Will a Change of Venue Help Writer’s Block?

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Well, it’s not exactly writer’s block … sort of. In 2015, my cousin and I took a trip to Scotland to follow some family ancestry as well as for me to do some research for the fifth book in my series, “Partners, Heart of the Phoenix”. For my main character, AJ Donovan, it took years to find the Scots-Irish father he thought had abandoned him. Now a father himself for the first time, he and his wife, Quin, chose to take a trip to Scotland where Ethan Donovan and his family currently lived. AJ was excited to meet his many half siblings and introduce his son, Reilly to his grandparents.

Ethan’s landscaping business had made him quite wealthy and that wealth bought him enemies. Unfortunately, some of his enemies were within his own family. He had to determine which of his children were embezzling funds from the family business. AJ’s siblings welcomed him warmly … except one. This brother perceived AJ as a threat to his inheritance – to the point he was willing to eliminate him.

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At the RWA conference last year I roomed with a friend who was retired military and had spent much of her life in Scotland and Ireland. She pointed out several flaws in Irish-Scottish relationships that made the background for my story somewhat implausible. Changing those details would require changing background facts going back to Book I. So, I pushed the book aside and went on to other things. Not a good way to enhance a successful writing career.

So, one of the annual writing conferences I attend is “20 Books to 50K”, the focus of which is indie authors supporting indie authors. They are in Vegas every year but have also been doing conferences in Europe. This year, in July, it will be in Scotland. I was immediately interested. It’s time to go back and seek my muse. I need to work through the story issues and come back with the ideas I need to fix them. Not to mention that Edinburgh, Scotland is one of my favorite places in the world.

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I’m curious if other writers find new energy when doing research in countries where your story takes place. Do exposure and new facts make you more zealous to get back to your story?

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Mommy, Would You Read to Me?

I remember the days when Mom and I snuggled on the couch in the family room and she read aloud to me. Being immersed in the pages and studying the illustrations was nirvana. I specifically remember about age six asking her to read aloud, and she said, “You can read.” I said, “Only out loud.” She said, “Just say the words quietly to yourself.” So I did.

No holding me back after that.

110414vickibatmanmkeirblogchildreadingpixI consumed vast quantities of books. When once reprimanded by a librarian that I had to put back some new treasures from the tall pile cradled to my scrawny chest, my mom saw my sad face and asked what was wrong. I told her what the librarian said. My mom spun me around, marched me to the desk and said, “Check out all these books to her. She’ll read them, probably twice and the ones her sisters get too.”

Again, no holding me back.

As a writer, we have to work our projects so they won’t suck. This means we revise and edit. Because I’m a pantser, I make multiple passes, constantly revising to make the book fresh. Like other authors, I’m looking for new editing tricks, too. I used to read my work aloud and eliminated the awful dialogue and weird stuff I heard. I printed the manuscript and hacked a red, er, yellow pencil all over it.

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Then I got my laptop. In Microsoft Office is a feature that is freakin’ awesome—Read Aloud. I turn it on and voila, my book is read aloud to me! I can set the voice and the speed.

I worked my way through my current WIP, my third romantic comedy mystery, stopping to change words, dialogue, move passages. Now, I’m going through again and making a timeline and documenting the clues. What a treasure this feature is!

No holding me back!

asteriks2I’m pleased with where Temporarily Out of Luck is going. Thought I’d share a bit with you and get your thoughts. So here goes:

Sometimes, I felt like a small white mouse housed in a cage with lots of small white mice, whose sole playground activity was to eat, sleep, and revolve constantly on the exercise wheel. And just like one rodent friend, who I named Mr. Happy-Go-Lucky, having a field day back flipping from the top of the spinning wheel, something happened, and unexpectedly, found myself air born.
Not hurt, a sense of disappointment overcame me, plus a bit of confusion, and a whole lot of colorful descriptives too numerous to list. I, mostly known as Hattie Cooks, shook off the pine shavings and hopped back on the merry-go-round of life.

 

If you like that passage, maybe you’ll like other funny stuffy I’ve written. Check me out at:  Website     Author Central

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I’m So Excited!

