Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Kathy Ide {Writer Wedesday}

A little bit about Kathy...

I have been writing for publication since 1989. I've written books, short stories, play and movie scripts, devotionals, and Sunday school curriculum. I'm the author of "Proofreading Secrets of Best-Selling Authors" (an updated and improved version of "Polishing the PUGS," which is now out of print). I have also written books on "Christian Drama Publishing" and "Typing without Pain."

I do editing and mentoring for aspiring, beginning, intermediate, and established authors. I speak at writers' conferences across the country.

I am the founder and director/coordinator of The Christian PEN: Proofreaders and Editors Network (www.TheChristianPEN.com)and the Christian Editor Connection (www.ChristianEditor.com).

Connect with Kathy...

Website: http://kathyide.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KathyIde.AuthorEditor?ref=br_tf
Twitter: https://twitter.com/KathyIde
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4354766.Kathy_Ide
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/KathyIdeEditor/
Purchase: 21 Days of Grace: Stories that Celebrate God's Unconditional Love

Get to know Kathy...

You and Writing

Tell us a little bit about yourself and writing...

How did you start writing?
Back in the 1900s (okay, the late 1980s), a friend from church asked for my help stuffing binders for a writers’ conference she was directing. When we finished, she said I’d been so much help I could attend the conference for free if I wanted. I said, “I’m not a writer. Why would I go to a writers’ conference?” She said that since I was an avid reader, I might enjoy it. And “Who knows? Maybe you are a writer and just don’t realize it.” I laughed, but took her up on her offer anyway, just for kicks. Along with being “starstruck” at meeting people whose names were on the covers of books I had at home, I attended the workshops and sessions and started wondering if I might be able to do this writing thing after all. I took a copy of every single thing on the freebie table, then submitted an article to a magazine I’d never heard of, and they sent me a check for $100. I was hooked!

What has kept you writing?
Seeing the power of the written word in my own life and the lives of others. And knowing that God had to call someone to write those things … and that person had to answer that call.

Your Writing

Tell us a little bit about your book...

What gave you the idea?
I love Christian fiction. And I’ve seen its power to touch hearts and change lives. But in my quiet times with the Lord, reading a chapter of a novel just didn’t seem right! So I thought, how cool would it be to have a devotional with short fiction stories followed by life applications? And if each chapter was written by a different person, I could read stories from my favorite authors and also discover some new ones.

What did you learn while writing it?
I learned patience with God’s timing! The Lord gave me this idea almost 20 years ago, and I thought it was brilliant. But I couldn’t get a traditional publishing house to catch the vision for it. It did get some keen interest from a few acquisitions editors, but their sales and marketing people couldn’t figure out how to promote a devotional (typically nonfiction) that featured fiction stories. That was frustrating. But when God finally opened the door with BroadStreet Publishing Group, I got a four-book contract for a series of Fiction Lover’s Devotionals. And they created them as gorgeous hardcover gift books with debossed covers, full-color interior, even ribbon page markers. Well worth waiting for! And by the time the books got published, I’d developed a decent online fan base to promote them through. God knew what He was doing!

Did you get to do any fun research for the book?
As the editor/compiler for the series, I got to work with some big-name best-selling authors like Angela Hunt, Deb Raney, Cindy Woodsmall, Tracy Higley, Susan May Warren, Lynette Sowell, and Mary DeMuth. (I actually got to edit these amazing authors! Wow!) I also discovered some lesser-known writers who had really good stories. I even got to include chapters from some of my not-yet-discovered writer friends, putting them in compilations with big-name authors. That was really fun!

Writing

Let’s talk about your writing life...

What’s your encouragement for younger writers aside from “keep writing”?
Think about something you read that touched your heart and changed your life. When God called you to write, He had specific people in mind who would need to read what He wanted you to write at a particular point in their lives. He also knew about the long and sometimes bumpy journey between that calling and actually getting your book (or article or script or curriculum or poem) into those people’s hands. So as long as you are taking the steps He has asked you to take, and walking through the doors He has opened for you, and doing everything you can to make your writing the best it can be … you can relax, knowing that He is orchestrating every situation and circumstance, and He will overcome every obstacle, to get what He has called you to write into the hands of the people He knows will need to read it at exactly the right moment.

