Friday, January 22, 2021

Friday's Book Covers and Titles

It's Friday, Book Covers and Titles.

It's Friday, and time to look at book covers and titles. This Friday we will be looking at children's covers and titles, specifically, children ages 3 to 5.

As mothers and grandmothers, fathers and grandfathers, we, hopefully, buy our children books. These are special times while they are 3 and 5. And having the opportunity to spend quality time with them, opening new worlds by our reading books to them are memories in the making they will remember as adults.

Since we want to choose the right books, we not only look at the colors, and the titles but we also, look to see what this book is about and if it is appropriate for our little one.

But, for today, let us focus on the cover and the title first.

Remember as an author even though this is for children, it shows you which colors are important as well as titles.

The first row contain books 1 through 3

The second row contain books 4 through 6

Here are some fun questions for you to answer based on the books below.

Which cover grabs your eye first?

Which title grabs your eye first?

Does the title tell go with the picture?

Doe the title tell you what the book is about?

If you were going to choose to read one of these to your child or grandchild, which would you choose to pick?

Thursday, January 21, 2021

The Question that Changed Everything

Steve Bradshaw 

My first book was published on July 4, 2012. The BLUFF CITY BUTCHER is the story of a genius serial killer hunted by a world-renowned forensic sleuth. The modern-day mystery/thriller draws upon my life experience as a Texas Forensic Investigator. This 120,000-word, 440-page novel would launch my writing career. All I needed was a publisher. Following a long and painful search for a literary agent, and after hundreds of thoughtful rejections, the opportunity arrived. I flew from Tennessee to Florida to negotiate and sign a contract with my first publisher, the Barringer Publishing Company. At last, my fears of never being published would come to a resounding end. Or would they?

We sat face-to-face across a long table. Contract negotiations seemed to move along well. I signed and slid the contract to my future publisher. With pen in hand inches from his dotted line he paused. He had one more question. Looking back, I am certain it was the question he always saved to the end for new writers. It was the sleeper, the deal-breaker question. “What is your next book?” he asked.

I had answered every other question with ease. I should have been ready for this one, but I was not. My head had lived inside the BLUFF CITY BUTCHER book for a year. My brain had been drained. I had not yet recovered. I had not even begun to think about the next book. But the publisher expected an answer. As I frantically searched the dark abyss between my ears, his pen backed away from the contract almost an inch. Then he leaned closer. His cordial smile melted away. I saw concern, surprise, and doubt creep into his squinted eyes. That’s when I said it. “The BLUFF CITY BUTCHER is book one of my forensic thriller trilogy.”

His face changed almost immediately. The smile returned. Then his pen scribbled his name on the dotted line. I made it. I said the right thing—trilogy. It made perfect sense. Now we had a deal for three books. I did not have to worry about a publisher for at least two more books. But then he asked one more. “What do you call your forensic trilogy, Steve Bradshaw?”

Easy. It popped into my head, the name of a key character in the book. He is a billionaire patriarch—Albert Bell. “I call it The Bell Trilogy.”

“Perfect,” he said. My most favorite word. He slid the contract back and shook my hand.

Not until later did I realize what my publisher had done for me before he had made his first dollar with Steve Bradshaw novels. He had forced me to take control of my inspiration. If I was going to be a serious, long-term writer, I had to get a leash on it so it’s there when I need it. Writers can allow their imagination and inspiration to run free, but they must know how to take control of both when creation time is upon them. Serious writing is a business. Writers must do command performances often. They must learn to control their art—the story.

Because I committed to a trilogy that day, I was forced to manage a story arc over a half-million words. It was like taking a sixty-foot wave the first time I surfed! My commitment to The Bell Trilogy changed the slope of my growth as a writer. It changed the way I look at a story, a plot, and character development. It made me learn how to grab and hold onto my audience. It made me make my books matter.

Today I have seven published novels, five audiobooks, one screenplay, and am working on a lucrative ghostwriting project—I call it exercise. My seventh novel SHARED INNOCENCE just released. It is book one of my second forensic thriller trilogy.