If all goes well, my seventh book will release in late March. ACT OF SURVIVAL is the 4th book in the Second Chances Series. (The other books are pictured below.) Waiting to hear back from Beta Readers to see what fixes I need to do before sending it off to the editor. Think I may do the whole thing on Draft 2 Digital. I normally upload directly to the various venues except for iTunes which I do through D 2 D. But this time, I think I’ll let D 2 D do all of them and see how that works.

But what I’m really excited about is that I have an idea for the next book! For the longest time, I’ve had no idea. “NO IDEA!” For a writer that is heart stoppingly scary. You wonder if you’ll ever write another book. Maybe there aren’t anymore books inside of you!

I’d kind of settled on a location, which is what I always need to begin with, but I had no idea who or what was going to be happening. What is the conflict? Now I need to do lots of research, but I have the idea. (It could be possible after I do the research, I may not be able to use my location, which is Red River, NM, a place we go frequently on vacation in August, and I truly love. I hope that’s not the case.)

Are you afraid of anything? I am of several things, but one of them is going to prison. Odd, since I’m a real rule follower, but the threat of going to jail just terrifies me. So, what happens if they man you’ve been married to for a long time is arrested for grave crimes? The authorities think you should’ve known what was going on. Is there stuff you know, but didn’t know you knew? Would you testify against him, even though technically they can’t make you? But if you don’t testify, you’re going to jail! What about the rest of your family?

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Of course, at this point, I don’t know what the heroine’s family looks like, nor do I know her name, but I sure do have empathy for her. So, I have an idea, which is a little like when you meet someone for the first time, and you get that little trill of excitement in your middle. Will a relationship develop?

Act of Betrayal

So where do your ideas come from? Real life or completely out of whole cloth? What do you need in order to begin? How long does it take you to write a book form the kernel of an idea to publication? Love to hear from you.

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Celebrating a Milestone- Anniversary Edition #amwriting #Romance @jacqbiggar

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Celebrating a Milestone

Five years ago, I decided to quit feeling sorry for myself and do something about it. You see, I’d recently moved away from home and was lost and lonely.

But, I had a dream.

One I’d carried in the back of my mind for years. I wanted to write a book. Deciding the genre was the easy part. Romance. I was an avid reader of romance novels. They took me to faraway places, fed my spirit and thrilled my heart.

Yep, romance it was.

Okay, now what?

I had a computer that I used for my bookkeeping, but had no idea how to use it as a writing tool. I needed to learn though, my lefty handwriting was atrocious- that wouldn’t work.

I searched online and found RWA® Romance Writers of America, a group of thousands geared toward helping authors better their craft. I also managed to find a local writing group and gathered up the courage to go to one of their meetings where I immediately felt at home. I joined both and began to take classes to learn the art.

It took time (I’m still a work-in-progress) but finally, FINALLY I published my first book in September of 2014.

Pride.

I could barely contain the excitement blooming in my chest to see a book with MY name on it for sale. But then came the realization. People were going to read it. My heart and soul on those pages and they were all out there– I felt sick.

The reviews trickled in, some good, some not so much, but the addiction was born. I loved to write!

This week I’m celebrating that momentous moment by sharing my first book with you- free!

Jan 11-15

Click the picture to go to Amazon

Excerpt

Nick jogged through the early morning streets, Jake trotting by his side, enjoying the peace and quiet before the town woke for the day. Little songbirds greeted him as he passed a cedar hedge on his way to the park. The air was fresh and cool at this hour. He was glad his strength had returned, his breathing even and stride long. It’d been an uphill battle. For a while after the ambush he’d shut down. Closed everyone out. He wished now he’d made it his business to keep in touch with all his old teammates. The faint sounds of a dog’s bark had Nick looking down at Jake, loping alongside. He’d healed up well, and only flinched at sudden loud noises these days. His hip had taken the brunt of the damage. When the explosion had thrown them, Nick worried he’d need to put him down, but he’d pulled through. Tough mutt.

After his run, he would head over to Sara’s and have a look at those files, see what they were looking at here. Nick had a bad feeling that Tommy boy was into some heavy shit. They needed to solve that first, before there could be a chance for him and Sara.