What advice would you give to aspiring authors for writing and/or publishing?
First, realize that writing is a craft that can be learned and developed, and that it takes time and effort t do well. Sure, it’s easy to string words into sentences and sentences into paragraphs. But if you want the message or story of your heart to effectively communicate to readers (and be of interest to people outside your friends and family), you have to work at it. Read books on how to write (and how to write in your chosen genre). Take classes. Learn from podcasts and webinars. Get into a critique group (in person or by e-mail) or find a few critique partners—and take their suggestions seriously. Rewrite, revise, and polish. Hire a freelance editor to take your manuscript to the next level … and learn writing techniques in the process. Attend writers’ conferences where you can meet kindred spirits, network with industry professionals, make connections, have divine appointments, and hear the Holy Spirit prompt you on the next step to take. Then take those steps!

You

If you could travel to any location and stay there for one month (probably spending most of the time writing) where would you go?
 Easiest question ever! Maui. It’s the most beautiful, peaceful, fun, restorative place I’ve ever been to. I’d get up every morning during that month, sit on the lanai with a cup of hot cinnamon tea, and gaze at the ocean while engaging in an inspirational conversation with the one who created the view—and me. Then I’d take a spiral notebook and pen out to the beach, sink into a comfy lounge chair, and write. After a yummy lunch of fish and purple sweet rolls, I’d head back to my condo, plug in my laptop, sit by the open window, and then type what I wrote and edit it. When my brain ran out of juice, I’d hop into my rented convertible and go snorkeling or parasailing or white-water rafting or waterfall hunting on the road to Hana. Dinner with my hubby at a waterfront restaurant in Lahaina. A romantic stroll along the shore watching the stunningly gorgeous sunset. (My heart is yearning just thinking about it. Anybody got a condo they’d be willing to let me stay in for a month rent-free?)

What are you currently reading?
I just finished Jody Hedlund’s Newton & Polly and totally loved it! As a professional editor, I have a hard time reading for pleasure because I can’t help editing as I read. But every once in a while I come across a gem that totally draws me in (and is polished enough that I’m not distracted). Newton & Polly was an absolute joy to read. I’ve already ordered more Jody Hedlund novels. Can’t wait to get them!

Monday, March 20, 2017

A Stolen Heart by Amanda Cabot | New Novel News

A Stolen Heart
by Amanda Cabot

Published: March 14, 2017
Publisher: Revell
Purchase: A Stolen Heart

From afar, Cimarron Creek seems like an idyllic town tucked in the Texas Hill Country. But when former schoolteacher Lydia Crawford steps onto its dusty streets in 1880, she finds a town with a deep-seated resentment of Northerners—like her. Lydia won’t let that get her down, though. All will be well when she’s reunited with her fiancé.

But when she discovers he has disappeared—and that he left behind a pregnant wife—Lydia is at a loss about what to do next. The handsome sheriff urges her to trust him, but can she trust anyone in this town where secrets are as prevalent as bluebonnets in spring?

Get to know Amanda...


If your main character celebrated Halloween, what would she dress up as?
Lydia would be a Hershey’s Kiss. What else would you expect of a woman who makes candies for a living? Of course, Kisses weren’t invented until 1907, and A Stolen Heart takes place in 1880, but we can pretend, can’t we?

What’s one thing you must have/do in the morning?
Exercise. That gets both my blood and my creativity flowing.

Favorite place you’ve traveled to?
Yellowstone. I love everything about it – the geysers, hot pools, mudpots; the wildlife, the sagebrush prairies, the mountains. In fact, I like it so much that it’s one of the reasons my husband and I moved to Wyoming.

Connect with Amanda on her website: http://www.amandacabot.com/


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Thursday, March 16, 2017

Facebook for Writers | Social Media & Marketing Part 2


Welcome to Part 2 in my Social Media & Marketing series. If you missed Part 1 you can check it out here.

Today we're going to take a look at Facebook and what it does--and doesn't--do for writers and authors.

Facebook for Writers

I've decided to break this up into pro and con sections here. These aren't 'end all, be all' truths for everyone, but they are things I've observed about Facebook. Below that, you'll see some suggestions I have for interaction and best practices on Facebook.

Pros
  • It does allow writers to connect with other writers and readers (or potential readers, depending on where you are in the publishing process).
  • It does offer you promotional/sponsored options and the ability to 'target' your audience (as Misty talks about in this article).
  • It does let you schedule posts out in advance so you can get ahead of things.
  • It doesn't limit you on words and gives you the option to express yourself in short or longer bits of writing.
  • It does have "groups" which is a great way to engage further with readers.

