Especially for Writers: NaNo Edition

For those stressing to make the goal on the last day:

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Cyber-Monday Special!

Skydiving to Love

is on sale for only 99c at all the major outlets!

Find Skydiving to Love at Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Kobo, and Amazon!

Grab it now! This deal won’t last!

 

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Especially for Authors: NaNo 2018 Edition

Dear NaNo Writers who are sacrificing November to do what you love:

You’re on the homestretch. Hang in there!

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A Day of Thanks

I have a lot to be thankful for, and all my readers are included on the list.

To those who have been with me for years and to those who are new,

Thank You!

 

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Pre-Black Friday and Beyond!

From today through next Wednesday,

Skydiving to Love

is on sale for only 99c at all the major outlets!

Find Skydiving to Love at Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo, and Amazon!

Great read for the holidays!

 

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Books, BookBub, and Begging

With Thanksgiving weekend coming up, I have a divided mind. Divided three ways, in fact. Thanksgiving itself, including all the people and things I’m thankful for and all the rigamarole that goes along with planning, cooking, and traveling at this time.

My mind’s also on Black Friday and how I can avoid it while still taking advantage of some of the specials.

Which leads me to the third thing on my mind: Business.

Specifically mine and how I can benefit you–in return for a favor or two. (There. The truth comes out. I’m not above begging . . .)

A Southern Season Soap Giveaway!

Have you been to my website lately? If so, then you’ve seen the giveaway I’m hosting to promote both A Southern Season, a collection that includes my novella Ice Melts in Spring, and a luxurious new specialty soap I’ve found and love. Not to mention my newsletter. I’m always trying to find new subscribers who are interested in hearing about new releases, sales, specials, book reviews, and so on.

For our giveaway, the authors involved in A Southern Season and I all chose a soap from Brea Rose Soap Garden. The one I chose was “Coastal Mist,” pictured at the right, and I bought extra for my own giveaway.

You can find out more about this in the “Extras” tab of my website, but here’s the quick version: if you don’t take my Coffee with Linda newsletter already, sign up for it to be entered into the giveaway. If you do get my newsletter, use the “Contact” page on my website to let me know you want to be entered.

The drawing will be December 17, and winner will receive both the soap and a free copy of A Southern Season! Y’all enter the contest!

Black Friday (and longer) Special!

Here’s a benefit without a “beg” attached: From this Wednesday to next Wednesday, Skydiving to Love will be on sale for only 99c at all the major outlets!

If you haven’t read this romance novella yet, you’re in for a treat. This story is just plain fun.

JoJo Merritt and her friends dared each other to do the biggest thing on their bucket lists. For JoJo, the dare is moot. As a large animal vet, she’s already living her bucket list. But to pacify her friends, she blurts out that she’ll go skydiving.

A curious choice for someone who’s never been in a plane before.

First thing she discovers is that she’s terrified of flying. The second thing is that the guy in the passenger plane next to her is a good-lookin’ hunkuva honey. Add these two together, and you’ve got one fun adventure!

I’ll remind you of this Wednesday morning, but y’all be sure to take advantage of it. Skydiving to Love will be a fun escape after all the craziness of Black Friday and the Thanksgiving holidays.

WANTED: BookBub Buddies!

(My beg without a benefit.)

Are you a member of BookBub? It’s one of the best sites for readers and authors alike. I love it because it lets me know when my favorite authors have new releases and it allows those same authors to make book recommendations to me. Through their newsletter, I get to see other books that might interest me also.

I would love it if you would follow me on BookBub. If you’re an author, I’d be happy to return the favor.

There ya go. Favors asked; begging completed. I’ll try not to do it too often.

 

 

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Especially for Writers: NaNo Edition

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Tips for Participating in Novella Collections

The newly published A Southern Season is the third novella collection I’ve participated in, the first that was traditionally published, and I can tell you—I love writing novellas and being in collections.

As I’ve mentioned before, I use these novellas to play in genres I don’t usually get to write in—in other words, I play outside my brand. Is that smart? Well, let’s consider that, among several other things about participating in collections.

The Pros and Cons of Participating in Collections

As with anything else in this business, there are good points and bad…

Pros

  • Increased visibility and opportunity to expand your audience:

Most collections have an “anchor” author, a more established writer who is likely to bring in readers. People buy the collection based on that person’s name alone and will often (but not always, sad to say) read and appreciate any new-to-them names in the collection.