A sudden sharp pain stabbed him behind the eyes, causing him to falter. Jake whined, sensing his distress. Squinting through slit eyes he spotted a nearby bench, and slumped onto the seat. He pushed a shaky hand through his hair, and then using his thumb and middle finger squeezed in towards his nose, relieving the pressure. “It’s okay, boy. I’m fine. Let’s just take a little break, hmm.” The doctor had explained in excruciating detail while he lay in that hospital in Germany, how lucky he was. The explosion had hit him and sent him flying right up against the stone wall of a nearby house. Shrapnel had gouged a deep line on his forehead, right above his old bullet wound. A centimeter farther to the left and it would have been lights out, of the forever kind. Unfortunately, it’d taken his short-term memory away from him. He’d been told it would come back in dribbles, or one big slam––or maybe not ever. Nice. It angered him that he couldn’t break through the fog to discover the truth of what happened to him and his team. There was something there he could feel it.

He supposed he should be grateful he could remember his childhood, though those memories he could have lived without. Years of mental and physical abuse at the hands of his old man had sent him down nothing but a path of trouble during his high school years. Alcohol, substance abuse, vagrancy, you name it he tried it. His motto had been if you’re not living on the edge, you’re just taking up space.

Then he’d met Kendra in one of the few classes he’d decided to show up for and they’d fallen in love. She’d been the only child of lawyer parents, sweet and innocent. The odds had gone against him when they’d had unprotected sex on a hot summer’s night. She’d gotten pregnant. At least he’d done the right thing and proposed. And though her parents of course hated him, they agreed the marriage should take place. Maybe if they’d stopped it, or if he’d just walked away, Kendra and his son would still be alive today.

They’d been too young, and in the end, it tore them apart. He couldn’t even recall what the fight had been about––no doubt his lack of a ‘respectable’ job. He’d been working at a local garage at the time––all he did remember was getting up to answer the door, only to see two uniforms on the other side. Devastated, blaming himself, he spent the next couple of months shit-faced drunk. Coming out of an alcohol-induced daze one day he saw a poster for enlisting in the marines. Not caring much whether he lived or died at that point, he’d signed up. They sent him to Lackland Airforce Base in San Antonio, where he met Jake. They’d been inseparable ever since.

The searing pressure eased enough for him to open his eyes. Jake sat with his head cocked to the side, his ears laid back in commiseration. Nick nudged him with his knee and gave his sides a good hard rub, Jake groaning his thanks. “Okay, big guy, what do you say to finishing our run?” He’d learned a long time ago that pushing through the pain was often the best medicine.

He had that in common with Sara. She’d gone through both a physical and a mental trauma that would have crushed most. She was doing great, but he bet a violation like that was something from which no woman ever fully recovered.

It humbled him that she had trusted him enough to allow him to make love to her last night. Nick would never hurt a hair on her head, but there was no real way for her to be sure of that. He hoped and prayed no one would ever crush her again, and swore to do everything in his power to make sure of that, starting with Sheridan. If those files contained half of what Sara had intimated they did, he’d need some help. Checking to make sure no one was around, he pulled his cell out of his sweats and made the call.

“Hey, Chief, how are you? It’s Nick, Nickolaus Kelley. Long time, sir, too long. Shit, I’ve missed the team. How’s the whizz kid?” A big grin split his face as he listened to Frank describing Jared’s latest and greatest.

“No kidding, trust Martin to take the term, Land of opportunity, to a whole new level, right?” He laughed. Man, it was good to talk to the chief again. Why did people always let the important ones in their lives fall to the wayside, while they went about the business of life?

He could well believe Jared had almost shut down the strip; the man was scary good with electronics. “I understand that you’re out of the loop these days, sir, but I was hoping I could ask you, and Jared if he’s still with you, for a helping hand. I have a situation here and could really use your input.”

Relief coursed through his veins at the quick response to his plea. “I’ll tell you all about it when you arrive. Tomorrow then, and thanks—Frank.”

