February Releases from ACFW Authors!

February 2019 New Releases

More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website.

Amish Romance:

Convenient Amish Proposal by Jan Drexler — When Bethany Zook’s childhood friend returns to Indiana Amish country a widower, with an adorable little girl in tow, she’s willing to aid him in any way. But there’s just one thing Andrew Yoder needs – a mother for little Mari. And he seems convinced Bethany is the answer, just as she’s sure any union between them would be one strictly of convenience… Andrew thought Bethany had married another. Now, determined to keep Mari despite his mother-in-law’s interference, he offers Bethany marriage in name only. But she’s quickly becoming more than a housekeeper and a mamm. Can he leave the past behind to claim a family of the heart? (Amish Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Contemporary Romance:

Ocean’s Edge by Cindy M. Amos — Tired of Kansas, Wynn Yardley places her wish to touch the ocean into Dreams Come True Director Teague Montgomery’s hands, and then launches into an adventure to the seashore with him to discover the tidal zone–and affections for her companion. (Contemporary Romance from Winged Publications)

Home Another Way by Brenda S. Anderson — Can a senator’s daughter and convict’s son overcome their differences and learn what it really means to love? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

Love, Lies, and Homemade Pie by Sally Bayless — Cara Smith has a whole new life planned in Abundance, Missouri. If she can just avoid questions from that intriguing guy at the newspaper, no one will ever find out about her past. Will Hamlin, local editor, desperately needs a big story to keep his newspaper afloat, and Cara Smith is clearly hiding something. But after Will’s initial inquiries fail to turn up anything, he grows less interested in Cara’s past and more interested in winning her heart with slices of pie and stolen kisses. When a crime is uncovered at city hall just as Will unearths Cara’s dark secret, the repercussions shatter their romance. Has Cara really left her past behind? Can Will finally find a way to save the paper? And can they each place their trust in God and together find freedom in the truth and overcome the obstacles to their love? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

Their Family Blessing by Lorraine Beatty — She owns the lodge but he owns the land. When single mom Carly Hughes the Longleaf Lodge, she gains a heap of trouble – her teenage crush Deputy MacKenzie Bridges. Her father left Mack the land around the lodge. While Carly wants to sell for her daughter’s sake. Mack wants to stay for his niece’s. and if they can’t work together, they’ll both lose everything… including the renewed spark between them. (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Courting Calla by Hallee Bridgeman — Calla Vaughn is trying to get her life in order so she can go back to culinary school. No matter how hard she works, though, she feels like she is just treading water and can’t see any way out of the hole dug for her by a con artist who stole her identity. When flowers she sends to her best friend with a dinner invitation accidentally get delivered to Ian Jones, she decides to cook him the best meal he’s ever had. By the time she admits that the flowers were never for him, he is as convinced as she is that God orchestrated the mistake in the first place. All that’s left is to tell him the dark secret about her father’s widow. She waits a little too long, though, and is carted off to jail for questioning on felony charges before she gets a chance. Will Ian understand her situation, or will the deception surrounding Calla destroy any trust he has in her? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

A Different Season by Jennifer Heeren — How do you go on when your heart is broken? Twenty-two-year-old Lisette Carter is grief-stricken over her husband’s death—which occurred before she knew she was pregnant. Now in her last trimester, she meets David Baranski, who has a tragic past of his own. He seems to care for Lisette, but she’s not sure she can trust him. Besides, her sorrow and survivor guilt are all she can handle. (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

One Thing I Know by Kara Isaac — Rachel Somers, ghost writer for America’s #1 relationship expert, is running out of ideas, but it’s keep up the charade or lose the income required to care for her father. The last thing she needs is her boss’s publicist concocting a scheme to pair her with some radio star in hopes it will spark the next book idea. Lucas Grant didn’t expect his fame on a late-night sports show to come with constant calls from women wanting relationship advice. Which means he has to waste hours on the phone with an expert like Dr. Donna Somerville talking about feelings when he’d rather be talking about his first love: football. Then a deal opens up with a big-time producer who suspects Dr. Somerville isn’t what she seems, and he wants Lucas to discover her secret. To do that, he needs to win over her tight-lipped assistant who holds the key to his success and—he begins to suspect—his heart. Can love find a way through the lies that force them apart? (Contemporary Romance from Howard [Simon & Schuster])