The BLUFF CITY BUTCHER will always be my number one. My first novel taught me so much as a writer, and it continues to be my best seller even today. Book one of The Bell Trilogy continues to bring me new audiences every day. I think it is because this book does it best. It shows readers why my novels are uniquely mine, and that’s a good thing

Steve Bradshaw writes his unique brand of thrillers by drawing upon his experiences as a Texas Forensic Investigator and a Biomedical Entrepreneur. Steve investigated more than 3,000 unexplained deaths for the Medical Examiner’s Office later ruled homicide, suicide, accident, natural, or undetermined. Steve later started an innovative pliable-structured implant company. As founder-president/CEO of Active Implants Corporation, he raised $25 million and led the acquisition and development of an artificial meniscus now under FDA clinical review. Drawing upon these prominent roles Steve pursued his next dream—writing. Now Steve takes his audience with him into fascinating worlds of fringe science, modern forensics, and the hunt for real monsters in a world far more complex than ever imagined.  Steve has seven published novels, five audiobooks, and a screenplay. 

Website:, Email:,,,




Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Quality Writing Impacts Future Readers

DiAnn Mills            

Do we writers consider how our commitment to writing can make a positive impression on future readers? Creating is hard work. We must approach our craft with diligence and continuously educate ourselves in every area of the publishing industry. The process takes hours of laboring over every word, but we don’t mind because we love our calling as writers. The editing and polishing are worth the finished manuscript.

Motivation impacts every area of the writer’s life and transfers into the quality of our work.

Some writers are motivated by the short-term future: pay the bills, meet deadlines, schedule blog posts, speaking engagements, and conference attendance. Those are all high-principled goals requiring our attention. But have we considered our readers when our time on earth is finished—will others see positive traits in our work and lives worthy to emulate?

How would we like to be remembered? Will anyone care if our work-ethics are stellar? Do we believe in paying it forward by helping other writers be successful? What did we find as virtuous tasks that fed our writerly soul?

The following are ten references I’ve heard about writers. Some are outstanding, and some not so much. Perhaps if we recognize a trait that warms us, then we have confirmation we’re on the right track. If something derogatory seems to resonate and we hope people forget it, there’s time to change and put quality back into our lives.

1. She published four books a year, but I never saw her smile.

2. He wrote early in the morning and late at night—always put his family first. His priorities must have worked because his books consistently hit the bestseller list.

3. I will never forget one of her characters who inspired me to climb my own mountains. I’m a better person because the writer took the time to develop believable characters.

4. He never had time for me . . . always too busy writing.

5. I tried to talk to her at a writing conference, but she ignored me. Even when I stood in line to have a book signed, she never acknowledged any of us.

6. He took the time to mentor me, offering suggestions that made my writing stronger—and publishable.

7. She shared her method of writing a book and encouraged me to personalize a plan that worked according to my personality.

8. Even after consistent bestseller status, she always challenged herself to write a better book.

9. He told me that if I didn’t educate myself everyday in some aspect of publishing, then I was setting myself up to fail.

10.She claimed God had first place in her life, and He’d called her into the ministry of communicating through the written word.

Quality writing impacts how we feel about ourselves. Are you ready to commit to an outstanding manuscript that shows your commitment to readers now and in the future? 

DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She weaves memorable characters with unpredictable plots to create action-packed, suspense-filled novels. DiAnn believes every breath of life is someone’s story, so why not capture those moments and create a thrilling adventure? Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne Du Maurier, Inspirational Readers’ Choice, and Carol award contests. DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers. She is the director of The Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference, Mountainside Marketing Conference, and the Mountainside Novelist Retreat with social media specialist Edie Melson where she continues her passion of helping other writers be successful.

Visit DiAnn Mills at,,

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

The Birth of My First Book ~Deborah Sprinkle

Deborah Sprinkle 

It was the end of another season of my life and the start of a new one. I’d already been through the research chemist season, the stay-at-home mom period, and the years as a chemistry teacher.

Now it was time to retire from teaching. The kids were grown. One married but no grandbabies yet. And my husband still worked. So where was God taking me this time?

Writing. That was it. I would write a mystery. After all, how hard could it be? I had been reading mysteries and suspense books all my life. (Feel free to laugh—I am.)

Fortunately, He forced me along a path that made it very clear to me how little I knew about writing a book. I began attending Christian writing conferences where I took classes to learn the trade and met many amazing people—friends that have encouraged and guided me through the years.

My first novel, Deadly Guardian, went through so many rewrites I lost count! But that was all part of the learning process. Three different friends helped with edits before I finally found an agent, Cyle Young, who happened to be a friend as well.

He worked hard to find my book a home, but after many months, I was ready to give up. My prayers went something like this, “It’s okay, Lord. I realize that Deadly Guardian was meant for me to learn from so I would do better on the next book.” Inside my heart was broken.