  • The opportunity to establish yourself in your genre:

This goes hand in hand with the first point. Those who read and love your story in the collection will look for other things you’ve written. You’ll gain fans—and fans talk. Word-of- mouth is the best advertising there is.

  •  The opportunity to play in another genre (my reason for doing collections):

Long story short of my history as an author is that my first release branded me—not just as a romance writer, but a cowboy romance writer, leaving me genre-locked. Not entirely a bad thing, but I read all genres and would like to play in several of them.

If you’re a fairly new published author with a fear of being genre-locked, collections are the perfect place to get outside your brand and stretch your wings a little. Best result is that you could find a genre you enjoy and understand how to transition from what you currently do to what you want to do or learn how to market yourself in both genres. Or, like me, you can discover another genre that fits well enough with what you write that any kind of major crossover event won’t lose you readers.

  • Source of income:

Okay, not a huge source of income, but still a source of income.

  • Publishing cred:

This can be a big deal if you’re unpublished or not published in fiction or not published in the collection’s genre.

Cons

  • The collection will be reviewed and rated as a whole:

The weak link can bring down the entire collection, so unless your novella gets singled out with positive reviews, you’ll suffer the fate assigned to the collection as a whole. Best thing is not to be the weak link yourself.

  • Playing too far outside your brand won’t bring readers to your other novels:

Herein lies the rub for my novella in A Southern Season—it is so different from anything else I’ve ever written that those who love this more serious side of me may not care for my lighter romances. If you’re working on building a readership, try not to stray too far.

  • Source of income is divided:

If it’s indie-pubbed, the royalties are divided among the authors. If you’re with a traditional publisher, a percentage of gross sales goes to the publisher, the editor, the marketing staff, and whoever else was involved in producing the book.

So it’s important to know why you want to be in a collection. If you want to become a rich, overnight sensation, you may want to look elsewhere. If you’re looking for visibility, creds, and just a chance to play, you’re in the right place.

What to Consider When Participating in a Collection

After you’ve decided whether joining a collection is for you, how do you know whether the one you’re asked to join (or starting) is the right one? Here are a few things to consider…

  • Can you write “short”?

Generally, a novella is between 20,000 and 50,000 words, and must contain everything you’d find in a full-length novel. Characterization and setting description matter just as much. So do the plot and character arcs. The end of the story must be fulfilling. If you have trouble paring down your word count, this may not be for you.

  • What are the genre and theme?

At least one of the reviewers judged Ice Melts in Spring, my novella for A Southern Season, as a Romance, which it’s not. In fact, only one of the novellas in the collection can be considered straight romance. A Southern Season is pitched as stories from the American South, which can be anything. Readers looking at the list of authors and assuming the genre could be disappointed.

So if you’re not clear on the genre, or if the collection offers a variety of genres—like Coming Home, a Tiny House Collection—be sure your fellow authors have an idea in mind how to present it. The common thread in the multi-genre Coming Home is the tiny house. The only thing that connects the different stories is roughly four-hundred square feet of “home.”

The benefit of Coming Home was being able to write what we wanted, as long as we included a tiny house, which is a similar benefit to writing for A Southern Season. All we needed to do was have the setting in the South. But how do you pitch a multi-genre book—and to whom? Fortunately there are ways, but it’s best to get an idea of how early in the process.

The collection I’m reading now, The Great Lakes Lighthouse Bridesis strictly defined. The lighthouse is the common thread—and not just any lighthouse. Lighthouses of the Great Lakes region of America. The genre is Romance, but not just any Romance. Historical Romance. Check out the front cover blurb:  “7 Historical Romances Are a Beacon of Hope to Weary Hearts.”

Despite the restrictions on what you write, the benefit of Lighthouse Brides is that it’s easier to market. The audience is defined, so you know who you’re writing to—women who enjoy Historical Romance. The only leeway allowed in this novella collection is the year in which your Historical Romance takes place.

If the genre is defined for you, be sure you can write in it. In a collection, a novice can be seen a mile away because those who most frequently write in that genre will be sitting side by side with someone who doesn’t. Comparison between the experienced and the novice is too easy. Don’t come across as the novice, whether you are or not. Learn the genre’s elements and structure before you start.

  • What is the tone?

In A Southern Season, we have three serious novellas and one that has a lighter tone. So far, in what I’ve read in Lighthouse Brides, all of the novellas have the same fairly serious tone. The now unpublished The Bucket List Dare, for which I wrote Skydiving to Lovewas a blend of tones, as was Coming Home.