Season of Hope by Lisa Jordan — His dreams can all come true…but only if his ex-wife will agree! Jake Holland’s peaceful dairy farm is a sanctuary—one he wants to share with other worn and weary veterans. He just needs one more piece of land to start his program…and it belongs to Tori Lerner, his ex-wife. A collaboration could benefit them both, but with a past full of secrets between them, is there any hope for renewed love? (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Carolina Grace by Regina Rudd Merrick — She knows about God’s grace for her life, but pushes it away. He hasn’t experienced it, but finds grace in a way he never expected. First-year Special Education teacher Charly Livingston demonstrates God’s love on the outside, but is resentful that God allowed back-to-back tragedies in her family. Rance Butler is a top-notch medical intern. He’s on his way to the top, and when he meets Charly, he knows things will only get better. When he discovers family secrets and a dying father he never knew, his easy, carefree life seems to disintegrate. Even in the idyllic ocean breezes and South Carolina sunshine, contentment turns to bitterness and confusion except for God’s amazing grace. (Contemporary Romance from Mantle Rock Publishing)

The Street Singer by Kathleen Neely — While planning her own wedding, a law student works to help her favorite recording artist who has fallen on hard times. She finds an attorney who will work pro bono, but will her growing friendship with him come between her and her fiancé? (Contemporary Romance from Harbourlight Books [Pelican])

Historical Romance:

A Love Most Worthy by Sandra Ardoin — During the Nome, Alaska gold rush of 1900, a merchant sends for a serious-minded bride to help him raise his young nephews but welcomes a cheery and adventuresome woman who tests his determination to hold her at arm’s length. (Historical Romance, Independently Published)

When Valleys Bloom Again by Pat Jeanne Davis — After fleeing impending war in England, nineteen-year-old Abby Stapleton works to correct her stammer and to become a teacher in America, only to discover this conflict has no boundaries and that a rejected suitor is intent on destroying her name, fiancé, and fragile faith. (Historical Romance from Elk Lake Publishing, Inc.)

Ladies of Intrigue by Michelle GriepThe Gentleman Smuggler’s Lady, Cornish Coast, 1815: When a prim and proper governess returns to England from abroad, she expects to comfort her dying father—not fall in love with a smuggler. Will Helen Fletcher keep Isaac Seaton’s unusual secret? The Doctor’s Woman (A Carol Award Winner) Dakota Territory, 1862: Emmy Nelson, daughter of a missionary doctor, and Dr. James Clark, city doctor aspiring to teach, find themselves working side by side at Fort Snelling during the Dakota Uprising. That is when the real clash of ideals begins. A House of Secrets, St. Paul, Minnesota, 1890: Ladies Aide Chairman, Amanda Carston resolves to clean up St. Paul’s ramshackle housing, starting with the worst of the worst: a “haunted” house that’s secretly owned by her beau—a home that’s his only means of helping brothel girls escape from the hands of the city’s most infamous madam. (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

Love’s Rescue by Linda Shenton Matchett — Sold by her parents to settle a debt, Rolande Bisset is forced into prostitution. Years later, shunned by her family and most of society, it’s the only way she knows how to subsist. When the Germans overrun Paris, she decides she’s had enough of evil men controlling her life and uses her wiles to obtain information for the Allied forces. Branded a collaborator, her life hangs in the balance. Then an American spy stumbles onto her doorstep. Is redemption within her grasp? Simon Harlow is one of an elite corps of American soldiers. Regularly chosen for dangerous covert missions, he is tasked with infiltrating Paris to ascertain the Axis’s defenses. Nearly caught by German forces moments after arriving, he owes his life to the beautiful prostitute who claims she’s been waiting for the Allies to arrive. Her lifestyle goes against everything he believes in, but will she steal his heart during his quest to liberate her city? Inspired by the biblical story of Rahab, Love’s Rescue is a tale of faith and hope during one of history’s darkest periods. (Historical Romance from Shortwave Press)

The Sky Above Us by Sarah Sundin — Numbed by grief and harboring shameful secrets, Lt. Adler Paxton ships to England with the US 357th Fighter Group in late 1943. Determined to become an ace pilot, Adler battles the German Luftwaffe in treacherous dogfights over France as the Allies struggle for control of the air before the D-day invasion. Violet Lindstrom wants to be a missionary, but for now she serves in the American Red Cross, where she arranges entertainment and refreshments for the men of the 357th in the base Aeroclub and sets up programs for local children. Drawn to the mysterious Adler, she enlists his help with her work and urges him to reconnect with his family after a long estrangement. Despite himself, Adler finds his defenses crumbling when it comes to Violet. But D-day draws near. And secrets can’t stay buried forever. (Historical Romance from Revell [Baker])