In 2018, my dad got sick. He lived in St. Louis and we live in Memphis. I ended up living in St. Louis from mid-May that year until October. As my dad grew progressively worse, he finally requested to be put on hospice. We honored his wishes and set it up.

The second day he was on hospice, Cyle called to tell me that a publisher wanted my book, Deadly Guardian. I must be honest. At the time, I couldn’t get too excited. All I could think about was dad. I had no time to go through edits and help with a cover and all the other stuff that comes with publishing a book. I remember looking at the ceiling and saying, “Now Lord? We’re going to do this now?”

But God. I emailed the publisher and explained my situation—Kathy Cretsinger of Mantle Rock Publishing. She was so kind and understanding because she had gone through the same thing with her parents.

Kathy retired and sold Mantle Rock to my new publishers, Scrivenings Press LLC, but she remains a good friend.

Dad passed away in September, 2018. He never got to see my book, but at least he knew that it was going to be published. Getting that first box of books with my name on them was almost surreal. My friends would get so excited and say things like, “Here comes the author.” And I’d feel like turning to see who came in. It’s taken me some time to grow into that title. It’s a little easier since my second book came out.

Deadly Guardian came out in May 2019. There were five years between when I started writing it and when it was published. A long time. But I learned many valuable lessons along the way.

Besides the obvious ones on how to write a better book, I learned about the value of maintaining good relationships, putting people first above things, and allowing God to work in His timing. Also trusting in the Lord and being patient.

Deadly Guardian became the first in a series of three books called Trouble in Pleasant Valley. Death of an Imposter released November 24, 2020, and the third book, Silence Can Be Deadly, will come out November of 2021. 

Monday, January 18, 2021

8 Marketing Ideas

Susan Reichert

In the past authors used book signings, and conferences, to meet the readers and sell their books. But right now, because of the pandemic, that is not possible.

Even though restrictions may start loosening some, we still will be limited.

We now must come to that part that many of us do not like and that is to look for new ways to market our books to sell.

Consider hosting a virtual event and inviting some of your friends, family and fans and ask them to “bring a friend by sharing the link with a friend. Talk about the background of your book, ask for questions.

Why not host a virtual event with several of your author friends and showcasing the books from each one and have a Q&A time.

If your website does not have a way for your readers to buy your books, then be sure you remedy that. 

A virtual event hosting and showcasing another author who can talk about their book and the two of you ask each other questions. 

It is a plus if you pick a few of your author friends and put their books on your site and set it up where people can buy them and ask your friends to add your book to theirs.

If you do this on your blog, then each one of you could have a particular day a month that you visit each other’s blog and write interesting facts for the readers.

Once a month you could have a book giveaway. You could base the giveaway on people who leave reviews on your book or sign up for your blog.

Send out emails. Yes, believe it or not, emails are still a great way to generate business. On your emails, you can always give a discount on your book for a specific time. (Most authors keep several copies of their books for just this purpose.)

Can you think of other ways to market your books? We invite you to share these with the authors on Suite T. By helping each other we help ourselves.

May 2021 be a year of excellent marketing and reaping the benefits for each author.

Susan Reichert is the founder of Southern Author Services and Editor of Suite T. Prior to this was the co-publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Southern Writers Magazine, a national magazine for authors and readers.

She is the author of God’s Prayer Power and Storms in Life, numerous magazine articles, and in 9 anthology books. Speaker at writing conferences, seminars, libraries, and President of Collierville Christian Writers Group (CCWriters Group).

Reichert discovered one of her life’s purposes when she began to write. “First, it was short stories as a child and some Saturday afternoons you could find Susan, her sister and friends acting out the stories. “My first novel I wrote, the manuscript was lost in a move. Now I write using a computer.”

Susan lives in Tennessee with her husband. They have four grown daughters with their own families.

You can visit Susan at www.susanlreichert.comhttps:susanreichert.blogspot.com;;

Friday, January 15, 2021

Friday's Book Covers and Titles ~ A Fun Questionaire

It's Friday, Book Covers and Titles.

Last Friday we had a lot of fun answering the questionaire on covers and titles based on the books we chose we decided to do it again. As you know we choose the books and random.

As authors we all want to choose the right cover and title to grab the readers attention. By looking at other book's covers and titles we can see what if anything would grab the attention of the reader.

The first row contain books 1 through 4 

The second row contain books 5 through 8 

Here are some fun questions for you to answer based on the books below. 