This makes me wonder how the reader feels, after enjoying a lighthearted comedy romance, to have to transition to something heart-wrenching.

What tone are you comfortable writing in? If the entire collection is comedy, can you keep up?

  • Who are the authors and how many, and who is the anchor?

You want at least one big-name author to up your visibility. And if the other authors are at least “out there,” you increase your chances of visibility and sales. Marketing is easier too. Each team member has their own followers to pitch to. Keep in mind, though, that the more authors on the byline, the smaller the percentage of royalties divvied out among them.

Additional considerations for indie-collections:

Once the team is assembled, everyone needs to be clear and in agreement about tasks and pre- and post-pub expenses.

You’ll want to discuss–

  • who will edit?
  • who will format?
  • who will design the cover?
  • where will the book be distributed?
  • what is the marketing plan? (and will you be willing to pay as a group for ads and services?)
  • who keeps the bank account?
  • how and when will royalties be disbursed?

Considering how many of these I’ve done—and I’m in a new one that’ll release in August of 2019 called The Cowboys (a Historical Romance collection)—you can tell I’m a fan. But I believe I’ve given you enough to think about while you determine whether writing for a collection is right for you.

 

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Exciting New Christian Releases!

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

Contemporary Romance:

Christmas in Jingle Junction by Tabitha Bouldin — In the small town of Jingle Junction, Holly Winters owns the local coffee shop, Jolly Java. It’s here that she meets Patrick Cooper and promptly throws coffee everywhere. Not only does Patrick not like coffee, he also despises Christmas! It’s up to Holly to show Patrick that Christmas is worth giving a second chance, just as Patrick himself deserves a second chance when he is accused of robbing a local convenience store. In a town full of Christmas spirit, lively debates over the best superhero and riding in a sleigh pulled by actual reindeer is just a normal day. Will Holly be able to prove to Patrick that Christmas is more than a holiday that has to be endured? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

A Picture Perfect Christmas by Candee Fick — Freelance photographers Liz Foster and Ryan Callahan are finally making plans for their future. And what better time to get married than during the festive holiday season that brought them together? If only Liz’s parents weren’t standing in the way of a picture-perfect wedding. Spurred on by the ghosts of Christmases past, Dan Foster has already written Liz out of his will, so even attending the wedding—let alone walking his daughter down the aisle—is out of the question. However, this is the season for miracles and Ryan will do anything to make his bride smile. What will it take to bring this family back together in time for the wedding? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

On Magnolia Lane by Denise Hunter — When his secret crush joins a dating website, Jack takes a leap of faith and soon becomes Daisy’s online suitor. But when they begin growing closer in real life also, Jack finds himself with an unexpected dilemma. Is Daisy falling for the real Jack or for the online version of himself? And how is she going to respond when she finds out they’re one and the same? (Contemporary Romance from HarperCollins Christian Publishing)

A Merry Miracle in Romance by Melanie D. Snitker — Baxter Reid returns to his hometown of Romance, eager to see his childhood crush. Unfortunately, Savannah hasn’t forgotten all the ways he used to tease her back then. He’s got his work cut out for him if he’s going to get a second chance. Savannah Miller avoids Baxter and the embarrassing childhood memories he evokes…until he apologizes and suggests a truce. Now what is she supposed to do? Only time will tell whether the spirit of Christmas in Romance is enough to transform a grudging relationship into true love. (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

I Still Do by Melanie D. Snitker — What’s worse than running into your ex-husband? Becoming snowbound with him and an avalanche of memories you can’t escape. (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

 

Contemporary/Women’s Fiction:

A Southern Season by Eva Marie Everson, Claire Fullerton, Ane Mulligan, and Linda W. Yezak — Four seasons. Four stories. Each one set in the enchanting world of the South. These are the kinds of stories your grandmother told you from a front porch swing. (Women’s Fiction from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas) (how’s that for tooting my own horn?!)