Cons
  • It does require some careful planning and daily upkeep.
  • It doesn't allow your content to go out to a lot of your followers without paying (most of the time).
  • I does get bogged down with controversial/political topics and can lead conversations in a negative direction. (It can also open up conversation to some great, though controversial topics, which I'd mostly see as a pro.)
  • It is still relevant, but I have a feeling we'll be seeing Facebook's popularity lessen in the coming years (likely because of the previous point). 

How to best use Facebook as a writer

This is a pretty broad thing to say, so I'm not expecting these points to cover "all ways to use Facebook ever". But, I will highlight some of the things that I've seen work well for me in the past.

Know who your audience is (does this sound familiar?) and be relevant to them
I'll be harping on this a lot for any social media site and for marketing in general, but know if your readers are typically engaged on Facebook. Why spend time building a platform there if your readers congregate elsewhere?

Attach pictures to your ideas 
Hugely important on social media in general - photography! I'd say I know a fair amount about photography and the reasons I love it are the same (or at least similar) for the reasons others love it. It's eye-catching, it can give you insight to the post or text causing you to read further, and it gives someone something easy to share. We'll talk more about this later in another post.

Post frequently and consistently to engage daily users 
I'm the worst at this on Facebook - I admit it right now. But, I do know the benefits of regular posting on other social media sites. And I'm not just talking about sharing a quick link to the book you just published. As with any social media site, people are following you for your content. That said, make sure it's well thought out, inline with your branding and market, and engaging (see more below).

Be the right kind of personal
I cannot stress the words "right kind" enough here. Readers love to know the "real" you, but that doesn't (typically) include angry rants, too much information about extremely personal things, or maudlin posts of bemoaning and complaining. "But that's not honest" you say. Well...okay, here's where discernment is crucial.

I'm not against people posting any of these things, but the way in which we post is what matters (like I explain in this post). If you aren't sure about a post, I recommend asking yourself these two questions before posting:

1) Will this encourage those who read it?
2) Am I thinking of my readers or myself in this moment?

I often find that, when I want to go on a rant or complain about something it's often because I want to be cheered up or feel vindicated rather than offering something encouraging to those who follow me. Don't get me wrong, I don't want to limit your honesty, but I do want to stress the spread of encouragement and giving back among my fellow writers and authors.

Post about your books/writing
YES! Readers are following you for these things - they want to know what you're up to and what you're working on. BUT, if this is the only thing they see from you (like "buy my new book" for every post) chances are they will feel cheated. No one likes a hard sell all the time.

Post about things you love
Guess what? People are going to follow you not only for your books/writing but also because of who you are. Included among other content, share about your favorite TV shows, books, actives, food, you name it! Just know that you'll find common fans among your followers which can help your interaction.

Provide chances to see "the real you"
Um, maybe brush your hair first--or not...Hey, you do you!--but let people see you. I realize this is not fun for some who do not wish to share their photos on social media, but that's a whole different post. I just mean that giving your readers a chance to see you offers another level of connection and honesty with them. It's why I do live videos on Instagram (still haven't ventured to Facebook live yet, but I'll be doing that soon). It's why I will include fun/funny photos of myself in my newsletters on on blog posts (*cough* to the left *cough*). And it's why I've started creating Youtube videos. It's a 'more personal' look at who I am and helps to put a face (and voice) to my words.

Offer giveaways
People like getting things. People like getting free things even more. Give people an opportunity to win things, which will attract new followers, and then keep them engaged with your regular posts to keep 'em around!

Use thoughtful, relevant questions to engage your readers 
Give them something to talk about. I know a lot of people post controversial questions and this certainly engages people, so that is definitely an option, but I prefer to be a little less...confrontational? (Totally a personal thing.) I gravitate toward questions about favorite things, recommendations, or life updates.

Writers: How do you use Facebook? Do you have any pros or cons to add? 

Readers: Do you like engaging with writers on Facebook? What are some of your favorite posts?

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Sarah Sundin {Writer Wednesday}

A little bit bout Sarah...

Sarah Sundin is the author of nine historical novels, including When Tides Turn. Her novel Through Waters Deep was a finalist for the 2016 Carol Award, won the INSPY Award, and was named to Booklist’s “101 Best Romance Novels of the Last 10 Years.” A mother of three, Sarah lives in California, works on-call as a hospital pharmacist, and teaches Sunday school. She also enjoys speaking for church, community, and writers’ groups.

