Friday, January 29, 2021

Effects On Writing During Pandemic



Tom Threadgill is back with another riveting page-turner featuring Amara Alvarez, the detective, who is willing to put everything on the line to see that justice is served and lives are protected. This is book 2 in the series.






Here is Threadgill’s response to questions regarding his writing experience and effects of the pandemic.


How have you set your goals for writing for the new year?


Unlike prior years, my writing goals for 2021 are still in flux. So many things happened in 2020 that affected my work, mostly on a personal level but also professionally to a lesser extent. I usually try to write one book per year but that didn’t happen last year. I did finish edits on Network of Deceit and did some early plotting on a possible sequel, but as it stands right now, I’m not sure what 2021 has in store for my writing. I do know there are more stories to be told in the Amara Alvarez series, and I hope to tell them soon.


How has the virus affected your writing?


I think the main effect has been the reluctance to write due to the overall sense of foreboding that seems to permeate everything. The gloom that settled over the U.S. (and the rest of the world), enhanced by the media and politics, took my introvert personality to new levels. It’s exhausting to read and hear nothing but bad news constantly, which is why I tuned out of the news and most social media early in the year. Writing is a job that requires creativity, endurance, and tons of effort. The impacts of the virus, particularly in my personal life, redirected a lot of my energy away from my books.

Do you feel the pandemic has changed your writing in some way?

Absolutely. My books have a touch of grittiness to them. Sometimes more than that, but not much. I’ve always tried to keep my writing as realistic as possible, which means that HEA (happily-ever-after) doesn’t always work out. I do understand readers want to be entertained and that includes an ending that is upbeat, or at least hopeful. That won’t change but I do feel that future books are going to be a bit darker with more edge to them. I’m in the process of formulating a new series that plays into that. Real people forced to make “the lesser of two evils” decisions and deal with those consequences.


Where did you get the idea for your new book, Network of Deceit?

I’ve had the setting of the crime in my mind for years. While on a road trip with my wife, we drove past an abandoned water park in the middle of winter. Her first thought was how spooky it looked. Mine was what a great place that would be to hide bodies. I suppose that’s the difference between fiction writers and normal folks? The rest of the plot came together as I wrote. The main character, Amara, must figure out what happened to a teenage boy and why, if he was murdered, anyone would choose to commit the crime in the middle of a sweltering hot day at a crowded location like a water park. Along the way, things get worse when her personal electronic devices are used against her. That plays into my belief that none of us truly understand the privacy we’ve given away to companies who profit from that information.


What was the easiest and most difficult part writing your new book?

The easiest part is writing the first chapter. I almost always have a good idea of how I want the opening to go and what the hook will be. That doesn’t mean there’s not a slew of revisions that take place after that, but I’ll tweak the writing until it’s where I want it. That first chapter sets the tone for the rest of the story and starts asking questions that the main character – and the reader – have to answer. The most difficult part of the story is turning it over to the editor/publisher. Not because I don’t think it’s ready, but because it’s the first time the book will be seen by others. Every writer knows the feeling of letting their baby out into the world for the first time. The trepidation, fear, hope, and relief of finally being done.

What do you love most about reading suspense novels and writing them yourself?

For me, it’s all about the surprises. When a character does something unexpected but remains true to themselves. Nothing worse than when the story doesn’t feel real, like the detective who continually makes stupid decisions or the huge coincidence that saves the day. I’ll usually quit reading when that happens since I’m pulled out of the imaginary world.

Did anything surprise you as you were writing this story?

I’m always surprised when I write a novel. Usually it’s by something a character does that I didn’t see coming. That’s one reason I don’t plot. It allows me to have more of a flow to the story and let the characters tell me what they’re going to do. Yeah, I know that might sound odd, but it’s what happens. Kudos to those writers who can plot out their story from start to finish, but I’m not one of them.

  


What do you hope readers will gain from Network of Deceit?


Mostly, an escape from reality for a little while. I write to entertain. Nothing makes me happier than getting an email from a reader telling me they couldn’t put down my story.


