it, sending a tiny tingle of anticipation up my spine. I glanced from my position at fourth board to Alan Gershein at third and Bertie McCann at second and could see their mouths curl ever so slightly. They felt it, too.

For the team as a whole, this probably wasn’t going to be a Brooklyn College triumph. Alan, Bertie and I were expert-level players but over-matched against City, a Manhattan behemoth of a school in those days, with a much bigger pool of talent to draw from than our academic outpost in Brooklyn (if Mayberry had a college, we’d be it), so we looked to Pinkie to carry the banner for us.

He did.

Leading Marcus into a basic Ruy Lopez, a classic opening bristling with chances for the shallow traps and swindles Marcus favored, Pinkie feigned long periods of thought over his responses, using what seemed precious minutes on his clock. Then, in that tentative way, he would slide a bishop here or with lips tight, plant a knight there, always frustrating Marcus’ planned move.

Like an army that attacks too fast, Marcus’ pieces were over-extended. He needed to regroup. As he did, Pinkie’s long periods of thought vanished, along with his timid handling of the chessmen. He prodded Marcus along with swift pawn moves, unexpected stabs with his bishops and an ominous doubling of rooks on the king’s file.

Marcus’ change of expression was a beautiful thing to watch. Have you ever seen a lunar eclipse? The way the light inexorably slips away until only a thin smile of moon survives? Then you know Marcus’ face as he turned over his king and offered the traditional handshake to Pinkie.

Credit Marcus for making it a firm handshake and for turning the pinched smile friendly, although some jaw muscles were visibly quivering. “Tomorrow,” he said with casual menace, sauntering out, winking at the onlookers as if he knew some amusing secret.

By the fourth and last night, the saunter was gone, the confidence crushed, the match lost. Alan, Bertie and I had been so inspired by the first board results, and the City players so discouraged, that we managed to draw most of our games, even win a couple, and we sneaked into a one-game margin of victory.

Victories in college chess leave you as giddy inwardly as I’m sure winning a Super Bowl does for NFL players, but forget the brass bands and cheerleaders and ticker tape parades. A smattering of applause, a foot-high statuette of some suspiciously greenish metal and a paragraph in the school newspaper is all you get for college matches, even with a memorable triumph like this one.

Not that it bothered Pinkie or me as we journeyed home on the El that night. The fleeting glory is intoxicating but it’s not why we play. We play because we must.  Once the game summons you with its beautiful mysteries, the true chess player is mesmerized, addicted for life.

Some more than others, of course. Most of us apply enough willpower to call a girl for a date, plan careers and families and keep the game at the level of a demanding hobby. The hardcore few, however, think and breathe chess every conscious hour and probably the unconscious ones, too. Bobby Fischer spoke for all the Pinkie Auslanders of the world when he said, “Chess is life.”

Keep that in mind when I tell you about the curve leading to the Ocean Parkway station. Trains were forced to inch along and often stop entirely for several minutes as traffic backed up. We were used to it and even enjoyed it when the train stopped at the right spot: outside the Parkway Chess Club. It occupied the second floor of a converted hat factory – a gym took up the first floor – and its wide plate-glass windows gave a fine, eye-level view of rows of tables and elderly men bent over the boards. The pair who normally sat at the nearest table had earned nicknames from us – Curly, for a hairless and shiny scalp, and Meerschaum, for the ancient clay pipe perpetually clenched in his teeth. Conveniently, the club used large, pressed-wood boards from the World War One years, along with that era’s over-sized Regency pieces, the ones carved into slender spirals and bulbous bases that looked like medieval cities, big enough so that we could make out a game’s position from our trackside perch.

The players were far from master level, often dozing, and Pinkie and I would indulge in some sophomoric chuckling at the old geezers’ amateur moves. On this night, though, Pinkie gasped.

“No, no, no, NO!” he called out at the unhearing Curly, whose hand hovered over a rook. “The knight, the KNIGHT!” Pinkie’s eyes were transfixed, his body growing rigid with tension.

