Sunday, March 31, 2013

Just Write Books Author "Talks" Paul Betit

Paul Betit's Books
In 2004, Paul Betit came to Just Write Books when he needed a cover designed for his first book Phu Bai. He walked across the street from his then Portland Press Herald Brunswick office to the office of Just Write Communications where I was in the process of birthing Just Write Books. At that time I helped him create the cover while he worked with another publisher. When Paul had his second book in manuscript form he came to Just Write Books. We published Kagnew Station: Sequel to Phu Bai—the fifth book for the business. Paul Betit and I worked together to make a beautiful cover and book interior that would match his first rate murder mystery starring a US Army intelligence investigator.

In 2010, Paul Betit’s two books were the first ebooks produced by Just Write Books.  Paul has been an integral part of the growth and success of Just Write Books.  I count on his advice and support as much as he counts on us at Just Write Books.

JWB: When did you start writing?
Betit: I began writing non-fiction articles and columns for newspapers while I was still in college nearly 40 years ago. Following graduation in 1974, I’ve continued to write as a newspaper news reporter and sportswriter. During the 90s, I delved into fiction. While I’m not necessarily a big fan, I settled on writing in the mystery-suspense genre.

JWB: What are some of the themes that you return to regularly in your writing?
Betit: I don’t consider myself a thematic writer, per se. I just like to write what I like to read. Good stories, with good characters and an engaging plot. I like to inform and to entertain. In writing for newspapers, you get to inform but you really have to stretch in order to make it entertaining, too. A few readers have informed me they have detected a subtext in my writing. Perhaps, there is a subtle anti- heroism or anti-establishmentarianism that has been a recurring theme in my writing. If there is, I assure you it isn’t by a totally conscious effort.

JWB: What is one event that has shaped your writing?
Betit: Of course, the biggest event in my life, outside of my marriage and the birth of my two sons, has been the time I spent in the Army stationed in South Vietnam and Ethiopia. So far, my experiences in both places have provided me with plenty of fodder for my fiction. Some of those experiences were enhanced and layered into the narrative of my first two books, giving them an authentic feel of what life was like in those places during those times in the 60s. As I continue with the development of my main character, Army CID investigator John Murphy in other books, I will come to rely more heavily on my experiences and events I witnessed while working the police beat in my first newspaper job.

JWB: What are three of your favorite books to reread?
Betit: This is an interesting question. While there are movies that I will watch over and over again, on cable not in a theatre, I’ve never reread a book. Reading a book is a big investment of time and energy. You can watch a movie in snippets and still get something out of it, but you’ve got to read the entire book to derive the full pleasure or depth of experience. If I were to select books to reread they would be ones I read when I was a young man. Some of my top candidates would include novels such as The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, One Day In The Life Of Ivan Denisovich, The Great Gatsby and For Whom The Bell Tolls and the nonfiction Black Like Me. It would be interesting to view these works through the prism or 40 or more years of experience.

JWB: Any advice for young writers?
Betit: The more I write the more I come to realize that it truly can be an art, but that shouldn’t deter those people who don’t consider themselves artists from writing. For example, all of renowned painters and sculptors from the Renaissance Period not only possessed a tremendous spark of creativity that set them apart, but they had also mastered the tools that enable them do what they did. It’s the same with writing. Imagine. It’s possible to engage someone you don’t even know in a one-sided conversation simply by the way you assemble the words and phrases in a piece of writing.
Producing good writing is like producing a good painting or a good piece of sculpture, and, like all artists, you must master the tools of your trade. It took me a long time to figure that one out.

JWB: What are you currently working on?
Betit: While I continue to work full-time as a sports writer for the Portland Press Herald and Maine Sunday Telegram, I have been pecking away at a third book in a series revolving around John Murphy entitled The Man in the Canal. In this book, set in Sweden during the summer of 1971, Murphy goes undercover to find a killer of an American soldier in West Germany believed to be hiding out among the American military deserters who took refuge in that country during the Vietnam War. In this story, I introduce Magnus Lund, a Swedish police inspector based in a small inland town who is trying to solve the murder of another American. The plot trajectory swings back and forth between Murphy and Lund as they work separately, unknown to each other, on cases that ultimately are bound together.

Author Bio
Working as an intelligence analyst, Paul Betit spent nearly two years at Kagnew Station. For the more than 30 years, he's worked as newspaperman in Maine. He lives in Brunswick, Maine, with his wife, Deborah. The couple has two sons. 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Nice mention of Food Fix on blog

Sue Young's book Food Fix is out and we're scheduling talks and signings around Maine.

The book helps those of us who have problems with food frenzy--the craziness around food--another diet, another "can't have it," or just plain out-of-control eating.
Learn more about the author, Susan Lebel Young.