Which cover grabs your eye first?

Which title grabs your eye first?

Does the title suit the picture?

If you were going to read this genre, which book cover would you pick?

Which title would you picke?

Have fun!

Thursday, January 14, 2021

A Social Media Workout for Building Strong Online Connections

Edie Melson        

We all know the importance of fitness. Beyond having a healthy workout plan for our bodies, we also need to keep our online lives in shape. To make valuable connections through social media we have to be able to work at top performance.

Exercises for building an online platform that can go the distance takes training and discipline.

Sit Ups:

This exercise will help us improve our ability to sit up and take notice of what is going on around your digital neighborhood.

Reps: 5 (take five minutes and scan through your social media feed for current updates)

Sets: 3 (do this three times a day)

Strength Training: 

Where do you have the most followers and friends? That is where you need to invest the majority of your time. For me, that is twitter. I have over 20,000 Twitter followers, so I make sure my interactions on that platform stay fresh and current. I also spend time on Facebook, but not as much because I do not have as strong a presence there.

Reps: 20 (Out of your 30 minute daily workout, spend twenty minutes on the network where you get the most bang for your buck)

Sets: 1

Reps: Daily

Push Ups: 

Make it a practice to push up your numbers. Spend a short time each day adding new friends and followers on social media. The best way to do this (actually the only way I recommend)? Be a friend to have a friend.

Reps: 5 (take five minutes and follow or friend several new people)

Sets: 3 (do this three times a day)


Look at the obstacles ahead of you. If you are struggling with something, take a run at it. Learn a new skill to keep your social media on track and moving forward.

Reps: 5 (take three minutes and begin to learn or practice a new skill)

Sets: 3 times a week


 Keep watch on the amount of time you spend on social media. Do not go over that 30-minute a day threshold. Do not forget the law of diminishing returns. After 30 minutes, your productivity and value goes way down.

Reps: 30 (watch the clock every minute you are online)

Sets: Daily

Jump Rope:

Every day take time to jump someone else ahead of you. I always try to promote others ahead of myself.

Reps: 5 (out of every six social media updates share five promoting someone else)

Sets: Daily

Endurance Training

Remember this thing called social media takes time—it is a marathon. Take small consistent steps and you will find success every time.

Reps: 1 time a day

Sets: 3 times a week


Make sure you follow your heart and your passion. Share things that mean something to you, and you will be valuable to those who follow you.

Reps: 3

Reps: 3 to 4 times a week

Like any workout, taking time for regular online exercise will make us stronger. The goal of this routine is to ultimately grow stronger connections with our readers. Our muscles will work more efficiently and our efforts will garner more results. If we stop exercising, we run the risk of growing flabby and week. Instead, we need to stay the course with a regular social media workout routine.

Edie Melson is the author of numerous books, including the bestseller Connections: Social Media and Networking Techniques for Writers. She’s the co-director of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference, Social Media Director of Southern Writers Magazine and board
Member of the Advanced Writers and Speaker Association.

Visit Edie on and through social media.
Visit Edie at
Twitter: @EdieMelson
Facebook: Edie Melson

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Wednesday Highlight ~ Lynette Eason

In January 2020, bestselling author Lynette Eason introduced Collateral Damage, the first book in the Danger Never Sleeps series. This was followed by Aceeptable Risk in August  2020. Eason's new book, Active Defense, offers another suspense-filled novel in this action-packed series.

This series follows the lives of four friends who have left the military and are returning
to a civilian life. But life does not go as planned for these friends who carry their own secrets. 

But first, we wanted to know how the pandemic had affected Eason if at all. "No, not really. At least not at the moment unless there's some subconscious thing I'm not aware of. I'm an introvert so spending a lot of time alone doesn't bother me in the least. I just feel really sorry for people who need the in person social interaction and haven't been able to have that. I think that the isolation is truly devastating for some. I'm fortunate not to be one of those. That's NOT to say I don't love people and enjoy socializing; I just don't thrive on it. 

"However, it's funny you should ask that. I actually tested positive today. So...when I didn't have it, I wrote as usual. It really didn't affect me since that's my day job. We'll see how I feel over the course of the next few days to determine how it's going to affect my writing. I can't let it affect me too much since I have to meet deadlines."  

Her new book, Active Defense is about Heather Fontaine, a former field surgeon in Afghanistan who is used to life-or-death situations. She just didn’t expect them to follow her home. When she finds someone has broken into her house while she was gone, she decides to hide out in a small town. But trouble is not far behind.