Connect with Sarah...

Website: http://www.sarahsundin.com
Blog: http://www.sarahsundin.com/blog
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2992396.Sarah_Sundin
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/SarahSundinAuthor
Twitter: http://twitter.com/sarahsundin
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/sarahsundin
Purchase:  When Tides Turn

Get to know Sarah...

You and Writing

Unlike most novelists, I didn’t intend to become a writer. I studied chemistry in college and became a pharmacist, working one day a week when our children were little. Then in 2000, I had a story idea that wouldn’t leave me alone, and I began writing during naptime. I was hooked. We’ve been empty-nesters since our youngest son joined the Navy this summer, but I still only work one day a week in the hospital pharmacy. Writing has filled in all the chinks.


Your Writing

Tell us a little bit about your book...

Why did you write it?
Story-wise, I wanted to finish the story of the US involvement in the Battle of the Atlantic in World War II, showing the dramatic climax of the struggle between Allied warships and German U-boats—and I wanted to explore the establishment of the WAVES, the US Navy’s program for women during the war. Character-wise, Lt. Dan Avery, the oldest brother of the Avery clan featured in the Waves of Freedom series, is a no-nonsense man, and I knew he needed some color in his life. And colorful Tess Beaumont needed to find some purpose in her life. It was great fun putting those two together!

What is one take-away from your book that you hope readers identify with?
The importance of balance in our lives. It first came out in the story with Dan’s workaholic tendencies and Tess’s playful spirit balancing each other, but I found new dimensions. Dan is a black-and-white sort of guy, and Tess shows him the importance of perspective, of looking at other viewpoints and trying to understand other people. With all the angry divisiveness in our world right now, we could all use a bit of perspective.

Did you get to do any fun research for the book?
I was able to visit Boston and see the sights in this story. Our youngest son accompanied me, and we had a great time. He got slightly annoyed at all the photos I took, but I placated him with ice cream and Boston cream pie. Little did I know that touring so many Navy ships and sites on that trip would lead him to join the Navy!

What’s your favorite snack while writing?
Sunkist Fruit Gems. I love chewy, fruity snacks, and those are the best! I also chew a lot of gum so I don’t nibble on those gems too much.


Writing

Let’s talk about your writing life...

How long did you write before you got published?
Ten years—almost to the day!—from when I had my first serious novel idea to when my first novel was published.

Are you a Panster or Plotter?
Plotter bordering on the deranged side. I make character charts and plot charts and outlines, plus I write a short outline of each chapter beforehand. I have the main story problems worked out in advance and the bulk of my research under my belt, although research continues all the way through the editing process. Having a good road map in advance helps me relax and enjoy the journey. And my characters still surprise me!

How do you grow in your writing craft?
Writers’ conferences are huge for me. I got my start through conferences, received my first contract through a submission at Mount Hermon, and made some of my absolute best friends in the world at conferences. Now I attend to teach and to network—but also to learn. I look for workshops and tracks that focus on my weaknesses, and I absorb.

You

What is your favorite genre to read? Why do you enjoy it?
I enjoy reading many genres—historical romance, contemporary romance, women’s fiction, suspense, the classics. I love intriguing characters, plots, and settings!

What’s your favorite green food? (In honor of St. Patrick’s Day of course!)
On the healthy side, green bell peppers. I’d add them to almost every recipe if I could. On the unhealthy side, lime-flavored Sunkist Fruit Gems. Most fruit candies switched green from lime to green apple, but lime is my all-time favorite!

If you could travel to any location and stay there for one month (probably spending most of the time writing) where would you go?
For a pure writing retreat, the English countryside. Wouldn’t that be lovely? But honestly, I’m more drawn to a jam-packed research trip to England and Normandy. I have one planned in September—yay!—but a whole month? That would be heaven. There are SO many things I want to see and experience and explore.

What are you currently reading?
For fiction, I’m reading Karen Barnett’s The Road to Paradise for endorsement, the first book in her Vintage National Parks series (such a fun idea)! For nonfiction, I’m reading Cornelius Ryan’s classic D-day book, The Longest Day, researching my upcoming Sunrise at Normandy series.

Emilie here: Thank you so much for being on my blog Sarah! Fun little fact readers - my best friend Steffani actually came up with the title "When Tides Turn" for a naming contest! How neat is that? Make sure you enter below and spread the word about this wonderful novel! 
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Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Why We're Social | Social Media & Marketing Part 1


As I mentioned at the beginning of Misty's post, we're talking about Social Media and Marketing again here on the blog. If you missed last year's posts you can see my wrap up here.