Tom Threadgill turned his love of a good tale into a full-time profession. His books have a distinct focus on clean, suspenseful action with strong character development. He is a member of the International Thriller Writers (ITW) and American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW). In his downtime, Tom enjoys woodworking, riding his Harley, and chasing the elusive Yard of the Month award. He currently resides with his wife in the Dallas area and can be reached through his website at TomThreadgill.com

Thursday, January 28, 2021

First Published at Fifty



Nancy Roe



My quest to become a published author started when I wrote my autobiography for a sixth grade English assignment. In the last chapter, I wrote that I wanted to be an author. Why? This is a direct quote from my twelve-year-old self: “Since I like to read books a lot I want to write them so I can write what I want so I don’t have to look in the shelves just to find a good book.” The prose is terrible, but the thought is pure. Thirty-eight years later, I made my dreams come true.

While mystery novels are my first love, I started my writing career with a nonfiction book. Multiple articles led me to believe nonfiction was easier to sell than fiction. My one passion (some might say it’s a calling) is organizing. I know Marie Kondo and I would be friends. My pantry is full of alphabetically arranged spices, I have lists of every gift I’ve received for my birthday or Christmas since I was ten, and I’ve kept track of my finances since I moved into my first apartment at eighteen. This year, I’m using sixty-three categories to classify my expenses and income. To me, organizing is fun.

My book, Organize The Nancy Way, took me two years to write, edit, and publish. I remember many sleepless nights considering trim sizes, fonts, layout, publishing paths, what ISBN meant, and how to get the book on Amazon. I read hundreds of articles from many sources, getting more confused with each article I read.

When I set a goal for myself, there is nothing that will stop me. My goal was to publish my first book at fifty. I persevered, found the right steps to follow, and with seventy-one days to go, made my goal a reality. I released Organize The Nancy Way on September 11, 2012.

There is nothing more thrilling than when the UPS driver delivers a box of your book on the doorstep. My name was on the cover of a book! Me. Nancy Roe. A farm girl from a small town in northeast Iowa. I made my husband take a picture of me holding my first book so I could share my triumph with family and friends. This moment needed documentation. With what little marketing skills I had, I put my book into the universe. To date, I’ve sold almost 1,200 paperbacks and have had over 23,000 Kindle downloads.

For my second book, I returned to my first love—mysteries. Going from nonfiction to fiction was another learning curve. I now had to deal with plot, red herrings, character development, and setting. I had the basic idea for the book and wrote the first 50,000 words during NaNoWriMo. (For those that don’t know, NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. It happens every November, and the goal is to write 50,000 words in thirty days.) I participated in NaNoWriMo for my next two mystery novels.

My four stand-alone mystery novels are Secrets Can Be Deadly, Hidden in Shadow Pines, Black Roses for Cassidy, and The Accident. I expect to release my fifth mystery this fall. I enjoy the writing process and sharing my stories with the world.

If I could go back ten years to when I started writing my first book, I would tell myself to find a writer’s group. Be willing to share your story with others and openly accept their feedback. Also, never be afraid to ask fellow authors for advice. We are on this journey together.



Nancy has self-published seven books and is writing her next mystery.

Nancy served as a panelist at the Killer Nashville International Writer’s Conference, speaking on the subjects of self-publishing, minor characters, and dialogue.

On Nancy’s website (www.NancyRoeAuthor.com), you’ll find articles on organizing tips, recipes, craft ideas, unusual holidays, and writing.

Nancy is a Midwest farm girl at heart and lives in Utah with her husband and two four-legged children, Max, and Addison.



Website: www.NancyRoeAuthor.com

Facebook: www.Facebook.com/NancyRoeAuthor

Twitter: www.Twitter.com/NancyRoeAuthor

Books: www.NancyRoeOnAmazon.com




Wednesday, January 27, 2021

When I Held It



Chris Pepple




I remember the day that I held my first published book. It seemed like a dream come true. When I was growing up, my grandmother would buy me spiral notebooks and pencils any time I asked for them. I would hide in a secret corner in her house and write every chance I got. I even loved my writing assignments in school and never could understand why other classmates dreaded them. I always wanted to be a writer, but I didn’t pursue that dream in college, however. Well, I did in a way, but I also listened to people who said that writing wasn’t a “real career.” I always heard people say, “That’s only a dream that will disappoint you if you try to follow it. Hard-working people need to find real jobs.” So instead of majoring in creative writing, I majored in technical writing. It sounded more impressive to my critics, and I convinced myself I could take on the business world with my writing skills.