“He’s okay,” I hurriedly explained to nearby passengers who had begun a nervous shrinking away. “We just finished a four-day chess tournament and he’s unwinding.” They relaxed, assuming – not unreasonably – that chess players were eccentric but harmless.

In truth, Pinkie was not unwinding, quite the opposite. He scrabbled furiously at window latches encased in solid rust. I put a restraining hand on his shoulder. “These old windows never open,” I said. “Let it be.”

He pulled my hand away and charged blindly past me into the aisle, making a dash for the door at the end of the car. I guessed what he intended and pounded after him. A stocky form rose to block my way, breathing a whiff of pepperoni in my face. “You’re bigger than he is, buddy. Pick on someone your own size.”

“We’re not fighting,” I yelled. “He’s got this obsession – like, like an epileptic fit. I’m trying to help him.”

The man let go and followed me to the end of the car. If you ever rode the old subway lines, you remember the platform between cars, a tiny open-air passageway with just a pair of slender railings to guard against a fall to the tracks.

Pinkie was already leaning out over the railings. “The knight, the knight!” he shrieked again at Curly. “He’s staring at the wrong side of the board,” Pinkie called back to me when he felt my hand on his arm. “The KNIGHT!” he screamed once more and, when there was no notice, he did something unthinkable: he reached in his jacket and threw his precious pocket set against the club window.

Curly and Meerschaum rose, mystified, then alarmed. They waved Pinkie off, Meerschaum yanking his pipe away so he could mouth, “Go back! Go back!”

Pinkie retreated three steps and drew in a deep breath. Reassured, I let go of his arm and the stocky man, who had grabbed the other arm, did the same. Pinkie nodded peacefully, lunged at the railings as if they were parallel bars and vaulted to the tracks. He clambered across the few feet of rail bed and over the wooden barrier that girded it, got an arm and a leg wrapped around one of the iron support beams that rose from the ground, much like a chimp on a tree, and screamed again, “The knight! The knight! You’ve got a checkmate in four!”

Both players peered at the board, puzzled. Pinkie shouted a move, the words instantly lost in the clank-and-rattle of the train jolting forward, starting around the curve. Pinkie slipped from sight, still shouting.

I sprinted to the middle of the car and plastered myself against the exit door. We had five blocks to go. “Move, move, move,” I whispered to the clattering train, slapping at the door in frustration, while the stocky man patted my head.

“He’ll be okay,” he said encouragingly. “Your little buddy had a good grip. He’s okay.” The pepperoni effluence wrapped around me, assuring me rescuers would be there for Pinkie by the time I returned. This will be understandable if you live in New York, that paradoxical hub of indifferent rudeness – I’ll smell any way I wanna smell – and instant help in a crisis.

It was no surprise then to find a fire crew already assembled in the ten minutes it took me to scramble off the train and back to Pinkie. Police officers were there, too, guiding an ambulance to the curb and herding onlookers into a little knot where they shouted support. I wormed my way through to tell an officer who I was and identify Pinkie for him.

 “Those old guys are putting me on, aren’t they?” he asked as he wrote things down. He jerked his pen at the door of the chess club where Curly and Meerschaum stared up at Pinkie. “Your pal didn’t actually climb out to show them a chess move? It was some kind of fraternity stunt like you dopey kids do, right”

“No. It was a chess move. The fellow playing white was looking at a rook when a knight move would have given a mate in four – “

He held his notepad like a stop sign. “Never mind. Just give me his phone number so we can tell his family. You guys are all certifiably nuts. You probably think your friend’s a hero.”

I was secretly admitting the truth of that when Pinkie’s grip gave way and he slid down the beam, his head bouncing on the metal until waiting firemen grabbed him and eased him to the ground.