Mystery:

The Watch On the Fencepost by Kay DiBianca — In a deserted park on a cold winter day, twenty-seven-year-old Kathryn Frasier discovers a gold watch on a fencepost, and she has an ominous sense that it was deliberately left for her to find. But when she identifies the owner of the watch, she uncovers a dark family secret and a suspicion that her parents’ recent deaths may not have been an accident. (Cozy Mystery from CrossLink Christian Publishing)

Coffee Club Mysteries by Darlene Franklin, Cynthia Hickey, Elizabeth Ludwig, Dana Mentink, Candice Prentice, and Janice Thompson — The coffee shop on the corner of First and Main in Oak Grove, Kansas, seems to attract a series of mysterious events. Or perhaps it is the six women who frequent the shop for book club who are the magnets for trouble. . . . Morgan Butler, owner of the Coffee Perk, finds a project worker hanged at her shop. Evelyn Kliff discovers a church meal organizer dead. Harper Daggett is being stalked for an antique jade owl she bought. Baker Jeanine Gransbury’s charity event money goes missing. Jo Anderson shares hazelnut coffee creamer, sending a man into anaphylaxis shock. Penny Parson finds a gun in one of her beehives. Join them as they unravel six unexplained events that have the potential to ruin business and spoil friendships if not handled with care. (Cozy Mystery from Barbour Publishing)

The Sleuth’s Dilemma by Kimberly Rose Johnson — A high school English teacher’s life is turned upside down when she becomes the object of someone’s anger. (Romantic Mystery from Mountain Brook Ink)

Romantic Suspense:

Restoration of the Heart by June Foster — Leaving his beautiful fiancé’s world of alcohol, parties, and nights at her apartment, Luke Chamberlain returns to his Christian values, rededicates his life to the Lord, and vows never to fall into the lifestyle again. When the state of Idaho’s Tourism Department offers his construction company the contract to renovate Silver Cliff, an 1890’s silver mining ghost town, he accepts. Janie Littleton, project historian at the restoration of Silver Cliff, Idaho–an 1890’s silver mining ghost town–believes no man would find her attractive, with her extra pounds, eye glasses, and mousy brown hair. So when contractor Luke Chamberlain shows an interest in her, she doubts his sincerity. But strange turns to worse when someone claiming to be the miner who founded Silver Cliff in 1890 intimidates her with frightening midnight visits. Can Luke convince Janie he’s in love with the godly woman she is? Can Janie hold onto her faith as she’s harassed by frightening appearances of old Ezra Barclay who died a hundred years ago? (Romantic Suspense from Forget Me Not Romance)

Innocence Denied by Mike Garrett — Derrick Walton, to atone for past sins, helps an Arizona socialite hide out in Alabama while a nation-wide manhunt ensues. Can he help Larissa see the need for her soul’s salvation in time? (Romantic Suspense from CrossLink Publishing)

Speculative:

The Soul Searcher by Erin R. Howard — Elnora’s parents gave her one rule: Stay hidden away at all costs. Elnora Scott is used to her survival depending on the decisions of others. Locked away in her safe house, it is easy to follow her parents’ dying wishes until an angel, demon, and seer show up on her doorstep. Now, waking up in a dirty cell, she wishes she would have gone with them when she had the chance, because the very ones who unknowingly ushered the kidnapper to her location may be the only ones who can save her now. When Thea learns that Elnora may be in danger, she doesn’t hesitate to go find her. Thea thought stepping through the portal would be her greatest obstacle, but it only reveals a more sinister threat. (Urban Fantasy from Mantle Rock Publishing)

Women’s Fiction:

A Vow to Cherish by Deborah Raney — When his precious wife receives a devastating diagnosis, John Brighton feels his world has fallen apart. As Ellen slips away from him day by day, their love is tested as never before. Desperately needing someone to confide in, John meets Julia Sinclair, a young widow who seems to understand his pain as no one else can. Torn between doing what he knows to be right and what his heart tells him surely can’t be wrong, John soon discovers that the heart cannot be trusted where true love is concerned. (Women’s Fiction from Raney Day Press)

Young Adult:

You’re Amazing by Julie Arduini and Hannah Arduini – Middle schooler Jazmin’s a natural at dance until a series of changes make her wonder if she should even keep up with her favorite hobby. Lena’s a mom with young children overwhelmed with her schedule when a woman remarks that what Lena does isn’t even important. Both Jazmin and Lena belong to Linked, a mentoring ministry where all ages encourage each other and build friendships. Can these two surrender the lies they are believing and realize they are amazing? (Young Adult from Surrendered Scribe Media)

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How to Improve Your Newsletter


As authors, we’re supposed to be looking for ways to reach our readers. Social media, websites, blogs, newsletters . . . newsletters.