You may be surprised to learn . . ."I didn't really have anything in mind for the plot when I sold the series, but after some in-depth study on the characters I'd be writing about, and some serious brainstorming with some of my awesome writing buds, I was able to put the story together based on those suggestions. 

"I’m very good at making stuff up. I decided I wanted to write about people who have
gotten out of the military and have to deal with acclimating to life as a civilian while bad buys try to kill them."

Eason says when is writing her books , "The easiest part is always the end. The hardest part is always the middle. Making sure I've got enough action to keep the readers turning the pages."

And she has made sure there is enough action for her readers. They will be looking over their shoulders as they dive into this story, Active Defense, about losing control and finding something better.

Lynette Eason is the bestselling author of Collateral Damage and Acceptable Risk, as well as Protecting Tanner Hollow and the Blue Justice, Women of Justice, Deadly Reunions, Hidden Identity, and Elite Guardians series. She is the winner of three ACFW Carol Awards, the Selah Award, and the Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award, among others. She is a graduate of the University of South Carolina and has a master’s degree in education from Converse College. Eason lives in South Carolina with her husband and two children. 

Learn more at

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

In the Service of Poetry

Sara Robinson

Recently I read the remarkable and astute essay, The Poet, by Ralph Waldo Emerson. In this column I draw upon his wisdom to discuss what motivates us as poets. We write for purpose beyond the quest for or necessity of publication. Ours is a service described best as a philosophy of mankind. What do I mean? While we are not interpreters of life, we seek to convince ourselves and others that life has meaning.

Did you know that poets show us that within each of us dwells an artist? Within each of us there is a power, the power to engage the senses. Think about this: artists engage our eyes and emotions; sculptors engage our eyes, sense of dimensional space, and emotions; writers engage our eyes, sense of language, and imagination. Emerson stated a poet “sees and handles that which others dream of…”

A poet knows and tells. Did poetry exist before time? Was the first poem simply a word? Certainly, we know that before words there were symbols (art!). How about the compilation of thought into any form? Imagine the first poet assembling the mechanics of a villanelle or sestina. That poet struggled with how best to convey a thought.

A poet’s service is to the truth. Until we find a better “truth-sayer,” poets are likely to be the best option. No one exceeds the poet’s fidelity to his/her service. And this is sensual in that the senses are aroused.

Poets liberally use metaphor to explain often the inexplicable. We continually examine language for the metaphor to help get to the great understanding (see an earlier column). Emerson also stated that language is fossil poetry. I have coined a new word (I hope), metaphormosis: defined as the development of the perceptions of symbols or words or forms to describe life.

We love poets because they give us new thoughts (they “unlock” us). Poets free our intellect like children’s books unlock imagination. We take our “language” to paper from what we have observed in nature, heard from friends, from touching the world, and who we have loved. Then we share this.

How noble our service to poetry!

Sara M. Robinson, founder of the Lonesome Mountain Pro(s)e Writers’ Workshop, and former Instructor of a course on Contemporary American Poets at UVA-OLLI, is poetry columnist for Southern Writers Magazine and poetry editor for Virginia Literary Journal. In addition to publication in various anthologies, including We Grew Wings and Flew (2014), Scratching Against the Fabric (2015), and Virginia Writer’s Club Centennial Anthology (2017); journals: Loch Raven Review, The Virginia Literary Journal, vox poetica, Jimson Weed, Whisky Advocate, and Poetica, she is poet and author of Love Always, Hobby and Jessie (2009), Two Little Girls in a Wading Pool (2012), A Cruise in Rare Waters (2013), and Stones for Words (2014). Her latest poetry book, Sometimes the Little Town, released in February 2016, was a finalist for the Poetry Society of Virginia’s 2017 Book Award.

Monday, January 11, 2021

Step Out Of The Crowd

 Susan Reichert       @swmeditor


From The Guardian

Not long ago, I had a conversation with two award winning writers, discussing how it has become more difficult to get sales because so many books are coming on the market every day.

While that is true, many books are being released every day, it is simply a detour for authors on the road to marketing. Why? If you go back through history you will find that when an industry has a problem, people become innovative and look for ways to go around it, change it, or develop a new market. In other words, it is an opportunity to find a better way.

Compare it to when they were building a railroad…they had to find ways to go over, through or around mountains. They succeeded because we have railroads all over the world.

That happens in all areas. And our sector, selling books, is no different.

