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Recurring Columns

ASK AN AUTHOR – 'THE ULTIMATE CHICK-LIT READ' IS FREE AND THE TRUTH ABOUT PERMA-FREE BOOKS

 

Answering your questions about writing, publishing, and marketing books

By Sarka-Jonae Miller, author of the free book Between Boyfriends

At almost every author talk, panel, and book-related event, people ask why authors make their books perma-free, or permanently free. I've heard many authors say they participate in giveaways but would never consider making the actual price of a book $0. It's easy to understand their point of view given the amount of months, if not years, it takes to write a book. Would you work for six months without compensation? Setting aside the reality that unless you have an advance you're effectively doing that every time you write a book, it's still reasonable to do so in hopes of getting paid eventually.

SAVOR THE FLAVORS OF THE MEDITERRANEAN AT SAJJ HOUSE

 

Review by Maridian Broadus

June 20, 2016 (El Cajon) -- Are you out of ideas of what to cook for dinner? Does your palate crave something other than the ordinary salt and pepper fare that comes out of your kitchen? If you answered “yes” to at least one of the questions posed, then pack your appetite, flee your house, and head over to Sajj House (1255 Avocado Ave., El Cajon), a marvelous new Mediterranean style restaurant where you can savor the flavors of exotic spices.

ASK AN AUTHOR – SHOULD AUTHORS KNOW A NOVEL'S ENDING BEFOREHAND?

 

Answering your questions about writing, publishing, and marketing books

By Sarka-Jonae Miller

June 17, 2016 (San Diego's East County) - Maryann Jordan, author of 17 published books including Sacrifice Love, Gabe, and Love's Taming, is joining us today to talk about an important aspect of the pre-writing stage in a manuscript's development – namely should you already know the ending before you begin? Maryann Jordan is an Amazon and Barnes & Noble best-selling author. Her novel Emma's Home will be included in the upcoming 12-book bundle Finding Love in All the Right Places. The collection is near and dear to my heart as it also will feature one of my novels, Aching for You.

Should an author have the ending of the novel decided before they begin writing? - Travis Norwood, author of Sugar Scars

DESTINATION EAST COUNTY: TOP FESTIVALS AND EVENTS JUNE 18-JULY 4

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 15, 2016 (San Diego's East County)--This week’s Destination East County includes a Bohemian Bash, Boars and Brews, an art exhibit at the Wieghorst Museum, and Gunsmoke night with the Lions in El Cajon.

Plus we’ll have previews of coming attractions including outdoor movies, community concerts, and 4th of July festivities from small town parades to fireworks extravaganzas.

So stay tuned for all of these events and much, much more!

CHIEF’S CORNER: WILDFIRE FOREST – BAD!

 

By Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna

June 8, 2016 (San Diego) -- Brush fires chewed through hillsides from San Diego to Ventura Counties and every county in between, challenging firefighters and making hillside homeowners very nervous this past weekend as a very hot and long brush fire season is now underway.

ANIMAL TALES: LIONEL’S LEGACY--RESCUING AND EDUCATING

 

By Mimi Pollack

June 3, 2016 (El Cajon) -- Last month, as I was walking around checking out all the booths at the San Diego Humane Society Walk event, I saw two sweet and funny little faces that drew me in. They were two senior chihuahuas named Fred and Ethel, like the couple who lived next door to Lucy and Ricky Ricardo on the “I Love Lucy” show. What perfect names for those silly little faces!

Fred and Ethel are two lucky pooches that were taken in by Lionel’s Legacy, a non-profit organization, out of El Cajon that specializes in rescuing senior dogs.

DESTINATION EAST COUNTY: TOP FESTIVALS AND EVENTS JUNE 2-24

 

 

East County News Service

June 1, 2016 (San Diego's East County) -- This week’s Destination East County includes fiddle and pickin’ in Julian,  the 8th Annual “Taste of La Mesa” and the largest roller skating rink in Southern California.