Oh, how I dread putting out my newsletter. Despite the fact that I’m always asking people to join, I don’t really like doing it (and frankly, I’m beginning to feel the same way about blogging).

But here’s the deal: Facebook—my playground—is changing again. Twitter has never really been effective for me, except when I buy askDavid tweets (and sometimes not even then). I haven’t been able to connect well with folks on Instagram. LinkedIn is best for my editing business, but not so hot for my books. Pinterest, which I love, doesn’t really allow for much interaction, just image sharing.

So the only things that actually work—that allow me to actually connect with others and that won’t change unless I change them—are my blog, my website, and my newsletter. Do I know how to use these tools effectively?

Nope.

I’m just now learning about SEOs and such, and I really should devote more time to studying them and their utilization. It’s not like there’s a shortage of information out there.

And as for newsletters, all I really know is that I ought to have one. So, I do. Now what?

Joanna Penn’s Newsletter Interview Saves the Day

The other day, Joanna Penn, of the acclaimed blog/vlog The Creative Penn, interviewed an author named Tammi Labrecque (interview available on YouTube). I’ve never heard of Tammi, but I love her ideas about newsletters. In the interview alone, I learned about “reader magnets,” what kind of “calls to action” to request, what kinds of things to write about, what kind of offers to present, how often to send out a newsletter, how to manage newsletter subscribers, and whether having a lot of subscribers really is a good thing.

That’s just in a 30-minute interview! Imagine what it would be like to get the book (Newsletter Ninja)!

A couple of things she mentioned that I hadn’t thought about are list size management and whether to mail the same type of things to everyone on the list. Tammi is a multi-genre author and has pen names for each, so she also has different lists/newsletters for each.

I don’t have pen names, but the idea still holds: Contemporary Romance, Historical Romance, and Women’s Fiction readers are pretty loyal to their preferred genres. There is some cross-over, of course, but otherwise, they stick close to their own. So my book review should appeal to the segment who prefer that book’s genre—and my reviews of books totally out of sync with my readers’ preferences should be restricted to Amazon. I have a penchant for YA these days, something that doesn’t appeal to my readers (just ask the ones who dropped their subscription after I wrote about it!).

You’d think this would be common sense, but apparently I’m dense. I figure readers, like me, like to read. I love just about anything I can get my hands on. But my reviews should be of interest to the readers, and should be aimed at the right segment.

The good thing about using MailChimp for your newsletters (I don’t know about others), is that MailChimp provides tons of stats. I can tell who opens my newsletter and how many times, who clicks links and which ones they click. All sorts of great things to help me determine whether people are interested in what I’m providing.

For instance, I send out the ACFW New Release list every month. Some folks really seem to like it, others have unsubscribed because of it. What to do?

Well, I can go through and see who opens that particular newsletter and create segment for only those people. That way, I’m not sending the new release list to those who aren’t interested. Why didn’t I think of that before?

Tammi mentions David Gaughran’s Strangers to Superfans frequently in the interview, so I’m likely to get his book too. I already have a couple of his books and subscribe to his newsletter. I like the way he presents the business of promoting as an author.

But I really liked Tammi’s presentation on Joanna’s vlog. You take her information and combine it with Ryan Zee (BookSweeps) newsletter-subscriber-building campaign and you’re off to a great start!

Never too Late to Alter Your Newsletter

If it was, I’d be dead in the water. But we’re all muddling through and looking for what works. We might lose readers along the way (I have as I’ve muddled), but the good news is that we can pick up more.

This time, I’m going to put more thought into it and use the managing techniques Tammi mentioned in her interview. Then, I’m going to change what I do currently and try again.

Stay tuned. I’ll let you know what happens.

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Spinning Back in Time

The Spaniards brought sheep to America in the early seventeenth century, something I’ve never thought about as a resident of one of the biggest cattle states in the union. Sheep and goats in Texas?! Sacrilege!

But seeing that the Spaniards also introduced horses, cattle, and pigs into the area, it shouldn’t surprise me that they brought along sheep and goats too. Folks have to have something to wear and something to make it from—what better than wool?