This series will be good for those just starting out in social media, those looking to improve their presence, and even those who aren't sure they want to dive in just yet. Its aim is toward authors (since that's often who I work with) but the tips and tricks provided in these posts will be helpful for anyone wanting to improve and widen their online presence. For readers, I think this series can be a fun look at "the other side". Your comments will be hugely helpful to see what actually works. What makes you pick up a book? What makes you follow an author on social media? Feel free to chime in so we can all learn!

Why We're Social

To kick things off I thought I'd start with the biggest question of them all:

WHY? 

Why are we social? Why do we spend so much time online? Why is it important to have an online presence? Is it important? I'm sure there are a million other questions we could ask, but these seem to weight in at the top.

In response, we're social for two reasons (in my opinion):

1) It's how we function best: I believe we were created to be social with a focus on family and community. We see that (most) are happier when they have a solid familial structure or community that they can rely on.
2) It's necessary in today's market: This takes on the more technical side of things, but it is nearly impossible not to be social in today's society. Or, I could put it like this: you won't get anywhere if you aren't incorporating social media into your life in some way.*

*Let me be clear here. For #2 I am strictly talking about successful promotion and visiblity as a writer/author, not success in life 😉

So what? 

This means we need to look at three things...

1) Who is our audience? 
If you've been a part of my blog before or looked through my past material you'll know I focus on this a lot but that's only natural. If you don't know your audience, you can't connect with them. Misty did a great job talking about this and why it's so important to know your audience and how to best connect with them.

I'd even go so far as to say there's a 0.5 step to this: know yourself. Wow, I realize how completely"out there" that is, but let's look at it this way. You attract the audience you want, but you first must decide who that is (is this sounding a little like the chicken and the egg to anyone else?). Know who you are, your brand, and who you wish to attract, then you can go "out there" into the social world and find them. Some will also find you, but just like a flower must attract a bee, so must an author have the right pollen, 'er books, to attract the right bee or, um, reader.

2) How will we connect with them? 
This is the next, most logical step. We've decided who our audience is because we know who we want to attract, but then the question becomes: How will we get to them? If you are hungry and want food, you go to the grocery store. Why do you go there? Becuase they have become known as places where you can buy food. So too will your readers come to you, if you show them who you are and what you offer.

This is where I think marketing and your platform/branding come into play. If you're an historical mystery author you will want your content and social media platforms to reflect that this is what you're offering. This can show itself in a wide range of ways, but you'll best reach your reader by showing them what you're offering and then following through with that.

3) What form(s) of social media will help us do this? 
This last one is more about the how than it is they why. How will we best showcase what we're offering in places and ways that will attract the 'right' type of reader. Let's go back to that historical mystery author. They aren't likely to find loyal readers among the Science Fiction community. Instead, they'll want to see where other readers of historical mystery "hang out". This is where market research comes in handy.

Some tips: Find authors who write what you do and see where they spend time. Is it on their blog, Goodreads, or Pinterest? Guest post on blogs that cater to your genre. See if there are conferences you can go to to network with other authors in your genre. Sign up for newsletters of author's in your genre and see where they are being "social". Engage with them and their readers on a genuine level and who knows, you might just make a few friends along the way.

To wrap this up, I'll put it out there again: To succeed in today's market as an author, you must be social in some capacity. Unfortunately, even if you are published by a large publishing house, they are often looking at your "already established" platform. They want to know where your readers will come from (and we're not just talking about friends and family). They want to know that, among their own marketing efforts, you will be ready and willing to do your own part.

Another side of this to consider as well is the focus of this type of marketing. The heart behind it if you will. If you approach social media as if it is only there to benefit you, you've missed the point. Those who excel at social media do so because they make a connection with their followers. They are genuine, honest, and real with them. They share their struggles as much as their successes, and they don't make their platform about "purchasing their latest novel", they make it about genuine connection.


Authors: Do you see the need for "being social"? What social media platform(s) do you like the best?

Readers: What do you like best about author's social media platforms? What turns you off from an author (in regards to social media)?

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Finding Your Target Reader by Misty Beller | Guest Post


Emilie here: This month my focus for the blog is once again social media and marketing. It's a topic I will likely post about once per year because it is such a rapidly growing, changing enigma that bears necessary repeating, alteration of approach, and further discussion. To start us off, we have a lovely guest post by Misty Beller! 