Curly and Meerschaum were at my side by then, recognizing me as Pinkie’s subway friend. They introduced themselves as Mr. Baum and Mr. Rosselini, so I’ll stop with the nicknames because they were well-spoken and courtly gentlemen, with expressions as worried as mine at the sight of Pinkie’s limp and unconscious form being wheeled to the ambulance.

“Come,” Mr. Rosselini said, leading us around the corner to a museum-ready Packard sedan. He and Mr. Baum insisted they would drive me to the hospital, a gesture of true generosity and concern but also, just maybe, an opportunity to learn that four-move mate. I couldn’t blame them.

This was confirmed by “One moment” from Mr. Baum as we passed the hospital gift shop. He came out with a pocket chess set. “For your friend,” he said innocently.

Pinkie was breathing well, a good sign, a nurse told us in the waiting room, but going through tests for concussion damage and broken bones. With nothing better to do, we recreated the game position on the pocket board and searched restlessly for the mating combination until Pinkie’s parents arrived. They looked around frantically, then settled on me, eyes accusing. You’re his best friend, their looks said, why didn’t you stop this?

I explained, thankful for the grandfatherly presence of Mr. Baum and Mr. Rosselini and their nods of confirmation at the story’s more irrational moments. About halfway through, the angry looks faded. The Auslanders knew their son, after all, and cooled down to disgruntled sighs by the time I finished.

Nicely handled, I was telling myself, a conceit cut short by the door opening violently. A scowling woman with a Hospital Administration badge demanded to know which one of us was going to speak to the reporters and TV crews jamming the parking lot.

Once again I was telling the story, smart enough to bring along my backup duo of Mr. Baum and Mr. Rosselini. We blinked and stammered for a while under the barrage of questions then warmed to the spotlight and chattered away, a lot of the chatter mine, expounding on chess as an art form, its great players artists driven by blind passion like Van Gogh, let’s say, or Tschaikowsky or F. Scott Fitzgerald. I didn’t mention Pinkie Auslander. The inference was theirs to make, the best I could do for my friend.

The Auslanders had chosen to stay inside rather than take part in a public airing of their son’s folly, and we found them in an argument with the nurse when we returned to the waiting room.

“Him?” Mrs. Auslander almost screeched, waving at me. “My son wants to see him, not his own parents?”

“We need to follow the patient’s wishes,” the nurse answered. “Also, if two men he calls Curly and Meerschaum are here, he wants them to come along.”

“He’s delirious!” said Mr. Auslander. “Definitely delirious. Do you people know what you’re doing?”

“No sir, he’s rational,” I said. With some embarrassment, I added, “He means Mr. Baum and Mr. Rosselini.

They understood instantly and instead of irritation at the names, pointed to each other, laughing. I liked them both even more.

The nurse stayed with us in Pinkie’s room, carefully watching him. A fez-like wrapping of white cloth and gauze encased his head and a cast held his left arm rigid against his chest. He nodded impatiently at our questions about how he felt, was he in pain, could we bring him anything. “Pieces. Board,” he rasped.

Mr. Baum pulled the set from his pocket, set up the position and Pinkie whispered the moves of the mating sequence. The key was a startling knight sacrifice, something I never would have seen although I pretended nonchalance. My two elderly companions gazed in disbelief at the board, then at Pinkie, whose grin of satisfaction stayed in place as his head lolled to one side and his eyes closed.

“That’s enough,” the nurse said. “We’ll let him sleep now.”

“Is he badly hurt?” I asked.

“A shoulder sprain and a mild concussion. He’ll have some dizziness, some headache and disorientation for a while. He’s lucky. Head traumas from a fall like his can be fatal.”

I led Mr. Baum and Mr. Rosselini past the waiting room door, guiltily leaving it to the nurse to tell the Auslanders they missed the chance to see their son.

On the hospital steps, we stopped as if hearing some cosmic signal, glancing at the stars, at each other.

“Fatal,” said Mr. Rosselini, giving voice to what we’d all been thinking.