You might be wondering why I, an author of contemporary romance and women’s fiction novels, am interested in what the Spanish Conquistadors brought to America. Well, I’m playing around with writing historical romances too. I’ve written a few historical pieces—a couple of short stories, and a novella that will release in a collection in August—but now, I’m working on a full-length novel to be part of a multi-author series. It’s all in the planning stage, and for now I’m mostly doing a feasibility study. I’m to write a novel set during the battle for Texas independence from Mexico. I’m from Texas, right? I’m supposed to know all this.

Eh, not so much. It’s been a while.

So I’ve had to do a lot of research, not just of the era and its socio-political climate, but of the common, ordinary things people did back then. The little things that people would have engaged in during their dialogue. What kept their hands busy? What did they do during ordinary days?

This past weekend, our town had a little event to celebrate East Texas’s history of sugar cane syrup production, which was great and fascinating and all, but the part of Texas where my story is set wasn’t likely to be raising sugar cane. It is perfect, however, for cattle, sheep, and goats.

Hence my interest in the spinning wheel.

The one pictured above is a “great walking spinning wheel,” one of the earlier types, though I don’t know if it’s the kind the Spaniards would have used. They were brought down into Texas from the American northeast. Until this past weekend, I had no idea how a wheel worked, but the woman who demonstrated it allowed me a chance to spin some wool into yarn (so cool!).

Ingrid, the woman illustrating the process, divided some carded wool—Leicester that day, though, again, I don’t know if the Spaniards would’ve had that kind of sheep. She took a much smaller portion than shown in the picture and wrapped it on the spindle. Then, after a few turns to show me what to do, she let me at it.

With my right hand, I turned the wheel clockwise while lightly holding the wool in my left. The large wheel spins the spindle where strands of wool twist into strands of yarn. Next, I changed the angle of my left hand, and instead of twisting the yarn, I began loading it onto the spindle.

You collect the yarn on the spindle until it’s full (or you have to quit), then it’s ready to be unwound on a “weasel,” pictured at the left.

Each full revolution of the weasel equals a yard, and after you have so many yards, you remove the yarn and have a skein.

At each complete revolution, a gear in the weasel snaps a stick, making a popping sound. You know how many yards you have when “Pop! goes the weasel.”

Back in the day, this could be done for the household only or for sale or trade. While the men worked outside, tending herds of whatever, women contributed to the household income by creating things, including yarn and woven products to sell.

And while they spun their yarn, they would talk amongst themselves. How fun that while I write about them, I get to decide what they talked about. I think I’m going to enjoy writing historical fiction!

 

 

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2018 Favorite Novels

According to Goodreads, I set my goal for 2018 at 36 books. What was I thinking? Between those I edit and those I write, I don’t have time for pleasure reading. By the end of the year, I logged in a pathetic 19 books, only one of which is nonfiction writing-related.

In my defense, though, this doesn’t include the NF books I read to my legally blind mother. Her preference tends toward religion and politics. I think I read four books to her this year, not including two of mine, bringing my total to 23.

The bulk of the books I read for pleasure were Historical Romance, unusual for me. I also read YA fiction and Fantasy/Christian Supernatural along with a couple of Women’s Fiction novels.

I put my favorite first, but couldn’t resist giving room to the others–in no particular order. It was a very good year for HR (tap the cover for the links).

I really loved this book. Not only did I enjoy the development of the characters’ romance, I enjoyed reading about a part of America I’m unfamiliar with, complete with the activities, careers, lifestyles associated with that area. Naomi did a wonderful job with her descriptions. For historical romance lovers, this one is a definite must.

Speaking of being whisked away to another place and time, Michelle Griep is a wonder at providing her readers with a bit of escapism. Her writing is often lyrical, with a rhythm and life that I love, and her research is impeccable, considering she goes to England to do it. The Innkeeper’s Daughter has it all—romance, mystery, suspense. Like all of Michelle’s books, it’s definitely worth the read. It ties with Naomi’s for top billing in historical romance.

Others I enjoyed this year are:

One HR novella collection was a lot of fun this year and included authors I wasn’t familiar with. I’m a huge fan of Pegg Thomas, but this collection introduced me to Candice Sue Patterson too–and now I’m a fan of hers.

These were all great reads. If you like Historical Romance—English, American, deep past or more recent—you’ll love all these books.