Plus we’ll have previews of coming attractions … Julian dance and back country barbecue, antique and craft fair in flinn springs and fido fest - paws in the park

So stay tuned for all of these events and much, much more!

ASK AN AUTHOR – BOOK COVERS AND WRITING PARTNERS

 

Answering your questions about writing, publishing, and marketing books

By Sarka-Jonae Miller

Writing duo Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke are dropping by to talk book covers, chick lit and favorite spots in San Diego. Although Steinke currently resides in Chicago both authors are San Diego natives. The writers have been best friends for decades and have some advice for people thinking of writing with someone else. Their published works include The Year We Turned Forty, The Status of All Things, and Your Perfect Life.

They say, "Don't judge a book by its cover" but with today's market, how important are book covers to overall exposure and success, and by extension, does the same theory also apply to e-books as well? - Sahar Abdulaziz, author of Secrets That Find Us

PRODUCE PICKS: STRAWBERRIES (CALIFORNIA GROWN)

 

By Greg Dunne

May 28, 2016 (San Diego’s East County) -- It’s a berry good time of the year.  The four main berries in the markets are strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and Blackberries. What comes to mind right away with berries is snack time. When I’m watching TV and wanting a bit of ice cream or piece of pie, but don’t want to eat something that is not healthy I go to a small bowl of berries or some Greek yogurt. And of course, the combination of the two is better than ice cream and much healthier.

DESTINATION EAST COUNTY: TOP FESTIVALS AND EVENTS MAY 27 - JUNE 24

 

East County News Service

May 24, 2016 (San Diego’s East County) - This week’s Destination East County includes a  barbecue with firefighters,  the Santee Craft Beer and Street Festival, the catfish opener at Lake Jennings and more.

Plus we’ll have previews of coming attractions including La Mesa’s Flag Day Parade, Fido Fest in Santee, the Taste of La Mesa, an Apple Blossom Tea in Julian, and a Western luau in Descanso.

So stay tuned for all of these events and much, much more!

DESTINATION EAST COUNTY: TOP FESTIVALS AND EVENTS MAY 19 - JUNE 24

 

East County News Service

May 16, 2016 (San Diego’s East County) - This week’s Destination East County includes a rodeo and parade, America on Main Street, those lively Rhinestone Grannies, a catfish opener, Peter Pan and more.

Plus we’ll have previews of coming attractions including the Santee Street Fair and Craft Beer Festival, a Cactus Garden Festival, Julian Fiddle and  Pickin’ Contest, La Mesa Flag Day Parade, Taste of La Mesa, Boars and Brew along the San Diego River, plus concerts, live theater shows and outdoor movies – all part of the summer fun herein East County.

So stay tuned for all of these events and much, much more!

CHIEF’s CORNER: GRADUATE WITH CLASS! GRADUATION AND PROM SAFETY REMINDERS

 

By Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna

May 16, 2016 (San Diego’s East County) -- Prom and graduation season is here again. You want to make sure you graduate ‘with’ your class! Unfortunately, these happy occasions sometimes involve underage drinking which can result in tragedy.. It is therefore critical that parents keep the lines of communication open when it comes to talking to their kids about the dangers of underage drinking and drunk driving.

DESTINATION EAST COUNTY: TOP FESTIVALS AND EVENTS MAY 13-JUNE 24

 

East County News Service

May 9, 2016 (San Diego’s East County) - This week’s Destination East County includes a madrigal concert, a butterfly festival, a blues fest, Wild in the Country, a Laurel and Hardy Wacky West film night and more.

Plus we’ll have previews of coming attractions including the Ramona Rodeo, Santee Street Fair, theater performances, a Flag Day Parade and American on Main Street.

So stay tuned for all of these events and much, much more!