Happy Holidays

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We are in the middle of major holidays at this time of year.

The first day of Hanukkah happened on December 3. Our Jewish friends celebrated “the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt. It is also known as the Festival of Lights. Hanukkah is observed for eight nights and days by lighting the candles of a candelabrum with nine branches, called a menorah.” Thanks to Wickipedia

Kwansaa

Kwansaa developed in the mid-sixties with the rise of Black Power and is celebrated in January. Each of the seven days of Kwanzaa is dedicated to one of the following principles:

Unity, Self-Determination, Collective Work & Responsibility, Cooperative Economics, Purpose, Creativity, and Faith. Seven candles are lit on each day. Thanks to Wickipedia

Ramadan for our Muslim friends is “a month of intense prayer, dawn-to-dusk fasting and nightly feasts.” Thanks to Wickipedia. This year this holiday was celebrated in May in 2018. So why have I included it? Because the holiday moves around the calendar, and while I was a principal, there were many years when all of these holidays fell at roughly the same time of year.

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Buddhism also commemorates in early December the Day the Buddah (Siddhartha Gautama the first person thought to have reached enlightenment) reached that stage.

photo(25)Christians celebrate Christmas on December 25 commemorating the birth of Jesus beginning with lighting Advent Candles and culminating in Christmas Eve candlelight services. Candles and light are a big part of all these celebrations

The US secular culture with Santa Claus, Christmas carols, and baking, dominates our media. It’s good to remember we are an eclectic society and to make room for all faiths.

So however, you celebrate this season of light at the darkest time of our year, I wish you Happy Holidays. We at the Sisterhood of Suspense are grateful for each one of you.

(Previously published in my December, 2018 Newsletter.)

Please sign up for my Newsletter on my website http://www.marsharwest.com Contact me at marsha@marsharwest.com , and follow me on my social media sites. https://authormarsharwest.wordpress.com/ for my Blog

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Overused Words

I think I’ve written about this issue with editing before, but it bears repeating, and it is how I’m spending  all my time now except for celebrating Thanksgiving, of course.  photo (2)

From Margie Lawson, I’ve learned the value of checking my manuscript for overused words. Margie’s original list of about 40 words and phrases has grown to over 70. Some words I’ve learned to eliminate when I’m rough drafting. Others despite my best intentions creep in. Each book has it’s own special words I  add to the list.

One thing I like about this tedious process is it makes me read read each sentences as a stand-alone and not  get caught up in the story. In making changes, if I don’t delete the word, I use more specific words, growing the word count.

Examples and how I changed words follow.

Going to 73 down to 2 (Seems like a lot, but it’s fewer than in previous works.)

“So, Kim, what are you going to do over this waiting period?”

“So, Kim what are your plans for this waiting period.”

Well, I can take care of that. I’m going to come pick you up, and we’ll go shopping and eat dinner out.”

“I can take care of your problem. I’ll pick you up, and we’ll shop till we drop before eating dinner at a restaurant.”

“No, I mean after. What are you going to do after?”

“No, I mean after. What will you do with your life after the divorce?”

“One of the things I’m going to help Kim with is recognizing what her skills are.”

“I will help Kim recognize her skills.”

That from 335 to 53

She pulled into a garage that went with the condo, not that she needed all that space.

She pulled into a garage connected to the condo, though she didn’t need all the space.

Most remaining “that”s are pointing to something and not the connection (that) we use that is grammatically correct but unnecessary.

Began 14 to 3 (A word I used to use all the time but have mostly eliminated.)

Cooper set his sacks on the table and began to remove the items.

Cooper set his sacks on the table and removed the items from the bags, setting them on the counter.

They all exchanged hugs and exclamations and began chattering like they had only seen each other last week.

They all exchanged hugs and exclamations and chatted like they had only seen each other last week.

Darkness began to crowd the outer edges of her vision.

Darkness crowded the outer edges of her vision.

This change especially makes the action more immediate.

What I find with this editing process is my writing becomes tighter and more specific.