One of the things you will find, with all the books being released some of them are not written well. Even if someone buys a book because they like the cover and/or title, does not mean they will buy another book from that author.

So as fast as they come into the market, they will leave just about that fast. Trust me, I get books sent to me all the time to read, and so many of them are chocked full of errors. So much so, it is difficult to read. The flow is not good, the plot is flawed, and well all in all it is not worth reading. You know what I mean. You have read good books, and you have read bad ones.

So, if you continue to write good books you will not lose your reader base. If they bought one of your books and liked it, they are going to buy another one and continue.

Authors will have to find new ways to market their books for sure. The first step is to take stock of how and what you have been using to market. Then develop a strategy to hone what works, eliminate what has not.

“As we recover, everyone’s expectations are that digital works,” says Mackenzie Johnson, marketing, and partnership manager at BORN Group, a digital marketing agency in New York. “Going into 2021, the customer experience has to be excellent.”

Authors create reader (customer) experiences. That is the number one key.

Another key is while authors sell on Amazon, they also need their own marketplace. Where? On their website and/or blog. Make it easy for your reader to buy your book. If they are on your website, they need the convenience of clicking on your book and buying it from you and/or Amazon and any other store where it sells. If they buy from you, it is autographed.

The point is, we must get out of our box, and look for new ways to market our books to generate the sales. It takes research into many venues and getting pricing before we can put a strategy together, but once we have the information, we will be able to go where “others have not gone.” Sometimes you must get out of the crowd to be seen.

Here are two questions for you to ponder:

What are some ideas you can think of to break out of the crowd?

How much time are you willing to spend on researching new ways?

Susan Reichert is the founder of Southern Author Services and Editor of Suite T. Prior to this was the co-publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Southern Writers Magazine, a national magazine for authors and readers.

She is the author of God’s Prayer Power and Storms in Life, numerous magazine articles, and in 9 anthology books. Speaker at writing conferences, seminars, libraries, and President of Collierville Christian Writers Group (CCWriters Group).

She is the author of God’s Prayer Power and Storms in Life, numerous magazine articles, and in 9 anthology books. Speaker at writing conferences, seminars, libraries, and President of Collierville Christian Writers Group (CCWriters Group).

Reichert discovered one of her life’s purposes when she began to write. “First, it was short stories as a child and some Saturday afternoons you could find Susan, her sister and friends acting out the stories. “My first novel I wrote, the manuscript was lost in a move. Now I write using a computer.”

Susan lives in Tennessee with her husband. They have four grown daughters with their own families.

You can visit Susan at www.susanlreichert.comhttps:susanreichert.blogspot.com

Friday, January 8, 2021

Book Covers and Titles~A Fun Questionaire

Since it is Friday, and we have a weekend coming up, we thought it might be fun to choose at random a few books and do a questionaire based on the book covers and titles.

As authors we all know the importance of choosing a great cover and title to draw the reader to our books.

To see them more about them you can click and it will take you to books.

Here are some fun questions for you to answer based on the books below. 

The first row contain books 1 through 4 

The second row contain books 5 through 8 

Which cover grabs your eye first?

Which title grabs your eye first?

Do you feel the title suits the picture?

If you were going to read this genre, which book would you choose first?

Have Fun

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Lessons I Learned

 Dennis L. Peterson

When I began genealogical research years ago, I never dreamed my efforts would produce a book. What began as a personal curiosity became a quest to preserve the family heritage for my children and grandchildren. Almost before I knew it, it had become a book, A Goodly Heritage: A Peterson Family Legacy.

Here are a few of those lessons about how (and how not) to gather and write your findings.

1. Determine your target audience.

My intended audience was immediate family—my four daughters and my seven grandchildren—and perhaps a few interested distant relatives and friends. I intended to give the books as Christmas gifts. The target you set will determine how you address the people in the history you write and how to market it.

2. Do your basic genealogical research.

The essential sources include family records (both written and photographic), family stories and traditions, family graveyards, individuals’ obituaries, census records, and military service records and interviews of older family members while they are still around.

3. Set your limitations.

Genealogical research can be endless. One detail leads to others. Determine how far to go, which tree branches to cover, and which (if any) photographs to use—then stick to those limitations!

4. Avoid sidetracks and rabbit trails.

The temptation to chase rabbit trails is present in writing family history. I got off track trying to trace my uncle’s footsteps during World War II. Although interesting, it was a poor use of my time and energy.