The two Young Adult books I read were as different as day and night. One was an action/adventure, and the other was more of a new-future political thriller.

Mardan’s Heir, a novella in the Mardan’s Mark Epic Fantasy Adventure Series is a total escape and completely fun read. It ends with a cliff-hanger, but Kathrese promised put the sequel out quickly. All her books in this series are great. You don’t have to be a young adult to love them.

I loved The First Principle. Kind of a political thriller for young adults, but like most YA I’ve read, its audience isn’t limited to the young. Marissa Shrock takes all the socio-political changes going on today to their logical conclusion and shows the impact on a near-future society. Christian YA fiction at its finest.

 

I hit the jackpot this year in Fantasy/Christian Supernatural. But The Wrong Enemy wins as my favorite in this genre this year.

What an intricate look at the effects of guilt and non-communication. What a great novel of God’s love and forgiveness!

I didn’t realize this one was part of a series, but when I have time, I intend to go back and read them all. Jane Lebak has a new fan in me!

Among the other greats include K.M. Wyland/Weiland’s smash hit, Wayfarer, the making of a superhero.

All three of these were really good. The Harbinger series with Billy Myers, Frank Peretti, and Angela Hunt is totally engrossing. I haven’t read them all, but the ones I have read were fantastic.

Of the Women’s Fiction novels, I don’t know which I like the best. As Waters Gone By reads more like WF, but I didn’t know what else to call Liar’s Winter. The two are entirely different in style, and both are so wonderful, I don’t know which to give top billing. So—here they are:

Book of the Year for 2018

I can’t help being fascinated by this novel. The best part is that it’s Book 1 of the Emancipation Warriors series. I’ve added the entire series to my wish list.

There ya go. Not all the novels I read last year are here, but this is the bulk of them. I had fun in 2018 with all my books. I wonder what 2019 will bring? I know one sad-but-true thing: I won’t get to read all the ones I want to.

 

 

 

 

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New Releases by ACFW Authors!

January 2019 New Releases

More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website.

Amish Romance:

Seasons of an Amish Garden by Amy Clipston — Enjoy a year of beautiful seasons in this new story collection, as young Amish couples manage a community garden and harvest friendships and love along the way. (Amish Romance from HarperCollins Christian Publishing)

Courting Her Prodigal Heart by Mary Davis — Pregnant and alone, Dori Bontrager is sure her Amish kin won’t welcome her—or the child she’s carrying—into the community. And she’s determined that her return won’t be permanent. As soon as she finds work, she’ll leave again. But with her childhood friend Eli Hochstetler insisting she and her baby belong here, will Dori’s path lead back to the Englisher world…or into Eli’s arms? (Amish Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Contemporary Romance:

Her Hope Discovered by Cynthia Herron — Charla Winthrop, a savvy business woman seeking a permanent lifestyle change in small-town Ruby, Missouri, learns that things aren’t always what they appear when she takes up residence in a house steeped in charm and a hint of mystery. Rumor has it that Sam Packard the town carpenter is her go-to guy for home remodeling, but can Charla convince him to help her—with no strings attached, of course? Alone far too long, Sam’s prayed that God would send him a wife and a mother for his daughters. However, the new Ruby resident is hardly what he imagined. A new place to call “home,” the possibility of what might be, and the answer to someone’s prayers unite this unlikely pair with the help of the town’s residents. (Contemporary Romance from Mountain Brook Ink)

Cozy Mystery:

Murderous Heart by Lynne Waite Chapman — Freelance writer, Lauren Halloren pens popular magazine articles extoling the comfort and security of small town America. And Evelynton, Indiana treasures its wholesome small town values. Ask anyone. Streets are safe to walk. People look out for one another. Marriage vows are treasured. Murders are solved. In this third volume of the Evelynton Murder series, Lauren, along with friends, Clair and Anita stumble over another body. The partially mummified remains turn out to be an Evelynton resident. But how, in this close knit community, could a woman be deceased for over six months without being missed? (Cozy Mystery from Winged Publications)

Historical Romance:

My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge: Laurel’s Dream by Pepper Basham — Journey into the Blue Ridge Mountains of 1918 where Laurel McAdams endures the challenges of a hard life while dreaming things can eventually improve. But trouble arrives in the form of an outsider. Having failed his British father again, Jonathan Taylor joins is uncle’s missionary endeavors as a teacher in a two-room schoolhouse. Laurel feels compelled to protect the tenderhearted teacher from the harsh realities of Appalachian life, even while his stories of life outside the mountains pull at Laurel’s imagination. Faced with angry parents over teaching methods, Laurel’s father’s drunken rages, and bad news from England, will Jonathan leave and never return, or will he stay and let love bloom? (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