Really went from 80 to 7. Some went from 88 to 7. Watch went from 7 to 2. I seldom use watch or see anymore. Again, there’s an immediacy to the writing you lose when you say, “Jane watched the band.” As opposed to “The drums reverberated in Jane’s chest as the band marched down the street in perfect step.”

A few phrases from the list I don’t use are: in order to, by means of, for the most part, as a matter of fact, and so forth and so on.

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I’m fortunate to have four Beta Readers for the last book in The Second Chances Series, ACT OF SURVIVAL. When I’ve completed this word check, I’ll send it off to them. Then I’ll contact my cover artist Charlie Volnek. She’s done all my covers, and I love her work. Following that I’ll get the book edited. Shooting for not later than March. Had hoped to get the book out in late January or February, but I keep pushing the date. Life happens. 😊

If you’d like to have a copy of my list of words, I’d be happy to send it to you. Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. It was one of our best, despite one daughter being sick and one grand sharing her germs with me.

I’m running a $.99 cent sale through Nov. 29 on all sites for my first book.Vermont Escape 300dpi (1)

Please sign up for my Newsletter on my website http://www.marsharwest.com Contact me at marsha@marsharwest.com , and follow me on my social media sites. https://authormarsharwest.wordpress.com/ for my Blog https://www.facebook.com/?ref=tn_tnmn

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Being Creative

I admit—I’m addicted to the Holiday Baking Championship shows. The Thanksgiving, holiday, Easter, bake-off with champions, kids. All of them.

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Handsome thinks I’m hilarious. “But you don’t bake much.”

“I know. I just like watching their creativity in the challenges.”

For example: the opening episode of 2019 had the bakers using pumpkin spice in their confections. The winner of that heat had made a baby cake with homemade cranberry jam in the center and a flavored whipped cream. Another baker had started with a panna cotta; however, she hadn’t put in enough gelatin and had to think fast. She made a mousse and her bottom crust became a cookie. See how different their entries were?

Creativity.

grandmother My grandmother made Tomato Cake every Thanksgiving. It’s an old recipe developed during WW2. The unusual ingredient is Tomato Soup. Now before you get all weirdly freaked, know her cake never tasted like tomato soup. It had all the lovely spices used in holiday recipes, raisins, and dates. And once, she got all radical and added chopped canned pears and walnuts. Trust me when I say it was absolutely delicious.

After Grandmother had passed, my sister decided to make her cake and my sister’s twist was to add pineapple cream cheese frosting.

Quite startling for those of us who knew the all-time fav but was very tasty. Then most desserts with cream cheese frosting are very yummy.

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The same thing can be said about writing. So many of us write in lots of genres. I tend to stick with romantic comedy shorts and mysteries; however, I have written shorts with magical elements.

When I decided to add “The Great Fruitcake Bake-off” to the Whispers of Winter holiday anthology, I reviewed and revised. I became more creative.

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If you’re wanting something to cuddle with on a chilly winter night, you might want to try the Whispers of Winter, available at:

Amazon

Nook
Kobo
iBooks

Have you lost your mind?

by Kathryn Jane

I keep asking myself this question.

Why?

Because I’ve been told many, many times that a writer should always stick to one genre, yet in the span of just a few months I’m releasing four books, in three different genres.

Why?

Because I write what I want to write. What I feel. I don’t write to the market. That is, I don’t write a book based on how well that particular genre is selling, or because that “subject” is hot right now.

Nope.

Can’t do it.

I have always written for the sheer joy of it, and now, even though I have a following of readers who love my Romantic Suspense series–readers begging for the next book–I still follow my heart and write for the joy.

Somehow, that seems to work, and my readers are happy with my choices, so it’s a win for all of us.

How do I choose what will give me joy?

I don’t choose. Stories show up in my head as an opening scene and simply grow from there. Sometimes the scene is simple, sometimes complex, but they are always interesting.

MISSING, came to me as the simple, crystal clear moment when a mountain climber pops his head up over a ledge and comes face to face with a mamma bear and her two cubs…

 

DIAMONDS TO DIE FOR, began with two people sitting on a bench in front of a barn full of racehorses. It was early evening and all was peaceful, quiet but for the sounds of contented horses chewing hay, rustling about in their straw…

 

CALLISTA GOES COUNTRY began with a funny scene I can’t resist sharing with you.