The word, so bluntly spoken by the nurse and so obviously truthful, had jarred us, igniting self-reflection that we’d been avoiding. In the clear night air, away from the mind-numbing hospital setting, the quixotic charm of Pinkie’s recklessness had to be weighed against its tragic potential.

“Did he think about it?” Mr. Baum asked. “I mean, is it worth risking your life over a chess combination?”

The question was clearly rhetorical but Mr. Rosselini gave the predictable response.

“How brilliant is the combination?”

Appreciative chuckles followed but low and brief. We walked in silence to the car, each of us contemplating the foolish and the sublime, and the porous shield in between.



David Bellin is a retired advertising executive, the winner of a CLIO statuette, the ad world’s “Oscar.” He and his wife live in the vineyard and dairy farm countryside of New York State’s Finger Lakes.

He’s the author of The Children’s War (“Arresting first novel…a satisfying novel that illuminates compassionate souls on both sides of a terrible struggle” – Publisher’s Weekly; “Contemporary fiction with something substantive to say” – Library Journal), Sherman’s Chaplain (A gem of a book…a great story” – Reader Views; “Very enjoyable, enlightening, thought-provoking” – Civil War News), and The Marble King and Other Stories (“enticing and beautifully written…reminiscent of John Cheever (and) Flannery O’Connor” – San Francisco Review; “Delightful economy of style drawing you in to form your own conclusions” – Dundee Observer)


A Childhood Dream

When you were a child, what did you dream that you would grow up to become? Was it an astronaut or an artist? Perhaps you were an outside the box sort of dreamer, like my husband, whose first aspiration was to become a pumpkin. When I was a child, the two things that I cherished most were my loving mother and the richly illustrated pages of my many treasured books. So each time I was asked the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” my unequivocal answer was, “a great mother and a children’s book illustrator.”

Just before Thanksgiving of 2015, I discovered that my lifelong dream of motherhood would be realized in less than nine-months. With a baby boy growing bigger each day in my belly, I was reminded of another dream from so many years before, to become a children’s book illustrator. In my newfound condition, I felt inspired to create something wholly original, a unique gift to welcome my son into this world.

I set out to create a story that would fully engage young readers, encourage early language and reading development, and promote a strong positive moral lesson. And, of course, the illustrations needed to be colorful, imaginative and full of fun. This is how the concept for the Everchanging Story Book was originated – a decision-driven book series for young children.

The first book of the series, titled The Greatest Wish, involves a boy who dreams of becoming something other than himself, something truly incredible like a rocket ship or a rainbow, but ultimately realizes that being happy with himself is the most amazing thing of all.

I was determined to finish The Greatest Wish before my son was due to arrive on August 1st, and breathed a heavy sigh of relief when I completed the final illustration with a month to spare. In a serendipitous stroke of luck, my mother, a published author, had recently made a new acquaintance at a book conference she had attended in Washington state. Following her advice, I immediately contacted Naren Aryal, the CEO of Mascot Books, and sent him a preliminary copy of my completed book. Within a week, I was thrilled to learn that The Greatest Wish would be published before the year was out.

My son, Morgan, made his appearance on July 25th and is undoubtedly the greatest joy of my life. He enjoys looking at the many colorful illustrations of the books I read to him, and I sometimes wonder what he will dream of becoming when he’s older. Will he imagine himself as a writer or a veterinarian? Or perhaps he’ll aspire to become a happy pumpkin, just like his father.


Amanda Yoshida first dreamt of being a children's book illustrator when she was a mere toddler, growing up in the suburbs surrounding Portland, Oregon. As a child, she spent countless hours drawing and studying the artwork inside her stacks of colorfully illustrated books. She favored the rhyming words and silly drawings of Dr. Seuss and Shel Silverstein, and claimed one day she would be an artist. Eventually, the pens and pencils that were always in her hand became paint brushes in her exploration of creativity. At the age of fourteen, her original artwork was displayed and sold at her family's art gallery in Portland's Pearl District and lead to substantial private commissions. After graduating from the elite Gnomon School of Visual Effects in Los Angeles in 2009, she fell in love with the digital canvas and began working solely in this media.

