The Valley Walker by T.W. Dittmer: A Book Review

29 12 2012

I applaud first time author T. W. Dittmer on his debut novel The Valley Walker on achieving what every writer dreams about: writing a great story with the potential for unfettered commercial success. Very few books are new, exciting, or fresh and The Valley Walker delivers a story that has never been told before. It is not a remake of an old idea. It is not trying to be original it is original. Like most original ideas it is hard to categorize but I will do my best.

The story centers upon Teri Altro a member of a special drug task force that has been set up in Lansing, Michigan after the deaths of several college students from heroin overdoses. The task force is supposed to find out where the drugs are coming from and stop more shipments. Ms. Altro is targeted by Laotian drug hit men and they attempt to assassinate her in a pharmacy. She is saved by an unassuming man with strange dragon tattoos which hold incredible power. John Walker Michaels saves Teri Altro to send a message to the powerful kingpins behind the drug trafficking: your power will come to an end.

What started as an attempt to stop the proliferation of drug trafficking soon spirals into a much more sinister and mystical tale that spans decades. John Walker Michaels, ex-army and potential spook, has been fighting against these powerful kingpins since the Vietnam War when their greed caused the genocide of thousands of Hmong in Laos. Greed, power, and violence are what John Walker Michaels and Teri Altro fights and replace with love, family and history.

Helping John Walker Michaels is his great dragon Za who gives him the ability to travel in time and space. The great dragon Za has tasked John Walker Michaels with vindicating the lost souls of the Hmong people by exacting justice from the evil people who have brutally killed them. John Walker Michaels is to bring back the evil souls and throw them to The Destroyer.

Teri Altro and the special task force she works for unravel who has been behind a genocide long forgotten and the powerful people are closer to home than they realize.

The book is a fast, mystical, journey that you don’t want to miss.


An Interview with Susan Bays of Arbutus Press

16 11 2012

Hello Readers!

Today we have an interview with the founder of the small literary press, Arbutus Press, Susan Bays.

Can you tell my readers about Arbutus Press?

My company was established in 2002 with the self-publication of the award winning book, Historic Cottages of Mackinac Island. People began to ask me to publish their books and I began a rewarding career in Regional Book Publisher.

Why does Arbutus Press focus on literature with a connection to Michigan?

Starting small, it was what I felt I could handle and it was what I knew since I am a life long Michigander. We have expanded now to the Midwest but have no plans to expand beyond that reach.

When reviewing a submission, what do you look for?

I look for what a reader would look for. A well-written compelling story or history. I have learned through experience what sells and what does not. Literary fiction is a tough sell, no matter how well-written, however some stories must be told. I believe that I have an obligation to publish great stories regardless of their potential profit.

Does Arbutus Press publish authors without an agent?

Yes. All of the manuscripts that come my way are unsolicited and without agent affiliation.

What should an author expect, if anything, when dealing with a publishing house?

I can only speak about Arbutus Press’s writer-publisher relationships. Small presses like Arbutus are readily available and responsive to writer participation at every phase of the process, from editing to marketing.

Any suggestions or comments on how a writer can break into the publishing industry?

By breaking into the publishing industry do you mean work for a publisher? There is an active jobs listing on Publisher’s Weekly web site and perhaps others. Working for a local newspaper or even the college newsletter will provide some experience for creating a resume that would relate to publishing.

Aside from excellent writing skills, what are the literary factors that make an author successful?

I have seen one factor consistently in successful authors, but it’s not a literary factor: a tireless marketing efforts. Facebook, Twitter, blogs, book signings, library talks, event sales, interviews, book club interviews, anything you can think of to get your book out in front of people.

How does Arbutus Press distribute their titles?

 I have contracts with many distributors ranging from national distributors to regional ones. We also have distribution for specialty markets such as libraries and box stores.

Where can my readers buy titles from Arbutus Press?

 Books are available from bookstores everywhere. If they don’t have it in stock, they can get it. Online through and Barnes and and through Arbutus Press directly through or by contacting us directly at

Are there any upcoming releases from Arbutus Press that you would like to tell my readers about?

Snowblood’s Journal is an American novel about men and dogs in Vietnam. This literary fiction is described by Jerry Dennis, author of the Living Great Lakes.

I’ve long been a fan of Bob Linsenman’s writings about the outdoors, but nothing I’ve read by him prepared me for Snowblood’s Journal. With a cast of unforgettable characters, both human and canine, and set in a place brought to vivid, poignant, and sometimes terrifying life, it is a wild ride on foot and by chopper through a war. From the moment Jason Snowblood set foot in Vietnam I was hooked. I couldn’t put this astonishing book down.”

Look for this title, Snowblood’s Journal in summer 2013

Interested in being interviewed for this blog or purchasing editorial services from Charles Henry Editing? Email Carolyn at or go to

Promotional: Interview with Arbutus Press

13 11 2012

Hello readers!

On Friday, November, 16th Susan Bays the founder of Arbutus Press is doing an interview with Charles Henry Editing. Arbutus Press specializes in literature that has a connection to Michigan. Recent titles include :Page One Vanished by Nancy Barr and Motorcycling Across Ohio by William Murphy. Interested in submitting a manuscript? Read the submission guidelines here:

Contact by email :

Arbutus Press

2364 Pinehurst Trail

Traverse City, MI 49686

Are you a publisher who wants to get interviewed? Email to set up an interview. Want 1/2 Off all editing services through out the month of November? email

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