BIRD TALK: BIRD BRAINS

 

By Greg Dunne 

May 9, 2016 (San Diego’s East County) – Birdbrain? No, I’m not talking about my life-long friend Bud Morris and definitely not the Western Scrub Jay.  Make a mistake or do something considered stupid and you might be call a birdbrain by fellow humans. This phase could not be further from the truth. We have really missed the mark on judging and understanding the cognition of the bird kingdom. Memory, tool using, ability to learn, and communication are all skills used by most birds and are far above the rest of the animal kingdom with the exception of dolphins, whales, elephants and great apes.

EARTHTALK@: WHAT ARE THE BEST BUYS IN ELECTRIC AND PLUG-IN HYBRID CARS?

 

From the Editors of E - The Environmental Magazine

Photo: Tesla's sporty new all-electric Model 3 can go 215 miles per charge and will cost consumers less than $30k after federal tax rebates when it rolls off California production lines in 2017.

May 7, 2016 (San Diego’s East County) – Dear EarthTalk: I’m finally ready to make the switch from my old gas guzzler to an electric or plug-in hybrid car. What are the best bang-for-my-buck deals on these newfangled vehicles?

-- Mickey LaMonte, Boston, MA

ASK AN AUTHOR - LOCAL BESTSELLING AUTHOR JENNIFER COBURN TALKS SEQUELS

 

Answering your questions about writing, publishing, and marketing books

By Sarka-Jonae Miller

May 5, 2016 (San Diego's East County) - Local writer, award-winning journalist and USA Today best-selling author Jennifer Coburn is finally joining me to offer advice to authors and talk about her latest book, We'll Always Have Paris: A Mother/Daughter Memoir. I've been trying to get her here for months and have been a fan since reading The Wife of Reilly, though I had no idea at the time that Coburn lived in San Diego – not until we both ended up scheduled at a local author event at the Barnes & Noble in Santee. She was promoting We'll Always Have Paris, her first memoir. Coburn has also authored six novels and contributed to four literary anthologies, not bad for someone who originally thought she couldn't write a novel.

How do you decide whether to write a sequel? - G. Elizabeth Kretchmer, author of Women on the Brink

DESTINATION EAST COUNTY: TOP FESTIVALS AND EVENTS MAY 6-26

 

By Miriam Raftery

May 4, 2016 (San Diego's East County) -- This week’s Destination East County includes the opening of Dinner and a Concert season in El Cajon, the Campo Roundup, the Coyote Music Festival, a Taste of Julian, Rihanna in concert, and a Jacumba community yard sale complete with Chinese Castle tour and rides in a flying saucer!

Plus we’ll have previews of coming attractions including the Ramona Rodeo and Parade, Wild in the Country at Lions, Tigers and Bears,  a Laurel and Hardy Wacky Western night in Spring Valley,  a one-man musical show at Mission Trails Regional Park, and El Cajon’s America on Main Street  celebration.

So stay tuned for all of these events and more!

CHIEF’S CORNER: CAUTION, SNAKES OUT!

 

By Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna

April 24, 2016 (San Diego’s East County ) -- We’ve all encountered them at one time or another, and never a pleasant experience “snakes!” (and I’m not referring to some of those ‘special’ people in your life or at work). “Snake season usually picks up steam between April and May," says Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna.

EARTHTALK®: ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT OF VW CHEATING SCANDAL

 

From the Editors of E - The Environmental Magazine

Volkswagen is ponying up $18.2 billion to deal with its emissions cheating scandal, but environmentalists wonder if all the money in the world will be able to save those already negatively affected by the pollution and the wound to consumer confidence. Photo credit: Roddy Scheer.

April 23, 2016 --Dear EarthTalk: What has been the environmental impact of the Volkswagen emissions cheating scandal?  -- Emily Warden, Philadelphia, PA

ASK AN AUTHOR – HOW TO KNOW WHEN YOUR WIP IS READY

 

Answering your questions about writing, publishing, and marketing books

By Sarka-Jonae Miller



April 23, 2016 (San Diego's East County) - Aidan Donnelley Rowley and I tackle works in progress (WIPs) in this week's column, specifically the part of the process when they stop being “in progress” and become completed manuscripts. Rowley is the author of Life After Yes and a Yale University graduate with a law degree from Columbia University. Her latest novel The Ramblers is a “sophisticated tale of entangled urban lives” about three 30-something Manhattanites whose lives are forever altered over the course of Thanksgiving week.  