5. Include interesting tidbits.

Show your readers the setting—historical, financial, and cultural—in which your “characters” lived. Make them more human and more interesting by including anecdotes and examples from their lives.

6. Set a deadline and a timetable for completing your project.

A deadline forces you to keep working with a clear purpose and helps you finish the project. My quest originally was to last one year. Instead, it lasted more than two.

7. Determine a publishing format to use.

Will you staple printed, typewritten pages or bind it? If bound, will it be perfect or spiral bound? Or will it be professionally designed and printed? Will you try to obtain a traditional publisher or self-publish? Unlike my traditionally published Confederate Cabinet Departments and Secretaries (McFarland, 2016) and Combat! Spiritual Lessons from Military History (TouchPoint, 2020), I chose to self-publish my family history using Amazon’s CreateSpace program (now Kindle Direct Publishing). This gave me a great deal of freedom in choosing the layout and design for the book and allowed sales to anyone, not just the target relatives (although that was not my intent), through

Whether you present the story of your family’s history as a gift or intend it for sale, research it thoroughly and enjoy the journey.

Dennis L. Peterson is an independent author, historian, and editor with numerous published credits in regional and national journals and magazines since 1981. A former history and writing teacher and lead author of American history textbooks and curricula for a major Christian textbook publisher. Served as senior technical editor for Lockheed Martin Energy Systems, Inc. at the historic Oak Ridge, Tennessee, nuclear facilities. He is a member of several historical organizations, including the Society of Independent Southern Historians, the East Tennessee Historical Society, and the Travelers Rest (SC) Historical Society, on the board of which he also serves as 2nd vice president. He is also a docent for the History Museum of Travelers Rest. His areas of special interest include Southern history, the War Between the States, the Great Depression, and World War II as well as biblical studies
Soon to be published by TouchPoint Press: Christ in Camp and Combat: Religious Work in the Confederate Armies (due to be released in Spring 2021) and Evangelism and Expulsion: Missionary Work Among the Cherokees Before Removal (due to be released in Summer 2021).  
Visit him on his website:

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Perks For Being An Historical Author

Laura Frantz       

Before Christmas I actually prayed and asked the Lord to enable me to write the first 2 chapters of the Scottish novel that's next for me - a sort of Christmas gift. Beginnings can be hard even after weeks or months of researching. Of course, He did that and I'm so grateful for a blessed start! I'll continue praying as I write and hope to be finished with the first draft of the novel by late spring. Then it's galleys and page proofs for the novel releasing in January 2021 while continuing to edit and polish the Scottish story to submit to Revell next January, also.

I lost a month or more last spring because everyone was upended by the pandemic and lots of news & change kept coming at us. Though I can work through kid chaos, a pandemic felt out of control when my ideal work environment is peace and order. After reaching a stall on my WIP, I contacted my head editor and agent, something I never do, and asked them to brainstorm the end of the novel with me. That got me unstuck!

Ironically, my next novel involves an 18th-century pandemic that actually occurred historically, so I was able to write about that from a fresher perspective than if we hadn't been in the middle of one. The 18th-century is a far cry medically and germ theory-wise from today though. I think the pandemic has taught me to take nothing for granted, especially the gift of writing. It's a short season.

Pocahontas has always been a historical heroine of mine and I was keen to write a novel that included or honored at least some of her history. Also, the tobacco brides that came to Virginia colony have always been fascinating to me. So, this is where the idea for my new book, Tidewater Bride, came from. Would I have forsaken home and family, gotten on a dangerous ship, then sailed to an unknown colony to be courted by a complete stranger? I think not :) But I have such respect for those who did.

The easiest part was writing the children since I love children and have some of my own now grown. Undoubtedly the hardest part was getting the Indian history right. So many tribes in Virginia during that time period and so many powerful chiefs, etc. The 17th-century is very different than my usual 18th-century setting so I was researching the entire year that I wrote the novel and not relying on prior knowledge. One of the perks of being a historical author is an ongoing education!

Thanks so much for hosting me. I'm honored!


Laura Frantz is a Christy Award winner and the ECPA bestselling author of eleven novels, including An Uncommon Woman, The Frontiersman’s Daughter, Courting Morrow Little, The Colonel’s Lady, The Lacemaker, and A Bound Heart. She is a proud mom to an American soldier and a career firefighter. When not at home in Kentucky, she and her husband live in Washington State. 