Amanda returned to her beloved hometown of Portland in 2013 and began working as a freelance graphic designer and digital painter. While in the midst of growing her successful business and putting down roots with her husband, the dream of becoming a mother and published author was realized. Two months before the birth of her first child, she received word that her first children's book would be published. Amanda is now looking forward to reading her debut book, "The Greatest Wish", to her new son, after it's official release by Mascot Books in October 2016. She plans on writing and illustrating many more books in the future.


Five Bucks and an Empty Can

When I walk along the street, I’ve learned to utter words of gratitude to the Lord for my home, work, and meals. I also pray for those I see on the side of street begging for coins. It’s heartbreaking to see an old man or woman begging for food. While I wish I could give more, I can only share what I have.

Five dollars cannot fill an empty can but it can fill the heart of an old man with joy knowing that someone cares about him and wants to help feed his empty stomach.

Helping others is not easy if you do not have a compassionate heart. You may think it’s a scam or they will use the money for something else. When you do not have God in your heart, you will never feel the compassion, love and sympathy that you need to give to others. You will only feel selfishness because you only think about yourself. 

At the end of the day, those negative thoughts in your mind didn’t help anyone; you lost the opportunity to be blessed and be a blessing to others. God gave you a big heart to comfort and to give compassion to others.  He gave you long arms with pair of hands to reach everyone and help in the best way that you can. Because of God, you know your purpose. A truly beautiful person has a compassionate heart, helping hands and a divine purpose in living.

Mission out of Passion:  Your Divine Calling and Purpose in Living

There are many things people are passionate about: cooking, sewing, biking and more. I know a lot of people who run three miles a day or go biking. Some go hiking and look for adventure on their way. As people say, you will never tire of doing what you love. People choose work related to their passion because they want to enjoy every minute doing their job. If you want to grow in what you are doing, make sure you do things out of passion and not from responsibility or duty. Likewise, you should do your mission, divine calling and purpose in living out of passion.

With some people, you can feel their love as they approach and talk to people. Their passion is to share the Gospel with others, going from town to town or, sometimes, other countries and living with their families abroad. If you have this kind of passion as missionaries, you know you following your divine calling and purpose of living. This is the same with Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 9:19:

 “19 Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. 20 To the Jews, I became like a Jew to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. 21 To those not having the law, I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law) so as to win those not having the law. 22 To the weak, I became weak to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. 23 I do all this for the sake of the gospel that I may share in its blessings.”

If you have seen or known a missionary, you may think and ask their reasons for going out of the country. It’s natural to think and ask, “Why go to a nation I have never been before to live outside of my comfort zone?” God will show you the answer as He did to the missionaries.

If you have the heart to win others for Christ, you will go out and share the Gospel. This is the sacrifice that missionaries are going through. They go from different places just to share the love of God with us. They give their time and devotion to share with you the good news God wants you to know.

God may call you as a preacher, doctor, teacher, soldier, or another title. Wherever you are, your main purpose is to share the Gospel and win others. Two ways to win others:

1. Showing Christ-like Character: Galatians 5:22-23 says:

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” You may ask why showing a Christ-like character is the first instead of sharing the Gospel. Well, while you can share the Gospel, they may not believe you if you are not living what you preach. Christ lived His everyday life with the qualities mentioned above, being a perfect example to the people. Having these qualities will help you to win others, especially your family. You do not need to say anything or push the teachings on them so they may believe; you need to show them naturally. Live what you have learned from the Gospel. As a believer in Christ, you have to show how God changed your life. He taught you how to live and obey His teachings as a new creation of God. As Ephesians  4:22-24 says: “22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful  desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness  and holiness.”