My first dream never died, however. The voice inside of me kept calling me to pen and paper…kept creating characters in my head…kept telling me to listen to the stories around me. When I entered Emory University to work on my Master of Divinity degree, I knew I had to find a way to write. I took every course that gave me opportunities to write sermons or liturgy. I sought out volunteer opportunities to write for local organizations. I even took occasional writing courses at other universities even though the credits didn’t go toward my degree.

I wrote everywhere I went. I carried paper with me long before laptops existed. I wrote on every hike. I wrote late at night after other jobs were completed. Writing made me feel alive and connected to my community and my faith. I never gave up the dream even when I had to set it aside while raising my children. Finally, though, I came back to my dream and learned that I loved to interview people and tell their stories. I wrote for several magazines and eventually took a job as a staff writer for a university. But that voice inside kept calling me to write more. I listened.

In 2012, I published a book of short stories titled Look to See Me: A Collection of Reflections. When I held that book, I felt a rush of joy that I had never experienced before. That writer inside of me felt alive. I had followed my dream and succeeded. It didn’t matter to me in that moment if the book sold or became a bestseller. That first book was for me. I had to believe in myself, and I finally did. It was a bonus that people did read the book and talked with me about it and invited me to read a few stories to their book clubs or writing groups.


My last two books fulfilled two other dreams—I published a book of poetry and a book about the craft of writing. I teach my writing students to never give up on their dreams. We each have a voice inside that helps us discover our gifts and talents. We have a voice that calls us to use those gifts and talents to bring good into the world—to make us a better person and bring love and light to others. So, I write and also edit and consult with others as they work to follow their dreams. I don’t pretend that I have to change my dream to please others.



I am a writer. I am a poet. I am a storyteller. I knew my dream was real the moment I held my first book. I’ve learned a lot about writing and publishing since that day, but more than anything, I learned to follow my dream and listen to that guiding voice that tells me to never give up.



I am an award-winning author and a freelance writer, manuscript consultant, and editor living in Germantown, Tenn. As a published author, my works include Looking, Seeing (2018), Without a Voice (2017), Two Frontiers (2016), Writing Your Faith Journey (2016), Look to See Me: A Collection of Reflections (2006) and Reflections on Suffering: Defining Our Crosses and Letting Go of Pain (2012). My first novel, Two Frontiers, was a 2017 Next Generation Indie Book Awards Finalist.

I was a long-time writer-at-large for Southern Writers Magazine, interviewing national authors for each issue. My articles have appeared in many other local and national publications, including Delta Magazine.

I speak to writing groups on topics such as self-publishing, how to find your own creative voice and how to break writer's block. Along with speaking to writing groups, I also speak nationally to churches and nonprofit organizations on a variety of motivational and spiritual topics.

Visit at https://www.chrispepple.com/

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

History of a Novel

 Kay DiBianca





When the doorbell rang, I jumped up and ran into the hall, almost knocking over my husband, Frank, who was rushing out of his office. We knew what the delivery was, and we grinned at each other as we headed to the front door. The large boxes that had been deposited on the porch were just about the right size to hold two hundred paperback books, the exact number my publisher had informed me he was sending.

We lugged the boxes into the house and placed them on the floor in my office. When I got out the scissors to cut open the first lid, Frank said, “Wait. Let me take a picture.” We were like climbers who had reached the top of the mountain and wanted to record the moment.

For sure, it had been a long journey, starting over three years earlier when I sat down to write a cozy mystery novel. My background in computer science was not exactly the ideal preparation for creative writing, but I had always loved to read and had been encouraged to write by several teachers in my youth. Newly retired, I considered this the perfect time for a fresh adventure.

Short on knowledge of the craft, but long on motivation, I jumped into the literary world. 44,000 words later, I thought I had a finished product, but a few agents gently informed me that my work was not ready for publication. What I had assumed would be a sprint turned out to be a marathon, and it was time to get serious.

I bought a copy of The Christian Writers Market Guide, and it provided a wealth of information on editors, agents, publishers, and more. Through that book, I found my freelance editor and other professionals who helped me understand how to take a raw story and turn it into a well-crafted novel. Part of that learning experience was digesting great craft books like Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell and Self-editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King. Two years later, my editor and I had revised the story into a 60,000-word manuscript that she felt was ready for the world to see.

When Frank and I attended the Mt. Hermon Christian Writers Conference in 2018, I timidly approached several editors and agents with the first chapters of my manuscript, and I was thrilled with their enthusiastic responses. In the weeks that followed, I sent book proposals to several publishers, and multiple offers to publish followed. We chose Crosslink Christian Publishers to release The Watch on the Fencepost.