How does an author know when to stop editing/changing/reading the WIP and send it out into the world? Linda Crawford

DESTINATION EAST COUNTY: TOP FESTIVALS AND EVENTS APRIL 22 - MAY 7

 

East County News Service

April 20, 2016 (San Diego’s East County) -- This week’s Destination East County includes a Wings of Freedom Vintage Air Show, Earth Day activities,  Lakeside’s Western Days Parade, a Beethoven to Broadway concert, a Spring Garden Festival and an Artist’s reception.

Plus we’ll have previews of coming attractions including an Arbor Day celebration, the launch of El Cajon’s Dinner and a Concert series, a hike on the El Monte Flume Trail, the Coyote Music Festival and more.

So stay tuned for all of these events and more.

HOW PREPARED IS SAN DIEGO FOR THE JUNE PRIMARY ELECTION? Q & A WITH REGISTRAR OF VOTERS MICHAEL VU

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

April 17, 2016 (San Diego) --In light of issues in some other states about long lines to vote, cuts in polling places or numbers of voting machines,  lack of enough voting machines on college campuses and Indian reservations, and an inquiry from a reader, we sent questions to San Diego Registrar of Voters Michael Vu.  We also asked about deadlines to register to vote , change parties or get a mail ballot for the June 7 primary, and procedures to verify your registration. In addition, we got information on how you can vote early, as well as the need for poll workers, particularly bilingual poll workers for the election.

Below are our questions, along with Vu’s responses.

ASK AN AUTHOR – MJ SUMMERS AND WRITING WITH A PEN NAME

 

Answering your questions about writing, publishing, and marketing books

By Sarka-Jonae Miller

April 14, 2016 (San Diego's East County) - We're going to talk about pen names and book promotion in today's column. To help me with this is my second favorite MJ, international best-selling author MJ Summers! She is the author of the steamy romance breakout novel, Break in Two, which propelled her career forward all the way to a six-figure book deal. She's since published four novels in the Full Hearts series and the novella Don't Let Go, a prequel to Break in Two. Her fifth Full Hearts novel, The Break-up, is available for pre-order.

DESTINATION EAST COUNTY: TOP FESTIVALS AND EVENTS APRIL 16-MAY 7

 

By Miriam Raftery

This week’s Destination East County includes the opening of Cajon Classic Cruises this season, an antiques and crafts fair in Flinn Springs, a Victorian tea in Alpine,  and a Magic in the Mountains event in Ramona benefitting our own nonprofit  media and wildfire alerts.

Plus we’ll have previews of coming attractions including a Spring Garden Festival, Lakeside Western Days Parade, an Arbor Day Celebration, the Coyote Music Festival and many others.

So scroll down for all of these events and more.

VOTERS’ WATCHDOG: SUPREME COURT UPHOLDS KEY PROVISION OF VOTING RIGHTS ACT

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo by David Sachs, SEIU on FlickR

April 5, 2016 (Washington D.C.) — The U.S. Supreme Court handed a victory to civil rights activists and a loss to conservative challengers, upholding a key provision of the U.S. Voting Rights Act by a unanimous 8 to 0 vote.

DESTINATION EAST COUNTY: TOP FESTIVALS AND EVENTS APRIL 1 TO MAY 7TH

 

 

East County News Service

March 31, 2016 (San Diego’s East County)--This week’s Destination East County includes Mozart, an Old West Art Fest, the Garden Native Tour, Padre’s Opening Day and more.

Plus we’ll have previews of coming attractions including the Spring Garden Festival at Cuyamaca College, Chaldean Nights at Sycuan in El Cajon and an El Monte Flume Trail Hike.

So scroll down for all of these events and more.

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