Read more about the book at:

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Benefits to Buying a Title from Just Write Books

Why should you buy a book from Just Write Books? 
Here are just a few of the benefits.
Discover Maine friends. The authors are all people who either come from Maine or those who make Maine their home. Get to know the characters and their idiosyncrasies through tales true and created.
Discover Maine places. When you read a non-fiction title by Just Write Books, you are introduced to many places in Maine, whether remote or populated. As important as the people, the places of Maine help tell the story of the state.
Build Maine Community. Maine is a unique state, as are the people that comprise its population. By connecting with the authors and the individuals they write about, you will learn about the ties that bind the Maine community together and perhaps build your own as a result.
Learn Maine Stories. As you read a book published by Just Write Books, you may discover something about Maine you never knew. Whether, it is history or current events or fiction, the stories are as unique as Maine itself.
Be a Part of a Maine Story. Once you’ve discovered Maine people and places you may determine that you want to explore them yourself. Make Maine a part of your life story. And who knows? Maybe you’ll be the next Just Write Books author.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

10 Steps to Writing a Letter to the Editor

There may come a time when you wish to share your opinion on current events with a wider audience. Writing a letter to the editor can be that vehicle. In order to ensure a higher rate of publishing, here are few steps to keep in mind.
Keep it relevant. Letters to the editor are usually published when they relate to some current event or an article recently published. Reference the article or event to guide your letter.
Keep it clear. Your letter should be well-written, concise and understandable. Avoid rambling sentences and big words.
Make it short. Keep it under 250 words and submit it in a double-spaced document for easy readability.
Stay positive. Focus on the positive when you write your letter. Even if you are offering a criticism, provide possible solutions to the problem you see.
Be factual. Include important supporting facts, but avoid being dull and over-explaining.
Stay focused. Include one main point to your letter and include supporting facts, evidence or arguments.
Keep it personal. Mention how the topic you are discussing affects your life or your community.
Include your contact information. Ensure you have included your name, address and phone number, in case the paper has questions or needs to verify that you wrote the letter.
Get feedback. Encourage your friends and family to write in response to your letter to get more and continuing coverage.
Include others. After publication, send a copy of your letter in print to local legislators or decision-makers. It may help bring attention to the subject of your letter.
With these tips in mind, your letter to the editor should have a higher chance of being printed.
Have you had a letter to the editor published? Post it or a link to it in the comments.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Author Talks: Susan Lebel Young

Young's book covers.
Susan Lebel Young originally came to Just Write Books in 2005 with a manuscript written about her father’s heart attack and subsequent hospitalization and her and her family’s reaction to his illness. In Lessons from a Golfer, Young told readers how the lessons that her dad had taught his children in their youth stood up to this adult crisis. It was memoir of her experience and biography of her father, a championship golfer.

We took a moment to catch up with Young and asked her a few questions we thought would be intriguing to hear the answers.

JWB: When did you start writing?

Young: I didn’t start to write the way I write until I felt the need to get to know myself as an adult, probably later than most other authors. Good friends and some family members urged me to write so that I could help myself unearth some of my own truths and insights and then maybe share them with others.

JWB: What are some of the themes that you return to regularly in your writing?

Young: I always return to the importance of presence, right here, right now, with kindness. It is such a core aspiration for me to live from the heart. I often don’t or can’t. So the call to compassionate mindfulness keeps knocking at the center of my chest and I have to pay attention.

JWB: What is one event that has shaped your writing?

Young: Years ago when I thought my Dad, my greatest hero, was dying after a cardiac event, I talked to people about grief, I read books on open heart surgery, I searched and searched and still felt so raw, so vulnerable. I started to write during his two-week hospitalization because nothing else had helped. I knew if I wrote what was true for me, I would be able to face whatever might happen to him more completely, more fully. Nothing helped as much as writing. Those writing became my first book, Lessons from a Golfer.

JWB: What are three of your favorite books to reread?


1. I love the poetry of Rumi. I have several translations, illustrated volumes, recordings. Every year one of my dear friends gives me a Rumi calendar with one lovely quote on each month.

2. I have several books by John O’Donohue. My favorite is To Bless the Space Between Us. It is a book of blessings for every part of the day and for every season of life. I never get tired of John O’Donohue.

3. Saki Santorelli’s book, Heal Thyself was one of the first books I had ever read in which the author offered such deep self-disclosure that it gave me the courage to tell my stories without shame.

JWB: Any advice for young authors?

Young: Write. Write because you have to. Write because you love it. Write even if you have no idea what you are writing about. Keep writing and save your stuff and some day the pages will tell you what you have to publish. Then, when you decide to be an author, hang out with writers, authors and Nancy Randolph!!

JWB: What are you currently working on?

Young: Getting Food Fix out, marketing it, writing blogs for my website ( and continuing with the monthly “Reflections” columns for the Portland Press Herald.

EVENTS: Book signings and author chats, Susan Lebel Young, author of Food Fix: Ancient Nourishment for Modern Hungers: 

March 12 ~Falmouth Memorial Library, 5 Lunt Road, Falmouth, 6:30 p.m. 

March 17 ~ Dahlia’s Delights, 137 Main St., Suite 102, Biddeford, 1-3 p.m. 

March 30 ~ Nonesuch Books, 50 Market St., Mill Creek Shopping Center, South Portland, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. 

Author Bio
Susan Lebel Young MSED, MSC, author of Lessons From A Golfer: A Daughter's Story of Opening the Heart, is a perfect guide on your journey toward heartfulness in your food and life. Young is a self-professed junk food junkie who has maintained a fifty pound weight loss and a change of food-frenzy mentality for thirty years using these food fix antidotes. Young, a retired psychotherapist, teaches mindfulness, yoga and meditation.