“Get off!”

Under normal circumstances, Callista Fontaine was mild-mannered, adjusted easily to whatever came her way, frequently laughed at herself, and only once in a blue moon raised her voice.

But normal was gone and her life in the city but a distant memory. Here she sat—at the butt crack of dawn—doing something she had never in a million years dreamed of doing.

Milking a goat.

And the baby goat, which she actually—God help her—delivered into the world only a few days earlier, was dancing a jig on her hunched back while nibbling on the tendrils of hair sticking out from under her hat.

 

CATS: A Heartwarming Collection of Furry Tales, Volume #5  began here:

Rain dripped from the edge of the overhang, barely missing Eddie where he was hunkered down, waiting out the storm.

He didn’t like storms, and really didn’t like being alone while thunder rolled and rain pelted from the sky.

Water was beginning to cover the ground and creep up toward him, making him feel like he would soon be sitting in a puddle.

He should have left when the other cats did.

 

In total, two Romantic Suspense, one Contemporary Romance, and one Collection of Short Stories.

Have I lost my mind?

Nope.

And better still? I have a new opening scene tugging at me, and although I think it will be a mystery, I won’t know for sure until my fingers hit the keys and words become sentences…

Want to check out more books and other stuff I’m doing these days?  (Yes, I’ve just added more author services to my list, and I’m having great fun helping out my fellow writers.) Pop on over to my website: https://kathrynjane.com/

 

 

 

Taking the Long Way Home

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When Handsome and I travel to Colorado, we pass through Texas. I am always intrigued by names of restaurants, towns, and roads we see. Many years ago, one caught my eye-Wagonsellers Road.

 

I searched for any information about Wagonsellers Road and found nothing except for a terrain map. I did find a person who lives near Wagonsellers Road with the same last name. So I’m thinking this person is related. I can fully imagine a family built covered wagons and sold them to people headed west: wagon + seller = Wagonseller. Or maybe the family lived elsewhere, adopted the name, and settled in Texas.

 

I don’t know for sure. Just my writer’s imagination taking me places. I did send an email to the nearby city to ask.

 

We also see abandoned homes. The weeds have grown high. Holes in the roof. Windows are trashed. The wood siding has turned shades of gray and is warped. Acres of farm land surrounds them. Sometimes, there is a tree or two, which looks equally worn out. Every time we pass these houses, we say, “Sad house.” They do look sad. And again, my writer’s imagination takes me to what happened to the families who built the homes. Handsome says the houses might be from the Depression who left the area to go west and discover something better for their lives. As we roll closer to the Panhandle, we think it possible the houses were abandoned during the great dust storms.

 

Most of my stories take place in the fictional town of Sommerville. In a quick Google search, I found towns with this name in Massachusetts, New Jersey, Texas, and many people with the same last name. I knew I hadn’t created a new town, but I had hope it sounded like a decent, stable city. And in that town are many kinds of businesses: Dee’s Delicious Donuts, SuperSaver Grocery, Mama and Papa’s Italian Restaurant. A lot of those are patterned after places I frequent in my hometown.

 

Here are a couple of examples from The Great Fruitcake Bake-off, the grocery store:

               “Ham and pear appetizer sounds beyond delicious. Make it for me.”

               “Ah, but you forget. I’m an awful cook.” With a sniff, she took a tissue from a box and pressed it her nose. “Allergic to the kitchen.”

               Bethany was not an “awful cook.” More like…lazy. Time after time, I’d heard her refer to her cooking as “food assembling.” Take-out from Super Saver Grocery decorated with sprigs of parsley seemed to be her favorite go-to meal. “Everyone knows you’re the worst cook imaginable.”

 

And the theater:

               He asked, “How about we try the theater across the street? I’ve stopped in since moving here and watched some interesting things in the screening café.”

               “I love going there. Maybe silent flicks are showing.” A magnetic energy drew me toward him. My palms smoothed down my jean-clad legs. I wriggled my ragged sweatshirt sleeves into place. I should have dressed nicer.