The Homeward Journey by Misty M. Beller — Finally free from her dead husband’s addicted lifestyle, Rachel Gray and her young son set out for a new life in the wilderness of the Canadian territories. She is reluctant to accept help from another man, but after a bear threatens her son’s life, she agrees to accompany two God-fearing brothers who are traveling to the same area. Slowly, she begins to trust the one named Seth. Despite Rachel’s best efforts, she can’t seem to fight her attraction to Seth—until a secret from his past proves he had more in common with her husband than she thought. When a new peril threatens her son’s life, she must choose between trusting in what she can control, or the man who her heart says is trustworthy, no matter his previous sins. The path she chooses just may determine whether she can step into the new life God has in store for them all. (Historical Romance, Independently Published)

Stepping into the Light by Candee Fick — With war looming and a madwoman in their midst, the only hope for a peaceful future may lie in a marriage alliance between a disfigured recluse of the Gunn clan and the overlooked second son of Clan Sinclair. (Historical Romance, Independently Published)

 

Under the Midnight Sun by Tracie Peterson and Kimberley Woodhouse — Tayler Hale is ahead of her time as one of the first women naturalists. She has always loved adventure and the great outdoors, and her remote job location also helps keep her away from the clutches of the man to whom she once made a foolish promise. It seems she must keep running, however, and in secret, her boss from Yellowstone arranges for a new job . . . in Alaska. The popular Curry Hotel continues to thrive in 1929 as more visitors come to Alaska and venture into the massive national park surrounding Denali. Recent graduate Thomas Smith has returned to the hotel and the people he considers family. But when a woman naturalist comes to fill the open position and he must work with her, everything becomes complicated. The summer brings unexpected guests and trouble to Curry. With his reputation at stake, will Thomas be able to protect Tayler from the danger that follows? (Historical Romance from Bethany House [Baker])

Devotion by Olivia Rae — Injured and unable to make his living by the sword, Sir Theo de Born needs to secure his keep by becoming an educated man. As he finds himself falling for his reluctant teacher, he learns of her plan to leave England before the winter sets in. How can he convince her to stay and fulfill her promise while protecting his heart? Denied her true love and sent away to a convent, Lady Rose de Payne has no choice but to accept to become Sir Theo’s teacher. However, she has a plan to escape the confines of her new prison and start fresh in a different country. As the chilly winds blow, her resolve begins to waver. Will she abandon Sir Theo to a miserable fate or will she give up her dreams to make his come true? (Historical Romance from HopeKnight Press)

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And the winner is . . .

Did you know about my Clean Read Giveaway? It included a copy of A Southern Season and a bar of specialty, homemade soap from Brea Rose Soap Garden, called “Coastal Mist” to honor my novella in the collection, Ice Melts in Spring.

If you didn’t know about the giveaway, then you should check out my website occasionally at lindawyezak.com (notice the “w.” My blog address doesn’t have it) and look under the “Extras” tab. In fact, if you went there and signed up for my “Coffee with Linda” newsletter, you’d get notice of giveaways right in your mailbox!

And now for my announcement . . .

The winner of my Clean Reads Giveaway is

CHARLENE WHITEHOUSE

Charlene, be sure to send me your address so I can send out this great set to you!

By the way, y’all. I’ve tried Brea Rose Soap and love it! Dolly Vogel makes some of the cutest bars of soap chock full of skin scenting and softening ingredients that feel totally luxurious. And they’re so cute!!! If you haven’t seen her site you need to. She has a Facebook store, and considering she has over 56,000 followers, she must do pretty good.

And for those who would like to read A Southern Seasonthe Kindle version is free this week! Be sure to grab it!

 

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Christmas Special: A Southern Season

Look what’s FREE on Kindle!!!

Since my publisher put this up, I have no idea how long the ebook version of A Southern Season will be free, so grab it while you can!

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Especially for Writers

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Trad vs. Indie–again

Which route should I go? Traditional publishing or indie?

I’ve been battling with this question from the very beginning. Well, not quite. My “very beginning” was a couple of years before indie publishing started becoming an acceptable and viable option. Before then, I was an avid fan of the traditional route.