Setting yourself as a good example will encourage others to believe that God is really in you. Remember, you are not the one who is calling them; instead, God is calling them for a purpose. He is using you as a channel to share the Gospel and show to them His miracle in changing your life.

2. Sharing the Gospel: Matthew 28:19-20 says:

19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

The person who sees the changes in your life is also the person who will go to you and ask for your help. You can either approach others and share the Gospel or they will approach you to learn what changed you. Either of these opportunities will allow you to share the love of God. Remember that you are God’s ambassador; share what the Lord did for you.

Sharing the Gospel is not the end of the process. You have to teach them what you know and care for them as God taught and cared for you. Teach them to know the Lord deeper, committing themselves to God by building a strong relationship with Him. Start a small group and lead them in knowing Christ better. Each of us has different callings as we have different missions in life. As a believer in Christ, you can win your family, friends and co-workers by sharing the Gospel by living your everyday life with your Christ-like character. You cannot win them if you are showing an attitude that goes against the teachings of the Lord. Do your mission out of passion, your divine calling, and purpose in living and you will be on the right path.

I am a massage therapist as this is my passion. I also love doing charity work and giving free counseling by listening to people’s  problem, giving advice, comforting them and praying for them.

I did not know what I was passionate about until God showed me my divine calling. He saved me, and continues to teach me the right way to live my life. I believe I am doing my mission out of passion and love for God. This is my divine calling and purpose in living.


Valerie Jambrovic is a personal development guru. After turning her energy toward Bible study, she discovered the strength of God within her soul. Her first book, Beauty In The Mirror, made a life-changing impact on countless people around the globe. In her newest work, Valerie hopes to bring faith, hope, and healing to the world! Valerie lives the words she writes, and enjoys a level spirituality that far exceeds the boundaries of religion. Motivated to guide others toward the bliss divine grace and inspiration afford, Valerie delivers a powerful and practical manual to lead the way. A native of Brazil, Valerie moved to the United States in 2004. She resides in Las Vegas, Nevada, with her husband, David, and twelve-year-old daughter Shiraz. She has designated 20 percent of this book proceeds for charity.


Full Disclosure - That Is What Authors Want!

When it comes to services for Indies, the internet is the one place most of us go shopping. Yet, finding what we need is not a simple thing. Our first stop will always be a search engine, but as we go through the list of companies, and begin the click-through process, we realize quickly that we not only don’t know what we are looking for, in many cases the websites we are checking out don't even specify the costs clearly. That and the justified fear of scams is enough to paralyze new authors on the spot when it comes to searching for services that might work for them. In my opinion, we should all be able to shop for services the same way we shop for groceries and clothes. In all honesty, the 'full disclosure' policy should also be applied to people, and thus my new profile pic, showing all my shades of gray! Following are some things to consider when searching for publicity and promotional help through the internet:

  • The first thing to do is to sort out the websites that offer services a la carte and those who do not disclose services or prices.
  • Then tackle all the places that show details. Make a selection of a couple that call your attention, not just on prices but also on the detail of services described, as well as any additional information about the staff, and the company's mission statement. Don't shy away from contacting them to get a feel for them, and ask questions. 
  •  Once you have an idea of what publicity services look like, check out the ones that pique your interest and compare those companies to make an educated choice.

In the end, there is no wrong or right, just what works for each one of us, but we can’t figure it out if we don't have the necessary information! For more on how we help authors visit


Susan Violante is the Managing Editor of Reader Views, a book review and author publicity service where avid readers can find reviews of recently published books as well as read interviews with authors.  She is also Managing Editor of First Chapter Plus, an online e-Catalog that introduces books to Libraries, Bookstores, Media, Reviewers, Bloggers and Readers.

Susan published her first book : Innocent War: Behind An Immigrant's Past - Book 1 in 2009, and released her revised edition in 2011.  Her sequel to Innocent War, Emerging from the Rubble is scheduled to be published later this year. Tuma: The Tribe's Little Princess was published in 2014 under her own label, I Have Something To Say Press.