Finding Your Target Reader 

The more I’ve delved into marketing and ways to find new readers, the more important it’s become for me to understand who my target reader is. What kind of people tend to fall in love with my books? (Not just those who can tolerate them.) Where do I find those people?

The more I understand the freeing power of knowing my target reader, the more it influences my story lines, the types of characters I write about, the settings in each book, my book covers, back cover blurbs, types of advertising, you name it!

In other words, almost everything I do related to books centers around my target reader – making sure they can find my book, and then making sure they love it!

So how do you find that elusive person? Is it a demographic (women from 35-60)? Is it a lifestyle? How can you possibly know?

It’s possible that each author comes to their understanding differently, but I’ll share some tips that might help you take a more direct route to your “ah-ha” moment.

What stirs emotions in you?

This technique works best if you write the kind of books you love to read (and in general, I’d recommend that you do write in the genre you enjoy reading). If, for example, you’re a 50-year-old writing middle grade (children’s) books, you might try asking a middle-grade student these questions.

Also, this technique works for both pre-published and published writers.

Think about a location or setting that stirs you. What ignites a spark in your soul? Maybe it gives you a warm and fuzzy feeling, a yearning, or makes your pulse race.

For me, I love mountain settings. The beauty…the majesty. Standing on the edge of a peak looking out for miles and miles…I come alive in a way that’s almost intoxicating. And my favorite season in the mountains is winter, when snow covers everything. Some of my happiest times have been spent in a mountain cabin, hiding away from the world as the snow covers the peaks in a soft blanket of white. Just thinking about it fills me with an intense craving to be there.

That, my friends, is a setting that stirs me. And it stirs a whole audience of people. I can write with passion, helping others experience the same gamut of emotion that I do for the topic.

What do people talk about when they post a review?

Read through your Amazon reviews, looking for consistent themes. What did people love about this book? Was it the hero’s tragic past, and how he learns to forgive himself? Was it the fact that heroine came from a wealthy upbringing, yet had the tenacity to learn the skills needed to survive in a wild, barren country?

Find those themes and drill into them.
Then, weave those same elements into future books. Chances are, they’re also characteristics that drew you to your hero and heroine to begin with.

These will become elements of your brand as an author.

Use Facebook Ad targeting to discover more about your target readers.

This method was a bit of a surprise for me. If you’ve not used FB ads before, they allow you to target people based on things they’ve shown an interest in. For example, you can target well-known authors, publishing houses, interest groups, locations, etc.

As I tested several audience types with various interests, I found some common themes among the groups that resulted in the lowest cost-per-click. Those groups had shown interest in Janette Oke, the Love Comes Softly series, Hallmark movies, and Bethany House Publishers. Are you hearing a theme?

Additionally, Facebook shows you cost-per-click breakdown by age range and gender. I found my lowest cost-per-click with women in the 45 – 65+ range. That didn’t surprise me, but it did surprise me that I paid almost twice as much for any click outside of that demographic. Huh.

I also did a quick look at the Google Analytics data for those who have visited my author website, and found similar results. Great validation!

If you don’t already have a strong connection with your target reader, take the time now to discover them. There’s nothing quite as special as a kindred spirit!
_____________

Misty M. Beller writes Christian historical romance, and is a hybrid author of eleven novels, all of which have spent regular time on the Amazon bestselling lists. With a background in project management and marketing, Misty uses her experience in the corporate world to develop best practices in her writing and book marketing efforts. It is her passion to help other authors on this same journey. You can find her on her reader website (www.MistyMBeller.com) or her marketing blog for authors (www.TheAmbitiousAuthor.com).


--> A Rocky Mountain Romance 
by Misty M. Beller

The Wyoming mountain country seems like the perfect place for Zeche Reid to find himself. When a blizzard sends him scrambling for cover, he stumbles upon a lady and her professor father holed up in a remote cabin. His protective instincts won't let him desert them to continue his travels, especially when the father’s haunting memories from the War of Secession put his daughter’s safety at risk.

Fighting her own nightmares after the war, Greta Michelly is trying to settle into this rugged mountain land, but her bad memories are nothing compared to the demons that haunt her father. The haven they’ve found in these Rocky Mountains seems to be the solace he needs to find peace—until a mysterious sojourner appears on their cabin doorstep. She can’t help but be drawn to the wild aura that surrounds the man, but that strength seems to be that very thing that intensifies her father’s struggles.