But within the past few years, we’ve seen networking and service-and-support sites for indies multiply exponentially and become amazingly effective. Freelance editors,  cover designers, formatters, distributors, marketers, and promotional sites, all geared for the DIY author, have made going solo lucrative for the right people.

If you invest enough of your own money, and if you know how to work the logarithms and logistics of the various publishing sites, and if you’re a constant presence in social media, and if you rub your nose just right, you might succeed. Depending upon your definition of success, that is.

I’ve read articles supporting both sides of the story: traditional vs indie. This morning, I read “Stay Away From Traditional Book Publishing,” by Dean Wesley Smith. The article enumerates every single reason most indies—myself included—want to stay indie, primarily control and ownership.

I also read Steve Laube’s “Goodbye to Traditional Publishing?” in which he tackles the complaints of one author with a major publisher who sold 170,000 copies of her book and earned only $20,000 in royalties.

Roughly 11c per book.

Granted, he admitted that publisher pays its authors below the industry standard, emphasizing the house is a nonprofit entity. It must earn a profit to remain in business. Not sure that argument works as a defense for short-changing authors. Very few major publishers are in the business out of altruism, yet they manage to pay the average.

But Laube doesn’t really cover the question of royalties in the article. Instead, he concentrates more on the number of sales the author made. Sales translate to readers, which, if you’re good, translate to a fan base. Probably not the whole 170K, but perhaps a good percentage of it.

With the sales of all my indie and traditional titles combined, I’ll tell you now, I don’t have that many fans.

I already know why I enjoy being indie, and my reasons include many of the ones Smith uses to argue against going traditional. But Laube offers this:

If you wish to wave goodbye to traditional publisher and go Indie (independent) I believe the first question to ask is whether or not you want to start a small business. Just like an entrepreneur.  Those authors who are entrepreneurs are ideally suited for the self-publishing route. The [sic] understand the energy it takes and pitfalls ahead.

The second question is whether they can sell enough copies to make it all worthwhile. And are also are [sic] willing to take responsibility if a book fails.

Apparently, I stink at being an entrepreneur. So far as I can tell, the only ones who don’t stink at it (1) take the time to sift through and understand the mountain of ever-changing information out there and (2) are Type A personalities.

The question of whether an indie can “sell enough copies to make it all worthwhile” is just short of moot when you look at the traditionally published author who made only 11c per book. Using a per-book measurement, I make considerably more. Once the initial expenditures are reimbursed through sales, indies don’t pay a percentage to a publisher and agent, so the bulk of their royalties can go back in their pockets (or, if they’re smart, get reinvested into their businesses).

Like it or not, the marketing aspect of this business lands on the unknown author’s shoulders whether they’re trad or indie. Even if I went with a top five publisher, I can’t expect the marketing budget offered to someone like Nora Roberts. So if I decide against going indie because I hate marketing, I’ll still find myself in the same swamp.

Let me summarize: I love having control and ownership over my books and keeping the bulk of my royalties, even though I stink at the very thing I’d have to do anyway regardless of how I’m published. So I should probably stay indie, right?

Still, my wobbling self keeps going back and forth. What’s pushing me over the edge this time is the 170K sales. Not that every author can expect this, but as long as I’m indie with a Type B personality, I don’t think I can expect anywhere near this. Traditional publishers have access to retailers I don’t have. True, bookstores are closing left and right, but bookstores aren’t the only outlets, and ebooks are great, but they haven’t fossilized print novels as once expected. The TV didn’t kill the radio, the microwave didn’t kill the stove, and ebooks haven’t killed print.

Another thought is that the larger traditional publishers pay advances. Granted, they aren’t as big as they once were, and they aren’t likely to be large at all for a new-to-them author, but having a lump sum up front could go a long way if invested in a publicist or an effective marketing campaign outside what the publisher itself provides.

I’ve been indie for a while now, and I’d like to see how those on the other side of the debate live. I believe I’ve established enough credibility over the years that I should be able to land a star agent and a major publisher—and if not, then the debate between indie and trad will be settled. But I think I’ve made up my mind. Once I finish my newest WIP, I’m going to shop for an agent.

2019 should be an interesting year.

 

 

 

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Especially for Writers

This is me now. Two novels started, one bouncing around in my head, and a dangerous let’s put it off until January attitude.

By the way, my Clean Southern Fiction giveaway ends December 17. Sign up for the drawing to win a bar of Brea Rose Soap Garden’s Coastal Mist Soap and a copy of A Southern Season.

Posted in Writing | 4 Comments