Historical:

Second Chances by Carol Ashby — A widowed father, still grieving the loss of his wife and child, and a devoted mother, who leaves behind everything she’s ever known to rescue her daughter from the ex-husband who would hurt her, are first drawn together by their love for her little girl, but God has much more for them than either could have imagined. (Historical, Cerrillo Press)

Historical Mystery:

Murder of Convenience by Linda Shenton Matchett — May 1942: Geneva Alexander flees Philadelphia and joins the USO to escape the engagement her parents have arranged for her, only to wind up as the number one suspect in her betrothed’s murder investigation. Diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa, she must find the real killer before she loses her sight…or is convicted for a crime she didn’t commit. (Historical Mystery, Independently Published)

Historical Romance:

The Great Lakes Lighthouse Brides Collection by Lena Nelson Dooley, Rebecca Jepson, Carrie Fancett Pagels, Candice Sue Patterson, Kathleen Rouser, Pegg Thomas, and Marilyn Turk — Along the Great Lakes, America’s inland seas, lighthouses played a vital role in the growth of our nation. They shepherded settlers traveling by water to places that had no roads. These beacons of light required constant tending even in remote and often dangerous places. Brave men and women battled the elements and loneliness to keep the lights shining. Their sacrifice kept goods and immigrants moving. Seven romances set between 1883 and 1911 at Great Lakes Lighthouses bring hope to the lonely lighthouse keepers and love to weary hearts. (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

A Musket in My Hands by Sandra Merville Hart — Two sisters have no choice but to disguise themselves as men to muster into the Confederate army in the fall of 1864–just in time for things to go very badly for the Southerners at the Battle of Franklin. (Historical Romance from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas)

Uncharted Journey by Keely Brooke Keith — Young widow Eva Vestal assumes loneliness is God’s permanent plan for her life. She keeps busy by raising her son and co-managing the Inn at Falls Creek with her elderly father, but her heart yearns for more. Solomon “Solo” Cotter has spent his life working with horses, but he secretly wants to write a book of the children’s stories his grandfather told him as a boy. He barters with Eva’s father for a 40-night stay at the inn, a needed respite from work to get his stories on paper. Once Eva discovers the barter, she believes Solo is taking advantage of her father’s failing memory. But when tragedy strikes and Solo works hard to save the inn, Eva sees his true nature. As her heart stirs with feelings for Solo, she wrestles with the guilt of loving someone new. (Historical Romance, Independently Published)

Snow Angel by Davalynn Spencer — Lena Carver works as her physician brother’s medical assistant, housekeeper, and cook. Maimed in a childhood accident at Christmas, she believes she is beyond love’s reach—until a dark-eyed cowboy arrives broken, bruised, and bent on changing her mind. Wil Bergman wakes in a stranger’s home with a busted leg and a bullet-creased scalp. Trail-weary, robbed, and penniless, he is at the mercy of a country doctor whose sister’s healing touch has power to stitch up his heart and open his eyes to the impossible. (Historical Romance from Wilson Creek Publishing)

Romantic Suspense:

Tell Her No Lies by Kelly Irvin — After Nina Fischer is accused of murdering her uncle and adopted father, she must unlock deadly family secrets in order to clear her name and learn to trust love again. (Romantic Suspense from HarperCollins Christian Publishing)

North by Starlight by Diane and David Munson — Attorney Madison Stone hurries to help her client Jordan Star defeat a mysterious relative who claims a share in his inheritance, and during the Christmas season Maddie learns to leave past regrets behind her, embrace the warmhearted people of Starlight, and dig deep to find her true heart. (Romantic Suspense from Micah House Media)

Her Deadly Reunion by Beth Ann Ziarnik — What will it cost an estranged daughter when she meets her birth father at his home and discovers it’s a dangerous place to mix past and present? (Romantic Suspense from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas)

Speculative:

Mark of the Raven by Morgan L. Busse — When the new Lady of Ravenwood inherits her family’s secret gift of dreamwalking, she discovers a dark history. Women in her family have been wielding the gift to preserve her family’s legacy—through assassinations. She’s determined to find the true reason behind the gift, convinced there must be a more noble purpose. But she’s torn about upholding her family’s legacy–a legacy that supports her people. What will she do when she is tasked with assassinating the one man who can bring peace to the nations–but who is also prophesied to bring about the downfall of her own house? One path holds glory and power and will solidify her position as Lady of Ravenwood. The other path holds shame and likely death. Which will she choose? And is she willing to pay the price for the path chosen? (High Fantasy from Bethany House [Baker])

Thriller/Suspense:

Stratagem by Robin Caroll — Psychologist Grayson Thibodeaux creates mind-bending adventure games for businesses as team-building explorations. When his ex-wife’s company hires Grayson’s for their executive retreat, he doesn’t see how things can get worse. Until she dies during the course of the game he created…making him the prime suspect for murder. (Suspense from Barbour Publishing)

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Especially for Writers

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