Learn more at

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Balancing Ambition with Reality on Writing Goals

 Erin Bartel      @ErinLBartels

I have set my writing goals for 2021 the same way I set them for every other year: balancing ambition with reality. Only this year I have a better sense of what reality will be! Now that we’re over the shock and fear and confusion phase of the pandemic and into the part where we can see light at the end of the tunnel, I am moving into this new year with hope and expectation. I want to front-load the year with drafting and revising while events are still virtual, and by fall I want to be back to in-person events. My family had to reschedule a trip to Yellowstone we’d planned for last year. My goal is to have a finished, polished draft of my current work-in-progress before we hop on that plane in June.

It has been slower going with the pandemic to finish the manuscript I have been working on. I had thought when I started writing it at the beginning of 2020 that I’d have the first draft done by the end of the year, but in reality I have only managed to get to the halfway point. So, in that superficial way, it has changed my writing. But in a deeper way, thinking of the topics I’m writing about or my writing style, I don’t think it has affected it at all.

Monday, January 4, 2021

Characters Giving Speeches

 Susan Reichert                 @swmeditor

As writers, we normally do not think in terms of anything but fiction, non-fiction, poetry, essays, memoirs, and short stories.

But in listening to the news last night, they replayed a few lines from a speech from a politician and I decided as writers we probably do not think of writing speeches. But some people make good money writing speeches for politicians and senior level executives both in government and in the private sector.

Did you know they also hire speech writers to write for weddings and all kinds of social occasions?

The speechwriter will work with the person they are writing the speech for to determine the theme, points to cover, the message the person wants to get across and what position he wants to take.

Executive speechwriter Anthony Trendl writes, “Speechwriters specialize in a kind of writing that merges marketing, theater, public relations, sales, education and politics all in one presentation.”

So now we know those speeches we here are written to get us on the side of the speech giver!

As writers we are used to getting comments, good or bad…in other words criticism, on our writing so we will not be surprised that this also happens in speechwriting. Each draft you write will go through this procedure until you have it just the way the person wants it.

Writing a speech for someone is like writing a speech for a character in a fiction novel. The direction you start the story in the character often will go a different way. It is the same way with the person you are writing the speech for. What they think they want will turn out to go in a different direction after a draft or two.

You also must work with tight deadlines. Well, authors work with deadlines when they are writing a novel for their publishers. So, this want be a problem for most writers.

One of the things a speechwriter must know up front when writing speeches for other people, they must be able to accept anonymity. A speechwriter is like a ghostwriter. They do not officially get acknowledgement.

We all remember John F. Kennedy’s words, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” Who should get the credit? John F. Kennedy or Ted Sorensen (the speechwriter) or to both?

Theodore Roosevelt’s speech “Duties of American Citizenship” one of the 35 greatest speeches in history as is Winston Churchill’s “We Shall Fight on the Beaches.

There is a speechwriter’s guild, “The UK Speechwriters’ Guild” for professional writers who specialize in writing speeches. From what I can find, speechwriters do not usually have specific training in the area and/or the field in which the speech is written for. Oh, and most speechwriters do not have specific training in the writing craft, at least not that I have been able to find. Check with the Guild.

It helps if you are a speechwriter to enjoy research. A great deal must be done on the topic for which the speech is being written. Many authors know what it is to do research when writing their books.

If you are an outliner you will waltz through writing the framework for the speech. Remember what we have been told…know your audience…who are you going to market to? Same for a speechwriter.

Well, who knows, with all the experience writers have it might be fun to offer our services to writing a speech?

Do you think as a writer you would like to write a speech? You might decide you do not want to do it for a living, but you might enjoy writing a speech for a character in your book.

What are your thoughts? The book you are writing now, any possible chance you might have a character in the book you could write a speech for? 

Susan Reichert is the founder of Southern Author Services and Editor of Suite T. Prior to this was the co-publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Southern Writers Magazine, a national magazine for authors and readers. 

She is the author of God’s Prayer Power and Storms in Life, numerous magazine articles, and in 9 anthology books. Speaker at writing conferences, seminars, libraries, and President of Collierville Christian Writers Group (CCWriters Group). 

Reichert discovered one of her life’s purposes when she began to write. “First, it was short stories as a child and some Saturday afternoons you could find Susan, her sister and friends acting out the stories. “My first novel I wrote, the manuscript was lost in a move. Now I write using a computer.”

Susan lives in Tennessee with her husband. They have four grown daughters with their own families.

You can visit Susan at; https:susanreichert.blogspot.com;