 

I confess-I love the indie theater in my hometown. Many a time I’ve sat in the café before a movie in the main theater began and watched cartoons or black and white shorts, some from the silent era. Such a treat!

Do you know where the name of your hometown came from?

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Sommerville is the hometown in The Great Fruitcake Bake-off, a romantic comedy holiday story in the Whispers of Winter anthology.

When five-time champion Samantha Greene teams up with her new neighbor, Dixon Roberts, for The Great Fruitcake Bake-off, they discover baking a prize-winning entry is complicated, bad guys are plotting to take the crown, and first prize isn’t just about a ribbon.

Preorder yours at:

Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Kobo

 

 

 

 

Marketing Strategies and #CoverLove #WritingTips @jacqbiggar

view of books in shelf

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Celebrating a New Cover!

If you’re an indie author, like me, you know there’s a lot more to creating a successful marketing plan than writing the book. While an engrossing story is important, it doesn’t do you any good if no one knows about it.

Editing, beta reading and critique groups are a good start and a necessary set of steps in order to make your book baby look the best it can (on the inside.)

But what do you do after that?

GET A PROFESSIONAL COVER ARTIST!

I can’t say how many times I’ve been turned off of what could have been an award-winning story because of a weak cover.

One of the first things any potential buyer is drawn to, whether online, a library, or in a brick and mortar store is a standout cover. It is critically important that YOU, as a hard-working writer, DO NOT skip this important marketing step.

Okay, you have your masterpiece and the perfect frame for it, now what?

I recommend creating 5-6 memes that you can switch out in your social media posts. Try Canva or Covers Sell Books, both are great. Yes, you need to play nice on Facebook and Twitter 🙂

Seriously though, having a strong social media presence is crucial if you want to get the word out about your books.

Next, set up a newsletter–you’ve been building up subscribers at the same time you’re building SM contacts, right? :)–and send it out with the big news. It’s recommended not to push your sales, so take the time to be personable. Your followers want to know you, share a piece of you and they will respond, trust me!

We’re doing great!

Books are selling, reviews are trickling in, but then as time goes by the initial excitement wanes, now what?

 

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Photo by Artem Bali on Pexels.com

 

Placing your book on sale is a good marketing strategy. Not only do you regenerate interest in the product you’re promoting, but it often gains you readers for the rest of your backlist, as well.

Again, this is where your growing social media connections can count. Rather than shoving the sale in their faces though, use those pretty memes you made and share them on Twitter and Facebook group pages in your chosen genre.

I also like to book professional sites to share my sale, such as ereader News Today, Book Gorilla, and ebook Discovery, to name a few. Just make sure to decide on a budget beforehand, and stick to it. Keep in mind that while on the dace of it, your sale book may not pay out the cost of the fees, subsequent sales on all your books will continue for days or weeks after as your name moves up in Amazon (or other retailers) algorithms.

Another choice you can make is upgrading to a new cover. Maybe, for whatever reason, the old cover isn’t doing its job of catching the attention of new readers. This is a guessing game, of course, but sometimes a cover with brighter colors, or a stronger image can make all the difference.

I’ve decided to take that course of action with my 1950’s murder mystery, Missing: The Lady Said No. The title was clunky, so I dropped the Missing and added An Augustus Grant Mystery subtitle to define the series.

The original cover was dark and moody, and didn’t explain the era as well as I wanted it to.

 

Missing The Lady Said No eBook

 

The new cover is flashy, using a bright, bold color palette and an eye-catching image that does a much better job of hinting at the genre and storyline.

What do you think?

 

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Get your copy here!

 

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JACQUIE BIGGAR  is a USA Today bestselling author of Romantic Suspense who loves to write about tough, alpha males and strong, contemporary women willing to show their men that true power comes from love. 

Free reads, excerpts, author news, and contests can be found on her web site:

http://jacqbiggar.com

You can follow her on at http://Facebook.com/jacqbiggar, http://Twitter.com/jacqbiggar

Or email her via her web site. Jacquie lives on Vancouver Island with her husband and loves to hear from readers all over the world!

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