As Zeche is torn between his craving to protect Gretta and the awful realization that he’s the one putting her in more danger, he’s forced to make a difficult choice. But when a run-in with an elk changes his plans and Gretta is faced with a danger Zeche is powerless to control, Zeche has to find a way to protect her at any cost. Even at the cost of his heart.

Purchase: A Rocky Mountain Romance  (releases March 21st!)

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Stephanie Prichard {Writer Wednesday}

A little bit about Stephanie...

Stephanie co-authors with her husband, Don, a Viet Nam veteran and career architect. She is an army brat who lived in many countries around the world and loved it. She learned to speak four foreign languages—but forgot all of them, alas, with lack of use. She met her husband at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, where she majored in English/Literature. She and Don live in Indianapolis, IN, and in retirement enjoy writing novels together.

Connect with Stephaine...

Website: http://donandstephanieprichard.com
FB author page: www.facebook.com/4u2read
Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/stephprichard
Purchase: Forgotten

Get to know Stephanie


You and Writing

My husband and I co-author our books (two so far), and—can you believe it?—we’re still happily married! Yes, it is a challenge sometimes, as Don primarily writes the plot, and when it’s my turn to come aboard (my focus is character development and theme), I often have suggestions he finds hard to take. I mean, this is his baby, and I’m talking radical surgery on the sweet little monster. Ha! But we talk it out until we’re in agreement, and then I do all the writing and he critiques it. That part is great fun for both of us.

Your Writing

In Forgotten, Don and I found the heroine’s memory loss intriguing. What would it be like to emerge from a coma and discover you remember nothing of your life? How would it feel to realize your family and coworkers are privy to all sorts of information about you that you have no idea about? In Forgotten, Eve Eriksson is, in essence, “born” with a thirty-four-year-old female body, a ten-year career whose skills she’s lost, and a history bearing consequences she can’t understand. What? She has an enemy who wants her dead? And a fiancé languishing in prison because she’s the only witness to his innocence? Mega ouch!

Part of our research for Eve’s amnesia was based on a friend’s daughter who permanently lost her memory as the result of a car crash. Her young son was in the car with her and died. Sadly, she came out of surgery with no memory of him and couldn’t mourn his loss. Her siblings and parents, however, not only mourned her son’s death, but they also knew about her tarnished past. Eve’s fictional story is not this real-life woman’s story, but the hard challenges of amnesia are.

Writing

Want to write a novel? A really good one?

In college, my major was English/Literature. So, I was fully equipped to write novels, right? Ugh, to my dismay, far from it! It took Don and me ten years to write a publishable novel. Our journey is a roller coaster of ups and downs and sharp learning curves, but I’ve come away with some good basic advice for aspiring authors. First of all, learn, learn, learn (no matter how good you are). Don and I went to writing conferences (our vacations), read lots of craft books, and paid for online writing classes (like those offered by WriterUniv.com) where the instructors give assignments and immediate feedback. Focus on learning; invest in it, and it will pay off!

Secondly, get someone else’s eyes onto your manuscript. Join a critique group and learn from other authors’ input. Eventually, I was able to move from a group situation to one critique partner who became my mentor. I credit my progress in writing to the skills she taught me right smack in my own manuscript. And finally, save your pennies (okay, at least a thousand dollars) and pay a professional editor to rake your book over the coals. SO worth it!

Story is king, and skillful writing is its crown. That’s where you need to invest yourself. Don’t assume you’re good. Assume you need to get better. (tweet this) And then, with your story well-written and validated by those with greater expertise than yours, you’re ready for all the busy work that comes with publishing it!

You

My favorite genre to read is mystery/suspense/thriller. I like fast-paced books, ones that present the reader with a mental challenge. I’m also into dystopians because I like the scenario of a future society and its challenges. Sadly, I haven’t found many dystopian novels I like.

I belong to a book club, which vastly expands what I read, so currently, I’m reading The Nightingale. Wow! It has over 32,500 reviews on Amazon, with a rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars!

My favorite green food (in honor of St. Patrick’s Day) is asparagus. Or—going healthy—mint chocolate chip ice cream. And green M&Ms.

Thanks for inviting me to your blog, Emilie. And a big hug to all you readers out there!

Emilie here: Great interview Stephanie! So happy to have you here and love your advice about writing! Enter the giveaway below folks and don't forget about Don & Stephanie's first book Stranded.

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