Crosslink made the journey to publication easy and enjoyable. We mutually decided on the front cover design and the back cover copy, and they had their own editor review the manuscript. They formatted the print and ebooks beautifully. My author copies arrived in those boxes on the front porch a couple of weeks before Christmas 2018, and Frank took the picture you above.


Sitting on the floor of the living room and holding the book in my hands was a fulfilling experience. But more than a sense of accomplishment, I had a deep satisfaction that this was the story I had wanted to tell.

The protagonist, a young woman whose parents had recently died in an automobile accident, discovers a dark family secret and the possibility that there was foul play involved in her parents’ deaths. Then she stumbles onto the first of a series of cryptic clues. Each time she finds one, she doesn’t understand it, but something eventually happens that opens her eyes and moves her forward to the next clue. Finally, she solves the mystery and encounters the truth.

This is a metaphor for our lives. We don’t always understand our circumstances. As Paul said in 1 Corinthians, “For now we see in a mirror, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know fully even as also I was fully known.” We may not always comprehend the meaning of the events in our lives, but one day we will have our eyes opened fully, and we will know the truth.

And so I continue to write, looking for that next challenge for me and my main characters. The second book in my Watch series, Dead Man’s Watch, was released in September 2020 with the theme “Saving one life is like saving the whole world.” I’m working on the third book in the series now, and I’m determined to provide my readers with an entertaining mystery wrapped in fundamental truth. 

I’m not sure I’ll ever experience that sense of awe again like I did when I held my first published book in my hands, but I am confident I will be grateful every day for the opportunity to create another story. 






Kay DiBianca is a bestselling author who loves to create literary puzzles for her readers to solve. Her characters come to life as they struggle to solve mysteries and create relationships amidst the ongoing themes of faith and family. Her first novel, The Watch on the Fencepost, won an Illumination Award for General Fiction and an Eric Hoffer Award for Mystery. The second book in the Watch series, Dead Man’s Watch, was released in September 2020.

Kay is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers and Sisters in Crime. An avid runner, she can often be found at a nearby track, on the treadmill, or at a large park near her home. Her background in software development fuels her fascination with puzzles and mysteries, and her dedication to running helps supply the endurance and energy she needs to write about them!

Kay and her husband, Frank, live, run, and write in Memphis, Tennessee.

You can connect with Kay through her website at https://kaydibianca.com.

Monday, January 25, 2021

Market With The Eagles

Susan Reichert


Twenty-five days ago we were all preparing to ring in the new year of 2021. I remember thinking on December 31, had I finished all the steps in my writing plans for 2020. Going through my computer folder for 2020, I found three manuscripts started, each having between 14,000 and 25,000 words. 

Looking over my notes for each manuscript, I could not find reasons for not finishing any of them. Writer's block was not the reason, so what was?

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: stevebradshawauthor.com, Email: steve@stevebradshawBOOKS.com, facebook.com/steve.bradshaw.9400, twitter.com/sbauthor, linkedin.com/pub/steve-bradshaw/18/246/660

Titles: BLUFF CITY BUTCHER, THE SKIES ROARED, BLOOD LIONS, EVIL LIKE ME, SERIAL INTENT, TERMINAL BREACH, and SHARED INNOCENCE.

Screenplay: TERMINAL BREACH

Audiobooks: BLUFF CITY BUTCHER, THE SKIES ROARED, BLOOD LIONS, EVIL LIKE ME, TERMINAL BREACH

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 https://diannmills.com/, https://www.facebook.com/diannmills, https://twitter.com/diannmills

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.comhttps://www.facebook.com/SusanLeeReicherthttps://twitter.com/swmeditor; https://www.linkedin.com/in/susan-reichert-55922a13/;


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 questionnaire 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 reader’s 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 contains 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 pick?

 



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)


Hurdles:

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


Sprints:

 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


Cardio:

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 www.EdieMelson.com and through social media.
Visit Edie at www.EdieMelson.com
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 www.lynetteeason.com.





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.


https://saramrobinson.com.




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.comhttps://www.facebook.com/SusanLeeReicherthttps://twitter.com/swmeditorhttps://www.linkedin.com/in/susan-reichert-55922a13/


Friday, January 8, 2021

Book Covers and Titles~A Fun Questionnaire

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 questionnaire 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 Amazon.com 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